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Permaculture Voices 2014 Conference - March 13-16, 2014 - Temecula, CA  RSS feed

 
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You might be able to connect with regional groups via the forums here. Oh wait, I see that you have posted in this forum to that effect (and I agree that it's odd to group Napa, California into "Southwest USA").

Anyway, there are many that lurk here, so it's worthwhile to post about your own events and groups in the hopes that people will find you here and connect in the real world. We'd love to hear about things you've done (posts with pictures are even cooler!) so please share in the various forums that match up topic-wise.

When I read your post, I though about Transition Town, but I can't say I know much about it. I know it is rooted in permaculture and it's been suggested that it's really just a stalking horse for Permaculture without the political baggage. That's another thing to look into. . .
 
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I did write that the podcasters are doing significant work did I not? i certainly include you in that group. Your correct in that I should have done more to congratulate you and every one on what is being done here. Apologies if the implication in any way seemed critical of the work at this site I truly am very impressed by what happens here and how it promotes discussion and grassroots information sharing. I guess i thought it went without saying that I was a fan since I spend time here, but in retrospect I should have made my admiration known.This is however pretty much the only significant discussion board there is.

My rebuke was more about the idea that a capitalist approach is the only approach to the problems involved with an effort towards public dissemination of information, and I really did not feel that allegation had bearing on the approach here. As a movement I think we have shortcomings and it is unfortunate if that can only be heard as being critical of those who have accomplished the most. That was certainly not my intent
 
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My rebuke was more about the idea that a capitalist approach to the problems of wide public dissemination of information



When I hear "capitalist" I don't even know what that means anymore. It seems that it is some sort of political thing, which would be removed from this thread and should only be covered in the cider press.

We have a HUGE mountain of stuff that is given away for free. And a smattering of stuff for which there is a money exchange.

If what we have now could use improvement, then please go out and create that improvement. Do the work.

This thread is for discussion of the voices conference. I have yet to figure out how talk of capitalism, or any of your other comments relates in any way.
 
Matt Grantham
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It was mostly related Jack Spirko's comments saying that if the prices for the conference were a problem for you that you should work harder and make some extra money. I respect Mr Spirko and I think it is important that we in permaculture try to find a way to incorporate, or tolerate ideological differences within the movement. All I was trying to say that I thought acting locally with others to disseminate the information in ways that gave you an alternative to having to spend more money was a worthwhile consideration as well. I probably did not spell that out very well.

And I am doing my work by the way, and maybe some day you might be interested. It has a ways to go before I would formally introduce it here



Julia- Thanks for the message, and maybe I will keep an eye on the Cascadia region stuff a little bit
 
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Matt Grantham wrote: I just wanted to respond to the idea that we all need to work harder to afford these kind of admission fees. For harmony's sake I will simply offer an alternative vision. If we posit that permaculture , or at least the information presented at these conferences, is to some degree a set of tangible understandings then the availability of this information should become more readily available as more individuals become involved. In other words if only a few series of expert 'know' or are the only folks 'capable' of delivering the information then the price remains high since it is scarce. Yet when information is being presented widely, and when those being taught the information are practicing the principles being taught, then the pool of experts and potential teachers should be going up, and therefore the cost of seminars should be going down because more people are becoming capable of teaching it

I am not here to say something is broken with the prices seemingly getting higher for permaculture related seminars and PCD's. all I am saying that in theory prices should go down as the level of successful dissemination of information over an increasingly growing population of students, the price should go down.

Also several posts here said we need to operate within the capitalist system in order to perpetuate permaculture and the like. Obviously this is true to a limited degree. But many of us who see working outside of the monied system with alternative currencies, time banks , share and gift economies, and the open source movement suggest that information gathering and the work involved in these issues can be accomplished outside the conventional economic system to a very large degree.

Hope this is not seen as argumentative, I did my best to simply explain another vision as opposed to criticizing some of those presented by others



I find it very difficult to make statements like this because of the complexity involved.

A couple weeks ago, someone wrote to me on Facebook saying "I see you sell your eggs for three times the price I sell mine for." There was a flavor of condescension in the way they phrased it too.

I can't compare the way I raise my hens to the way some stranger raises his hens. I also can't compare market conditions where I live to where he lives. It's not even the same currency. Even though it's only eggs, it's still apples and oranges.

Similarly, not all events are created equal, and there is a lot of complexity involved.

Talking of PDCs, conferences, workshops, and lectures and we're already venturing into this territory. Each type of event has their own costs involved, costs which are unique to that format.

Geoff Lawton offers a PDC online, and if memory serves, the cost to the consumer is $1000. But what are his expenses? What does it cost him to host the event? What does it cost him to produce videos? What does it cost him in terms of time to answer all the questions from all the participants in the Q&A Sessions, and how much is that time worth doing other things? How much did it cost to produce all the DVDs he's made over the years, which he gives away to the PDC participants?

Once you run the numbers, Does $1000 reflect his own expenses? Probably not. All things considered, I'd imagine his expenses are higher, but he takes the longview that investing his time and energy will pay dividends in another generation. Can he charge less per person and get paid by increasing the volume of students he reaches? Perhaps, but not without changing the other expenses like hosting or time-involvement.

Or perhaps he's turning a major profit. Does it matter, so long as he provides major value? I think the value he provides over those 12 weeks is probably worth far more than $1000.

In fact, I'd probably just give him $1000 without taking the PDC because I know he's going to do something awesome with it. If I had time, I would have signed up for the PDC though, because I would also get access to Geoff's decades(!) of knowledge and experience.

But say that the cost for any PDC, online or otherwise, were capped at an arbitrary amount, maybe $100.

Would you rather pay to go to Geoff's PDC, or one taught by Sam Boisseau, for example? I think most people would choose Geoff. So your model doesn't account for supply and demand in the sense that there is only one Geoff, and he's in high demand. But also, it doesn't account for supply and demand in the sense that there are constantly more people learning about Permaculture.

For the sake of comparison, Say Sam teaches an offline PDC. He rents a space that can accommodate 50 participants, so assuming he can sell 50 tickets at $100 each, he's got a budget of $5000. He's got to pay for the space, he's got to pay any other instructors who help out, (and to figure out who he should get to teach, which name sells more tickets, Geoff Lawton or Enrique Garcia? which of them will cost him more?) he might also have to pay for food and accommodation for the participants.

At the end of two weeks (which is also not standardized into our comparison models) how much money does he have left? Even if he's not in the red, do you think he'll want to relive the experience and offer another PDC ever again? Probably not.

By your model, Geoff Lawton must have paid a fortune for his PDC, since the information was so scarce and the number of people offering PDCs in 1983 were so few.

But so far I've only talked about PDCs, and this thread is about the Permaculture Voices Conference.

A lot of the same thinking applies. Diego had a number of expenses to deal with to put this event on. He had to pay for the space, which was probably no small amount. He had to pay speakers, some of which charged exorbitant fees but their involvement boosted ticket sales and brought "legitimacy" to Permaculture. (Others would not accept payment because they have a need to "infect brains" as Paul would put it.) Diego also had to pay for their travel and accommodation in many cases, and as you might imagine, flying people in from all over the country (and some from overseas) is not cheap. The amount he paid to film the conference was higher than many minimum-wage workers earn in a year. But all these are Diego's concerns, not yours.

Consumers aren't interested in how much it costs someone else to put on an event, they are only interested in what it costs themselves to participate.

So say you missed the early-bird price and all the other sale prices or scholarships and you paid full price, which was just under $1000 for the ticket plus expenses. Did you get more than $1000 worth of value? Most definitely.

And that's what it is. A transaction of value-for-value exchange.

From the conference, you got over 40 hours of solid information about how to turn a profit raising dairy cows, marketing your farm products, utilizing under-appreciated growing spaces, leasing or otherwise using land you don't own and so on. Boom. Paid for itself.

You also got the opportunity to network with other people, exchanging ideas with like-minded people, and you got to rub elbows with the people you'd previously only been able to watch in videos from your computers for several months. However else could I have had the opportunity to take the photo which Paul posted in this thread on the 9th of April?

Coming back to filming the conference, Diego took a big risk in hosting this event and was very careful to minimize his expenses, and when it came time for me to give him a proposal, I had to minimize my expenses as well, paying a seven-person team unusually low wages, renting fewer cameras and other equipment than I would have liked, etc. In some cases, the production quality suffered because of it, either the audio quality wasn't as good, or there was only one camera recording, or some other compromise had to be made due to budget constraints.

In my opinion, I could have drastically improved the production quality with a little extra equipment, but unexpected expenses ate up my budget. Diego also had unexpected expenses, and was cautious about spending even more (and rightly so).

Some people get a little buttsore about having to pay for things, especially if the price tag is high (and disregarding the value they get in exchange) but I can honestly say, I felt SO good about paying my team and wish I could have paid them more suitable wages. You might say that it felt good because I wasn't paying them with my own money, I was paying them with Diego's money, which was technically the money of the conference attendees before that, but at any rate, I was contributing to the economy in general, and my friends, family, and colleagues in particular, and I'm glad that I could have that opportunity. I ended up going home with less money than I came with, and not because I was overzealous at the book table. And I would do it all over again, because it was a great experience.

But my team wasn't willing to accept work-trade. The camera rental house wasn't participating in the gift economy. We permaculturalists accept these alternatives because we're trying to make the world a better place and we see money as a problem we need to fix (when in reality, the problem we label "money" is actually corruption) but we can't penetrate a society with permaculture without being a part of society. Change comes from within. We need to participate if we want to make a difference.

The market expects valuable things to cost an equally valuable amount of money. As Rob Avis points out, if we don't charge what the market expects us to charge, we don't get hired, we get viewed with suspicion.

Imagine you needed to have a cyst removed, and as you were walking into the doctor's office, some guy stopped you and said, "I can take care of that for you, I've got a table set up in my basement. Don't pay a fortune to the surgeon, I'll do it for $10." I think most of us would still rather go to the doctor.

If what we offer is of higher value than other landscape architects, we need to charge more.

However, taking into consideration that not everyone can as easily afford a ticket to the conference (and thus, doesn't have access to the same opportunities as those who do), the information is available for much cheaper. Diego paid to have the conference filmed, and he paid to have the video material edited, and he's recouping his costs by making the videos available online for practically free.

If you were at PV1, you missed about 50% of the conference because of the way it was scheduled (many events happened concurrently). If you weren't there, you missed 100%. Therefore, for 50% or 100% of the price of video access, you can see all the presentations online, plus the bonus footage. And if the knowledge gained can earn back the price of a ticket, how much more so the price of video access?

Everything has a cost, though not everything has a price tag. If you don't want to pay for anything, there are several podcasts you can subscribe to to get the information. It's free to you, but a financial burden to the people who produce them. (People who consume but don't give back are like leaches though.)

Then, it also comes down to timeliness. If you don't want to pay to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in a movie theater next week, you can wait for it to go to HBO or Showtime, or wait a bit longer for DVD release, or wait a bit longer and maybe it will air on NBC in 2016. By 2020, I'm sure it will be on the rack at your public library. The information you don't want to pay for will probably be free in a few years as well.

[End of novel]
 
Matt Grantham
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Chad- That is all well and good, but i am not clear what it has to do with anything I said. As far as I know I made no particular pronouncement on the market system, or on the value of the conferences. PCD's etc. All I said is that for those whose end aim is to educate others but are troubled by prices, they can consider other avenues than working harder to come up with the money. Working together collaboratively at the local level is another such option

As for the idea that people are freeloading off podcasts. To me the simplest response is citing the so called open source movement. Increasingly there are those willing to donate information and resources with no expected reciprocation. So part of the point is whether the author of information is looking for compensation or not. The information commons, creative commons licensing, and other formats outside of the traditional contracting relationships have been upon us for awhile.
 
Chad Sentman
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I think the people who are interested in educating others are seldom concerned with the price; it is often the person receiving the education who complains about needing to pay for it.

You have time for the things you make time for. You have money for the things you make money for.

Old friends have told me for years that they wanted to come to Europe to visit me. In the years that they've been saying that, more than enough money has passed through their hands to pay for several flights. It's just not priority to them. Like in the Pixar movie Up, something else will invariably come along.

My point was unrelated to whether or not podcast producers seek compensation. If everyone expects things for free (ignoring the cost to producers) then producers are unmotivated to keep putting out new content. If you pirate Gaia's Garden, that is like killing the Golden Goose, and Toby Hemenway stops offering his knowledge to the world.

I bought Paul's Political Podcast, not because I care deeply about Politics, but I was mildly interested in his take on things, and it was my own interpretation of "tip-the-web". I wanted to show some support, to motivate him to keep putting out great content.

As to the relevance of my comments to yours, it seems that some of us still don't really understand what you want to say with your last few posts. I think my comments stand alone, inspired by what I felt was an oversimplification of price economics.
 
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Matt Grantham wrote: I do want to be clear on my point. My point is about my perception for the necessity for groups of individuals, taking PDC's or otherwise involving them selves in permaculture and local resilience, to organize themselves in a manner which purposefully promotes the passing down of what they have learned nto the practice of teaching others. In other words we need a grassroots, probably community based, pdissemination of the information into the broader community. It does eventually bring up the questions of certification by the permacultural certifying agencies, but this is not really the point. Instead, the attitude of the non expert class and how they approach the dissemination of the information to the public is much more my focus. Part of what I am suggesting is we need some purposeful cooperation with groups of well educated and motivated permies willing to work together in trying to bring the information to the public, and most likely done so in their own communities. I don't see a lot happening in that arena. I don't even see regional or international discussion forums or collaborative on line discussions approaching these issues. I know it sounds like complaining, but I have been working on projects which lend themselves to such a collaboration and I see more as a positive desire for something as opposed to simply complaining that it does not now exist

And again to rehash, I believe this frame is a very different from the market frame which basically states the dissemination of information will be dictated by how many consumers can pay to learn the information

I do think some of the podcasters have done a terrific job, and they are probably the best examples of what i am talking about. Offering information to the community, and then hopefully inviting them to be part of a broader effort of it's dissemination

So I just saw your post Paul, and hopefully my last post makes it clear that I am not complaining about with big events with big names and big prices. I instead do have concerns about kind of second tier experts ability to coordinate and work within their communities,



I think there are pretty strong regional and local movements. Check out all of the local meetup groups. There are a lot of large and active groups. How much actually get's accomplished in those groups is debatable. But there are people put the work in, organizing, and getting together.
 
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" which name sells more tickets, Geoff Lawton or Enrique Garcia? "

Today it is Geoff Lawton .. but i am hot on his heels .. check back in 40 -50 years
 
Matt Grantham
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Diego- Please Tell me any group that has either a discussion forum, or a list serv in Northern California? And yes my expectations are likely too high, but I think we need to be real about what actually exists and what does not
 
Enrique Garcia
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I also want to point out that i do agree with the point that the dude is making .. that alternative economies have value & will be a very valuable tool when we are finally winning at changing things ... but as of now not enough people are participating in them to make them strong enough to pull off an event like the one Diego did ... i wish it were true ... i also wanna say something no one ever considers .. & that is about discretionary income ... which for the 99% is equal to the same amount of the 1% ... about a trillion dollars .. so after rent, food & clothing is handled .. we still as a society have enough $$ passing thru our hands to literally change everything overnight ... especially if we united ... we at least have enough to attend a conference .. instead we spend it on stuff which doesn't improve our lives but cause a greater burden on our health further burdening us with more costs ... Last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping. With that much dough, you could buy over 2000 aircraft carriers or 300 private islands ... we spent $96 billion on beer alone !! $65 billion on soft drinks (sugar water with bubbles) & $117 billion on fast food ... so while this crowd might be different .. the only thing that needs to change is our priorities ... $5 cups of coffee ain't getting it done ... the american belief that it is all about me ... is the problem ... we have not just the ability but the funds to change everything ...
 
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Let's try to keep this thread on topic: The Permaculture Voices Conference.

As interesting as some of the talk is about economies, that topic belongs in the Cider Press, in its own thread.
 
Enrique Garcia
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Ok, no worries ... what is Cider Press ? I thought Paul made that up ... kinda new here
 
John Polk
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The Cider Press is real. It is the only place where certain topics are allowed to be discussed.
Please see: http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/31128#241860

 
Chad Sentman
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The Cider Press is real. It is the only place where certain topics are allowed to be discussed.



You make it sound so mystical, like some sort of secret realm or alternate reality that you can only access through a hidden portal. Maybe something like Narnia.

I can imagine you saying this in hushed tones and with wide eyes.
 
Julia Winter
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Chad Sentman wrote:

You make it sound so mystical, like some sort of secret realm or alternate reality



Oh, it is. It is.

 
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Hi
I finally got to the Permaculture Voices podcast and wanted to buy the streaming subscription.
Well the price is heavy even for a Swiss guy like me.
Then I noticed the Coupon field and started wondering if there is one for permies!

Is there a coupon code for permies?

Regards,
Dominik
 
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Dominik Riva wrote:Hi
I finally got to the Permaculture Voices podcast and wanted to buy the streaming subscription.
Well the price is heavy even for a Swiss guy like me.
Then I noticed the Coupon field and started wondering if there is one for permies!

Is there a coupon code for permies?

Regards,
Dominik



I don't see a price for the permaculture voices podcasts, they are free as far as I can tell. It's the streaming permaculture voices videos of the event that cost money.

There is not a coupon code for permies, though there is a discount on the videos if you attended the event. You should have received an e-mail about that if you were an attendee.
 
Diego Footer
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Dominik Riva wrote:Hi
I finally got to the Permaculture Voices podcast and wanted to buy the streaming subscription.
Well the price is heavy even for a Swiss guy like me.
Then I noticed the Coupon field and started wondering if there is one for permies!

Is there a coupon code for permies?

Regards,
Dominik



Jocelyn is correct.
Podcast FREE.
Videos. Discount if you attended PV1 and/or are a member of Jack Spirko's Member Support Brigade.
 
Dominik Riva
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I don't see a price for the permaculture voices podcasts, they are free as far as I can tell. It's the streaming permaculture voices videos of the event that cost money.

There is not a coupon code for permies, though there is a discount on the videos if you attended the event. You should have received an e-mail about that if you were an attendee.


With the podcast I meant the one Paul made about the conference. Well I was hoping that a discount would bring the price of the streaming videos down a bit so I can buy the subscription with the remaining money on my prepaid credit card.
Now that this looks impossible I need to talk with the missus and get the expense approved first

 
Dominik Riva
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Diego Footer wrote:

Jocelyn is correct.
Podcast FREE.
Videos. Discount if you attended PV1 and/or are a member of Jack Spirko's Member Support Brigade.


Good reminder. Becoming a member of his support brigade was on my to-do list anyway. Now I only need to figure out if the remaining money on my card is sufficient to complete my permaculture shopping spree
 
Diego Footer
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Dominik Riva wrote:

Diego Footer wrote:

Jocelyn is correct.
Podcast FREE.
Videos. Discount if you attended PV1 and/or are a member of Jack Spirko's Member Support Brigade.


Good reminder. Becoming a member of his support brigade was on my to-do list anyway. Now I only need to figure out if the remaining money on my card is sufficient to complete my permaculture shopping spree



If you have to buy it on credit card debt, don't do it. It isn't worth it. I would rather have someone not buy it, than buy it and add to their credit card debt.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Good point about credit cards Diego! And glad to have your confirmation of my answers.

Dominik Riva wrote:With the podcast I meant the one Paul made about the conference. Well I was hoping that a discount would bring the price of the streaming videos down a bit so I can buy the subscription with the remaining money on my prepaid credit card.
Now that this looks impossible I need to talk with the missus and get the expense approved first


Paul's podcast archives are free, though accessing them in bundles through Scubbly costs a minor amount. Here's Paul's podcast about permaculture voices.

A big reason Paul offered the Scubbly podcast bundles is because the older podcasts would drop off and no longer be available in the iTunes library/feed. I'm not sure if that's the case for other podcast apps, so you might be able to find all the podcasts (both Paul's and Diego's PV podcasts) for free depending on the app you choose/use.
 
Dominik Riva
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Don't worry the card is a prepayd one. If there is no money on the card I can't buy stuff till I recharge it. I got this card to buy stuff on the internet with out getting a regular card as I don't like the concept of buying stuff with money I don't have and being in dept till I pay the bill. The only problem is that recharging is not cheap at all. But don't get me started on banks and credit institutes.

On a more pleasant topic:

Yes, I found the podcast bundles and I'm busy listening to them on my way to and from work.
Actually, I preferred the bundles over the regular podcasts as I could just unzip them and listen to the files in vlc on my phone.
After I reached the end of the bundles it was a pain to download the single podcasts. Finally I gave in and installed a podcast app.
I also managed to subscribe to Diego's podcasts in the app on my phone but it was a bit of a struggle because of the app.
 
Enrique Garcia
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Diego - I don't believe in banks/credit either .. or I didn't anyway .. had zero credit history til i was 30 (I'm 44 now) but then i got denied a place to live .. right after i had my first kid .. ( my ex had some bad credit) .. that was a game changer !! I feel you can play the game intelligently to your advantage ... we stopped paying rent for 7 years (yes, it was hell living with people - earned every dime we saved) but we got out of debt & saved thousands ... now we are writing our own ticket .. we only use credit to improve our score so we can do epic shit we wanna do .. like we got our own home which is a great investment ... pay about $400 less a month than if we rented ... we have grand plans & can make them happen ... somewhat by playing the Man ...

Like if i so choose i can use all the empty credit we have to go to Permie Voices 2015 !!
 
paul wheaton
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Somebody just sent me this one. This is where Jack and I happened to be sitting across from each other and we got into a discussion about something. I was later told that we were "holding court"

jack-spirko-paul-wheaton.jpg
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jack spirko and paul wheaton holding court
 
paul wheaton
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Diego just sent me two more of "court"
paul-wheaton-jack-spirko-2.jpg
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paul-wheaton-jack-spirko-3.jpg
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Diego Footer
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Here is one of Paul's talks from PV1: Wood Stoves 2.0. The latest in Rocket Mass Heaters.

Paul Wheaton and crew have been innovating with four rocket mass heaters at Wheaton Laboratories over the winter in Montana. Hear what is working and not working with what Paul and many believe to be the cleanest and most sustainable way to heat a conventional home.



 
paul wheaton
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Here is the powerpoint that went with this presentation.
Filename: rmh-update.pptx
File size: 7 megabytes
 
pollinator
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Yes, awesome, thank you Paul for adding the powerpoint. It will fill in lots of gaps. A bushel of apples for you and Diego!!
 
Julia Winter
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That was fun - missed it at the conference.

Thanks, guys!
 
Do not set lab on fire. Or this tiny ad:
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