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are there currently millions of permaculture millionaires? (the story of Gert)  RSS feed

 
Stephanie Fehler
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as a newer member, i just wanted to pipe up and ask any Gerts lurking to please come out and tell their story! I am a 42 year old wife, mom to eight kids, and i lived in town and had given up my dream of the rural life. I thought God had just said no, and we were getting older, and I'd just join some boards in town and do good where i was planted. And a friend got deported back to the States, and was selling her farm, and it just all fit together, and here we are. It's been three years, and i am still figuring it out. JUST got my "Back to Eden" garden started this year after three years of increasingly more weeds in my huge garden - swapped a piglet for the wood chips. Swapped some lambs for a nice big shed to hold my animal supplies. We've got a milk cow and a Jersey bull calf that i keep being assured will be sold this weekend, a milk goat, a small flock of sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits - i am probably doing too many things, but i'm having fun - built a fleece washing station last weekend and it works great to get fleeces clean enough to card and spin... I am lucky bcz my husband works in town. But even though i have to do most of the work on my own or with children helping , i'm so grateful, and he does see the good in what we're doing. Our first spring, we planted some fruit trees (we are very far north in Canada) - we thought none made it through that first hard winter, but this year we have apple blossoms ... I am looking for the creative thought that says "we don't need that, we can use.... instead" or "instead of buying X, let's make Y, with Z that we already have for free!"...
 
sheila grace
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Paul, thank you for all you do. Congrats to Cassie, we saw her smiling face in the first issue of Permaculture North America Magazine!
Yes, there are at least a million Gerts. “Some people say that permaculture is a steaming pile of horse potatoes, because if it worked, then all of our big ag systems would convert over.”
Huh.
“I think that when people have the courage to go down the permaculture path, they end up generally going silent.”
Permaculture can be a rather cerebral pursuit, so let’s pursue it…
Humbly submitted by one of those introverts (INTJ).

Here’s a recipe – start with Cognitive Dissonance & Paradigms, two ingredients that make up a vast landscape for discussion, combine the full spectrum of permaculture (themes, concepts and applicability) and sprinkle liberally with individual perceptions based on Meyers Briggs personality type, character and temperament - and you have a lifetime of mighty contemplation. Go Public with those thoughts and you have entered the strange world of how your words are received; accolades, because you have inspired others (who find great relief in knowing you are out there working very hard on the fringes), or contempt, because you have challenged their paradigms and now you’ve pissed them off.

Awareness is, as awareness does, and once we lift our heads out of our comfort bubbles, and elect to stop looking at the world through a straw, we’re apt to run into the multi-headed monster of cognitive dissonance. The action of purposefully seeking awareness and intentionally practicing permaculture can place you in one of several categories; genius, exotic zoo animal, pain in the ass, inspiring, just plain weird, hero, depending upon your audience. Let’s not forget The wheaton eco scale. Spot On.
from the 2013 talk in San Diego 50 minutes into the talk. Gert fully understands this.

Permaculture provides us with a million ah ha moments of awareness; “No one’s going to hand out awareness like a party favor – you’re gonna have to work for it…” as in my case of an ah ha moment regarding inefficient dwellings: http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?m=201403

In the midst of this consumerist clown show there are; brilliant thinkers, inspiring teachers, Amsome presenters like yourself kicking it live using the full spectrum of English, and some mighty fantastic writers, the 10’s if you will; Permies.com, Geoff, Sepp, David Holmgren, Graham Turner, Salatin, Savory, Darren Doherty, Isaebella Doherty, Nicole Foss, Gail Tverburg, Dimitri Orlov, John Michael Greer.

There’s also a vast cultural world out there in North America, a place filled with contextual mismatches of reality; many can’t find Syria on the map, most watch TV, all have been indoctrinated into the paradigms of Horatio Alger Capitalism. It’s an extroverted shouting match of marketeers hawking their wares to overweight drugged up distracted button pushing consumers.

It’s the fourth industrial revolution magic show, funded by millions of years of stored sunlight energy, a story of exceptionalism and hubris told to all who will listen and obey, perpetuated in words that mark the language, collectively agreed upon to mean something. The American pattern of reaction, more often than not is; sensationalize, capitalize, trivialize, marginalize as demonstrated on so many ‘reality’ TV shows. It is novelty & anxiety in so many forms.


To the extent each reader wants to retain their level of comfort and standard of living within the existing paradigms is to the degree the writer’s suggestions of possible alternative means of living will piss them off and receive blow back. The layers of the onion are incalculably deep. The defensive layers of language well it’s my opinion, the defensive layers of binary thinking red/blue, liberal/conservative, rich/poor, lazy/productive, terrorists/security provide a very rich mine field to negotiate. If Gert has a tough time suggesting permaculture to the sleeping opinionated masses, I imagine my comments posted on columbiabasinpermaculture.com might engender something on the order of magnitude 100x. Yep, we happen to reside in the belly of the beast, the writhing multi-tentacle Culthelhucene of Unipolar World vision, color revolutions, false flags, staged coups and all the rest of the behind the scenes handshakes of TPP, Arab Springs, democracy, freedom and liberation this multi headed monster can bring to bear on lesser powers as it goes about gathering the energy and resources it needs to feed its behemoth dissipative organized self Our Finite World.

Finding a new common language to describe what permaculture is and can do, in a palatable way to millions that live in an entirely different paradigm is tricky and potentially exhausting which is why so many Permies choose to take the path of attraction not promotion. Permaculture; is a comprehensive multi-faceted set of understandings that then must be acted upon by repeated loops of design and observation towards our best attempts to mimic the complex interactive world of ecosystems AND is ethically inclusive of all life while providing surplus. Wow. You mean I can’t ‘just’ press and set?

Trying to convey this wholistic nature/time/dependent/resource auditing design has a difficult time (for now) convincing others to jump off the gerbil wheel because the former group can’t slow down enough to take in the information in its entirety – shared my experience with the online PDC, told countless others about Permies and PRI etc. The information generally gets lost in a sea of the paradigm we have now; specialists tied into a dissipative centralized system of magnificent proportion in all its affairs; energy, big agriculture, transportation, housing construction, utilities, economics, behavior, GDP, and perpetual growth. The number one question I get over and over is “yeah but how do you make money at this?”. I call it the yeah butt disease.

Language is critical. In the last 50 years of cheap oil, advertising, and marketing, language has literally had the meaning sucked right out of it. To paraphrase; conservatives don’t really want to conserve anything, liberals really don’t want to liberate anything, Citizens United and Patriot acts are anything but, and so it follows that for most people in North America the word sustainable is nothing more than Pablum to be tossed around for the purposes of dissuading guilt and stalling the inevitable notion that we may have to learn to do with less.

Binary thinking says; OH No! Anything other than the level of lifestyle I’m living now will look like abject poverty and drudgery and too much hard work! I happen to know this guy that has a brilliant approach to bridging this gap. He uses humor, he makes up words, he drives home critical ideas in standup comedy routine style, he lays out the dysfunctional ugliness by presenting seemingly crazy solutions and gets the audience to laugh and then be inspired. He embodies Extroverted Awesomeness with a cherry on top. For those too dim witted to fully appreciate this strategy, well, my condolences.
This Tai Chi style confronts binary thinking, by exposing it for what it is, both the content and how it’s delivered. Remember; let’s not spend time being mad at the bad guys. Thus the bridge; the notion to trade a linear life of singular income, long meaningless hours of mindless work, debt, plastic goo ga’s and inefficient homes, for something much richer, far wealthier.

It is a work in progress. Many thanks to everyone who chooses to be courageous and give it a go.

cheers,
sheila

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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There's free land available in Eastern Mass! I'm serious, they are just looking for people to live there and permaculture it. Or Dancing Rabbit ecovillage. I don't remember which thread the first one was on, but look at my recent posts, I posted a response on there some time back.
Dougan Nash wrote:I agree with the sentiment of Gert, but she just conveniently started with a few acres. I know there are a lot of people like me who want to dive right in but land is expensive. I am also (like many in my generation) burdened with student loan debt. Half of what my wife and I make goes towards minimum payments. We were young and dumb and 8 years later, no sign of it ending.

If I took all the money I am paying retroactively for school and could put it into land, I would be a Gert. However, I cannot find a permaculture solution to this debt. I have tried government aid, and working with my private loans. Neither work. Bankruptcy won't even erase it. I probably won't even be approved for a mortgage until I'm in my 40s.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Just had a new idea--maybe we've been going about it all wrong! instead of being honest about what permaculture can do for people, we should eb trying to bilk them. After all, that's what works. See credit card companies. They make a false promise and then get paid for it for decades. Or college. Or any number of things that really don't let you make money. So just go around telling people "oh yeah, permaculture is a great game, you'll make tons of money" (damnyouautocorrect changed it to "monte," hehe) and let them find out only later that instead they're just materially secure, healthy, happy, and know more for having taken the journey.

In all seriousness, though, communicating the benefits in simple language is a good idea. There's describing the benefits rathe than the features--not "I do Alexander Technique" but "here's a way to have increased energy, take care of aches and pains from repetitive stresses" etc. What's in it for me? sell it that way, and the more complex benefits you can talk about later when there's interest. Trying to talk about them too early on in the conversation won't work.

It might feel like bilking people to omit some of the truth, and the other person may bring a lot of incorrect assumptions to the conversation, but we're not responsible for handling all of those illusions, just as the credit card company isn't responsible for counseling people on the problematic nature of high-interest loans and the psychology of consumerism.
sheila grace wrote:Paul, thank you for all you do. Congrats to Cassie, we saw her smiling face in the first issue of Permaculture North America Magazine!
Yes, there are at least a million Gerts. “Some people say that permaculture is a steaming pile of horse potatoes, because if it worked, then all of our big ag systems would convert over.”
Huh.
“I think that when people have the courage to go down the permaculture path, they end up generally going silent.”
Permaculture can be a rather cerebral pursuit, so let’s pursue it…
Humbly submitted by one of those introverts (INTJ).

Here’s a recipe – start with Cognitive Dissonance & Paradigms, two ingredients that make up a vast landscape for discussion, combine the full spectrum of permaculture (themes, concepts and applicability) and sprinkle liberally with individual perceptions based on Meyers Briggs personality type, character and temperament - and you have a lifetime of mighty contemplation. Go Public with those thoughts and you have entered the strange world of how your words are received; accolades, because you have inspired others (who find great relief in knowing you are out there working very hard on the fringes), or contempt, because you have challenged their paradigms and now you’ve pissed them off.

Awareness is, as awareness does, and once we lift our heads out of our comfort bubbles, and elect to stop looking at the world through a straw, we’re apt to run into the multi-headed monster of cognitive dissonance. The action of purposefully seeking awareness and intentionally practicing permaculture can place you in one of several categories; genius, exotic zoo animal, pain in the ass, inspiring, just plain weird, hero, depending upon your audience. Let’s not forget The Wheaton Eco Scale. Spot On. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vZPTPIHO8w from the 2013 talk in San Diego 50 minutes into the talk. Gert fully understands this.

Permaculture provides us with a million ah ha moments of awareness; “No one’s going to hand out awareness like a party favor – you’re gonna have to work for it…” as in my case of an ah ha moment regarding inefficient dwellings: http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?m=201403

In the midst of this consumerist clown show there are; brilliant thinkers, inspiring teachers, Amsome presenters like yourself kicking it live using the full spectrum of English, and some mighty fantastic writers, the 10’s if you will; Permies.com, Geoff, Sepp, David Holmgren, Graham Turner, Salatin, Savory, Darren Doherty, Isaebella Doherty, Nicole Foss, Gail Tverburg, Dimitri Orlov, John Michael Greer.

There’s also a vast cultural world out there in North America, a place filled with contextual mismatches of reality; many can’t find Syria on the map, most watch TV, all have been indoctrinated into the paradigms of Horatio Alger Capitalism. It’s an extroverted shouting match of marketeers hawking their wares to overweight drugged up distracted button pushing consumers.

It’s the fourth industrial revolution magic show, funded by millions of years of stored sunlight energy, a story of exceptionalism and hubris told to all who will listen and obey, perpetuated in words that mark the language, collectively agreed upon to mean something. The American pattern of reaction, more often than not is; sensationalize, capitalize, trivialize, marginalize as demonstrated on so many ‘reality’ TV shows. It is novelty & anxiety in so many forms.


To the extent each reader wants to retain their level of comfort and standard of living within the existing paradigms is to the degree the writer’s suggestions of possible alternative means of living will piss them off and receive blow back. The layers of the onion are incalculably deep. The defensive layers of language well it’s my opinion, the defensive layers of binary thinking red/blue, liberal/conservative, rich/poor, lazy/productive, terrorists/security provide a very rich mine field to negotiate. If Gert has a tough time suggesting permaculture to the sleeping opinionated masses, I imagine my comments posted on columbiabasinpermaculture.com might engender something on the order of magnitude 100x. Yep, we happen to reside in the belly of the beast, the writhing multi-tentacle Culthelhucene of Unipolar World vision, color revolutions, false flags, staged coups and all the rest of the behind the scenes handshakes of TPP, Arab Springs, democracy, freedom and liberation this multi headed monster can bring to bear on lesser powers as it goes about gathering the energy and resources it needs to feed its behemoth dissipative organized self Our Finite World.

Finding a new common language to describe what permaculture is and can do, in a palatable way to millions that live in an entirely different paradigm is tricky and potentially exhausting which is why so many Permies choose to take the path of attraction not promotion. Permaculture; is a comprehensive multi-faceted set of understandings that then must be acted upon by repeated loops of design and observation towards our best attempts to mimic the complex interactive world of ecosystems AND is ethically inclusive of all life while providing surplus. Wow. You mean I can’t ‘just’ press and set?

Trying to convey this wholistic nature/time/dependent/resource auditing design has a difficult time (for now) convincing others to jump off the gerbil wheel because the former group can’t slow down enough to take in the information in its entirety – shared my experience with the online PDC, told countless others about Permies and PRI etc. The information generally gets lost in a sea of the paradigm we have now; specialists tied into a dissipative centralized system of magnificent proportion in all its affairs; energy, big agriculture, transportation, housing construction, utilities, economics, behavior, GDP, and perpetual growth. The number one question I get over and over is “yeah but how do you make money at this?”. I call it the yeah butt disease.

Language is critical. In the last 50 years of cheap oil, advertising, and marketing, language has literally had the meaning sucked right out of it. To paraphrase; conservatives don’t really want to conserve anything, liberals really don’t want to liberate anything, Citizens United and Patriot acts are anything but, and so it follows that for most people in North America the word sustainable is nothing more than Pablum to be tossed around for the purposes of dissuading guilt and stalling the inevitable notion that we may have to learn to do with less.

Binary thinking says; OH No! Anything other than the level of lifestyle I’m living now will look like abject poverty and drudgery and too much hard work! I happen to know this guy that has a brilliant approach to bridging this gap. He uses humor, he makes up words, he drives home critical ideas in standup comedy routine style, he lays out the dysfunctional ugliness by presenting seemingly crazy solutions and gets the audience to laugh and then be inspired. He embodies Extroverted Awesomeness with a cherry on top. For those too dim witted to fully appreciate this strategy, well, my condolences.
This Tai Chi style confronts binary thinking, by exposing it for what it is, both the content and how it’s delivered. Remember; let’s not spend time being mad at the bad guys. Thus the bridge; the notion to trade a linear life of singular income, long meaningless hours of mindless work, debt, plastic goo ga’s and inefficient homes, for something much richer, far wealthier.

It is a work in progress. Many thanks to everyone who chooses to be courageous and give it a go.

cheers,
sheila

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:There's free land available in Eastern Mass! I'm serious, they are just looking for people to live there and permaculture it.

Do you perchance have a link to this opportunity? New England isn't really my bag, but there are probably many who'd be happy to investigate that offer.
 
paul wheaton
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I feel the need to point out that the stuff that keeps Gert from sharing is thoroughly, painfully, shared in the thread I wrote about permaculture velocity.

 
paul wheaton
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We recorded a podcast of all this:  http://permies.com/t/60288/Permaculture-Millionaire

And then the patreon supporters asked for a podcast that would discuss a path where ferd becomes gert. 

I think it could be good to cover more than one path. 

One path would end with buying a property.  Another would end with a deep roots plot.  Maybe one could end with a community purchase of a property - and doing intentional community.

----

I think step 1 is going to universally be to get out of debt. 

Step 2 is going to be "build your grubstake".

I think a really important meta discussion is gonna be "how fast can you get there?"  Which is, I think, covered exceptionally well in the mortgage free book and in the Early Retirement Extreme Book.

I think a big part of what I would suggest is residual income streams - but I don't think I set up gert with any of that. 

So, this is the time to come up with some brainstorm paths on where we go from here.



 
r ranson
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Another podcast along this theme would be great.

I wonder, there seem to be many Gerts out there that don't own their own land.  That might be something else to investigate in the next podcast.
 
John Saltveit
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I think the point is that for most people, even if they could become millionaires by age 40, it wouldn't be worth it.

People usually have a variety of things they are working on.  For example: romance, raising a family, participating in a type of art, exercise, music or sport, friendship, service, religious or spiritual goals, travel, some specific career goal apart from farming (in my case teaching), learning to cook well, etc. 

A lot more people will become millionaires by age 60 than by age 40.  Basically, people are developing habits that will support them all along the course of their life. They all work synergistically hopefully, so that as they age, the skills that they have develop will build upon skills already developed.

Nearly everybody could find a kind of work they like, be able to grow a large part of their food, cooperate with others in making a more sustainable food and transportation system, and have a satisfying lifestyle, even if they never become millionaires.
John S
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Richard Gorny
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What would be also interesting is to investigate what STOPS Ferds from becoming Gerts and how to overcome these obstacles.

Spouses, relatives and friends not willing to participate in such lifestyle (Gert seems to be single which make things easier )
Common fears (i.e. what if I get sick, who will take care of me and my homestead)
Obligations (ie. Merd and Dert, my parents are getting older and sick, they need my support, financial as well)

Lack of land, or money, are relatively easy to deal with ... while obstacles based on relationships,  feelings, emotions, you name it, are in my opinion main reasons why we do not see as many Gerts as we would like to see.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Richard Gorny wrote:
Common fears (i.e. what if I get sick, who will take care of me and my homestead)



I would like to see solutions to this fear, as I have none.  Who will take care of things?  Nobody.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Richard Gorny wrote:
Common fears (i.e. what if I get sick, who will take care of me and my homestead)



I would like to see solutions to this fear, as I have none.  Who will take care of things?  Nobody.

To a certain extent isn't the solution to build resilience into the system?

geoff lawton has showcased healthy, productive (but significantly less productive than under active management) systems that haven't felt human activity in a decade.

'The designer becomes the recliner' has climate-based limitations but feels like something worth working towards in preparation for the decline of physical strength/stamina.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Geoff Lawton has showcased healthy, productive (but significantly less productive than under active management) systems that haven't felt human activity in a decade.


I know of no examples for my region or similar regions (3000-year-old Moroccan oases don't count)  but would love to see any.  I figure I might have a decade of reasonable health and activity in which to build this resilience into my system, possibly less.

There's only so much cactus a person can eat before starving.

 
John Saltveit
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What about pomegranates, apricots, pistachios, native persimmon, olives, peaches, citrus, and zillions of edible weeds?
John S
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Tyler Ludens
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John Saltveit wrote:What about pomegranates, apricots, pistachios, native persimmon, olives, peaches, citrus, and zillions of edible weeds?


Pomegranates - have never produced fruit
Native persimmons - eaten by varmints
Olives - died
Peaches - died
Citrus - not hardy
Zillions of edible weeds - we have very few weeds except thistles (edible but not especially tasty)

I'm asking for an example of this:  "healthy, productive (but significantly less productive than under active management) systems that haven't felt human activity in a decade."  for my climate.  Does such an example exist?


 
John Saltveit
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Artichoke is a very delicious and nutritious thistle. So is cardoon.  Milk thistle is very good for you.

Trifoliate orange Poncirus trifoliata should be hardy for you, as should Morton citrange. I also live in zone 8.  I think you get way more sun than we do.

There is also the issue of careful technique with the specifics of your climate. Structure, texture, drainage and nutrition of soil.  Advantages of your climate.  I would definitely talk to others near you and ask them how and what they are able to grow.
John S
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Tyler Ludens
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John Saltveit wrote:Artichoke is a very delicious and nutritious thistle. So is cardoon.


I have grown both artichokes and cardoon.  They require irrigation.

People near me grow oats, sorghum, and cows.  Sometimes goats or hair sheep.

There is a pecan orchard not too far away but I believe it is irrigated. I planted pecans.  They died.  Also almonds.

I've been trying to learn how to grow food here for 20 years.  I would love for someone to show me one example in my region of this : "healthy, productive (but significantly less productive than under active management) systems that haven't felt human activity in a decade."
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I've been trying to learn how to grow food here for 20 years.  I would love for someone to show me one example in my region of this : "healthy, productive (but significantly less productive than under active management) systems that haven't felt human activity in a decade."

Why doesn't a 3,000 year old system in Morocco qualify? Not enough winter chill to count as aligning with your climate?

The example I had in mind in particular is in Australia, I don't know whether it's Arid Australia or Humid Australia personally, if time allows I'll see if I can track the reference down.

As to your own circumstances, it might be best to focus on feeding as much life into the soil as possible. Plant the water [ala Brad Lancaster], plant the life [high quality living compost/compost tea] and provide as much food to that life as possible during establishment via root exudates and surface carbon- irrigating the first few years if necessary.

That being said, you might have already tried all this, and I'm aware you have a limited budget [of both monetary energy and physical energy] to put these into practice. I'm just putting out a few thoughts.

I don't live in a climate that resembles yours at all [nor do my soils] so my personal experience isn't really of any value here.
 
John Saltveit
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I think instead of focusing on the fact that your plant died, it might be more useful to focus on how people who managed to keep those same place alive, then wean them from irrigation.
John S
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paul wheaton
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I spent a lot of time talking to jocelyn today about how a person might find gert-i-tude.  Through lots of paths a few important tidbits popped out:


bit-631:  gert has three acres and lives in a gert village made of other gerts (that are not named gert).   I'm going to say that there a 20 different plots each with 1 to three people. 

bit-632:  there are two possible paths:

bit-632.1:   find an existing village of gerts and get a plot

bit-632.2:   find 200 acres of sloped land and start a gert village

bit-633:  if you ever eat beef, you need 200 acres or more.   80 is the bare minimum, but that is a dificult minimum.

bit-634:  if you seek a gert village, how can you be sure that the village will be there for 30 years or more?

bit-635:  jocelyn and I tried to imagine going back 30 years ...  need to find a place with 200 acres or more that lasted at least 30 years.  With this particular exercise, we didn't allow ourselves to use the internet - it had to be from memory.   Nada.

bit-636:  it cannot be a place where each person owns a 3 acre plot.  That can lead to your neighbors not having the same values.

bit-637:  there is a crucial component - to get all of the gerts to have the same values, somebody has to publish something that expresses, in detail, the values.   Otherwise, you can get a lot of people that think they have similar values, but in time, it turns out that they don't.  For example, about half the permies I have met insist that they "never spray .... well, except for, you know, when I spray."




 
Tyler Ludens
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John Saltveit wrote:I think instead of focusing on the fact that your plant died, it might be more useful to focus on how people who managed to keep those same place alive, then wean them from irrigation.


That's why I keep asking for an example of that model.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Why doesn't a 3,000 year old system in Morocco qualify?


Because I don't have 3000 years to establish and test my system.  As I mentioned, I might have about a decade more, after learning and working for about two decades.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Why doesn't a 3,000 year old system in Morocco qualify?


Because I don't have 3000 years to establish and test my system.  As I mentioned, I might have about a decade more, after learning and working for about two decades.

Ah, that's a fair point. Establishing that system could have taken decades, we have no way of knowing.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's really hard to know if one's system is resilient - I had mature, established fruit trees which were living without irrigation, until we got our big drought and then they all died.  That taught me I can't just plant trees where the soil is good, I have to plant very specific types of trees in specific places.  Some Gerts who learn all this early on, or are quick studies, or who live in more forgiving climates, might be all set up by the time they are my age.  I'm not that Gert, I'm just a half-a-Gert...

 
r ranson
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One of the things that Gert has is very good social skills.

Even if she doesn't live in a village of Gerts, she still trades and communicates with other people.  Gert can't do everything, so maybe she grows squash and exchanges them for corn?  She would need to form a relationship with the other person, and maintain that relationship so long as she wishes to exchange squash for corn. 

A lot of people seem to think this is a natural skill that just needs nurturing.  That anyone can learn to communicate well, to get out there, to interact with other humans.  I don't think it is. 

What about us would-be Gerts who are extreme introverts?  Is there any path for us?
 
Maureen Atsali
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I don't think I'm experienced enough to qualify as a Gert... five years in, I'm still learning.

However... I do live 100% off the grid, in a earth-house that cost less than $1500 USD to build, with very simple solar power system - 100 watt panel, one battery, 600 watt inverter.  We get about 80% of our calories off the farm.  We have a monthly income of about $400 USD a month.  In this impoverished, rural village, that $400 makes us "rich" (well, maybe middle class).  We have a large family (2 adults, 4 kids, 1 part time employee, and a huge, needy extended family.) and there is NEVER any surplus.  Our 2.5 acres were inherited, and at present you only pay tax once, when you acquire your title deed (but I hear that is changing.)  I do almost all of the farm work myself, without mechanization.  No tractors, no tillers.  I am some-what disabled and can not put in much more than 2 or 3 hours of hard physical labor.  It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to take care of the animals (chickens, ducks, rabbit, goats, sheep, zebu cow.)  But there is other work aside from the physical labor which is time consuming but not hard.  Like cleaning and sorting seeds.

I should also mention, I am one of those extreme introverts.  I rely heavily on my husband, children, and my employees to deal with the social aspect of farming.  I'm 35, I haven't learned to communicate well, I doubt I ever will.  There is the additional challenge here of the language barriers, and the fact that I am a foreigner.  Dealing with people is difficult.  My husband just this week made a deal with some neighbors to plant sweet potatoes amongst our tree saplings.  They do the labor, we provide the land, we'll split the harvest.  A very nice deal that I couldn't have orchestrated myself.
 
paul wheaton
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Maureen Atsali wrote: I do live 100% off the grid, in a earth-house that cost less than $1500 USD to build, with very simple solar power system - 100 watt panel, one battery, 600 watt inverter.  We get about 80% of our calories off the farm.


pics?

 
Maureen Atsali
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I haven't been able to upload photos on these forums... I think my internet connection is too slow.  But let me try again.
001.JPG
[Thumbnail for 001.JPG]
The Mud House
 
Blaze Gorski
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There must be
 
Gary Donaldson
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Location: Macleay Island , Queensland AUSTRALIA
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Sometimes when I look in Paul Wheaton's mirror, I catch a glimpse of me.
 
They weren't very bright, but they were very, very big. Ad contrast:
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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