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200 times more permaculture

 
steward
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We currently have a few people working stuff in our permaculture bootcamp.  We need to fill that out to six, and do it long enough that we might be able to handle 12.   And maybe two years from now, we might be able to carry 24.  

There are three pieces of property next to mine.   I like the idea that those properties are purchased by permies and they each carry out their own vision in community.  

I would like to see more ants and deep roots people on the lab, pushing projects forward.   I would like to get to the point that we have several natural building instructors and we have at least one person that manages the seppers program.



Another way of expressing this:  I like the idea that a community of 50 people continue to blaze a trail for permaculture here long after I have died.  

It seems that there are a lot of permaculture sites that will allow one or two people.  Or there are places where they will allow dozens of people and tolerate permaculture.  

I think about how ten years ago I wanted to move to a community where they were as bonkers about permaculture as I was.  And I just couldn't seem to find a fit.  So now I have created a place for people like "past me".  The idea is that this would be their permanent residence.  Where they would plant the seeds of permaculture and, in time, add to the greater permaculture knowledge set.

Permaculture, homesteading, self sufficiency .... all wrapped up in a flavor of community.  

I hope that my online efforts produce 200x in five years.    I hope that my on site efforts product 200x in twenty years.



As I think about what I need most right now ....   I need to fill out the permaculture bootcamp program.   I could use a few dozen ideas on how to do that.
 
paul wheaton
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How many people are at sepp holzer's place.  Five?

I like the idea that we have 50 people here.  We do everything sepp has ever done, and then we do ten times more than that.  80% of the cool permaculture stuff we do is stuff that sepp never got around to trying.  

How many people live at mark shepherd's place (3?)?  Or ben falk's place (3?)?    I think there are about a dozen people at any time at geoff lawton's place (??).

Can this property become something of a permaculture theme park of sorts (basecamp 20 acres) next door to the experimental lab (200 acres).  Maybe the properties next to mine get bought up and they do similar projects.  Maybe the greater community is hundreds?    Maybe there are a few hundred more permies that live nearby?

 
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Permaculture by trickery seems to work well for me.

I've set up a few small gardens for people and shown them how best to operate/manage it, covering some permaculture basics and practical points for their specific arrangement.

About half keep it going.

While I wish they would get more in depth with their "garden", at least they're continuing, all the while not even considering the word "permaculture".

A rose by any other name is ALMOST as sweet.
 
gardener
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One of the ways I've been working at getting permaculture ideas out in the public view has been through landscaping and farm consulting businesses.
It is amazing to see the faces of people who are used to "spray this now" thinking, when you change their landscaping and suddenly they don't have the bills for "spray this now" coming in all year long.
Once they see how nice their property looks without spending all that money, they want more of their land to be like that, and they tell their neighbors and friends.
Grass roots spreading of the word.

The same thing happens in farming, when I get one farmer to change methodology and they see black on the books instead of red, they become converts.
It takes time and diligence but once those bottom line numbers are getting better and better, they spread the word to their friends.
In the farm world, change comes as slow as molasses in January at the north pole, but it will gain momentum since the ice caps are thawing.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Hello from the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  I am trying to permaculture my life.  Right now, I am trying to build a hugleKulture bed in my field.  I started this spring by laying old cardboard boxes where I wanted the bed, and then covering the boxes with raked up grass mowing piles. (I used an old child's sled we found at the dump. My husband attached a rope for me and I fill the sled up with the grass clippings and then pull it to the spot and then I pile the clippings on the cardboard.  I have been trying to get my hubby to help me with gathering the big logs for the hugel bed, but he is very sick (on oxygen for 3 years now) and stubborn. He won't read the permaculture books or let me get anyone to help me.  I am not allowed to use the chainsaw because is sure I will cut off one of my limbs if I do.

I just finished reading Josh Throght's book on his D-Acres project which isn't very far from me. Even though we have 13 acres (mostly forest) we would never be allowed (zoning) to have a co-housing community like that here.  So my plans to make my little farmlet (Moose Hollow Farm) a permaculture demonstration site is slow going.  I am willing to do what I can, but as an almost 60 year old. not very strong woman it is hard going.  

We did get apples from our tree for the first time this year. Our green beans did great and are canned in the pantry. Zucchini relish, crabapple, and grape jelly canned. Because of my hubby's lung issues we can't have chickens or farm animals anymore.

Frustrated in the mountains, plugging along.
 
pollinator
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Steven Kovacs wrote:

Maureen Atsali wrote:I am all in with this idea, although I am under qualified and stuck out here in the sticks of Africa... If I can help, here I am.



You mean, you're ready to learn, not overconfident in your capabilities, and located in a frontier for permaculture where you can spread the word?  Perfect!  



I totally agree - we need to get a few Seps, Bills and Pauls going in other parts of the world. Where do we find them and get them going? No chance they will hop a plane to the Alps and learn something usefull for Kenia.

In my view education is everything. I was doing permaculture stuff before i even knew the word. Just common sense, some observational skills, scientific knowledge and generally a lack of time.
A lack of time can be valuable This is where i'm going. There is lots of stuff out there on the net but little quality control. What really works ? What really works 'here' (wherever you are) ? How to adapt techniques ..... Someone starting with this is overwhelmed. Just having access to peer reviewed stuff is a lot of help.

Coaching and connecting trough the net is also a good way to multiply our way of doing things. In Africa, Parts of Latin America and Asia - the Monsanto's of the world have not yet established their way. Getting permaculture ideas going there could do the most good. Coincidentally, climate change is hitting there hardest. The traditional hoefarming is under pressure so people there are ready for change. There is of course a language gap. A Bantoe farmer in rural Niger is not exactly equipped to understand an english spoken You Tube documentary. If he has any education it is likely to be french based.......
So our understandings, if at all relevant, can not find their way to the farmers who needs them.

Indexing or decent crossreferencing information/you tube films/products/ etc.... might help to. I'm not helped by knowing Joe Something is located in zone 8b. In Europe i can not place that, let alone an African farming community. So if i produce a documentary - I could crossreference by using the location as a minimum, further cross-reference points could be - 'local climate', 'ingredients/materials' needed, 'food preservation methods', 'scale of operation', 'funding/finance', 'marketing info',....

F.e. Stinging nettle tea is great but along the coast of the Indian Ocean those are in short supply.
     A permie farmer coop needs an organic food distributor/importer ....

People like you Maureen could be the translator/indexer/conduit of ideas.... If you can speak with the locals, you can help them find ways to reach the net. You are there, even a casual remark to a farmer might do good.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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I totally agree - we need to get a few Seps, Bills and Pauls going in other parts of the world. Where do we find them and get them going? No chance they will hop a plane to the Alps and learn something usefull for Kenia.  



Well, actually there are quite a few Permaculture folks spreading the word by doing the work out around the world.

Neil Spackman is in the Arabian peninsula working on a big project with the Bedouin.
William Horvath is "eastern" Europe and has the Permaculture Apprentice web presence.
Aaron Elton is in Uganda helping the people there establish permaculture Moringa farms for food and fuel wood.
Nicolas Netien is promoting Dry Climate permaculture in Africa.
Peter Allen is working to restore some of the African Savanna's.
Jon Liu is in China doing the massive restorations there.
Thomas Fernley-Pearson is doing work in the Mediterranean.
There is a group that is concentrating on rewilding parts of Siberia.

And there are more, with others getting into it every month or so.
These are some of my colleagues and friends spreading the need and how to of restoring the earth mother to health. (and showing people how to make a little money and feed their people all at the same time).
It is interesting that most of us are not widely known, but that is probably because we do more works than writing, except for Neil (Sustainable Design Master Class) and William (The Permaculture Apprentice), most are out of the spotlight except for the country they are working in.


Redhawk
 
pollinator
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There is actually a lot of progress that Paul and other leaders cannot see. Yes, the nature of people is a problem, but as a retired teacher, let me tell you:
1/ a great idea has a lot of power. People easily get discouraged and always have self doubts, but once they latch on to a winner of an idea, they will never let go. You can kill people a whole lot easier than you can kill a good idea. And permaculture is a great idea.
2/ People rise in an organization not just on the terrific job they do but on KNOWING that they do a great job, and while awards are fine, this inside little person inside you that lets you know: "Hey, you did well there" is a lot more powerful than all the naysayers put together.
3/ In order to rise in an organization, or even to join in, folks have to sense that success is possible and have the right personal skills for that organization. I have that sense [that Permaculture is the only way to go], but while I know I can raise bees and chicken and have a beautiful raised garden bed and a small forest I'm still trying to grow into a farm forest, all of it without chemicals, I do not yet have the confidence to be a leader in the field. I suck at creating videos or organizing in general and I really do not have a head for business. Learning how to work my 7 acres observing the best principles of Permaculture is in itself a daunting task, but progress is happening out of sight: I advocate for clean water and clean air in Central Wisconsin, and I make suggestions here and there at town meetings. Voltaire once said "you must cultivate your own garden". and indeed, each one of us is focused on his/ her tiny world, and it is all of us, each one of us in our own puny ways that end up changing the world. This is the real way that things change. Some, like the great leader in the Permaculture movement are the visionaries. Here, in the trenches, so to speak, we are the ones absorbing the ideas and communicating them, little by little, through friendships. Just this year, I had a person who came to visit on a different matter and while she was waiting for her husband, I showed her my garden. Raised beds, watering from barrels in which I steep comfrey, a rebar at the corner of each bed and a short piece of PVC impaled on it so I can drag hoses around the beds without killing plants, gathering clean leaves at the end of the season. Simple stuff, really. Nothing revolutionary. She was all ears and kept saying "Ooh, I like that. I'm going to do the same thing in my garden". My husband later told me that she was a Master Gardener. She gleaned at least half a dozen ideas. Will she follow through? Maybe. Maybe she will pick one or two and feel she can improve her garden. I approached my town board about not putting chemicals to rid the ditches of certain weeds and pointed out the savings the town could make if they seeded the edges of the ditches with short flowers, perhaps Birds' foot trefoil, which never needs mowing and is good for pollinators and won't poison the ditch water. Some listened attentively, others were looking at their watches, but there will be other town meetings, and I'll keep pounding on that nail.
4/ The other difficulty is the sheer vastness of the task and of the field. Permaculture is a huge idea, with lots and lots of components, and what works here may not work in the next county, with a different fauna and flora. And so we hesitate and spend a lot of time thinking and rethinking the ideas we think we understand until it fits just right... for each one of us.
So in short, to all of our great leaders in Permaculture, let me say: It is working. You may not see all the progress being made quietly at the local level and I'm sure it is disheartening at times, but each and every one of us is gleaning new ideas, new ways of doing things. Montaigne once famously said that we should travel and "rub and sharpen our brains against other people's brains". In this very excellent forum, that is what we are all doing, and that is really the way that we get the best movement going and progressing. Thanks for creating a place where we can all grow in Permaculture.

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Joel Bercardin wrote: Not everybody has a rural acreage, and not everybody has even a back yard (many condo and apartment dwellers do not).



People often post on permies offering free land in exchange for working it.  Permies.com could become a clearing house for connecting land-havers with land-needers.  There's no lack of land available for people who want to work it.  It just might not be in their personal yard.



Whilst I am a believer, I am lazy and I don't wish to be a farmer.  I am retired with enough money to buy a property that could be good for permiculture.  I would be happy for "others" to live off the land if I could have a house and a nice view.  I think I might be a permiculture resource but as there is no clear way for me to set up something that might work I will continue to live in the city and consume resources.

Is there a solution?

It seems to me that there might be a way for me to use my retirement money to setup a property that could sustain me and "others"  There are lots of people like me that could help establish permiculture properties if we could get a system that gives us old "rich folks" what we want.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Alan Loy, I like your idea.
You could buy the land and set it up as a "Live in Learning Center".
This could work really well if you found enough other people that share the idea of yours, where you could put funds together to buy large blocks of land then you could either lease parcels or set it up as a school setting.
The one issue you would have is whether or not those "students" would remain once they learned the permaculture methods they came to learn.
If they didn't then you could start a new "crop" of students, which would make it like a Permaculture University.
 
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Alan Loy wrote:...
It seems to me that there might be a way for me to use my retirement money to setup a property that could sustain me and "others"  There are lots of people like me that could help establish permiculture properties if we could get a system that gives us old "rich folks" what we want.



Alan, I think this is a very good way to use your 'richness'!
You only have to provide the money to a group of people who know how to start this Permaculture Property (maybe as a Course Centre, as Bryant suggests, or in another way). Have a little talk together, so they know what you want and you know what they want, find a 'common ground'. And then they start!
Probably you'll find those people at Permies. (I'm sorry I live too far away)
 
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Alan,

I think this is a valuable idea. There are many people who lack resources to get started but may have expertise and strong work ethic. The question is how to find and incentivise them.

I would suggest you reach out to Geoff Lawton (or his entourage) and see if there is a way they could pair your resources with their product. Local knowledge is key, and maybe you avoid kissing too many frogs...

 
gardener
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Allow me to resurrect this old thread.

In the past 12 months, I was able to teach a course at the University where I work titled "Strategies for Sustainable Agricultural Development".  There were initially 21 students who signed up for the course, and 16 that stuck with it to the end.  For many of the students, it was the first time they'd grown anything from seed to salad.  The students were required to read broadly in the permaculture and agg development literature, and spent at least 4 hours a week outside in the garden.  The last week of the course, we ate a bunch of food that the students had grown themselves: a nice coleslaw from a couple of fresh cabbages they'd grown, a big green salad, and chicken tacos from birds we'd grown all semester.  The buzz from the course was significant across campus: dozens of their friends were inquiring about the class—"When is it going to be offered again?"  

We did a bunch of different projects throughout the semester: hugel beds, a chicken tractor, a grey-water system off the kitchen sink, fermentation/drying/canning/food preservation, biochar . . . but the thing that they talked about most in their summary paper was the magic of seeing a compost pile go from just a pile of biomass, to 160 degrees, to crumbly black garden gold within 3 weeks.  They kept talking about the compost pile!  OK -- if that's their biggest take away, then that's cool.  They'll never forget that.  

We are now on summer break, but I'm hearing by e-mail from some of the students about the projects they are taking on as they return home for the summer.  From Texas to Belgium to Hawaii, students are taking what they learned and putting into practice.  I exposed them to this web-site/forum.  Some have created accounts.  Hey guys.

Further, because of the word-of-mouth-buzz on campus, I've had a couple of conversations with faculty and staff who didn't know that i was "such a gardener".  Well -- I suppose its gardening, but more than that, I'm a systems-designer: a permaculturalist.  Last week, one of these people came over for a "tour" and asked that I help her re-design her back yard for food production. Food is just one of the outcomes.  In the next academic year, I'm slated to teach the course again in the Spring semester (Spring 2019).  I'll cap the course at 25 students, and this time, I'll do a much better job of publicity as well as making expectations clear: this course will require a lot of work, so don't sign up for it unless you are ready to get dirty.  I'd love to offer a one-week intensive for faculty and staff: something of a PDC.  Maybe in a year or two.

So . . . bringing this ramble back to the OP, is that 200 times more permaculture?  Well, there are 16 students who now know that permaculture is, as well as a handful of others who heard about it through via word of mouth.  Next year, we'll double that number -- perhaps triple it.  As they share with their friends, their families, their circle of peers . . . now we are approaching the 200X multiplication.  In 3 or 4 years, I'll have reached that many people.  Depending on how aggressive these students are in sharing with others, the exponential growth will easily exceed 200x.

Change is like an infection.  (I'm stealing this from Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point").  The key is to get critically important infectors to adapt the change, and then they'll be like Typhoid Mary -- setting of an exponential wave of change far in excess of normal one-by-one adaptation and change.
 
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*cascading harp music* Four years earlier...

The Duke wrote:I hope that my online efforts produce 200x in five years.



I bet you've either achieved that outright, or are going to easily hit your goal within the year!  

Mollison wrote:"The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited.  [the only limit is] the information and imagination of the designer. "



Permaculture isn't about mass and volume, it's about pattern and relationship, right?   So maybe not the number of "bricks" added to the forum or created in ancillary efforts, but rather the quality of how those bricks interlock to build something lasting and worthy of being built.

Sharing, learning, buying and selling, growing, documenting, teaching, listening, connecting, organizing.  I don't know how many gentle souls are on here, but the number of beneficial relationships among them, and new, indirect connections external to users on the site must have grown tremendously in four years.  

The Duke wrote:The purpose of this thread is simply demonstrate that I'm not just one kook.   I am hopeful that hundreds of people will express that they wish to work toward the same goal, or a similar goal.  That they will volunteer their time and effort to being part of the 500.  Maybe they will demonstrate some bricks in their backyard, or share video of some bricks, or share pictures of some bricks, or share links to some bricks, or help people understand some bricks .....    each working in a way that helps amplify all of this stuff ... with the end result being that we might all, collectively, achieve 200x.

A thumbs up on the first post of this thread says, perhaps, "I will put in two hours each week toward x".  

And then if I talk to somebody else and tell them about all this and they say "nobody would do that.  nobody would waste their time on that." I can point to this thread, where, I hope there are hundreds of upvotes for the first post.



So basically, if anyone reading this has spent 2-ish hours a week having fun gardening, taking pictures and videos, building stuff, helping others on the forum by sharing successes and failures learned in their community, digging around exploring PEP, dreaming and talking about their permaculture paradise, building a better world in their backyard, and if they have no intention of stopping any time soon, then they should go ahead and hit that "thumbs up" button?

 
paul wheaton
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As I am working all of my different strategies with a general idea of "how do i infect a billion brains with permaculture" I now realize that I need two important ingredients:

  - a lot more people in our bootcamp

  - a lot of people that live here and are video savvy

Yesterday, we had the hottest day ever recorded here:  107F.  And the temp in cooper cabin:  72.  Amazing and profound shit.  If I had a little youtube video, I would tell the 100,000 people on the monthly-ish.  And hopefully, that information is so profound it will go viral!  

Nobody made any such video.  And now it has cooled off.  

I have the mailing list, and it is growing.   I can throw 200 things at the mailing lists and if just one goes viral, people might start grabbing for all the other stuff and all of this permaculture stuff takes off!  

The bottleneck right now is lack of boots and lack of people here recording and editing video.  

----

This thread is about how to get "200 time more permaculture".  And I try to figure out the strategies to pull that off.  

I think there are a lot of people that want to come here, but they want to continue to pay for their cell phone and car insurance without depleting their savings.   They need just a little bit each month.  

At the same time, we need just a few videos a week to go up on my channel.  Those videos would, I think, bring in more boots, sell more event tickets, infect more brains with permaculture, etc. etc. ...

So I have set something up to pay people a LOT to come here and make videos

  https://permies.com/t/161921/permaculture-projects/pay-videos-youtube-channel

My thinking is that I get a lot more videos in the pipe, and it might attract more people to come to the bootcamp.  Hopefully, all that interest will make it so my video patreon account ( https://patreon.com/pwvids ) will grow and I won't be going into the negative with each video.

In a couple of months we will start the rocket mass heater jamboree.  It would be cool if somebody was making videos of that stuff.  This winter we will be doing the ATI test at allerton abbey. It would be great if there was video of that.  And for the wofati greenhouse!  How about videos for:

  - rolly shelves
  - junk pole fence
  - rock jacks
  - love shack
  - the alternative to a cord wood house
  - ruth stout composting
  - the gravel post project
  - berm shed summary
  - our buffet of door latch designs
  - the massive doors at allerton abbey
  - the solar food dehydrator
  - the new solar food dehydrator
  - peeling bark off of logs at the right time of year
  - haybox cookers
  - rocket mass heater summary after six winters of use
  - about a hundred more things




 
paul wheaton
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Thanks to the help of the bernal brothers, my youtube channel has a lot of excellent content going out.  At least I think it is pretty excellent.  But rather than each video getting hundreds of thousands of views on the first day, it is closer to 300.

Thanks to the help of the whole SKIP team, all the SKIP stuff is looking great!

Thanks to the help of Mud and Lara, the upcoming rocket mass heater jamboree looks like it will be amazing!

Thanks to the help of the permacuture bootcamp, physical projects here are moving forward!

Thanks to the help of the permies.com staff, this community is getting more streamlined every year and the quality of content just keeps getting richer!


There is a new video with willie smits coming out.  And the bernal brothers convinced me to record something about carbon footprint ...   and there are a dozen other video projects in the works ...

Part of me thinks "why keep making all this content if only a handful people will see it?"  And a greater part of me thinks "Any day now, this massive body of awesome is gonna catch the attention of the world and really take off."   Therefore, the creation of all this stuff, year after year, is more about that day when it all takes off.  And which little bit will be the key bit that gets all the rest of it to take off?

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Hi Paul. Here in the Netherlands it seems permaculture is growing. In the Dutch facebook-groups about permaculture gardening a.a. I see many newbies who want to apply permaculture. But it seems to me most of them don't really know permaculture. They think it's a method of gardening, like organic / biodynamic. Often they do not even know the permaculture principles, never heard of Bill Molisson or Sepp Holzer, or of Permies. I am member of those groups to try to tell them what permaculture really is about ...
Of course it would be good to have more videos, especially short ones, to show new interested people all facets of permaculture.
 
paul wheaton
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I think the way for people to learn permaculture is through a thousand bricks.  

If you share a brick a day with them for five years, they will then develop a powerful interest in permaculture.

 
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Hi all

Really interesting discussion here I thought I would add some things that I've been thinking on myself but haven't put into words yet.

Floating price for goods and services

It annoys me sometimes when someone starts going to the markets and selling (candles, leather goods, beard wax) which is priced at the same price as someone who has been selling those same products for 10+ years. Potentially it's the consumers fault for not having perfect information but for my money there's plenty of information that you pick up over the years when you are making these things. I think that there could be a metric along the lines of

Cost of materials + cost of time * by a factor of years of experience or amount of products created.

That way if you buy an expensive artesian soap from a beginner soap maker and you burn yourself because they didn't sort the lye properly you won't then go and say "well all artesian soap is crap" you will say "well I got what I paid for".

I think with a system like this that opens up the opportunity for consumers and for creators to find their niche within the respective craft they are in. You know someone comes to your stall and says they don't want to pay $300 for one of a kind perfectly molded to your feet sandals. Perfect you can buy a pair from the apprentice for half that and when you wear them for a few years and feel like you need an upgrade you will be more inclined to go with the more expensive pair because you've seen the value in the good or service.

So I think the same thing could be said for bootcamps and the like. I don't know much about them but I think that just because someone has been to your bootcamp and wants to start their own they should be allowed but that should be reflected in the price. That way if someone wants to come to your bootcamp and it's outside the price that they would be willing to pay (or the area) they might be more inclined to try a bootcamp from someone where they can learn a watered down version and see if it's for them or not but you as a salesperson for that service should recommend them to those people (that are qualified or franchised or whatever) so that they can earn a bit on their homestead and help make it more manageable to live on their land.

New gold rush

I think until there is money to be made over and above what can be made from the land reliably with other crops or forestry or whatever not much will change. It's difficult to take a patch of land and try something new on it when you have insane upfront costs to try and manage. In the same way developers buy land to put on forestry or farming if you had the 50 youngest fittest hardest people that ate pain and suffering for breakfast you could work with them to develop blocks and sell them as semi established permaculture bases.

If you could find the line with marginal farmland to where you could add value to it that would make it easier for more affluent people to jump in and start living their best life (I would guess if you could sell the land as having enough work done so that you can live off the land with near to no annual expenses then everything they do over and above that initial work would be the profit they could add to the land). From what I've witnessed where I live if enough people gravitate to a certain area and all have certain belief systems then that is reflected into the community and subsequently the goods and services of the people adhering to that lifestyle are valued (people will pay a premium for oddball produce).

Imagine that mercenary permaculturalists that just terraform forestry and farmland into permaculture spaces that they can then sell to the highest bidder which then transforms the local community.

Just a thought I've got more ideas but save them for another day!
 
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