The Current State of the Permaculture Movement vs. Our Goal to Change the World for the Better

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by John "aspire123.com" Oden, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. John "aspire123.com" Oden

    John "aspire123.com" Oden New Member

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    Hello fellow permies!

    I wanted to make you aware of an interesting discussion that is happening concerning the current state of the permaculture movement and it's ability to effect large-scale societal change. We originally published an article called "How to Fix the World with Permaculture." That article was picked up and published by Invironment, an online publication. One of the editors at Invironment, who is also a Permaculture Designer, published a response piece entitled "Why Permaculture Can't Fix the World." We then published a new article called "Can Permaculture Fundamentally Fix Civilization?" which addresses the concerns raised and clarifies specifically how we plan to implement permaculture at a large-scale level. We'd love your feedback on this important tactical discussion!

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I admire your enthusiasm.
    However, and this may be nitpicking, but what you are calling the principles of permaculture are in fact the Ethics of it.
    There are two things- the ethics and the principles.
    These are tools and as tools dont DO anything. People do.

    The WOOFERs system is 'Wiling Workers On Organic Farms' and as such is not anything to do with permaculture as such.

    As I understand things, the purpose of permaculture is 'to grow food where the people are' which sort of puts commercial agriculture at a disadvantage so to speak. They cant do that which then makes it appear that the only way you can use these tools is if you are growing your own food at your own place.

    Some of us are achieving that, most are doing something along this line and probably more are falling on their faces in their struggle get anywhere near where they would love to be with this.

    The basic premise is still highly applicable to everybody who sees a need for change in the way food is grown, the solutions need that little something to make them more applicable and appealing to commercial growers/producers.
    They are producing 'our' food.
    Might not be the standard we would like but they are getting it done so rather than beating them up for not doing How you want, figure out how to make it worth their while listening to what you have to say.
    Then, you may well see a change for the better.

    As to how this could happen, I have absolutely no idea, I just muddle along.
     
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  3. John "aspire123.com" Oden

    John "aspire123.com" Oden New Member

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    Mischief,

    Thank you for your comment about the wording of "principles" versus "ethics." I have updated the article to reflect the more accurate term "ethics," as you suggest.

    Just to be clear, my intention is certainly not "beating [commercial growers] up for not doing how want," but rather to demonstrate that there is a better way via setting an example. I think it's less about making commercial growers listen as much as about building commercial food producing companies that use permaculture techniques. This would render the market competitors who still use old, formerly-conventional methods obsolete.

    Thank you again for helping to improve this article. Your feedback helped make it more clear.

    John
     
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  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    sorry, I didnt mean to say that you were beating up on the commercial growers.
    Ideally they are the ones we Want to move over to a more organic way of growing because they are the ones growing most of the food we eat.

    Actually, one of the biggest drawbacks I see is that individuals are so convinced that their ideas are right, so when somebody does something 'not in the subscribed manner' they get all hissy.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with permaculture, but is inherent human nature, but somehow needs to be addressed in order to make the progress back to a more organic, natural process of growing our food more acceptable.
    This is an example witnessed here on this forum not too long ago:

    Somebody in Australia had land that they realised had been over stocked, their permie solution was to reduce stock numbers.
    Somebody in a different country took exception to this and became quite abusive telling them that they should be 'Doing' something (special?); completely missing the point that the very first principle of permaculture is 'Observe and interact'.ie watch....and in this case....see what is creating a particular problem and implementing the appropriate solution.
    My point is that there is something in humankind thought process that needs to be tweaked to allow space(?) for different thought processes and approaches.
    To me, this comes under the heading of caring for people.
     
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  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    the simple issue about conventional ag. vs. a more natural way of
    growing things is labor.

    it takes more labor and smarter labor to get crops without having
    to resort to poisons and the nutrient pumping system of dumping
    nitrogen in the groundwater/rivers/oceans.

    i see the results of conventional ag every day here. what used to
    be topsoil is pretty much subsoil. erosion and poisons are
    encouraged, diversity is razed.

    not everyone wants to work any more. farmers would rather sit
    on the tractor and spray than get down and weed.

    to change that you have to get enough people to understand that
    their time and labor spent growing things is worth more than
    what they are currently doing with their time and labor.

    it is hard to make sweat romantic and/or attractive and gardening
    has many frustrations too. luckily if you do plant diverse crops
    you will get something for your efforts, but then perhaps you also
    start regressing and pray to the gods of weather...
     
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  6. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Interesting discussion. My apologies I have not read the article yet, but I plan to.

    Regarding broad-scale projects on the ground - may I recommend looking into Ecosystem Restoration Camps (.org). This is a Permaculture project now commencing in Spain, lead by John D. Liu (renowned for his work and documentary work - see 'Green Gold' and search for Loess Plateau Watershed Restoration Project).

    Here is a news letter for the project: http://mailchi.mp/89c4b9fd3e88/exciting-news-from-ecosystem-restoration-camps

    Regarding making a market garden more ecologically sound and reaping the financial rewards for this, may I refer you to a Permaculture farm in France called Ferme du Bec Halloin (fermedubec.com) They have compeleted a five year economic performance study - to legitimise the debate around whether or not Permaculture methodology can be more financially viable than conventional methods.

    Please see these articles:
    https://permaculturenews.org/2015/0...-market-gardening-and-economic-performance-2/
    https://permaculturenews.org/2015/10/15/diversified-organic-market-gardening-and-arboriculture/

    and the Final Report (in English) from the French study at Ferme du Bec:
    http://www.fermedubec.com/en/

    Hope this is helpful towards the discussion

    best, Marcus
     
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  7. John "aspire123.com" Oden

    John "aspire123.com" Oden New Member

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    Marcus, I'm looking forward to reading this information about the projects in Spain and France. They sound very interesting.

    Songbird, I agree with your point about labor and I'm going to consider how best to approach that issue from an action perspective.

    Mischief, I thought this was a great point about infighting and I actually experienced something similar during a discussion elsewhere. I'm wondering as a practical matter how to incorporate this aspect of humanity into some larger permaculture system for the benefit of all. I don't have the answer but I think we're asking the right questions!
     
  8. Dissily Mordentroge

    Dissily Mordentroge New Member

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    A fascinating discussion which reminds me of something that's been puzzling me for some time. How do we enter into discussions with local 'orthodox' farmers about their practices without coming off as sounding ( as I suggest we often do) as preachy and puritanical. This may appear to be a side issue to changing the world for the better but when the local farmer's practices impinge on my efforts in often disastrous ways I'm often at a loss as to how to address them face to face.
    This in Australia is tied in with another 'world changing' issue. When I do discuss ecology, global warming and other wide ranging subjects with the local cockies ( Oz slang for farmer) their views often come across as very 'green' yet they refuse to have anything to do with green politics insisting on voting for the National Party who are demonstratively apposed to anything like permaculture. Possibly I'm stepping out of line here as I've been told permaculture should stay out of direct involvement in politics but if our aim is anything like 'Change the world for the better' I can't see how some direct involvement can be avoided.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  9. Carol

    Carol New Member

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    Yes, getting farmers to change is a slow process here in the U.S. But I think they will change when they can no longer sell their produce - which would speed up without government subsidies. Where I live (AK) most every local person tries to grow food without any chemical additives or poisons and they sell at local farmer's market - they get a lot of business in the summer. So the groceries stores are bringing in a lot more organics. Now granted, locals don't know about permaculture methods particularly, but that's what I will be working on - getting others educated to make it easier and better.

    I am experimenting with everything I have learned about Permaculture methods and am having good luck on many things I have tried. My current problem is that I am trying to do building, planting and surviving on my property with almost no help and very few facilities. I managed to get a solar system in last year so I have electricity at least. But if there are any permaculture people wandering around the planet and would like to stop by & give me a hand next summer, feel free to do so! You can see photos of my place on the Facebook page below.

    Carol
    https://www.facebook.com/AnchorPointPermaculture/
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i don't know. i'm not a great person for diplomacy in that ways
    either. i'm currently hardly talking to anyone locally anyways with
    being way too busy doing things.

    perhaps just asking questions instead of saying things may help?

    i know that what i see is tragedy.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    haha, wouldn't we all love extra laborers! with the two of us here we manage ok,
    but we don't have to build anything major now. thank goodness. i have some
    large projects still to get done but they are not critical to any of the gardens.

    good luck with your works Carol, just gotta keep on plugging along a day at a
    time. the project i just mostly finished i've wanted to get done for 7 weeks and
    as usual has spawned off several other projects.
     

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