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Permaculture Conservancy?  RSS feed

 
Deb Berman
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Several of us have been talking about what we see as the need in the permaculture community for some sort of permaculture land conservancy that would enable permaculture sites to be protected from future development.

We are all busy developing sites that are planned for the long term, are based on perennials, and are oriented towards developing a long term, regenerative culture (aka permanent culture). We are also, for the most part designing our sites with trees as major design elements, many of whom will not come into maturity until long after the site has passed from our hands.

In addition, we have a generation of permaculture elders, many of whom are, in fact, elders, who have established/developed sites that may be at risk for development when they pass on.

So what we were thinking is that we need a way for our sites to be protected from development, and continued to be managed as permaculture sites, down the years --something like the way land trusts/conservancies do.

What conservancy-type land trusts usually do is to have a mechanism for receiving development rights to a piece of property. They then take responsibility for making sure that no development occurs on that property over time and as it changes owners. We think that it would be pretty easy to do the same type of thing for permaculture sites.

What do other people think? Do you think there is a need for this? If so, would you be interested in helping to make it happen? Is there already something like that out there?

I apologise if there is already a thread about this, and I would love to be directed to it if there is.
 
F. Eugene Aumson
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Bumping an old thread here. I'm trying to do exactly what you're describing Deb. Would love to involve you and/or any other interested parties. To anyone who would like to be involved, please PM me.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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This is a great idea.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I am personally very interested in this concept because I have a parcel of land I would like to have conserved.

Here's another thread pertaining to this idea: http://www.permies.com/t/55698/permaculture/Continuity-Operations-Permaculture
 
R Thomason
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It seems that using standard conservancy covenants should accomplish this goal for nature preserve sections. (But if anyone has experience to the contrary it would be good to examine the details of any problems with that approach.)

To take that a step further, I have been thinking specific permaculture Zone covenants might be useful. For example, as mentioned above, if you want your Zone 5 to remain as such in perpetuity, could you have conservancy lawyer draw up a land preservation document called "Zone 5 covenant?" That seems like it would be a straight-forward, standard nature preservation covenant.

But I wonder about a more mixed-use Zone 4 or 3 covenant, where you would use the language of the covenant to spell out how much land remains in trees, under canopy or whatever goal is. I don't know the answer to that today, but it seems that using well-recognized permaculture land stewardship concepts could make conservancy covenants more robust.

The laws on drawing up land conservation covenants vary by jurisdiction, and landowners many only have so much leeway in some cases to tailor a covenant to their achieve their goals. But what are your thoughts on this approach?
 
Deb Berman
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Thanks everybody for contributing to this conversation. I'm so glad other people are interested!

Our idea to date on the covenants is that each site being protected would have a permaculture design registered with the permaculture conservancy (which we've tentatively named The Permaculture Conservation Trust). The design would have all the usual zones, sectors, species inventory, and everything else a good design has. Proposed changes to the design would be submitted to the Trust, and if accepted, would be registered with the original design. There would also be a management plan.

Part of the job of the conservancy would be to go around and check to make sure that what’s going on in the site corresponds to what’s in the design and management plans, so that when the property changes hands after the original site designer leaves it, the site and its design continue to be protected.



I would like to get everybody who is interested in a permaculture conservancy working together to make it happen ASAP. Maybe we could pull together an email list of folks who would like to do this.

Our group that has been working on this has a Board of Directors, an almost-final draft of bylaws, and a draft of a conflict of interest policy. We are almost ready to incorporate, and then the next step will be to apply for federal nonprofit status. We can be a national organization, but we have to register in each state that we are operating in. So anyone who wants to join us in making this happen can, regardless of where in the US they are. (Our bylaws allow us to meet electronically).

We could use more people for the Board of Directors; also we could use a webmaster/social media person or persons, and someone to handle crowdfunding.

I am very interested to hear how the those of you who have been working on this have been thinking about it and where you have gotten with it so far. I would love to be able to join forces and make a really good organization that meets the needs of the permaculture community.
 
R Thomason
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Sounds good. Seems that some of the well-established conservancies, both local and national, might be interested in some sort of partnership as time goes by.
 
Sebastian Köln
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Location: Germany · Schleswig-Holstein · Eutin
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bump.

Also I am highly interested and began to work out something similar for Germany.
There is one point that where I'm somewhat sceptic: Big organization attract parasites (some of them are politicians).

I would prefer to distribute the power. Maybe with the following model:
One institution would take the responsibility to work out the juridical template for smaller trusts and create a "big trust". (compare to Mollisons' "good trust".)

Then each community would create a small trust that they manage themselves. They take the template that the big trust provides and follows the steps in the manual (to be written).
The land that this community lives and operates on, belongs to their trust.
Their trust document contains the rules of permaculture and their own additions. Possibly also a statement that if they fail to follow their own rules, the land goes to the big trust and they can tell them what to do.
If this does not work, it is redistributed to others.

This would allow the communities to make changes to the design that are in agreement with their trust document. So we avoid the "big brother" here. It probably also makes things easier.
The "big trust" would only have to work when something goes wrong. It would also collect money and land that is then given to local communities.
 
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