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Permaculture - an idea who's time has come ... and gone???

Posts: 266
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,500' Zone 8a
greening the desert
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Carol Allen wrote:
There is nothing wrong with questions and answers and good discussion, but it seems to me that if you just want to state everything you find wrong with permaculture, then you probably shouldn't be doing it on a permaculture site. Stepping down from my soapbox now.............

+1. Time magazine...LOL!!!
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Mark Shepard took his PDC from Bill Mollison back in the day. He also has taught PDC's. He used Yeoman's keyline principles in the development of his site. If you watch the begining portion of this video, Mark discusses the numerous influences that he has had throughout his life. He hasn't looked to any influence solely in the master plan development for his site. He has used applicable principles from each, as they made sense. He will state his influences within the first 4 minutes of the video. Garry - I think that if you listen to this video, you will especially feel a kinship for Mark because he does delve into a lot of what you have brought up in this thread discussion.

I don't have a spiral, I don't have keyhole beds, I don't live in a group of people that hold hands and sing sons, but I don't care of someone else does and I would much rather they did that and fed themselves instead of living on welfare that the rest of us would have to pay far.

There is nothing wrong with questions and answers and good discussion, but it seems to me that if you just want to state everything you find wrong with permaculture, then you probably shouldn't be doing it on a permaculture site. Stepping down from my soapbox now.............

I am right there with you Carol. I don't have an herb spiral but might come up with a hybrid because it will fit my site better and allow me more room to have additional diversity implemented. I am sure that I will have herbs scattered here and there throughout my site as well for supporting beneficial insects, and other species, in addition to below ground benefits that they can bring to the system. If I do my hybrid, that will be my small zone of personal forage while those scattered throughout the system would be there for very different purposes. I can also see the benefit you can gain from them by having diversified growing conditions in a compact space which support the requirements for the various species of plants that often make their way into such a structure. Keyhole beds...hate them just because I think they are ugly. Increasing edge space makes sense, but I can do that in my own system in ways that are more visually appealing to me. Hugel beds that are 5+ foot tall...not going to happen on my site because I think that they would again, be an eyesore and turn off myself and neighbors. I can achieve similar functions in other ways with wood chips. I don't get caught up in the names of things. I am more interested in figuring out what works and why. Often times, for myself, the discussions about the "cutes" serve more as a learning experience for some of the nitty-gritty benefits (the why they are a potential solution) that I might not have yet thought of, not as the actual thing that will be implemented into my own system.

Geoff Lawton is doing a fine job of keeping feet in all camps – that boy must be a centipede! And as Mollison’s anointed he is keeping the flame burning bright.

Geoff's impact on the world is astounding and his enthusiasm and passion is infectious. He doesn't really care if it is happening on a small level or large, he is more interested that it is just happening. He, in fact, has said that, per square foot/hectare, urban production can produce more than in a broad scale system because they can be much more intensively managed. I am not dissing broad scale at all. There needs to be solutions for boath small and large broad scale. They are not always transferrable between the systems, but the lessons learned from each can be. I think instead of taking on a we/they mentality, we need to put our heads together to figure out the how and why a system works and quit getting hung up on what they look like. As with a car, it is the engine that matters, not what the fender or hood look like. If what you can't see doesn't work, it doesn't mean diddly what the heck something looks like or how good it makes you one feel.

I think that it might have been Dave Jacke that I listened to an interview on in which he talked about actually stopping referring to what he did as permaculture for a number of years because people get so hung up on what things are called instead of what they can do. In my mind, I completely agree. I could care less what "system" or founder something is attributed to as long as it works to heal the enviroment and restore its ability to provide for humanity (to paraphrase Geoff).

I think that the woo-woo of "cutes" is often a tool to get people intersted and involved that would otherwise be overwhelmed or turned off my the under the hood/in depth discussion of why something works. I say step back and observe the audience you are trying to pursuade or help and taylor the message to them, not to your own interests. How much does it make sense to use the same approach when discussing with a soccer mom compared to a large scale farmer. OBSERVE their needs and meet them where THEY need to be met for solutions to their very different situations.

Trying to step down off of my soapbox and not fall off of it now....
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Guys (gender plural), if we don't get agriculturalists to change their ways we are in deep poo poo. What was where deserts are before they were deserts - agriculture - in almost every case! Do any US citz recall the dust storms of the 1930's during a drought decade? Well nothing has changed, there are still dust storms, and when another 10 year drought hits is there anything going to be different to last time? Not just US ... Australia has their version too. Probably Africa, but I'm not up to speed on that continent.

The NUB of this thread is really preservation of food producution, and permaculture's role in that discussion. Of course food production depends on a lot of things - oops almost all of them are in decline!

Now jellyspoons and ladles, a planet full of well intentioned herb spiralists (I know I'm being contentious - its all for literary effect) cannot feed themselves. So you have a food forest, how long do you think you can feed yourself eating apples all day. Apples are NOT food. Really.

Yes I know something is better than nothing but unless we address the big picture we are "***ing in the wind" (Save it the farmers need it - haha). Most of the population are in cities, they need food. Food does not grow on trees (WOW ... its almost true guys!, think about it -its a throw away line but there is possibly a KERNEL of truth in it. Permaculturalists generally also need food - almost no-one is self sufficient today. yes I'm generalising, and frankly I dont want to know about this one or that one who is the exception - they prove the rule!

So ... why the thread. Well it comes from the same anguish Paul Wheaton expresses - OFTEN. Permaculture, possibly the main regenerative tool box out there, risks becoming irrelevant to the ACRES - not because of anything permaculture lacks, but because of the cute bits that get the airplay. Big Ag is right there in your freezer and pantry, we need it. This thinker (and that is really all I am here - I do diddly squat - my mushrooms might supply a town of 100,000 with one species, and I can pat myself on the back all I like for 2300kg per month of high protein food production but my 400sqm is NOTHING compared to the millions of acres of degraded rice paddies around me steadily losing productive capacity. real world folks!) is on the same page as Paul. Let's support all the little guys doing the nice stuff - but how do we infect the brains that matter - the brains that control the acres.

I find many people are better at reading between the lines than reading the lines. I wrote the lines not the spaces.
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I feel like you're running around in circles in this thread. When somebody addresses why the small scale stuff is OK for small scale practitioners, you switch over to discussing the need to recruit big ag. When someone acknowledges and addresses the difficulty of recruiting big ag into a system that requires a pretty significant reboot of their setup, you start talking about the cutes and how problematic they are for the big ag guy.

Big ag will be a hard sell, not because of herb spirals, or hugelculture, or rocket stoves or any of that, but because they have to set aside otherwise productive land to do something they have no experience in and that will usually take a long time to begin producing. The reason all the small things exist in small scale yards and farms is because they don't require people to stake their entire living on an experiment.

If permaculture fails to gain acreage on large scale plots, it will be because no one figured out a good way to transition from one system to another without taking a big risk on a couple seasons of crops, not because you call it 'permaculture,' or Wheaton-ade or Holzer-tastic.

Edit::: Permaculture is already irrelevant in the minds of the big ag farmers. It's not like it gained a bunch of traction and then lost it because of a name. Find something that works with little risk and people will flock to it. Right now permaculture looks like high risk.
Mother Tree
Posts: 11485
Location: Portugal
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This thread is getting political. It's also not really serving the primary purpose of this forum, which is to to promote practical things we can do to make world a better place.

If anyone wants to create a similar thread, the Cider Press is the place to do it so that the rest of the board can stay true to its intended purpose.

This thread is now locked.
Ruth Stout was famous for gardening naked. Just like this tiny ad:
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
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