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paul wheaton
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My impression is that he makes/made damn good money. 

The key appears to be diversity:  to have 40 different income streams

He ran a wildlife zoo on his land for a while.

Of course, there is the obvious food sales.  Based on what little I know, I think he might have set up a little on-farm sales thing for a few hours every other day or so.  A lot of chefs would then come and buy from him.  Of course this includes meat/fish, mushrooms, fruits and veggies.

He sold interesting seeds for a while.  It sounds like he has stopped this due to government regulation (monsanto?)

People paid him to tour his land.  Something like a hundred bucks a head.  And one of the youtube videos shows him talking about doing this at a very young age.

There is the consulting and books and videos.

He has built some cottages and people pay to vacation there. 

I know that he has some workshops.

He also has a sort of .... school.  People join "team sepp" (my expression) for two years.  I'm not sure what happens at the end of the two years.  Maybe they get some sort of certificate of sepp-i-tude? 

From the videos, there i mention of how he is one of the few people fooling around with potato seeds - so he is exploring odd varieties of potatoes and selling the seed potatoes.  (for those that might not know, seed potatoes are different from potato seeds)

Interesting meat:  he raises interesting animals for meat.  When other people start to copy him, he moves on to something else.

....  surely there are at least 30 more things and I just can't think of them right now.


 
                          
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my distant plan is to have 6-12 delux undercover caravan sites to suppliment my income during our tourist season, living 1/2 way between Darwin and Kakadu should make it feasable
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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"Interesting meat" can be risky.

A family friend raised capybara in Gustine, CA. Long ago in Brazil, people petitioned the Catholic Church with the rationale: "This thing has flippers. Shouldn't we be able to eat it during Lent?" And the Church OK'd it.

There's a reasonable-sized population of Brazilians in Gustine, and the town overall is about 2/3 Catholic, so you'd think it would be like selling kosher bacon in New York.

If there had been a Holzerian polyculture on the guy's farm already, it might have worked, but it turned out to be unprofitable to provide appropriate food and habitat for semi-aquatic mammals in such a dry, flat part of the world.
 
paul wheaton
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I think an interesting perspective on sepp holzer is that it is my impression that his initial drive is/was:  how do I maximixe profit?  And he ended up at permaculture.  And now the whole toxic chemical thing seems utterly senseless. 

Other permaculture folks have a different mission:  how do I save the world?  They, too, end up at permaculture, but a lot of the time, they don't fully grok the profit aspect.

 
Fred Morgan
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think an interesting perspective on Sepp Holzer is that it is my impression that his initial drive is/was:  how do I maximixe profit?  And he ended up at permaculture.  And now the whole toxic chemical thing seems utterly senseless. 

Other permaculture folks have a different mission:  how do I save the world?  They, too, end up at permaculture, but a lot of the time, they don't fully grok the profit aspect.




I am definitely on the "how do I maximize profit" side of the equation. The way you save the world, in my not so humble opinion, is show that you can be sustainable, and profitable.

And yes, we make a  profit.
 
              
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People paid him to tour his land.  Something like a hundred bucks a head.  And one of the youtube videos shows him talking about doing this at a very young age.


What I've quoted disturbs me, I don't know, but I'm not much of a fan of Sepp when I hear things like that.  It reminds me of those prosperity preaching televangelists.  Charging big bucks on tours and whatever other  'services' that he has provided seems to give the wrong message.  Now, I have seen alot of videos on youtube of him, and he just looks like a poor, bum peasant.  So who knows how much money he's really made on it, must have a stash somewhere if he really did profit alot. 
 
Fred Morgan
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LoonyK wrote:
What I've quoted disturbs me, I don't know, but I'm not much of a fan of Sepp when I hear things like that.  It reminds me of those prosperity preaching televangelists.  Charging big bucks on tours and whatever other  'services' that he has provided seems to give the wrong message.  Now, I have seen alot of videos on youtube of him, and he just looks like a poor, bum peasant.  So who knows how much money he's really made on it, must have a stash somewhere if he really did profit alot. 


I would agree that if you make money because you lead tours, it isn't because you have a complete system that is profitable.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Yea,permaculture pyrimid schemes dont count!
 
paul wheaton
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What I've quoted disturbs me, I don't know, but I'm not much of a fan of Sepp when I hear things like that.  It reminds me of those prosperity preaching televangelists.  Charging big bucks on tours and whatever other  'services' that he has provided seems to give the wrong message.


The fact that he GETS a hundred bucks a head shows how excellent folks think permaculture is!

How much do people pay to see a movie?  Is this not more interesting than a movie? 

How much do people pay to go to a conference?  Or to take a PDC

Personally, I think it's great.  Look at the sepp holzer page and the videos on there that I took where he talks about his childhood.  He would give tours of his little gardens for licks of ice cream. 

 
rose macaskie
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I meet the folks that make chairs out of split wood in a fair i kept their pamphlet, they weren't very friendly, the chairs were very nice i think one of Paul wheatons links was on them and they give courses on making chairs in england and it costs a bit to do their courses. and i thought how would they make money out of it if it did not cost a bit. Mind you they get you making a chair rather than just taking you round a garden.
  loony k. its nice to see your silly foto again, you have not seen peasants if you think that Sepp looks like one, they are mostly or were small, thin and  wrinkled and wizen and wear black. They just say he's just a man of the earth type thing because he is not a university professor but has got to know as much as them and more.  I should think that Sepp in Austria looks like a rich farmer, which is what he is.
  His sons make a living out of his farm too don't they?
Does he need  to show that he  can live only off the land with out any other ways of living , cant anyone see he grows a lot, that it looks like he produces more than them, that this must be better than what they do even if they did not also get perks like showing people round their vegetable garden. David Holgren has an interview that is posted in you tube  in which he is asked about Sepp and fukoaka and  David Holgren who visited his farm and evalluated the situation of the people livign aruound there, talks about the people in Sepps part of the world living off foresting and that not being very profitable and that Sepp has made a soil spoilt by growing fir or pines into a good soil and one in which he could grow anything ,good soil grows more, and terracing works..
      People aren't stupid, you don't have to keep everything absolutely simple so they'll understand it, you have to make things clear, prove them but not absolutely childishly clear. The incredible richness of vegetation on his land is enough for them to think, "i am not as good at negotiating as he is but bettering my land like this would get me further than i could go trying other systems, though it could not get me as far as it gets him.   
    Sepp was a dealer as a child wasn't he? He was trading in some sort of insect that looks like a crocodile for the other children's food. Paul Wheaton here says Sepp as a child would give tours of his gardens for licks of ice cream i had not read that properly. just saw it now. A freind of mine who is living in germany says Sepp means lard or somthing of the sort , so as a child he liked ice creams eh,  it all fits.

      i suppose, you have to separate out him being a dealer and his example showing you what you can grow in difficult circumstances if you know enough about soil and plants and water harvesting. other wise you lose all his information because you don't like dealers.
      I am crazy about permaculture because of all the ideas about better farming and reducing desertification and producing healthier food for us ideas. The, everyone must dig and live off the land bit, seems a bit unpractical to me though i appreciate the suggestion and find it a helpfull one a sort of good counter balance to other ideas but a bit much if to be taken really as gospel.
        Dave Holgren says Sepp runs things like an experiment, he notes down what he has done and what comes of it. Business man, serious scientific approach, and organics farmer guy and in one picture his wife looked happy, mind you you can look happy just like the Japanese traditionally always do in the minds of Europeans, because that is polite. He is a lot of things in one. agri rose macaskie.
 
              
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rose macaskie wrote:

  loony k. its nice to see your silly foto again, you have not seen peasants if you think that Sepp looks like one, they are mostly or were small, thin and  wrinkled and wizen and wear black. They just say he's just a man of the earth type thing because he is not a university professor but has got to know as much as them and more.  I should think that Sepp in Austria looks like a rich farmer, which is what he is.
 



Let's break it down.... 

Peasant definition -  A member of the class constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, and laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture.

so far that describes him.  What makes him appear like a rich farmer?  If I recall, he inherited his land, has he bought up more land like a rich farmer does? 

http://www.dl.ket.org/webmuseum/wm/paint/auth/cezanne/portraits/peasant/cezanne.peasant.jpg
click on the link and that looks like what he looks like, a peasant.  He has that look to him, hard to deny. 


The fact that he GETS a hundred bucks a head shows how excellent folks think permaculture is!

How much do people pay to see a movie?  Is this not more interesting than a movie? 

How much do people pay to go to a conference?  Or to take a PDC?


I think it just shows how much people waste their money, not how awesome permaculture is or isn't.  I sure wonder if he didn't weasel all that money out of it, how profitable it really would have been for him.  How profitable would have it been if he had to buy every acre and only earn money off the land. 

 
Fred Morgan
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I don't have any problem with people giving tours and charging 100 dollars per head. As long as that isn't counted into the sustainability of permaculture, I think it is just fine. After all, not everyone can do that.

I either give tours for free or not at all. You couldn't pay me enough to be a tour guide, but that is just me.

Purchasing land really can't be considered part of the equation. Because the land is an asset that is never consumed (if you take care of it), and you can always sell it afterwards. So, you can't really think that you can purchase land on a loan and pay it off with farming, the profit margins in farming are generally too small to make enough to live on and pay the bank. Many people have tried, and lost everything.

 
paul wheaton
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I sure wonder if he didn't weasel all that money out of it, how profitable it really would have been for him.


Your use of the word "weasel" makes me very uncomfortable here. 

I think that if people were feeling it was not worth it, they would not go.  It isn't as if he is somehow threatening people.

 
paul wheaton
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His sons make a living out of his farm too don't they?


He has one son.  Josef.  Josef plays a significant role on the farm, and on the consulting stuff.

 
              
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Your use of the word "weasel" makes me very uncomfortable here. 

I think that if people were feeling it was not worth it, they would not go.  It isn't as if he is somehow threatening people.


I have felt uncomfortable about some of the things on here too, part of the process of being on forums.   
I think Mt. Goat brought up what could cause people to do this, a pyramid scheme.  He earns money off people interested in permaculture, and he speaks on all the money that one can make with it.  I haven't looked up enough about him to determine what kind of man I think he is, but I am not like some people on here, making him appear to be a god among men.  Is there any literature on how much actual money he makes off his permaculture farm in a year, without all these other non-sustaining and unrealistic examples. 
 
paul wheaton
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LoonyK,

I think it is good to talk about issues openly and frankly.  At the same time, it is critical to me that I not publish anything that suggests that anyone using these forums is anything less than perfect.  So, when discussing issues, I would like to suggest that you talk about the issues without talking about other users on this site.

Please help me to understand what "non-sustaining and unrealistic examples" you are referring to.

 
                                
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LoonyK

I have thought along similar lines in the past. I suspect that much of those nagging concerns about permaculture might stem from the fact that permaculture is somewhat in its infancy. Now I am sure people will jump on this quoting Lawton's words on "3 thousand year food forests", but, honestly, permaculture has only been "gelling" for the last 10-20 years.

Any new field attracts those inspired pioneers that map out the trail ahead. These people tend to attract a dedicated group of followers, and, in order to  further their work they need to finance it from those that want to listen to  them.

Having said that, there is also a negative aspect to permaculture. When I first  got interested in the subject, much of what I could find were advertisements for permaculture courses. It seemed funny at first. "Boutique Hippy Gardening" I thought, laughing....then I noticed how commercialized it was. I even saw on one forum the sentence "I just finished my permaculture course, I cant wait to start teaching my permaculture course back home!". Obviously at this stage Permaculture risks becoming, not a pyramid scheme, but something close to a direct selling scheme similar to Amway. Money is to be made in selling Permaculture, rather than in doing permaculture itself. I guess it saves one from getting hands dirty.

These concerns have steered me away from ever taking that $499.95 three day course. After all, who wants to hear regurgitated notes someone took six weeks ago at their permaculture teacher training course?

The danger with this road, down which permaculture might be heading, is that it may inhibit *free* dissemination of ideas. All of a sudden people are thinking "gosh I had to pay hundreds of bucks to know this. I'm not going to tell anyone what I know for free". Communication will break down, there will be no peer review, no criticism, no data collected, no data exchanged. The subject will stagnate and die.

Actually more interesting is this online forum.

Real people doing gardening, exchanging ideas. We have a dedicated moderator, Paul Wheaton who must give up much of his spare time to inject new subjects, keep flame wars to a minimum and generally keeping things entertaining. This is all for free, and in return we are free with our own knowhow....a very 21st century, wiki kind of endeavor. So you may or may not be right about the Sepp, but that is not really important....his ideas will crop up here. So what do you think of them? have you tried any of them out...can you share the info...it will be free, fun and fascinating. Umm a lot of f words go well together, no?

All the best

Thomas

 
paul wheaton
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Thanks for acknowledging what I do Thomas!

And now for my oboxious opinion on the rest of your post! 

I think that if some pleeb wants to offer a three day class about their recent permaculture experience, I probably won't go either.  On the other hand, if they are an awesome marketer and an awesome presenter, then I would support their effort.  If they actually get a bunch of folks to pay for it and those folks are happy with the transaction, then I'm good with it. 

I suppose if they passed a bunch of errant info or made the rest of permaculture look bad, that would be most unfortunate and I would rather that they didn't do that.  But I have no way to stop them.  And I'm not sure I would want to be part of a way to stop them. 



 
Neal McSpadden
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The way to stop people tarnishing the name of permaculture is to outcompete them.  Get out there, make people aware of how awesome you/your ideas are.

In the long run, in the free exchange of ideas, the best tends to win out.
 
rose macaskie
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Would Sepp have been able to terrace as much as he has etc., if he had not been a good buisness man. I have no idea about business that makes me scared to borrow money or to go in to a business and if i did my attempts would probably be timid and just show that you could survive scrappily in a horrible hippies way on a farm. I am really pretty keen on hippies. rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  Tamo42, you talk of permaculturist out comperteing the other farmers,The australians prove it is more effective than other types of farming, the permaculturist Peter Andrews who some guy with a big farm employed to green his farm has created a green patch among the barren lands of the next door farmers according to his videos. agri rose macaskie.
 
Rob Alexander
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Ok, so..
Making a profit is a bad thing?
and teaching a bad thing too?

Some of the opinions being put forward here are pretty shaky.

Maximizing profits from a farm is half the battle of successful farming (yes, we have to be good stewards of the environment too.)

The suggestion has been made that teaching Permaculture is somehow a pyramid scheme.
Fairly big pyramid you've got there.
and the whole point about Pyramid schemes is that the last participants are left stranded, with nothing when there is no-one left to recruit.
Being educated about Permaculture is a lot more than nothing, and is the goal of taking the course anyway. (the argument that poorly taught PDCs are bad is a moot point. Poorly taught anything is bad, it's not limited to permaculture, if you want to discuss regulation of permaculture teaching qualifications there are other places to do it.

"Teaching Permaculture will only last until there's no one left to teach.."
Agricultural colleges have been teaching the same subjects year after year, but everyone in the world isn't going to be educated on some wonderful day in the future.
Teaching is a sustainable endeavour.

"Charging for farm tours is Evil"
Anyone who has run a farm will know that to really show people around so they can get a good understanding of a complex farm and all of the ideas and concepts behind it takes up quite a lot of time, which means that you're not doing "farm" work for that period.
Some people choose to give short farm tours for free, which is very generous and may help to spread the word about the farm and its products, others only take on wwoofers or interns so they can learn in exchange for their labour, and some people charge money for half/full day farm tours. (if the tours aren't worth the price asked for them, people would stop coming. That's how it works in the real world)
All 3 are perfectly valid and fair.

The last argument that sepp holzer is somehow a bad guy for being a profitable permaculturist, or that he should be wearing a tuxedo if he's a rich farmer, well..
says something about the person making the statement, not about Sepp.

 
paul wheaton
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pawnjp wrote:
Making a profit is a bad thing?
and teaching a bad thing too?


It is my opinion that making a profit is a good thing.

It is also my opinion that teaching is a good thing. 

Let me be clear, the focus of this forum is to make a profit.  Even more:  to maximize profit.  This forum is about dollars. 

Some of the opinions being put forward here are pretty shaky.


Perhaps what you mean to say is that some of the opinions being put forward are different from yours.  Facts can be shaky, but I cannot think of how an opinion, no matter how wacky, can ever be shaky.



pawnjp wrote:
The suggestion has been made that teaching Permaculture is somehow a pyramid scheme.


I've heard this mentioned in some places.  And I don't get the logic of that.  And, since I think it is closer to baiting than something accurate, I tend to skip past it.









pawnjp wrote:

"Charging for farm tours is Evil"


I tried to find what you are quoting and i couldn't find it.  Did you paraphrase?

So .... pawnjp ..... I share your concern over an attempt to talk about making money on a farm being contested by folks that want to talk about not earning money.  I think earning a living on a farm is hard enough without having to wrestle with the utopian meta views of folks that want to live their lives another way.

I will try to be a better forum admin and discourage that sort of thing.



 
Rob Alexander
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Yes, the "Charging for farm tours is Evil" was a paraphrase.
It was in reference to the "weaselling" aspersion.

I think that we'll have to agree to disagree as to whether opinions can be shaky or not.
I personally think that an opinion without little or no demonstrable factual basis is by definition, shaky.
but we digress..

Lets get back to sepp holzer and how we can all become ethical and profitable permaculturists.

Diversification, low input cost and well thought out specialization seem to be crucial elements at Sepp's place, and in my personal case, are goals.
I'm currently a Goat farmer/cheesemaker, but this years goal is to establish  tourist traffic and farm door sales, with longer term goals of hay sales and grazed poultry.
 
              
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The reason I first commented on this topic, is because of the some of the topics filtering on the farm income forum by Paul, that may give a false representation of what can be realistically earned from permaculture without celebrity book signings, royalties, videos, tour fees, and such etc....  Farm income forum has obviously showed everyone has different ideas of what farm income from permaculture is, so I'll let it be, and restrict myself to post on farm income topics that pertains to a wide majority of people, looking into earning income from the land.
 
Ken Peavey
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The Money
You can't conduct permaculture if the bank takes the land.  We live in a world of free enterprise and economic competition.  While many permaculture techniques serve to make one more self-sufficient, it is unrealistic to believe that you can sever all ties with the rest of the world.  Unproductive land is a drain on the owner who must come up with property taxes at the very least.  The challenge is to get the land to produce a marketable product, and do so sustainably, and at a rate that makes the endeavor worthwhile.  There is a balance that must be found.  Not enough production, the land is not economically viable;  Too much production, the practices may not be sustainable.  Permaculture serves to increase the production of the land in a manner that makes it sustainable.  Knowledge is gained in the process, and that knowledge has value to the buyer and the seller.  Knowledge is a marketable product that does not consume the resources of the land and promotes the sustainability of more land elsewhere. 
 
rose macaskie
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  teaching is earning money in exchang for facts problem is all the poeople who don't learn to fish if htey can't afford the classes. YOu just have to hope their is a trickle down effect . SOmebody i think on !the daily show"said what really happens with the economy is there is a trickle up effect, someone who talks the plain honest truth.
a lot of permaculturists earn money teaching i suppose its inevitable if you are  spreading new ideas or going an dstrustureing other peoples land so they can be permaculturists.
  sepp holzer is diversifying, it is obviouse he earns more money than his neighbors from the land, or hta ti swhat is said. In the videos it is said that  they have problems because the pine desert does not really help them.
      A pyramid scheme is earning money by paying dividends interest on the money your clients have given you to look after, using your new clients to pay them rather than because you have made money with the money you are looking after. Teaching is a multipliable resouce you teach someone they can teach somone else, money is multipliable but they weren't multiplying it.
      It should be called an invertid pyramid skeme. You always have to get more customers on the top line so that you can pay all the mountain that you have on the other lines. You start of with one costomer spend the money he gives you to invert and then find  find two more to pay his dividends that are fabulouse which is the bait that allows you to find the next three and to keep you in pocket,  you always have to find more clients than you found the last time because there is an ever increasing number of people who want their dividends paying,  A dizzying climb towards a end which must always be eventual collapse. Great if you are heartless and like an adrenaline kick. Teaching you don't have to go on teaching your first pupils. rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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Looney k you should look up al Sepp videos you seem to be interestsed in farming to be really interested in it so you would enjoy the videos on him, you can learn some new things from him.
it is normal for people to say as an objestion to anyone whodoes almost anything that sticks out for a day or two,  they are not saints or they are not gods among men or they are not geniuses , they are not gods among men, it is not so very unusual, in different feilds, to have people who are intelligent and creative, still the fact that they are not gods does not make them into people who have nothign to teach. It is exagrerating to call them gods because someone admires them, admiration really helps you to learn new subjects afterwartds things will cool down. ñe who dislike enthusiasm fo rone person say he is not a god that makes one rather scared to praise him you will be told you are a person who thinikks he is a god, as you don't want to be called unrealistic you stop talking aobut him, so such a term dampens of his followers. thoose who use such terms get rid of competition.

  Really some people do get much better than others at some things, if that makes you jealouse, well, be a man, learn take it. Maybe they get better than others because of insecurity which makes them really try so you need not be jealouse of them you might have made it too if your insecurity had been big enough. Remember most people don't get to the top of their proffession till they are on the down side f middle age. He made it maybe you will too in somthing. hHOw odl are the television characters Shark or House.
      Also there are ways of encouraging children to search for knowledge and experiment and others of making them into conformists, when they hear the adventurouse despised, they tend to be afraid of being adventurouse mentally say. So its not that they are more brilliant, it is just a stroke of luck in their personal history which took them further than others
    . May be they are just cleverer than others, that theory normaly puts a foot in ppeople believing in everyone and encouraging them to believe in themselves and to try things out. It holds societies up. rose macaskie.
   
 
rose macaskie
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èasant wehere meant to be almost the property of hte land owner though there are a few richreer peasants anyway i think they come from southern europe when i was small an deven when i was twenty there were people around who were tiny thin with over work and no food atamps wiven and brown faced from a lot of exposruer to the sun and they usually wore black, it was people of that aspect that were normally refered to as peasants i ewent to greece and they said the diot del señor still existed their the right of the land owner to deflower his pesants on the night before their wedding you don't usually point to stron glooking well off farmers an dsay look a peasant. peasants who have lfeft their extremly humble poor backgrounds are not different enough from the rest of us to be worth pointing out as the product of andold fashioned an dabusive system that still goes on in modern times . i have seen them in france here in spain and  and in Greece.There are still very small and thin people in villages here but they don¡walking around after your sheep isnt prdctive enough ato earn youi big meals an d is very tiring but htey don't wear black any more. If being a peasant means you look like everyone else and have received a good eduaction etc it is uneccessary. I can i think post a psture of a real peasant. Is not a peasant the eauivilant of the serbs in england in the days when there was a feudalism in england they used ot say look the south of europe still lives in the feudals times they have peasants.
      I know there are richer peasants, in a book i think it was by balzac the protagonist father is a rich peasant with businesses in a country town and when the son comes back from university and tries to start up a paper buisness the father does for his business. Balzac says, if it was Balzac that the cunning peasant is so used to ruining all competitors that it is second nature to him and he ruins his son.  This sort of story which is as true to life as any sweeter ones should be remembered by people who hold up the family as always marvelouse. The family, of course, can be hell. it is always very importatn emotionally for good or bad for us however.  agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  The pictures of sepp holzers land are prehaps hte most convincing at simple sight of how much can be grown on your own land, of all the you tube videos of permaculture¡ist . Ohter permaculturists show what they ahve acheived on other peoples land, otr their gardens just don't look as luxoryouse as Sepps.  permaculture seems to give you abilities that allow you to hire yourself out as a farm planner thats why their are so many vides of the agricultural miracles  they have acheived around the world, by the dead sea for example .
It seems that there is a strange law that rules that you shall be attacked for precisely what you have done well not for the things you have not tried to do, don't do or do badly. agri rose macaskie.
 
Leah Sattler
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paul wheaton wrote:
The fact that he GETS a hundred bucks a head shows how excellent folks think permaculture is!





I'm very careful not to place value on something based on what people will pay for it. heck. look at the $4000 dollar  ham thread! people fork over crazy amounts of money for all kinds of stuff even for education and especially if they are being told that they can in turn make money off the information they are given. often trends are taken advantage of by enterprising peoples. someone sees a developing interest in the general population and they are charismatic and socially savvy and ride the wave for profit, exhausting the market they created (a market which was virtually nil before) before moving on......mabye like specialty meats.....
 
                    
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Wow, what a thread.  Tried to read all of it...

I don't actually have an opinion or much knowledge about Sepp, which might have helped me navigate the thread.  It's made me incredibly curious, I'm sure I'll know way more about him in the nearbyish future.

I do have a serious desire to figure out how to make money on the land, which is why I wanted to read this to begin with. 

To be honest, I was also instantly uncomfortable by the figure of a hundred dollars a head for a tour, but - how long is the tour?  I imagine this would be a small group of people for a whole day, probably with meals?  Starting to approach worth it, but still seems steep, I know that kind of price would greatly limit who would get to see his fabulous example of how to create abundance in your local ecology. 

At the same time, as a practicing homesteader, I know that nothing about creating that abundance is free of real world cost for the creator.  The first and probably largest cost is land.  Followed by the financial ability to either pay someone else to do the serious manual labor involved in nearly every aspect of soil and land improvement, OR figure out a way to pay for your real world expenses while YOU do all the manual labor yourself!  The latter is what myself and my partner are currently on winter break from.  I call this 'paying to work like a slave' but I don't see how it's to be avoided in the beginning stages of things.  I'm the first to admit that inheritance money (plus frugal living) is what's making this whole dream possible for myself and my partner.  I have compassion for all the people who really really want to do what we're doing but can't figure out how to swing a mortgage PLUS all of the above, and I ache that our society has no financial help (as of now) for people who have a strong desire and even knowledge to turn an old farm into a productive food source.  The cards are stacked all the way against anyone beginning a small scale farming enterprise with borrowed capital.  There is probably an enormous potential in renting land from elderly former farmers for not that much money.  But then - where do you live?  Do we enter an age where farmers commute to work? 

At the same time, as a passionate permaculturist, I really do want to feed people, and to show/tell people how to feed themselves, all while improving the soil and diversity of life in the ecology around me.  I want our food to be affordable.  I'm not interested in small numbers of incredibly expensive things - someone told me we should grow organic saffron flowers, of all things, because it "has a really high selling value."  Yeah, well it won't provide any real calories for people, and that makes me think it probably might not be valued as much in the future.  We think that direct retail selling is the best way for us to maximize our profit (no middle men), and with my personality as a saleswoman the process of selling people food will become a mini-education in the pitfalls of industrial agriculture, while also endorsing the delicious alternatives. 

In our how-do-we-make-money-out-here-discussions, my partner and I have talked a lot about educational-type endeavors, but our feeling is - not yet, not for many years, not til we know what the heck we're doing, you know?  I've definitely thought a few times that there seems to be more money in teaching about permaculture than actually practicing it.  And for people who aren't yet able to afford land, a two week course can be a sort of immersion living experience of their dreams - those hundreds of bucks are more attainable and way cheaper than a mortgage.  I paid for my permaculture design course, and did so gladly, because the people who were delivering that knowledge had spent years of their life getting enough experience to feel confident enough to share it.  I also did so because - I could afford it. 

The people who need permaculture the most are those living in third world countries, and that's exactly the group of people who cannot afford the thousand dollar a head charge for that information.  AND - that's exactly where the most expensive and most known permies (I'm thinking of Bill course but also Peter Proctor and many others) go to dispense that knowledge for free, as a gift to the world, as a gift to those who need it the most because it will drastically raise their standard of living.  They can't reach everyone, but you don't see permaculturists asking money from truly poor people (I know people like to complain here in the USA but seriously compare it to africa and a bunch of things pale in comparison)  That's what the world bank is for!

There is a wealth of free information to be had on the internet and cheaply in books.  If you can't afford a course you can find a website, a discussion group, an elderly gardening mentor - old people can be an enormous, free, lonely and willing to talk resource.

But back to that hundred dollar garden tour:  I put myself is Sepp's shoes - and if I don't want to be bothered by hundreds of people coming to see the work in progress that still requires lots of my time - I'd probably charge a hefty fee too, just to keep the numbers down.  But I'd have other sources of information about what I was doing as well, and he seems to have done that.  If you don't want to pay for the tour, watch the youtube video or read the book. 

Seeing places like that is inspiring but I don't think its necessary for people to want to do what he's doing.  Growing wheat grass on a windowsill of your apartment can be a huge first step toward growing some of your own food, for nothing more than the fact that it's your wheat grass that YOU grew.  That, in it's own way, more satisfying than looking at some body else's garden. 
 
rose macaskie
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marina jade. You talk of not growing saffron because it doesn't have any calourises, i can't remember what they are but it has qualities that reduce illness, i think cancer. The more people produce azafran the lower the price of this healthy product.

  Isn't this mania about calories what is giving people so much problem with fat . I am a callory neurotic too.  I feel lazy about eating what gives me less calories allways lookng for energy at he expense of but maybe more vitamins secondry metabolites and things that are inmportant and don't fatten and so eventual kill me younger than i would otherwise die probably.

the reason i like the farming in Spain is not because it produces qualitiy products that is one of the factors that helps to sell it but as a organic farming maniac, trees are good for the ground in a hot country they give shade and brign rain. It is ecological and produces healthy food.
  Why do they bring rain? I suppose if you get a front arriving with a lot of humidity in the air and youlive in a  dry place then the water will  just be dried out of the air, well than the water in the air is going to be less likely to reach that point when it condenses and falls as rain. trees keep the air humid.
    Water vapour is a greenhouse gas so the thing is complicated.
      Anyway we know scientist tell us it rains more where there are trees so why not just be good and do everything we can to increase the rain and encourage people to plant trees.
  i started wanting to get word out about the farming system here  because i thought we need to understand it to undersand and better instead of worsening farming in hot countries were we do go and advise others on farming.
        iI is easier to make people grow trees if they can get some use out of them. if the system gets the proper back up it does exist in hot countries it is not just Spanish there should be more fodder for people in poor countries better advice about their traditional methods that include the use of leaves from trees as fodder and people trying to help them realise that more trees will help them instead of thinking trees are a bit of a luxoury .
  Animals fed on the leaves and fruit of trees have a healthier diet than those fed on the rubbish sold as feeds. and in poor places and or countries, they can't afford feeds feeds are very expensive . If you lot know about it maybe you know someone who helps in poor countries and you knowledge can help making hte ongs aware of the necessity to take out trees or grow them where they go. It can be expensive but it can be cheap collecting seeds and planting them feeding the fruit of junipers to sheep who will pass the seeds and seed the mountain sides. for example.OK, agri rose macaskie.

                 
 
                    
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Hm.  I've had a couple of conversations about the subtle sexism that pervades this supposedly progressively minded movement.  What does it tell us that many of the most visible permaculturists are white men, just like any other field? 

And just for the hellofit maybe I'll try to answer that question:  Is it that we as humans like to hear definitive information from what is perceived as a strong confident source?  Do men have a stronger drive for recognition?  I know plenty of females in permaculture, and they seem to be excited by the transmission of intimate information between two people - I think that's how women have passed information down to each other for centuries.  Maybe males like a group of eyes looking up at them.  Obviously not hard and fast rules, two of the people who taught my PDC were women, but someone please name a woman who's as famous as any of the men that you can easily list off the top of your head. 

I was told by an Australian woman who tried to work for ol' Bill that he was not a very pleasant person to be around if you were female and trying to learn from him.....I don't think she had a reason to lie......but she claimed to detest the permiculture movement - had experiences that soured her.  She says she tells people that she works in agro-forestry now, doesn't even want to use the permie title.

And rose, I hear what you're saying, I know that poor people suffer the world over.  But someone living in a small flat in Europe has potable water, a floor, and a roof.  Those three things immediately make their situation very liveable, if not necessarily enjoyable or with an opportunity for increased affluence.  The anger from the Australian woman I just spoke of came from her seeing permaculture in south america (Brazil specifically) being used to create profits, and she saw that that limited the spread of information to the people who actually need, it while americans and europeans fly in for a few weeks and pay a lot of money to have an educational vacation.  I'm not saying lesser illness are unimportant, but access to information is so much more limited for people who aren't living in the western world.  I was trying to commend the permies who have spread it around for free, because without that there would be no way the third world would ever be able to learn. 
 
                    
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I do not think that poor euopeans or americans are "lucky," I never even came close to saying that.  I was trying to put into some kind of perspective the ability that permaculture has to bring tangible improvement to people's lives, no matter where they live.  Does a person living in a small flat in london today have to walk several miles to find potable water and then carry it home?  Have their children stolen and forced to join the rebel army?  Watch a terminal epidempic sweep the continent? 

I've been listening on NPR to people interviewed here in the states "hit hard by the recession" and they complain about not being able to watch TV as much as they used to!  Seriously! 

A whole lot of people work very hard and get next to nothing.  Few get over-compensated for little to no effort.  The world has been this way for quite some time.  Anger over that gets you not very far.
 
rose macaskie
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Maybe old bill is gay that why he prefers men.
i have hardley met a sensible woman since i left school, they all start to talk of what society asks women to talk of and you might as well forget them. The people i know have been very restricted buy my husbands tastes.
  everyone think men are more itnerestign and they have been,  the moment you get a chance to talk to men you do because you feel they are the ones with the interestign conversations and they can be. THey say that if you are poor and get rich you don't want to talk to the poor again, you feel they aren't as interesting. As a woman i also ditch women.  it wasnot till recently ithat i new enough men to have the same attitude to them i have to women that is a more cautiouse one and also it has made me remember how much i liked women at school how intelligent funny and seriouse they were seriouses about school work. really if it was not for my husband i would not haqve given upthe persuit of fun women as i would not have given up the persuit of fun men for me seriouse is fun, so i don't reallyditch women for men just some of them.
  I have tried very hard with some women and nearly died of bordom till this blog  were they are talking  shop which is what i like, talking shop in english is or was talking about your job or occupations. . i am a freaky of tecnicalities with a few jokes.
Nearly died if bordom with men too not quite so much they dont have the same ability to talk of nothing but clothes or food.
You can meet interesting men and get bored because they don't pull out all the stops and really try for me as i am a woman. the same is true of women if they think you are stupid they dont reallly try very hard to say anything interesting . I used ot try to hide anything i knew, i thought it would be squashing so they thought i was pig ignorant it seems men are really competative and you have to really give it to them thats probably true with women too. I was just a looser.
Some times bill mollison has a expression that reminds me of a childhood freind of mine  Glyn, maybe that is just silly, if he is like Glyn he must be quite nice.  rose
 
rose macaskie
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  sepp holzer also goes out to help in third world contries, he was in south america in one video.
  geoff lawton had a grant to green the desert and quite right to. It is just as bad to look to closely at other peoples finances is as ugly as knowign what you are doing when you give charity, both things are conducive to thinking how great i am in one case because you would not take money or some such and in the other because you think how much better you are than others for giving it. Even good people often need funding and if they do things for free because they have money  they make it hard for others to ask for the money they need to do the job. One thing is to be well off and another is need funding. we don't know how the others paid for their journeys.
  It is a grave porblem having supposedly charitable minded people who spend more time trying to get at the rich than to make the poor rich.  The charitably minded people i meet seem to spend their whole time talking of how to get at the rich. They are obsessed by the egoism of the rich and their money instead of focused on helping make the poor rich. It is really a way to lose the energy you need to help the poor.
  Women should never do things for free, and charitable people should understand this,  it encourages people to use their labour for free in places where this effects them even more than it does in the west. In this i don't practice what i preach but i really believe it. agri rose macaskie.
 
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