Good question, Diego (going back to your starter post).
I’d say I save a lot of money through permaculture, which of course doesn’t pay the bills but does help me have more money for them.
A friend of mine reckons I could easily make £100 from selling strawberry runners at our kids’ school’s next car boot sale. I had actually already though about selling them - just not at a school sale. However, there are probably other ways of making some money, if I had an entrepreneurial spirit.
In the long run, though, I think we need to see how society changes before we really know if permaculture can provide a living.
I wonder how many people become interested in permaculture as a way to make money?
I would have thought that the majority of people who get into permaculture aren't even thinking of making a living from it, any more than people who buy houses are thinking of making a living from owning a house.
I would think that the majority see permaculture as a way to enhance their lives (like owning a house or a car) in a sustainable way, rather than as a business. Perhaps I'm wrong.
I can envision whole communities where individuals own small lots used for zones 1 and 2, with shared community zones 3 and 4, with small towns surrounded by zone 5 areas. Wishful thinking, but still...
My opinions are barely worth the paper they are written on here, but hopefully they can spark some new ideas, or at least a different train of thought
I define permaculture more as a set of guiding principles, rather then a list of specific design items. So I am operating a market garden, selling at two local farmers markets (southern Michigan, USA), I raise chickens for eggs and for meat and raise pigs, next year I will add cattle for better grass management. I expect that over the next few years I will add 4-5% more organic matter to the pasture soil, while raising lots of meat and eggs to sell. I track all my costs and make sure I am selling everything at a price that creates a profit for the farm. Market garden includes permanent beds and woodchip mulched paths, perennial flowering plants for pollinators, and varius woody hedgerows and windbreaks. With everything I do my goal is to put in place systems that can operate on a 100 year timeframe, that is that they only maintain or improve the soil and farm ecosystem, rather then degrading it.
But it is a farm and I do intend to make a living doing this. My veg is running a deficit so far this year because of lots of startup and one-time expenses, the pigs make money ( I will go through 11 this year and at least 15 next. Eggs and meat chickens are about breakeven this year but will make money in the future. I believe you can make money by working permaculture ideas and principles into a farm/garden business.
So this is an old discussion - and I'm not sure that Diego will still be watching, but I thought I'd chime in as I had many of the same concerns that Diego had
We've got what is a pretty small block of land to do anything serious with (4Ha), but we'd still like to feed the family (as much as we can) and at the very least, supplement our income so I don't have to work as much.
Finding answers on how to do that has seemed like a challenge, because there's very little out there that I've been able to find on running it 'as a business' - and a lot of the replies here were more along the 'it's a lifestyle, it's about other things, it's about saving money, living frugally' etc.
Which is all great and fine - but doesn't help a lot with that question of "how do I make an income".
..that was until I found Ridgedale. We've just started their online course and while it's early days - I have to say, it's compelling and has a lot of really great info.
They have around 10 Ha of land, and make enough money from their permaculture farm to have 4 people on 60k-or-so euro incomes from it.
Get rich? Maybe not - but make a sustainable living? Certain seems feasible!