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pollinator
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What am I doing in this thread? I am much too old. Two of my children are in that age (born in the 1980s). My oldest son is born in 1979 and he's the only one doing some gardening. Both he and my daughter are interested in nature, organic food, etc.

I saw many of you here talk about 'owning land'. I can tell you: here in the Netherlands that's almost impossible! This is a small country with a large population. Land is very expensive. If an old farmer stops farming, in many cases neighbouring farmers will like to add that land to their own, so they'll have more land, more suitable for industrial farming.

What permaculture enthousiasts here try most is: getting in contact with the town council to have permission to start a food forest or community garden in a part of a local park. Or they rent an alotment to try to apply permaculture principles there (while influencing the administration of the alotment, so old-fashioned rules will change to make permaculture possible).
Most of these permaculture-enthousiasts are older than you. I know one young (millennial age) couple who are really active as permaculturists, he inherited the land (his grandfather bought it when that was still possible, before WW2).
 
Posts: 63
Location: Central Indiana
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I think a lot of my generation was sold the, "You have to go to college to do anything good." line.  I've been in the workplace 12 years now.  I'm a computer programmer but mostly work production support.  In my 12 yrs i haven't seen one job that in my opinion required a college degree other than as a formality.  Most if not all of the training you need happens on the job.  My current manager is less concerned with what you have a degree in as long as you have some experience in the field (but we're not hiring for entry level positions only mid level analysts and whatnot).  I think college as it stands right now is a joke.  I hope that the next generation as some have mentioned rally against it.  I believe college has its place (Law, science, Pharma ect.) but Lib Arts? History? Programming?

So now on to a story:
My mother-in-law worked as the director of learning skills center in one of the community colleges.  She managed independent learning, tutoring, individuals with disabilities, special needs, and most night classes for adults were held in her area and organized by her with the teacher.  She spent years teaching that a 4yr university isn't right for everyone and that trade schools (School in question has a good mechanics program) is often a much better choice.  Fast forward a little bit and I have 4 kids.  My 2nd one is not always the best book smart learner.  Give her a book to read or a paper math problem to solve and she's a C student.  Give her a project or something hands on to do and she'll pull down As all day long.  I one time made the comment that i think (said daughter) would do great in electrical or mechanic classes and she should do a trade instead of a 4yr uni.  My mother-in-law go so upset and said that no grandchild of hers was going that way.

I've often pondered over this and have basically stopped talking to M-I-L about continuing education for the kids other than for our oldest who is literally off the charts book smarts.  I'd love everyone else's thoughts.  I wonder if it's back to the generational teaching that everyone needs to go to 4yr even though she taught differently....maybe that was just because it was her job....but i don't think so.  I think dispelling the 4yr myth and getting people (Mike Rowe comes to mind) to preach the good of trades is what we truly need.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2369
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MIL still agrees that trade school is the best options for 'failure people' and that college isn't always the best options for 'failure people'. And she is happy that she is creating a safe place for 'failure people' to continue college. But she will be darned if she has to box her grandkid as a 'failure' at the ripe age of 7.

College is seen by alot as a status symbol. And as a bare minimum. Personally I think that a middle school education is all that is needed to be a permaculturalist, maybe even less. But I wouldn't recommend that any parent stop there kids education at the middle school level. I also think that it is possible to go to finish college at a cost of just $50/week. So even the cost isn't really a big thing. I really do think that having a college degree + the trade skill is the best option for everyone. Having a college degree is like wearing a button down/tie vs a white tee to a job interview aka mostly pointless but a formality because employers want reason to cull people who don't listen to the rules and are too independent.
 
Posts: 290
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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This article may assist some people in buying cheaper property - retirees and those on a limited income share a few things in common:


https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/062916/top-5-states-retirees-buy-cheap-property.asp

 
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Hey everyone love the topic. I’m 18 and live in Rhode Island and as far as I know there are only 2 people from my Highschool class of around 500 intentionally prusing a trade at all, let alone agriculture. Most people would rather go to colllege or bum out. And I don’t feel like college is always a bad option, but I see so many people go just because it’s something to do,because they know they want  a degree, family pressure, but with no clue if their passions. I am on a gap year now and after 2 cancelled programs and a broken wrist I have decided to take the rest of my year and build a food forest on 22 acres I recently was given in central Maine. I am to start in April and would love some company. I have not been to the property but hopefully will soon. I know there is a large lake as a border to one side and there is absolutely nothing built on it. This would be a full restoration/ build but I would like to build it in a manner where I can walk away for a year or so and it can thrive on its own. My dream one day is to have a series of permaculture intentional communities around the world. Starting here. Any advice, inquiries, or general comment totally welcome my email is rooktheanimal@gmail.com. Ps also interested in working for food and shelter on others farms.
 
Posts: 23
Location: Central Virginia
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john mcginnis wrote:

Victor Skaggs wrote:
Remember that no generation is a unit... among us from the 60's there are radicals and hippies and back-to-the-land people, and there are also alt-right, ultra-conservatives and money-grubbing yuppies. The same is true of every generation, and I'm convinced most of our fate is not in our hands. We're all being severely manipulated. Hang in there... it is possible to do the right thing despite the forces arrayed against us all.



I bought into the  'were manipulated....' line for quite some time till I realized the only person who manipulates me is ME. Every other form of manipulation is in reality a trade. You take the 'free college money' as the asset. The liability is there is strings attached and interest to pay. Someone has already mentioned they spent $16k for a car and has payments. That too is a trade.

Sorry but way too many people buy into the new and shiny and the urge of convenience. They are trading their future for now!



Yep, that is the problem with people living on credit cards and so on, the shiny stuff. But college... to some that seems like a necessity. But decades ago the money for college really was free. Much of it was financial aid, not loans. The loans were low-interest and with easy terms. And the tuition was low to begin with. Someone DID manipulate that, because it all changed.

You are not autonomous. We are all manipulated in various ways. If it were 1965 my options would be much different than they are now, and not because of anything I did... because society changed! We're not free to decide what to do at a basic level... you have to have shelter, transportation, and you do not decide what are the parameters in which you can act to obtain those things. You don't affect wages, rents, prices... those are all manipulated by powers out of our control.

Those of us who choose to pursue the growing of food operate subject to conditions we do not control, such as land prices, markets, regulations, etc., and others we do control. Social science is busy analyzing all of this, and the field I was in involved agrarian development, and we found out very quickly how the options for a poor farmer (or even a more affluent one) are affected by the society in which they live. Many small farmers have lost their land in many countries due to the spread of agribusiness, bad govt policies, and even policies coming from outside the country, from the WTO, etc.

I think by doing the right thing and showing others that it can be done, and by having good effects on our community by what we do, can be an impetus to positive change as much as being active to change policy in the political realm. Perhaps they are 2 prongs to the same attack, as lawyers say.

Both have to occur for much positive change to manifest. Imagine if the U$A govt was as concerned with promoting organic small farming as with promoting agribiz. Things would be very different...

I know we all like to think we're "free", but it is really relative.
 
Victor Skaggs
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John Suavecito wrote:I would say that a suburban or urban permie life is just a different permie life.

I have had a food forest for almost 20 years and eat food from my standard suburban lot every day.  


John S
PDX OR



Yep, and in fact there is important work being done in urban areas by people creating community gardens, rooftop gardens, etc. The Mexica (Aztec) capital of Tenochtitlán had food growing all along the streets, and in the parks. An urban area in fact can produce a lot of food if it is organized properly.
 
Victor Skaggs
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Jonathan Ward wrote:I think a lot of my generation was sold the, "You have to go to college to do anything good." line.  I've been in the workplace 12 years now.  I'm a computer programmer but mostly work production support.  In my 12 yrs i haven't seen one job that in my opinion required a college degree other than as a formality.  Most if not all of the training you need happens on the job.  My current manager is less concerned with what you have a degree in as long as you have some experience in the field (but we're not hiring for entry level positions only mid level analysts and whatnot).  I think college as it stands right now is a joke.  I hope that the next generation as some have mentioned rally against it.  I believe college has its place (Law, science, Pharma ect.) but Lib Arts? History? Programming?



Liberal arts should not be disregarded. On which job will you learn history or anthropology? These have value even just to teach them to the next generation. The notion that education is worthless unless oriented to this year's job market I have a problem with.

Even growing food, creating permaculture, if you have an education in botany, ecology, etc., you might have knowledge that will be useful to you.

College was not questioned some decades ago. Education was considered good, and for any degree there were job opportunities. We should hope for some transformations which again make it relevant to something besides job interviews.

All the working-class people I hang out with become quickly aware that I "know things", having had a lot of higher education, and it makes me a useful resource for them. I know things! Nothing wrong with that.
 
master steward
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I also think liberal arts is increasingly vital for the younger generations. The internet is SO polarizing. People tend to find echo chambers of the same ideas, rather than being in a class where they encounter and have to deal with the divergent ideas of others and the logic of those idea.
 
Posts: 35
Location: Lexington, KY
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Victor, I appreciate you emphasizing that liberal arts are important, and that the point of education is not necessarily to get a job. There is nothing wrong with learning as much as you can for the sake of learning! I taught math and statistics, but my thinking was very much shaped by the courses I had to take in college that were not related to my major, like anthropology and architecture history. I think you and I would both agree that every field of study has intrinsic value. The friction comes from figuring out what the connection should be between higher education and the job market.

You also talked about showing others the good things that can be done within your community as a way of creating change, in addition to being active in changing policy. This is something I've been thinking about lately. I don't see a lot of people who straddle both of those worlds well. I see a big disconnect between the bearded guy in overalls who grows amazing beets but never leaves his farm and the person in local government who sits through endless board meetings with other people wearing suits and has good intentions, but lacks practical knowledge of what the beet-growing farmer needs to thrive.

My impetus for thinking about all this is that I'm currently transitioning from the business world to not quite homesteading, but something along those lines. I am realizing that by leaving the business world, I am cutting off some avenues of influence. Currently I work in an office with about 80 college-educated professional folks who lead pretty typical suburban lifestyles. These 80 coworkers are involved in churches and sports and neighborhood associations. Their influence extends far throughout our community if you think about it. Suppose I left some of my amazing produce in the break room and chit chatted with my coworkers about it. When they tasted the difference in produce that's grown in healthy soil, that could spark some eye-opening, attitude-changing conversations. But that's not what I'm going to do, because if I sit under those fluorescent lights for 40 hours a week, I'm not in my backyard growing the amazing vegetables. It's a Catch-22.

This thread is about millennials who are involved in permaculture. I think we've already established that there are some, but not many. We've established that many millennials were sold the lie that they had to go deeply in debt to get a college degree. So where are they now? I think a huge proportion of them are living their lives, mostly unfulfilled, in suburbia, working at meaningless office jobs that they got with their college degrees. They are driving their SUVs to Costco on the weekend to buy crap for their kids' lunch boxes in bulk. They are standing around with other miserable parents at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party making mindless chatter about whether their kids should take piano lessons or do gymnastics. They're buying the crappy overpriced plastic toys that their kids see advertised on YouTube. They think about wanting to eat healthier and live a more balanced lifestyle, but they don't know how to escape the consumerist hamster wheel they're running on. How do I know this? Because I work with these people, my kids go to school with their kids, and I kind of am one of these people (not 100%, but more than I'd like to admit). To me, these unfulfilled suburban millennials are a huge source of untapped potential. We just need permaculture enthusiasts to infiltrate their inner rings and gently show them another way of thinking and living (i.e. - not by preaching, but by sharing some delicious peaches or tomatoes and starting a conversation).

 
Victor Skaggs
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Audrey Lewis wrote:
This thread is about millennials who are involved in permaculture. I think we've already established that there are some, but not many. We've established that many millennials were sold the lie that they had to go deeply in debt to get a college degree. So where are they now? I think a huge proportion of them are living their lives, mostly unfulfilled, in suburbia, working at meaningless office jobs that they got with their college degrees. They are driving their SUVs to Costco on the weekend to buy crap for their kids' lunch boxes in bulk. They are standing around with other miserable parents at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party making mindless chatter about whether their kids should take piano lessons or do gymnastics. They're buying the crappy overpriced plastic toys that their kids see advertised on YouTube. They think about wanting to eat healthier and live a more balanced lifestyle, but they don't know how to escape the consumerist hamster wheel they're running on. How do I know this? Because I work with these people, my kids go to school with their kids, and I kind of am one of these people (not 100%, but more than I'd like to admit). To me, these unfulfilled suburban millennials are a huge source of untapped potential. We just need permaculture enthusiasts to infiltrate their inner rings and gently show them another way of thinking and living (i.e. - not by preaching, but by sharing some delicious peaches or tomatoes and starting a conversation).



It is striking the similarity of this description of the "normal" life today with our critique of that life in the 60's. "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit", daily riding the train to his mindless drudgery of a job. The suburban conformism, and if analyzed, the utter dependence on corporations to create economy and the culture of normalcy into which one is expected to fit like a good little obedient cog in a mindless machine.

For many of us the separation has not been as complete as that between your beet farmer and the corporate schlub. While I farmed I also taught school. I can't claim to have affected the lives of other teachers in any profound way but the students, yes. And I was always selling in farmers markets (still am) where I saw my role also as a teacher, spending hours explaining to people about heirloom varieties of vegetables, how to use herbs, how to find useful wild plants, etc. The Christians at the Methodist Church when I was growing up would say, "live in this world but do not be OF this world." I think I have lived like that, not in the Christian way but in the way of being an advocate of cleaner living, environmentalism, social justice, and so on. I'm among the "normal" people, I can talk to them, I try to teach them, and I continue to live differently than they do.

This separation in the 60's was intentional and was called the counter culture. By the mid-70's I'd reintegrated with the larger culture and society, but was not OF that culture. However, the people you describe watching their kids at Chuckee Cheese are not of another species. I can talk to them. We can all be examples and teachers of what we see as a better way. The organic farmer doesn't have to become a full-time alderman to have political, cultural and social influence.

I have worried that as my generation ages the organic gardening and permaculture tendencies in society would weaken and fade. Yet I see the young folks now very interested in food, in the environment, and even in politics as we see from the wave of new progressive Democrats who've suddenly appeared in Congress. I'm less pessimistic now than I was. I'm seeing how "thing change yet remain the same." Things move in cycles. The same dynamics are evident as decades ago, but wearing different clothes. Dr. King said that the tendency of history was toward more justice. In the long view, I think that is true. Despite setbacks, if you pull back you see the common threads running through history, and connecting what we hippies have done since the 60's and what the millennials do today. And the lies they're told are really the same lies we were told, with new trimmings. We could easily afford college, while they cannot, we had no internet, while they engage in much of their social life online.

I now take a view more Hindu than Methodist, that it matters what we do, we are engaged in a cycle of life which is in fact endless. Now I think, engage the world, but don't be attached to it, a bit of a variation on the old Methodist evangelical version. Over time there will be transitions. Women have more rights than they did, yet the struggle for their rights continues. Racist restrictions have been lifted, yet others remain and the struggle continues.

We have a far more enlightened populace now as regards food and environment. The work we have done over the decades, we of the hippy generation, has not been in vain. And the millennials, like us, in large numbers are questioning their reality and seeking better ways.

Back in the farmers market, where it's real, money for organic vegies, the millennials are there too, not just aging hippies. They question the sources of their food. They reject corporate slop. And some of them are the vendors, selling kombucha and wow even organic vegies! I think they are a powerful new wave of organic environmentalist permieness, and they will have good effects on society and its evolution, just as we did. And to paraphrase Dr. King, the tendency of history is toward more sane balanced living and eating. The millennials are chafing at their bits just as we did. I hope they do not repeat too many of our mistakes (e.g., freakish exhibitionist confrontationalism) and learn from the good we did manage to do.

So, if the corporate system doesn't manage to take down the global ecosystem, I expect great things to be accomplished by this young generation. We're seeing it already, in Congress, in the farmers markets, in the marketplace of ideas. Even some of their music is quite good... have you heard Ashley MacIsaac, the "enfant terrible" of Canadian music? Builds on the old, expresses the same yearning for freedom, the same frustration with the automaton society, demands that he is a HUMAN among all this...

Seriously there is reason for much hope.
 
pollinator
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I get so tired of having millenials described in such a manner, like we (I was just informed that I am a millennial recently) are some monolithic entity.

Again, I have to call bullshit. Really biased, narrow-minded, and mean-spirited bullshit. Our educational systems have been compromised at a time where more education than ever before is required to land jobs, never mind careers, and all the systems are broken and corrupt.

My much better half is a glassblower, works a retail job, and works at least one week a month out of town assisting a former teacher of hers in making his work.

I was lucky enough to be able to work part-time at my parents' print shop and bindery from an early age, with the potential to take over. That fell through, and instead of inheriting a business, I got a lot of near-obsolete, or at very least niche, work experience in a field with a shelf life that has been rapidly approaching since before I started.

It afforded me the opportunity to earn my university tuition, so no debt. Unfortunately, I chose a fine arts degree. More unfortunately, my singing career was pretty much ended by ill-timed illness, and I went into printing full-time.

Fast-forward to today, and I am working a unionised print job which is way better than my last job, though it's got me stuck in the city when we're looking to be out in the country, and it really doesn't pay enough, when a generation ago, my better half would at least have been able to do without the retail job, maybe assisting for a little extra spending money.

The average cost of a house here in Toronto is roughly twenty times what I make in a year. We pay almost $20k a year in rent, and I commute about 45 minutes in traffic each way for work. Yes, we've tried relocating closer, and my better half would have no problem changing retail jobs, but we can't find anything remotely acceptable close to what we're paying now anywhere closer to my work.

It's not impossible for millennials to do well. I know quite a few. But I also know of a lot of people that are working hard, and well, and are still stuck in the gears.

But yes, it's got to be our fault. Conservative and libertarian ideology dictates that. If you're poor, it's your own fault, right? Working eighty-hour weeks is our due for not having wealthy relatives or the luck to find ourselves in jobs that perfectly match our wants, abilities, and needs, and lead to advancement.

That seems perfectly reasonable. Thanks for clearing that up. I'll just figure out how to dolphin sleep so I can work 24/7. Maybe my children, if I can ever afford to have them, will be able to move out of the city.

-CK
 
gardener
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I feel like this discussion in general has been great.  However, I don't think any of us gain from blaming one generation or another. I think we can all gain some perspective from understanding how the advantages are gained and lost at various times and rediscovered.  I feel we are all specifically called to fix the problems that arise as we are growing up and try to hand off as good a situation as we can to the next generation.  Some situations are really difficult and unproductive and we all need to pitch in and try to improve it.  Like the carbon in the atmosphere, toxins in the ecology and the selfish attitude of "pull up the ladder, Jack, I've got mine. "

John S
PDX OR
 
master pollinator
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It occurred to me today there is no hard stop between generations. It's more of an oozing & merging effect.

Now ... to further address the question about the progression from the hippy generation ideals to the what the millennials faced at about that same age. How did it happen? As I see it. Being from the youngest end of that generation. Mom would have had to drive me to Woodstock. (never ever in a million years would that have happened) The explanation I gave my daughter is that our generation got a little older, the world had changed, & suddenly the harsh realities of life came along & slapped us in the face. The same thing that happens to any other generation. Each generation faces new & different problems though. We were on the verge of massive & very rapid technological improvements. Mass media was exploding & getting really good at promoting the easy button. The 3% minimum payment was invented. Inflation hit hard. It was getting too expensive to keep gas in the VW microbus & follow the Grateful Dead around. It was suddenly easier to purchase a house without any real expectation of ever being able to pay it off. Then there were babies. You folks. We did what we had to do for you. We got sucked into the trap bad. Not everything turned out perfect, far from it, but it's not over yet. Not by a long shot. Some of us are still around working hard trying to make the world a better place. It's a bit overwhelming!!! We had some success & there are worthy lessons to be learned by future generations.

For more specifics -----> definitely immediate cider press material. I will try to help anyone understand some of the root causes better in there if so desired. Maybe. Be sure you want to know. It's ugly. I don't like going to or thinking about ugly places. They suck. So ... it depends.

Learn from the past. Work toward building a better future for all. Never ever give up. Think happy thoughts once in a while. Peace.
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F Agricola
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I note a lot of people saying that education is a waste of time and money. Depending where you want to end up financially, and how your country’s Government and educational institutions operation, sure, it can be a huge waste of money. But, education is NEVER a waste of time IF you apply it and use it as a stepping stone to something else - imagination.

There are MANY courses that are totally useless but, at the risk of potentially offending other Forum subsets, I’ll not list them. Suffice to say:

The world has been moving towards technical skillsets for several decades, evidenced by the number of emerging (2nd World) countries whose families regularly save up to send their kids to countries that have Universities and Colleges with international standing - we have thousands of them studying computer and medical sciences, all forms of engineering, environmental/agricultural studies, etc. It seems only the western kids are studying things like fine arts and English literature: Bachelor of Arts. Not saying that’s good or bad, just need to read between the lines and see there’s a limited future in those niche areas … unless people intend to be artists, actors, art dealers, politicians, etc.

Look at Permaculture, although it doesn’t take an Environmental/Civil/Structural/Electrical Engineer, Carpenter or Plumber to create a functional system, it sure would make it easier and probably more effective and efficient than a layperson attempting the same life change.

One major obstacle holding back Millennials is they tend to be risk adverse; not only in a financial sense but in many other ways. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it hinders progress because taking risks is a major component to learning life skills. That’s perhaps why many stick to the drudgery of crap jobs and don’t take a leap of faith into the unknown.

Almost everyone I know, across multiple generations, has taken significant risks – most succeeded, some failed and are better people for it. I don’t see a lot of that in the current generations.

One thing to be mindful of is that you will not always be young and healthy, so that education and risk taking may make life a lot easier when you slide quite fast into dotage!

The main suggestion I offer Millennials is: debt, illness, death, uncertainty, bad and good luck will always be somewhere close by, life is short, so take ‘educated’ risks and don’t forget to live life. Making a change is never as hard as you think it is.
 
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