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PEP1: Montana specific, specific to Paul's philosophy, or simply suggested list of skills?  RSS feed

 
Ashley Reyson
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Paul,

Recent proposed PEP1 standards raise questions a few questions for me.
I understand that PE(P) is whatever you choose and someone else can set their own PE(?).

In the interest of contributing usefully, I'd like to understand how narrow you'd like PEP to be.

Specifically:

1. Is PEP intended to be Montana specific or somewhat geographically transferrable? This question arises from PEP1 Chickens proposal, green, requirement 1: "Design a year-round fodder system that is effective even in Montana".

2. Is PEP intended to be limited to your personal philosophy? For example, the PEP1 Gardening proposal, white, suggests starting 50 apple trees from seed, presumably because of your well articulated preference to not buy trees. Someone in the thread mentions they have significant experience starting trees from cuttings, which isn't buying, but isn't starting from seeds. How specific is the goal here?

And since I'm asking you to share your guiding principles and boundaries, which you may be discovering by exploring the conversation, it seems apropos to quote William Blake, "To generalize is to be an idiot."
 
Curtis Budka
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My understanding is that Paul wants PEP to be something that can be accomplished anywhere in the world.

1. Is PEP intended to be Montana specific or somewhat geographically transferrable? This question arises from PEP1 Chickens proposal, green, requirement 1: "Design a year-round fodder system that is effective even in Montana".


My thinking in writing that part was that it is more more of a challenge design a system that can function in Montana's weather (possibly more so in an area like the Northern North East, where we get more snow) than one designed for a year-round growing season. I suppose one of the biggest points of actually designing it is to make sure the system fits your climate rather than using some template.

Since you're, in Texas, I realize that not only can't you experiment with those kinds of parameters, I think your sort of on the other end of the spectrum as far as climate problems go. Jennifer Wadsworth posted this in the initial thoughts thread: http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/40329

This reminds me a little bit of PRI's Master Planned site requirements.

I like the idea. And I will also note that most ideas so far have come from the "small landholding" section of permaculture and apply to that model in a cool/cold temperate climate - in essence, what would apply to land like Paul owns.

So I was excited about the PEX1 aspect. What would I do...PEHD - Permaculture Experience - Hot 'n' Dry? PEU (heheheh) Permaculture Experience Urban?

Some things on my urban hot and dry list would included:
--understanding your climate (or, "Hey - you live in a place with very little water where it gets really hot!" or, "Do the opposite of what they do in cool, wet climates") - what are the limiting factors? What are the benefits? How do you work with each of them?
--understanding your setting (urban, suburban, rural) In an urban setting, there's a lot of physical infrastructure as well as a lot of levels of rules/laws - how do you make the best of these (Bill Mollison loved working with rules as he found he did his most creative work when he was limited).
--creating shade (with plants, with other things, how are deciduous plants useful, harvesting shade and sun throughout the year)
--calculating your water budget (how much rain, grey and stormwater runon you can harvest and use and what the appropriate use is for each)
--retrofitting your urban home to make it more energy efficient
--how to install a composting toilet and use it effectively
--how to build earthworks
--how to build a cistern
--how to conserve moisture in your soil
--how to use MINIMAL irrigation to grow your food
--identifying, harvesting and processing native foods
--understanding regulations (city, state, fed)
--engaging with your neighbors
--how to compost in hot, dry areas (including how to partner with local restaurants, schools and businesses to use their waste)
--how to repurpose common city affluvia/trash into something useful
--how to launch an effective campaign to change rules of an HOA, laws of a city, laws of a state
--how to build resilient communities (use of social media like Nextdoor.com, little free libraries, meetups, community gardens, community gleaning, community grafting, permablitzes, and on and on).
--how to work with local officials
--how to create acceptance of projects
--how to maintain public projects
--how to build leaders from all walks of life
--how to include the diversity of city life so that everyone feels like they have a place

...there's a reason why PRI says that it urgently needs more master planned urban sites RIGHT NOW - not all of us have a burning desire to move out to "land" somewhere. But we still need a certain skillset.

Like Bill Mollison said - create paradise where you are.


I'm pretty sure Paul replied to this somewhere saying that this is where PEX comes in so that people can create their own curriculum based on their local climate.
 
paul wheaton
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I wish to make the PEP1 list publicly available. I suspect that there could be a dozen people all over the world that will attempt to complete PEP1 without ever setting foot in montana. To get a white belt in gardening, they might post pictures to this forum and then a qualified somebody will look at those pictures and say "I hereby dub thee white belt in gardening" and it will show up on their account. Then, some day, somebody might say "look at all my belts - don't they all add up to PEP1?" and some qualified person will say "Yup - you are now dubbed PEP1" and that person will have never been to montana.

Of course, when putting the PEP1 list together, I will focus on stuff that I think is important and I will focus on stuff here in Montana.

I hope that some day there will be PEV1, PEN1, PEK1, PES1, PEA1, PET1 and PER1. They will all weigh about the same, but each will represent the values of the people doing to the work behind it all. One might focus on vegans. One might be tropical. One might be desert country. One might focus on wilderness skills. One might be far more Ben-Law-esque and one might be more Fukuoka-esque. And maybe both of those people will be here at wheaton labs also.

And then all of the tasks/badges for all of these would then fall into PEX.


it seems apropos to quote William Blake, "To generalize is to be an idiot."


I am glad to be Blake's idiot.

At the same time, I don't see how you can solve the world's problems, or be a homesteader, without having a bit of knowledge of many things.

Even more importantly, if anybody fears generalization, then, yes, pursuing PEP1 is a terrible idea. I think PEP1 is not for 7 billion people, PEP1 is for the 30 or 40 people that like the idea of PEP1 better than anything else that they are aware of.

 
Ashley Reyson
Posts: 43
Location: North Texas
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Paul, thanks for your clear answer. Exactly what I needed.

Reading your reply, I see I miscommunicated regarding generalization. I didn't mean to accuse you of being an idiot. Rather, I was acknowledging that my request for the "why's behind your what's" was a request for generalization. Premature generalization is dangerous; it risks analysis paralysis or pointless paths. I was acknowledging that risk, while requesting any clarity you could provide. You did so. Again, thank you.

I do not see PEP/PEX as over-generalization. I see a fantastic opportunity. Perhaps more on that later.

Peace.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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