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A permaculture standard

 
James Slaughter
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Certification of organic and biodynamic food and practice seems to be more than common place now. It is in fact a requirement of the marketplace. It is the thing that has enabled those ideas and practices to take place in a larger market, to broaden their popularity, to gain confidence in what they're trying to do. Now this is the crux. What is permaculture? What would the "certification standard" look like? Unless this can be clarified then those producing food in this manner will always fall back on labelling themselves as one or the other, and the ideal of permaculture will never gain more than a toehold on a broader consciousness. In and of itself permaculture is often not simply an easily defined thing. It is not hugelkultur, it is not polyculture, it is not organic farming. Though it can be all of them. This is the problem. If it is to gain a stronger following, it has to be a lot more clear on what it actually is. Perhaps there needs to be a whole new definition created for the food produced using these systems. Or else it will be limited to being the method (or I should say "a method") of producing organic or biodynamic food. Funny thing is, I bet many of the people in the market have no idea what "biodynamic" even actually means, but still regard it as a healthy option.
What's in a name? Everything.
 
James Slaughter
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"Permafood" ? "food produced in a sustainable, environmentally concerned way using the practice of permaculture as its guide"?
 
Tyler Ludens
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The standard, in my opinion, would be that we know who grows our food and how they do it.

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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In the very beginning of this lecture the permaculture organization is discussed along with the definition of design. I believe his reason for introducing this difficult topic as a first lecture is to get students to start thinking outside the box and not put limits on possibilities.

http://www.networkearth.org/videos/The_Function_Of_Design.html

Edited to add:

He does give a definition of sustainable that I absolutely love:

Any system which, in it's lifetime, creates more energy than it uses. That definition offers both limitless possibilities and great challenge to the designers and users of the system.
 
John Polk
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I doubt that permaculture will ever be "certified" for marketing purposes. It is not a cut and dry set of rules. It is a design process, which uses many different tools and techniques to reach the end goal.

Who would set the 'standard', deciding which practices need to be followed, and which cannot be followed.
If "organic" is any example, then BigAg would get the final say on molding the rules in its favor.
They would bastardize 'permaculture' just as they have 'organic'.

In the USA, organic is not as clear cut and strict as it is in Europe. Europe lists what can be used in the production. The USA does not. The USA lists things that cannot be used. If something is not on the list, then its use is not prohibited.

Just as in Europe and Australia, there are stocking densities for "Free Ranged" poultry. Their numbers translate into US measurements to be around 200-300 per acre. In the USA, there is no limit. If every bird can even see an open door, they qualify as free range here. You could put 10,000 hens in a coop in a 1 acre gravel pit, and probably still qualify.

Once BigAg sees a potential profit, they move swiftly to position themselves to reap the rewards, no holds barred.

 
Me Wagner
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Location: SE Georgia Zone 8B
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John Polk wrote:I doubt that permaculture will ever be "certified" for marketing purposes. It is not a cut and dry set of rules. It is a design process, which uses many different tools and techniques to reach the end goal.


That definition makes me feel much more comfortable with the concept of PC, and trying to learn/apply the practices as much as possible. I only wish to learn for myself, my family, and to leave our little place in the world as natural as I can while being sustainable (eventually). I would like to get others I know to use these practices as well, but I live in a community where change does not come easy. For the moment, I will just concentrate on "learning" for myself.
 
James Slaughter
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Does the world need permaculture to feed it? I hope so! I would like to see this become the normal way of feeding the world after peak oil and irrational subsidies that allow rape and pillage style agriculture to exist fall by the wayside. The thing is, at this point in time, with no real standard set, limited scientific support (yay for big business supported agricultural "research"), it is basically more about supporting ones own direct family or community rather than even being thought about as the methodology that could help humanity reconnect with the reality of a living, resource limited planet. Community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmer's markets appear to be a good fit for the person trying to make a living from the philosophy, but I just believe we may need some bigger overall organizational approach. It is not about making money to buy a new car, to go for a weekend at Vegas, etc. It is about using that money to protect the philosophy from those that may try to slash and burn our farms by using the legal system that currently does nothing but support monopolization and monoculture. It is also about having money to do things like donating it to the organizations that are seeking to make a difference through protecting what little we have left in the world of natural systems and environment ( http://www.trustfornature.org.au/about-us/our-services/ for example). If we practice the idea of subsistance living, all we are truly doing is isolating ourselves from the world and either waiting for "armageddon" or praying that no one wants to pressure us out of what we have built (rates for instance, something of a massive problem here in a Australia as they use it to push farmers off fertile land so they can develop more suburbia...yay. Another thing in Australia, if they discover something "useful" in the way of minerals, oil, coal, etc under your land, the law stands that they own the rights to it and can basically do what they want to extract it at their leisure). A good example of what can happen -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yacouba_Sawadogo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzah_5y65AU
So I guess I am saying the more that we can integrate the philosophy of permaculture into mainstream thinking the better. And the way of the world (of man) is that money talks.
 
Levente Andras
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Location: Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania
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It's not Permaculture that will feed the world... it's the stewards of the land that will. And the stewards of the land will hopefully adopt Permaculture. If you accept this slight difference in phrasing, you will see the huge implications

As I wrote in a previous thread where I got moderated out, I don't think Permaculture can become mainstream in the current socio-economic system, where less than 5% of the population feeds the other 95%, who don't live on the land, own no land, have no access to land, and have no skills and/or no interest in growing their food.

It's a socio-economic system where commerce and trading are encouraged by the state because they pay taxes, whereas self-reliance, closed-loop systems, localised production and barter are (more or less implicitly) discouraged because they don't generate taxes.

As long as this system is perpetuated, food production will by default stay in the hands of large operators, and done on consolidated land on a huge scale. If I recall correctly, it is postulated in Permaculture theory that permaculture design does not work beyond a certain scale. So if by some miracle we persuaded the big food producers to adopt Permaculture, they will most surely be at a loss as to how to be permaculture-compliant when, for instance, they have to ship their produce to far-flung markets.

I could continue to discuss all the ramifications, but I hope you got the point, so I'll stop here.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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