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A " Free Permaculture State"  RSS feed

 
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
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In eastern colorado -- it is dead plains -- trampled for milleniums by buffalo, I suppose.
There is nothing. Few towns. But... no toxics.
 
Linda Sefcik
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
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http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/co/copueblo.html

anyone ever been to Seven Lakes, Colorado??
 
Linda Sefcik
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
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Just to add more info I gathered.
If this has already been done elsewhere, pardon me.

fracking- two out of five go unreported in the voluntary website (to the public, that is)
These should be reported to the states for approval before fracking.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-14/fracking-hazards-obscured-in-failure-to-disclose-wells.html

voluntary reporting
http://fracfocus.org/
Good luck finding anything. It's a shell game... is it here?? there??
90% of all companies are doing this to their existing wells ??
can someone explain this a little better?
why is Alaska showing up in a fracking map?
 
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ave had a similar idea to go to an "abandoned" town and permaculture it, but I suggest that some of the people on this thread might need to further study permaculture first. One primary permaculture principle is "slow and small." That might mean starting where you are before going to a strange place, starting something new of which you have little practical knowledge, and failing miserably. It could also involve moving, but not to reinvent the wheel. I think many of these efforts must fail when people take on too much and become overwhelmed, then discouraged, then depressed.

Someone posted an idea of taking over a local government to create permaculture rule. Think about how these people might feel about that:

http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/06/19/opinion/100000002290729/west-virginia-still-home.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130621

I think that's what corporations call a
"hostile takeover."

Better would be to befriend the people there, see what is important to them, and make sure not to screw that up. More than likely, they will understand a lot of what permaculture strives to do, and will agree with certain changes in the laws/rules/regulations/codes to the extent they have power to do so. If they don't like some of your ideas, you could use the skills in consensus decision-making you have learned in your studies of permaculture to come to a compromise. Be prepared not to get everything you think you want. Decide which criteria are most critical to you. Don't expect to legalize marijuana - that's not what permaculture is about. It's certainly not being free to do whatever you want. My grandmother used to say, "your freedom ends where my freedom begins." The idea is to pay attention to everyone's freedom.

There are reasons for laws. Learn those reasons and you'll be far along the road to changing them.

I've visited a few intentional communities when I was working on my cohousing permaculture project. I think one fault of the ones I've seen is that people are spread too far apart from each other. I saw one older gentleman drive his car from the common building to his house. Part of permaculture is finding ways to reduce use of fossil fuels, which might entail small houses close together, and living close to a town so you don't have to drive for supplies, drive to your job, drive to church, dive to the local bar, five to sell your crops, drive to see your friends... You get the point.

My idea is to move into old houses in a small town, with maybe 1/4 acre lots, and rehabilitate house, preferably with local and reused materials, and the ground around the house. I've seen permies grow an awful lot in 1/4 acre or less. Any more land than that and you start to lose the permaculture principle of not working yourself to death. (I forget what that one's called.)

Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina sound awesome. Btw, Diana, I visited Earthaven last July and I vaguely remember I might have been introduced to someone named "Diana" but the person who gave me the awesome tour was a wonderful woman called "Kimchee." I liked that location best because Kimchee was so open and honest about the faults of the place. For me, it was just too far away from civilization, and I got nauseous on the wind-y roads.

As to intentional community in general, I'd like to echo the sentiments of "Suki" in the "Poll" thread. But I'm still looking into it. How about West Virginia? It's so beautiful... (except where mountain-tops have been removed).
 
pollinator
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I dont know if the idea of banding together and taking over an area is a good one . Nor is it origional see here http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/22/hundreds-protest-attempted-neo-nazi-takeover-leith-nd-151394
I think the best is to be a good example to your neighbours and spread the word that way

David
 
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Well...this thread was amazing! Its one year later. Would anyone like to report their progress from the past year?
 
steward
Posts: 4597
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Wow I had forgotten all about posting this.

I think the concept is still a good one. Not sure if any permies have utilized it or not.
 
pollinator
Posts: 518
Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Disclaimer: I am an anarchist - I do not like any one deciding anything over my life.

I would not like permies taking over my local branch over government - because even if I do agree with ecological principles, I might not agree with their political ideals - the how to "return the surplus" eg.

The idea in The Free State project is to have as many people live close to each other, without building a commune - ie these people have bought their own land and they agree to not interfere with each other's lives (and do their darnedest to keep the state out of theirs). Most of these people don't vote and would not run for office, as they refuse to use the state to interfere in other people's lives. Most of them are as far as I know very Eco-oriented (anti Monsanto, homesteaders, anti Big Ag, Big Med, Big... Anything) and would take well to permaculture ideas. You would find that they would not stand in your way with building regulations etc. and would love to learn from knowledgeable people.
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Dawn
What for you is a community?

David
 
Hildegard Bogart
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I know very little about permaculture but I do know about observing theories. There are many theories and many good reasons listed for each. Here is my theory - feedback is appreciated ..... Permaculture appears to be a science of making friends with perceived foes without going to battle and with zero bloodshed. Whether its rocky soil, Johnson grass or slugs. Permaculture is a respectful process that figures out a way to live with what is before us and co-create a better situation . Now, what if the perceived foe is a law that I don't like? Do I move away? Maybe. What if the foe is a slug? Do I move the tomato garden? Maybe. But probably not. I will (as I saw in Paul's video) gather some nearby rocks and create a natural home for a creature who likes to eat slugs. With respect I say, I am aware of the difference between dealing with slugs and dealing with laws. It has been my observation in life that "the way you do anything is the way you do everything ". If permaculture has a formula or process, than it stands to reason that this process would be applied throughout . Can the principles of permaculture be applied socially as well as physically?
 
Dawn Hoff
pollinator
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David Livingston wrote:Dawn
What for you is a community?

David


Good question - why do you ask?
 
David Livingston
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Dawn
I have met a number of people in the past who described themselves to some extent as anarchists but no two who seemed to me to agree on what anarchy was . Therefore rather than ask you what your "brand" was I thought I would ask for a practical example and take it from there also not to risk crossing the boundries into politics as its against Paul's rules
I am concerned that your model above will lead to far too many silos and not enough interaction for people to be what I would call a community

David
 
Dawn Hoff
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David Livingston wrote:Dawn
I have met a number of people in the past who described themselves to some extent as anarchists but no two who seemed to me to agree on what anarchy was . Therefore rather than ask you what your "brand" was I thought I would ask for a practical example and take it from there also not to risk crossing the boundries into politics as its against Paul's rules
I am concerned that your model above will lead to far too many silos and not enough interaction for people to be what I would call a community

David


I should think that when people discuss taking over local parliaments etc the boundary towards politics has already been crossed

I'm 100% OK with community - as long as it is voluntary. A voluntary community is like the one I have in the small valley where my homestead lies: I have neighbors, some I talk to every day, some I give the odd nod when they pass me in their tractor. The neighbor I talk to May graze his goats on my land (as long as he follows my instructions) and in return prune my olives, or give me a dog or a goat that he does not want (males). I have a homeschooling community, and there is the community in the village nearby - where we might have a soup kitchen helping the homeless. All those communities are a-Ok. They may be lead by democratic means, or by dictatorship (like my farm ), but I have joined them voluntarily and know the consequence of leaving (some may be small, some big - like leaving my family would have huge consequences not just for me, but for all involved).
 
Posts: 92
Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
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It seems to me that, in the spirit of the Free State Project, locating in counties within less restrictive states is the way to go. There are many states that are better than others when it comes to land use restricion and counties within each of those states that feature low population density, like Mcdowell County, WV.

Just living in the vicinity of whatever county Paul chose for his project in Montana would put you in close proximity to the epicenter of this particular permaculture community.

Although it sounds as if some require a pristine environment to make a go of it, permaculture is a way to fix a less than pristine environment.

As far as moving in and taking over goes, I believe the approach would be met with resistance. A better way may be moving to an area one household at a time and gradually introducing better ways of doing things to those who are doing things in ways that conflict with permaculture. Eventually, when enough permie households have moved into an area, like the county containing Belen, NM, the county government could be affected in a positive way. Laws could be enacted prohibiting pesticide/herbacide use, allowing for water catchment, etc.

When the indvidual person/family/household makes a purchase of a 1, 5, or 40 acre plot all their own, there comes with it a level of commitment to make it work for them. Having support from a community of like minded individuals just makes it a better place to take on the challenge.
 
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Hi Edward,

I wanted to suggest a few ideas regarding how to implement a permaculture political system (an undefined term, right now). I have a lot of ideas regarding this, mainly due to a fancy education in political science and being in the middle of law school (I know, it seems pretty anti-permie, but there are actually 4 people in my class, that I am aware of, who know Paul Wheaton's name and what permaculture is. One is a homesteader, one just built their first RMH, I have a little [all the trees are little] savanna project in the works, we all had similar reasons for going).

Edward Jacobs wrote:

The first issue I keep worrying about is what do you do when the Zoning nazis show up and tell you that you can't have that many houses on your property? Or the cow nazis show up and tell you that you can't drink your own cow's milk? I've studied law enough to know I am prepared to fight those battles, but if 90% of the community caves in with worry and fear, there is no chance of defending yourself against ANY so-called legal action the system might bring against you. Meaning, there would need to be provision for studying law as part of everyone's duty to protect the community. But the larger the land, the safer you are because the bureaucrats aren't likely to drive 2 miles into private property just to confront you with some alleged "code violation". Especially if the driveway is gated and the No Trespass signs posted, etc. But still, what if?



The obvious answer is to get a lawyer on your team. You are absolutely correct that people fear legal repercussions as a result of not understanding the law. If you can't find a lawyer to be part of the community, pay one to come to your meetings every 6 months or so, or even ask that person to make a presentation on the legal issues du jour. A lawyer north of me was willing to make presentations to a lake community regarding riparian property rights for free, with the hope of getting clients for whatever problems come up. It sounds like you should be the person who can allay the fears of the community, and adding a "goddamn lawyer" to the mix can only help.

Edward Jacobs wrote:

Then there is the legal structure of ownership. Do all the prospective members join together and form an LLC or create a Trust? What about future members wanting to move in? Who gets designated to handle the corporation's paperwork? Who handles the collective community finances? How do you prevent them from skimming money? Is the land officially sub-divided and recorded by deed at the county recorders? This creates multiple properties and the idea of "sharing" anything becomes a 100% trust issue between the people, and like it or not people fight and disagree and get mad at each other. What if the owner dead-center in the middle gets mad and shuts down his property, thereby physically dividing the whole community? If you "subdivide" the property by internal private contract as part of the community structure, how do you resolve property disputes? With only 5 or 10 homesteads, I suspect these are not going to be too much of an issue. But if you build an actual village and people have the right to individual thought and action and independence, things get sketchy if not structured correctly. People will have significant financial investment into the project. And what happens if someone wants to move out and sell their interest in the community - if the land is not officially deeded to them, what is the likelihood of finding someone who will buy an idea that looks like land? They should be compensated for the work they put into their house, and the improvements in the property they contributed towards. How would you attach a price tag to such things? 10 years in, it will have evolved into something unexpected.


Does people envision something of this size and scale being a collectivist commune, or would it be structured and allowed to grow like the towns of 1800's America? Is there private property rights, or is it a socialist type arrangement? Maybe these issues are addressed in the books written on the subject? "Start small, stay small" is a whole different creature than "start big and plan for growth."



The structure of ownership must be contractual. Contract law creates a law outside of the public sphere, and therefore outside the sticky fingers of the government, but I'm not prepared to suggest an exact contract form. The political structure is what concerns me.

First, a series of rules for managing a commons, you will see how these rules apply to all levels of governance from your local community to the federal government. Elinor Ostrom is the genius, here. These rules avoid the tragedy of the commons. These rules came from Elinor Ostrom's research on successful commons, so they are descriptive, but they also are meant to be normative, telling us all what we should do to manage a commons successfully. Her research netted her a nobel prize in economics.

http://www.onthecommons.org/magazine/elinor-ostroms-8-principles-managing-commmons wrote:

"1. Define clear group boundaries.


2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.


3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.


4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.


5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.


6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.


7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.


8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system."



Do you see a little hint of Willie Smits in these? I have not got any evidence that Smits used these principles for his projects, but he certainly comes to mind, here.
So,

1. Define clear group boundaries. - This is your contract. You have a way in your contract for people to come and go, but you also protect your member's interests. This means geographic boundaries, behavior boundaries, and a framework of governance. Geographic boundaries seem to be best approached with a Wheaton "ant village" type system, or a Smits system in which community members have their own land, plus tools and land in common. People need to be owners of their own space at the very least, plus be shepherds of community space from which they receive something highly valuable. In other words, people should be able to grow all their nutrition on their own land, and all their calories on common land. It might be best to have little garden space on their own land, large rotational pasture on common land, and tree crops on both. Behavior boundaries should be as loose as possible, in my opinion, such as "signer agrees to submit him/herself to the governance of the commons, and work n (2? 3? 7?) hours per day on community projects." The framework of governance needs to arise out of the feedback system (otherwise known as the voting system). In my opinion, a voting system modeled after the United States voting system is an exceedingly poor choice. Political scientists love alternative voting systems, and permies should, too, because the voting system is the foundational "largest domino". In the "largest domino" theory, of which I know Paul and other permaculturists have discussed, the most important changes to make first are the foundational changes, the largest dominoes. In other terms, the voting system is a huge leverage point. For a myriad of reasons, a plurality voting system (commonly thought of as majority rule) results in outcomes even more 'unfair' than even random voting (just picking a name from a hat), yet random voting is unfair in so many ways. According to Duverger's Law, plurality voting CAUSES the two opposed parties we see in the United States, and EXCLUDES other parties, and makes people vote against their interests so that they avoid the worst outcome. As a result of plurality voting, we always seem to have a choice between a "giant douche" and a "turd sandwich". As an alternative, the best systems seem to be rating voting systems and approval voting (with special mention to SODA voting; http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/SODA_voting_(Simple_Optionally-Delegated_Approval) ). The change to the ballot is simple. People can vote for as many choices as they want. They can approve, remain neutral, or disapprove. If you want to make this even more sensitive, they can rate the choices from zero (total disapproval, I hate this choice) to ten (complete approval, I can't live without this choice). This gives highly sensitive data for governance. Either the majority choice can be selected and implemented, or a range of the most highly approved choices can be selected and implemented. These voting systems create a far more responsive direct democracy, as well as a far more responsive representative democracy. I recommend using direct for the most important choices, and using representation for the day-to-day stuff.

2. Match rules governing the use of common goods to local needs and conditions. - In general, I think a common good should be kept at a common place, with a sheet as the record of who has what at what time. The sheet can be easily converted into a reservation system. This is ideal, but I know people continually fail to bring tools back, or to maintain them. This is why the rest of the rules are incredibly important, and that there is "6. use of graduated sanctions for rule violators." Cutting off access to the common resource for the exact period of time that the tool was not returned when it should have been seems as pretty fair, and likely to incent people to return the damn tools. Of course, then someone is policing the tools. It seems like police work is something that a few people who are really good at tool maintenance should take on in a rotation while they maintain and sharpen the tools, for which they get more compensation of some type.

3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules. - This is discussed above.


4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities. - Also discussed above. Hire a lawyer, or find one who wants to be part of the community. Another lawyer I know takes compensation in trees, land improvements, honey, livestock, and the like. They exist, and there very well may be a lawyer willing to work for the compensation of a pasture raised cow. Alternatively, have community members run for positions of authority, and make sure all community members make it to voting day.

5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior. - discussed above in number 2.


6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators. - Generally, the most important tool we have is economic incentive. People respond to positive economic incentives more than anything else, and do not like being policed. Setting up a positive economic incentive is about letting people do what they want to do. When people come up against the rest of the community, finding a way to direct their activities towards more economically rewarding pursuits is of prime importance. Punishment is probably the least important function, here. Can anyone envision how to implement this principle in a systemic way?


7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution. - Allow items under dispute to go to a few different levels of resolution. These levels should be known to everyone. The best case scenario is for both parties to agree to a type of dispute resolution. a) arbitration of disputes by a learned friend (the resolutions are only binding if both parties agree to it after the arbitration is over) b) binding mediation from three learned friends (both parties agree to be bound by whatever the three friends decide, before the three friends decide it), c) judgment by a group of friends decided by the parties, d) judgment by vote of entire community (to be used as a last resort or on appeal or where there the parties do not agree to a previous dispute resolution type).


8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system. - Permies are good at this. Setting up systems within systems within systems that feed back on one another positively is the great trick of permaculture. Having committees and a monthly committee night seems like a good idea to me, but there are other systems not so syndicalist in nature. If people have ownership of their land and a share of common resources, they also have responsibility at the lowest levels. They lend their power to the higher levels through the contract. I think everyone needs ownership (partial ownership of common resources as well as full ownership of small plots of land) in order to encourage growth. People should be able to sell their share, and their land. The buyer would need to join in the contract, similar to an HOA. I know people hate HOAs, but contracts do order people's behavior so that the community is protected, and contracts are only enforceable when they are entered willingly. People know what they are getting into when they contract.


Whew, thank you for reading. Thoughts?
 
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Delaware is the size of most counties around the U.S.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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