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What if they don't want to be fishermen?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 267
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Permies have lots of ideas, solutions, and suggestions about the world's problems. It's kind of what we're about--turning problems into solutions. Poverty is a big one.

There's that one adage that goes "Give someone a fish and feed them for a day; teach them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime." I live in a very poor place. I mean really poor. Like, I think it's the poorest place in the world. So I should teach them to "fish," right? Well, turns out, lots of people don't want to be proverbial fishermen. And telling them they really should be fishermen anyway is super condescending. So what then? How to return the surplus?
 
gardener
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You lead by example. Go fishing.
They don't want to be a fisherman, then they watch you eat fish.  If they produce something useful , you might trade them a fish.
If they sit around and complain they will get hungry.
Sooner or later they will want to catch fish...
 
Nathanael Szobody
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thomas rubino wrote:You lead by example. Go fishing.
They don't want to be a fisherman, then they watch you eat fish.  If they produce something useful , you might trade them a fish.
If they sit around and complain they will get hungry.
Sooner or later they will want to catch fish...



What? You mean a long-term personal investment??!
 
thomas rubino
gardener
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Well Yes … if you consider eating fish to be a long term personal (I'm hungry) investment!
 
Nathanael Szobody
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In this case "fishing" refers to permaculture. And that is a very long term investment by definition. And here is my implicite point: Africa is known as "the black hole" of aid funding precisely because people will mount a "project" for a specified period of time, document its "success," and then leave. Other groups do lots of research and publish their "recommendations." All to no enduring benefit to Africans. Millions, or perhaps billions of dollars.

But permaculture implies a long-term relationship which develops an intimate knowledge of place, space, and diverse elements.
 
master pollinator
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Nathanael Szobody wrote: And here is my implicite point: Africa is known as "the black hole" of aid funding precisely because people will mount a "project" for a specified period of time, document its "success," and then leave. Other groups do lots of research and publish their "recommendations." All to no enduring benefit to Africans.



Involving people in a process to improve their own lives seems to "stick" pretty well.  

http://www.oikodiplomatique.org/regreening-africa-gets-a-major-boost.html

https://fmnrhub.com.au/home/about-us/
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Involving people in a process to improve their own lives seems to "stick" pretty well.  

http://www.oikodiplomatique.org/regreening-africa-gets-a-major-boost.html

https://fmnrhub.com.au/home/about-us/



It is absolutely necessary. FMNR sounds like a fantastic initiative. In some areas people know that trees are good for the soil. In other areas they will fight the idea as if it's lunacy ...
 
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Two words: Employ child labour.  

Kids are the easiest to get interested in new stuff and they're the most likely to adopt it.  I've thought about this a fair bit in regards to natives here in Canada.  I'm thinking that the only way for success is to find people who are interested in the idea and foster that.  If you can get even one person excited, focus all your efforts on their success.  Once they're successful, and maybe before, others will start to see the value.  Long term, for sure.

If you find someone like that, I think it would be worth thinking about a business partnership with them, but make sure they're excited about the permaculture, not the job.
 
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Permaculture doesn't have to be a singular enterprise, it can generate many entry-level jobs (presently made harder by regulatory conditions).

Permaculture research will need lots of eyes and hands, once funding starts to flow - once the need becomes obvious.
It's profitability (and thus desirability) will increase when Big Ag stops getting subsidized and the price of non-local food skyrockets.

Holmgren likes to point out that we're only one moderate (environmental/economic) crash away from rapid energy descent and that market prices and the regulations hampering permaculture will instantly go out the window, when it becomes expedient to do so.
 
pioneer
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"Permaculture" is almost too big an idea for someone in that situation. But if you break it down to some really simple immediately applicable concepts then you will likely get more traction.

"Use mulch instead of burning your fields"
"Contour the land to harvest rainwater"
"Plant vetiver to trap surface runoff and build soil"
"Build a community sand dam to secure water for the whole community"

People can behind ideas like this and see how to apply them...

 
Nathanael Szobody
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Timothy Markus wrote:Two words: Employ child labour.  

Kids are the easiest to get interested in new stuff and they're the most likely to adopt it.  I've thought about this a fair bit in regards to natives here in Canada.  I'm thinking that the only way for success is to find people who are interested in the idea and foster that.  If you can get even one person excited, focus all your efforts on their success.  Once they're successful, and maybe before, others will start to see the value.  Long term, for sure.

If you find someone like that, I think it would be worth thinking about a business partnership with them, but make sure they're excited about the permaculture, not the job.



Right on Timothy! Which is why I started a school this year. But you can see that thread here:
https://permies.com/t/108727/Elementary-school-eco-village-Africa
 
pollinator
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https://permies.com/t/60834/permaculture-advocate-Zimbabwe-rain
Shows how it can work, some really inspirational reading in there, and she's certainly finding that people are copying her methods, but it did take time.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Skandi Rogers wrote:https://permies.com/t/60834/permaculture-advocate-Zimbabwe-rain
Shows how it can work, some really inspirational reading in there, and she's certainly finding that people are copying her methods, but it did take time.



Yep, I've been following Rafuro for quite some time. She's a good example of what I'm talking about: long term personal investment. The "project" approach just doesn't do it. Another key: she's local, not a foreigner with strange ideas.
 
pollinator
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:https://permies.com/t/60834/permaculture-advocate-Zimbabwe-rain
Shows how it can work, some really inspirational reading in there, and she's certainly finding that people are copying her methods, but it did take time.



Yep, I've been following Rafuro for quite some time. She's a good example of what I'm talking about: long term personal investment. The "project" approach just doesn't do it. Another key: she's local, not a foreigner with strange ideas.



Hi Nathanael.

Yeah, I think that's key, too. Foreign aid seems to push all the wrong motivational buttons in some cases, as you and other people have talked about in other posts.

It's like you have to build a new community, like your school, but building upon that. In some cases, you have to break from traditions that suggest that improvement isn't necessary because the next bout of foreign aid, or the next group of visiting tourists, or whatever, will bring another influx of resources.

But children are malleable. If you teach them self-reliance and sustainable and resilient design in such a way that they associate such planning with a decrease in the effort required to provide a quality of life they would never have been able to realise just relying on foreign aid and tourism dollars, they will adopt permaculture as a cultural tradition.

But as to those you can't indoctrinate, I agree with Thomas. Let them starve, watching you eat. Those who don't learn will ultimately not prosper, nor will their children. And those who are curious and will listen can learn, and won't starve (I am just extending the fishing metaphor, I don't actually want anyone to starve or otherwise come to harm).

My only concern is that those who have decided, unknowingly, to "starve," will decide that they would, instead, prefer to take that which you have made. I wonder if, even for they who won't listen easily, there might be an avenue left open for them to, in some way, contribute, a backdoor way into permaculture that they might be able to make use of in small increments. Like if you were growing a surplus of food, and if there were some kind of wild foraging or salvage work or something that they could do from which your operation could benefit, that they could trade to you for food.

I think adopting the local idiomatic language and behaviour is one thing that foreign aid workers can't even hope to accomplish, but if you can, living there, it may be possible, through actions as well as words, to get through where others would fail.

But keep us posted, and good luck.

-CK
 
gardener
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I will soon be in a situation, where I could have a lot of poor people knocking on my door, wondering what I can do for them. I got a small taste of that during two months in Cebu Philippines. I have a very simple answer for anyone who just wants some money. No. I have taken on five dependents, when I count all members of my fiance's family whose schooling and housing I'm paying for. So if anyone thinks I should do more, all I have to do is mention the five. I simply tell people that I've chosen to lift five people out of poverty. After you have done 6, tell me that I'm not doing enough.

So there's an extended family and community who are not part of my foreign aid program. But I have come up with a way to help any of them who want help. Employment. I'm not going to hire everyone I meet, but I am going to produce things that are in demand internationally, and anyone else willing to produce that product will be welcomed, with me as the buyer. I expect a portion of my farm to be dedicated to growing moringa, which will be turned into a dry powder for export. People will have the opportunity to watch what I'm doing and to participate. It's a labor-intensive business. I will require help with harvesting and drying. So, I will be able to offer a certain amount of employment.

Anyone not willing to grow their own or harvest mine, won't see any money from me. If I were producing something like goats or cattle, it would be easy to steal much of my production. But it's quite labor-intensive and obvious if someone sneaks in to cut leaves.

I'm also going to grow many other things and I will occasionally invite members of the community to come and have a look at what I'm up to. I'll share financial details. Simple things, like I spent this much getting this crop started and now it's paying this much. Because I'm going rural, almost everyone I meet will have access to land.

I expect to learn quite a bit from my neighbors as well. But I've learned that it's important to not dig too deeply into what others are doing, because they often have business ideas that require financing. That's not going to be me, but I will point them toward micro loans and other sources of capital.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Dale Hodgins wrote:So there's an extended family and community who are not part of my foreign aid program. But I have come up with a way to help any of them who want help. Employment.



I think that's right on. It's also permaculture in that it's a return of surplus. I have a crew of guys digging swales as we speak and a war refugee building my chicken coop. 99 out of 100 won't gain anything more than the hard earned cash from their work. But one of them will catch the spark of permaculture and make a difference in their community.

So to modify the adage in terms of return of surplus: "Pay them to fish for you and feed them for a day. Keep paying them to fish for you and they might end up liking it."
 
Dale Hodgins
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With a farm, it's like a giant canvas to show how things are done. In really poor places, people aren't as mobile as we are in North America. I could have the same neighbors for years, for generations. That's a very good reason to not get to financially entangled.
 
He's dead Jim. Grab his tricorder. I'll get his wallet and this tiny ad:
The Better World Book Kickstarter (April 2019)
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