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two years in the permaculture army

master steward
Posts: 31521
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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hup! hup! hup! hup! hup! hup!

The problem with most forums is that everybody seems to be the same. I have seen conversations when some dipshit is saying all sorts of nasty dumbfuckery to toby hemenway - and toby patiently replies to every spec of every crazy concern.

In this thread, I talk about some people that function from ... a different perspective. I used one actual person as an example:

Jerry (I think he was 20) was tasked with peeling logs up on the lab. Only at 10am when everybody was up on the lab peeling logs, Jerry was munching on my food in the kitchen. Apaprently, Jerry felt like taking a personal day. In time, Jerry didn't do what he agreed to do and found all sorts of "reasons" why I suck and why I need to stop being such a dick. After doing the CSI of figuring out where Jerry actually was since he wasn't with the group (he was sleeping in his tent and not responding when people went to his tent to ask for him) - Jerry said that he would work extra hours on saturday. So we actually had somebody take the task of checking on him on saturday only to find that he went into missoula for the whole day. More talking to him leads to him telling me more about how I am a terrible manager and he says he will make up for two days of work in the following week. He ended up having another short week.

In this thread, I was sharing a vision of one imaginary person and then somebody said

There is an element of privilege and access that a lot of people are frustrated by that Paul just doesn't seem to see in his Ferd v Gert narrative. The mere acquisition of property is not easy for many, the building of eco structures, solar, landscaping and earth shaping, trees and perennials etc... Even presupposing that you build your dream over time, it is costly. Which is why you see so many decrying the permie movement as exclusive and obtainable by those of means and or support.

All over the internet, some responses to a lot of permaculture stuff appears to be that it is hard. There is no free land, free hugelkultur, free wofati, free beef, chicken and pork, free cooking, free servants .... why grow food when you are already at the mall and there is a food court?

In the example above, Jerry was not this guy's real name, but for the sake of the point I wish to make, I am going to propose that there are a million Jerry's in the US. They want the artifacts that come from doing permaculture, but they feel it should be handed to them. They might also feel that the whole world is stupid and should be something else. They are perpetually frustrated and unhappy.


For my next trick, I'm going to make up an entirely fictitious person that is actually made of lots of people.

Gilligan came here and was freakishly excited about permaculture and all the things we are doing here. He got up super early every morning and was the first person to show up on every job. He worked hard, but when left to his own devices, accomplished little. He made a lot of mistakes that ended with a lot of broken tools. On his own time, he continued to try permaculture things, but it usually took him five times longer to accomplish something, and what he created was of extremely low quality. Others said that he had "no common sense". I say that there is no such thing as "common sense" and what he needed was good, strong leadership. So I failed him.


Most of the people that come here tuck right in to projects and have a good work ethic. But there have been a few where it has been rather baffling. One guy was here under the gapper 2.0 program. I think he was here for about four weeks when I got the impression that he had not contributed to a single project. I talked to him and got a lot of talk about things he might do some day, but after a few more weeks of nothing, I finally insisted that he had to go. I think that if we had strong leadership, he would have done fine.


A long time ago I read the book "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein. I put off reading it for decades for a lot of reasons, but one day the book selection was slim and I picked it up. I wish I read this when I was a teenager and every few years since. In fact, I should probably read it again soon.

The book touches a lot of philosophy. As much as I now want to write a hundred pages on my thoughts of this book, I wish to convey a few things that were very interesting to me:
  • Nobody was allowed to vote or hold office unless that has completed two years of military service. But part of military service is a lot of ethics courses - after all, your job is to protect the population and make good decisions. Ethics and decency are deeply explored in coursework. The other side of this is that the decision about whether or not to go to war should be made exclusively by people that have been to war.

  • Serving in the military is purely voluntary. Fewer than ten percent of the recruits finish basic training; the rest resign, are expelled, or die in training. If you screw up, the punishments are pretty severe. But you can opt out at any time (and dodge the punishment). The standards are extremely high, and it seems that nobody can make it through the two years without some very serious punishment.


We had a young fella come here and he was very quiet. He came from europe. His mom sent him here.

For the first month, he worked with emily and tony doing all sorts of stuff: peeling logs, building trails ... the idea was that he was earning his ticket to the wofati course that happened during the second month he was here. So then he moved logs and did log construction stuff to participate in the one month of building what is now "Cooper Cabin".

Apparently when he got home he felt like a new person. A better person. His mom said something like "I sent you a boy and you sent me back a man."


We currently have the ant village program. A person can rent an acre of raw land from year to year. I think a person has to have some level of skill to be able to build a shelter for themselves that will get through a montana winter. And grow the food that will feed themselves. But most of the people that came out here as a gapper definitely did not have the level of skill to even consider the ant program. Their lack of skill came in as many different flavors as there were gappers.

I think that each of those gappers desperately wanted strong leadership and to learn a lot of things. And they would be willing to work for that.

In the book, the "drill sergeant" was "Sergeant Zim" (no relation to "invader zim").

I can imagine that there can be a permaculture program where people come and participate in "the permaculture army". Maybe Sergeant Zim allows for 24 people in "the troop". Maybe each month, four people drop out and four more, from a waiting list, are added back in.

Everybody is up at five and work from 5:15 to 6:00 is about cleaning and food prep. Everybody is fed by 6:30. At 11, some people do lunch prep. Everybody eats at noon and 12:30 to 1 is cleanup. At 5, some people do dinner prep. At 6, everybody helps with dinner prep and at 6:15 people eat. By 7 everything is clean.

The day is structured and everything is about work. Some days there is a bit of education to go along with the work that is to be done. Maybe there is: fence building, planting seeds, building a shed, putting in some plumbing, repairing a vehicle, digging a ditch, building a hugelkultur, harvesting, preserving food for the troop ...

Everybody gets personal time from 7pm to 9pm and all day one day a week. They get food, a bunk and ... maybe ... $40 per week for personal expenses. Everybody also gets days or weeks off as approved by zim.

At the end of the two years, a person could receive an acre of land, $2000 and four days of use from "the troop." This person now has the skill, strength and gumption to do everything an ant village person would do.

If somebody wanted to do deep roots and have a fence, wofati and a bunch of hugelkultur beds built and planted - it could be done, for a price, by Zim and the troop.

Zim and the troop could build everything needed for Zim and the troop. And then they might even build some plots that are for sale to future deep roots people. The troops might stay in there until they get sold.

Zim has set up a business model where bounties are collected and the funds go to building a collection of tools for the troop, materials for troop facilities and projects, troop stipends, extra food that cannot or is not grown, etc. Anything left over is Zim's profit.

Zim can kick people out of the troop. Zim can dock days, weeks or even months off of the two year program for poor behavior. Maybe even award extra days, weeks or months for excellence.

If somebody has been in the troop for, say, eight months, maybe they could get free admission to a PDC or another workshop.


Some people might like to come and be a gapper.

Some people might like to come and be in Zim's troop.

Some people might like to come and be a sepper.

Some people might like to come and be a camper.

Some people might like to come and be an ant.

Some people might like to come and do deep roots.

Some people might like to come for a workshop.

Most people have never heard of permaculture and have no interest in coming here. And if they heard anything about it, they would think it is all stupid.

I think the permaculture trooper idea has a strong future. I think there are a lot of people that want to travel this path, but have a hard time getting started. I also think there are a lot of people that are certain that they will never be able to get land, or build a house, or .... whatever - and this provides a clear path.

I like the idea that some day we might offer a Zim-troop-like program. We would need a Zim first. For now, we do have something that is about halfway there: Evan is offering a very structured gapper program that includes food.
Posts: 3124
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Except for the significant fact that your scheme is voluntary (which means everything to an anarchist like myself) this reminds me of the so-called Up To The Mountains And Down To The Countryside movement during the Cultural Revolution in China. Of course the common theme is that work itself is thought to be educational and in some sense uplifting, especially for "soft" elites with no particular prior experience of work. In the permaculture context, it makes a degree of sense; a permaculture without doing (or a permaculturalist who doesn't know how to do anything) is a pretty empty permaculture. It wouldn't be for everyone but I can imagine that some people would really get into it and benefit from it substantially.
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Reading this, all I could think of was the American militiamen. (The proper, original concept that the 2nd amendment refers to, not the crazies running around these days) Their service was completely voluntary. They could quit anytime they wanted to, even in a battle. They elected their leaders. They didn't get paid, and provided all their equipment. It took an effort and commitment on their part to even be there. It meant that what you ended up with in the troop were people you knew were there for the right reason. And you could depend on them.

Gilligan is what I refer to as a lummox. They are a hardworking, loyal person, who has to be utilised correctly. You don't leave them to their own devices to die horribly in the winter. Gilligan is the sort of person you'd show how to peel logs, and you'd walk away knowing he'd gleefully peel logs all day. Somebody would actually have to remember to go back and make him break for lunch. And in return, everybody helps Gilligan build a nice home in return for all the logs he'd cut down, hauled, and peeled for them. Appropriate division of labour.
Posts: 1719
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis -- a typical middle class kid with a bike, played little league baseball, screwed around all summer, rode the bike to the lake and swam . . . and had a few responsibilities around the house like mowing the yard, helping with dishes, etc. I don't think that from the time I was born till the time I got a job at the Dairy Queen when I was 15, I worked longer than 4 hours straight my entire life. I wasn't a lazy kid, but we just didn't have to work.

My cousins in South Dakota grew up on a dairy farm where those cows had to be milked before they headed off to school in the morning and again at night before dinner. They had daily "chores" in the morning before school, and then at night when they got home. During basketball season, they still had chores to do when they got home from practice, out there in those cold SD winter nights. There were always things to be fed, fixed, hauled, etc. By the time they were 12 or 13, they were cultivating corn with the tractor, they could run 50 cows through the milking parlor in an hour and 15 minutes, and then clean up all the equipment and get things set for the next milking, they could bail hay, operate all sort of farm machinery, and were comfortable working with cattle, horses, and sheep.

So when we would go visit my cousins in the summer, they'd be up and working early in the morning before I rolled out of bed. They were constantly frustrated with their worthless "city kid" cousins. We just didn't have a clue how to do some of the most basic things they'd been doing for years. Even at 17 or 18, when I was strong enough to pitch a 120# alfalfa bail, I couldn't keep up with my younger female cousin Susan as we stacked hay on the hay rack and then ran the bales up the elevator up into the barn. I didn't know how to swing a hay hook. I didn't know how to stack bales so they wouldn't come tumbling down. She kicked my ass. They would tell me, "Go over there and do such and such", and I wouldn't have a clue how to start the tractor or back a trailer or move the cattle. It wasn't for lack of trying, but the knowledge, strength and muscle memory needed to do many of the basic farm tasks were completely absent, whereas they'd been doing these things for a decade or more.

Once, when we were milking, I was fumbling with the milking machine and having a hard time getting it to latch on the udder and function correctly. The cow was clearly irritated, as was my cousin Susan. In frustration, she blurted out, "You're as worthless as tits on a steer!"

My cousin James thought that that was pretty funny. I was such a city kid, I really didn't even get the humor.

Fast forward 30+ years. I was back for my uncle's funeral 3 years ago (Susan and James' father). After the funeral at the church, we went back out the farm with the rest of the family -- about 40 of us or so. Coffee, leftover cake and sandwiches from the funeral reception, stories, lots of laughter, and just good family time with 4 generations hanging out and talking.

At one point my cousin Susan pulled me aside, and in tears asked for forgiveness. "For what?", I said. "Do you remember what I called you back when we were kids?"

I had no idea what she was talking about.

"I said that you were as worthless as tits on a steer!"

I said, "Oh seriously Susan -- that would have been back in the 1970's. I have no memory of that."

She said, "Well I remember it and I just feel horrible about it. Will you forgive me?"

"Of course", I said. "That is ancient history -- never think of it again, because I certainly don't remember it."

Then she went on: "I used to get so frustrated with you and so many of the other cousins that would come out to the farm from Sioux Falls or Minneapolis. City kids. You guys didn't know how to do anything, and you would quit before the job was finished. It drove me crazy. But now I come back to the farm here with my own teenaged kids, and they are completely clueless as to how to catch a horse or muck a stall or pick up a round bale with the tractor. They are just like you guys were when we were kids. They didn't grow up on the farm -- they haven't got a clue."

Ah ha!

I've seen this again and again. Kids that grow up on a farm have a work ethic, a pragmatic capacity to solve problems, muscle memory developed though the repeated use of shovels, forks, and other hand tools, and an efficiency of motion to get maximum output from minimum effort. They've had to help out fixing things, problem solving, working long and late, and taking responsibility for the family enterprise since they were old enough to see over a steering wheel.

City kids know how to play video games, pick up chicks at the mall, and microwave a burrito. They aren't bad kids, but most have never had to figure out how to get 50 holsteins out of the corn field when they went through a fence, and would crap their pants when that big mama cow dropped her head down and started coming toward them. Everything takes 3 times longer than it should.

I would imagine that one of the problems with Jerry (beyond being an entitled dick with an attitude) was that he'd never had to work a 12 hour day in his life.

50+ years ago, WW 2 was fought and won by a generation of farm kids who had a can-do spirit, knew how to fix a vehicle, work a 16 hour day, and brought a problem solving (and drama minimizing) mindset to the task at hand. Since that generation, we have a smaller and smaller percentage of the population -- 2%? -- maybe? -- who grew up on the farm.

Can a city kid learn these skills, this mindset and this work ethic? Absolutely. But it will take patience on the part of those who are responsible for them. Paul, you don't like to call it common sense. OK. Lets call it "farm sense": a capacity for hard work, self-responsibility, muscle memory needed for the safe and efficient use of tools, social skills to quietly resolve conflict and work on a team with good humor and not a "my rights" attitude, and the deft touch to nurture living things, be they plants or animals. I'd like to think that I've learned a lot that farm sense, even though I've lived most of my life in the city. But 20 years of intensive gardening, home improvement projects, planting dozens and dozens of trees, etc. have given me the life experience to develop such farm sense.

Two years in Zim's army should be more than enough time to develop such "farm sense".
Marco Banks
Posts: 1719
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Did I kill the thread?

I like Paul's idea. It would need to be a volunteer army. Once enlisted, those recruits would never be the same.
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Stoked about the martial aesthetic. Are you thinking of this as especially scaleable, Paul? Assuming one was awash with recruits...independent 'units' could operate on other ranches across the states or beyond...anyone who wanted excellent permaculture work done affordably?

Is this the unemployment solution for pacifists?
Posts: 6302
Location: Missoula, MT
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I like Marco's term "farm sense."

Posts: 51
Location: Cedar City, UTAH
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What we are talking about really is an apprenticeship, something that was the system used for training for employment for any kind of specialized skilled labor in the world for ages. We have dumped that kind of system a long time ago in favor of college to our detriment, though it still has some limited exposure in the building trades... Here is some interesting info about apprenticeships in other countries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprenticeship

In a simplified apprenticeship, you are expected to work and assist the master artisan until you become a journeyman, usually 3-4 years or more. In exchange, you may receive a modest stipend, room and board.
Often "graduating" to journeyman requires a journeyman project. It demonstrates the skill of the journeyman's art.

Just call it a Regenerative Systems Apprenticeship. Calling it an army invokes too many martial ideas in soft people's minds and could give the wrong impression.
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Below is our version of Paul’s Army plan that we are presently using. Feel free to use any or all of our plan.

Sustainable - Permaculture - Off the Grid Research Center is a Living and Learning Laboratory. Ongoing 4-hour Mentoring Sessions are given twice a week year in the following areas:

Passive: heating, cookers, ovens, dryers.
Panels: charging, storage, lighting, mobile powered units

Rocket: mass heater, materials, insulation, cooking, thermal mass, wood
Gasifiers: stoves, cooking, home heating,
Composting: Thermal, mass, greenhouses
Heating: Water Trombe Wall, Subterranean,

Filtering: purity, drinkability, design
Harvesting & Storage: Pumps, swales, ponds, collection systems, barrels & IBC's, greywater

Food Sustainability
Soil: Bokashi, Green Manure, Composting, Red Wigglers, BioChar
Animals: Chicken Sanctuary, Brush Eaters, Bees Colony Collapse
Food security: Fencing, High Quality Food Nutrient Measurement

Compost Toilets: types, designs
Urine: Liquid Gold, safety, regulation, collection.

We offer four (4) options to Live on the Oregon Coast at our Center and Learn from Free Workshops and Hand on Training in exchange for Barter-Hours Labor.

This opportunity is for someone that is serious about,,,,,,,,Sustainable, Permaculture, or Off the Grid Living.

The Center is a Sustainable Community with everybody has their own lodging, food, heat and sanitation facilities. We are NOT a communal, political, environmental, religious, or militia community.

Successful applicants may stay for any length of time.

Four options with Barter-Hour Labor. The number of Barter-Hours required depends on which option is selected:

1. Live at Center Free with Barter Labor-- If you provide your own housing in the form of self-contained (Rig) RV, Travel Trailer, or 5th Wheel, free electric, available water, and sewer, plus two 4-hour weekly mentoring workshops will be provided, in exchange for Barter-Hours of labor. The Center is on Hwy 101 (Pacific Coast Hwy) near Lincoln City, Oregon 97367.

2. If you do not have a self-contained Rig. A private bedroom and private bath in a two-bedroom house at the Center plus two 4-hour weekly mentoring workshops will be provided, in exchange for $350/month and Barter-Hours of Labor.

3. Live on 80-acre Ranch Free with Barter Labor- This option is only available after you completed the Apprentice Program, which means living 120 days living at the Center. If you provide your own housing in the form of self-contained (Rig) RV, Travel Trailer, or 5th Wheel, you will receive free electric, water, sewer hookup, plus two 4-hour weekly mentoring workshops, in exchange for Barter-Hours of labor.

The 80-acre Ranch is 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Oregon and 7 miles from the nearest town of 1300 people with: riverside park; bank; gift shop, Grange Hall, bakery; restaurant; video store; (5) churches; grocery store; library; post office; roadhouse\sport bar; fuel station and mini market. The ranch is surrounded by 20,000+ acres of logging land. It is a land locked island of 80 level acres surrounded on two sides by a wild salmon, trout, and steelhead river

4. Attend a Sustainable - Permaculture - Off the Grid 4-hour Mentoring Session. The cost is $25/session, but you have to make you own housing arrangement.

Details of Center's CURRENT sessions activities, go to: www.livingcenters.online

Details on the Center’s FUTURE session go to www.pinterest.com/livingcenters

Our facebook information www.facebook.com/living centers

For more details; www.nextday@vol.com

Barter-Hours the time requirement to learn, develop, maintain and improve the Center. There is no obligation for anybody to stay any length of time and they may leave at any time.

Qualifying Rig defined as a self-contained RV, 5th Wheel, or Travel Trailer with a working toilet, kitchen, shower and heating system. Tents, Yurts, Pickup, or Tent Trailers do not qualify.

No Rig If you do not have a Qualifying Rig, options may be available at the Centers. There is a fee of $350/month for a private bedroom and shared bathroom.

Facilities for Rigs
• Electric - One 15- amp circuit is provided; Electric heaters, clothes dryer or electric water heaters will require a 30-amp circuit. If a 30-amp circuit is required, then the circuit is metered and Rig must reimburse the Center for the electricity used.
• Water is available for water tank fill up or possible full water hook up
• Dump Station, Bathroom or full septic hook up.

Twenty-one (21) Barter-Hours /week are required per Rig with one person. The Barter-Hours is increased by 4 Barter-Hours for each extra person in the Rig. If the extra person is over the age of 12, the 4 Barter-Hours is required to be spent in one of the two weekly Mentoring Sessions. If they are under the age of 12 the hours are added to the Rigs Barter-Hours.

Apprentice Program
All participants start with the Apprentice Program, which is 120 days. During that time the participants will be housed at one of the Centers. After a participant completes the Apprentice Program they have the choice of moving to the Ranch or stay at a Center.

During the Apprentice Program the participant will be directed of where and how the twenty-one (21) Barter-Hours are to be utilized. Eight hours will be spent in two (2) four hours Mentoring Sessions on Sunday 1-5pm and Wednesday 1-5pm. Thirteen hours (13) Barter-Hours will spent on working on assigned projects according to the participator’s time schedule. It is possible to “Bank” Barter-Hours to allow the participant to have weeks with time off.

The Apprentice Program Mentoring Sessions is held at one of the three (3) Centers.

Center-1 is located at 6349 S Hwy 101 Lincoln City
Center-2 is located at The Siletz Moorage, 82 Siletz Hwy
Center-3 is located at the 4-H Garden in Toledo. Each is located within 27 miles of the Center.

There is no difference in the value placed on one person’s Barter-Hours over another person’s Barter-Hours. A person building a greenhouse is valued the same as a person cutting the grass.

The Centers and Ranch are on the Oregon Coast so there is always the possibility of interruptions, or, “Acts of God”, at one or all of the above facilities. Downed trees interrupt electricity, drought causes the wells to go dry, and septic lines get clogged, trees block roads, EMP, Total Financial Collapse, etc. These interruptions are a sample of what a participant could expect if they were living totally Off of Grid. There are no additional Barter-Hours increased for this training, likewise there is no decrease in Barter-Hours when any interruptions occur. It is part of the learning process.

Community Garden
A Community Garden area is available if a participant wants to have a Sustainable Garden, but it is not a requirement. The garden areas are to encourage members to grow food without startup costs such as fence, water, and electricity. A member receives all of benefits of these areas. A member can to use the food, can it, or preserve it, but not sell or barter it to anyone outside of the Community.

A member cannot give the right of the garden area to another person, as the ground belongs to the Leadership and, only the food the participant produces is theirs. If you decide to sell to someone outside the Community, then food you sell falls under Money Making Option One.

In the Community Garden area each Rig may have one (1) 12’ X 12’ space in the garden area. If a member decides to have a garden, they must provide all needed supplies. Examples of garden supplies are: seeds, plants fertilizer, compost, wood chips, etc.

Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Policy

Tobacco – Smoking is allowed anywhere except in the Center house, Community Kitchen, Community Room and the Center vehicles.

Alcohol – Drinking is allowed, but addiction or habitual drunkenness will be grounds for immediately termination of this understanding and require immediately leaving the Center.

Drugs - No illegal substance allowed or grown on the Center. Marijuana medical or recreational marijuana, even though it is allowed in Oregon, is not allowed on the property. Violation of this will be grounds for immediate termination and requires leaving the Center immediately. The Center supports, administers and funds the Just Wait Teens Program. The program rewards teens that graduate from high school Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco free.

30-day review

At the end of 30 days a member will be reviewed to determine if the is a fit. A member will be reviewed for:
1. Written financial staying power to provide food, propane, auto fuel, cell phone or internet and repairs for their personal needs.

2. Demonstrate a willing to work and have a work ethic.

3. Establish either a cell phone or internet access.

4. Establish that all parties are in a Win-Win situation. If the participate does not feel it is a Win for them, they will be ask to leave.

Review at the End of Apprentice Program

At the end of your Apprentice Program a participant will be reviewed again. They will be reviewed in the same area as the first review, but also on your:

1. Desire and wiliness to become a Sustainable Grower.

2. Willingness to learn and understand how people work differently.

During the Apprentice Program a participant will be exposed to many new and marketable processes\products. The Center will attempt to match a participator’s interest and their way of working with these new process\products. Some of these process\products (Brands) can provide a source of income. A member can receive up to 20% of that income. This income may come from of leading local workshops fees, kits, online marketing, and\or selling our products.

Since the Leadership supports all process\products by their expertise, material, tools, space, utilities and Barter-Hours all process\products (Brands) belong to the Leadership. The “Brands” belong to the Leadership.

The members want to join the Center for many reasons:

1. Learn how to survive without any modern stores, utilities, fuel, etc.

2. Learn how to live off the grid on their own homestead

3. Learn Permaculture methods

4. Learn Sustainable Living techniques

5. Learn how to become financially free and live off the grid

The list goes on.

There is an on-line application and visit is required before any commitment is made by the Center or participant.

From the Center’s point of view “Attitude is more important than skills”

Jocelyn Campbell
Posts: 6302
Location: Missoula, MT
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Dustin Hollis wrote:What we are talking about really is an apprenticeship, something that was the system used for training for employment for any kind of specialized skilled labor in the world for ages. We have dumped that kind of system a long time ago in favor of college to our detriment, though it still has some limited exposure in the building trades... Here is some interesting info about apprenticeships in other countries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprenticeship

In a simplified apprenticeship, you are expected to work and assist the master artisan until you become a journeyman, usually 3-4 years or more. In exchange, you may receive a modest stipend, room and board.
Often "graduating" to journeyman requires a journeyman project. It demonstrates the skill of the journeyman's art.

Just call it a Regenerative Systems Apprenticeship. Calling it an army invokes too many martial ideas in soft people's minds and could give the wrong impression.

I agree that apprenticeship could be a term to use, though there can be issues with wage and insurance requirements with certain labor entities. For example, in the Seattle area, there are "prevailing wage" requirements for municipal construction projects. Only apprentices, defined as such ONLY if they are in a state approved apprentice program, are not required to abide by prevailing wage brackets (which are HIGH). Intern runs into similar issues with how the federal Department of Labor defines an intern and what is and isn't allowed with this category of learning worker.

In most cases, IMHO, and unfortunately, it's best to avoid using apprentice or intern unless the position is part of an accredited program that has been approved to use those terms.

While in older times an apprentice might live with the journeyman tradesman to learn the craft, and thereby learn when to rise, when to eat, etc., I think that's not usually the case any more, even if receiving room and board. I think Paul has used the term "army" not to imply weapons and battles, but to mean discipline that extends beyond a 9 to 5 job. It extends to a way of living...a lifestyle. Just as the army will train soldiers how to make a bed, when to rise, how to fold their clothes and shine their shoes. A productive permaculture (or homesteading) "army" lifestyle would/could include how to cook in cast iron, how to best hang-dry clothes, rising to care for animals before breakfast, and more beyond the 9 to 5.

Do not set lab on fire. Or this tiny ad:
Voices of Transition--documentary, streaming
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