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paul wheaton
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I will be doing a podcast with geoff lawton soon. What questions should I ask him?

Here are a few of my own:

42) "metaphysics" and being a PRI registered instructor

43) Who is in charge of permaculture?

44) recipe to green a desert

45) women in permaculture

46) what is your keynote speech at voices gonna be?

47) putting a crown on a dam

48 ) How is Bill these days?

49) Lawton Creek


 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I've heard Geoff talk about all these before - and I want to hear it again!

1. Can you talk more about how trees can increase available moisture in drylands up to 80% through condensation? Is there a critical mass of trees required for this?
2. In drylands, our soil is often high in salts - what are the best ways of sequestering or mitigating salts?
3. What were some of the barriers in thinking you had to overcome in your Wadi Rum and Greening the Desert projects?
4. I know local people are starting to take more notice of your projects in Jordan, are you seeing growth in acceptance of dryland permaculture practices there? What are the successes and challenges?
5. I love Nadia - what's she up to these days? Driving the excavator?
6. What kinds of "appropriate technology" is useful in drylands? (excavators, irrigation systems, etc)
7. Can you tell us more about becoming a PRI certified PDC instructor and becoming a PRI certified Master Planned site? What kind of PRI Master Planned sites are you looking for?
8. You've been doing projects around the world for 30 years and have developed some truly iconic sites and trained thousands of people - what's next?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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More:

9. There seems to be a divide in the permaculture movement between those who want to remove money/currency from the system (currency as a toxin - everything should be free) and those who see money/currency as a tool - a storage of "exchange" - what are your thoughts on money/currency's place in permaculture?
10. Permaculture seems to be "infecting more brains" lately - what are some of the best tactics to spread the knowledge of permaculture (both in-person and electronically). Where have you seen successes in getting the permaculture message across. (big question)
 
David Livingston
steward
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I would like this question asked

What potential do you see for permiculture in the third world ?
I was thinking North Africa the Sahel in particular. Is the third world where Permiculture becomes mainstream ?

David
 
Jason Vath
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Here's something that always troubles me.

I see that Geoff utilizes what I'd consider polluted water.
Is it really safe to use road water runoff? Due to all the vehicle traffic, there has to be terrible carcinogenic pollutants from exhaust, oil/coolant leaks, tire rubber, etc.

It seems to me that this would be bad design.
Sure things would likely grow and maybe look good, but, wouldn't those toxins create unhealthy plants, animals and humans?

Am I too much of a puritan? Do these pollutants somehow disappear?

Anyone else out there curious about this?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Jason Vath wrote:Here's something that always troubles me.

I see that Geoff utilizes what I'd consider polluted water.
Is it really safe to use road water runoff? Due to all the vehicle traffic, there has to be terrible carcinogenic pollutants from exhaust, oil/coolant leaks, tire rubber, etc.

It seems to me that this would be bad design.
Sure things would likely grow and maybe look good, but, wouldn't those toxins create unhealthy plants, animals and humans?

Am I too much of a puritan? Do these pollutants somehow disappear?

Anyone else out there curious about this?


Jason - I think it's a great question and the answer to that question involves some of the answers to the questions I posed as well.

The reality is that toxins are in the air, water, soil, etc. EVERYWHERE. Large parts of the ocean are dead due to toxins that have travelled there. Fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster has reached the Western coast of the US, etc. Cleaning through biological processes is a critical permaculture skill to hone. NONE of us deals with "pure" water/soil/air. We all have some pollution present. Those who live in an area of high biomass probably have less than those of us who live in areas of low biomass (like deserts). I believe that one of the highest functions we, as human "elements" in permaculture design can perform, is the cleaning of our air, soil and water through designed permaculture eco-systems.
 
Michael Cox
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:I believe that one of the highest functions we, as human "elements" in permaculture design can perform, is the cleaning of our air, soil and water through designed permaculture eco-systems.


Seconding this - water is such a valuable resource that you can't discard it simply for a small contamination risk. If you are concerned about using it on your land design a way to clean it before it reachs your growing areas.

Fungi in woody masses can be really good at breaking down organic pollutants (most of the stuff you get from car exhausts will be organic).
Effluents from fields/livestock can be cleaned by trickling through a reed bed

The only thing I would be hesitant about dealing with is heavy metal contamination, but since lead was removed from all fuels (1980s?) this hasn't really been a problem associated with traffic and roads.

One a story I heard recently was worth noting; a guy locally diverted some road water runoff along a simple hand dug ditch into his pond. He used the pond water to irrigate in summer and killed all the plants in his garden. The road had been heavily gritted day after day through the winter and the drainage had channeled this from a substantial area of road and into his pond where it sat. It wasn't vague "toxins from vehicles" but a case of contamination from a specific identifiable source. He now only uses road runoff when the temperatures are due to be well above freezing and the roads are not gritted.
 
George Meljon
Posts: 278
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1) What is the value of a food forest when it out grows the human capacity to harvest a significant portion of it?
2) Best way to keep a food forest human scale?
3) Keeping with scale- how large of a scale can greening the desert take on and is there an imaginable tipping point where human interaction is unnecessary and a huge forest is now in place of desert? Long term thinking here.
4) How does he manage moving electric fencing, which some have recently noted (in the pastured chicken discussion) is difficult.
 
Wiley Swift
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I would like to know about his online offerings. Any plans to expand that area of study/cert?
 
Thom Illingworth
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Topics to discuss with Geoff:

Is there an effort to include more information in the PDCs about the use of mycellium in permaculture design?
What's up with the next online PDC from Geoff?

Thom Illingworth
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Thom Illingworth wrote:
What's up with the next online PDC from Geoff?


They'll be opening registration for the next online PDC on March 29th.

Myself and MANY other folks who post here regularly took the inaugural course last summer and I think we all agree - it was incredible!
 
nathan luedtke
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I was a participant in the previous Geoff Lawton 2013 PDC, and was unable to finish due to reasons. I have a few questions about course structure and business, then a few permaculture questions

1-This is a longshot, but I was wondering if there might be a way for previous participants to join at a reduced rate. I think it would be beneficial for the program to have past participants available to lend an institutional memory to the course and take some burden off Geoff and his staff for answering some of the student questions. Would also give past participants

2- I'm curious about stats for the 2013 pdc- how many participants, how many completed the course and got their certificate, etc. What was the most-watched class video segment? I'm sure some of this is not public due to business reasons.

3- I'm curious about distribution options for the next course's materials- I found that I was less happy to receive the DVDs than I expected to be, especially once the course started getting updated with new content not on the DVDs. Also I no longer have a DVD player. I would suggest that future courses might want to offer "lifetime" access to streaming the videos, with an option to purchase- probably will be much cheaper than providing physical dvds. I'd be happy to plonk down a little extra scratch to get access to the content in the future. (maybe purchase a yearly subscription to updated materials for each year's course? - THAT would be a pretty awesome recurring revenue stream that would keep past participants engaged!)




4- Where would you like to work that you haven't been able to access yet?

5- If a very wealthy person were to offer you a donation of (*for example) $1M, how would you allocate the funds?

6- Permaculture seems to deal exclusively with agriculture thus far- are you aware of anyone applying permaculture techniques to extractive industries such as mining, drilling, etc? Even if everything gets shifted over to PC and recyling and green tech, I expect there will still be some need for mines and quarries.

 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Does he know that we are doing a winter book club read of the designers manual?

I know he is a very busy person but could he spend a few hours here ,taking a look at some of our discussions and maybe commenting?


I would also like to know what he thinks about this thread.

http://www.permies.com/t/32598/farm-income/Jack-Spirko-discuss-requirements-Permaculture

Apparently the north american group is making it harder to become certified.
 
nathan luedtke
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I am of the opinion that PINA isn't trying to make it harder to get certified, they're offering additional independent accreditation from their own organization. They aren't trying to change the overall standard of "who is allowed to use the word Permaculture."
 
Miles Flansburg
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I would still like to know what he thinks about it.
 
Richard How
Posts: 11
Location: Andalusia, Spain
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How do we make permaculture and true sustainability cooler/accessible?
Should we focus on food? shelter? energy? heating? income producing assets? or other cost saving strategies?

On the internet I hear about the 10% rule, when an idea reaches 10% of the people it gets adopted widely.
 
Shane McKee
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for me the big question is: how do you get larger-scale agriculturalists & farmers applying permaculture, so that it becomes mainstream? (not very original, but an important point I think)
 
R Scott
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Paul probably wants to stay away from the PINA PITA, don't focus on bad things thing. I know I do.

There is so much apparent divergence between backyard and broadacre (private) and .gov projects right now. A little talk on how they are all still PC and how you can learn from them all.

 
Burton Rosenberger
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What is Bill Mollison?

I remember watching one of the many videos with Geoff and Bill and finding out Bill has no possessions as he gave them all away and he is legally not allowed to own any; this status carried a name with it I cannot recall.

 
Kim Arnold
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I have this question every single time I watch one of his videos: Part of Geoff's formula for designing permaculture seems to rely on leguminous trees. I've searched, and haven't found any that grow in my area (USDA Zone 5). Are there substitutes for that -- other kinds of trees? groundcovers? different kinds of shrubs maybe?

Thanks!

 
Chris Dickson
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Can you give me a good methodology or good web sites to research plant functions. I understand the guilding process but I often struggle with the "tree forrest recipe". I don't necessarily need a specific recipe (although this would certainly be nice and easy), but what is a good methodology for researching the species that go in that recipe. I often suffer almost a creative block when faced with "I need an overstory tree that will go with an apple understory and provide nitrogen fixation and bio mass production for chop and drop pruning or copicing, then I need a shrub that will help with insect habitat and might provide another edible feature or also fix nitrogen, etc. etc. etc."

Thanks
 
Michael Cox
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Kim Arnold wrote:I have this question every single time I watch one of his videos: Part of Geoff's formula for designing permaculture seems to rely on leguminous trees. I've searched, and haven't found any that grow in my area (USDA Zone 5). Are there substitutes for that -- other kinds of trees? groundcovers? different kinds of shrubs maybe?

Thanks!



I think alder is n fixing - not sure if it will cope with zone 5 though.
 
Chris Dickson
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Michael Cox wrote:
Kim Arnold wrote:I have this question every single time I watch one of his videos: Part of Geoff's formula for designing permaculture seems to rely on leguminous trees. I've searched, and haven't found any that grow in my area (USDA Zone 5). Are there substitutes for that -- other kinds of trees? groundcovers? different kinds of shrubs maybe?

Thanks!



I think alder is n fixing - not sure if it will cope with zone 5 though.


Thanks, I was trying to illustrate my question. I don't really need to know a species, I want a place (or places) to go find alternatives. In your response for instance, Alder would work, or black locust, but my client Hates Black Locust and doesn't really like Alder, where can I go to find alternatives, or what method can I follow to replace the functions I might be using the Black Locust or Alder for....more of a 'where do I go to expand the species I have knowledge of and am comfortable in recommending in a design'. Thanks for your input though, obviously my first attempt wasn't clear
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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@Kim Arnold: Geoff referenced "Legumes of the World" (or "LOWO") many times throughout his course. The book is expensive but the publishers (Kew Gardens) have now made the information available as an online database, check it out!

http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/lowo/index.htm

 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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OOO Shiny !
Even has a list of shrooms!
 
Mark Boland
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Is Geoff aware of any Food Forest that are specifically designed for short rotation animal systems(pig, sheep, goat, poultry)? these would be low/no care fruits, legume, tuber... that would provide a near endless supply of colony raised animals
 
Ruby Kaercher
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How to begin in an urban garden ?
 
brandon gross
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I really enjoy the conversations and podcast between paul and geoff. I'm just wondering about how would some one with basicly no budget could volunteer or intern for a project like the the jordan project?
 
Alan McGill
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I've heard Geoff state that we could feed everyone on the planet with 3 or 4 percent of the equivalent land area as is currently used for industrial agriclture. I would love him to elaborate and go over the math on that one. It's a mind blowing statement.
 
Turon Sharp
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Hi,
First please let Geoff know, Thank YOU for all the work he is doing. It is so great to finally seeing someone making positive changes. And all the people running the farms, blogs, sites, accounts and this weird forums thing.

Now questions:
-A research institute endorsed or sponsored or supported or trained by or run by your graduates or your "company" in a different part of the world, like BC Canada?

-Grants, sponsorships, scholarships, paid internships available? Or I may just sell everything I own, show up on your door and ask if there is any room at the inn as I am willing to do work in exchange for shelter, food, education and experience. The homeless intern? I have two hands, two feet, a brain, a heartbeat and a tent. And a Canadian passport. Most everything else I can part with but until then, I am at my full time job in tourism trying to and barely paying my bills yet studying everything I can find.

-Audio books? I keep hearing about the lazy gardener or someone not doing their research. I am still trying to read the books and manuals and all the things that have been recommended through the online courses, or DVD courses, yet I keep finding excuses to stop me. If the manuals were in audiobook version, I would feel it is like story telling around the bonfire and get more knowledge.

-Running a school based on teaching permaculture material to grade schoolers right through to college with the general material that is already taught to kids. Permaculture Homeschooling for children, youth and young adults?

-More information about the online PDC course? Is it certificated? Cost? I would like to try and save up between now and the start time that I heard of being late March.

-How is Bill? Please send him a great big hug from me.... And how are you and your family?

-Did I mention I want to learn so I can teach and think the hands on approach is the best option for me? How do I make the transition? Found out about permaculture only 6 months ago or so and looking around, observing and researching my best plan of action to get out there and get involved. SO keep me in mind, I guess.

Thanks. Really... thank you.
Turon
 
Marcel Oriard
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This is a good source to look up lots of information with hardiness, edibility, medicinal qualities and other growing aspects of plants. Works best if latin name is typed in, is flawed like anything, but has some great things that are instantly available including good pictures that help with identification.
http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx
 
Morgan Bowen
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What are the best ways to establish the food forest in a high desert Rocky Mountain area. The annual precipitation is between 3 to 8 inches. The elevation is about 7500 feet above sea level?

What are the best Permaculture approaches to dealing with wild animal herds roaming your property? I'm talking about large size animals such as buffalo and elk.

How many acres does it take to produce food self-sufficiency in a Permaculture system?
 
John Saltveit
gardener
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Another leguminous cold hardy plant is the redbud. It also has astonishingly beautiful purple flowers before the leaves, and young leaves and pods are edible. Talk about a permaculture plant! The latin name gives a hint to its hardiness: Cercis canadensis.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Saltveit
gardener
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Question for Geoff:
What are some strategies that work for suburban and urban permaculturalists to work together to help the land provide in their communities?
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Maxime Leloup
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Hi from France,
sorry for not taking the time to read the whole thread, I have to leave soon and want to answer now. I have a question.
-Geoff, do you know any commercial farm that managed the conversion from conventional agriculture, with the classical situation we have here in France in theses farms (debt level, heavy machinery already bought etc.), to permaculture without any income from workshops ? In France or anywhere in the world. With the acountings to prove it.
The real question is : is permaculture only a leisure for those who can afford it or is it a real solution for everyone and in particular those who work in dirt and only in it ? Is it viable economically today with only production income ? I insist about the conversion situation because this situation is the most common one in farms today in France. Starting from nothing is easier, you don't (yet) have any professionnal debts.
Once I asked this in France and the answer was : these farmers can die. What a solution

Maxime Leloup
 
Richard Gorny
pollinator
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In this interview http://www.permaculturenews.org/podcasts/Geoff_Lawton_Talk_Diego.mp3 Geoff says there are three basic types of sites - tropical humid, drylands and humid cold. Each requires different strategy. What about sites that combine hot summers and sandy soils (resembling drylands in summer, hard to store water) with cold periods (several months of snow and frost, zones 4-5)?
 
Eivind Bjoerkavaag
the navigator
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Question to Geoff Lawton:

Should new permaculturists follow their national permaculture association guidelines when those are different from what Bill Mollison wanted it to be?

When their national permaculture association have been discussing for decades how to do a certain thing, lets say a PDC or a diploma process and stuff involved in those themes, and they end up with a solution that is different from what Bill Mollison wanted it to be, lets say:

* the PDC curriculum is not the chapters from A Designers Manual, but inspired from other permaculture resources
* establish a 70/30 rule, where 30 percent can be site specific stuff other than curriculum
* the diploma is necessary to hold PDC's, take design jobs, and to speak on behalf of permaculture

What then?

Should the new permaculturists follow like blind sheep or should they do it their own way, the way they believe Bill Mollison ment it?

End of questions.

***************

I've been met with some strikingly lame answers when I've tried to figure this out: "Bill Mollison is old", "Permaculture change", "I've met Bill Mollison, in '94! I drove him from the airport!", "Things change over time, rules and norms apply". It seemes people just sit and discuss for years and then come up with some agreement they have some delusion everybody should follow.


 
Kim Arnold
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:@Kim Arnold: Geoff referenced "Legumes of the World" (or "LOWO") many times throughout his course. The book is expensive but the publishers (Kew Gardens) have now made the information available as an online database, check it out!

http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/lowo/index.htm



Thank you!
 
Luke Vaillancourt
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***Questions for Geoff:

-What do you feel the role of internships on any permaculture demonstration site/farm/garden/homestead play in the overall advancement of permaculture designers/teachers/practitioners, especially younger folks that may have the time to get an immersed experience after a PDC? Geoff places a lot of emphasis of people starting projects and/or teaching once they complete a PDC. How important is it that we get folks with some practical and physical experience on any site before they go on to establish their own or begin teaching permaculture?

- If Geoff was in a cold climate, what would be his "favorite" storage/staple crops to see him through long winters?

- If Geoff was in a cold climate and could only choose 2 types of animals to have on site...what would they be?
 
Lol Hardiman
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Myself and my wife live on the west coast of Ireland, a few hundred feet from the tempestuous Atlantic that has thrown seven major storms at us over the last two months. Our efforts to create a Permacultural smallholding on our half acre are hampered by salt-laden winds and the general roughness of our rocky, acidic soil (what little there is). We also lack tree cover and though we are surrounding our perimeter with lots of hedging it is a slow process as the plants tend to spend much of their first few years working on establishing their roots and seem reluctant to reach for the kind of height we would like. We have seen lots of wonderful success stories from the desert and cold climates but what of our wet and windy, salty-aired, temperate mudbath? How can we best create the microclimate we so need? (We are blessed with an endless supply of seaweed for fertilizer, by the way).
 
Bring me the box labeled "thinking cap" ... and then read this tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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