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"What would get YOU to do a BB?" / "How to get people doing the Permaculture Experience?"

Hi, I'm Ash. I'm trying to find more answers to this question. I think the answers will be as plural and varied as people are.



:: What are BB's? What is PEP? ::

I'd like to learn what will get you doing BB's.


Brainstorm Ideas & stuff tried
600  The presentation of the information
 601  Forum-format poses a knowledge barrier for some; hard to learn a thing if one doesn't know it's there
   601.1 Libraries have librarians.
610  Make the information more visible on permies (i.e. more visual / url / digital on-ramps)
611  Square images on top/side banners at permies
  611.1   SKIP
     611.11  Straight to the SkIP Forum: https://permies.com/f/383/skip
     611.12  Straight to the PEP Forum: https://permies.com/f/178/ (my preference, since that's where BB's happen)
  611.2   Specific BB - (e.g. "The Skills to Inherit Property begin with... Sweeping the Floor!")
  611.3   Specific Badge - (e.g. Cat pawing ball of yarn goes to Textiles)
  611.4   What is SKIP? - A bright-shiny "this is SkIP and BB's" type page. The Homepage of SkIP, as it were.  Could Include:
     611.41  22 Aspects Page: https://permies.com/wiki/pep
     611.42  What is PEP/PEX: https://permies.com/t/96687/skills-inherit-property/PEP-PEX
     611.43  How long should PEP1 take: https://permies.com/t/84112/PEP-weeks-PEP-months-PEP
     611.44  The SkIP Page: https://permies.com/t/125806/skills-inherit-property/SkIP-develop-Skills-Inherit-Property
     611.45  ?? What other information is needed to get someone from Level 0 to Level 1 in SkIP / PEP / BB knowledge
  611.5   BB Club - Happeining here, Right Now! https://permies.com/wiki/143385/skills-inherit-property/BB-Club-Weekly-Wednesdays-Mountain#1133326
     611.51  Example: PEP Planner Group: https://permies.com/t/137604/started-PEP-Weekly-PEP-Sprint
     611.52  Whatever the next iterations of this look like, hopefully there's more than one at a time someday There is!
 612  Cross-post PEP threads to related topical subforums (e.g. Food Prep Badge to Food Prep)Doing
 613  Make Badges for people (already done)
 614  ?? Other ways to make info more visible on permies? ??

620  Make the information more digestible (i.e. more mental on-ramps)
 621  Re-frame or re-describe PEP
   621.1  Say SKIP instead of PEP?
   621.2  Rewrite "What is SKIP?" Thread? - This seems to be coming up in other conversations, as well. Done: https://permies.com/wiki/skip-pep-bb
   621.3  Pose SKIP as "structured re-skilling?"
   621.4  "Do you have a skill you want to show off?"
 622  "there's a BB for that"
   622.1  Some people more likely do to the BB if they know it even exists
   622.2 Help people gain system knowledge
     622.21 How?
 623  a PEP badge tracker - https://permies.com/p/963012
 624  An app - https://permies.com/p/963012
 625  A structured "Intro to PEP" BB or video or something
 626  People can list their "20 easiest BB's" - https://permies.com/t/143378/skills-inherit-property/easiest-BB
 627  ?? Other ways to make the information more digestible? ??

630  Make it social: seeing other people doing BB's as encouragement (i.e. social on-ramps and social hooks)
 631  Game-ify Badges more, BB5/10/20, "Air" Badges - https://permies.com/t/143477/skills-inherit-property/PEP-stepping-stone-Badges-BB
 632  PEP glory page on permies - hi-score page (social hook)
 633  Hi-score thread
 634  Public top-banner recognition of people achieving Badge-hood?
 635  "Air Badges" to denote at least 1BB earned in that aspect (i.e. I've started this badge) - Done, a smashing success!
 636  ?? Other ways to make the activity social? ??

640  Make the information more visible on other websites
 641  SKIP bit.ly?
 642  ??

650  Make the information visible in other formats
 651  PEP book
 652  PEP podcasts
 653  ?? Other ways to make the information visible on other websites? ??

660  Get lots of people talking about it and excited about it
 661  The "Otis" "carrot"
 662  ?? Other ways to get people excited about it? ??

670  ?? Other ways to re-present the information? ??


700 Working on BB's in groups
 701  bb buddy helps with the social aspects
 702  helps people feel connected
 703  helps bring people back
 704  helps people feel validated for their BB
 705  helps people feel excited about...stirfry (for example)

710  working on BB's in groups: In-person
 711  PEP Jamboree (WL) - https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
   711.1 Takeaways? (I mean, I had fun)
 712  regional local skills meetup, "for these things, we'll be doing these according to the rules of PEP. You don't have to, but I and a couple of others are doing this. It's basically the same, but we'll just be taking pictures also."
 713  A free BB60 event at Wheaton Labs to help propel attendees toward PEP1
 714  ?? Other ways to work on BB's in an in-person group? ??

720  Working on BB's in groups: On-forum - https://permies.com/t/137604/started-PEP-Weekly-PEP-Sprint

 721  Monthly PEP Planner - Made a planner, with 1 BB each day for a month.
   721.2  BB's picked were themed by day of the week; (e.g. Monday was cooking day)
   721.3  Some work to make planner,
   721.4  A BB a day is likely too much for many people
   721.5  Strong virtual PEP group resulted, and persisted for about 6 weeks
   721.6  But how much of that was due to the PEP planner?

 722  Weekly PEP Sprints - Picked 2 BB's each week
   722.1  One slot was reserved to take someone through a full badge
   722.2  The other slot was for novelty, or to make it easy to join in anew
   722.3  Less work to create individual segments
   722.4  Didn't seem to get people as excited in the same way
   722.5  BB's chosen happened to be ones the prior group had already done, precluding them from participating
   722.6  A BB a week is likely right for many people

 723  BB club - BB of the week / SKIP club,
   723.1  possibly many more, shorter threads
     723.11  big long thread can sometimes be a deterrent to people joining in
   723.3  include a super easy BB every week (system knowledge on-ramp)
   723.4  nominate someone else to follow after you?


730  working on BB's in groups: Live Digital-in-person (e.g. zoom) call - BB Club - https://permies.com/t/143385/skills-inherit-property/BB-Club
   730.1  initial join-ees of the BB club get freebies (hook), if people attend at least 3 of the zooms, they get freebies, or something

 731  Format idea 1: 3 BB's for a week
   731.1  last week's 3 bb's
   731.2  what needs to happen for this week's 3 bb's
   731.3  include a super easy BB

 732 working on BB's in groups: Live Digital-in-person weekly zoom call - Format idea 2: just one BB per week
   732.1  work on a single badge as a cohort
   732.2  e.g. bodger club
 
 733 ?? Other formats for BB clubs? ??

740  BB Mentor program - https://permies.com/t/143383/skills-inherit-property/BB-Mentor-Program

750 ?? Other ways to work on BB's in groups? ??

800 Working on BB's alone, posting results / progress
 801  This is the native setup of the current system (post in BB threads)
810 Individual posting to individual's specific BB thread
 811  https://permies.com/t/123420/PEP-Badge-Adventure
   811.1  Thread created small attention for the videos themselves. I'm unaware of any other people pursuing BB's because of the videos, though.
 812  ?? Other ways to work on BB's alone, but still sharing it? ??

900 Change the information
910  Change the information to be more broadly applicable
 911  PEX
 912  PEAnywhere - https://permies.com/t/126847/Logan-PEA-Development-Thread - https://permies.com/t/133871/PEA-Permaculture-Experience-Apartments
 913  PEfumt
 914  ??  Your version of PEX? ??
920  Change the information to be easier to do
930  Change the information to be less stringent

1000  ?? Other ways to get people doing BB's? ??

...

...

My understanding with the numbering is; if you have an opinion on #612, then you reference that so a dozen parallel conversations can occur in the forum format.

I've made this a wiki page just to facilitate my easy-editing long-term, not because I'm saying what's here is official in any way. If that was the wrong choice, just let me know.
Upon encouragement, I've cross-posted this to forms related to several of the PEP Aspects. If that was the wrong choice, just let me know.
COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
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I can't see an edit option on the post so someone else will have to add these if they wish.

Clearer path, right now it's a mess down in those forums you have to know that the overall thread exists and then you have to find it buried in all the bb's threads
Perhapse a pre pep badge, with a couple of really simple bits from each badge. would let people get the idea and learn how to navigate those forums
Less emphasis on the inheriting property part, many people who can do the badges already have property and  the tax laws here make inheriting outside the family impossible (well expensive) and I suspect that is the same in many countries.
And the biggest one.
PEX.. I think there's 6 badges in total I can complete sand on due to legal/plant/climate restriction, and only 1 where the straw is possible. involvement won't increase from outside the area PEP was made in until PEX's are done.

 
pollinator
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I have done a few bits.

The turn off for me, on multiple BBS, has been the focus on the very narrow set of conditions that hold under Paul’s circumstances. I know that he wants PEP to be “... according to Paul”, and allow for others to take on the PEX idea. But currently all that exists is PEP.

It is hard to commit to doing BBs knowing that a significant chunk of the requirements for progressing are out of reach to me, purely due to my local circumstances.

I have always enjoyed that Permaculture (as per Mollison’s big book) is a design science that can be adapted and applied to any circumstances at all. PEPs focus on Paul’s circumstances is a step away from that breadth.

Separately, another comment above has looked at the difficulty of navigating the overall system. It just doesn’t work well in a forum. As an educator I have use a wide variety of online learning platforms - both as teacher and student - and the choice of architecture makes a HUGE impact on engagement and progress.
 
gardener
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Hi Ash,

I got to thinking about this after the staff meeting and I had a couple of more thoughts.

First off, I think people are put off to PEP, but especially BB due to barriers to entry.  I first joined Permies as a way to help solve a garden dilemma, and stayed for the interaction.  I suspect that many don’t know what a BB is, why they should do it or realize that it is fairly easy to attain.  Perhaps we can lower the barriers to entry.

The second thought is to keep people engaged once they stop by for (especially) the first time.  Regular engagement can keep people in this community-within-a-community.  Maybe promote more discussions, post about one’s own projects, etc.  the more I stayed at Permies the more I personally wanted to contribute.  Perhaps a new forum for showing and discussing BB projects?  Just an idea.

This all boils down to making BB easier to start to bring in more people and then retain those people.

Eric
 
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Thank you all, for your input.

Eric: Does this thread (https://permies.com/t/123420/PEP-Badge-Adventure) do the engagement piece you're describing? Would it have encouraged you to jump in and do a BB yourself?
 
Eric Hanson
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Ash,

So that thread I think actually partially fulfills my bit about the second option.  The list of videos helps me stay interested once I have one foot already in the door.  It helps with the engagement and keeps people already doing these projects to do more.  This is all very good.

But the barriers to entry is more of a challenge.  At least part is simple education:  why should people try these in the first place.  Also regular posting and feedback from experienced members goes a long ways to getting people on the fence to jump in, and hopefully then go and post their projects themselves.

It is tricky getting people in the door.  Maybe some posts without video as the engagement is more direct with text, more passive with video.

I hope this helps,

Eric
 
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I love the concept and a lot of the details. But I found some things are really easy and I already do them all the time. Like I cook rice in my IP every week but never remember to take pictures and am not really motivated to get that badge because I already have it in my toolbox.

Sometimes when I make something more complex, like mullein tincture, I still forget to take pictures until I'm part way through. I do it rarely so can't start over easily. I don't need much in the way of herbs and medicine so I'm torn as to the benefit of spending money and time on things that don't benefit me when both of those are limited, in order to get a badge.

Like Michael said, there are a lot of strict parameters too that I can't always do on my property. When I was making my first hugelculture I thought ooh I can follow the guidelines and get that. Yay! But even the easiest one was too large for the area I had available and I didn't have all the required seeds. So I took pictures for me and did my own thing.

Finally, I have limited data here and can't spend all the time and data researching and connecting around that. But like I said, I really love the program.
 
Ash Jackson
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Thank you all, for your input.

Eric, is this thread (https://permies.com/t/123420/PEP-Badge-Adventure) what you envisioned when you describe one person posting their BB activity? Is it creating the engagement you're describing? Does it spur you to jump in and do a BB? (apparently I did post my earlier post after all...)


Sonja, would a PDF list of all the BB's help with the data-issue? I pay by-the-meg for my phone data, so I definitely get where you're coming from.


Skandi/Michael, would a PDF list of all the BB's make it easier to scan and digest the information?  All of PEP was a big, daunting wall of information for me, too, at first.
 
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Like Sonja, I like the concept of permaculture challenges, but find it impractical to actually document the process just to get a badge.

Often, the amounts/sizes required are unrealistic for a small urban setting. ( I don't have 150 sq. feet of vegetation to chop & drop, even though chop & drop is part of how I garden already).

Or I'd have no need for the end result, which would be a waste of resources. Ex: I am skilled in most textile arts. But I won't make a project just for the sake of it if I don't have a need for the end result, and especially if I need to buy material for it. I am already trying to work through my endless bin of discarded "broken beyond repair" clothes, so there's plenty of projects in my pipeline already.

Or I get started and then think of pictures when it's too late (hello, sauerkraut. By the time I thought of the BB, half the jar was in my stomach )

That doesn't prevent the BB challenges to be inspiring. I just chip at those challenges in manageable bites for me, adapt in ways that make sense, and have no need for external recognition.
 
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I wrote a long reply to this and lost it.  Argh.  I'll shorten it and just give an example.  First, let me point out that I just pick and choose among the different areas and find something I want to or am going to do anyway, and then I take a few pictures.  I'm not sure I'll ever complete any one area though.  The gardening one is an example.  Chop and drop, I use anyway.  I can do that one in less than an hour, and it's something I do on a pretty continual basis, so I just took some pictures and added them to the thread.  Contrast with the hugel bit.  I don't know where to get Sepp grain, and I'm not interested in growing grain anyway, so that one doesn't interest me.  Additionally, my understanding was that the bits should take an hour or two (going by memory, that may be wrong).  I think someone asked Paul about the time frame for building a hugel in that time and his response was something like "use an excavator".  It feels to me like that takes it out of contention for about 99% of the people that would read it.  Regardless, it's Paul's program and he can structure it to fall in line with his likes/dislikes.  There are still lots of other BBs that I will probably document.  I just can't see finishing many of the areas because my needs and likes are so different.
 
Ash Jackson
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Thank you, both for your input.

Kena, I can relate. Trying to track 10 gallons of my ruth stout composting 6 cups at a time has proven a logistical challenge.
 
Eric Hanson
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Ash,

Maybe some open discussion could entice others into trying a BB.  I am thinking especially if this could be discussed outside of the PEP/BB thread.  Or perhaps it could be co-listed in the PEP section as well as some other thread.

I discussed my battery box outside the PEP thread and I had a fair amount of interaction with others.  Maybe my thread could be linked to the PEP forum.  In a sense, I/we could *advertise* our projects.  I have discussed plenty of wine cap topics and now several people are engaging in their own, similar projects.

The PEP section seems so different that people may be put off simply because they don’t understand what it is.  I mentioned before that I think we should lower barriers to entry and perhaps some discussion outside of PEP would accomplish this objective.

Let me know what you think,

Eric
 
Ash Jackson
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Cross-posting is a really good call, Eric. Thanks for reminding me of that. New #612.

I always get hung up on the "where," and feeling like I'm being spammy sending PEP out to other parts of permies.
 
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I think Skandi and Michael hit upon a big factor, which is PEP vs. SKIP (if I even understand it correctly) where the PEP BBs are by definition Paul/Wheaton Labs specific in many ways, whereas the actual skills demonstrated could be more generalized/universal to account for various climates and locations, and still be a good measure of the person's abilities.

I've learned a few different CAD software programs over the years, and they ALL have a tutorial section which has a few projects to duplicate which require using a set of commands/skills to complete. The idea of a "Pre-PEP" or a "tutorial" that would both be accessible to many (low-barrier to entry) and build foundational skills (such as navigating the PEP/PEX/SKIP system, or your local hardware store...) might make it all easier, and rope people in to continue further.

So many times, like others, I'm halfway into something and I think "is this a BB? do I take a photo? video? do I just get it done?".
Some of this is habit, which is learned/created by repetition "I always take a photo beginning, middle, and end of a project". A tutorial is a method to build habits.
Some of this is motivational. "Where is this going to get me?" I may be doing the thing anyways (not intentionally doing BBs) or I may have already done a thing that is a BB ten years ago and not planning to repeat.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Here's a crazy idea.
How about a smartphone APP?
Just take pictures or videos of your BBs from in the app, and then they are already logged in the right place. The whole skill tree could be searchable, and prompt steps for documenting the BBs, record/show your progress...
 
Eric Hanson
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Ash,

I just updated my battery box thread HERE:

https://permies.com/t/40/135729/permaculture-projects/Building-pair-battery-generators#1120689

I deliberately made reference and included a link to the electricity PEP section.

I was thinking that this sort of cross linking/cross pollinating might help entice people into trying their first BB themselves.

Let me know what you think.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Kenneth, I think you made some very good points about just getting into the first stages of a BB.  My thoughts are that the biggest obstacle to BB projects are the initial barriers to entry.  I suspect that once a person does the first BB, others would follow.  The biggest obstacle is getting that first BB.

BTW, an app might be very helpful.  Not only would it make posting for a BB easier, but just having the app staring at you would be a consistent reminder.

Excellent thoughts!

Eric
 
Michael Cox
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Lots of good stuff here.

Another angle on my earlier point - it is hard to invest energy in the early stages of PEP knowing that later stages are going to be both impossible to complete, and if I did complete them not useful for me anyway.

For example, there are a bunch of wood/timber/lumber things. I own a lovely piece of ancient woodland that is a mix of chestnut coppice, hazel and oak. These are fabulous species to work with, and there is a huge depth of history of associated woodland crafts like fencing, hurdle making, green wood working for furniture etc... but I can’t pick up any BBs for those skills. Instead there are (from memory) BBS for selecting and cutting dead standing pine poles. I have no pine. B~bs for doing that with hand tools. I can do it with hand tools, obviously... but in the time I would fell and take photo of three stems cut with a hand saw, I could have felled cut and stacked 10 chestnut poles with the chainsaw. I have to work slow and hard to pick up that BB rather than use the tools I’m comfortable with.
 
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This is gobbledygook to me. I have no idea what a PEP or BB are when related to Permaculture. I have done 2 PDCs but not come across them.
 
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Cath Sheldrick wrote:This is gobbledygook to me. I have no idea what a PEP or BB are when related to Permaculture.



These threads might help - skills to inherit property and what is PEP and PEX?
 
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I looked into it and thought it was a cool idea, but gave up for the same reasons everyone else has said. Too strict, too big, and not something I would every really use. So not worth the effort.

But the flip side of that is that if I were looking to hire someone or gift land/business in the future, I would trust the badges because I know they are accurate representations of peoples skill. So I wouldn't want them to become too much easier and loose their weight.

I think it would be cool to have a separate, lighter, smaller version. More like a hobby level. If participation is the goal, then a more casual version would get everyday people involved. Maybe call them BBminis or everydayBB or BBbyMe. These could keep the main idea of each BB, but allow substitutions of species, scale, tools etc. These would be more like a game and more personal, that anyone could figure out a way to do anywhere. I think these would be a more fun, more shareable, more addicting alternative to the serious, career level PEP.

Like I'm not going to write academic, journal-worthy papers anymore, but I still like doing experiments and sharing them on Permies. I don't have an hour to complete a BB, I have 10-15 minutes.

I also think that the BB PEP stuff being in a separate forum keeps me from checking them out. I only have so much time I can spend on Permies, and I would rather browse recent and zero replies. If everydayBBs were just regular threads in the regular forums, maybe with an option when posting to "please consider giving me a BBmini for this post", they might attract more interest. A new symbol, like how you show number of picture, apples, and flags,, showing this post earned a BB. Then I would for sure check it out wanting to know which one they got and how. A more casual version would allow people to show their creativity and have fun, like, "I wonder if this will count..let's try"

I know it would be a lot of work.

 
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I need a blog or course-style presentation of the information and steps. The forum format confused me terribly when I was just trying to figure out what it's all about. Is a post an official instruction or someone's commentary? I don't have the time or wherewithal to sort through pages upon pages to sort it out in order to decide whether I even want to participate.
 
gardener
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Amy Arnett wrote:
I also think that the BB PEP stuff being in a separate forum keeps me from checking them out. I only have so much time I can spend on Permies, and I would rather browse recent and zero replies.


This, plus the fact that some stuff just isn't applicable to where I live and the scale I farm on (and some of the materials needed simply don't exist here) means I haven't invested the time to even really investigate and find out what is involved, as Olivia says.
 
Eric Hanson
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Amy has a really good point about the time involved between starting and finishing a project and the reward from the project.  Basically, the faster the reward the more appealing the action.  It is one of the reasons people (at least some) like to play slot machines—it takes little effort and the payback is typically fairly fast (just keep pulling that lever).  It is also why video games are genuinely addictive—keep clicking that mouse button and eventually something explodes.

Now I don’t think we will ever get a reward as immediate as a mouse click, but maybe we could reduce a “mini BB” to something as simple as posting a single picture.  We could make these mini BB’s a level lower than a sand level badge.  Maybe make them worth 1/4 point (or whatever is appropriate).  Maybe we could make these mini projects cumulative so they could eventually equal a sand badge.

Another thought would be to streamline the approval process.  Could these be tied to an action item?  This could both spread the approval workload and speed up the reward thus making the whole process even more appealing.

Just as a couple of examples of some mini actions, we could have some of the following tasks:

Make a compost pile
Add wood chips to a garden
Add mulch to a garden
Plant a cover crop
Add in whatever simple task you think appropriate

I would think that these type of tasks should be things we are already doing or at least be common actions promoting permaculture.  Basically get the foot in the door.  I would think once these simple actions begin to accumulate, one will want to try for more advanced projects.

All of this is up for discussion.  I am trying to think of things that would lower the barriers to entry.

Eric
 
Trace Oswald
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I would just like to add that I really appreciate the areas where you have a lot of choices.  Contrast Animal Care with Gardening.  Animal Care I can choose 5 that I want to do from dozens of possible projects.  Gardening, there are three things, and I have to do all of them.  Suppose I don't want a large hugel and I don't have access or don't want to plant the things listed?  That's a stopping point, and gardening is an area that I consider essential to permaculture and homesteading.  With Animal Care, what if I don't have a scythe?  No big deal, I make a mason bee house instead.  

As I touched on before, the complexity levels are very different.  For Gardening, the hugel needs to be quite large, mulched with 4 different materials, planted with at least a dozen species, has comfrey, sunchokes, and Sepp grain.  This is going to take many hours, and gathering some pretty hard to find items. For animal care, I can clean 4 nest boxes.  I can do that in 15 minutes.  Snake or lizard habitat, pile up a bunch of rocks.  Make a brush pile?  You can do that with fallen material easily in less than an hour.





 
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I’ve lurked on Permies for years now, but BBs were the catalyst to actually getting me posting. I’m one of those people that’s motivated by structured challenges, so I love the concept. I started with ones that I pretty much already know how to do and then I’m slowly working through others that feel like they’re just a little bit of a stretch for me (Zone of Proximal Development for any of you trained educators out there).

There is no way for me to complete the PEP on 0.44 acres and working full time at a job I love and find important to the world. Many of the BBs  just aren’t applicable and that’s fine. I’d really love, though, to see PEX more fully developed, because that does seem like it might be within my reach—and as I said before, that’s motivating for me to participate in.

The forum structure mean you have to be pretty determined to find and complete badges. The PEP tracker helps, definitely, but I still have to wade through the forums to find instructions, log completion, etc. An app is one way to solve this, though not the only way. If that is chosen, I hereby volunteer to help test it (I do software quality assurance for a living, so I’m pretty familiar with trying to break shit and documenting it).
 
Ash Jackson
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:How about a smartphone APP?
Just take pictures or videos of your BBs from in the app, and then they are already logged in the right place. The whole skill tree could be searchable, and prompt steps for documenting the BBs, record/show your progress...



Hey Kenneth, have you ever used Trello? I find it's a bit like an app that you can make without programming.

If I knew Ruby, I'd've already tried this one. Then again, if I knew Ruby I'd be doing all sorts of other, stuff, too.
 
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I really like the PEP badges. For a few years I was trying to create something similar for my garden school. -- My biggest push back is always "why should I" just for a badge? Paul's approach to this was very good. The next step to the why, in my thoughts would be as a Permaculture Portfolio, something that artists or building have to show their past works. The PEX i'm trying to develop for my students is more lessons and useful skill based focused. (Again just as in Paul's Case it centered working here at the Farmacy)

My thoughts. a.) Help design a format to show the work required to get a PEP. Maybe like a photo album, and description of what was required to achieve the goal. Unique to each person, but still with loose guidelines. b.) We all need to talk about the PEP more to normies this could be a great way to slowly introduce some people into the permaculture world. IE: I use Hügelkultur Beds here in Appalachia to slowly introduce aspect of permaculture to the mases. c.) If there was a way we could work together to help scale the PEX so that Wheaton Labs, Mavis Institute, (Insert You Name), +++ could work together to create a loose union of certifiable projects. (I know this would be very difficult) But, I think is also falls into other idea Paul has talked like having a list of shareable community projects.  

All and All I think we are on the right track with PEX/SKIP. I will continue to do more and more and retool some of them for my place, so I can have my own set of rules that fit my space better. -- With all the great minds here, and the great post before me, I see a lot of cool ideas just waiting to be used in to achieve awesomeness.

-Justyn
 
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 I agree, with many of above answers. I try new things all the time. But unless I plan to help others to learn it, I don't have much motivation to document it, take time to take photos, etc. And my small garden is a community garden plot - 17 by 17 feet, where I do mulch and chop and drop, and make a bucket of comfrey tea, etc.
 Plus it reminds me of scout and military badges, which I have strong dislike to. While scouts and solders learn valuable things too, they get trained into rigid obey (and forget your own conscience and intuitive hunches) mindset, that is not attractive to me to say the least.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Ash Jackson wrote:

Kenneth Elwell wrote:How about a smartphone APP?
Just take pictures or videos of your BBs from in the app, and then they are already logged in the right place. The whole skill tree could be searchable, and prompt steps for documenting the BBs, record/show your progress...



Hey Kenneth, have you ever used Trello? I find it's a bit like an app that you can make without programming.

If I knew Ruby, I'd've already tried this one. Then again, if I knew Ruby I'd be doing all sorts of other, stuff, too.



Yes, I have and do use Trello. I have a bit of a hate-hate relationship with lists & outlines, and creating/following/updating them. Trello's collaborative element is what I find most useful for sharing my thoughts, and the cloud so I can access my boards from anywhere. I'm still horrible at using it as a to-do list, but that's me, not Trello, Bullet Journal, or a napkin's fault.

I feel like everyone home-brewing their own Trello boards for their own PEP/PEX/SKIP experience would fall short of what a dedicated APP could be.
In the same way that skilled trades are trained and licensed, or even a Master Gardener program, there's some sort of "authority" to confirm that person is in fact qualified by meeting some standards.

If the goal is to get an "Otis" to connect with a candidate for succession on their property, a consistent, easy to search and compare system for tracking PEP/PEX/SKIP seems like a good idea.
Something with PEP as the framework, with the ability to "layer" PEX BBs so they could be correlated (example: PEP-replace a broken tool handle with one you made from wood you harvested yourself, and shaped by using only hand tools, might have companion PEX BBs of: #1-replace a tool handle with a store-bought replacement handle, or #2-make your own replacement handle from wood you got "somehow" and shaped yourself, possibly using power tools. Now you could have a "gold, silver, bronze star" ranking that elevates PEP, but still acknowledges the "tool handle repair" skill at different levels.

These different layers of BBs offer different "on-ramps" to the program, possibly broader appeal to more urban dwellers, or different climates/locations where following PEP isn't practical or appropriate.
Maybe one could get the Woodworking Sand Badge by completing a combination of PEP and PEX BBs? Maybe one could get a rating of 60% gold/PEP + (30% silver + 10% bronze/PEX) = 100%?
It might be better for a prospective "Otis" as well, who may have different standards than Paul and want to see a wider spectrum of accomplishment.



 
pollinator
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In my case, I don't see the point of proving to someone that I can do things.  I agree with Amy when she said that she would trust the badges, so I do see the value in that.  I think you can WWOOF to get skills or, my preference, just get a job doing what you want to learn.  Get paid to learn and get lots of hands-on experience, unless you want to learn soccer.

I agree with many of the issues people have raised.  The SKIP idea doesn't appeal to me at all.  I think planning to inherit a property from someone you're unrelated to can be a very uncertain prospect in more than a few cases.  Personally, I would rather figure out a way to buy or rent land so that I don't have to worry about the rug getting pulled out from under me.  
 
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I'm excited about SKIP.  
I've done a few badges at home and it was easier than I expected.  I don't expect the need for these badges in my future, but I really enjoy the excuse to learn the new skill.  I'm a sucker for badges and have spent way too many hours of my childhood chasing badges on video games.

As a farmer, we've had so many people come here saying "yeh, yeh, I have SOOOOoooo much experience.  I know what I'm doing."  We take them at their word and at their friends' word.  And then have to spend days repairing all the damage they did while they were working.  They don't have a clue!  I can see PEP as being a great way to weed out the boasters in favour of the doers.  

There are so many people out there that say they have skills - but it is so much better if they can show me!  
 
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I have liked the idea behind all this which I see as an emerging form of education that offers individual accreditation.  The notion that doing it will lead one to inheriting land from someone seems fuzzy to me.  It could happen, but I'm not really believing it would for me, nor am I really after that.  However it could be used to provide proof, or at least evidence, that you have certain skills, or have at least done specific things.  This could be handy when applying for some jobs or to prove to someone that you aren't just an airhead hippie idealist who has no real conception of hard work.  However, I don't know that an "employer" would care if I said I was PEP certified in something or not, since most don't know what this is or means.  What might count with this hypothetical employer is to be able to direct them to one place where they can see all the documentation of the projects I've done.  Unless I'm way out of date in how things work for PEP I think finding all of one's documentation would involve digging through all sorts of forum threads.  (Of course, I could also have everything gathered together in a file on my own computer.)  I wonder if there was a way to make the posting and gathering of the documentation of the project happen in a section of individual profiles?  This way both I and anyone else could look at my profile and see all together what I've done.  Is there a way to post documentation on a section in the personal profiles and then click a button to indicate else where that it needs review and certification if acceptable?

I guess the last time I looked at it all I felt overwhelmed trying to make some sense and order of it.  Not knowing where to start.  It has been a while so perhaps that order is there now.
 
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I've glanced through the badges, and will likely never complete one.

First - most of my "permie-type" endeavors are self motivated, not externally motivated. I might share my projects I am working on here, I might not. I do them for the joy of learning, and following someone else's instructions takes some of the joy of discovery out of it for me. I can't see having the badges as ever being meaningful to me. I know my skills, and don't feel any need to "prove them" with badges, and I learn new skills as the opportunity or the need presents itself.

For me, the badge bits and lists I have seen are too specific. Some of the things are not things I value - like hand washing dishes. Sure, I CAN handwash dishes - or I can pull out my portable dishwasher which I consider one of my top 5 all time quality of life improving purchases.  Some of the things are too challening/too much of a constraint (building a hugel culture), some things too commonplace and easy (cooking a meal for a large group). Plus - if I do those things, I'll do them to suit me based on my own research, not to suit someone else.

I am participating in another online learning platform. I have, cough, not actually submitted for the certificates I've earned because each one costs $20 plus shipping, and there are 5 of them, then another $100 to officially register them, and I am cheap and don't value paper... BUT I did complete the skills for first 3 levels, and submitted the documentation of skills for the first 2 levels. The difference with that one was it was much less specific. Each level required the completion of 5-12 things from a huge list (in higher levels, 1-2 things per each of 5 categories). The lists were really long, so it was pretty easy to find something to do that I would enjoy and was a challenge to my current skill sets. Some of the skills were very fast, and things I already did. Some of the skills took a week or two of practice. Most of the skills had a video from the evaluator showing how to do them. But I could pick and choose which to focus on. They also allowed you to "write in" with permission of the evaluator a few similar skills of your own devising that met the goals of the program.

Edit: I spent some time glancing through the PEP/SKIP stuff. I think I am still confused about what SKIP is and if the things in it are different. But I did notice that the PEP badges are often not easy to do if you don't have a large property already and very specific. Instead of "Plant seeds from these 12 species of tree (several of which are too cold sensitive to grow where I live)"  could it be "Germinate trees from 12 species of food-bearing tree, and state the food value of each species/how it's used, and describe the correct way to plant these to ensure germination ". Basically - keep the feeling/intent of "plant trees that will give you food", keep it easy for staff, but also open it up for people in not quite the same region to participate too. I realize it's supposed to be oriented to Paul's site... but it reminds me of an old news article about finding the "average" family- by the time the researchers listed all the characteristics, and keep throwing in more and more things that make people "average", they had to remove some criteria to find even one family in the whole country that fit.

 
Skandi Rogers
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Trace Oswald wrote:I would just like to add that I really appreciate the areas where you have a lot of choices.  Contrast Animal Care with Gardening.  Animal Care I can choose 5 that I want to do from dozens of possible projects.  Gardening, there are three things, and I have to do all of them.  Suppose I don't want a large hugel and I don't have access or don't want to plant the things listed?  That's a stopping point, and gardening is an area that I consider essential to permaculture and homesteading.  



This is a big issue for me with some of the badges, take the cooking one, I do not own a rice cooker or a pressure cooker, nor do I own any cast iron (it's not common here) and I cannot see how making me buy an extra piece of landfill junk to complete a badge is at all permaculture. I also think there's a lot of making wasteful products, like signs there are two of us on this land, why do we need signs lying around the place, that's just a tree that had to die for no reason. Other badges seem to have needless repetition, if i service one battery why do I need to do 3? it will be the same and we only have 2 so I would have to go and buy another battery just to do it.
 
Burra Maluca
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Other badges seem to have needless repetition, if i service one battery why do I need to do 3? it will be the same and we only have 2 so I would have to go and buy another battery just to do it.



You could find someone else who has a battery that needs servicing and do it for them, teaching them how to do it in the process. Now they *don't* have to go and buy another battery. And then maybe they'll do the badge, and teach more people.

And then the world becomes a better place.

AND more people get badges.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:Other badges seem to have needless repetition, if i service one battery why do I need to do 3? it will be the same and we only have 2 so I would have to go and buy another battery just to do it.



You could find someone else who has a battery that needs servicing and do it for them, teaching them how to do it in the process. Now they *don't* have to go and buy another battery. And then maybe they'll do the badge, and teach more people.

And then the world becomes a better place.

AND more people get badges.



I don't think any of my friends are likely to let me oink the battery out of their precious car and put it in the "shop"
 
Burra Maluca
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Skandi Rogers wrote:nor do I own any cast iron (it's not common here) and I cannot see how making me buy an extra piece of landfill junk to complete a badge is at all permaculture.



When Paul first published his cast-iron webpage in around 2011, I was inspired by it and shared it on facebook. And then took the plunge and sent off to the UK for one, as I couldn't find one in Portugal.  Then one of my facebook friends was similarly inspired, and managed to find this one in a car-boot sale, for the princely sum of 50p, because nobody else wanted it. It would have ended up in the landfill if he hadn't bought it. He followed the advice in Paul's article and cleaned it up.



I was a bit jealous at the time as I had spend considerably more on mine, but I was glad that a friend had rescued it and could put it to good use.

These days he's my partner, and has just used it to cook part of our lunch on. It was still warm when I took this photos.

But the point I'm trying to make is that there are a ton of badges, and they are meant to inspire you to try things. To source an old bit of cast iron and learn how to use it. So get you to try your hand and cooking in something like a slow cooker - maybe you can borrow one? Then to make yourself a hay box or a solar cooker and compare how they work. It's not about ticking off boxes, it's about getting people to experiment and actually do things and find ways to make things work.

If I was a potential Otis, looking for someone to leave land to, I would be looking for people who knew how to think outside the box and find ways of making things work, not for people who found reasons not to do things.
 
Burra Maluca
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

I don't think any of my friends are likely to let me oink the battery out of their precious car and put it in the "shop"



Are batteries only to be found in cars?
 
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