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Land ownership and permaculture

 
gardener
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Currently we have the legal description of ownership with the ugly concept of eminent domain. Understanding that land ownership exists currently and we do have some type of claim if we own property and assuming there is no danger of government seizure.
Would you agree that there has to be a continuation of a vision on a particular parcel for permaculture to develop fully.
Can a permaculture parcel be developed in one generation?
Would a working concept of communal ownership with a common vision be better?
Would community guidelines for private property land use, directed at permaculture premises be an answer?
 
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perhaps a sense of ownership in North America by those of european decent is impossible then,as this would be "stolen" land.
 
Robert Ray
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I'm a small part American Indian, Cherokee from N.W. Arkansas so for me that does that apply?
North America has no exclucive claim on injustices. I've personally seen it elsewhere.
Conquering entities always write the history unfortunately.
How would permaculture become the conquering vision?
Armies of individuals (owners)?
Armies of communities?
Armies of communes?
Is it doomed from past mistakes or injustices? Do we live in the "Now" or burden ourselves with past transgressions and give up all hope for a better future?
I don't think that many of us will ever get through life without experiencing or seeing some form of injustice.
  Back on track, let's assume that there are individuals with legal ownership of property, there are community owned parcels and communal organizations with communal property ownership of some form, is one any better than another for expanding permacultures success?
 
Matt Ferrall
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IMO either one of those,if taken to their extreme ends would create imbalance and become ripe for failure.A mosaic of different management stratagies provides the most diversity in habitat provided they are within reason.This is best facilitated through a sense of private ownership of a given area.However,some management activities that are efficient require colaboration over larger areas.Which constitutes a type of communal ownership.
 
                              
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Instead of communal "ownership" an effective and practical alternative would be to have actual ownership, but then also have programs such as those that The Nature Conservancy used to have (before they changed presidents and dropped the most effective programs), which gave direction to land owners and incentives in the form of certification and recognition for putting into place the practices objectively determined to work.

In this way we have the personal motivation of the owner, and the community spirit of a shared larger scale effort, without ever stomping on any toes or rights..

Just another perspective..
 
Robert Ray
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As long as "certification" doesn't get diluted as organic has that might be a motivational process.
A mix as Mt Goat describes sounds like what I envision.
 
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Yes, I think that a mix of systems is always best -- the human ecosystem needs diversity just as much as the wild ecosystem and our domestic 'farm' and permaculture ecosystems do.  No two people are alike, and our social systems should reflect that and give everyone a place where they can function to their highest potential.

Kathleen
 
                              
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As long as all interaction is 100% voluntary, a natural mix will occur. As soon as coercion is used to force anyone to change peaceful behavior, then there might be a mix, but a very undesirable one. Where I am building we have ownership of land, but much of our efforts are "communal" because we share equipment, knowledge, labor, time, and the results. None of this would happen with any coercive system, which is in part why I have been advocating for peaceful voluntary cooperation with respect for the individual, which naturally and necessarily includes real ownership.

A good example is actually this forum where some are more interested in the various aspects of growing food, others in natural building, and others still other issues. This is a voluntary natural order and diversity, which gets even greater within each of those categories, such that diversity is an accidental but pleasant consequence of non-coercive systems where each is free to do her own thing on her own space/property.
 
                                      
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I own land, and I am a Permaculturist.

Community Property is filled with difficulties.  They can be overcome, assuredly, but many intentional communities have swum...and sunk... because of the One Pot System.  Here's why...

The one pot economy is built upon the concept that everyone gives according to their ability and receives according to their needs.  Two governing bodies (or one with two functions) must immediately be organized and authorized - one to decide what an individual's "ability" is and another to decide what an individual's "need" is.  You as an individual are biased, and therefore, you are incapable of deciding these factors yourself.  You are human, and therefore basically corrupt and selfish, and therefore, you could never judge the same for someone else as you would for yourself.

Now, by criteria are the folks who end up on these governing bodies chosen?  What qualifies them?  And there you go.

I've lived in intended communities that fell to pieces because of the social conflict that infects such systems. 
 
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Cloudpiler wrote: You are human, and therefore basically corrupt and selfish



Not everyone believes that humans are "basically corrupt" any more than any other animal is "basically corrupt."

Humans are basically human. 

 
                              
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I agree with Ludi, humans are neither the saints that "communal ownership" would require, nor are we all necessarily corrupt.

Those who are corrupt have a difficult time operating in a voluntary association community, though they thrive where coercion is involved. This is but one of the practical reasons for recognizing individual worth thus individual property.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think the best plans and schemes for human society have to recognize that humans are human, are always going to be human, and not expect people to be saints (or demons).  At least this attitude has served me throughout most of my adult life.  Most people are the center of their own little universe, yes, generally "selfish," but not always. Expecting humans to be human, I'm rarely disappointed by them. 

 
                                      
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It may not universally believed that people are corrupt, but I think you must agree that whenever any group of people gather together for any purpose, there will be disagreement.  Community Property Law requires the group to create some mechanism for resolving such conflict.  That's where representative bodies get organized.  They develop strategies for resolving problems.  Invariably, basic foundational premises must be made, or no planning can take place.  That is where assumptions about how people would behave, or historically have behaved, in this situation or that must be made.  Qualification for acceptance and worthiness for retention are required by most states community property laws.

Who decides who gets to live in the IC which is owned by its members?  How and under what conditions might those policies change?

How and why might a person be asked, or required, to leave the IC, and therefore lose ownership in the community property. 

We do, unfortunately, live in a culture that places property at the very apex of the value system pyramid.  Such questions cannot be left unanswered and no amount of philosophizing about whether  people are good or bad answers them.  And there's the dig. 
 
Robert Ray
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Continuation of vision I guess is what needs to happen. Whether property is individually owned or Communaly owned.
How does that continuation continue if the property is individually owned?
How is the vision reinforced and continued in a communal setting?
 
                                      
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A good example would be this forum.  On the surface it seems like an open community where people are free to express their ideas.  Let's call that the "property."

If I were to get really obnoxious, become absolutely vulgar, berate everybody for this stupid adherence to environmentalist wacked out ideas.  If I were to become abusive or obscene, there is a mechanism in place to banish me from the forum (at least I hope there is). 

Why would such policies be even considered?  People just don't do that sort of thing do they?  Yes, they do.

Now, multiply that about a thousand times and you have the community property, one-pot IC.

I think land ownership is essential.  Then if an IC is considered, a sort of family must come together.  The better IC, IMO, would be for a group of landowners to unite in intention.  That would comprise a public entity comprise of several (or many) individual communes (families) working together toward obtaining group yield and then distributing that yield according to the organized intention. 

"Intentional Community" ought to be more about the intention.  That communes have taken the term to mean unrelated people living together in a common property, house, compound, complex, is unfortunate.  It colors the actual meaning of the phrase. 
 
                              
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That method of "resolution" is nearly always (and always beyond VERY small groups) that of might makes right. The ones in power decree what will  happen and the value of the individual is wholly denied.

That said, it is true that if every person in the community always agreed with every other then this system could work without coercion. As we know this does not happen and the chances of finding a wholly voluntary community where every member always agrees on everything is at best merely a logical possibility but one which none of us will ever see in our lifetimes. By refraining from governing councils (or whatever name they are to be given) then the power of persuasion, rather than coercion, must be used. Sure this may mean that a cantankerous old coot may prevent that beautiful skyscraper, or wind farm, solar power plant, etc. from being build on his land, but that is a tiny sacrifice for the benefits of security in your person and the basic respect for persons.


 
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This is a long thread. I read the first page, and skimmed the fourth. Sorry if I missed something that is re-dresed here-

I wonder how many of the folks in this discussion live on a trust or have a membership in one?

I dont. Iv'e studied the trust model intensively and have land Im interestedin placing in trust.

my reasons are simple- I want the land managed by covenant, and productive of quality and enduring livelihoods for the people staying here. That would be mostly woodlot management, and some slightly better than subsitence farming for 2-3 families.

If folks came in with investment to buy surrounding properties and agreements were formed as partners in a 'neghborhood' that would suit my needs somewhat, but fail in many- the site im on woull go unmanaged, and therefore without produce of livlihood. Thats wasteful, IMO.

I could lease the land to a young couple under that premise, yet cant help but feel that a lease brings a state sanctioned hierarchy into the relationship. While I have no qualms with hierarchy, I choose to maintain some autonomy. Gaining a state sanction for owner lease rights requires LLC formation, lawyers, ridiculous insurances, taxes, and so on- all to do  project that is in the community interest. its a bit insulting.

I prefer to empower and be empowered by basing land bound relationships on filial trust and affection. That relationship can define personal covenants and contracts clarify things in the terms agreed by the parties concerned. It does take time. It all requires intergenerational commitments.

If we plan to build forested food systems which have durable lifespans of several hundreds or thousands of years, we will need to change the way we do business. The proliferation of the liquidation of assets is such that if you produce a stellar site that takes 60 years to ramp into full eden like production, and then it get tossed into an estate sale at the owners death, or is sold by hiers, or even for medical care, the next guy along is likely to cut the trees for timber export to japan.

The State has a form of sanctifying a personal agreement defined in a covenant, between multiple parties. There are limited legal implications following the provision of the 12 key accountability protocols, and the form provides solvency of personal liability for members while providing tax benefits and a bit of insurance that the landed designs will endure longer than designs on private property. The Land Trust.


Ideally, my goal is to treat my 'property' as  camp, visiting it seasonally and being at other sites through 8 months of the year or slightly more. Having the land in trust with other people who I share a vision with is a long term program. I have one partner. He takes care of things while im gone. He's theoretically interested in the process, but young enough be healthily uncommitted. Im also talking with friends regionally about camp projects.

right partners, right land, right on.

If any of you are on a Land trust in cascadia, Id love to check in with you more about your projects.
 
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Robert Ray wrote:How do you feel about land ownership and permaculture?



I've been involved in several communal situations. I've watched a lot of others very closely over the last three decades. They almost never work out long term. I finally decided to go the opposite - personal ownership of land, not any sort of group. Our family is as group as I'll get. Communism works great on the family level but gets progressively worse as the social group gets larger. Even Castro, bless his hard headed heart, admitted that Communism is a failure.
 
                          
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I just read this whole thread and everyone seems to have good Point. The problem I see is the human
diversity that Kathleen talks about.
Hence probably a mix of systems diverse to the individual seems like the most tenable solution.
Myself was once told I'm socially detached and although that seemed aggravating at the time after
considering it for awhile I know it to be true.
I can remain very happy doing stuff alone if thats whats going on. Other people I know on the other hand
need people to get things done.
There's no right or wrong to it just the personalities. Saying all this I believe all are useful and a diverse
system would work the best.
Living in B.C. with a larger land mass then Oregon,Washington and California put together and 95 percent
of it being deemed crown land (government owned) and they don't sell to private citizens our population
is going up and are available People livable land mass is going done hence the ridiculous prices here.
It seems with our population at around 4 million homesteading should be allowed saying that if you
institue it how to you keep the greedy people from abusing such a system?
If that could be worked out I believe rather than live in serfdom it would be in the Governments and the
peoples best interest to allow some form of homesteading in B.C.
Or if this economy collapses the more home grown food available the better it will be for everyone.
 
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It's called Share Cropping. Which has a whole bunch of evils all its own.
Leigh

I dredged this up from something I wrote during my first week on the forum, I think it bears repeating --- Jefferson Davis was quoted as saying that if you control the land you control the people on it. He was a strong proponent of sharecropping since in many ways it was just as enslaving as if you actually owned those who worked the land. Many post-Civil War sharecroppers were worse off financially than when they were slaves. Now it was no one's responsibility to house them or look after their health care or other needs. Jefferson Davis saw this as a positive development because it maintained the class system and made individual sharecroppers completely disposable since there were plenty of other desperate families looking for a job.

In other words if you don't own the means of production you are destined to be enslaved by those who do. Get yourself some land.

Well that's weird, I saw this in the recent topics but it looks like the last post was quite a while ago. And I was responding to page one, since I didn't notice that there were more pages.

When I go to " My Posts", it now prints out this entire post instead of just the link. Getting weirder.
 
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Don't feel bad Dale, I do the same. Besides, this is a great thread. I just reread a bunch of it, which is interesting to see where my mind was two years ago compared to now.

A thought I had today was the best possible workers often are those who could do just fine on their own. The worst, are those who could never have their own land, etc. because they are so irresponsible. The same thing, a community made up of those who have enough to buy their own land and have their own place and manage themselves just might be wonderful (until of course they had to compromise on something. ) The worst type of community may well be when a group of people get together who have never even owned a house try to own land and work together. Too often everyone sits around waiting for someone else to do everything.

I would love to have a community of people, and I have lots of land. I have yet to find anyone who will work out. My requirements are pretty simple, but mainly it is "thou shalt not exploit". You will live whatever you use in better condition than you found it. You won't use up the land, the house, the animals, etc. just so you can improve your life short term at my expense. So far, with the four families we have tried, none of them got it.

So now, I hire people, pay them a salary, which includes staying in the property (they get paid as much as anyone working who doesn't stay on the property) and deal with them as employees. I don't view myself as much owner as steward of the lands and resources. The good workers want to preserve the company, so they keep their job. They bad ones want as much as they can get as quickly as they can, including stealing what doesn't belong to them.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Fred, I think a lot of intentional communities fail because they don't share a way of making a living among the members. Your employees share a way of making a living with you, the company. I think many intentional communities would do better if the members shared a way of making a living, a business on the land. Daniel Quinn calls this a "tribal business" and discusses it in his book "Beyond Civilization."

 
Fred Morgan
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I think you are right. Without some kind of income generation, it is pretty hard to live. Of course in our situation, if I could find people who would be willing to live and care for parts of the plantations (nothing more than watch over things and call if there is a problem), they could have land to stay on indefinitely. This means someone who only has a home, could sell it, move into an existing house (though maybe much smaller) and live off the income generated from the sell of their residence.

As long as they don't use things up, I don't expect a return. You would think I would be swamped with takers...
 
Dale Hodgins
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In almost any situation where something is offered freely you will get plenty of "takers" and most will not work out. Useful people look for good deals that suit their needs but they don't expect a free ride. I allowed a relative to live at my place for free, until he started making noise about getting paid as a caretaker. He was also put off by my reluctance to allow logging and by my disinterest in his plans for my land.
 
Fred Morgan
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Yep, you get plenty of "takers" but not in a good sense. The truth I think is those who work hard and are independent enough to not want others to take care of them are generally doing just fine.
 
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I'm a land owner, but consider myself a land steward. I will not sell even after death. Everything I do, I consider the impact of the land. I have WWOOFers come, but they are seasonal, I would not be opposed to having others live there that fully embrace Permaculture. However, most people are there for spring, summer & fall. Not too many want to be there for the winters that I find awesome. If I don't offer guidance, many walk wherever they want without considering the impact. I'm helping people see their part in the ecology.
 
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4 years later...

(subjects bolded for you to browse for what's interesting and not waste your time)

especially because of the humanunifying potential force that exists in word-meaning associated beliefs of “permaculture” and its principles (not decontextualized from its good-spirited/intentioned meaning(s)), Robert Ray's initiating, deeper questions of land ownership perception and “permaculturalist” identification (to people that may not actually know the “permaculturalist” as well because of estranged living conditions), as well as how such perception aligns with a good-intentioned principle of sharing “fairly”, are important to consider...

not wanting to get too into this messy context / boxed-in reality of ownershipism/territorialism, i believe that the following two eco-socio-psychological themes ought to handle (or observe and understand) them well enough:
* Nature balance of dominance/aggression versus subordination/passivity (like "yin and yang")
* Psuedo-stable / false-hope ideologies or beliefs (false because they are actually connected to a real social-psychological characteristic that is not as stable – for example, from the "Decleration of Independence" from the imbalanced British Crown domination, "all men are created equal" continues to live with American society in the present – whether in more formal means like law-related procedures or less formal means like media-related advertising (hype) to potential future Americans)

currently, my standard of stewardship is non-territorial, non-ownership, comfortably liveable, non-litigous (or more intuitively known) around mutualism (e.g. invitations, social marginalization of non-cooperative behavior (especially behavior that stems from an unrealistic/dishonest perception of yourself and your expectations from the world) around the aphorism that “one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins”). from such a (dynamicer) perspective, i cannot tell if i own or plan to own property...

(poetic/rhyme) speaking of "dynamic"... balance first with something static, like wanting the most desirable... land or environment to inhabit/ but such a less adaptable mentality that earns value in a less adabtable System – mentality/ may be involuntarily "balanced", like "Climate Change"'z damage...

(joke (attempt)) ?Why is it called "grange"? -- Because the homesteadin' farmer who wanted to have his own range soon realized he would be better on with more people working cooperatively together with the land, and in tiger-like frusteration said, "grrrange" thank you, i try.

“It's frustrating sometimes in these threads to see how convoluted and off track they seem to get.” lol...
don't know if communal ownership should be the norm or not, but the clear advantage to that form of ownership could be complemented with a good background understanding from Tyler Ludens' post regarding the “ownership sphere” that “In the US, citizens are legally owners of state and national property, but most people probably don't feel like they own national forests and so don't treat them as they would if they "really" owned the land.”

...but to be more positive and static - like a "belief" - good/wise stewardship and protection of our shared world/earth would lead to the correct form of "ownership" for you (similar to the bible-like, hindu "Bhagavad Gita" book saying to basically do your (stewardship) duties not with the desires of the fruits of your action).
...and to be more realistic and negative (to balance the potentially abused "belief"), it may be in some peoples' karma/fate to need to have an upfront agreement that their work will bear the desired fruit.
 
Keshav Boddula
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Ken Peavey wrote:It is the fundamental nature of man to want to control his own destiny


IMO this is interesting because it stimulates very deep consideration(s).
 
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Robert Ray wrote:How do you feel about land ownership and permaculture?
  I've seen several posts that seem to support a communal style of ownership. Does one owning or possessing land mean they can't be a permaculturist?
Does owning land inhibit "Fair Share"?
In replying indicate if you currently own property or plan to own property, I feel that might be an indicative component of views.



To make sure that what I have to say is not misinterpreted I would like to start with a disclosure:
Everything I am writing in this post are my thoughts and opinions. They are not facts and if one feels they don't apply to them, then they don't. I do not think that my opinions are the only valid ones and I do not expect anyone to agree or disagree with them, although if they do either I will be very glad to read their reasoning.

I have been thinking about these things for years while developing sustainable ideas for a Sustainable Living Educational and Research Community (https://tranqvillium.org)
I started from the idea of "owning a land", as the only known way (to me at the time) to be in control of what is happening in order to do maximum good.
Where I have arrived so far, is that I could not have been more wrong.

I personally think that the very basis of permaculture is community. Community with not only our fellow humans but all life forms present on the land. I believe that the three ethics of Permaculture (Care for the Earth, Care for People, Fair Share) can be summarized in this one word: Community. (the original meaning of the word is "Shared Service")

Ownership means that the land belongs to US, and we have to protect it from THEM. The way I see it, that is the polar opposite of community.
In my journey I have come across this idea that made no sense to me at the time, WE belong to the land, WE are part of the land, of the ecosystem. The more I thought of it, the more sense it made.
As I was raised in Western culture, I strongly believed that if you own something, you have the right to do whatever you want with the thing (in this case the land). As our ultimate measurement of the value of everything is how much profit it can produce, we have to be very radical in applying the Principle of Self Regulating to be able to follow the Ethics of Care for Earth and Care for People. Care for Profit is not one of the main Permaculture principles and yet often that is how we measure our success. Interpreting the Principle of Producing Yield through a profit oriented view can lead to a lot of harm and suffering.
Also, as an owner, one (ME) has the right to deny access to the land for others (THEM). That again is the opposite of the Ethic of Care for People, and the Ethic of Fair Share. As owners we also have the prerogative to define "Fair", and if our mindset is profit-oriented and focused on US vs THEM, anything that benefits US, and excludes THEM, is fair game.

So, we could argue that, well it is not impossible to fully embrace all Ethics and Principles of Permaculture and still have our names on the deed. About that, while theoretically it is true,  I have two concerns:
1) "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Said Whoever) The examples to disprove this position are extremely rare in the entire human history, and even rarer in modern history.
2) If one fully embraces all Ethics and Principles of Permaculture, the name on the deed becomes irrelevant as long as it is not the name of a person who doesn't embrace those values.

Considering those and everything else in this post, in our current socioeconomic structure the only way known to me to comply with the prevailing legal property ownership model and the Permaculture Ethics and Principles (maybe even including the ancient wisdom of the first nations on this land) is ownership by a non-profit organization. Emphasis on "KNOWN TO ME"! I would love to learn about other possibilities.

As a conclusion, based on my current knowledge and pool of information, I am personally on the opinion that the traditional idea of personal ownership is in conflict with the basic Ethics and Principles of Permaculture.

Again, this is a personal opinion and as such it may be flawed. I do not expect or even encourage anyone to agree with it, in fact if one has a differing opinion, it could be the seed of an interesting discussion where I would be excited to learn new and valuable angles on the topic.




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Robert Ray
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I'm going to have to go back and re-read my old posts. This was over12 years ago, pre apple times.
But here is a view on the pilgrims:
https://www.hoover.org/research/how-private-property-saved-pilgrims
 
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Robert Ray wrote:I'm going to have to go back and re-read my old posts. This was over12 years ago, pre apple times.
But here is a view on the pilgrims:
https://www.hoover.org/research/how-private-property-saved-pilgrims



That is an interesting article, thanks for bringing it to our attention.
I do have a lot of bones to pick with the integrity of it (the article), though, but it's not the topic of this thread.

However, the original question being "How do you feel about land ownership and permaculture?", my question is this:

How permaculture-esque do you see the overall socioeconomic structure that grew out of the pilgrims' choices?
Let's say on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is 100% permaculture and 1 is the "polar opposite of permaculture"
 
Robert Ray
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The article does address ownership over communal or use of the community commons so I think it does dovetail a bit into ownership and how ownership was for the pilgrims a life saver. There are several books and a documentary about how the communal start up was not successful for the Pilgrims.
Ownership even by an entity like your experimental non-profit drives those involved or owners to develop the permaculture sytem, the vision.
 Ownership is not something that prevents being able to be a 100% permaculturist. The socio economic system doesn't play a role in ones choice to be a good steward. There are companies that strive to be green "Ben and Jerry's" as an example. But does being green mean that they are permaculturist, no not neccessarily. Are they good stewards? Are they involved in the Socio economic system? Hippocratic do no harm business model?
The socio-economic structure and where one falls into that scale does not place a barrier in striving for permacultue-esquness.
In our little burg the senior apartments have small garden plots for each unit.
The non-profit I initiated has a 30x 60 learning green house, bee kepping demonstartion area, and alottments parcels are available. We have a cadre of instructors that have taught bee keeping,Hugel construction, legal greywater harvesting, rain barrel construction many things that have the "esque".
What barrier do you see that prohibits participating in permaculture? Many communities that have food deserts have good charismatic people that devote time in creating gardens, But there are rules that require some compliance to tennets they identify as important. Providing permaculture access for those with limited means or access to land.
I see more disconnect and think current social media numbness divorces particiaption in many things. So easy to tweet a wrong and feel superior in that one has done their part with 140 characters rather than put the phone down and work for a noble effort.
Our group is applying for a farmers market grant in doing so we've hopefully addressed concerns from local markets that might be impacted minimally. That component will be a vessel to  share the surplus and in my mind surplus includes hours devoted to the cause by permaculturists that are some times affluent and sometimes not some land owners and some not.
Having a devoted proponent of permaculture spreading the idea to large and small parcel owners and communities that this is a good thing. Small parcels as owned by homeowners allowing sattelite gardens for those without property another model for access to non landowners.
Possibilities abound for creative thinkers to work and promote permaculture.
You're own experiment is using the Socio economic structure by selling yurts and outdoor gear to facilitate funds coming in. That's not a bad thing it's an intelligent use of resources if you have those that can manufacture a product to promote/finance your endgame. Are the components locally sourced?  This can be a true measurable metric and what percentage of your production could be called permi-esque? Does your rental component permeate permaculture? How does your economic component measure up?
The socio-economic system has no  barrier to making permaculture accessible to all. Getting people infected with the permie bug is what needs to happen. Don't be mad at the bad actors become a good actor.
Does my making a dollar mean I'm a whore to the system? No it means that my benefator that gave me a dollar is helping me in my permaculture effort.
Regression to the mean is a common thing. I don't want to be floating at that mid point I want to be closer to the top in my efforts.
There are far fewer practitioners that would be 10 to answer your question but the economic model doesn't make it impossible for there to be many more.
 
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