Andrew:Wow,gotta say Im impressed with the length of your response.Kinda exhausted at this point.My original community was mainly just me because I couldnt find anyone fanatical enough to go along.The only point I would question in your above response is that having no one own the land does little to alter feelings of ownership.Ive seen folks feel ownership for others land if they have utilized it for any period of time.Ive seen land trust communities that publicly disavow land ownership have obvious feelings of ownership as a group which I find to be identical to the usual ownership model even if they cant see it or wont admit it.The litimus test being they dont move on and tend to protect it from outside intrusion.It seems if someone were to come and do whatever they please on this land these folks would feel some sense of entitlement to deciding to allow it or not.Is there a plan in place should someone from outside this community start to intrude?It seems feelings of ownership might naturaly occur in a defensive role as well.
Thanks for filling in some of the backstory.My own journey has found me feeling a sense of ownership over a landscape when I have put effort into its management.Since this group effort is to be a progression,how do you overcome the feelings of ownership/resposibility that might come up while practicing the horticultural compromise?It seems that management is THE direct lead into hierarchy.The video is interesting in that is uses horticulture to defend HG with no mention of the social structure his clients formed as a result of their extensive investment is setting this up?As for 'work',I dont do any 'work' because I enjoy what I do but I stay active all day.I think this is somewhat what Fukuoka was talking about with his 'no work' method.Landscapes are not stagnant so once established,will require management or it will revert to far less productivity.I have always found this video confusing in that everything he is talking about is horticultural(modern genetics,fences and domestic animals) but he uses HG statistics.Still though I guess I can see your point of idealising HG lifestyle while actually practicing horticultural.I hope you succeed!
Sorry for any confusion.In my mind permaculture = horticulture and HG = non horticulture.Of course you will understand my confusion when horticulture is associated with hierarchy while simultaniously being advocated to be used in a non hierarchical focused group.I thought permaculture implied using intention in the landscape so it seems an odd way to achieve the HG ideals of non intention(taking what you want and than moving on).Olso,there is a word to describe what the above posts claim to aim for:horticulturist.The indigenous here focussed mainly on hunting,fishing,and gathering but also created other modified enviroments to enjoy greater diversity and yield so are classified as horticulturists.As you can see,its all abit confusing.
I agree that its less than ideal to be combative but what did you all expect on a permies forum where the majority of folks and discussions revolove around management.The factors you can learn from that led to my giving up on that project 1- if you want to be a hunter gatherer you need to be in a place condusive to that.The tropics or subtropics seem to be where most examples come from.You dont need surpluss and even housing is unneeded.I tried being one in an area where humans probably have probably never lived as hunter gatherers as it is not really condusive to that.Steep impassable terrain and harsh winters mean no nomadic behavior.100 inches of rain makes life without solid shelter impossible.Long winters mean a strong focus on hording surpluss.Survival requires non hunter gatherer behavior.Being closer to the ocean would have helped as those folks lead an easier life in a more moderate climate.I cant say I didnt try hard to ideologically eat but really 2-I should have been the right genetics.My stomach just cant take living off of tree cambium and highly fiberous perennial un managed roots.3-I should have been rich so I could spend all my time on lots of paid off land trying to survive and 4-I should have maintained my ideological rigidity longer.Clearly when all of the above was killing me,I should have ignored all my native friends advise about management,ignored the fact that great tasting more edible genetics were easily available to me,ignored that everyone I know who is successfully making it in a rural location is making a ton of compromises to survive and ignored the path of least resistance longer and harder and continued to swim upstream.
As for the James Scott(Im assuming The Art of Not Being Governed)references,might I recommend chapter 6 subtitled 'the culture and agriculture of escape'.Not that Im that into annuals but freedom from hierarchy,at least in the form of the state,can sometimes be found in activities we would generally associate with hierarchical organization.
We have no oaks here,two species of pine but neither being used by the indigenous for food due to very small seeds.Im not a beginer at this.Like I said,I came to these conclusions through growing up homesteading here and ultimately heading out and trying it(i.e. Living out hunter gatherer ideals).Yes,you have berries but only some suitable for winter storage.Crab apples were a major winter food of the peoples here but,like I said,are in major decline here due to lack of management.The low percentage of food plants here is well documented.Even the creation story of the indigenous tribe here is that humans were only allowed in by the gaurdian beaver if they acted like the beaver(i.e. Managed the ecosystem to their advantage which even animals like beaver do(not sure on their social structure?))Thus the management but my point has been made so I wont harp.I wish you luck and suggest finding an ecosystem naturaly condusive to living your ideals.I have planted edible oaks from around the world so acorns will be part of my future.
Glad the bushmen in the tropics have some nuts without mangement.Our climax forest here turns to conifers and we have only hazels and they only produce if burned around.I do enjoy the charts but could you provide some more cold climate examples?(Obviously the inuit would have zero to gain from horticulture or any cultural change given the lack of genetic availability suited to that enviroment)Even crab apples here get shaded out eventually.Rarely even see them producing or thriving in our vast national park since its been protected and no longer managed.Its really sad to see a food forest that took thousands of years to create get over grown but hey,I guess thats a good thing on the path to hunter gatherer?
Is it possible that hunter gathers had a high life satisfaction because they didnt know any other possibility?Sour little crab apples would seem great if its the only fruit you have.But if you knew what was possible,how high would you rate your life quality if limited only to crab apples.This is why IMO aiming for true hunter gatherer will not neccesarily get you the high quality of life,because it is done within the context of todays modern world.Domesticated apples will not survive here without intentioned management.Does this group really aim to eventually pass into zone 5 where they will never have to taste a sweet apple again?If so, I applaud you in your determination to find this praxis.If you would like to continue to enjoy some of the last 10thousand years of plant developement,than perhaps you are aiming for zone 3.
LOL...yea if I seem like Im just coming out of a foxhole in a battle,its because Im more used to dealing with the green anarchist crowd on this subject.Unlike the hunter gatherers of old,these ideological ones are much more aggressive.Lets not forget Zerzans projects before GA like Black Clad Messenger.
That aside,I totally agree that the land defines the approach.Thats why,IMO,some areas just lent themselves to horticulture and semi sedentism rather than some fall from grace being the cause.
I think the number of species you listed that hunter gatherers ate is a broad generalization.Certainly eskimos didnt have 200 plant species.Other ecosystems(mainly northern)are also not naturally condusive to humans.Here in the PNW we have few edible nuts with hazel being the only exception and that never producing nuts unless full sun/management so the recorded edible species are a lot lower.Hence the development of horticulture.As you pointed out-the land defines the approach.Natives on the coast were less oriented toward management but here deep in the North Cascades,the natives were known for their land management.Areas less condusive to human existance required more effort.
My indigenous references come from personal interactions but also from a great book called 'Keeping it Living' by Nancy Turner.In it she lays down her case for why the indigenous peoples here felt horticulture was their peak and not a transitional phase.Great Book!
While focusing on available diversity(both cultural and genetic)may seem reductionist,I have a hard time viewing it as any more reductionist than focusing in on hierarchy and egalitarian power relations.I get that many end up in these discusions through their own anarchist philosophical journeys and admitedly,I also was originaly drawn in by that but I also was into gardening so ended up on the horticultural end.At one point I had over 1000 edible plant species collected but yes diminishing returns left me happy to settle on 100 for my basic needs.The difference is that I got to chose which ones.Unlike hunter gatherers,I actually got some say in what flavours would make up my existance.That freedom of choice is one of the virtues of the horticultural reality.I would encourage folks who think hunter gatherer is ideal to try it out.I found that I didnt particularly like all the species I would have been forced to consume to maintain that ideal.Like I said earlier,I like some of the advancements in flavour that breeding has brought us.Sure,there are some nutritional losses in the process but I figure Im probably healthier if Im actually excited to eat something because it tastes good rather than marginalized into consuming it.This coming from someone who was as hard core of an ideological eater as they come!
I should also mention an experience that had a profound experience on me.For many years I collected native fruit for seed.I would only collect edible fruit because that was the only ones interesting to me.Some years I collected over 1000lbs of fruit.I had to keep track of how many pounds I was picking per hour to ensure that it was worth my time.For various reasons the old growth forests were the least productive.Managed areas like under power lines were the most.It really impressed upon me how management,perhaps as simple as burning could drasticaly improve yields.Simplification of the ecosystem taken too far becomes agriculture but in the right balance can make life in this ecosystem much easier.
The zone approach,IMO, plays into the liniar path world view.I like to view horticulture as the third way.Between the extremes lies the path.In that vien,I cant help but wonder to what extent the recent trend toward paleo is just reaction to industrial civilization as that has been a factor in my own interest.As in zone 1 is really bad so zone 5 must be really good.Or perhaps Im reading the whole paleo application wrong and the goals here are just to take the things we like from hunter gatherer life and apply them to modern existence.Like crossfit excersize and grass fed beef in which case horticultural might be a more accurate description of taking advantage of both worlds.
Of course we have seen the idea of horticulture being a stepping stone to agriculture before.The europeans invading NA developed the theory to justify their superiority.If the horticultural societies were on their way to agriculture,than that would place those who practiced agriculture further along.This is why tribes that were horticulturist have taken to defending their model as the peak.Sure we know more now but it does seem weird to tell them that no,they actually had a poor existance and the peak happened 10 thousand years before them.For those confused here,Native Americans were mainly not hunter gatherer at the time of european conquest.Some were agricultural and some were horticultural so they are not the ideal spoken of here.I still think they have alot to offer this project and I bring it up to hopefully change the horticulturist hunter gather division seen elsewhere.I feel like they should really be allies at least until the dominate industrial agricultural model fails.I worry that horticulturist tendencies might get called out by those more non hierarchical than thou.Clearly this thread is for promoting a non hierarchical model but I am wondering what level of compromise people would be willing to make on that.Clearly,all manner of compromises will be made in pursuit of food,clothing,and shelter.What seems to break most communities is where lines are drawn.Often folks will be really uptight about one issue that is important to them while simultaniusly overlooking things that they dont want to change about themselves.Will people be called out for landscape management while use of industrial technologies be overlooked?Will certain technologies be allowed and others shunned?Should the details of whats allowed be hashed out now or later?Isnt the hunter gatherer way of thinking opertunistic and how does that interface with technologies and available genetics?Should we work out a hunter gatherer ideology at all or work toward a hunter gatherer mindset?OK I dont really expect answers to all these questions and some have already been addressed in previous posts but since Ive been discussing these concepts for 15yrs,thought I would give my 2 cents worth.I guess seeing Kevin Tucker being quoted sorta got me going given that the most hard core hunter gatherer promoters seem to be mainly intellectuals.So this is me just streaming stuff.I will leave it alone now.
First I will reply to the issue of there being a hunter gatherer vs horticultural dichotomy.I am not the one who created this.Folks like Kevin Tucker are quick to lump horticulturists with agriculturists because in some places the former led to the later.Here where I live,the indigenous folks have explicitly stated that being horticulturist was an ideal endpoint for them not a transitional phase.The manarchists that make up the bulk of the green anarchist scene are the ones focusing in on the differences and calling horticulturists out for being pro hierarchy.This all seems real silly when you look at the bigger picture that industrial agriculture is by far the dominate model with both horticulture and hunter gather being meer ideals at this point.While nitpicking within the anarcho scene is par for the course,I dont think it is a wise move at this point and here is why:We currently live in a very degraded enviroment.If we were to switch directly to hunter gatherer we would ultimatly have a low amount of species diversity which would be compounded by plant and animal invasions.If we instead,spent some time as horticulturists we could actually create a hunter gatherer paradise.All this would take hundreds if not thousands of years to create and form stable ecological equalibriums.I see your zoning idea as similar but perhaps my timeframe for those transitions would be longer.I do value the understanding of what makes each cultural choice unique but lets not put the cart before the horse.
Secondly,I did not frame all social interactions as meetings.I post on here because I love social interactions.Here I can talk about what subject I want when I want.A meeting has a set agenda often at a set time.True hunter gatherers,I assume,had more social interactions than meetings or the two were not able to be differentiated.I appreciate your point!Trying to create a hunter gatherer reality while living in this one is what creates meetings.If you have a set agenda to ,say,go over the bylaws of your future hunter gatherer society,well I guess that seems more meeting like IMO.Were hunter gatherers sitting around discussing how to socially organise,if they should stay hunter gatherer or become sedentary?What the rules and regs should be encoded into the articles of structure?Being humorus here but I do think there is a difference between living as a hunter gatherer and trying to become one and that difference is apparent in the social interaction vs meetings critique.
Lastly,if it isnt obvious already I think horticultural society IS the peak experience.That is because Im a novelty hound and will take greater increase in diversity over anarcho purity any day.I can honestly say that I would rather have the tastier apples of today than eat the sour little crab apples that survive on their own here in little clearings by the river.I dont want to be reduced to the native plants only.I think having more food choice and freedoms is extremely valuable.If you were to graph food choice numbers,horticultural living is the peak experience and that is what the permaculture appeal is.And I dont say these things from a strictly philosophical standpoint;I say them as someone who moved out to raw land 15yrs ago with the set purpose of living as a non hierarchical green anarchist and came to these conclusions over time spent living out my ideals.Hopfully truths can be gleaned here and I can spare some poor horticulturist permi from getting too mixed up with dogmatic hunter gathers and like wise perhaps get some of the hunter gatherer purists to lighten up a bit on those of us trying to create a paridise that might help hunter gatherers actually have a more enjoyable and diverse experience.
While Im at it:It seems as if reverse dominance is dominance non the less.I can fully see how this would be very effective in a group that has lived together for hundreds of years and has elders who actually have more experience,but how does this work when a group is newly formed?Often calling someone out is done by people with just as big of ego issues but kept hidden.It seems ripe for abuse(I believe passive agressive was a term used earlier).If someone I knew my whole life who was older called me out,I would listen but if it was someone with my age and experience did it,I would view it as passive agressive competition.If someone younger or with less experience did it,I would just laugh.Clearly the whole group would have to do it for it to be effective but even then,if the group was newly formed whos individuals were ladden with civilization baggage it would be hard to take seriously without being defensive.In consensus model,if you dont like someone for any reason,you can start blocking them so it gives power to the blocker.In this model,if you dont like someone,you can call them out for having an ego and if you can get the group on your side,you win.No matter what structure,people will figure out how to game the system in their favor.
These egalitarian ideals are good to flesh out for sure.Application seems much trickier.I like that there is hope and I only bring up the critiques now to speed evolution of the ideas.Ultimatly for it to work,a change would have to come from the hearts of the participants.
Full disclosure:I run a space that is not egalitarian but I really identify with the quotes pertaining to play being a glue in egalitarian societies.I and my landmates and interns are very playfull with eachother and thus spend little time conserned with the social hierarchy.I have met plenty of anarchists so obsessed with hierarchy that they saw inequality in virtually every interaction with others too regarless of if it was there or not.I chose my model because it was the most common one people are used to relating to.I am not really a defender of it but unfortunately trying something totally new has extreme beurocratic costs which felt even less free.Meetings are not play!I believe freedom can be found within any larger social structure and lack of freedom can appear in structures desighned to eliminate hierarchy so the structure is less important than the hearts and spirits of those involved.The map is not the territory!
On another note.While I agree with the egalitarian ideals of hunter gatherers,I find most examples come from warmer areas.Generating surplus and hording for winter is something temperate and continental climate people do to survive winter ,not just practice civilization.Being semi sedentary is sometimes determined by ones enviroment and topogrophy not just because the philosophers in the tribe decided its the next evolutionary step toward civilization.Is it possible that civilization started in areas where these practices happened as a survival strategy?Kevin used the word grainery in his description of horticultural societies but the west coast of NA provides plenty of examples of tribes that grew no grains and as you go south were increasingly egalitarian but horticultural and semi sedentary.Yes, you have the eskimos to point to as non sedentary but not much else in the cold climate northern areas.You also see people on hoops but often they practiced management also.Wouldnt a return to the hunter gatherer ideal require a very small population in areas not condusive naturally to human existance?Wouldnt that mean a great reduction in cultural diversity?Cultural diversity is propped up by species diversity.IMO people want diversity and this interest in 'other' has been a driving force in civilization.Well we have the plants so we can jetison the global economy and still have diversity.The kids want novelty damn it!A horticultural society gives it to them.'going back' takes it away.I think we can learn alot from hunter gatherer ideals but we shouldent be blinded to the costs.
I have been looking at the nature of the horticultural issues for 15yrs now.I looked at pre contact indigenous people in my area who were horticulturalist.They enjoyed greater species diversity than if they had been hunter gatherer and I would hypothosize that this was actually a major reason for this adaptation.Next I looked at post contact modern species diversity.With all the diversity currently available to a permie,a modern horticultural society would have an exponentially greater species diversity available to them than a modern hunter gatherer because they would have everything a hunter gatherer would have(perhaps not directly on their land) X 10.Of course we live in an agricultural society which also has less diversity.Next I looked at a future scenario.In that case a hunter gatherer society would have the least diversity available to them because now there are invasive plants and an unmanaged ecosystem would be greatly simplified by invasives.Of course management happens just through picking stuff but if you always take the hazel nuts but leave the invasives than the hazels eventually wont be procreating at the same rate so it compounds the problem.So the question I have is : Is maintaining egalitarian ideal worth the great reduction in diversity?I am fully aware that global diversity is dropping but I speak mainly here of species diversity available to an individual.Picking a non horticultural model would reak further havoc on global diversity as well due to the invasives issue.I am also confused at how a non horticultural society would enforce this value within the context of todays world and just how free such enforcement would make people?I also have a basic question as to how a discussion of the virtues of non horticultural society would even exist on a permies site.It is important to note that Kevin Tucker is an ideologe in the Green Anarchist scene and Im not sure how he lives now but 15yrs ago when I first started having these questions,I found it interesting that someone living in the city and enjoying the diversity of the global economy would be advocating a renunciation of that diversity.He claims to be not against horticultural society but has some major hangups about how they socially organize.I agree they are not pure egalitarian but am not sure that anarcho purity in this area is really worth the reduction in diversity/quality of life.In theory perhaps but on the ground,I will take my apples and medlars over a limited diet of wild crab apples.Ive even had indigenous people laugh at the idea that we should go back.It just seems like a really hard sell to most.IMO,actually avoiding the many species available and trying to avoid management beacause of an ideological ideal feels far more civilized than using what we have where we are at.
Great video!After 15yrs in my food forest,I continue to realise that-Increases in gross yield do not always transfer to increases in net yield.The kiwi might produce 1000lbs of fruit but if they are not easily reached it is of less use to humans.This is why conventional producers scoff at forest garden desighn.
'flying dragon'is an ornamental contorted variety of trifoliate orange(un related to osage orange).The seeds of trifoliate orange are available through JL Hudson and seedlings are far more vigorous than the variety.They have done well for me here in the Pacific NW albeit no fruit has ever appeared.I get 80inches of rain but they are protected under the eves.They would make excelent fencing once established.Barberries work for this as well.
Zach,I agree completely that greenhouses used to establish a permanent landscape is the appropriate use.They do not foster dependence as such but actually lead to independence.I like to think of them as "training wheels".
Tom,no one here is telling you what to do.We are discussing down sides in this thread.No action is all positive to all people.I bet if you thought long and hard you could contribute some down side to this conversation.
It should also be noted that Paul Wheaton has gone to great lengths to point out flaws in CFLs.Now clearly,the choice is up to the consumer,but never the less,many have found value in hearing a critique.Now no doubt Paul has put up with a whole slew of people who think CFLs are important to permaculture.They feel threatened that some technology they feel is almost neccesary to being green is under attack.But Paul keeps on truckin despite the naysayers and has now gotten labeled the'bad boy of permaculture'.Because he challenges assumed 'best practices'!He has put the word Permaculture on the map by showing it is different and perhaps better than conventional gardening.Along the way,many have been hurt because they want the conventional way they do stuff to be 'Permaculture'and to be cool but Paul is promoting something different.The forces of conservative tradition will always attack new and different ways of doing things.So if a person is into the irrigation,CFL,greenhouse thing,thats OK! but please dont waste your time trying to convince those of us trying to explore flaws in those things,that we should stop and accept that current 'best practices'are as good as it gets.
If a person chooses to use GMOs,that is their choice but that doesnt negate asking the question of "what is wrong with GMOs?".Now obviously some of you feel very uncomfortable with my asking a simple question.
Having a thread open to discuss what is wrong with something is not telling anybody anything.What kind of person would bother to post on a thread they completely disagree with.There is other threads here about the downsides of certain technologies.Your not even allowed to post pro GMO permi stuff here even though some are into it.If folks think manipulation is so great,I would encourage them to spend their energies promoting such things.
Its not that vegetables couldnt be eaten year round,just that they would have to be fermented or dried.The diet would not be limited to native plants as the global economy had spread genetics around the globe.In fact,its the availability of plants from elsewhere that provides more options and ensures we do not have to go back to any previous culture.This added diversity has the potential to provide the novelty we seek currently by using greenhouses.I would recomend people to spend their time and money introducing plants that do good naturaly rather than equiptment to grow ill adapted plants.
A unique cultural activity that only people in a certain area practice.So while a global culture would have everyone eating tomatoes regardless of how elaborate their space ship/greenhouse has to be to achieve those results.A more localized cultural connection would be growing and prosessing a food that does well where you live.
Right.I dont know that definative rules will ever exist.Reality is,after all,what a person can get away with.Rules can be used as a tool however.A way to challenge ourselves.Priciples dont have a standard to compare with.In an enviroment saturated with cheap energy and global products touted as solutions,it takes some sort of personal standard to maintain a cultural connection to a particular place.
Definately!Rather than arming our defenses against the elements,the problem is the solution.Personally,Ive invested plenty of time in attracting herbavores to my place.Really though,some balance has to exist between nature and human needs.These should not be in opposition/a duality but they become that when we seek to arm ourselves against nature or attempt greater levels of control.Its like we are choosing to alienate ourselves from nature and I see the greenhouse as a symbolic and very real representation of that division.
true,the enviroment is modified regardless but relience mainly on enviromental control is not my ideal.Also,enviromental alteration has differences as well.A well built swale will last, potentially,for a hundred years or more.I would love to see the total waste generated over a hundred years of a greenhouse.
I guess I would like the general pattern of control over enviroment to succum to the anti pattern of acceptance of local limitations.
Well it seems you would like me to be idiologically consistant regardless of converstional context and quite frankly,Im really not uptight enough to pull that off.I do,however,appreciate that you care enough to track down any percieved inconsistancies in my posts.I stand by them in the context they were spoken.
Cris:before we leap safely into the subjective and relativistic realm of 'appropriate use',I think in general,that(based on points already expounded apon)avoiding/moving away from greenhouses is the best direction concerning this topic.When in doubt,dont.We have discussed their many downsides and the danger is real in allowing yourself to snuggle up to a lifestyle based on industrial products.
Matt:yes,everyone here agrees that some sort of 'appropriate use'may exist out there but unfortunatly even the crasses examples can be found hiding beneath such slogans.In fact the worst examples are the most likely to cling to ambiguous concepts.A tell tale sighn is when they compare to something worse as a rationalisation.
Well to me, small scale industrial would be any greenhouse made with the same industrially manufactured materials distributed through the same industrial distribution structure as a large greenhouse.So if an individual were to purchase a backyard greenhouse and not use salvaged materials than they would be supporting the same industrial structure and production but WITHOUT any economy of scale.They would already be operating at far less effeciency than their large scale peers.
Yes,I agree that the term 'greenhouse'is somewhat relative.There is ,of course,a varied spectrum of applications and appropriate uses.That ,however, makes for boring reading so hopfully you will pardon my sometimes dogmatic antagonism in the attempt to spurn conversation.The thread provides a context for points that,on their own,would have little effect.
Whether or not the use of a greenhouse is a crutch or tool is dependent on how it is used.Whether or not it has an ecological cost that outweighs its benefits is largely dependent on how its constructed.These factors are hard to judge here but I think the narrative, thus far ,provides the reader with some ideas as to how the lines are deliniated.
The human mind however loves to rationalize so perhaps a more clearly articulated deliniation of what 'appropriate use' looks like is in order.