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Podcast episodes 100-101  RSS feed

 
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Any thoughts? I want to know what Paul thinks!

For anyone at the conference, is this all coming up in conversation?

Here's Episode 100 (fixed link)

Here's Episode 101
 
the navigator
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Wow, Diego Footer is trying to change the course of permaculture! Diego Footer is the hardworking and knowledgable man behind Permaculture Voices and numerous other smaller events, he is a Permaculture practioneer, have made over hundred podcasts and published many long videos for the Permaculture society. Due to his unique position in the Permaculture world he has gotten many peoples insights and views and been able to draw conclusions few others has. I have no reason to suspect Diego Footer is anything less than perfect.

In his latest podcast, podcast 101, he wraps up with a warning that the next few podcasts won't be pretty. He suggests the Bill Mollison A Designers Manual is flawed and that we need to get rid of the junk and keep the good. Ooooh, how exciting!

In this podcast he also suggests Bill Mollison as a founder is ready to be superseded by a greybeard CEO, to bring Permaculture to the masses. But not as a design science, but as a movement and philosophy. He says he doesn't believe Permaculture as a design system has anything unique and believe it to be much better as a toolbox and starting point to learn about other subjects like agro forestry etc.

Even though he has a point when he says we need to rally under Permaculture as a movement, I believe he totally misses the point. He says no one knows what Permaculture is so we should leave the design system and rally under the movement before we venture into other topics like agro forestry etc.

I tried to shout at him from silently in my head that Permaculture is a design system that covers all the needs of mankind in a way that benefits nature, and that the design system uses all kinds of smart sustainable techniques put together in a way that is optimized for the site with its specifics as well as for the people involved. It did not help however and he continued and continued.

He goes on to say perfect shouldn't be the enemy of good, and thereby suggests many people that want to use Permaculture don't because it's a to large step for them to use the entire design system when all they need is a few of the techniques. It seemed Diego Footer wants to make it easier to use Permaculture, by changing it from a design science to a movement to save the world.

All though much of what Diego Footer brings to the table is reasonable I really can't agree we need to leave Permaculture as a design system, it can be both that and a movement, no problem, in my opinion. Somehow I am afraid all the awesome work he has done has gone to his head, but I hope he's on the right track here? So far it seemes the jury's out on that one, but the NeXT few podcasts will give a clearer answer on that one.

In a previous podcast he mentioned he spent hours and hours putting in hugelkultur in his dry California climate and learned there are no such things as a silver bullet, but I mean that doesn't mean the design system is flawed. He just used the wrong techniques.

I REALLY look forward to the next episodes as I do believe much of what he's saying is sound and healthy to get up in the light for a closer examination. However, before having heard the follow ups, I believe it is possible to front it both as a movement AND a design system.

I keep my fingers crossed and have great anticipation for the next few podcasts!
 
garden master
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I have not heard the episodes, but from what Elvind has mentioned, I'm getting a few goosebumps and a WTF to go with it.

I like the idea that permaculture can work as a movement and as a design system; however, I think it would be in people's best interests to know and understand what they supporting before giving support. Also, I think, from a media standpoint, it looks nicer to have a nice methodical movement that is slowly changing the landscape, cities, and towns into sustainable places of permanent culture. Permaculture has the dual meanings of permanent agriculture and permanent culture.

Yes, having clean air, water, food, and housing does and should feel liberating, but I would hold off on the applause and "vive la revolution!" mood that is being set. The human element is critical in the design process and movement as a whole. People need to understand how things work and how to make a functional community. Maybe Universally Preferable Behavior will help some people with this. It is a very nice discussion on that topic. An educated, informed, and active community is a necessity, in the long-term, I think.

i don't know. I just don't like the sound of "rally under a movement," it sounds too icky to me. I like the idea of gardeners creating gardens and food forests where they are prohibited from, because that is a form of nonviolent constructive protest that can lead to effective and lasting changes in communities. Guerrilla gardening is also something that I think could work as a form of protest and movement, too, because it opens people's eyes to the beauty of nature and to see what food could be grown in their area. BUT, just making noise for the sake of it seems a waste of effort and time for me.

Are people going to start changing their habits? Are their words going to start matching their actions? Is their money going to go where their mouth is? Are their votes going to match what they believe should be done? Is the effort for change going to be sustained and ongoing? i am worried that rallying under a movement will turn the cause into a fad, or fashion, which would gradually lose meaning overtime and fade into oblivion, leaving us back where we started, at square one with climate change and the brink of the extinction of our species nipping at our heels.

i think a slow methodical movement based on understanding and the dispersion of knowledge would be in people's best interests.
 
Eivind Bjoerkavaag
the navigator
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Dude, it's less than half an hour, #101 that is. Just do it.

He's saying very much good stuff, but he limits Permaculture to a movement and as a toolbox and leverage point to move in to a certain discipline. He says relax, and don't make perfect the enemy of good.
 
B.E. Ward
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And, continuing on this theme, Diego has introduced Episode 102

Any new thoughts, y'all?
 
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I listened to it a few minutes ago. I think it's a fair dose of criticism, but that criticism is not without it's generalizations and broad denouncements. The fact is, there is enough tension within the topic of permaculture that it would take hundreds of pages to discuss and critique at the level Diego and his source Mr. Harper are so in need of. But that's the calling they make. Somebody else would have to do that.

Lastly, Diego calls for people to go out and do agriculture and make a living doing it first, then layer permaculture on top. Then he says permaculture is the hook the brings people into farming. It's a clear catch 22. In general, I think the earth care- people care - return of surplus angle is important enough for anyone starting out that it can influence them in the right direction. Same with the small and slow solutions advice. You see a lot of people jumping into ag and buying all this equipment and going broke in 3 years. Diego even linked to a NYT op-ed piece by a young couple that did this, so I think he's too close to throwing the baby out with the bath water.
 
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George Meljon wrote:I listened to it a few minutes ago. I think it's a fair dose of criticism, but that criticism is not without it's generalizations and broad denouncements. The fact is, there is enough tension within the topic of permaculture that it would take hundreds of pages to discuss and critique at the level Diego and his source Mr. Harper are so in need of. But that's the calling they make. Somebody else would have to do that.

Lastly, Diego calls for people to go out and do agriculture and make a living doing it first, then layer permaculture on top. Then he says permaculture is the hook the brings people into farming. It's a clear catch 22. In general, I think the earth care- people care - return of surplus angle is important enough for anyone starting out that it can influence them in the right direction. Same with the small and slow solutions advice. You see a lot of people jumping into ag and buying all this equipment and going broke in 3 years. Diego even linked to a NYT op-ed piece by a young couple that did this, so I think he's too close to throwing the baby out with the bath water.



Read his article and then really start to think about permaculture and look at it through a critical lens. The criticisms may be generalized and broad, but so is a lot of what permaculture teaches. Broad generalization.
 
George Meljon
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Diego Footer wrote:

George Meljon wrote:I listened to it a few minutes ago. I think it's a fair dose of criticism, but that criticism is not without it's generalizations and broad denouncements. The fact is, there is enough tension within the topic of permaculture that it would take hundreds of pages to discuss and critique at the level Diego and his source Mr. Harper are so in need of. But that's the calling they make. Somebody else would have to do that.

Lastly, Diego calls for people to go out and do agriculture and make a living doing it first, then layer permaculture on top. Then he says permaculture is the hook the brings people into farming. It's a clear catch 22. In general, I think the earth care- people care - return of surplus angle is important enough for anyone starting out that it can influence them in the right direction. Same with the small and slow solutions advice. You see a lot of people jumping into ag and buying all this equipment and going broke in 3 years. Diego even linked to a NYT op-ed piece by a young couple that did this, so I think he's too close to throwing the baby out with the bath water.



Read his article and then really start to think about permaculture and look at it through a critical lens. The criticisms may be generalized and broad, but so is a lot of what permaculture teaches. Broad generalization.



It did make me think of it more critically, but I'm a person that is a skeptic anyway. I've never gone whole hog with permaculture for that reason. I think your reference to other organizations that are around 30 years old applies well in your critique and call for more rigor - Permaculture needs an centralized authority and advocacy group that can research and fund research that proves and then promotes its concepts.

The argument that permaculture as a design approach brings nothing new to the table is a bit of a strawman, imo. I've never heard it claimed that the design approach came up with new ideas. It clearly has it's own organization to the various ideas. The implementation of this design approach needs a lot of guidance for beginners. The outcome of applying the 12 principles is hard to measure for any level of study. But validating it as a design approach is the more important task, to me. If you can show that outcomes improve for people that use the 12 principles and 3 ethics in a guided/recorded/studied/measured/whatever way, then that is all the validation permaculture needs. So, I don't necessarily disagree with dropping different aspects of society into the permaculture machine and seeing what spits out. Nor do I take the result as some magically imbued outcome that is superior to anything else out there.

What I am looking for is innovation. I hate the word, but "ideation". Drop a problem into the permaculture design approach machine and see where it leads you. Take the problem through the 12 principles and 3 ethics 1 by 1 and whiteboard the whole issue. Don't expect to arrive at a rock solid conclusion or answer to your problem, but I would expect to learn a whole lot more about the possibilities of the solutions available. That's when you head on over to the world of science, education, research, and technology and see what work has been done in those fields that apply to your problem or topic. Do they have an answer? Does that answer sound good? Can it be improved? What questions do you have now that you've read more on the topic? Etc.

Diego, I love what you're doing with this latest podcast series and look forward to more discussion and self analysis within the world of permaculture. I looked at some local meetup groups for permaculture in Cincinnati - 115 members on meetup.com. The hiking club was 20 times bigger. There are probably meetups for tangential aspects of CAD design that probably embarrass the number of members of that permaculture meetup. It's an extremely marginal field in society, but should be better than that, so I agree with the soul searching.
 
B.E. Ward
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Diego,

After listening to these and thinking a bit, there's a question I want to run past you. Would it be fair to identify all this in another way, as "the problem is permaculture for permaculture's sake"?

If so, I think that's a resounding human flaw in general.. The tendency to glorify one's niche at the expense of all others. Just look at religion (I say this as an Orthodox Christian). But, back in the world of soil.. I think it's the big reason why permaculture principles don't get a lot of traction in the ag world. Not that polyculture doesn't work (the chicken-egg of soy, corn, and wheat demand worldwide is another topic altogether), but it's easy to see people dancing in mud and ignore Mark Shepard. It's why Jack has a subset of his audience that is tired of him talking about permaculture, and another that can't get enough of it, but don't want to hear about guns. Frankly, it rears its head around these forums sometimes too.. among people who are supposed to be interested in the same thing! I think this might be what you're getting at when you talk about some declaring "It's not Permaculture enough!" when presented with a design or project.

What I'm hearing you say is we all need to take a deep breath, have a little humility, and, well, remember it's "people care", not "dogma care".
 
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George Meljon wrote:Lastly, Diego calls for people to go out and do agriculture and make a living doing it first, then layer permaculture on top. Then he says permaculture is the hook the brings people into farming. It's a clear catch 22.


This only seems to be a catch 22 if we view permaculture as the absolute unbending dogma Diego is arguing against. If we view permaculture as more than just an all or none proposition we can find countless analogs to what Diego is suggesting.

For example, if we were taking about art, we could change that quote to:

George Meljon wrote:Lastly, Diego calls for people to go out and practice their drawing first, then layer oil painting skills on top. Then he says beautiful oil paintings are the hook the brings people into canvas based art. It's a clear catch 22.

 
Diego Footer
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So, I see permaculture as the catch for a lot of people. It attracts people into this space who might not otherwise get involved in this space. What I am saying is that some people suggest that you can then just use permaculture knowledge to go on to ultimately purse your passions in a related field, and I think that this is wrong. Obviously everyone doesn't suggest this, but a lot of people seem to say permaculture is the answer to all. So I am trying to say, let permaculture attract people in, get them exposed to everything as they go down the rabbit hole. Then put the permaculture ethics in the back pocket and go study up on a specific subject that you are interested in from source of knowledge in that space.

For example, you could come into permaculture and then get into mycology and then go study with Paul Stamets or you could just find mycology and study with Paul Stamets. Are you actually better off going the first route versus the second? People seem to convey that you are for sure better off taking route one, and I would beg to differ that you are any better off.
 
Diego Footer
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B.E. Ward wrote:Diego,

After listening to these and thinking a bit, there's a question I want to run past you. Would it be fair to identify all this in another way, as "the problem is permaculture for permaculture's sake"?

If so, I think that's a resounding human flaw in general.. The tendency to glorify one's niche at the expense of all others. Just look at religion (I say this as an Orthodox Christian). But, back in the world of soil.. I think it's the big reason why permaculture principles don't get a lot of traction in the ag world. Not that polyculture doesn't work (the chicken-egg of soy, corn, and wheat demand worldwide is another topic altogether), but it's easy to see people dancing in mud and ignore Mark Shepard. It's why Jack has a subset of his audience that is tired of him talking about permaculture, and another that can't get enough of it, but don't want to hear about guns. Frankly, it rears its head around these forums sometimes too.. among people who are supposed to be interested in the same thing! I think this might be what you're getting at when you talk about some declaring "It's not Permaculture enough!" when presented with a design or project.

What I'm hearing you say is we all need to take a deep breath, have a little humility, and, well, remember it's "people care", not "dogma care".



I think that is fair.

Part of what I am trying to do is distill out the BS from the truth. Too many people get sold the ultimate abundance of permaculture with grand promises and little models to back up those promises. This leads to wasted time and failure. So I am suggesting that each of us be our own skeptic and think a little more about what am I actually trying to do and what is the actually best way to make that happen if I look at the full toolkit and ignore perfection.
 
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