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Where to Find a Serious Permie Mentor and/or Center

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We have so much space to explore with permaculture! I feel like we are on the brink of massive waves of research in the area. I think most permies are focused on getting in the dirt, which is awesome, I love to get my hands dirty too. But I want to really delve into research - figuring out exactly what the best companion planting arrangements are, figuring out which species can survive through climate change, things like that. I want to be a permaculture expert so I can answer the questions we don't even realize we have yet, and then I want to share this sort of knowledge with the world.

It would be amazing to apprentice under one of the best permies around, to do research with them, see how their mind works, see what their visions are. To me, this doesn't mean going on a 2 weeks PDC or floating around WWOOF farms that do some permaculture things. It means starting a mentor-type relationship with someone very experienced who has permaculture at the very front of their mind.

This post is to ask: Does anyone know of a specific site and/or permie like I am describing? I am willing to travel anywhere in the world.

I am pretty disenchanted with the university system and obviously an opponent of ag, but it occurred to me that maybe there would be scholarships or grants to study this sort of thing. I already completed my BS ( in Finance of all things ) so I could maybe even do some sort of post-grad study. I'm not hopeful of this route, but maybe someone reading this has some insight?

Any direction would be greatly appreciated!
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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You might try contacting the Permaculture Research Institute to see if there are any research internships offered: http://permaculturenews.org/

Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I think about this all the time!

I would like to turn the university in my town into a permie research school. We're well situated, it's been an ag school historically, moved away from that for a while, retaining the land but changing focus to Oceanography and engineering. I know a great plant science professor there and some other staff, there's a strong master gardener program. The traditional higher ed research system is slow and flawed, so I don't' blame you for wanting to look elsewhere

Our town government has permie leadership. In particular the head of the planning board and the town council president (my husband) This gives me hope. Municipalities are also a cumbersome slow system.

As far as I can figure, the money has to come from somewhere for research. Money can come from educational institutions, municipalities, state government, businesses, nonprofits, and filthy rich people and kickstarter type fundraising. What else? I' m probably missing something.

Big business has the most money but wall street is inherently un-permie, it seems to me. Can we make permaculture worth investing in? If the corporate world starts investing in permie efforts will that turn evil?

I love the idea of solid peer reviewed science backing up permie principles.

Posts: 233
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Is there a part of the world you want to end up in and settle in, or a region that you're particularly interested in? If so, I'd suggest studying there or in a similar climate, since much of the output of your research will be specific to the area it's conducted in. There are a number of permaculture experts, but all of them specialize to some extent in a particular region.

I'd also recommend the book Paradise Lot, both as a source of inspiration and as an example of how the best strategy is often to set a goal but be flexible and patient about how you get there.
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