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Teaching Permaculture to kids through Minecraft.

 
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Hi all! So long before I got involved in permaculture, I had success producing Minecraft videos on YouTube. And after doing my PDC and doing some consulting/teaching, I've LOVED teaching new people about Permaculture design principles and core ethics. So I decided to try teaching them by applying them to the video game of Minecraft. The game has enough flexibility and semi-realistic farming elements that tons of Permaculture TOTALLY applies to normal gameplay. And oddly I've never seen anyone apply them; which seems like a huge missed opportunity since Minecraft is being rolled out more and more as an education tool for children (just to be clear, I have seen people use Minecraft as a sort of 3D design studio for their real life permaculture projects, but no one ever applied permaculture to Minecraft as a game).

And if I'm being totally honest, because my wife and I don't have access any land where we live, doing Permaculture in Minecraft together is a fun way to pretend and practice for our own future home while we save up to move to our own place. (That, and our window garden, haha)

I'm specially excited about a "Permaculture in Minecraft" YouTube series because the kids who spend a lot of time watching video games on YouTube probably have the least exposure/access to permaculture education and would benefit most by it. One of the things my PDC teachers taught me is to seek out the most vulnerable people in your community and demonstrate Permaculture with them. So far I've produced 3 episodes of "Permaculture in Minecraft" where the viewer and I focus on People Care, multifunctionality, the Fukuoka method, valuing renewable resources, Earth Care, and all that good stuff.

My wife and I also try to make our YouTube channel something healthy for modern day children to watch. We often record our Minecraft commentary sitting side by side with a webcam, so that kids watching can get just a little more face-to-face interaction with real people and exposure to real human body language (that they might otherwise be deprived of while immersed in technology). I use a webcam for this reason even on the more technical / tutorial videos (which is actually counter-cultural in the Minecraft YouTube community!). We also make videos just showing healthy non-technological living (ironically) like going camping and cooking together.

I wanted to share a link to the video series here cause I figure lots of "Permies" might be interested in something like this. Maybe you have kids or know kids that you'd like to share it with. I think it could be an exciting and surprising way to show them how cool and useful Permaculture is. Maybe you'll enjoy the series yourself! Or maybe you just want even more proof that Permaculture applies to nearly every aspect of human culture, haha. Either way, here's the most recent "Permaculture in Minecraft" episode:



My wife and I hope you like it. And if you want to support us on this project, please consider sharing the video series with someone and leaving a "like" or a comment with your thoughts. So thanks! and happy designing!
 
pollinator
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Wow! I dabbled in Minecraft back in 2013; after seeing all the new things that have been added and the array of educational modules on the Minecraft website, I'm gonna have to re-purchase. Those darn skellies and creepers are gonna rue the day!
 
pollinator
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Cool!

My 12-year-old loves Mindcraft.  We will check it out!
 
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After years of my son watching other kids at our homeschool co-op play minecraft, we finally got him his own account. I have a feeling he'll love your videos!
 
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Yes! I've just recently started playing modded minecraft and kind of immediately realized the possibilities for building for different needs in different biomes. I'm still really new to both permaculture and minecraft so my playstyle has been a blending of newbie mistakes for both so far. But honestly, I'd rather make a mistake trying to build ponds too close to home for gaming reasons than make that mistake in real life.
Christian, I think that what you're doing is great and is very much a step farther than what I've been doing so far just talking to my roommate and kid about the things I'm trying on my own. This is a great level 1 way to get people into permaculture as a system of design principles, it's low-cost, "low-effort" and, when you get into it enough, it already sort of forces you to learn programming and engineering. Seriously, thanks for being first. I'd totally love to volunteer some time if you want it, even if it's just to do video editing, a permies server, or a tour of a pre-built world.
 
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I would also suggest Vintage Story, which is a sort of offshoot of a Minecraft mod. I liken it to the old TerraFirmaCraft MC mod which was more based on survival and a more realistic progression through technology (flint knapping, pottery, metal-casting), but it has far outgrown any mod it might have once been based on. It is highly modifiable in its own right, and highly customisable (I personally highly recommend turning off the temporal mechanics, as the crafting/farming/exploration is plenty for me). One big boon that this game has which might translate well into a teaching experience is real seasons - days get shorter, temperature drops, the snow and ice move in. Can provide a link if anyone's interested, but a search for the name will find it all the same; just don't want to take away from the original post's intent.

I personally don't consume a lot of Minecraft content, but I'll certainly come and check out your series!

Edit: An hour of my workshift and three episodes later, I'm enjoying your content - the presentation style is relaxed and inviting, and your application of concepts to the world is creating a natural growth that Minecraft creations often lack.
 
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I play modded Minecraft these days and would recommend the Serene Seasons mod which will add seasons and make foliage change colors and also affects the growing times of plants. You'll find warm weather and cool weather crop rotations are needed. Pam's Harvest craft is the other mod to get, it adds a ton of different crops and cooking recipes, so you will have plenty of food options for each season.
 
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Thanks so much for making and sharing this, Christian! And thanks to subsequent posters for additional recommendations for mods. My 14 year old loves Minecraft waaaay too much--as a Waldorf kid he wasn't allowed to play video games until the pandemic changed everything, and my husband and I are finding we can't get the genie back into the bottle no matter how hard we try. So he plays Minecraft, within strict time constraints.

But when he tells me how he's farming, I'm always thinking, "WTF! What is my child learning?!" So I am absolutely thrilled to share this with him. He's already watched a little from your permaculture playlist over my shoulder and requested I send him the link, so this is looking very promising.
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