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Inquiry on Permaculture Communities  RSS feed

 
Tash Green
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Hello all,

I have always been interested in the idea of self sustainability, especially agricultural sustainability. Alas, I have not yet had time or created the time to read, research, and learn more. Finally I am beginning to dabble into it! I am currently doing a research project on what a particular "discourse community" looks like and in this case I have chosen permaculture/agricultural self sustainability. I was wondering if anyone was willing to answer these following questions for me:

1) What are the writing conventions of this community?
2) What are the basic assumptions that ground the community?
3) What makes someone an authority in this community?
4) What kinds of things are important for communication in this community?

Thank you for your help,
Tash
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
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Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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So how did you get on? Learn anything? Ready to get a feel of how it really works?

I guess the words 'discourse' and 'community' imply a two way discussion, so you're not going to get any real understanding until you join in...
 
Tash Green
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Thank you, the links have been helpful. I was wondering if you had time to answer these questions with your own personal opinions. I must have some short form of interview included in my research project, would you be willing or have time to do this for me?
 
Burra Maluca
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Well an interview implies one-person-to-one-person. The whole philosophy of a forum is that it is all conducted so that other people can read it and learn from it and join in, so I guess this thread is our version of an interview.

Permaculture uses nature as its models. One of the main models we use is the forest. Watch this video and you might start to get a bit of a feel for it.



So I guess if I'm the mother tree, then permies is some kind of underground fungal communication system.

I'm not very inclined to just sit and write out my opinions to a whole list of questions. That smacks of doing your homework for you. I don't even know what your course is, and what you hope to achieve with this interview, except getting college credits. Communication is two way, so maybe you'd like to share something back? And then maybe you'll have one particular question we can work on. And maybe other members would like to join in with their thoughts too. We'll work from there.
 
Tash Green
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I understand where you are coming from and appreciate that. Currently, I am studying International Development but over the years I have found myself trapped in the education system and simply wanting to break free. I regret not choosing Agricultural self-sustainability but since i've almost completed my degree, I figure ill push through. Because I am interested in the idea of fully self-sustainability without having to rely on anyone or anything (except what nature provides) I have convinced my professor to allow me to re-direct my assignment towards permaculture rather than my current field of study. I understand that asking you take time to respond to the questions I posed is a large request and I apologize if I have overstepped my boundaries in this forum.
 
Burra Maluca
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Not boundaries as such, I just feel that if you want to know about how we communicate here, the best way is to get you actually doing it!

So which question shall we tackle first?
 
Tash Green
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I guess before we begin to dig deep, I am interested in knowing what drew you towards the idea of permaculture and what place does it take in your everyday life?
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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What me personally? I thought you wanted to know about the permies.com community by the questions in the original post.

I guess permaculture was something that just fitted so closely to my own natural tendencies that I kept stumbling on the term wherever I went and finally gave in and researched it enough to say 'Yup, that describes how I think things should work.' I like the broad approach to design, the way it learns from nature and applies nature's tried and tested solutions to our gardens, our homes, our communities and ourselves.

In my own life I guess I'm not very typical as I've been tied up with family commitments for years, and then health issues, so I've concentrated more on doing what I can to promote permaculture online more than in my own life. Having said that I do what I can and we live fairly simply in a one-roomed stone built house which I think qualifies as a tiny-house, we collect rainwater for use in the house, we use a humanure compost toilet system, have a grey water system, raise chickens and ducks and bees and grow probably 70% of our own food, with the aim of getting a system going that is as self-supporting as possible with minimum inputs and maximum cycling of nutrients within the system. I'm a bit of a hermit and when I'm not outside doing stuff I'll hide away indoors with my feet up and my laptop and try to keep the forums here ticking along nicely.

Is that the sort of stuff you wanted to know?



 
Tash Green
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That's intriguing! I have slowly begun my own quest to living sustainably..this past summer I started my own garden and lived off of the produce for quite a few months. Along with this, I have been raising chickens for eggs and goats for milk. It is a slow process but I am learning more and more everyday. Who would you say are some of the leading expertise in this field? And what do you think could be categorized as some of the top goals?
 
Burra Maluca
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And what do you think could be categorized as some of the top goals?


For me, the general aim is to make the world a better place, restore damaged ecosystems, abolish world hunger and enable humanity to live together in peace and harmony.

I dream big. It's the only way to have a hope of getting there.

Who would you say are some of the leading expertise in this field?


And this is where my hermit status kicks in and I admit I'm not much of a 'name' person, I'm an 'idea' person. So I'm going to throw this one out to the rest of the community. Some of the 'bigs' have their own cards on the permaculture playing cards. Maybe they'd be a good start? geoff lawton didn't want to appear on the cards, but I know his name is definitely one of the 'bigs'.

sepp holzer
Masanobu Fukuoka
Bill Mollison
ruth stout
mike oehler
Willie Smits
Allan Savory
Art Ludwig
Jean Pain
Ben Law

I'm sure other can contribute a few ideas here?
 
Leila Rich
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Welcome to permies Tash
I assume Burra's links covered your questions re the permies community?
Tash Green wrote:1) What are the writing conventions of this community?
2) What are the basic assumptions that ground the community?
3) What makes someone an authority in this community?
4) What kinds of things are important for communication in this community?

I guess I'm a bit unsure of what you want to know,
as to me your initial questions about community are quite different from your later questions to Burra.
But then, I'm easily confused
I don't know how a multi-person online interview works...
but I imagine if you posted all your new questions together like you did above,
people could respond to them all in one post if they chose, possibly adding detail/clarification if you need it?
 
Ken Peavey
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Writing Conventions
There is no standard convention. We've got folks from all over the world, some have a hard time with English. There is no dwelling on the language or style or format. As long as you are able to get your idea across well enough for others to figure it out, that's good enough.
Writing and responses range from short questions and answers to in depth essays.

Basic Assumptions
Everyone has value.
Everyone is free to contribute in whatever manner appeals to their own interest and ability.

Authority
The subject matter included in these forums extend over so many different areas of expertise that there is no way to be a master or authority over them all. Each of us has our own favored topics with which we have some understanding. Ideas are offered, questions asked. Anyone from novice to hobbyist to seasoned veteran has the opportunity to chime in what they think. Outstanding solutions come from people with casual knowledge in what would seem to be unconnected subjects. There is inherent ability in everyone. Around here that ability can find a means of expression. Much of the territory covered here is new ground being explored by inquisitive minds. If your ideas are sound, people will listen. There is no title or degree which qualifies one as an authority. It is the earned respect of your peers that will set you apart.

Communication Standards
Speak your mind. Get your idea across. Folks can add to your ideas as they please. If you claim a statement of fact, you need to be able to back it up. People put out some darn good ideas. Sometimes a whisper turns into several pages of discussion. Because of the way ideas develop we strive to not belittle anyone-it serves no purpose.
 
Zach Muller
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Tash Green wrote:Hello all,

I have always been interested in the idea of self sustainability, especially agricultural sustainability. Alas, I have not yet had time or created the time to read, research, and learn more. Finally I am beginning to dabble into it! I am currently doing a research project on what a particular "discourse community" looks like and in this case I have chosen permaculture/agricultural self sustainability. I was wondering if anyone was willing to answer these following questions for me:

1) What are the writing conventions of this community?
2) What are the basic assumptions that ground the community?
3) What makes someone an authority in this community?
4) What kinds of things are important for communication in this community?

Thank you for your help,
Tash


Hey tash, welcome. Hope you can get something that will help you here.

Within the international community of people interested in sustainability there is such a great diversity of actions and opinions. I think because of this, there exists many discourse communities within permaculture, sustainability, Agriculture etc.

During the course of learning about sustainability issues, it seems common that a person will have very strong opinions and they might feel super passionate about trying to make things better, (or actively hating the things they think are wrong.) All the extra passion and strong emotions can be a great motivator, but they can also diminish communication channels.

As you will see on this particular Online community there are strict guidelines about being nice, not harping on hot button topics that lead to fighting, and other things that keep productive communication going. Without these guidelines permies would most likely have devolved into a few threads of people griping at one another, and disappeared.

One of the basic assumptions I think, is that humans can become stewards of the earth, and life itself. Without that assumption, we would not be striving and succeeding in making functional systems that work with nature.

All the people I know on these boards who have authority have it because they contributed good information or shared their learning experiences for others to learn from or shared their idea so others can improve it.


 
Cj Sloane
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Tash Green wrote:I was wondering if you had time to answer these questions with your own personal opinions. I must have some short form of interview included in my research project, would you be willing or have time to do this for me?


I think you should start a separate thread for each question. Place each question in the appropriate thread for better/more responses.
 
Cj Sloane
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Tash Green wrote:Because I am interested in the idea of fully self-sustainability without having to rely on anyone or anything (except what nature provides)...


That right there is a pretty loaded statement! Much ink, digital and real, has been spilled on whether the goal of self-sustainability is realistic or not. Permaculture seems to be more concerned with resiliency. Do you have 3 sources of water? 3 ways to heat your house. Does each element (like a chicken or building) fulfill at least 3 functions?
 
Burra Maluca
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Cj Verde wrote:
Tash Green wrote:Because I am interested in the idea of fully self-sustainability without having to rely on anyone or anything (except what nature provides)...


That right there is a pretty loaded statement! Much ink, digital and real, has been spilled on whether the goal of self-sustainability is realistic or not. Permaculture seems to be more concerned with resiliency. Do you have 3 sources of water? 3 ways to heat your house. Does each element (like a chicken or building) fulfill at least 3 functions?


I think that's probably a topic for another thread if Tash wants to explore that.

Cj Verde wrote: I think you should start a separate thread for each question. Place each question in the appropriate thread for better/more responses.


I think Tash needs "some short form of interview included in my research project", and what we're giving her is already rather stretching that definition. Maybe for now it would be best to keep to this one thread so she can present it as her 'short interview' and then later if anyone wants to expand on any of the questions we can start new threads.
 
David Livingston
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All I can really say myself are my own opinions I dont speak for everyone .
So as for your questions my short answers would be

1) What are the writing conventions of this community?

In English and to be nice

2) What are the basic assumptions that ground the community?

Paul is the Boss and its his garden, we are all guests

3) What makes someone an authority in this community?

Knowledge , the ability to share it and some demonstration of practical results.

4) What kinds of things are important for communication in this community?

See the previous three answers .



I hope this helps .

David
 
Bill Erickson
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Hello Tash,

It appears to me that you have received some excellent answers to your initial inquiry on how this place functions as community.

I'll give a base answer to what drew me here - I'm what some would call a prepper - what I think I am is a guy who likes to live as free from the toxic ick of the world as possible. I came to permies through an on-line prepper seminar with ideas for off-grid sustainability, found Paul's Tedx talk, met some local folks who were doing the gig and have begun applying many of the principles I have picked up from folks here. Being an engineer, I like the science part of experiment and follow the results - not the preconceptions. I have been a long time gardener, orchardist, animal husbandist and tinkerer - all things that lead one to want cleaner and purer inputs to the food one eats and lessening the negative impacts of those practices while providing better integration of all of them. Systems stacking on systems - engineers love puzzles.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau, Tash, What drew me to permaculture? I started as a kid who came to my grandparent's farm during summers. My grandfather, taught me to only disturb the earth mother when it was the only way to grow what we wanted to grow, otherwise it was always best to poke holes for planting seeds. We also gave the earth things it needed to thrive, such as the remains of the fish we caught for food, these were usually put at the bottom of the hole we poked for planting a seed, then some dirt was put back then the seed and the little bit of dirt left. If we needed to put grasses in the cow pastures, we just spread it on top of what was already there.

Later in life, I went to college and studied chemistry, biology, horticulture, and agriculture. I received degrees in the first three. I then spent a year and a half creating new or improved vegetable plants of which the seeds were the cash crop. I worked in Orchards, making trees healthier and able to produce more fruit or nut crops. Next time I was in the civilian life, I spent a lot of my time with farmers, promoting methods to save their top soil and improve the productivity of their land. I promoted not tilling the soil, that made it available for the winds to take away. I promoted growing cover crops and just cutting them down and leaving them on top of the dirt, so the material would work into the ground through natural means. I talked about the use of compost, mixed with rotted manures, used as a top dressing on fields that were going to be laid fallow for a season and how this would add to the soil and future crops. I told of the false pretense that chemical fertilizers help crops grow strong and healthy, how this just spent money and never really did the dirt any good.

Now I mostly keep to myself, This site is one of two places I share what I have learned by experiment, practice and knowledge learned.

So, I guess I came to permaculture a long time ago, by being born into it. Holistic methods have always been part of me. Nurturing nature and building the soil from the top down have always been my methods to make things grow.

 
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