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  1. #1

    Question Ask Geoff Lawton a Question - Session 1

    Hi All

    If you've ever wanted to put a question directly to Geoff Lawton for answering, now's your chance! Reply to this post with your question(s), and after I've collected enough worthy questions, I'll record a Skype conversation with Geoff, where he'll answer them for us. I'll then post the video response at bottom of this thread.

    Then we'll start a new thread, with new questions, and so on.

    And, we'll also (in other threads I'll start in this sub-forum) ask other permie experts questions - so we can get responses from different angles and different specialties (different climates, areas of expertise, etc.).

    So, please send in your thoughtful questions!

    Note: In this particular sub-forum ('Put your questions to the experts!'), please do not attempt to start new threads, as they will be deleted. Only site admin, who will be putting the questions to the expert, will start the threads in this sub-forum. Each thread will begin with questions, and end with the resulting video with answers. Thanks all.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member pebble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    inland Otago, New Zealand


    Yaaaay! So glad to see this happening here. Thanks Geoff and Craig and PRI. I see there is a new sub forum for this, good idea.

    Would you consider at some point also having quest expert Q and As in threads like at permies? Still enough people that find it hard to watch video online.

  3. #3


    Hi Pebble. If we get a lot of demand to do text-based answers, we could look at it, but the reason I want to do it by video is that it's faster for the busy experts to respond to a Skype conversation than it is for them to take hours typing out responses (and many expert permies are terrible typists!) Doing it by video should ensure this becomes a more regular, active activity.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    My question to Geoff Lawton would be why is David Holmgren not credited to being a co-founder of Permaculture in his video, Introduction to Permaculture, as well as not being credited on the PRI site introduction.

    This is not a clerical oversight, and I know that Bill has slowly excluded David out of his stories of where he got the "vision" of permaculture, even though Permaculture One was based largely David's thesis and research from 1976.

  5. #5


    There is so much gloomy speculation on the direction that our situation on this planet is going I find it hard to engage people around me to look at issues and seek better solutions. I would like to ask Geoff, as a person who is seeing a more global perspective , does he see permaculture gaining strength with hopes of reaching a critical mass to change how 'progressive development ' is destroying the environment? Also what other movements that are not publicized much on this website does he find inspiration in ? Does he foresee any upcoming disruptive forces such as a decline of cheap fuel empowering a change to more harmonious development of our civilization ?

  6. #6
    Administrator 9anda1f's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Ritzville, Washington, USA


    This is great, Craig! Thanks!

    Hello Geoff! I've not seen this addressed anywhere and am glad to have this opportunity to air the question. I have caliche (calcium carbonate) at varying depths around my property (21 acres). Area climate is BSK (Koppen-Geiger) shrub-steppe (where evapo-transpiration exceeds precipitation). The surrounds are mostly in dryland wheat or cattle ... my place would be more suitable for cattle as the remaining "soil" is generally shallow (due to the washing away of approximately 200 feet of soil during the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age). Soil and well water are alkaline. Average annual precipitation is between 9 and 12 inches. Quite cold winters. This is in eastern Washington state in the USA. My question is whether to jackhammer some 10 ft diameter holes through the caliche and plant some succession trees (the roots of which could continue to break-up the caliche in an ever widening area) or go another direction and begin intensive soil building right on top of it? It seems to me that most of the existing soil is too shallow to support stands of trees in this dry area.

    Thanks for any ideas you can provide!
    Bill Kearns
    Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how that food production affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.

    Permaculturist: Do not try to eradicate the weeds. That is impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Permaculturist: There are no weeds.

    Bill Kearns

  7. #7
    New Member eco4560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia


    A lot of our new members express a desire to be able to buy acreage to be able to 'do' permaculture and express despair about being stuck in suburbia. Is there scope for permaculture and its practitioners to succeed and thrive in the urban environment, or should we all be saving up for a parcel of land?

  8. #8


    It's difficult to find consistent information on the use and construction of swales on virtually flat land. Can you give some general information on the dimensions, depth, width etc? Including how far apart swales need to be. Perhaps you could give some indication of how the general soil type might effect these construction issues also?

    Thanks in Advance

    You cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it - Einstein

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Subtropical SE QLD, Australia (USDA 10-ish)


    My question, and it can be shortened, paraphrased or edited if needs be:

    What are your Top Ten Perennial (or self-seeding) 'Survival Foods' for each major climate? The term 'Survival' is used loosely.

    Second question(s) if the first doesn't make it:

    What's more important in a NFT, its traits or inoculation with the correct rhizobia? Should a Food Forester always endeavour to use an inoculated plant over one that isn't?
    "However, I continue to try and I continue, indefatigably, to reach out. There's no way I can single-handedly save the world or, perhaps, even make a perceptible difference — but how ashamed I would be to let a day pass without making one more effort." - Isaac Asimov

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    I would like to ask. How can we insure that really more people will take permaculture up in harmonie with nature and not as a commercial thing and really change their lives, while theirs a division between people that can only live with technology, economie and industry (they are the people who develop new rules) and people that still are in harmonie with mother nature (have for the most no real power and the group is relative small)? Would there be a possibility to really create a big movement in a short time so that our civilization can change fast enough to stop the global deserfication... and why aren't we doing it rite now (ofcourse we are doing something but its one step at a time, while more steps for our distruction are set every day (by other people ofcourse) / rainforest, overfishing, deserfication... / the change is big that we will be to late). Is permaculture working together with nature- and invironment organisations. Like WNF, Greenpeace... and who decides what's done and what's not done?

    Craig's response: Hi Robert, this is a bit unwieldy. There are too many questions, and you're also trying to answer some of them. Please try again in the next round, and keep the question(s) succinct and to the point. Thank you.


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