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Claire Gardner
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Location: Idaho
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This is my first thread, and probably my last... I am too busy to beat around the bush, so here is my deal. When I woke up to what is really going on, I started scrambling. I pulled every dime I had to buy land, and would love to learn about permaculture design, but I have to pick between buying fruit trees and seeds, or paying for a course. I cannot eat the course, nor feed it to my neighbors. Additionally, as there are videos of food forests that are thousands of years old, copyrighting the term for profit seems antithetical to what motivates ME to want to plant a food forest. I want to freely share, move to a love based society and return to simple living.
So, I am getting ready to do it wrong, I have no doubt, but wrong is what I can afford to do. The cost of one course is my entire budget for planting, and I am already resigned to only planting tiny parcels at a time.
I love what permaculture can do, I really, really do not like the way it is a for-profit institution. If there is an instructor who will barter, do work study, or offer some arrangement where I do not have to spend more fiat currency to try to end the banksters stranglehold on humanity, I would love to work with them. I do not see how we will ever improve our lot if we keep demanding THEIR currency from each other.
Well, there I am, warts hanging out. I won't let the door hit me...
Peace!
 
Chris Fitt
Posts: 115
Location: Eastern Shore VA
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Well you may have luck with bartering.  It will most likely be dependent on who is sponsoring, offering, or teaching the course.  My girlfriend took the PDC in Alaska and was able to barter half of the tuition with veggies from the farm we worked for and the other half came in scholarship form.  No flat currency needed.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Why do you think you would be doing it wrong?

If you can write, then surely you can read.  And your local library probably carries lots of permaculture books.  And there are loads of web resources.

Buy your land, do your permaculture thing. 

I don't see the problem.

 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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Paul... Your detailed essay on all you gained from the course is why I assume I will do it wrong... but doing it wrong is better than doing nothing!
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I don't think that there is a right/wrong way to do it.  Some are merely better than others.  Since you indicate that you will be doing it in segments, I think it is good to start with getting your orchard and brambles in now, as they will take several years to begin producing.  Likewise, beneficial trees should be started now for the same reason.
As far as the summer veggies are concerned, this season, plant the ones you normally eat, plus add another 1 or 2 to try.  Make certain to put in produce that can be stored over winter (onions, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, winter squash, etc), else you are going to get hungry shortly after first frost.
Each spring, add a few new ones to see if they are something you will like (or can trade for something else).  If everybody grew the same exact crops, there would be no barter system, which is exactly what the banking world desires.

Read these threads.  While it isn't a paid course, the same knowledge is right here.  Instead of buying a $300 collection of books, see what is available at your library.  That way you will determine which one(s) you feel belong in your reference library.

The big key, I believe, is diversity, not a cut-and-dried 'formula'.
Good luck, and may your grandchildren enjoy your forest!
 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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misfit wrote:
Well you may have luck with bartering.  It will most likely be dependent on who is sponsoring, offering, or teaching the course.  My girlfriend took the PDC in Alaska and was able to barter half of the tuition with veggies from the farm we worked for and the other half came in scholarship form.  No flat currency needed.


OK, I will try approaching some instructors that are a little nearer than Alaska. People permaculturing Alaska deserve a special place in heaven. A warm one! On the other hand people "permaculturing" Oregon's Willamette valley are frauds... IT CAME THAT WAY lol!
 
Jordan Lowery
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its ok, if you have natural land around you. thats the best PDC you can ever take imo. you dont have to go to a PDC for them to tell you that the best thing you can do is mimic nature.

and like paul said there are a number of books to get your mind on the right path.
 
Mariah Wallener
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Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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I am curious as to why you would deny one the opportunity to earn a living from their knowledge and experience in permaculture? Would you not applaud the man who decides to leave his corporate job, fuelling consumerism and wasting of natural resources, not to mention robbing his family of the benefit of his presence, to pursue a living that allows him to stay home with his family, tend to his land, and be the master of his own sustainable business?

You may be lacking in money, but apparently not time and willingness to learn. My guess is you already possess far more knowledge than I do, so this course of action makes sense for you and your situation. I myself will most likely be hiring a permaculture designer because my lack of knowledge is so great that to not do so would end up costing me far more in mistakes and time than I'm willing to pay.

So I, myself, am grateful that some wise folks have found a way to use their knowledge to earn a living, provide for their family in a sustainable way, and - most importantly for my situation - offer their services as permaculture designers and consultants so that folks like myself get off on the right foot. 
 
Robert Ray
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It just doesn't "happen" permaculture is a process that takes time.  Seeds first and then moving into fruit trees makes sense to me.
Money is always a barrier to many, libraries, this forum are all resources that are available without having to lay out cash. There are a lot of people here available for a sounding board.
Like any book  you  apply the applicable and ignore but remember those things that are not pertinent.
Even with warts nobody here is going to slam the door on your.......................
 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
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The people who want and need to learn how to do this the most are probably going to be the ones who don't have a ton of disposable cash. I'm looking at a 6 month course here in Canada for next year that costs less than most 2 wk courses and will undoubtedly lend itself more readily to practical application. SIX months in the dirt, how could it not? Camping out with kids in tow but whatever, living the life baby! Full season!

It's manitoulin island in case anyone is interested and can spare that kind of time.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I can't afford a course and will probably never take one.  I'm learning a ton from hanging around here at permies.com, so I recommend that as the most affordable option! 

Permaculture is not a "for-profit institution."  You can learn permaculture for free.

 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Besides wonderful forums like this one...

There is great stuff on itunes.

There are a few free podcasts, and also a college course in permaculture from North Carolina... plenty to get you started. 

Youtube is also great...look up Bill Mollison,

There is a good chunk of a PDC online at lineaclave.org

The big design manual is a worthy investment.  Share the cost with a friend or two, along with a couple of other things. 

Go to gardenweb and try to find local folks to swap seeds, cuttings and scions with. 

Save seeds from fruits you are eating, and start growing rootstock. 

You can also go and wwoof here and there for short stints to get hands on experience without cash outlay. 

Good luck! 

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Ludi wrote:
I can't afford a course and will probably never take one.  I'm learning a ton from hanging around here at permies.com, so I recommend that as the most affordable option! 

Permaculture is not a "for-profit institution."  You can learn permaculture for free.




Agreed, the #1 teacher in Permaculture is nature.  Hands down.  After that there is here, PRI, YouTube, Google video, and your local library!

 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
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I know I'm learning a ton here.

Not sure about the saving seeds from fruit you're eating though. Sure won't work with apples!
 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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Thanks for the encouraging words. We have been studying online and reading books, and now will peruse this site often.
To the comment about profit and "making a living..." It is that whole "make a living" that I want to see lain to rest, and let people start just living. I understand if you do not understand, but it does not make me wrong. I have to compromise my ideal ALL the time, it is just especially sad to me that "Permaculture" is used to churn currency, when it and aquaponics ought to be freely exchanged. If we get our places set up the way we envision, we won't need the money and we will have the time. Why not just spread self sufficiency as fast as possible and free ourselves from fiat currency debt slavery?
Anyway, thanks for all the replies! I am going to look into that Canada thing for my son - he has the time.
 
Tyler Ludens
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fishyculture wrote:If we get our places set up the way we envision, we won't need the money


I guess I wonder how people are supposed to pay their property taxes if they aren't allowed to make money.....
 
                                
Posts: 30
Location: Ontario, Canada
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   I have been doing permaculture for years in one way or another.  Never taken a full course.  Been to a couple of workshops and talks some free some with minimal expense and spent a lot of time learning from other people in person or the net or volunteering, from books and most importantly from nature itself.

As for making a living?  Well it's great if one can manage to find a piece of land big enough and figure out how to feed, cloth, shelter and live without the out lay of any cash or cash equivelent whatsoever and be comfortable within the confines that such a lifestyle would contain.     If not some cash has to come from somewhere.  I don't consider money any sort of be all and end all.   It's just a tool like any other tool.   I don't live to make money.   I live and making some money is part of that living process because I simply can't do and supply absolutely everything from my own tiny piece of paradise without having a bit of cash.   

And as the commenter above brought up.  I have yet to find away to pay my property taxes with carrots or beans. 
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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I wish to emphasize, as the site owner, that I like the idea of folks making lots of money with permaculture.  And if somebody teaches a class and charges $10,000 for it - I wish them good luck.  And if somebody teaches a class and charges $10 for it - I wish them good luck too.  And if somebody teaches a class and charges nothing for it - I will them good luck also.

These forums are for people whose philosophies are pretty well aligned with mine.  If somebody wants to discuss philosophies that are contrary to mine, it would need to be with great respect to my philosophies (i.e. not a militant presentation) or I will choose to not publish it.

 
                                
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  Also wanted to comment on the notion of a wrong way of doing it.  There is no 'wrong' way or at least not in the sense that there is some sort of permaculture dictates that everyone everywhere has to follow.  For one one of the foundational principles is that it is a philosophy of place and your 'place' is the determining factor of what's right or wrong.  What works well for some people in one place may not work so well for some people in another place.  Some techniques work better for some situations and not for others. 

What a teacher can provide whether charging money or not are tools, techniques and experience for figuring out how to make it work in your particular place.  They can't tell you exactly how to do it in detail because your place does that part of the teaching.  Your place determines the rightness or wrongness of whatever it is you end up doing. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have to point to myself as someone who is doing permaculture the slow and wandering way.....slowly wandering along trying to figure out the better way to grow things in my difficult location.  I've certainly done some things that were "less good" and am now finally employing some practices which are "more better" (hugelkultur )
 
                                
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Ludi wrote:
I have to point to myself as someone who is doing permaculture the slow and wandering way.....slowly wandering along trying to figure out the better way to grow things in my difficult location.  I've certainly done some things that were "less good" and am now finally employing some practices which are "more better" (hugelkultur!  )


Me too.  I have  quite a few 'well that didn't really work like I thought or that book said' experiences as well as quite a few 'accidental' discoveries.  This is my fourth year in this particular place and I'm only now feeling like I'm figuring it out. 
 
Mariah Wallener
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I'm quite certain that nobody can enter into a life with permaculture and not learn things, not make mistakes (and mistakes are a great way to learn), whether they do it all on their own or hire a designer or consultant to assist.

The PDC courses around here cost about the same or more than a few hours with a permaculture designer, and since I'm not interested in getting a PDC license, and am only interested in my own property, I don't think the PDC course is the right choice for me. Too general, too diverse a purpose. A consultant will come to my property and help me choose plants based on a list they have experience with and know how to put into polyculture, as well as their assessments of my unique site characteristics. Better bang for my buck, in my case.

Bottom line is, I simply have far too little knowledge to start out on my own without making huge mistakes that will cost me not only money but precious time (given the lifetimes of permaculture's star players, the trees, we are talking years here). Why would I want to reinvent the wheel when someone out there has the experience I need and is willing to sell it to me?
 
John Morelli
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Location: Southern California
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fishyculture,
While taking a PDC may certainly be the fast track to learning about it, here are some alternative suggestions:

FIRST: If you do nothing else, see the thread below here in the forums. It's a link to 38 recorded class lectures and field trips from a permaculture design course offered at North Carolina State University. It's like sitting in on a college course for free and without having to do the quizzes or homework. It's packed with very great information and I hope you will find it a fantastic resource to get you started.

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=6324.0


Second: (looks like one person suggested this already but) Check to see if there are permaculture courses offered at a local community college in your area. I was lucky enough to find that the community college in the next city over from me offers a permaculture design course so I signed up and am currently taking it. The great thing about it is that the cost of enrollment and registration at my community college was FAR below what a usual PDC would cost.

Third: I'm not sure what books you've been reading already but check out "Gaia's Garden" by toby hemenway, and/or "Introduction To Permaculture" by Bill Mollison, both of which are pretty affordable and great introductory resources which I'm currently reading. And there are plenty more out there.

If you want to take a PDC because you want that certificate to be able to legitimately call what you do "permaculture" then yes, you'll have to take a course, but if what's really important to you is learning, there are plenty of other ways to learn permaculture without taking a course so don't be discouraged. It will be work, but you can do it!

Oh one more thing: Prepare for Failure. You will have some, but that doesn't have to discourage you. Plants will die, diseases and pests will cause problems, and there are plenty of mistakes to be made on your journey. Don't let it get you down, just accept it as a natural part of your journey and learn from it when it happens. One of the quotes my permaculture professor put up on the board one day was "If you're not making mistakes, you're not pushing the edge of your learning." And edges are an important part of permaculture so push the heck out of those babies 

I hope that helps!
 
                                      
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Do you need to take an expensive course to learn the guitar?
Do you need to take an expensive course to learn to cook?
Do you need to take an expensive course to learn about permaculture?
 
Gary Park
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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The only reason you need to go to school at all is to say "I have a degree in ......".  With the exception of the medical field which hides information and makes learning it exclusive, most fields allow for learning everything you would in school for free through using the internet and library sources.

2'nd point--don't spend all your money at once on so many plants you can't possible plant and care for in their young stages.  Buy some plants each year and build on your experience.  You aren't going to jump off the grid and grow all your own food in 1 year with or without a degree.
 
Claire Gardner
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Location: Idaho
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Ludi wrote:
I guess I wonder how people are supposed to pay their property taxes if they aren't allowed to make money.....


OK, I am going to lose you here, most likely... I have surrendered to the truth that the earth owns me. I participate in the charade that I own property, I must with the current societal condition. I am very suspicious that the current condition is about to come apart. Most people expect blood in the streets and chaos, I expect a new love based paradigm to emerge also. Maybe instead, if people catch on and embrace it, but that seems unlikely. When the new society is formed, I will be telling folks about "property stewardship." Maybe if I tell the hungry people my story over the dinner I grew and fed them, they might hear me.
And in the interim, the answer is "sell the food." Knowledge is what we need to freely exchange, and seed / rootstock out to be given out like an old school 'barn raising" to people ready to spread the Garden. I hope to always be able to give food to hungry people who come to my door, but if I need to barter, food is a real commodity, and I will use it.
Oh, and heirloom seed will be more valuable than gold in our lifetime, I suspect.
Idealistic? Yes, and I compromise just about every time I breathe. But not impossible, and if I compromise without trying for the ideal, I sold out.
 
Tyler Ludens
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fishyculture wrote:
OK, I am going to lose you here, most likely


Nope, not even slightly.   

...
fishyculture wrote:the answer is "sell the food."


Thanks.  That's going to be a little tough for old folks who don't have a lot of spare energy to harvest more than they need for themselves, but I guess they could figure out some kind of permaculture You-Pick.

My ideal I suppose would be a Sharing Economy in which the old permies are given gifts with which to pay their property taxes from those who find their knowledge of and practice of permaculture so valuable they wish these people to be able to continue sharing these ideas. 

 
Tyler Ludens
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Johnzilla wrote:

If you want to take a PDC because you want that certificate to be able to legitimately call what you do "permaculture" then yes, you'll have to take a course,


Anyone can use the word "permaculture" or call what they do "permaculture" without getting a certificate.  The certificate grants one the right to teach "permaculture."

"The word 'permaculture' can be used by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein.  The only restriction on use is that of teaching; only graduates of a Permaculture Institute can teach 'permaculture', and they adhere to agreed-on curriculae developed by the cCollege of Graduates of the Institutes of Permaculture."

- Preface Permaculture: a designers' manual, by Bill Mollison
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Ludi wrote:
Nope, not even slightly.   

...
Thanks.  That's going to be a little tough for old folks who don't have a lot of spare energy to harvest more than they need for themselves, but I guess they could figure out some kind of permaculture You-Pick.



You would be surprised how many of those kinds of farms exist around here.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Pakanohida wrote:
You would be surprised how many of those kinds of farms exist around here.


Permaculture U-pick?  I would definitely like to know more about how they are set up! 
 
Mike Dayton
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The only people who don't make mistakes are the people who don't do anything.  So go ahead and start making mistakes.  You will find that they are not really mistakes but but leaning experiences.  Good Luck on your quest for the Good Life. 
 
Mariah Wallener
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fishyculture wrote:
I have surrendered to the truth that the earth owns me. I participate in the charade that I own property...Maybe if I tell the hungry people my story over the dinner I grew and fed them, they might hear me...Idealistic? Yes, and I compromise just about every time I breathe. But not impossible, and if I compromise without trying for the ideal, I sold out.


This was beautiful.
 
Jami McBride
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"The Laborer is worth his hire" - just my two cents is . . . .

There are many ways to learn with just as many price tags, the majority of which are free (as outlined so well by the posts here).  If you have the coin and want some hand-holding as you learn that's great, and doesn't become a 'bad thing' (as Paul mentions) if you don't have the coin - different markets for different folks and all that. 

There is no way someone cannot learn what they need on your own - someone had to be 'the first'   That is the proverbial trade off - money vs time (longer learning curve), if you do not have the one you will have to supply the other.

Most workshops are in the hundreds of dollars range, but then they are total immersion, including hands-on, food and group support.  I will most likely never attend one, but I still see their value.  And some do offer a few spots for those willing to barter work.

Bartering is still a form of payment - our time, services or things for that of another's - it's not better (more moral), just different.

I would say what we (the people) need is more diversity in training, more ways of learning permaculture, participating in permaculture group projects, etc. so we have more choices in how we will proceed in setting up our own learning experiences.  One can never have to many options/choices *big grin*  Permies is one of the many ways to find support as we navigate our learning experiences.



 
Tyler Ludens
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Jami McBride wrote:

Bartering is still a form of payment - our time, services or things for that of another's - it's not better (more moral), just different.



I guess I would like to see a system in which we don't pay for labor or goods because we're all supporting each other in a family or band sort of way - "give support-get support" in the Sharing Economy.  I know that's unrealistically idealistic and maybe could only apply to band-sized groups (under the Dunbar Number, almost certainly).  The Sharing Economy depends on a huge degree of trust, which is hard! 
 
Emerson White
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Jami McBride wrote:

Bartering is still a form of payment - our time, services or things for that of another's - it's not better (more moral), just different.



I strongly agree
 
Jami McBride
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I agree Ludi  and I'm trying to develop the same with my children - hard (getting others vested in the same way you are) is an understatement, but a grand goal indeed.
 
Brenda Groth
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the new  books are all available from the library, the older ones are free downloads on line ..I have en route to my library right now the Permaculture Design Manual, and have read all of the  phamplets from Bill Mollison online free for  permaculture, I also have Introduction to Permaculture and Gaia's garden, but you should be able to download Intro on line ..Gaia's garden is probably avail at the Library..I borrowd Volume 1 and 2 of Edible forest Gardens by Dave Jacke from the Library a couple weeks ago and last week read Ken Fern's Plants for a Future and Eric Toensmeiers Perennial Vegetables..both are permaculture books.

I have zero bucks for buying books, I do have an extensive library, but just can't buy any more (I say that but I did order the new Sepp Holtzer book that is coming out in a few weeks..bad girl Bre)
 
T. Joy
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Personally, this is my ideal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ELNsQdSMOc&feature=player_embedded
I'll settle for shovelling my neighbour's walks and accepting what comes my way with grace in the meantime though  .
 
paul wheaton
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Before taking the PDC I had read all the books and heaps of internet pages and had heaps of discussions and was practicing it on my farm.

I wanted to call my farm a permaculture farm and I knew that that would be frowned upon unless I took the PDC.  So I paid $900 and thought I would be just going through the motions.

It was one of the best experiences of my life.

 
Tyler Ludens
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In my ideal world I would have the money and stamina to take a course and be certified to teach, and then I would teach for free. 

But I don't think I'm really cut out to be a teacher, not a people person. 
 
Watch the full PDC and ATC from home. As much or as little as you want: http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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