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purple permaculture vs. brown permaculture  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I have been to several meetings in the last few days, and visited with several people in the last few weeks and ... this .... "problem" is getting more and more .... tactile?

I've used the "ant and the grasshopper" fable. I have recently learned of a phrase "purple breathers" and in the past I used the term "shibbies".

I learned yesterday that Darren Doherty has left the word "permaculture" behind in favor of "carbon farming".

Today I learned of another major permaculture voice dropping the word "permaculture" because "it has too much fairy dust and I have some real farming to do. The word is holding me back too much."

Ouch. And, I see the reasoning.

This has been bugging me for a long time. As I was feeling the pain from the email this morning, I had an idea.

The color that is the opposite of purple is yellow. And dark yellow is brown. I suppose one could say that there is a spectrum of color between utter purple and utter brown. Everybody keen on permaculture is somewhere one this spectrum. Some are in the middle, some are very purple and some are very brown. I think I'm on the very brown side.

I don't like the idea of excluding folks from permaculture. And, at the same time, if I utter the word to farmers, a lot of them refuse to talk about it because "how is blowing rainbows out my ass going to make me more money?" So they stick to the monsanto package.

I wonder: with this tool, can we better embrace permaculture? Rather than dropping the word, can we say that some people are more purple, and others are more brown? Can we then say "this conference is a bit on the purple side" or "this conference is very brown." So that people can have some idea what they might be getting into?

I'm hoping that this spectrum tool can help so that there are fewer people that will reject permaculture as a whole because there exists a permaculture person/book/event that is on the other side of the spectrum.




 
jesse tack
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Location: SE Michigan, Zone 5
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ill use that jargon. i think the word itself, like all words, has much potential to be maligned. often i have had people tell me something like "permaculture--there has to be a better name than that!"

i like biomimicry and biomimetics design. or whole-systems design.

fractal design. scalable pattern and zero waste design? its all the same stuff.

i fall on the brown side too, despite, in addition to honoring and respecting the purple side of life and spiritualism. but i do not much like the assumed rap that the word permaculture gets.

"it seems we'll have to rely on the hippies" Bill Mollison.

thats fine, but lets keep it fluid and open.
 
Sandra Aumiller
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It does not matter to me what the label is. I need to understand the concept and that to me is all that matters. Words, labels, etc, are all limiting. Since I have little understanding I feel as if I am practicing the Buddha's concept of Beginner's Mind. Frankly I just jump into the soup and it tells me what I need to consider/know/explore.:jumpingjoy:

 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally I think if you're going to drop the ethics, you'd better drop the word.

I'm old school "Church of Mollison" personally.
 
Dennis Mitchell
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And so goes the world. If a green flake had a cure for cancer the red drop would not only disallow it, he'd attack any blue pebble that considered it. Then the yellow stain would blame the greens for cancer abuse. I'm all for calling it lazyculture.
 
Fred Morgan
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Permaculture is taking the long view, i.e. permanent. People know, with their homes, you better build it right, or it might fall right on your head. I can put up a house overnight, but I don't think you want to live in it...

To me, chemical farming is like putting up walls, without the foundation. The problem is, people figure they have to get a roof over their head, but it is pretty hard to put in a foundation, after you have a roof up.

I rarely bother to call it permaculture. I just point to the jungle and say "we are trying to figure out how to grow a jungle, that has food for us too"
 
paul wheaton
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ooooo, lazyculture! I like that!

Church: I think this is another point i have. I have been to some events where it is clear that for the main event everybody is expected to sing and hold hands. I had somebody mention to me that it seems like church. Good point. How do I feel about going to church and being required to pray? About the same. I can go along, but I feel ... like this is a version of permaculture church that isn't quite aligned with mine. And really, I'm there to talk shop and exchange knowledge. I have strong needs for "talk shop" and "exchange knowledge" but I don't have needs for holding hands and singing. And it does feel religious, and I really don't want my permaculture to be churchy.

I'm okay for others to have their permaculture be churchy. More power to them. But the idea that I would be required to attend services before being allowed to talk about permaculture strikes a powerfully sour chord in me.

I would prefer to attend a conference that is not churchy. Time that would have been spent on song, dance, and hugging people you don't know would, instead, be spent on more shop talk or another educational session.

 
nancy sutton
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Did I not hear geoff lawton say something to the effect that what we call "it" isn't important, as long as the folks from many different camps are all aimed in the same direction, i.e. ecological regeneration of one sort or another? So, can't 'carbon farmers', 'real farmers', profit-maximizing-at-all-cost farmers, communitarians, singers-dancers-huggers-laughers, biodynamiters, organickers, Findhornians, permaculturals, symbiotics, layzculturals, etc., etc., etc. all be fellow travelers in the "we will save our home" effort?

The only problem I see is that Peculiar Tribe which always needs (in many disparate venues) to tell others why they are wrong (and they themselves are right!) My way or the highway... and hell! This is the only thing that smacks of "religion" in my view. Us 'unsaved', of many stripes, are usually happy to live and let live, and not give a rat's ass what others think of us. If our enthusiasm and openness aren't attractive, then our label is meaningless.

OK, since I have no pride, I'll share my favorite poem -

"Rebel, heretic, thing to flout....
he (they) drew a circle that shut me out.
But love and I had the wit to win...
we drew a circle that took him (them) in."

Easier said than done, but isn't that a basic of ecology.... each element can only contribute by being it's unique - different! - self and allowing others to do the same? and then, the secret ingredient - cooperate, share? Are we all in this together... or not? Do we want to turn pc into a monoculture? Aren't we supposed to emulate polyculture?



 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Why stop at purple:

Purple - we all intuitively know what this means
Brown - ? ill defined in my mind, except in opposition to purple
Green - ecotopians, would rather be foraging in zone 5 than figuring out how to feed the urban billions
Blue - businessmen like Gunter Pauli, author of the "blue economy" that are trying to bring systems design up to economy of scale
Red - feel entitled to distribute the fair share on behalf of those who are obtaining a yield
Black - Doomers, Peak Oilers
Lavender - Nice ladies that like to dabble in the garden, who are happy as long as it blooms pretty and attracts butterflies.
White - mycophiles who got a vision of permaculture when communing with the 'shrooms
etc., etc.

I imagine there are as many colors of permaculture as there are permies. To me, classifying into purple and brown is unnecessarily polarizing, though perhaps appropriately thought provoking.

What happened to integrate rather than segregate? What if purple were a weed in your system? What would you do with it? I presume the preponderance of purple has a purpose and a place in permaculture. My ability to obtain a yield from purple is limited by imagination and the amount of information I have about it.


 
Perry Way
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I have not a clue what purple means here. More than that, I don't understand this blowing rainbows out of my ass mentality. It seems to me that Permaculture is a logical straight-forward rational system that makes sense.
 
Thelma McGowan
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I do not get any bad conotation from the word permaculture...Mollison, Lawton, Palatin....none of them convey an over the top , crazy, or unaproachable personality.
If I try to seperate the wierdos from myself ....All I would do is seperate Myself from everyone else. what ethic covers Tolerance? I have to tolerate even the most odd behaviour, because often the odd ones are the most creative.
personally I have met more ordinary permies than extreme ones.

honestly the color system seems a bit " seperate but equal". I don't know very many people that would want to be described as Purple or Brown (mental image of Floaters or sinkers)

I need the to learn from all real serious permies...even the magical ones:0)
 
Burra Maluca
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But I *like* purple. AND brown. They go together really good.

See? Just a little bit of purple returns the life to all that brown stuff and helps it get going again...



Course, a bit of green on the side helps, too...

 
                            
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"Lazyculture" I first heard about permaculture when I posted an essay called "I want to be a cheap lazy farmer" to an email list I was on. What I described in that essay was a system of living off of the wild, after stacking the deck with plants I wanted that I knew would grow on their own. I called my system an 'engineered Eden," but "lazyculture" might have been better.
 
Rob Meyer
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I think some of the things that the founders of permaculture advocate for could be called "fairy dust" or "hippie nonsense" quite easily. Let's put it this way. If you're used to thinking of the world in a certain way, you may not see the sense in changing that perspective, and when someone tries to do so, your short sightedness and stubbornness make you come up with a justification for why you shouldn't even look into it. Another possibility I suppose is that you've seen one very small small part of what permaculture is actually about, and are basing your opinion on that first impression, which is definitely unfortunate.

However, I really don't think that this is a reason to draw a line in the sand and say "you're either awesome or you suck". That is really in effect what seems like is being said here. Rather than start coming up with code names for people we don't like, why don't we look at ways to bridge the gap, shift the focus, and do the best work we can for people to show them what permaculture is really about. And rather than shun these people as "just a bit off", why not try to show them what's up? Invite them to something where some real great designing and ecological integration is happening. Get them excited about the real nitty gritty. It shouldn't be hard, as it's so fulfilling in not just a material way, but in the spiritual realm that they so admire and seek.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe we should try to understand each other rather than distancing ourselves. Especially if we live in the same bioregion, we should always be looking for ways to build the web of ecological stability. Let's be bridge builders.

Just my two cents.
 
Nick Peihl
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Well said, Yukkuri! Your post also reminded me of something I learned about in my PDC; the "Six Thinking Hats" decision-making tool proposed by Edward de Bono. I haven't read his book on this, but my understanding of the process is congruent with the eighth principle of permaculture you mentioned in your last paragraph. More information about the Six Thinking Hats here.

Students I met in the PDC course I took fit under a variety of the colors you mention. But I'm not going to dismiss the whimsical mycophile as he had a lot of information that the ecotopian didn't, and so on. We should use this polarization to attract to one another rather than repel. Permaculture is a broad tool and there will always be the need for specialization among its practitioners.

yukkuri kame wrote:Why stop at purple:

Purple - we all intuitively know what this means
Brown - ? ill defined in my mind, except in opposition to purple
Green - ecotopians, would rather be foraging in zone 5 than figuring out how to feed the urban billions
Blue - businessmen like Gunter Pauli, author of the "blue economy" that are trying to bring systems design up to economy of scale
Red - feel entitled to distribute the fair share on behalf of those who are obtaining a yield
Black - Doomers, Peak Oilers
Lavender - Nice ladies that like to dabble in the garden, who are happy as long as it blooms pretty and attracts butterflies.
White - mycophiles who got a vision of permaculture when communing with the 'shrooms
etc., etc.

I imagine there are as many colors of permaculture as there are permies. To me, classifying into purple and brown is unnecessarily polarizing, though perhaps appropriately thought provoking.

What happened to integrate rather than segregate? What if purple were a weed in your system? What would you do with it? I presume the preponderance of purple has a purpose and a place in permaculture. My ability to obtain a yield from purple is limited by imagination and the amount of information I have about it.


 
Kyle Chamberlain
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The word 'permaculture' isn't realy neccessary for the discussion of our subject. We should be able to explain what we're doing, and why, in the common vernacular of our nieghbors . There is no need to resort to exclusive terminology. Even terms like 'ecology' can be counter-productive, and may only alienate rural people who still know trees by folk names, or urban people who've never felt dirt.

Ecology and permaculture are languages, used by a literate minority to encode the same world which is readily observed by everyone. We insult people by insisting they learn our language to interpret thier issues. Our way of interpreting the world may give us valuable insight and inspiration, but it will be useless to those who don't speak our language, unless we can translate it.

I think we often lean on terms like permaculture because we like feeling avant gard. I also think we use terms to lend legitimacy to questionable work which isn't of obvious value. My project may be misinformed, half-baked, and unpopular, but I can lend it credence if I call it permaculture. People of other perspectives will see right through this, even if our peers don't. Invoking the authority of permaculture can be dangerous this way. Our projects should speak for themselves.

All of that said, I think it is important for insiders to show solidarity with the movement. Where would we be without it? The word permaculture has a huge global following. It would be a shame to balkanize into warring sects. If we split up, we'll loose the flourishing exchange of ideas that has taken us this far.

I think those who speak the language should be able to rally around permaculture (conferences, forums). We can show a little tolerance. But in our own nieghborhoods, we should interpret what we do in a way that works for us and for our local culture. What makes sense in downtown Portland isn't going to make sense in rural Idaho.

I identify with the permaculture movement, but I call what I do 'human habitat restoration'. It's my term and I don't need anybody else to adopt it . I think everyone should have thier own words to describe what they do. Maybe that way, the work can speak for itself, and everyone can find a permaculture language that works for them.

Paul, I hope you continue to develop your own brand, even make your own word. I hope all of us will. But as the provider of this forum, your cutting ties with the broader movement might encourage people to choose sides. That might not be good. If we don't like where the movement is going, we can always try to steer it. It's not like anybody is really in charge.

-Kyle in Kettle
 
nancy sutton
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Very, very well said, Kyle... in my opinion ;) And ditto, Yukkuri!
 
R Hasting
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paul wheaton wrote:
Church: I think this is another point i have. I have been to some events where it is clear that for the main event everybody is expected to sing and hold hands. I had somebody mention to me that it seems like church. Good point. How do I feel about going to church and being required to pray? About the same. I can go along, but I feel ... like this is a version of permaculture church that isn't quite aligned with mine. And really, I'm there to talk shop and exchange knowledge. I have strong needs for "talk shop" and "exchange knowledge" but I don't have needs for holding hands and singing. And it does feel religious, and I really don't want my permaculture to be churchy.


Well Paul, I agree. I have a church that I am a member of. It is a community, and most of the people I hang with there (and elsewhere) all get along well and we have many common interests, though certainly not all.
I believe that most of the churchy permies types may in fact lack a community outside of their hippy, Permaculture systems, and because of this, it becomes "church" for them.

When all your faith is in Permaculture.... Well, it becomes a faith community instead of an action community. Which reminds me of some in my church as well.

Clearly relationships are very important to all people, but whether in Church or at a "Permaculture gathering", it should never be about the "feel-good"... it should be about moving forward.

But that said, as a cultural anti-hippy, I am willing to embrace hippies, finding the common ground where I can, but I fear that too many on both sides will in fact not be able to see past the objections and toward the points of commonality that we should all share.


JMHO.

Richard
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Richard Hasting wrote:
I believe that most of the churchy permies types may in fact lack a community outside of their hippy, Permaculture systems, and because of this, it becomes "church" for them.

When all your faith is in Permaculture.... Well, it becomes a faith community instead of an action community. Which reminds me of some in my church as well.


That is an excellent point! Very good food for thought.

And I like the above stuff about lots of different colors - neat!

Above, when I said

How do I feel about going to church and being required to pray?


I meant to say "How do I feel about going to school and being required to pray?"



 
jacque greenleaf
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I like the word permaculture, because, as defined by its originators, it is a design approach based on ethics, and is not limited to a particular set of techniques, nifty as those techniques might be. To leave the design and ethics part out reminds me to too much of what has happened to the word organic. Sure, I am happy to know that the big corps getting into organics are paying attention to soil building and are not using tons of petroleum gick on their crops. But organic also used to take in a larger set of values. If those values make some people uncomfortable, and get in the way of discussing a particular technique, that's fine for that discussion, you have to talk to people where they are. Sooner or later though, the ethics and design aspects need to be brought into play.

Also, I just plain resist letting critics (nattering nabobs of negativity) scare me out of using a word that has resonance for me.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Jocelyn give listener feedback in this podcast. podcast


They talk about purple permaculture.
 
Dave Bennett
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The discussion about "purple vs. brown" was amusing. It made me think of the early days of the "Woodstock Nation" and the ensuing conflict over vegan/vegetarian vs. meat eating which seems to have never died. Then I remember living in California during the days of "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down." That's not to say that I think your choice of this site as brown to be inadequate because I agree with your assessment. There are other sites for the "purple gang" (had to add some Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock) to visit and discuss singing, drumming. dancing, yoga classes and whatever. Community is a good thing but I look to these forums as a place to share and learn about the development of a sustainable life style that will in the long run literally save the planet. This is a much more technical community. Great discussion Paul and Jocelyn.
 
Travis Philp
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Around these parts I'm lucky to find anyone who's even heard the term permaculture, nevermind whether its purple or brown.
 
K Daugherty
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I LOVE this idea... not to differentiate in the negative, but to better understand where someone is coming from in a more positive, how-do-we-communicate-more-effectively kinda way. I believe permaculture is the kind of subject everyone sees through filters we bring to the table when we learn it. What I hear in many comments regarding 'purple' heavy events is that people mildly (or greatly) resent being pressured into approaching perma through a specific filter. "Purple" participants will in turn complain that sepia-tone brown events have no heart and lose the feel of perma. Blue's have no idea why they are even bothering with such small scale and whites and greens are finding it difficult to sit still when there's exploration to be done But truly, if I have two tickets to the flower and garden show I want to find the lavenders in my Rolodex. Mormon estate sale with mass food storage equipment? Bring on the black. Disaster relief to be done... again reds and blacks are first on that list... one to teach the other to distribute.

Considering we design with different plants when we learn to appreciate their attributes, why should we treat people in a community any differently? I think this is actually a beautiful way of clustering peoples preferred skill sets and world views into a multi-talented well rounded permie juggernaut...... OR we could just sit around and continue to debate who's filter color is 'right'
yukkuri kame wrote:Why stop at purple:

Purple - we all intuitively know what this means
Brown - ? ill defined in my mind, except in opposition to purple
Green - ecotopians, would rather be foraging in zone 5 than figuring out how to feed the urban billions
Blue - businessmen like Gunter Pauli, author of the "blue economy" that are trying to bring systems design up to economy of scale
Red - feel entitled to distribute the fair share on behalf of those who are obtaining a yield
Black - Doomers, Peak Oilers
Lavender - Nice ladies that like to dabble in the garden, who are happy as long as it blooms pretty and attracts butterflies.
White - mycophiles who got a vision of permaculture when communing with the 'shrooms
etc., etc.

I imagine there are as many colors of permaculture as there are permies. To me, classifying into purple and brown is unnecessarily polarizing, though perhaps appropriately thought provoking.

What happened to integrate rather than segregate? What if purple were a weed in your system? What would you do with it? I presume the preponderance of purple has a purpose and a place in permaculture. My ability to obtain a yield from purple is limited by imagination and the amount of information I have about it.


 
Vera Lothian
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I doubt changing the name will change much. People are stubborn and habitlovers they dread change. Permaculture is vague if you start looking at it because so much depends so much on your personal circumstance and most people much prefer a ready out of the box system which is probably why monsanto sells as well as it does.
For farmers more readily available footage and numbers from people like sepp holzer would be interesting and an excellent example that it does work and it works better than anything we have in the mainstream now.
 
C.J. Murray
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At the heart of Permaculture is a desire to facilitate the unleashing of bounty of the earth so it can become manifest in each person's life. We can see the path that must be taken to get there. I don't think conventional farmers (not to mention conventional consumers) can see any such path. They don't see the brick wall that growth, in usage and population, leads us too.

I see plenty of evidences that says Permaculture is more than fairy dust. In the case of "conventionals" they will see it when they believe it. Just as we do. I'm all for focusing in on some of the results of Permaculture and specifying that it's "Carbon Farming". Tis true, we are accumulating carbon. If what they are practicing is helping to unleash the bounty then let the name changes begin. Whatever it takes for them to come to the understanding we have.
 
kevin wheels
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I agree with Ludi.

Permaculture is a loaded term that means many different things to many people. Though in my humble opinion, if one is concerned so greatly with systematic and efficient monetary gain, and they're trying to operate under the guise of permaculture, they are missing the point almost entirely. The current economic model is anything but sustainable. To me, permaculture is a blueprint for revolution. It's a step towards dissolving the destructive human ego and realizing that all life is important, and money is not.
 
Dave Bennett
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My plans are more accurately Forest Farming which doesn't fit with all geographic situations so how would someone differentiate between the different approaches without some overlying terminology such as "permaculture?" The suggestion regarding the monetary system is a good one but until that system is changed people need to survive in the current economic model which in this case means money as unfortunate as that may be. There is also another important consideration and that is excess food production which should be distributed. Are you suggesting that those without access to enough soil to maintain sustenance starve? I would assume that you don't so how do you suggest that "city dwellers" nourish themselves because we can't all live in the country? People purchasing land will need to earn an income to pay for the property so some commercial enterprise is necessary given the current economic model. If I have a herd of goats and make hundreds of pounds of cheese I will sell it somehow. I do like bartering as much as possible but some "purchases" are not possible because of the scale of the scale of the transaction.
 
kevin wheels
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Dave,

I appreciate your comment. Nothing will change, however, unless we change it ourselves. I used to fall prey to this rhetoric: "Until things change..." Don't wait for the change to come. Become the change. As a 23 year old who previously thought that I could do very little about the circumstances at large, I have realized there is far more that can be done other than buying your own land and entrenching yourself in mortgages (death pledges) and other silly institutions. In my case, I chose to join an egalitarian community that owns a prominent heirloom seed business. We eat much of what we grow, we dumpster dive, live low-impact lifestyles, and generally have our needs accounted for. Sure, we could work on some things.. Everyone can. Though to limit oneself to what money can buy is foolish. Sure, we still have one foot in to what many call, "the mainstream world." We have money, we make money, we spend money collectively. But the money and resources are shared within the community, and we have a large political involvement with this mainstream world in producing the change we seek. I am not trying to say everyone should join an egalitarian community, nor am I saying my way is the best way, but I am merely just trying to illustrate that thinking outside of the box can land you in many interesting and productive living arrangements.

Forest farming in and of itself is agroforestry, by the way. Permaculture is a philosophy and a way of life... The food production/land management is but one component of it. The larger picture is humans and their relationship to their environment.
 
Dave Bennett
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kevin wheels wrote:Dave,

I appreciate your comment. Nothing will change, however, unless we change it ourselves. I used to fall prey to this rhetoric: "Until things change..." Don't wait for the change to come. Become the change. As a 23 year old who previously thought that I could do very little about the circumstances at large, I have realized there is far more that can be done other than buying your own land and entrenching yourself in mortgages (death pledges) and other silly institutions. In my case, I chose to join an egalitarian community that owns a prominent heirloom seed business. We eat much of what we grow, we dumpster dive, live low-impact lifestyles, and generally have our needs accounted for. Sure, we could work on some things.. Everyone can. Though to limit oneself to what money can buy is foolish. Sure, we still have one foot in to what many call, "the mainstream world." We have money, we make money, we spend money collectively. But the money and resources are shared within the community, and we have a large political involvement with this mainstream world in producing the change we seek. I am not trying to say everyone should join an egalitarian community, nor am I saying my way is the best way, but I am merely just trying to illustrate that thinking outside of the box can land you in many interesting and productive living arrangements.

Forest farming in and of itself is agroforestry, by the way. Permaculture is a philosophy and a way of life... The food production/land management is but one component of it. The larger picture is humans and their relationship to their environment.

Your comments were an interesting read. I have been "at this" for way more than twice your life span. Thinking "outside the box" is how I have spent most of my more than 60 years on this planet. Not to sound too argumentative, Agro-forestry and forest farming aren't the same and I don't need definitions explained for me as to what permaculture is or what forest farming is either since you think it is agroforestry which it is not. I learned how to produce food from the forest from someone that was raised in that environment in the 1800's. When I was in elementary school realizing what was being taught to me by an 80 year old Native American was not apparent at the time. You chose to live with others in an egalitarian environment just like I did over 40 years ago. Your suggestions of not living in a "mainstream world" are all well and good but seem to miss some important points. Your philosophy on money is actually amusing albeit naive. Some of us having been working to change the system for 50 years. It is not something that happens overnight no matter how much you believe. Trust me,..... been there done that. I have been bartering my goods and services since the 60's. Suggesting that mortgages are some type of death pledge is also shortsighted since I have already paid off two of them during my 62 years on this planet. Buying some piece of crap house that is over priced probably is a death pledge but land is not free my friend and until the monetary system changes the only option is paying for land with money. Who owns the land where you live? Do you think it was free? If I want to purchase a small piece of land to raise some goats and chickens to feed myself the suggestion that I am making some death pledge is incredibly short sighted. I am happy that you found out the system is broken early enough in life to make some choices because those choices will dictate the life that you lead. It is in my opinion that satisfaction comes from marching to your own drumbeat. I have lived my life in that manner since I was a youngster in the 50's. I have been gardening without any chemicals since then too. Defining permaculture is like defining people. They are all as different as are approaches to permaculture and what I am planning is forest farming ...... agroforestry is combining woody plants such as trees and shrubs into a gardening setting. Forest farming is just that farming in a forest. While they might sound similar, they are not. All of the agroforestry projects I have ever seen look like an agrofroestry project. Forest farming looks like a bunch of trees with some "edge" which makes the "gardening" aspect nearly invisible because instead of something that looks designed the appearance and production mimics nature as closely as possible.

Dumpster diving is for youngsters, not aging bodies that have seen the wear and tear of multiple decades of hard work. I am hopeful that people like you survive the coming bad times that seem to be the plans of some that are members my generation. The power of greed seems to be pushing the entire world closer and closer to devastation. These are frightening times. If there is worldwide conflict hopefully a better society can arise from the ashes. I have been sharing as much of my knowledge with my 23 year old son so he can make a difference but he is also just starting down the path of life. It is a long road so it is important to protect your feet.
 
kevin wheels
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Dave,

I apologize if I came on too strong, especially since this discussion originally surfaced around the silly subject of semantic definitions surrounding permaculture. Perhaps I am prey to some naivety that is associated with the obstinate youthful mindset, but I am keenly aware of the hard realities. Separating oneself from what I have previously referred to as "the mainstream world" and its trappings is probably one of the most difficult trials a person of this post-modern era can face. And perhaps this is more naivety speaking, but honestly, I don't see any other way to dis-empower those who would attempt to enslave us besides dropping out of their scheme. This is of course something that will take time and energy, and likely won't happen at all. Also, I don't wish to continue fueling the fire of argument, but I don't want to leave some of your questions/points unaddressed either. 1) Mortgage in latin literally means, "death pledge." Just like government in latin literally means, "to control the mind." Words are powerful, they mean a lot more than their colloquial use. 2) As far as land use goes, what is right and what is wrong is hardly synonymous with what is legal and what is illegal. Squatting on some land in the middle of no where is probably safer than becoming insolvent with a bank loan. 3) Our community is indebted to another sister egalitarian community. Far better a situation than being in debt to a bank. I realize it's not free, I am not so naive to admit that the community I reside within is perfect or entirely free. We certainly use money and have one foot in. Perhaps you are right about the difference between agroforestry and forest farming, but I personally don't make the same distinction. A forest farm can be deemed agroforestry if one so wishes, and conversely, an agroforestry project can be deemed as forest farming... In my eyes, anyway. I wasn't implying that everyone should dumpster dive, I was merely citing an example in how we choose to alleviate stress surrounding resource scarcity.

I share the same sentiments, Dave... I hope all people have a chance to fully grasp what choices they have and how the consequences of seemingly trivial actions truly impact the world we all live in. I sincerely hope this awakening can occur before the insanity gets out of hand.

I have enjoyed this conversation, and I hope you have too. Best wishes.
 
Dave Bennett
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Breaking the current monetary model seems an impossible task given it centuries old "rooting." I have in the past had opportunities that allowed me to live on a piece of property by bartering my skills for the use of the land. The problem that arose more than once was being put off the land after the work had been done to make it agriculturally productive. My only option is purchasing some property. I have options but they are bordering on prohibitively difficult. If I can work out a deal that will allow the sale of property that I share ownership with my brother to purchase a piece of land I have found that is both much larger and in the United States then I will do that and maintain shared ownership with my brother. I just discovered a 60 acre parcel of primarily sugar maples in a remote area of upstate NY. The price is very low considering the size of the parcel. Because of the location of my Canadian property it has much more dollar value to a developer than the wooded parcel in NY. Pulling it off is the next step. I have no use for mortgages having long ago discovered that considering a house as a long term investment is most often folly. I look at raw land differently than many people and especially the banksters. If I could work a land contract with the owners of this property I would make plans to move on the property next Spring. At my age and health any mortgage longer than 10 years is a death pledge anyway. Running "sugar bush" though is something I know very well which would afford income for me.
 
Julie Helms
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Here is an outsider's perspective.... As of a week ago I had never heard of permaculture until I stumbled on a Permies video on Youtube while searching for chicken info and then came to this forum. What I found was this Grand Buffet of information to pick and choose from! I take what I can use at this point in my life, and leave behind the rest for now...but I might try some of it when I go back for seconds. Some I will never touch. The only thought I have in my brain about what permaculture is (and I don't know the actual definition) is that it is everything Monsanto is not. And that's enough for me.
 
Tate Smith
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forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur trees
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What ever happened to the word......"Farming"....... How cool would it be to have a rotational chicken coop, 30 miles of electric fencing for your cows, 10 feet tall hugelkultur beds covered in another 4 feet of mulch. A house that is rag tagged together and only costed 400 dollars. Your neighbors would gossip about you, eventually someone would ask, "What are you doing?".............to which you would reply............."I'm farming".


That's how to further the idea of what permaculture should be, the standard. So if we want permie practices to be the standard we need to call them by the standard name for standard acceptance. Farming.

If we teach our kids that permaculture and organics and all of these great things is just plain simple farming, the next generation will see huge tractors and planes and herbicides and all of these things as nothing different than a freeway.

So I know what I'll call it...............I'll call it farming. And what those call farming today, doesn't need to be discussed.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'd call it "gardening" personally.

http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html
 
Peter Ingot
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Dave Bennett wrote:The problem that arose more than once was being put off the land after the work had been done to make it agriculturally productive. My only option is purchasing some property.


Agree. Been there, got the tee shirt, made the gardens, got exploited. Private land ownership is not the perfect option, but unfortunately greedy, selfish people can be found everywhere, even in ecovillages, and this often makes private ownership the default option. Communal land ownership can work, but it needs a strong legal framework of rights and responsibilities. Never trust people who say there is no need for documents.

"Public land" and "private land" are not absolute categories, they are defined differently in different parts of the world. Land ownership often in practice means rights to do particular activities on a piece of land. Owning a piece of land might not give you the right to cut down all the trees, or to deny people access, or to dam or divert a stream flowing across it. Totally communal land is at risk of over exploitation.

Perhaps a good community should give members varying degrees of ownership: right to 100% own a house (but the size, position and design of new buildings to be agreed collectively), rights to cultivate, rights to graze, rights to gather, rights to fence. Responsibilities to maintain common resources. This way community members are stakeholders with an incentive to invest money, time and energy into land both for themselves and for the common good.
 
Peter Ingot
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Dave Bennett wrote:Are you suggesting that those without access to enough soil to maintain sustenance starve? I would assume that you don't so how do you suggest that "city dwellers" nourish themselves because we can't all live in the country?


IMO there are too many city dwellers, too many flushing lavatories and a lot of under producing, overexploited land.

Some people think that ever increasing urbanisation is innevitable and reduces pressure on the environment. I disagree. It's the result of an economic system primarily designed by and for city dwellers.

Agriculture used to export its surpluses. Now it is commonly assumed that all agricultural production can and should go to cities.

But yeah, some people's idea of permaculture is very low intensity use of big areas of fertile land to produce not very much. We can do better than this.
 
Peter Ingot
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Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame wrote:Why stop at purple:

Purple - we all intuitively know what this means
Brown - ? ill defined in my mind, except in opposition to purple
Green - ecotopians, would rather be foraging in zone 5 than figuring out how to feed the urban billions
Blue - businessmen like Gunter Pauli, author of the "blue economy" that are trying to bring systems design up to economy of scale
Red - feel entitled to distribute the fair share on behalf of those who are obtaining a yield
Black - Doomers, Peak Oilers
Lavender - Nice ladies that like to dabble in the garden, who are happy as long as it blooms pretty and attracts butterflies.
White - mycophiles who got a vision of permaculture when communing with the 'shrooms
etc., etc.




I like this. You can tell a brown by looking at his/her hands. There is space for all these groups in balance. The purples may occasionally try something crazy and make it work, most of the time they need to be balanced by scepticism and a little bit of scientific method: "you play music to your pumpkins and they get bigger? how much compost? where's the control group? has anyone tried this before? " etc.

There are also chamaeleons, gurus and fraudsters, preying on the naive and gullible. Rare but I've met a few. They will spout any kind of nonsense if it serves their purpose. IMO people like this are responsible for much of the general hostility towards things like herbalism, organic farming etc. Very different from the purples, but often camouflaged amongst them.
 
elle sagenev
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I have to admit I have a hard time taking the knowledge of some permie people in when they do not look like people I could respect overly much. I sit here in heels and a well tailored dress thinking and planning my land in permaculture. Sometimes I feed my chickens in these heels and this dress. No one would associate my appearance with the concept of permaculture. That is probably the problem. If we want the message to reach the people it needs to reach we really need to dress it up in a package they can accept. I try to get over my appearance bias but it can be hard. I hope that doing what I do the way I look will help broaden the minds of those who come to see what I've done.
 
elle sagenev
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Tate Smith wrote:What ever happened to the word......"Farming"....... How cool would it be to have a rotational chicken coop, 30 miles of electric fencing for your cows, 10 feet tall hugelkultur beds covered in another 4 feet of mulch. A house that is rag tagged together and only costed 400 dollars. Your neighbors would gossip about you, eventually someone would ask, "What are you doing?".............to which you would reply............."I'm farming".


That's how to further the idea of what permaculture should be, the standard. So if we want permie practices to be the standard we need to call them by the standard name for standard acceptance. Farming.

If we teach our kids that permaculture and organics and all of these great things is just plain simple farming, the next generation will see huge tractors and planes and herbicides and all of these things as nothing different than a freeway.

So I know what I'll call it...............I'll call it farming. And what those call farming today, doesn't need to be discussed.


I can tell ya my neighbors are talking about my berms and swales. lol I do tell them I'm farming. A good friend of ours family owns thousands of acres and he calls me a truck bed farmer. I tell him that's funny because I don't own a truck and I'm going to make people drive to me.
 
The world's cheapest jedi mind trick: "Aw c'mon, why not read this tiny ad?"
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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