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Permaculture as a Gringo Movement  RSS feed

 
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This was a very provocative article written in the Huffington Post. It deals with many issues of class, cultural background, wealth, inequality, frugality, and fairness. This was from someone who lived in Central America and was including how the common farmers thought about permaculture. I find it quite intriguing, although I don't agree with everything the author says.
John S
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tobias-roberts/permaculture-as-a-gringo-_b_9753212.html
 
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Yep, totally invented by gringoes.

 
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I think the diversity on this website is a testament to how uninformed that article is. Yeah a couple of white dudes coined the term in Australia, but who cares if some misinformed farmers express doubt about permaculture?
This articles root appears to be racism and classism, and when I read it I hear echoes of every historical account of a cultural oddity that was used to disparage an honest effort. It's sad that someone went through the process of making this negative article.

It's pretty obvious not everyone in the permaculture world is renting bob cats rather than using hand tools. If your issue is race vs race, or class vs. class then do everyone a favor and just lay out the hate plain and simple, don't throw bystanders under the bus.
 
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"Subsistence farming" growing a diverse list of vegetables, herbs, root crops, perennial fruit trees and nuts, usually free ranged chicken/eggs and milks/goat/beef, open pollinated no-named 'wild' seedling of fruits, nuts, vegetable, ususally with little to no water inputs and other resources due to little wealth. Where neighbors will actually lend you some salt/sugar, and neighboring kids are mostly free to go into each others yard and eat fruitd, etc. Some people might call that 3rd world farming/living others might call that permaculture but they are pretty much the same to me.

To me said subsistence farming with no PDC training is 'more' permaculture than 'gringo Bob' living in New York City with his 2ft by 6ft plot of veggies and herbs with four $2,000 PDC certification, eating his organic banana that has traveled 3,000+ miles.

I don't think that the author disagrees with the concepts of permaculture or that they wouldn't follow it. What they disagree with is PDC certification prices.
 
John Saltveit
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I think of this article as a natural inoculation against problems with permaculture. It's like someone with a flu sneezed in the room 15 minutes before you got there. Your body makes a minor adjustment and you never really get the flu, but you're stronger afterward. If you know how to consciously defend against partially untrue, straw man arguments in your thoughts and in your life, you come into the discussion stronger afterwards. A lot of people on this site are living on a less than average income including myself. I don't think that movements need to be condemned because there have been a lot of white people involved in developing them. That would only be if others were excluded. I think that a lot of people are making efforts to not exclude others. A lot of permaculture is a critique of the type of civilization that particular white people invented. It's also not condemning all white people. It acknowledges that a hell of a lot of wisdom has been created by non-white, non-rich, non-formally educated people, and that they have created a lot of the good in this world. It seeks to advance that good and share it with others. I think that this process is a positive thing.
John S
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The article was not at all interesting to me.
.....
A few thoughts on Gringos.
My brother is the only Gringo in an otherwise Aztec family in an Aztec town. Many of the locals think he is strange, but not in a hippie sort of way. He's a practical redneck.

He's surrounded by mono cropping with the use of herbicides and pesticides.

 The market is flooded with American corn , yet many insist on growing it by hand. This practice produces a very low income. Many of the people make corn a large part of their diet , to the exclusion of other healthier foods.

All snakes are pursued and killed buy most of his neighbors. They have never ending problems with rodents that live under the ground. Poisons are used to gas the rats.

 Useful agricultural residues are commonly burned in the fall.

Many people use loan sharks, not as a means of surviving some turmoil, but to buy big screen TVs , washing machines etc.

Tree crops earn growers a far better income than they can make producing row crops. Still, most families don't have many trees. A reason often cited, is that they give no immediate result.

There are many perennial crops available which produce more food with less work than annuals. Still, annuals dominate most of the fields.
 
The majority of people he meets are completely caught up in industrialized agriculture. This particular Gringo is quite valuable to them. Although many scoffed at first, he has had some luck in convincing neighbors and relatives to plant something besides corn. His farm looks better , gives him a better income and is generally a nicer place to be and to raise children than most of the other farms around him. His children live in a landscape where there is plenty of shade and a huge variety of food available.

This particular part of Mexico could use a few more Gringos.
 
John Saltveit
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Dale,
I liked the story about your brother, but I think the article is much more typical of permaculture than is your brother's situation. I am sorry that you didn't find it to be interesting.
John S
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I was more than a little taken aback while reading this article. If what the author says is true, the PDC seems to be a big sticking point in the permaculture movement that could do with being addressed. Because of all the extensive reading, research, and immersion that I as a typical ISTP did upon discovering permaculture only 6 or 7 short years ago, I understand that a proper, full PDC is primarily geared towards preparing somebody to become a consultant as a career, or even to teach PDCs to others. (I try very hard to avoid dwelling on the ponzi-esque image of people doing PDCs in order to teach PDCs to others so that they can then...)

But a PDC is serious overkill for somebody to find a better way. I've never done a PDC. At this stage, I doubt I'd benefit from doing one after shelling out for DVD series and black book. Permaculture can be as simple as mixing all your vegetable seed packets up together and hurling them randomly into the garden instead of using neatly spaced rows.

How are people in these areas getting the impression that permaculture is the PDC, and that unless you have the PDC you can't access the "secret magic" of permaculture?

Perhaps one solution could be for teachers to start promoting courses like "Permaculture vegetable gardening" or "Permaculture food forests" or "Permaculture livestock raising" and avoiding the phrase "PDC" altogether. Then people will start to disassociate the concept of permaculture from that $2000 acronym that isn't the magical key to learning permaculture.
 
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Wide variety of reactions...

I think some posters take it a bit too personal. I don't see the author saying anything bad about permaculture. He just seems to explain that it is out of reach for a lot of small farmers in developing countries.

If you read past his marxism argument, which I am sure instantly puts a lot of people off, he does have valid points. Same goes for his use of the word gringo, that pretty much can put people on the defensive as well.

Living among 'poor' farmers in Colombia, I find this article spot on. To spread permaculture to the developing world we can forget about expensive PDC courses because no farmer here can realistically afford it. We met quite a few locals who are very interested and to help them learn it has to come cheap.
 
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Based on that article and others he's written, the author seems to have the opinion that we should celebrate poverty and all be poor. I doubt that would be sustainable. Will Harris said it better than I can in the 28th Permaculture Voices Podcast:
Being poor is not okay, it’s not sustainable. If you’re will willing to live on $5,000 expendable income a year for the right and privilege to have good land and good animals, that’s fine, but it’s not sustainable. Your significant other is not going to want to that, and if they do, your children are not going to want to do that. And, when the day comes that you break your arm or leg, you’re not going to be able to do that.
 
Tyler Ludens
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There's no need to get a PDC if you just want to practice permaculture and not teach the PDC. This misconception that a PDC is needed in order to practice permaculture is either a strawman or a display of ignorance about permaculture.

If permaculture is out of reach of a lot of small farmers in developing countries, then I guess more permaculturists need to teach permaculture in developing countries. But they don't need to teach the PDC.
 
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I would say some key points on this article are spot on due to different realities.
First in developed countries, many times it pays to substitute machines for labor based on cost.
A backhoe, dozer, etc. can do the work of many men. So if one has the money, one can multiply their labor.
In much of the developing world there is not the ability to substitute machines for labor.
So human labor has to be the driving force to permaculture. Projects are based on tools, technology, techniques, human resources.
Since the mix is different, the ways and means of applying permaculture principals will be different.
There was major agricultural changes to parts of the Amazon basin, to Mayan areas, to areas in Africa, etc.
These were done low tech, so labor can make great changes.
But what works in a resource rich temperate climate may not be appropriate for a resource poor tropical climate.
You are designing a ecology, so you first have to figure out the ecology you want and what the climate limits you to.
Then you have to look at the resources available, along with the knowledge base to put together a workable plan to create that ecology.

As for the cost of peraculture knowledge, well as something becomes widely accepted one would expect cost to decrease. The fact that selling knowledge is such a part of permaculture as it exists today is a very limiting factor in the developing world.


It would seem from this article that a kickstarter would be appropriate to produce area specific permaculture knowledge so it can be distributed free.
However, IMO it would require looking outside the box of current permaculture.
 
Tyler Ludens
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alex Keenan wrote:
However, IMO it would require looking outside the box of current permaculture.


Can you explain what you mean? Why would distributing free information about permaculture require looking outside the box of current permaculture? There's enormous amounts of free permaculture information available, it just needs to be distributed to people with fewer resources (for instance, they might need computer and internet access).

I don't accept as a "fact" that selling knowledge is such a part of permaculture as it exists today. There's more free information about permaculture available today than ever before.

 
Tyler Ludens
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And even if permaculture IS a movement only for affluent white people* (which I don't accept, but for the sake of argument) - so what? Many not-white people base their desires on the behavior of affluent white people. Affluent-white-people-based behavior is crapping up the world in a major way, and if permaculture becomes the way of life for affluent white people, it will have a tremendous beneficial effect. It's imperative that we affluent white people reduce our ecological footprint. I hope permaculture becomes the trendiest thing ever for gringos.

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/personal_footprint

(*even though I live below the US poverty line, by world standards I'm an affluent white person)

geoff lawton: Permaculture & The Tipping Point:
 
Rene Nijstad
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I agree with John above, that being poor is no OK. For me that's one thing I would like to base our farm on. We do permaculture to raise ourselves to higher well being over the next years. That is what we want to show people. By planting trees and not annuals for example, by using animal systems not only to raise meat, but also improve the soil. I think that is one of the attractive things of permaculture. But if you start poor, you cannot afford machines and expensive courses, or internet, if you can even get a connection to it here. So yes, there is a problem, and it does seem out of range for a lot of people around here.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Rene Nijstad wrote:So yes, there is a problem, and it does seem out of range for a lot of people around here.


To me, the obvious solution is more demonstration sites such as what you are creating, where people can see permaculture principles in action.

 
Rene Nijstad
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Tyler I totally agree We're working on it, but I have to admit that we're now almost equally poor as our neighbors. I think we need two more years to rise to a more comfortable level. At the same time it's OK like this. If we want to teach anybody around here anything we have to understand their situation first. Nothing makes you understand something as living through it yourself. I think that's why I felt the article was a good one.
 
Zach Muller
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We have had discussions on here about paying for knowledge, PDC's, and how those things function in PC, I do not remember exactly where. But I think it is safe to say that people selling expensive PDCs are not even aiming at low income farmers as consumers of their product anyway. That is one aspect of this authors argument I disagree with. People have the right to price their information as they see fit, and people also have the right to consume that information in exchange for money. If you find yourself on the outside of that transaction, then boohooing and calling it racism is about as boring a response as I can imagine. Blaming people for being who they are is a good way separate, instill hatred, and increase the differences people see in each other.
When the truth is all people are pretty darn similar at the end of the day.

I personally am done giving any credence to multi pronged arguments that proliferate racism, sexism, and class-ism, even if there is a shred of unrelated truth obscured inside them. We all know these issues exist, and its time to find ways to move through, not continue thinking of reasons to fight and throw blame.

Since the late 60's the term gringo took on a connotation beyond just "white american" and was used ", rather than referring to non-Latinos, instead referred to institutions or persons with attitudes or policies/programs that reflect bigotry, discord, prejudice, racism and violence" So the title of this article is already an issue, its already making subtle suggestions about the content of the individuals involved in Permaculture. RUDE.

just imagine if you came across an article titled, "Jazz music as a N***** movement", "womens rights as a C*** movement", "Salsa as a W****** movement", "gay rights as a F***** movement" etc. etc. Derogatory words to describe humans all have a history and no matter how it is spun to allow some to fly but others not is a double standard. Would we give any credit to the content of articles titled like that? How do articles like that help anyone's situation?
As humans I do not think we will ever end inequality issues with more inequality. Thats called fighting fire with fire, and as we know that isnt how nature works.

To respond to racist comments about whites by saying, "well whites deserve it they invented racism!" is, IMO, just as flawed as when racist whites say "they arent white, they deserve to be subjugated!" and that line of thinking only propagates the hatred and distances between human groups. IM SICK OF IT! In my life even if I agree with someone I will not support their subtle hatreds and so far it has defined me as a difficult person, which is fine by me. I just cannot give any credence anymore to hate no matter how mild and diluted.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Zach Muller wrote:We have had discussions on here about paying for knowledge, PDC's, and how those things function in PC, I do not remember exactly where. But I think it is safe to say that people selling expensive PDCs are not even aiming at low income farmers as consumers of their product anyway. That is one aspect of this authors argument I disagree with. People have the right to price their information as they see fit, and people also have the right to consume that information in exchange for money. If you find yourself on the outside of that transaction, then boohooing and calling it racism is about as boring a response as I can imagine.


"It's too expensive" is an old but persistent criticism of permaculture. The Big Names in permaculture give absolute craptons of information away for free. Lots of permaculturists seem to be doing outreach in developing countries and poor areas. In spite of this, the "It's too expensive" continues. What, if anything, should we be doing about it, or should we just ignore it as boring and irrelevant?
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:"It's too expensive" is an old but persistent criticism of permaculture. The Big Names in permaculture give absolute craptons of information away for free. Lots of permaculturists seem to be doing outreach in developing countries and poor areas. In spite of this, the "It's too expensive" continues. What, if anything, should we be doing about it, or should we just ignore it as boring and irrelevant?

De-emphasizing the PDC is one thing that can be done. Quite frequently [not on this site] I've seen the PDC falsely held up as the barrier to entry into genuinely understanding permaculture.

On the subject of PDCs, most of them are done on a pretty hefty budget that requires a great deal more than the average person wants to pay. The PDC I participated in had a flat value of 700$ by *not* providing 3 squares a day as part of the PDC itself and being a series of day courses rather than a sleepover event. Several participants got a reduced fee as work-trade, including providing lunch on various days.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It mainly seems to be people complaining about expense who bring up the PDC as a barrier. I'm guessing the vast majority of people here on permies who consider themselves to be learning and practicing permaculture have never taken and never plan to take a PDC.

If people persistently complain about a non-existent barrier to permaculture, what can be done about it?

I guess we can constantly repeat "you don't need a PDC to practice permaculture." And prove it by practicing permaculture without having taken a PDC.

It seems quite understandable that someone who has spent $2000 on a PDC is going to run around saying "You can't properly understand permaculture without a PDC!" They have to justify that expense.

 
alex Keenan
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Japan is not populated with Gingo's!

But agriculture in japan (where permaculture is also practiced) is changing.
One should expect to see increased use of robotics and automation being used in all phases of Japanese agriculture.
So are robotics a Asian thing because it is unlikely that third world farmers will be able to make use of this technology until the technology matures enough for prices to drop greatly?

It is very likely permaculture in Japan will evolve in ways American permaculture will not.
Just as permaculture in a village in Brazil will likely evolve in ways that American permaculture will not.
Japan does not have the manpower so it cannot afford some of the labor intensive practices employed in South America.
It does have a educated work force that is on the leading edge in robotics.
Great progress has been made in visual recognition, so robotics using visual processing is now mature.
As homes in developed nations now have mobile vacuums, so too will you see robotic weeders and such designed for small scale agriculture.
These are most likely to show up first in organic farms using UV, heat, cutting, etc. to kill weeds.
Robotics will become customized and affordable by developed nations standards.
This will increase the gap between developing and developed nations small scale agriculture.
Because in the developed nations labor is always a critical factor.
Robots will perform repetitive tasks with little variance. Just think of mapping a garden plot and entering the plants to keep into the robotic weeder.
The robotic weeder will do row after row, removing all but the desired plants.
A hobby farmer in the west who has a good income will be able to afford these and many other advances as they are developed.


The Group-of-Seven agriculture ministers meet in Japan’s northern prefecture of Niigata this weekend for the first time in seven years to discuss how to meet increasing food demand as aging farmers retire without successors. With the average age of Japanese farmers now 67, Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama will outline his idea of replacing retiring growers with Japanese-developed autonomous tractors and backpack-carried robots.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has warned that left unchecked, aging farmers could threaten the ability to produce the food the world needs. The average age of growers in developed countries is now about 60, according to the United Nations. Japan plans to spend 4 billion yen ($36 million) in the year through March to promote farm automation and help develop 20 different types of robots, including one that separates over-ripe peaches when harvesting.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-23/robots-replacing-japan-s-farmers-seen-preserving-food-security
 
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Something to consider about permaculture is that there's very little (if anything) that is a permaculture technique that wasn't already a way of life in some culture, somewhere. We have a whole assortment of valuable, sustainable, regenerative practices that are just part of our varied heritages. Permaculture collates this information and helps use it to achieve specific outcomes.

I tend to understand the world best through metaphor. Can anyone weigh in on if this one makes sense to more than myself? Permaculture is the difference between having a 'salvage heap' of ideas and having a clearly labeled warehouse. In this analogue a PDC certificate is a detailed inventory or warehouse map. People with a PDC are well positioned to guide people more quickly through the warehouse inventory, but anyone is welcome come in and anything in the warehouse.

I can actually torture that metaphor further to start discussing things that may keep people from 'the warehouse' but what they all come down to is that they're external forces that are completely separate from permaculture itself.

Sorry, I know I have an odd mind.
 
John Saltveit
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Great metaphor, Casie,
I haven't taken a PDC, but I've gone through many of the classes for them. It's mostly a matter of time. I'm a husband and a dad, and I have a lot of other interesting hobbies, friends, and family members. I don't begrudge the money, but I do agree that it's a barrier if people feel that they aren't doing permaculture unless they've taken a PDC.
I do think that Zach's point is well taken that a lot of people have had painful experiences about race. Leading with a sword leads to pain on all sides. Leading with consensus and then getting to the hard parts lets people feel that they are at least partly on the same page.
John S
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Zach Muller
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

"It's too expensive" is an old but persistent criticism of permaculture. The Big Names in permaculture give absolute craptons of information away for free. Lots of permaculturists seem to be doing outreach in developing countries and poor areas. In spite of this, the "It's too expensive" continues. What, if anything, should we be doing about it, or should we just ignore it as boring and irrelevant?


Well thats a tough one Tyler. Some people think its money that runs the earth, others think it is the ideologies behind the scenes which are the driving forces of human activity. I am not convinced that PDC's are what is holding back a larger scale PC paradigm shift. As you say there is enough free information available, and as S. Bengi pointed out subsistence farming could basically be permacluture by another name. So in other words I'm not sure how to respond to "its too expensive". For some peoples goals it might be expensive, but permaculture as I know it is never expensive compared to the energetic return of the system thats created. One of the core concepts is efficiency. Everything I do to my "system" is as cheap and as low tech as possible, no heavy machines at all. But if someone saw me on my property working away I wouldn't be surprised to hear, "that rich, white bastard is so lucky." Instead of the other side of the truth, where I did not come from a trust fund family, and have had to work through similar hardships as alot of folks to earn everything I have.

Instead of dismissing it as boring or irrelevant we could try pointing to the free information available, the lack of cohesive arguments, the ways to enact permaculture on the cheap, but seeing as this stuff is available and people still want to make the argument that its too expensive, I'm not sure that would help much either.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Zach Muller wrote: as S. Bengi pointed out subsistence farming could basically be permacluture by another name.


Except it isn't in many cases because some traditional subsistence farming techniques, such as burning organic material, or grazing goats until the place is a desert, are counter-productive to a functioning system. Though many specific techniques of permaculture do come from traditional farming methods - as Bill Mollison said, there's nothing new in permaculture - permaculture gives us a framework for putting all elements in relation to each other in order to increase biological richness in our systems.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Zach Muller wrote:"that rich, white bastard is so lucky."


From my own point of view as a "rich white bastard" who was able to work in a lucrative industry for a number of years so that I could buy some land so that now that the lucrative industry has gone away I can live comfortably for little money thanks to permaculture, I am indeed incredibly fortunate. So I don't mind someone saying about me "that rich white bastard is so lucky." I am super, super lucky.
 
Rene Nijstad
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I took some time again to re-read the article and then think about all comments in this topic again. I think I allowed myself to be 'tricked' by the writer of the article. He managed to appeal to me knowing a situation first hand, and then flipped it around as if that situation should be somehow more general, or worse, should be the same as in the USA. Added the 'not fair' argument we already hear for decades and it seems like he has a valid point. Maybe he doesn't have a point at all.

Like climate, applying permaculture is a pretty local thing. It fits either in or alongside of the prevailing culture in a specific area. How it's taught, applied and how it spreads will be different in different parts of the world.

From the beginning of starting our farm in Colombia we already decided to use locally available methods (manpower instead of machines for example) and to focus more on demonstration site than education where you give 2 week long intensive courses. Maybe we can do a few in the future, but generally it is not what people need here.

So indeed expensive courses are not really an issue here, what we need around here is examples. So it might be a non issue after all. Great comments people, I fell for the article in error, you guys helped me see there is always a way to learn, PDC or not does not determine that.
 
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The thousands of rural farmers in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Mexico and other places where Plant With Purpose is working would argue strongly against the premise that permaculture is a white man's pursuit, and that it costs thousands of dollars to learn to farm this way. Here is a link to their site:

https://www.plantwithpurpose.org/

These are Tanzanians helping Tanzanians, Haitians helping Haitians, and Mexicans helping Mexicans. Other than some initial technical assistance and training, it is national farmers teaching other national farmers how to use these techniques and design philosophy to improve their soils and radically change their lives. Few of the farmers being helped by the Plant With Purpose staff in their countries ever come into contact even once with an American. PWP (formerly Floresta) has been doing this for over 25 years, transforming the lives of the rural poor and restoring their land to fertility and abundance.

https://www.plantwithpurpose.org/fight-hunger/

If this author wants to define permaculture as only those who have taken a PDC, he totally misses the boat. Plant With Purpose has chosen to not use the term Permaculture, but their bio-intensive, soil first, bio-mimicry focused approach to helping farmers is permaculture, through and through. The organization was featured in Permaculture Magazine last quarter (the UK version), and the technical staff regularly attend and participate in permie conferences and even on this forum. I would love for the author of this article to go to one of the villages or watersheds that PWP has worked in for 10 years, and tell me how the national inhabitants there feel about Permaculture.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Rene Nijstad wrote: to focus more on demonstration site than education


I think this is so important! People learn more easily by seeing results rather than being told what to do - or, even worse, being told what they are doing is "wrong." If all of us here on permies made sites where we could share what we're doing with our neighbors - and share products from our systems with them too - it could have a large influence. Plus free!



 
Zach Muller
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

From my own point of view as a "rich white bastard" who was able to work in a lucrative industry for a number of years so that I could buy some land so that now that the lucrative industry has gone away I can live comfortably for little money thanks to permaculture, I am indeed incredibly fortunate. So I don't mind someone saying about me "that rich white bastard is so lucky." I am super, super lucky.


I dont mind the reference, since it is true. I also feel incredibly thankful and fortunate in my life, but what I mind is the implication that things were handed to you and you do not deserve them as much as others might. which is why "you rich white.." is only part of the story of who I might be. If someone makes a judgement on my whole existence based on my locality, color, and wealth than they are no better than a slave driver, or a hitler and I would like it if they realized that.

I agree with more demonstration and less teachy stuff as a way forward. That is my general focus with my home and land: make something to where I am getting all these benefits with less work and the people around me will be struggling to mow their fruitless landscapes in 110degrees F weather. Maybe then the applied knowledge will be interesting enough to get non believers into a smarter, less wasteful work cycle. Maybe not, we will see. I already share my eggs, herbs, and squash with neighbors, and that will only be expanding as my production increases.

Inspire rather than inform.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Zach Muller wrote: what I mind is the implication that things were handed to you and you do not deserve them as much as others might.


In my case, things were handed to me by virtue of me being born affluent and white, instead of for instance poor and black. They were literally handed to me: "Here, go to college" "Here, have a job." This may not be the case of every white person from an affluent background, but it was certainly my case. I would have had to have been some kind of remarkable slacker to have messed up such a sweet deal. I'm convinced my life would have been much more difficult but for the accident of birth ("born on third base"). Someone who actually had to work for what I got by default does, in my opinion, "deserve" it more.

 
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The thing is, a lot of this is fair comment:

One of the most recent permaculture books to hit the market was originally priced at $75 dollars on Amazon. ... If it weren’t for internet piracy and public libraries, the majority of books about permaculture that I wanted to read would still be on my Amazon wish list.


Add friends willing to share their libraries, and I'd agree with this completely. The number of books that I have bought new amounts to a big round zero. There is a recent book on fungi I am looking at rather longingly, while knowing I'll probably never read it unless I borrow it, which makes it useless as a reference. It's why I fought so hard (and failed this time) to get a promotional copy. The same applies to the book I suspect he's referring to. It's a very good book, but well out of the price range of a great many people who might otherwise benefit from it. Yes, I do mean The Carbon Farming Solution, by Eric Toensmeier. Now, pricing is a decision made by the publisher, and it's a small print run, and it's not specifically about permaculture, and so on, but the point remains.

When I showed one video from a well known permaculture teacher about how to do build swales (water infiltration ditches) using a backhoe, one of the young Central American farmers raised his hand and asked sarcastically: “Is this guy a farmer or a miner?”


Ahem: the aptly named world domination gardening, from our very own Paul? That was one of my big criticisms of this video: it just doesn't fit the financial scale I'd expect anyone I know to be working on. Shovels and wheelbarrows, maybe.

current sources such as the agroecology movement, biodynamics, traditional organic gardening, amongst others.


On this site, I talk about permaculture, but what I'm thinking about is agroecology, with my own thoughts on the social stuff. When I discuss my plans and ideas with anyone not on here, I talk about agroecology, not permaculture. I've never done a PDC and don't intend to.

I came to find that most people involved in the permaculture movement had no idea what the third permaculture ethic actually entailed. In fact, many permaculture leaders had different ways of defining the third ethic. Some permaculture teachers stuck to the more radical idea of redistribution of surplus, while others settled with the more ambiguous idea of “fair shares” while failing to ever define what is fair.


Meanwhile, here, discussion of the third ethic is effectively off the table or confined to the cider press. There are those growing enough to feed their families, while others brag about their profits, often on the back of free labour (i.e. WWOOFers). There is a really blurry boundary here between sharing surpluses and outright exploitation at one end.

The last time I engaged with a discussion on here about an article off site, I ripped into the article. I can find little in this article to argue with. I suspect many of us in rich countries are simply unaware of our own privilege, and this article does well to point this out.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Here's what Geoff Lawton posted on Facebook in response to the Huffpost article:

"Permaculture Aid projects have always funded the teaching of "Permaculture Design Certificate" courses for free or at most at a very reduced cost, that is easily affordable to local people, and that has always been an obligation for the permaculture teachers of the world.
The incredibly successful change in education delivery systems to online teaching where the results of students becoming more active and successful in application on the ground are proven by the obvious results now. This is because of these main advantages, 1. the massive increase in available information and incredibly informative HD video, 2. the ability to replay as much as you want while being online with access to research and references and 3. the event base presentation, forum interactive style gives each student the ability to interact with other students in multiple variations of situations worldwide, literally a global nation building exercise of people thinking the same way. This has opened up more free education to those that need it, and created ongoing Facebook groups that continue interacting and helping each other after the PDC.
We can now reach more people with free education through online education on mass than every before. Bill Mollison always insisted that all PDC teachers put 5% of all students through as scholarships. We have been able to bring that figure up to 20% through online PDC scholarships for developing country NGO's."
 
Tyler Ludens
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I want to mention something for people wanting to fund small projects such as the purchase of a book; I have found GoFundMe to be an easy way to get funding for a small project. I did this for a biographical research project website, and obtained funding for a big chunk of my project.

https://www.gofundme.com/

People are quite willing to pitch in $20 or so to a project, when they might not be willing or able to fund the entire project.

 
Neil Layton
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's what Geoff Lawton posted on Facebook in response to the Huffpost article:


We can now reach more people with free education through online education on mass than every before. Bill Mollison always insisted that all PDC teachers put 5% of all students through as scholarships. We have been able to bring that figure up to 20% through online PDC scholarships for developing country NGO's."


The point is that in much of the world it needs to be 100% or it won't happen, because the 80% to fund it aren't there.

The only way to resolve that would be for all of us above a certain income bracket in rich countries to sponsor a farmer in one of the countries ours have been looting to do the course for free.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Neil Layton wrote:

The only way to resolve that would be for all of us above a certain income bracket in rich countries to sponsor a farmer in one of the countries ours have been looting to do the course for free.


I think this idea is worth pursuing; is there a platform where one can sponsor a farmer to take the course?
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Neil Layton wrote:
Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's what Geoff Lawton posted on Facebook in response to the Huffpost article:


We can now reach more people with free education through online education on mass than every before. Bill Mollison always insisted that all PDC teachers put 5% of all students through as scholarships. We have been able to bring that figure up to 20% through online PDC scholarships for developing country NGO's."


The point is that in much of the world it needs to be 100% or it won't happen, because the 80% to fund it aren't there.

The only way to resolve that would be for all of us above a certain income bracket in rich countries to sponsor a farmer in one of the countries ours have been looting to do the course for free.

Shouldn't we instead be focusing on creating local surplus so as to put an end to said looting?

As Tyler pointed out upthread, these nations often emulate the so-called 'first world'; there's a lot to be said for fixing the example we're setting.
 
Neil Layton
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Shouldn't we instead be focusing on creating local surplus so as to put an end to said looting?

As Tyler pointed out upthread, these nations often emulate the so-called 'first world'; there's a lot to be said for fixing the example we're setting.


I would argue we need to be doing all these things but yes, absolutely, this would be firmly on the list: I thought it already was. It's certainly on mine.
 
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