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PEP1 - the initial thoughts

 
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I started a chicken thread: here.
 
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Here is the link for Beekeeping.. And now I have to get back to work before my boss notices what I have been doing.
 
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One thought I had is that in martial arts sometimes the Black Belt has different levels. Most students, even the really good ones only get to 3rd or 4th level black belt. In the upper black belts you have to teach, and 9th and 10th black belt you have to have invented new techniques that have been accepted and utilised by other 9th and 10th degree black belts.

Something to think about when you have a situation where everyone who's interested starts becoming a black belt and then the prestige is taken out of having one, although that day seems pretty distant.

William
 
pollinator
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Is hugelkultur going to fall under earthworks, gardening, or be its own category?
 
gardener
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I went ahead and added one for food prep here.
 
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William James
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Dave Burton wrote:I have added a thread for Community Development / Public Relations / Social Engineering.



This makes me think of the Designer's Manual on Bioregional Organization. Here are the categories if anybody needs food for thought. I'm guessing most of the badges filter into one of the categories here.

-Food / Food support systems
-Shelter/buildings
-Livelyhood support systems
-Information/media/communication/research
-Community and security
-Social life
-Health services
-Future trends
-Transport services
 
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Hey, this is really cool!

I like where this is going, like a DIY permie degree of sorts. My apologies if I missed something, but in quickly browsing this thread I didn't see anything along these lines of thought:

There should be a least a few basic competencies for running a business!
-book keeping/ accounting
-keeping the departments of making you sad happy/ the hell away
-marketing whatever you're doing to make the world a nicer place
- more ?

This stuff is really, really important if we want to bring permaculture thinking beyond the backyard or make a real career out of it.

Just my 2 cents, thanks!

edited because I guess question marks are frowney faces learned something new!
 
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I don't like the idea of earning badges. If you are a life long learner and a doer than you will learn and do. Get you internet on and make it happen. Link up, meet up, try, fail, do, lather, rinse, repeat, et cetera. I'm not sure of the need to have girl scout badges. I also don't like the idea of submitting to some regulating authority that grants me permission to be good at something. Wow, I'm a gold star wood splitter, or a bronze badge hole digger. I have a military background where qualification is VERY important in an environment where competency is a life or death factor. There is a serious purpose, and serious program, for putting wings on your chest. In an organization that operates in a trust critical, high stakes environment that makes sense. For permaculture I think not. Why would one want to build this type of regulatory system anyway? There's so much more to do. Let people explore and be their uniqueness, not a bonified Whatever Level 1. I guess I am just missing the point.

If there is a list of prerequisite skills that volunteers need to be really useful, then advertise that.
 
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Simon Johnson wrote:Is hugelkultur going to fall under earthworks, gardening, or be its own category?



I would put hugelkulture under gardening. It is just another technique. Earthworks, as I see it, applies to the kinds of changes that will be recognizable in a couple of thousand years. Hugels are very temporary in comparison. Definitely not their own category.
 
Peter Ellis
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William James wrote:One thought I had is that in martial arts sometimes the Black Belt has different levels. Most students, even the really good ones only get to 3rd or 4th level black belt. In the upper black belts you have to teach, and 9th and 10th black belt you have to have invented new techniques that have been accepted and utilised by other 9th and 10th degree black belts.

Something to think about when you have a situation where everyone who's interested starts becoming a black belt and then the prestige is taken out of having one, although that day seems pretty distant.

William



And the standards are not constant across the martial arts. One of the reasons few advance to the highest levels is that time in grade is often a factor, along with contributions to the community. I have never run into the "new techniques" requirement - not that I am chasing tenth dan or anything

As for the prestige of a black belt diminishing - only if the standards have diminished. Nothing wrong with having lots of black belts from a hard core program.
It is if the program is not good that the belt lacks prestige.
 
William James
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I kind of look at the badges as a basis for a type of tutoring program that one can undertake independently or with someone. It just serves as a guide to what one might teach or learn to gain the experience that they want. It's not really about creating a regulatory body to inspect people's badges.

Permaculture institutes who are working with people on the post PDC cert diploma path is another way people can go about it, but I see that as becoming proficient in Permaculture Designing, which may or may not have elements of the other badges, depending on what the person sets out to achieve with the diploma.

What some institutes have set about doing is, instead of building a caste-like system or medieval guild they just choose to provide opportunities for people to become proficient and to give honors to those people who have demonstrated a higher than normal degree of proficiency.

William
 
William James
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Here's something to think about, as long it's badges people are going after.

https://untappd.com/user/Maltyhop/badges

This site seems to do something very similar to the PEX concept, but with beer drinking. Someone could take that idea and build a steller permaculture site around it with all the bells and whistles you see there and see what happens. I imagine people would be interested in something social like that. There's something that generally turns people on about building street cred online, in whatever field.

Perhaps this site is the answer to the 'what would you do with 2 million dollars' question of a couple weeks ago.
William

 
T Gar
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Some good resources and ideas are coming out in this thread.

In my opinion the correct answer is…”it depends.”

Each of us has unique gifts, skills, and interests. We should act accordingly.

Each project and property will also have unique opportunities and challenges.

So I’m not seeing the usefulness of achieving PEP1, whatever that might be.

I also see a challenge with this as a professional certification system. It will need regulation and standardization to train to proficiency and carry any authority/usefulness. This means some might fail. For example, the ubiquitous Driver’s License requires specific training, testing and regulation vs. “that guy says I’m good at turning”.

If a project manager needs a specific skill resource than that’s what they should advertise. Let the free market provide.

A https://www.khanacademy.org/ style permaculture website would be very cool. Prior to a volunteer coming out to a project they could learn specific and prerequisite knowledge that would make the skills event much more efficient. The ability to volunteer could be locked out until the online training was complete. A project manager could select a basket of skills needed for a particular job or position. In the meantime, the website would serve as a general education tool.

My 2 cents, enjoy it!
 
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T Gar wrote:I don't like the idea of earning badges.



Then it would seem that PEP1 is of no value to you. I don't understand why you are participating in this forum.

This system is being put together to help people build experiences that do like badges, plus it helps people that are looking for others that have certain types of experiences. (as opposed to people who say they have certain types of experiences, but don't really).

I fully expect that 99.999% of the population will find zero value in PEP1. But this is being put together for the few people that do find value in this sort of thing.

Please take a look at some of the earlier posts where people are expressing that they find value in it. And take a look at the thread What might be the value of PEP1
 
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William James wrote:Here's something to think about, as long it's badges people are going after.

https://untappd.com/user/Maltyhop/badges....
... There's something that generally turns people on about building street cred online, in whatever field.



T Gar wrote:

If a project manager needs a specific skill resource than that’s what they should advertise. Let the free market provide.

A https://www.khanacademy.org/ style permaculture website would be very cool....




I could see real potential/benefit in a permie website that includes these ideas and PEX

Each person can have their own profile page - showing location, creds, PEX completions, a little bio, contact info, services offered, and videos or articles contributed, with links
Anyone could create and list their PEX version - other people can follow any list or create their own modeled off one already made.

It could have a ripple effect to some degree. If I finish PEP1 and it's confirmed by Paul... do I then have the qualifications to confirm other people, and possibly my word has some weight since my know-how was confirmed by the Duke?

Videos and articles could be submitted for confirmation of skills accomplished and for others to learn from, in a indexed list similar to the style Khan uses (use youtube to host with embedded videos on the khan site).

Downside, I can see the huge amount of coding and headaches making such a website would cause, plus the hosting expense.




 
paul wheaton
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I think anybody can make up PEN1, PET1 or whatever. I suspect at some point, folks might want to say "what are your qualifications?" And there are many ways to demonstrate that - and it doesn't have to be "Paul certified me as PEP1".

After all, if Willie Smits has a PEX program, he doesn't need to do PEP1 to have PEW1. Lots of folks will have awesome cred without needing to involve me.

I'm thinking that PEP1 is of great value to those that do not yet have some beefy resume of permaculture awesomeness. Something that helps to differentiate them from all of the people that say they have skills, but really don't.
 
William James
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Penny Dumelie wrote:
It could have a ripple effect to some degree. If I finish PEP1 and it's confirmed by Paul... do I then have the qualifications to confirm other people, and possibly my word has some weight since my know-how was confirmed by the Duke?



I think that you would be qualified to teach someone the skills obtained up to one belt below what you have. Another option is that you have a standard belt for everyone wishing to obtain that skill and then a side-belt for teacher level within that belt, which would require further tasks to be completed - tasks that were geared toward knowledge transfer skills. Maybe the teacher belts would be more controlled by those who had more experience in that particular area.

Penny Dumelie wrote:
Downside, I can see the huge amount of coding and headaches making such a website would cause, plus the hosting expense.




A site like Kahn or the Beer site probably have a good sized budget and programmers are hacking out code every day because it's their job. People typically get paid to have those headaches.
William
 
paul wheaton
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I do think that part of being a brown belt is to nurture and certify four people getting their white belt.
 
Penny Dumelie
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paul wheaton wrote:I think anybody can make up PEN1, PET1 or whatever. I suspect at some point, folks might want to say "what are your qualifications?" And there are many ways to demonstrate that - and it doesn't have to be "Paul certified me as PEP1".

After all, if Willie Smits has a PEX program, he doesn't need to do PEP1 to have PEW1. Lots of folks will have awesome cred without needing to involve me.

I'm thinking that PEP1 is of great value to those that do not yet have some beefy resume of permaculture awesomeness. Something that helps to differentiate them from all of the people that say they have skills, but really don't.



No it doesn't have to involve you at all. You are just the best example on this board. Everyone here knows of you and you have considerable perma "street cred".
Of course the best way to build a reputation is by doing and then doing some more, but a nod from someone known for their knowledge also holds some weight with others.
Of course then comes the whole "did he really say that? or are you just saying he said that" thing.

Eh, maybe I've had enough coffee this morning. Caffeine + perma-obsession can make for keyboard diarrhea.


William James wrote:

A site like Kahn or the Beer site probably have a good sized budget and programmers are hacking out code every day because it's their job. People typically get paid to have those headaches.
William



Oh absolutely. I just meant it would be more than someone would throw up and maintain for fun or as a hobby.

Maybe if I win the lottery

 
William James
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Penny Dumelie wrote:
Oh absolutely. I just meant it would be more than someone would throw up and maintain for fun or as a hobby.

Maybe if I win the lottery



Yeah, I mean these things usually are financed by people who stand to gain heavily from the success of the site. For the beer site, I imagine they do adverts, and their about page has some heavy hitters in social media as partners, so I don't think money is a problem. As for the Khan site, does Bank of America ring any bells? They seem like they would have some cash.

https://www.bettermoneyhabits.com/khan-academy-partnership.html
https://untappd.com/business
https://untappd.com/about

All that being said, something like this is definitely doable. Even financially speaking. Just have to find someone to pony up the cash and have the people in line to spend it.
William
 
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Made a thread for dairying.
http://www.permies.com/t/41931//PEP-Dairying
 
William James
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made a thread for Permaculture Design
William
 
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Hey Paul have you seen DIY?

https://diy.org/

Its basically a site for fulfilling a set of challenges that are themed around specific skill groups. People look at each challenge and then fulfil it by uploading a vid of them doing it. Think of it like an online merit badge system. Its very very elegantly designed and started as something mainly for kids but I could totally see you using their API for this whole PEP thing.

 
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haven't read the whole thread but decided to throw in my two cents. I think there are smoe merits to this idea. I also would love to see a badge for a community. I don't see it as essential that each individual be able to do all 1,000 things you need before you can even build a wofati. If the 1,000 can get done by a local community and the wofati can get built, that's what's important. It's another paradigm-shifty thing from individualism to collectivism. Each Family Business Neighborhood is going to hav eto have its own abilty to grow food, make sustainable shelter, manage health, communicate, govern and educate, but it's not necessary for each individual to be able to do all of those things .

At the same time, to be able to survive is something that is really important for the sanity of each individual, so that she he feels at home in the world and safe, free, independent of others' opinions, in harmony with the earth and life. To be able to survive means something different in each historical and geographic context; but in the present day it does not mean simply being able to get a job and buy food with money. There are not enough jobs anymore, and there is not enough stability in money alone. But there is still soil, and if you can throw a handful of buckwheat on the ground and not fuck it up you have the ability to survive. (And if the ground you throw it on isn't too laced with arsenic, pcb's, etc. etc. etc. I believe instinct is enough of a guide that if we're really sensing what our inner senses tell us we'll be steered to safety in this.) It's the relationship with the earth, at a very basic level, that is needed for each human being on the planet at this point in time. (I'm not talking about permaculture, specifically, here, I' talking about the need the world has.) So relationship with Earth, and of course that implies sustainable relationship, honest and accurate relationship, honesty with yourself. Telling yourself a lie you don't really believe--that you can simply destroy and that you don't care about others or those in the future--is contrary to this basic relationship with self and Earth.

The idea of certification for the ability to survive...I don't know, I feel ambivalent about that. I think the most important thing is re-finding inner authority. I don't criticize this idea, but it seems to me that Paul does the best service to this goal (of having more people be able to survive and trust their inner authority) through the clarity of his example.

Then there's having a nicer life on top of the survival--a life that's nice enough you don't want to jump off a bridge, as a base line, and it can go way way up from there. Having a WOFATI is a way more appealing thing than simply piling together a hovel. I feel less clarity about how to approach this.

The self-certification thing on the DIY site sounds promising. I'm not %100 where to go with this.

I think setting up a training module is one thing, and that's great to have PEP1 and PEX for that--and as for setting up a world-domination regulatory thingy, as I start to try ot grasp that I have a funny feeling and it's fuzzy also. Life is the teacher and the feedback-giver.

(BTW I didn't come up with some of these ideas myself, the phrase "inner authority" for example, purple-moosage me if you want sources. thanks)
 
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T Phillips wrote:This is a very interesting thread. I personally, as a lifelong city dweller just putting my toe in the rural world and taking an online Lawton Permaculture course, don't even know enough to not die in a SHTF scenario. Is that kind of stuff too basic? Should that be covered in a survival book, and not here? Or is it all relevant?



There are what, 8 billion people on the planet, when it had never surpassed 2 billion a century ago?
The birth rates are going down in most areas. The mortality rates are simply falling faster.

Therefore, I would estimate that at least 3/4 of the current global population is less qualified to survive a SHTF scenario than our great-grandparents were, specific ancestry aside. We haven't had to.

The scenario where you survive by your wits, foraging food from the wild lands around you, is plausible in a world with a lot fewer people.
Nowadays we have more chemical and urban blight, fewer (edible) locusts.

Urban survival skills matter too these days: is there enough trust among neighbors to bring people together instead of freezing alone, can your town pull together and remedy a problem rather than devolving into factions? Do you have your cell phone contacts backed up, and an old-fashioned map, so you could reach a friend's house if the networks went down?

My sister's travel advice after Peace Corps was: if people live there, then the things people need are available there. Take twice the money and pack light.
In a SHTF scenario, consider money broadly, including compact trade goods like jewelry, medicine, spare clothing, food concentrates, coffee, chocolate.

There are a couple of those "wilderness" and homestead things that I think might be good for any permie to consider.
Immediate survival: fire, shelter, water, food. The order varies by region: basically, what is going to kill you first if you neglect it? Deal with that. If that's handled, then deal with the next threat before it becomes a reality.
Air, shelter, water, fire, food. Whatever.

Air is such an immediate need that it's hard to prepare for its absence. Learn to swim. Follow the bubbles.
Take a close look at anything you do that might impact air quality, like smoke, fire hazards, and dependence on polluting industries.
In case of a brief emergency (like wildfire), there may be shelters that you can make that will preserve up to half an hours' breathable air, a lifesaver.
White Belt: Breathe.
Green Belt: Learn CPR.
Brown Belt: Know where to find fresh air in a fire, dust storm, or other emergency
Black Belt: Know how to spot a possible air-quality emergency coming, and prevent or avoid it. (e.g. daily actions will include consideration for how to reduce wind-erosion, smoke particulate, wildfire, power-plant dependence, etc.)

Shelter

Shelter can be your clothing, if you wear sensible seasonal clothes.
Shelter can be your car, your house, $2.50 in your pocket that buys you the right to dry off in a coffeeshop, or under a bridge.
Watching the weather report is a good habit as you prepare for the day. Compare the weather report with your own observations, and see if you can get better at predicting within your local microclimate.
The amount of time you can go without shelter varies with climate and current weather. In some climates people routinely wander around half-naked for months at a time; in others, you can die of exposure in a matter of hours.
Weather is not the only threat that we shelter from: shelters can also protect us from predators, including other people; and they often double as secure storage.
We can even think of the right clothing, attitude, appearance, or smell as a shelter which allows us to claim protection from other people, rather than appearing to them as a strange threat.

In terms of preparedness:
Walk or work outdoors in all seasons to stay in shape, and to know what clothing really will do the job.
Cotton's good in heat, OK in dry cold, but terrible in damp cold. Wool is great in damp or dry cold, and good in fire. Synthetics are good in damp and cold, but terrible in fire. Linen, hemp, silk, fur, leather: wear well, do their jobs well.
Again, in the urban context, these elements of "shelter" could metamorphose into trade goods to get you food, water, or security, or could make you a target for theft. Deceptively good clothing may be better than showy stuff.

Line your nest. Make your house as good a shelter as you can - so that it doesn't take grid power, outside fuel, or much of anything to keep you comfortable and healthy in there. Passive solar is good. Insulation is good. Pay attention to the climate and most-likely environmental threats (varies by region, check old news reports for local disasters before purchasing property). Whenever time and funds allow, improve your shelter - dig a storm cellar, store extra food, insulate the ceiling, create fire barriers around the skirting and yard.

Stay aware of human dynamics in your area. Cultivate good relationships with people whose help you might want in an emergency.
For example, it might not be a good idea to brag about your prepper cache to people unless you're inviting them to share it.

White Belt: Wear sensible clothing. Have sufficient clothes/blanket(s) in your car for emergencies.

Green Belt: Know where you'd go, or what you'd do at home, to survive 3 days without electrical power.

Brown Belt: Make or enhance a shelter to survive for a week without outside resources. (water, electricity, refined fuels - if used, they must be already on site.)
Participate in building a communal shelter that will provide survivable comfort for a full season, or indefinitely, without outside resources.
Collect at least 3 examples of zero-input shelter that are also attractive (home-decor magazine quality), and share with others.

Black Belt: You are a turtle. Your personal skills and preparedness mean that you could shelter a dozen people using only what's routinely found in your Jeep.


Water:
The lack of clean water can kill you several ways: dehydration can cause heat stroke or death; dehydration can lead to failure of the body's temperature regulation causing hypothermia (chilled to the core) to occur faster; and water-borne illnesses often lead to faster dehydration. The time you can survive without water varies with conditions, but generally we consider it about three days. Performance will suffer before then (susceptible to overheating, chills, muscle cramps and failure, nausea, and incoherence/difficulty thinking clearly).
If you suspect bad water is making you sick, but you can't get clean water, you need to keep drinking something.
Roughly in order of safeness:
Bottled water, bottled soft drinks, and treated municipal water or chemical-treated camp water: contains chemicals, but generally disease-free.
Boiled water (tea, coffee, soup/broth), filtered water from clean sources, may be chemically cleaner and boiled water is disease-free. (Filters in order of effectiveness: reverse osmosis, ceramic, commercial multi-layer fiber, improvised multi-layer filters of cotton flannel, paper filters, clean sand and charcoal, biological filtration cultures).
Clean sources of water include deep well water, rainwater and fresh snow (not 100% safe, but reasonable), spring water (from an underground source not immediate surface water), running water from relatively high up in the mountains.
Avoid drinking (from bad to worse): surface water (river, creek, or ground water, especially downstream of contaminating activity like festivals, camps, towns, farms, and military sites), stagnant water (water that you might find in ponds or ditches), brackish water, sea water (if dehydrated, drinking seawater can lead to organ failure).
- Know how much water you use daily, how much you need for emergencies, and what time frame your storage can therefore give you.
- If on your own well, know the details of how it's plumbed and powered, and how you could power it in the event of a grid failure. Know your septic capacity, and signs of groundwater contamination due to faulty septic or outhouses.
- As much as you can, adjust your water habits so that you are a contributor to the general health of your community and landscape. If you are able to subsist on rainwater, grow gardens from your greywater, or return water to the river cleaner than when you drew it, you are doing better than if you and all your neighbors are completely dependent on fossil aquifers or distant sources.

White Belt:
Drink water or hydrating beverages daily.
Have sufficient water in your car, and when hiking, to get you to safety in worst-case current weather conditions (including a first-aid or mechanical emergency that requires water).

Green Belt:
Know how to tell from the color of your pee, or other biological signals, when you are dehydrated. C= you know, B=you mostly do it, A=you are always sufficiently hydrated, to the best of your knowledge and ability.
Have enough stored water on hand for a 3-day emergency, for your household and 2 guests/one medical emergency.
Point to three possible sources of clean water in your landscape.
Know where you would go in an emergency where grid power or well failure interrupted your normal water supply.

Brown Belt: Know how to use the materials on hand to collect, filter, and treat water sources within walking distance.
Make a simple stove capable of boiling water, using minimal fuel; or a solar cooker capable of boiling water.
Identify possible water sources in unfamiliar landscapes, and signs of possible contamination or careful use.
Be able to identify basic water chemistry e.g. pH (acidic or alkaline water), smells that may indicate nitrate or bacterial contamination, types of contaminants that could escape filtration.
Have a tank, cistern, or other water storage capable of storing a week's supply of clean water, and a freshwater reservoir capable of storing a month's supply for your real family (household, livestock, irrigation/fire suppression).

Black Belt: Your household is water-independent, capable of harvesting and storing sufficient water from the landscape for your daily needs, through all seasons.
Make an evaporative still capable of collecting water from impure materials, such as seawater, vegetation, or swamp muck. (May include solar stills, tarp systems, lifeboat-water-collection systems, etc.)


Fire:
The reasons that fire is a survival skill include: warmth, the ability to dry clothing, light and comfort, defense, and the ability to transform common materials like cooking food, boiling water, distilling things, or hardening materials (like ceramics or wood). Some familiar foods (like potatoes) are anti-nutritive or even toxic until cooked.
- Do you have a reliable source of emergency heat, sufficient to boil water, or to keep you (and your pipes) from freezing? It does not need to burn wood, but it should be independent of grid power and good for several days' use.
Solar ovens/cookers, chemical heat paks, and concentrated fuels like Sterno stoves, tallow candles, etc. can all be useful.
- Do you have a safe place to make a fire in an emergency? Getting the chimney repaired on your old fireplace or woodstove can be a good investment. Some small stoves like pocket rockets can be carried in a car in case of getting stuck in a blizzard. Making a wood fire in an electric kitchen oven is deadly dangerous.
- Do you know what materials immediately to hand can be used as fuels, safely? (where to find some dry wood, paper, etc). What materials are combustible even if unsafe (most synthetics)?
- Can you lay a fire with the available safe materials, and safely light it, using only one match or a brief flick of a lighter?
- Do you have enough matches or lighters to survive long enough to teach yourself friction fire methods, or to out-last an emergency? A box of small matchboxes could be a nice neighborly gift to bring around if you were checking on people in a power outage.

White:
Know how to set up a safe firepit or fireplace.
Know 3 ways to put out an accidental fire (example: a kitchen grease fire, a small fire from a stray spark that lights paper or grass). Point to 2 options within reach of your nearest heat source (kitchen stove, fireplace, firepit).
Know 2 ways to light a fire, or generate heat, using materials on hand.

Green:
- Know how to store dry fuel, and have a week's supply of emergency fuel on hand.
- Participate in building or stocking a good woodshed.
- Point to three places in your landscape where you could find dry fuel, right now. Obtain enough to start a small cooking fire within a 5-minute time limit.
- Build a fire using your normal materials (paper, wood, etc) and light it with one match.

Brown:
- Have a year's supply of fuel, whatever that means (could be a solar oven and a few bushels of emergency fuel), put up in dry storage by late spring.
- Build a fire or stove that will boil a liter of water in under 10 minutes. Using only a handful of fuel=B. Under 6 minutes = A+.
- Identify the most likely source(s) of an indoor fire in your home: fryer, cookstove, space heaters, cigarettes, candles, entertainment fires, electrical, pipe heaters, etc. Check for proper clearances from these sources to combustibles.
- Identify the most likely direction(s) for wildfire or urban fire to approach your home.
- Take 3 steps to improve your home's fire-prevention landscaping:
--- visibly safer according to local firefighting advisories (ladder fuels removal, clearing brush and firewood away from house walls, available water, multiple exits, etc),
--- mitigate long-term fire danger through drought and wind reduction (e.g. ponds, keyline or countour, windbreaks, shade), food forest species choices (radiant heat blockers, less-flammable species, fire-tolerant species, etc.)
Identify all special fuels or hazardous materials in your landscape. Know the best firefighting tactics to prevent them catching on fire in an emergency, how far away is a safe distance if they did catch on fire, and how to put them out (if possible).
- Never leaves the kitchen while the stove is on.
- Never leaves a campfire burning unattended.
- Never lights a campfire or burn pile during adverse conditions (burn ban, high winds, drought, etc)

Black:
- If using wood for heat or cooking, has 2 years' supply of dry fuel put up in a woodshed designed for rotation (a side for each year), located a safe distance from the house (can defend house if woodshed burns, can find both in blizzard).
Routinely-used woodstoves are in good condition, chimney recently inspected, and produce not more than 20 minutes of visible smoke = C, 10 min = B, less than 5 min=A.
- Can cook at least 3 separate meals using fire, including coffee/tea and dessert.
- May have a fire-related hobby such as smoking food, barbecue, making candles, recycle-tech stoves, blacksmithing, raku pottery, or primitive fire-making.
- If not routinely using firewood, has enough emergency fuel for a month, and a small cookstove capable of using it.
- Travel/camping kit includes waterproof matches or lighter, and at least one object that they can be used on (candle, tinder box, small stove with fuel)

In homes with yards:
- Home is well-designed and insulated so that a year's supply of fuel is significantly less than the local average=C, less than half the local average=B, requires no fuel from off-site=A.
- Landscape immediately surrounding dwelling is a model of fire safety:
---30+ feet of defensible short vegetation or driveways (more on fire-prone side(s));
---trees and shrubs have at least 4' gaps vertically and horizontally (or twice the expected flame length);
---there is a visible water feature suitable for pumping or bucket brigades, such as a rain barrel or pond;
--- sides of house are clear of combustible materials (lawn furniture, firewood, etc); any spare vehicles are parked well away from house.

In all homes:
- Within the house, there are no combustibles within 3 feet of space heaters or within 12" of candles, any smoking areas have clean ashtrays, and most self-heating appliances have auto-shutoffs.
- Never smokes in bed; when fatigued or using intoxicants, there is always a responsible, alert person in charge of any fire.
- Emergency supplies including flashlight or headlamp, candles, and matches or lighter are stored in a designated place, known to all occupants
- Fire escape routes and meeting point are known to all occupants.

Food:
We can go a surprisingly long time without food, up to a month for a healthy adult, though this varies with medical health and environmental conditions. Our ability to do physical and mental work may be affected before our core health.
Preparing for food security in an emergency:
- Growing it: garden, patio, local farm co-op within walking distance. Grow things you like eating, things that are hardy year-round and you'd eat in an emergency, and save some seed and surplus to preserve and/or share. Consider livestock that can eat leftovers, if you have the space.
- Foraging: Even if you don't have the space or time for a garden, you can learn about edible plants and animals, and keep an eye on what's in season in your area. Some ornamentals can also double as emergency food; know which ones, and consider wild edibles and edible ornamentals as discreet options for a survival garden. Learn to prepare wild edibles including butchering game and fish; start observing things in the landscape around you, like where the squirrels cache their nuts, or where pigeons are routinely fed. (In a famine, you can eat both squirrel and nuts.) Famine foods may not be palatable, but for that very reason there may be a good supply of them unclaimed when regular food supplies go scarce.
- Storage: Consider how long stored foods will last, and whether the containers are secure against power failure, earthquake/transport damage, fire, flood, freezing, etc. Stored foods that are part of your normal diet are easier to rotate; a few unpalatable forever-foods like MREs may be good for travel rations.
- - ready-to-eat foods (canned stew, soups, juices, jerky/dried meat and fish, dried fruits etc)
- - dried non-breakable foods such as rice, beans, and pasta, cooking herbs and spices, oils
- - whatever amount of fresh bulk foods you can keep up with: potatoes, onions, apples, winter squash.
- - perishables: a full freezer is great for some emergencies (like a winter storm, or getting laid off), but it may become a big chore to save all that food in a power outage. Think about how you could do it: smoking, cooking, coolers with salt and ice?
- - preserves: If you did not have a refrigerator, there's an art to serving a balance of fresh foods, and long-keeping foods like cheese, nuts, and dried fruit, so you never need to store leftovers.
- - exotics: things that don't grow in your area, like salt, pepper, coffee, chocolate, tea, tobacco, tequila, or even dried tomatoes. They are both comfort and trade goods.
- Cooking: can you make a variety of meals from the same staple foods? Do your supplies include all parts of the meal (spices, beverages, dessert and snacks)?
As you become a better cook, your ability to make a delightful meal out of random bottom-of-the-barrel ingredients grows, and you may be able to live in comfort and pleasure under conditions that would have formerly been a hardship.

White belt: Can cook at least 3 different dishes.
Knows how long most foods can survive in the fridge vs. on the counter; throws away moldy food, throws away or tracks down history on suspicious food e.g. lukewarm raw fish, wilted greens, containers left overnight.
Does not expose others to preventable food-borne illness: keeps raw meat and dishwater (and irrigation water, if applicable) away from ready-to-eat foods.
Routinely washes hands before helping with food preparation, washes all tools and surfaces exposed to raw meat or other contaminants.
Routinely washes own dishes.
Stands up for kitchen dish duty without being asked (certainly never needs to be asked twice).

Green belt:
Knows food-service rules for how long food can be left in "danger zone" temperatures, roughly what safe temperatures to cook protein, starches, water. May have food-handler safety card.
Able to cook at least 10 dishes, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Can cook appropriate portions for 2 to 10 people.
Able to prepare at least 3 foods that pack well as a sack lunch or field rations.
Able to make at least 1 preserved food that keeps without refrigeration, that he or she likes to eat.
Routinely washes dishes during or right after cooking, and helps out with kitchen dishes when others cook.

Brown belt:
Can make 3 different dishes from the same staple ingredients / seasonal produce. May be able to produce more than one cultural style from identical ingredients (French/Chinese, Thai/Mexican, German/Russian).
Can cook using at least 3 different methods: e.g. frying, broiling, roasting, stewing, baking, solar oven, microwave, grilling.
Can tailor menu to help keep people happy and healthy in different working conditions, weather, and special occasions.
Make at least 2 dishes for someone on a special diet (wheat-free, dairy-free, vegetarian/vegan, allergic to nuts, shellfish, etc). Be able to recite a complete ingredients list of any food cooked, and/or accurately identify unknown ingredients (commercial sauces, leftover soup stock, etc).
Make at least 5 different preserved foods, including family favorites, that do not require refrigeration.
Make at least 3 family recipes (can borrow from friends' families if needed) to a standard of personal or parental satisfaction.

Black belt:
- Host a holiday meal for family, accommodating all special dietary needs, and serving a satisfactory subset of familiar/favorite dishes. If pot-luck, coordinate contributions so that favorites are well represented.
- Pack, cook, and serve food for a family of 4 for a week-long camping trip, with no repeated lunch or dinner selections, no increased risk of food-borne illness, and sufficient extra food in case of unusual exertion or weather. At least 3 of the meals should be special enough that they can be used as incentive for the family to help with dishes and proper storage. Bonus for incorporating wild-harvested ingredients if available (berries, fish, etc), bear-proof storage, and no spoilage.
- Reproduce a favorite dish from a restaurant.
- Transform a favorite dish or flavor palette into a different form, e.g. beverage into ice cream, main dish into soup; or make a gourmet version of a family favorite (Casserole, patties, sausage, quiche).
- Cook 3 dishes, or one day's worth of meals, for more than 20 people.
- Preserve a full year's supply of any home-grown favorite food (for the entire household plus guests)

Medical:
If you are ill, injured, or not able to treat a chronic health condition in an emergency, your survival is threatened.
- Slow down, you'll get there faster. In an emergency, trust your preparedness, and take precautions (like checking for scene safety) before rushing in to help. If you are concerned about your ability to respond in an emergency, take a local class, or find an informed neighbor (medic, survivor, veteran, parent) and talk over some scenarios with them.
- Stock enough of routine medications that you won't have to go to the store while sick. (self-quarantine helps reduce the spread of disease in a community, and can keep you safe from additional disease exposure).
Common first-aid remedies include clean water, disinfectants, cold and cough remedies, pain relievers/fever reducers, allergic reaction remedies, food-poisoning or poison control options (emetics, purgatives, astringents) and wound care supplies.
- Consider specific threats that you judge to be possible in your area: snakebite or hunting accidents in the country, communicable disease in cities, heart conditions or allergic reactions in your family history. Stock any medicines you know how to use for such situations (anti-venom, advanced wound care, antibiotics, purgatives, aspirin, epi-pen, inhalers). Keep stocks current. Some of these specifics are costly, and expire within 6 months to a year. Talk to your doctor or insurance company to find out which medications can be covered by insurance, or consider pooling resources with a couple of neighbors for a shared first aid kit that you can all reach conveniently.
- Take a basic first aid course, and learn who in your neighborhood may have higher levels of medical training.
- Remember that stress, lack of exercise, and seasonal changes can lead to depression and illness.
- - If you are concerned about something, do something about it. The exercise alone will help relieve the stress and worry, and the increased circulation and outdoor activity are generally healthy.
- - If you can't do anything about a threat, let it go. Do what is necessary and possible to take care of yourself and your family, but don't lock everyone in a steel ball in an attempt to control the uncertain future.
- - Don't let stress ruin your health. If you are really stressing out about preparedness, something else may be contributing to the anxiety. It's easy to get deficient in vitamin D3 in winter, for example; taking it daily helps me counteract stress, seasonal depression, and serotonin imbalances that affect mood and sleep and productive day-planning. Other anti-stress activities may include social face-to-face time with good friends; getting good sleep; focusing on things that make you feel grateful and supported (count your blessings); and getting real, live dirt on your hands from time to time (boosts serotonin). "Nervous diseases" are no longer fashionable; and if God intended us to live on will-power alone he would not have connected the mouth to the gut.
One of our friends read a study that says 1 oz of dark chocolate per day cuts your risk of heart attack in half. So she figures that 2 oz. should eliminate it entirely. (Not accurate statistics, but lovely comedic logic!) She and her husband enjoy a small glass of red wine, and an ounce or two of dark chocolate, every evening "for their health."
- Set realistic goals and routines to reach them: I personally like the "do three things" approach: I set myself a minimum goal for the day, and if these things are accomplished, I can relax. On a bad day I can usually accomplish the minimum, even if I have to count doing the dishes or handling the unexpected emergency as one of the three. On a good day I can bust out three things before breakfast, and it gets my momentum going for a productive day.

Medical
White belt:
Basic first aid/self-care: can clean small wounds, avoid or treat skin infection, use proper food and hydration to maintain health.
Know emergency number (911 or local equivalent).

Green belt: Advanced first aid, CPR
Have a basic first-aid kit with bandages, tweezers, disinfectant, and 2 other supplies based on your most common minor emergencies (could be ice pac, burn dressing, allergy meds, etc)
Be able to recognize and use at least 3 local medicinal resources not purchased for that purpose (such as herbs, household disinfectants, make a sterile bandage, etc)
Recognize the symptoms of common medical emergencies like dehydration, frostbite, hypothermia, or asthma, and help avoid them.
Recognize and avoid any personal medical triggers such as food allergies, chronic disease aggravators, migraine triggers, etc.
Knows at least one non-emergency number to call for medical advice (higher-qualified friend or family, local doctor or nurse line, etc)

Brown belt:
- Pursuing additional study or experience in health fields: May attend classes, read reputable publications, or practice locally in health and wellness fields.
May acquire qualifications such as AED, Epi-Pen, or even EMT or WFR; may attend or teach yoga, therapeutic massage, herbal first aid; may be responsible for administering family medication, medical transport, etc.
May carry personal favorite medical supplies on person, e.g. band-aids, knife, bandanna, CPR mask. Has favorite medical supplies: bandages that don't fall off, more comfy wraps, hypo-allergenic ointments, fewer side effects.
- Aware of medical resources in local environment: nearest pharmacy, nearest urgent care, ambulance or heli-response times; can give directions or find on map.
- Aware of household or wild materials for specific purposes like wound care, pain/inflammation, digestive problems, nausea, dehydration.
- Recognize and avoid problems such as sleep deprivation, heat and cold illness, overexertion and strain, toxic exposure, nutritive diseases, and communicable diseases. Can spot obvious symptoms in others, suggest preventive care, and recognize when condition requires more advanced medical care.

- Keep a stocked first aid kit in both house and car with:
---all personal medication,
--fully stocked first-aid kit including
---bandages,
---disinfectant,
---sterile gauze,
---tweezers,
---cold or heat pac,
---burn treatment,
---aspirin and antihistamine,
--Additional materials, about 1/3 to 1/2 the volume of the above kit, based on experience and local considerations: might include sprain bandages, flex-tape, moleskin or blister remedies, antivenom or epi-pen, extra gloves, patch kits for bike or boat, subway tokens, CPR mask, bags for water, sharps container, etc.

- Never knowingly exposes others to preventable illness (frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing, and/or staying home while sick)
- Uses intoxicants rarely or responsibly; likely to be capable of rendering aid, or capable of indicating a competent person nearby, at any given time.

- Aware of local hazards: most common causes of death or injury (cars, cattle, boats, stress?), hazardous weather or terrain conditions, top 3 to 10 toxic plants, venomous or contagious vermin, most dangerous predators or human elements.
- Tends to adjust surroundings for safety: weapons and power tools stored carefully, scrap metal or nailed boards stowed tidily, electrical lines kept dry, slip or trip hazards tidied, ladders in good repair, non-potable water and chemicals labeled.

- Has multiple resources for medical advice/care: poison control, doctors' office or help-line, family medical guide book, first-aid training materials

Black belt:
I: Current EMT, Wilderness First Responder, clinic tech or medic, therapist (physical, mental, occupational, herbal, etc) with some practical experience
II: Paramedic, Nurse, field medic, pharmacologist, chiropractic, alternative medical practitioners capable of broad diagnosis and safe treatment within self-aware limits
III: General practitioner MD, osteopath, ethnobotanist, medical anthropologist, or medical PhD: Capable of responsible independent practice, and of training and supervising others
IV: As above, plus contributing to current research or advanced practice
V: As above, plus actively contributing to current standard of practice by publications or training other practitioners
VI: healing abilities and knowledge beyond my personal comprehension.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 27746
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Posts: 51
Location: Cedar City, UTAH
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I think one aspect is missing in all this: community.
To truly be successful, so that a large number of people get into this, we need to make it into a self-replicating system. A means to create "seeds" for small communities everywhere that have skills and tools to succeed.
A means to come together and create little permie communities everywhere. A means for them to make money to start-up a group homestead community and continue and grow. Then these groups can interconnect, trade and share.
 
Posts: 7
Location: Orange County, California
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The gathering of ideas here reads like a healthy combination of university education and trade school.

Universities are designed primarily to train educators; a trade school is where you go to learn how to make a living (feed yourself and your family and your community when you get good at it); and permaculture insists that we do stuff that makes every thing around us better and doesn't leave a mess behind. Universities are also a sort of proto-community. Have I adequately described Wheaton University?

Also, I would like to see the permaculture community (I suppose that includes me now), take back the word Farmer and restore it to a meaning that includes the concept of steward of the land and steward of the community. That is how I think of my grandfather.

I bring this up because training draft animals is a skill to add to the list. Grandpa put off buying a tractor until after the dust bowl because he loved his horses. If he had known about no-till farming he might not have bought the tractor.

 
pollinator
Posts: 123
Location: Missoula, MT
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If anyone needs a batch of badges made up, i need something to do this winter.
 
I will open the floodgates of his own worst nightmare! All in a tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
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