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Image of Permaculture - public perception of the permaculture movement

 
gardener
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I'm gonna tackle this, since it seems to be stalling the conversation. I don't use the phrase 'religion of permaculture' but

I do see people talking about some of the related publications in the same way I've seen evangelists talking about scripture. Even if it's not meant that way, I do understand why the phrase has come to be thrown around.

Sometimes you also see people talking about permaculture techniques as if there is some one kind fits all method. That kind of single minded focus is also reminiscent of religious dogma.

For the most part, I think the people on this site manage to avoid both these quirks. I really appreciate a default answer of 'it depends' that requires people ask questions when faced with a problem.

As someone who isn't religious, I've developed the opinion that regardless of religion (irregardless of whether someone has found religion in permaculture) any person has more positive impacts on the world when they reason out their own choices. As long as they don't make choices for me, I'm perfectly fine with them finding their own reference materials for life.
 
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Makes me afraid to reference any of the books, videos, "names" or anything in case somebody thinks it's a religion. Best not to mention permaculture at all, even with fellow permaculturists? I've seen both Bill and Geoff slammed as "gurus." Better not mention them any more, I guess. This is a minefield I can not hope to negotiate properly.

 
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I REALLY struggle to comprehend how someone could possibly label Bill as a 'guru.'

Geoff I get, he teaches [at around 1 grand a pop] thousands of students over the Internet, with the primary course material pre-recorded once, supplemented by a round of questions answered on video each time the course is run. [Granted this is excellent teaching at the student's own pace at the low end of the average PDC price.]

All Bill ever did was publish a few ground breaking books and try to teach people a better way; the guy didn't even market those books very heavily.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I was thinking earlier about a couple hilarious criticisms of permaculture:

1. Permaculturists have to give everything away for free or they're wrong and bad

and

2. Permaculturists have to make a lot of money or permaculture is a failure.

 
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@EvanNilla who wrote:
and others.

"there are no real design systems i know of. plenty of things i've thought about, but, really only 'rough ass mainframes' and i haven't had time like i used to to organize plant databases, i lost/forgot a lot of it(life changes). Either way, most of it was a long the lines of "these weeds will not actually be detrimental and if green manured beneficial with these edibles, this weed has potential for edibility, etc". Its what i'm saying, there are so many unknown elements right now. the topic is why isn't permaculture more popular. because its like a 'plant nerd' thing or its like some weird new-age spirituality thing... there are no simple design patterns to follow and the typical overstory/understory model does not work because there is not enough solar radiation. So far i haven't really noticed anyone mimicking a transitional prairie to forest in the north, as this is what it would take as a base."

I hear what you are saying Evan but i can't say that i agree.

I have only just recently began to do some reseach on large(er) scale permaculture farms. I don't have enough Information yet to really speak in any depth about the subject yet but I have found some interesting stuff on the internet including a „Permies Forum“ thread from one year ago called: Who do you think has the best large scale permaculture system?

I am listing two examples (links) for you to look at. I don't know all the details about these two farms but especially the work from Gabe Brown and his talk on Building Healthy Soil seems to fit the decription of large scale permaculture. Geoff Lawton also has a large scale permaculture farm and feeds hunderds of guests and trainees every year but I'm guessing without machinery harvesting and with free labor which I believe was your point in question.
Mr. Brown however does use massive machinery. It's a completely different style of L:S. permaculture compared to Lawton's but it seems to work well.

Take a look I think you'll be suprised. And I would be curious to hear what you think.

https://permies.com/t/42610/soil/Keys-Building-Healthy-Soil

http://www.permaculturevoices.com/permaculture-voices-podcast-028-industrial-farmer-to-beyond-organic-icon-will-harris-iii-of-white-oak-pastures

Saluti
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i d like to comment on that "religious thing".

true religion (the word meaning to be connected to god) will bring freedom. when you look at what jesus christ said and did... he gave freedom and value to people which where treated as scum by the religious-leaders/pharisees. he pissed off the religious/dogmatic people all the time. he literally called the outcasts, the freaks and the weirdos to follow him.

religion requires per definition an absolute of right and wrong. and an eternal judge that says how well you performed with the religious do s and dont s. the pharisees were judging and condemning people all the time. when they didn t follow certain rules, dos-and donts. but jesus christ told people not to judge others. what kind of "judging" he said we should do was: look at the peoples hearts (intents), accept that human beings make mistakes and look at the FRUIT they show in their life.

and that s true for permaculture. most peoples have good intend (hearts) but sometimes get into weird dogmatism. may it be green, red, purple or whatever ... but what about their fruit? does it work out to make the world a better place now and in the future ? ? ?

weird (not meant in a negative sense) people will come to permaculture. in my opinion, the weird/freaky people will be drawn more often to permaculture than the normal people ( i m using very, very braod definitions here). for example hippies. people that are not the norm of society. we have to accept that. it s a colourfull bunch of people, who will bring their stuff (good and bad) from their niche of society. we need to accept that and not try to push people into a certain form of "this is permaculture and this is how you MUST do it, or you re wrong". humans are not made by cookie-cutters. judging them by their coulour/niche would be dogmatism. just look at their heart/intent and fruit. are they moving in a direction to better the place?


there is no omniscient judge in permaculture, who will judge you how well you performed or not. not one of the big names. no one. ok? you look at youself and your fruit. you.... and hopefully your children and grandchildren. and hopefully they ll enjoy what you built. and you enjoy with them. maybe even your neighbours and co-workes join in. maybe some get inspired and educateed and do something permaculture-thingy themselves... for them and their families.

without an eternal, judging entity, permaculture can´t be a religion. it s impossible. BUT: some people will treat it as a religion. that seems to be inbuilt into human-beings. but this is more a kind of dogmatism. and of people finding inner security in dogmas. and people gaining attention (to the level of doing some troll-ing). and people needing to win discussion to inflate their egos. etc.

my perspective is: permaculture (and techniques) need to work for me. not that i work for permaculture.
 
Mother Tree
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Having established that permaculture is NOT a religion, can I remind everyone that all discussion of religion is supposed to be confined to the cider press.

If anyone wishes to continue to explore the theme, please take the subject there.
 
Casie Becker
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This is a double post of this information, but it occurred to me yesterday that Texas has a great example of large scale implementation of permaculture design, by the government.

My understanding is that there is only one naturally occurring late in our entire state (somewhere near the LA border) Despite that we have a very strong bass fishing culture because of the amount of man made lakes developed throughout the state. These lakes provided drinking water to the cities, irrigation to farmers, hydroelectic power from the dams, recreation opportunities that create a lot of businesses, and huge amounts of wildlife support. All of these lakes are large scale infiltration basins and rainwater catchment tanks.

If you think about it, I suspect most states have other examples of this kind of project that hasn't been labeled as permaculture, but definitely qualify. Projects like this can be great ways to illustrate the long term, practical nature of applied permaculture. On top of that, they're about as far from 'hippie dippie' as it can get, for those people who are trying to dismiss permaculture as to 'for weirdos'.
 
Casie Becker
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This would be a good example of 'it depends' If water catchment was the only benefit of the lakes, then they might be inefficient That may depend on the efficiency of scale, where the great depth of the lakes allows enough rain water collection to offset evaporative loss. But these are multi functional so like a polyculture that produces less of one crop, but more in total, when all the crops are counted, I do think the lakes are an amazingly efficient use of resources.

The city of Austin has another example in their recent building requirements. Businesses must build water collection basins to capture runoff. I think it was intended purely as flood mitigation, but they also help recharge the aquafer. Mind you, in that capacity I do have some concerns about eventually having pollutants work their way into the springs. The one that is closest to my work is actually now a year round pond with ducks, fish, egrets and a variety of plant life.
 
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Tyler, in my own personal experience, when people say " the religion of permaculture" I think they're referring to the starry-eyed, evangelistic, fundamentalist way that some Permies talk about Permaculture, with uncanny parallels to the same enraptured attitude and way of talking about it that one might find from door to door evangelists of a religion.

I know that my first exposure to Permaculture beyond a few youtube videos about food forests I had run into was a Permaculture course, $15 a week for ten weeks, held in my city. I attended class (at someone's house) to find a willowy woman in her 60s, all draped in worn out shawls and with hair that had perhaps not been tended since George W Bush was in office (if you are familiar with the Harry Potter films, basically imagine Professor Trelawney), trying to teach us Permaculture with stars in her eyes about nature's patterns in snail shells and romanesco, and how Sepp Holzer and Geoff Lawton are amazing Permaculture saints. I took extensive notes, tried to swallow down the feeling that I was being given a VERY long intro to a religion/pyramid scheme, was kind to the teacher and my eight classmates (four of whom dropped out by week 5 of 10), and decided to ride it out. And seriously, all I remember are some very limited things about zones, swales, the many possibilities of chickens as a resource, The Lessons of the Loess Plateau (great documentary, I'm definitely not dissing it), how much Sepp Holzer and Geoff Lawton are amazing and I probably should get on a plane to Austria or Australia if I really want to understand Permaculture in action, and........yep, that's about it. I finished the class $150 poorer and with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. I have realized since that the wiser course of action would have been to just buy a copy of Mollison's design manual, a title or two by other Permie authors, and spend a bit of time each week perusing here. I'd like to complete the requirements for a PDC in a couple of years, and I'm just hoping I end up with a far better instructor this time around.

It's been a year since I took that course, and the attitude of my instructor still makes me kind of think "Ugh, I'm so glad that's over". Luckily for her I was curious enough about the topic to not let her weirdness deter me from learning further, but the half of my classmates who stopped showing up may remember Permaculture as something negative, maybe even something to be mocked as some out-there, new-agey thing not worth their attention. I find that so sad, and it's harmful to the Permaculture community as a fringe group who, for the sake of our species' future ability to inhabit this earth and remain in good health, needs to become less of a fringe group in the coming decades.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Faren Leader wrote: I find that so sad, and it's harmful to the Permaculture community as a fringe group who, for the sake of our species' future ability to inhabit this earth and remain in good health, needs to become less of a fringe group in the coming decades.



What solution do you see to this problem?

 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:When I talk to other farmer's about farming. We talk about real things, and real results... Yellow doll ripens 5 days earlier than other watermelons. About 1 customer in 5 prefers the taste of yellow watermelons to red watermelons. Irrigating within 2 days after the canal company de-mosses sets crops back. etc...

When permaculturists talk to me, it tends to be more abstract and theoretical... More like a religion to do on the Internet, and less like a way of life that I can do every day on the farm.

The local farmers are pragmatists... Plodding along day after day, and year after year, growing things like they have been grown since time immemorial. The Internet permaculturalists seem more fanciful. Grabbing hold of ideas and promoting them with fervor, and seemingly giving little thought to the externalized costs of doing things that way.

For example, when I have calculated the pragmatic costs of applying mulch to my farm, it ends up that I'd be consuming the entire mulch production capabilities of my county in order to do so, and it would cost me more than a growing season's worth of labor to apply it. And the cost of the mulch would be more than the cost of the land.

Permaculturalists tend to not be aware of things that matter to farmers. For example, today on the thread about pruning apple trees, someone said that they shake their apples onto the ground in order to harvest them. As a primate, I eat plenty of apples that have fallen onto the ground. As a farmer, I can't sell any apples that have fallen onto the ground.



I agree with the above. Much of what I read, even on this site is people posting things they have read about rather than done. People who DO are so often preached to by people who don't that they tend to turn a deaf ear to the noise around them.
 
Faren Leader
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Faren Leader wrote: I find that so sad, and it's harmful to the Permaculture community as a fringe group who, for the sake of our species' future ability to inhabit this earth and remain in good health, needs to become less of a fringe group in the coming decades.



What solution do you see to this problem?


At the very least, more regulation over who is allowed to lead permaculture courses and PDCs. My teacher had a PDC but she definitely did not have teaching skills (I'm a trained teacher myself) and as I wrote before, did not have the right kind of persona to be properly representing an important design system (rather than an exciting religion). Outside of that, I'm not sure. Perhaps a better understanding among Permies about what kind of approach to new ideas and ways of living draws people in a meaningful way, and what kind of approach seems like a dazed evangelist and causes people to actively avoid or look down upon something that could benefit themselves, their families and their communities.
 
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I think part of the problem with the image of permaculture is that it is complicated.  Most people are very busy. Raising kids, working long hours, taking care of parents, etc.

I think we need to do a better job of inviting people in and saying, "Great, you're growing a tomato plant."  I was always interested in foraging and growing food, riding bicycles and recycling.

What really got me excited about permaculture was seeing the more in depth ways in which it helps us, helps nature, and could continue to help MANY people.  If people can feel ok about taking little baby steps, I think they

will feel positive about gradually learning more and experimenting more with it.

Some of the very complex, "I'm more sustainable than you are!", and arguments can make permaculture seem not worthwhile given limited time.  Make permaculture fun again.

John S
PDX OR
 
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Faren Leader wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:
What solution do you see to this problem?


At the very least, more regulation over who is allowed to lead permaculture courses and PDCs.



In my view, more regulations are never the answer to any problem.  They always lead ultimately to a loss of choice;  which is actually a loss of freedom.  In this instance a good approach would be to choose a teacher based on reputation.  After all, how much time and care do we put into choosing where to live or what to drive or who to work for?  Just my two cents.
 
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5 possible reasons why people reject permaculture, from the perspective of a city dweller

1: It's ugly.
Its common for permaculture gardeners to hoard trash in hope of re-purposing it, but end up making their garden looking like a dump.

2: It goes against peoples values.
The permaculture movement encourages working less and spending less. Regular people see this as being lazy and don't want to be associated with it. I personally know my production to consumption ratio is much better than the people around me, but through eyes of the general public, I am lazy.

3: Food neophobia.
The permaculture movement encourages the use of alternate crops. The general public are simply too afraid to try new foods in fear of it being poisonous or tasting bad.

4: Its unproductive
Permaculture farms have either failed to produce a lot of quality food, or failed to PROVE they produce a lot of quality food. The pretty photos and videos on the internet show lots of nice gardens, but rarely show large harvests or stats on food production.

5: Too strong a word. When people get too obsessed with a movement they can lose their social skills and come across as crazy. This has happened to the vegan and feminist movements, which carry so much baggage the average person doesn't want to be associated with it. Everyone is doing their best to find a place where they belong socially. If associating themselves with a word like permaculture will threaten their social status, they will go to great lengths to distance themselves from it.
 
gardener
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With full respect to Paul and other permies, but maybe a bit less scatalogical discourse up front for newbies?  Maybe a level 10 permie gets the secret handshake and signs the non-disclosure agreement before getting the dump (see what I did there) on composting toilets and willow feeders, but not before they get there?

I know many people are instantly turned off/tune out at the thought of not flushing that stuff away, and if they think it is an essential part of the permie play book (and it IS right up there with herb spirals in frequency of mention) just won’t consider it. Can one be a permie and still choose a flushing toilet?  Is composting poo an essential element?  It is not entirely clear.  

Not everyone thinks a poo bucket is sphinctacular - it takes a while (if ever) for the average joe to come to grips with the thought of having to handle his turd after it leaves the bod.

Joking about the secret handshake and NDA, of course,  and of course it is an important discussion topic - just noodling out loud about public perception and how that topic plays with those just getting introduced to permaculture. Or is it a threshold - those who can’t get their head around the concept that there might be a better way just aren’t ready for permaculture?
 
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Let me qualify myself as a non-farmer, a want-to-be-farming-&-raising-animals-soon guy. I spent my working life handling high voltage circuits. That said, I could identify with the farmer who deals with real issues, and the farmers who deal with them daily. However, when he said these farmers are involved in farming the way it has always been practiced, that is not accurate. Modern pesticides and synthetic fertilizer that provides 3 components are both products from WWII, fertilizer being a re-purposing of explosives. There has been big changes, changes in practice by farmers, but also changes in attitudes of consumers. In the '60s, most produce had signs of insect scarring. I wouldn't be surprised to find that farmers harvested fallen crops back then. There was premium produce, but sold at great premium, and not readily available at your local market. Part of the change is that the family farm has been nearly wiped out, only recently gaining a resurgence. The latter half of the 20th century saw massive losses of family farms, replaced by mechanized huge corporate operations. A parallel to my earlier mention re quality also broaches on the reality of lower quality overall. Where we used to buy vine ripened tomatoes, and in off season, unavailability, all commercially grown tomatoes today are picked green, and pumped with a gas when they want them to appear ripe just before market. Dr. Steven Gundry claims that there are substances called lectins that are present in green vegetables, and diminish when the fruit is ripe. Artificially pumping, (I can't recall the gas right now), gas into the atmosphere around green tomatoes to make them turn red does not magically ripen them. The harmful lectins are still present.
    I, and others, are aware of principles that are true. Conventional corporate farmers are aware of principles that are true. There are prevalent misconceptions, mistakes, and mis-information, that could stand some education and understanding to create a better product. Who among us—lifelong grocery store tomato consumers, ha ve eaten a home grown vine ripened tomato? How many gardeners encountered their first artificially ripened hot house tomato? There is taste, and there is health. Modern agriculture puts 3 components into the soil, what?, potassium, magnesium and calcium? Every chemical fertilizer has the numbers on the package. There are 99 micronutrients important for good health, and trace minerals. Plants need 3 components; humans require a majority of the 99 nutrients for good health, and become ill with the absence of important nutrients. Inland folks used to tend to get goiter from iodine deficiency, so they added it to salt.
    There is a, "guru," aspect, in Permaculture, and the world at large. Some people are fruitful, and help people, some charge $1,000 a head to speak to a crowd, and reveal basic principles, presented in a way to charm and dazzle. You know them by their fruits. Living healthy requires one to allow change in their lives, farmers, scientists and lay science practitioners shaping good practice, consumers. Me?, I don't WANT to eat GMOs, I don't WANT to eat fake meat grown in petri dishes, I don't WANT to eat genetically manipulated animals, I don't WANT to eat food grown that I don't WANT to drink filtered urine and feces. For me, Permaculture is a hope, that I can grow healthy food for myself & family. It requires great effort from me. Consumers want healthy food, and will pay a premium for it. Go to a farmers market, everyone selling what they represent as organic, and look at the boxes it comes in, many from producers of non-organic. I applaud commercial farmers who would come on a forum like this, have a discourse with us. My hope is that they find a path of production of healthy foods, (which sell at a premium). That's all I got right now.
 
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For me, the thing that differentiates permaculture from other disciplines is the design. Unfortunately, in my country public perception of permaculture is that it is all about hippie style gardening. It is extremely hard to convince people to use a proper design approach to permaculture and it is extremely hard to go beyond that image of "flower power gardening, only with iPhone".  
 
pollinator
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My impression is: the public in general has no 'image' at all of permaculture. They don't know the word. When I want to tell about permaculture, I first have to explain that word, because they don't know it. When I happen to meet people who know the word, it is because they are interested, in most of the cases they practice it, or at least want to.
Since about a year (or even shorter) the media here (in the Netherlands) are doing something to make it more known to the public. But ... they don't use the word 'permaculture'. They talk and write about 'food forest' (in Dutch 'voedselbos'). Maybe the word permaculture is too strange a word for the general public.

It's true the 'image' of the movement is that of 'alternative' (weird, strange, not ordinary). But the 'alternative movement' is growing. Organic products are making their appearance in the supermarkets (and people buy them). Natural building appears in town neighbourhoods (even straw bale houses!). Townships allow community groups to start a food forest in the park, or even have the fruit trees and berry bushes planted themselves ... But they don't use the word permaculture ...
 
Tyler Ludens
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
It's true the 'image' of the movement is that of 'alternative' (weird, strange, not ordinary). But the 'alternative movement' is growing. Organic products are making their appearance in the supermarkets (and people buy them). Natural building appears in town neighbourhoods (even straw bale houses!). Townships allow community groups to start a food forest in the park, or even have the fruit trees and berry bushes planted themselves ... But they don't use the word permaculture ...



I think not only the word "permaculture" is missing from this picture, but permaculture itself.  Permaculture is a design system which integrates a food-producing landscape with human habitation.  To me, the examples you give above are not integrated with each other: The organic products are in the supermarkets.  Natural building is in neighborhoods.  A food forest is in the park.  These things are separate from each other, not part of a total design.  So even though all these things - organic food, natural building, food forests - can be parts of permaculture, they are not themselves actually permaculture, which is a total system.

I don't think people will be able to grasp what permaculture actually is if it is presented as a bunch of parts stuck randomly into the conventional landscape/way of living, because the essence of permaculture, the design, is completely missing.
 
master steward
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Artie Scott wrote:
Can one be a permie and still choose a flushing toilet?



I think so! That's me (raising hand). I just built a house, and long before we broke ground, my wife said to me "I don't want a composting toilet". Ok. She is my wife, we are a team, we're on this journey together and I respect her input and desires.

Permaculture is short for permanent agriculture (Just for conversations sake. I know most here already know that.) I think really cool things that get a lot of discussion here on Permies like composting toilets, ram pumps, solar & wind power generation, and rocket mass heaters, has more to do with homesteading and not really anything to do with permaculture as it is originally defined by Holmgren & Mollison. If we glance at Permies logo, it says permaculture & homesteading all the time, and I think it's the homesteading part that makes discussion of neat things that don't have anything to do with permanent agriculture accepted in these forums.

Is composting poo an essential element?  It is not entirely clear.



I think the essential part may depend on who is asked. Since discovering Permies and learning so much here, I certainly now see poop as a resource and not waste. Am I utilizing this resource? No. Not right now at this time in my life at least. I do pee outdoors as much as I can, on my compost pile, or on the grass, around plants and trees if I'm too far away from the compost pile.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote: ...



I think not only the word "permaculture" is missing from this picture, but permaculture itself.  Permaculture is a design system which integrates a food-producing landscape with human habitation.  To me, the examples you give above are not integrated with each other: The organic products are in the supermarkets.  Natural building is in neighborhoods.  A food forest is in the park.  These things are separate from each other, not part of a total design.  So even though all these things - organic food, natural building, food forests - can be parts of permaculture, they are not themselves actually permaculture, which is a total system.

I don't think people will be able to grasp what permaculture actually is if it is presented as a bunch of parts stuck randomly into the conventional landscape/way of living, because the essence of permaculture, the design, is completely missing.


You are right, Tyler. But permaculture as a system is almost unknown here. Only people who are applying the permaculture principles know the real meaning, and those people are rare.
 
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Thoroughly enjoyed the thread, lots of eloquence and critique.

For a lot of folks under 30, there are a few truisms that are fairly common:
- If its not on Youtube, it doesn't exist
- Video evidence is better than anecdotal claims, cumulative video evidence can be good data - it can be used to make empirical observations
- If its not widely studied and peer-reviewed, its probably not real

Permaculture is making gains by these criteria, but way too slowly - of course once there's sufficient evidence and impetus, not only will people join the movement enthusiastically, but governments will get on board, put their stamp on some permaculture propaganda and start to mandate/subsidize the right things.

Yes, it would be a complete 180 for them, but as David Holmgren suggests, human suffering and the scale of the crisis will rapidly motivate governments, media and scientists to prioritize their focus on whats relevant and discard tradition.

We really do need a few hundred million more permies FAST, being role-models, doing the good work and embracing a humbler lifestyle.

I think the non-scientific image of permaculture is the greatest obstacle preventing what is perhaps the singular (definitely the cheapest) potential means of averting utter climate disaster.

I think some of the less-scruffy permies have a role to play, (sorry I'm pretty much the scruffiest) talk to your local county government and agricultural bodies and support permaculture research of any kind however you can.
Letters to the Editor of local papers and bringing up permaculture whenever climate change is being discussed are other options.
Try to refer to it as an interdisciplinary design science, as that is the correct descriptor and the basis for permaculture is firmly rooted in academia.

Social media is also effective outreach, but I'd recommend focusing efforts on bumping permaculture up the Youtube algorithm as thats where the (young) eyeballs are and its most likely to outlive the other platforms.
 
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My sister saw my copy of David Holmgren's Permaculture Pathways & Principles Beyond Sustainability sitting out.
She assumed it was some new age philosophy.
I had to explain.
So, I have no doubt there's some misconceptions out there.
 
Richard Gorny
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Phil Swindler wrote:My sister saw my copy of David Holmgren's Permaculture Pathways & Principles Beyond Sustainability sitting out.
She assumed it was some new age philosophy.
I had to explain.
So, I have no doubt there's some misconceptions out there.



I have been recently translating "Essence of Permaculture" by David Holmgren into Polish. A fellow translator with over 30 years of professional experience was helping me to get it right. She said, she has never encountered such problems in her entire career like with some of the sentences in this book :D The language we use is one of the most important factors that influences perception. One small word can make a difference. If you scream "never turn the soil" you immediately turn off a half of the audience, if you say "try not to turn soil unless absolutely necessary" they might stay and listen for a bit longer ;)
 
Phil Swindler
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Richard Gorny wrote: The language we use is one of the most important factors that influences perception. One small word can make a difference. If you scream "never turn the soil" you immediately turn off a half of the audience, if you say "try not to turn soil unless absolutely necessary" they might stay and listen for a bit longer ;)



You are absolutely right.
I teach at a school with lots of "Foreign Exchange Students".
Last year we had kids from 24 countries including Poland, New Zealand, Brazil, Vietnam, The Bahamas, etc.
Clarifying concepts, meanings, and instructions is massively important, especially when different languages are involved.
 
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James Freyr wrote:

I think the essential part may depend on who is asked. Since discovering Permies and learning so much here, I certainly now see poop as a resource and not waste. Am I utilizing this resource? No. Not right now at this time in my life at least. I do pee outdoors as much as I can, on my compost pile, or on the grass, around plants and trees if I'm too far away from the compost pile.



Well said, James, and completely agree!
 
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I stumbled upon permaculture doing Google searches on hugulkultur.  I stumbled upon rocket mass heaters because I saw one in the recommended list while watching a Youtube video on hugulkultur.  Then that video led to a Paul Wheaton video and he talked about permies.com, and now here I am.  I knew nothing about permaculture and am just starting to scratch the surface.  What I have learned has helped with laying out our home site, garden area, and work areas on the property we are developing.  I like the idea of gardening and raising food critters without using tons of expensive fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.  I like the idea of using my chickens to help combat insect pests.  I like the idea of doing something with leaves, fallen logs, and branches besides burning them.  With 11 acres of woods, that is a huge deal!

Permaculture makes sense to me as a system where the output of one thing is the input to another.  Waste becomes something useful instead of something to shove off on someone else.  Instead of forcing the land to your will, you learn the land and use the natural features to your advantage.  And I really like the idea of divorcing myself from mindless consumerism and becoming more purposeful and mindful of my impact on the earth.  Yes, it sounds like hippy mumbo jumbo to people who are comfortable with "modern living" and don't think about what effect we are having on the planet, and our own bodies.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I would like to discuss that also, Joseph!  Especially since one of the ongoing complaints from people who want to practice permaculture is that they don't have access to land, when there are many older people with land practically begging for people to work it.  Lack of land is not the problem, it seems to me, the problem is how to get the people onto the land, where they want to be.

The negative part of me thinks the complaint is not so much "I don't have access to land" as it is "I want someone to give me some land, for free."  

Could you start a thread about the idea of cultural continuity of permaculture?  I'd really like to see what people have to say.  The culture part of permaculture is barely developing, has a long way to go before it is actually a culture.



I'm trying to fix this.  

Millions of properties, complete with acres, good functioning equipment, multiple houses, a good truck and tens of thousands in the bank ...   all end up being owned by government because the owner died without a will.  Sometimes the owner wishes to will it to somebody industrious, but they can't find somebody.   And the people that are willing to take it on for free are often not yet ready - and if they did get it, they would end up selling it.  

PEP is an attempt to have a free system where young people can build experience and show that experience to the people that are looking for somebody with THAT experience to will their land to.  

 
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Simone Gar wrote: I agree with Rue Barbie that there needs to be more serious and professional appearance and approach to attract the masses. I think composting toilets, communes, worm composting etc. is just too far away from mainstream life. Eating healthy, non-treated foods is not. Baby steps. Maybe in 50 years composting toilets are the norm. And again, speak the language that the people speak right now. Nice packaging, decent logo design and good looking/tasty food/flowers/plants/whatever is attractive.



What if somebody made a web site that would allow people share pics and videos of their property.   And then there could be a "label" for each property.  Something like 4A-4 or 2B-7 or 1C-0.  

4A-4 would mean that 4 people live there year round and 95% of the food they eat comes from that property.  Plus an additional 4 million calories.

2B-7 would mean that 2 people live there year round and 90% of the food they eat comes from that property.   Plus an additional 7 million calories.

1C-0 would mean that 1 person lives there year round and 80% of the food they eat comes from that property.  

Maybe the hyphen could be replaced with a plus if there are no outside inputs (other than seed).

Then there could be a list of thousands of properties like this.  

That could be pretty persuasive.

 
paul wheaton
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Simone Gar wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Simone Gar wrote:

However, I agree with Rue Barbie that there needs to be more serious and professional appearance and approach to attract the masses.  



Can you give an example of a permaculturist who is reaching a large audience, such as Paul is doing here with permies, who exhibits the appropriate seriousness and appearance?



I am talking main stream. Yes Paul has large audience here in the permie world but go ask anybody on the street. Nobody will know Paul. Nobody knows Geoff Lawton.

I am talking reaching people not permies.



True.

So I made the permaculture playing cards so that when the winter holidays roll around, a permie could buy a few dozen decks and hand them out to the people that don't yet know.    All serious stuff.

And I made the "building a better world in your backyard" book - in the hopes that it could reach an even larger audience.   All serious stuff.  

I'm trying.  We can try.  And we can try a few hundred times.   I think we are making progress, but it is slow progress.  The more we try, the stronger our forward velocity.

 
paul wheaton
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Rue Barbie wrote:Thank you very much for the graph, and that site.  In terms of 'trending', except for somewhat of a rise near the end, over the years it is not going up that much.  



Here is an update on that graph.

Uh oh.

But hey - montana is #4 in the US for interest in permaculture!
interest-in-permaculture.png
[Thumbnail for interest-in-permaculture.png]
 
paul wheaton
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Simone Gar wrote:Ok let's start over. The initial post was

In a recent thread someone stated that Permaculture has a bad image . I was surprised by this statement . And I strongly disagree.
Anyone else have this view and why ?



The second comment from Zach was about a farmer that seems to be interested but the “image projected by permaculture sources that put him off”.

In my experience (locally where I live) permaculture does have a "bad" reputation outside of the hippie/greenie community.



In 2004 I felt that most of the online permaculture stuff was super loaded with either hate for all permaculture ("if you aren't using roundup, you're just not a serious farmer") or hate for other permies ("everybody know that americans don't know shit about permaculture" or "if you don't do it the way I fucking tell you, then it isn't fucking permaculture!").  So I made these forums so I could talk about permaculture the way I want to talk about permaculture.  

The fact that the forums have grown so much shows that there is a huge interest in this angle!

Plus, as we continue to grow, I think this is a place to incubate the future voices of permaculture that will be persuasive to the people that are currently resistant to the word "permaculture."

 
Forget Steve. Look at this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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