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are there currently millions of permaculture millionaires? (the story of Gert)  RSS feed

 
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Great post, Nicole!
 
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:Great post, Nicole!



Aww, thanks!

When I read your post about winter having less work, I became really happy. My second is due late October/early November, which should be perfect because there is a whole lot less work that has to be done outside. And, by the time the garden will need lots of work, Baby should be a little less needy. Looks like October/November is a perfect time to give birth. Thank you for helping me realize that!
 
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:

Brian Van Dine wrote:Although, I've always been interested in finding ways to work with nature instead of against it.....Contemporary building practices work


These two statements seem rather contradictory to me. Do you mean you want to see alternative technologies that are compatible with contemporary buildings as part of a transitional phase while we get out of these horribly inefficient, non-sustainable and oppressive-to-owner-builders contemporary building practices?



The short answer is, "Yes." Personally, I don't view what I said as contradictory. Some activities work very well with natural principles in the short-term, they are expedient solutions to immediate problems, but eventually reach long term limitations. The global warming phenomenon is just such a thing. The internal combustion engine, as I mentioned in my first post did enable society to create industries and institutions that overall support more total human beings. However, we are starting to see what the limitations to these technologies are and of the institutions that rely on them.

I used to make wine and beer. I found it interesting how the yeast would multiply rapidly in the beginning when there was ample sugar available to consume. However, over time the yeast drown themselves in their own waste output - alcohol and CO2. Global warming is sort of like the yeast.

The way society does things (the inefficient, non-sustainable and oppressive-to-owner-builders contemporary building practices) didn't just happen overnight. They evolved over time in increments. Each increment represents a short-term solution that seemed to work at the time. Institutions evolved from this process. Institutions interact with one another and form a social ecology such that the activities of each institution reinforce the others. The outputs of one institution are consumed by the next and so on. Gypsum producers sell product to drywall manufacturers who sell to building supply outlets who sell to contractors who employ dry wall installers who are ultimately paid by the house buyer. That's just one chain of ecological interactions and it's not easy to interrupt.

So, changes have to be made gradually. Transitions need to happen where more sustainable technologies are introduced along side conventional ones. New institutions have to evolve around those new technologies such that the end result is more sustainable. To accomplish that will take longer-range thinking than what the yeast were capable of, or even perhaps, what people are capable of. Any way. That's how I see it.
 
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The thing I see about the permaculture millionaires is that they are actually making these gradual changes. They are actually changing their way of life, in a fairly substantial way. Perhaps if people observe the permaculture millionaires living this fabulous lifestyle, more people will want to change, and some people will want to make businesses that revolve around these changes. This can gradually change society. I personally think this could happen really fast.



 
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A great example of a company seeing a niche in the new agriculture and filling it is greencoverseeds.com they seem to be serving the community which is inspired by gabe brown. Although I also know that there are a lot of folks doing mixed grass and legumes including the conservation agriculture folk.

I liked what was said about unsustainable practices being practices that worked for someone at some point and then became institutionized and continued on long past when they are serving. I see that in permaculture. Most permaculture people seem to continue practices done by gardeners thinking that tilling or digging or green manuring, or weeding, (especially pulling the weeds out by the roots) or a lot of water or outside compost is needed if you want really good production. Or maybe it is just like in constructions these practices feel right and so why learn something else.

Hugelkultur is an in vogue practice and so they do that often bringing in outside wood to do it, or mulching, or wood chips. It turns out that you can accomplish most of the benefits of hugelkulture, no outside water needed, rich soil just by adding microbes. These are all things that have come out of permaculture but to me do not warrant brining things from off site. Ah well, if you are in a place where people cut the trees for electric lines (etc) and they bring you wood chips, rather than bring them to a dump, then yes it is a great to make use of the wood chips.

I have a story from the Victory Gardens where we did 650 gardens in Eugene, Oregon. A woman had not been able to garden at her home for 10 years because the quack grass smothered everything she planted. When our team came, I dug down 18 inches and found quack grass roots as thick as my wrist. Everything in me wanted to dig it out. (I am from a gardening family and spent many years gardening before I discovered permaculture.) One of the things that I teach is that weeds are needed. When the soil succession advances then they are not needed. So I simply took off the grass on the surface and left the roots and put on effective microorganisms and soluble mycorrhizals and we planted her garden. She had about 10 wisps of quack grass which she weeded out that summer. I saw her the other day (6 years after we did her garden) and asked her if her quack grass had returned. She said every year she seems to get 10 bits of quack grass which she weeds out. In all of her neighbors yards, there is a lot of quack grass.

This has worked on Japanese knotweed, and blackberries. Morning glory has not responded so well.

Permaculture people know why we need to learn something else. These practices are leading to desertification, climate change, starvation for the folks that do not have access to lots of water, good soil etc. I am glad that some small permaculture homesteaders, tagged here as girt, may be applying what I will call radical permaculture. I do not see much mention of this on this permies site though. What I see is people working very hard bringing in a lot of off site materials, buying trees and nursery plants, looking to buy land that has “adequate water” and generally continuing the obsolete gardening practices because it is too out of our comfort zone to try using microbes on your pure sandy soil or pure clay soil or compacted soil or . . ..

I am a practical person on a mission to reverse desertification, climate change and permaculture has the solutions. I am not much interested in whether theoretically there are girt’s being permaculture millionaires. I am interested in who is actually doing what I am now calling radical permaculture.


 
Tyler Ludens
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charlotte anthony wrote: It turns out that you can accomplish most of the benefits of hugelkulture, no outside water needed, rich soil just by adding microbes.



I was trying to find a topic in which you describe how to do this, but couldn't find one. Can you start a thread with instructions or direct me to an existing thread with instructions on how to produce and apply the microbes?

Thanks!

(sorry about going off-topic)
 
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Dougan Nash wrote:I agree with the sentiment of Gert, but she just conveniently started with a few acres. I know there are a lot of people like me who want to dive right in but land is expensive. I am also (like many in my generation) burdened with student loan debt. Half of what my wife and I make goes towards minimum payments. We were young and dumb and 8 years later, no sign of it ending.

If I took all the money I am paying retroactively for school and could put it into land, I would be a Gert. However, I cannot find a permaculture solution to this debt. I have tried government aid, and working with my private loans. Neither work. Bankruptcy won't even erase it. I probably won't even be approved for a mortgage until I'm in my 40s.



Dougan, you might take a look at Dave Ramsey's method for paying down debt. Google Dave Ramsey if you don't know who he is.

Bonnie
 
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I think the Ferd vs Gert story is a bit black and white. While I dream of starting a permaculture farm I know that there are others who just have no desire to do so. There will always be cities and people who buy their food rather than produce it. The story got the Gert part right, where she can happily live off her land and has more leisure time overall, but I don't think Ferds have to be eternally unhappy like the original post suggests. We'll always have "Ferds", and its not a bad thing. Ferds can also achieve a life where they only have to work on things that make them happy while having overall more leisure time. Just like building a permaculture farm, it requires hard work upfront that can easily pay off in 10-20 years depending on your speed and desire. It all depends on investment, Gerts invest in their land, Ferds invest in the stock markets. Eventually Gert's investment pays for her lifestyle, and eventually Ferds does as well. Both require living below their means, and learning to want less. Neither Gert or Ferd can support a life where they eat at fancy restaurants every meal, buy the bleeding edge technology every year, or buy into all the gimmicky low quality items constantly pushed on us. There's happiness in both paths and neither are wrong.

There's also a 3rd story (or maybe a million different stories) where a Ferd from Paul's story becomes a Ferd like I've described above, and then eventually becomes a Gert with the money saved from the Ferd 2.0 stage. Or maybe Ferd 2.0 stays in the city and helps promote the Ferd 2.0 lifestyle I've described above which helps us as a people become happier while consuming less resources. There are many paths to happiness, and I think that all start with learning to want less and being happy with what you have. The rest follows.

P.S. if you want to see Ferd 2.0 in action, check out Mr. Money Mustache
 
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As someone who has a few big ag friends she's discussed her permie orchard with I can say that they don't see it because they can't make a living off it. Big ag, in my area, is organic wheat. They harvest their crop every 2 years but do not irrigate. So essentially they get half the harvest in twice the time. They make a living, but not an awesome one. When I discuss what I am doing it's all well and good, they'd like to see it, think it's great and interesting, but making money off it, that's the problem. You can store and sell organic wheat pretty widely, internationally even. Selling smaller crops of more perishable foods is harder. Also, we don't have a lot of water. Irrigating isn't something most people can do. It's a big fight here. So people tell me they don't think my trees will produce because I'm not watering them. Maybe they won't. Maybe they will. If they will perhaps I can change a few minds. If they don't, they'll be happy to tell me they told me so.

Also, There are a lot of Ferd's who believe in Dave Ramsey and handle their money wisely and will absolutely become millionaires.
 
Tyler Ludens
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To me it seems as if they could make a few small adjustments to their organic wheat growing and become more permacultural while making the same income. Their household living might be easier if they did some of the permacultural things such as growing some of their own food, improving household efficiency, etc. They might be able to become millionaires faster in this way by reducing their household expenses. They might be able to make their farming more efficient by trying multiple enterprises like Gabe Brown:

 
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Tyler is absolutely right, it would probably scare half of the people on here if they knew what I did NOT have. I don't even have a cell phone, but going without is not really how I look at things, but rather "how did we do things before?" or "what can I get the most use out of?" I am all for buying equipment, but I am darn sure it can do a host of things before I buy it!

When I was 20 I made some really bad financial decisions and while they did not result in bankruptcy, boy was I close. I really learned from that and now at 42 I am in a really good spot. Even just 5 years ago I would have never imagined I would be where I am now, but that is just how it works, good choices compound. I am saying all this because I want to give people HOPE, financial freedom is one of the best freedom's of all and it can be done; and bar none, David Ramsey is great person to take advice from. So is Compass One.

If people reading this do not get anything else out of this thread, I hope it is that. Being out of debt is great, and it truly can be done. (and faster than you think!)
 
charlotte anthony
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e.s. the wheat farmers would earn 10 times their income by using gabe brown's technics including the animals, probably with less labor. using these methods to improve the soil, to reverse desertification, to mitigate climate change would make quality of life changes geometrically as much as 100 times better life. using chemicals in the soils along with tilling kills the microbes and requires 4-5 times the amount of water, so they will increase yields right away by stopping the chmicals. see the gabe brown video where one person used his typical methods on 1/2 of a field and the method gabe describes in the other 1/2. it is a lot less expensive to farm without adding chemicals, so the bottom line goes up.


ellie s. you will have no problem with your trees if you add microbes which will drastically increase the organic matter in the soil. i am adding them every 10 days where i am where i have 8-15 inches of rainfall per year. you still need to put down a cover crop, not to turn under, but to cover your soil with 13-15 different grasses and legumes (50 % legumes, alfalfa goes down 140 feet) which will be dynamic accumulators for each other. it would be terrific if they came to "tell you so" and found that your permaculture was working. i am interested to know what the rainfall has been in your area when you say you have low water.

what terra lingua farm is demonstrating is how to increase the organic matter so that without the anmials that gabe brown is using in his system, we can have similar results. also gabe brown's system would have worked much more quickly if he had innoclated with microbes from the first day. i think ranchers will always prefer to ride around on their tractors and may never take to trees, but if they can earn many times the income some will go for it. and they can still ride on their tractors if they do the gabe brown thing with animals.

tyler i will put in a place that you tell me how to grow the microbes. it is not posted many times for sandy soils, for clay soils, etc. but you are right it should be somewhere that people can find it. can you suggest a place?
 
charlotte anthony
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in gabe brown's video he gives some numbers on how increasing the organic matter in the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. he also talks about one of his teachers who says that he can do agriculture with anywhere between 2 inches of rain a year to 200.
 
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A lot of folks are pointing out that there are all sorts of other positions that are not represented by ferd or gert. Which is why the big black book is so big - if there was only one situation, then the book would be pretty tiny.

It is as if I painted this picture:



And then the response is "no, you are wrong, because of this picture:"



And somebody else says "that is not possible because ..."




The thing is, it is one scenario. Which is why I called it a scenario. Why I called each of them a scenario. It is not intended to encapsulate all possible scenarios or work for all people. It is a description of one possibility.

---

Some people want to describe how gert got her land, or how gert got to where she is now .... I suppose I could make up a story, but that doesn't really matter. It would be a bit like asking for paintings of mona lisa as a kid.

---

I felt compelled to create gert because there are a lot of people spelling out a permaculture scenario that is nothing like gert. And they seem to suggest that what they describe is the only path for any and all people that are bonkers about permaculture. But I think the gert-like destination is the most common. And I think those people are utterly unaware of all the gerts that currently exist in the world.

---

It does seem that my bit of writing has made it so there is now a clear placeholder in the permaculture community for all of the gerts out there. That was what I was shooting for and I am glad that many of you made that connection.


 
Tyler Ludens
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charlotte anthony wrote:
tyler i will put in a place that you tell me how to grow the microbes. it is not posted many times for sandy soils, for clay soils, etc. but you are right it should be somewhere that people can find it. can you suggest a place?



I think it could go in this forum: http://www.permies.com/forums/f-120/soil
 
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charlotte anthony wrote:

A woman had not been able to garden at her home for 10 years because the quack grass smothered everything she planted. When our team came, I dug down 18 inches and found quack grass roots as thick as my wrist. Everything in me wanted to dig it out. (I am from a gardening family and spent many years gardening before I discovered permaculture.) One of the things that I teach is that weeds are needed. When the soil succession advances then they are not needed. So I simply took off the grass on the surface and left the roots and put on effective microorganisms and soluble mycorrhizals and we planted her garden. She had about 10 wisps of quack grass which she weeded out that summer. I saw her the other day (6 years after we did her garden) and asked her if her quack grass had returned. She said every year she seems to get 10 bits of quack grass which she weeds out. In all of her neighbors yards, there is a lot of quack grass.



You will become my favorite person the second you tell me how to do this.
 
charlotte anthony
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okay tyler and todd, i put a story of micrboes where tyler suggested, see above. http://www.permies.com/t/56107/soil/story-microbes-accomplish-miracles-buy#469341
 
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Dougan Nash wrote:I agree with the sentiment of Gert, but she just conveniently started with a few acres.



We are on exactly the same page Dougan. I am a boomer, but I never bought into the boomer culture of entitlement. I have had good jobs, many of us did, I always had small mortgages (I have owned, paid off, sold and moved on 9 times) and now I have 10 acres of debt free, north facing (southern hemisphere) yadda yadda. I am also a pensioner and I have only had the land for 4 years. I could have had a smaller plot 20 years ago and been a long way down the track but wasn't smart enough then and there wasn't the access to permie knowledge. But it doesn't matter how smart our kids are, they are not going to have the option of my trajectory.

What we need is a way to enable your generation to make that transition, and I haven't seen anyone trying to devise one.

Even then, take all the people who would have to make that transition to produce a sustainable human population on the planet and divide into the arable land and see what the numbers look like. How do we enable the adventurers to restore the destroyed, and therefore unproductive, land that could be returned to life? How do we deal with all those who would like to make the shift but would have to wait while the transition was under way? Because the existing life-support system would have to continue to feed those who had not made the shift yet while their places are being prepared.

Many of, maybe most of us, can see where we want and need to get to, what I have not yet seen is a workable model being proposed by those with the ability to make that work, nor even by those who advocate revolution which is itself destructive. And incrementalism isn't going to make it in time to head off the catastrophe.

Like Gert, all I can do is keep on keeping on until someone smarter than me, and willing to take a bullet for challenging the status quo, has an answer.
 
Earl Mardle
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Travis Johnson wrote:If people reading this do not get anything else out of this thread, I hope it is that. Being out of debt is great, and it truly can be done. (and faster than you think!)

Amen brother.

I have had debt, none of it as dangerous as yours, but it doesn't matter, it scares the crap out of me at any and every level. We use our credit card all the time. At least once a week I pay it off and always add a few extra $$ from the savings to keep it in credit. When TSHTF it will happen so fast our heads will spin and on that day we will cease to be able to pay back those debts, however small, and they will eventually overwhelm us.

If you wake up every morning terrified of your debt you will act every day to reduce that as fast as you can as task one. Do it. But first you have to be afraid of it. I don't know how to get others to that place, I was apparently born like it. I have been so very lucky in that.
 
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@Earle M.:"What we need is a way to enable your generation to make that transition, and I haven't seen anyone trying to devise one."

I suspect 'enable' may have to come after 'incentivize'. There has to be a strong "gotta-wanna" element in that next generation, enough so that (to them) it becomes a matter of necessity---since we all know necessity is the mother of invention. Strangely enough, the best motivation may be that it simply makes them feel good to be doing it. And with that in mind, perhaps a new currency might come along to complement the 'Gert' and the 'Salatin'. Since 'Gert' is a diminutive of Gertrude (I think?), perhaps that permie lifestyle could be measured not only in 'Gerts' and 'Salatins', but also in 'Trudys', the 'Trudy' being currency that does not directly reflect monetary or even kilocalorie savings, but rather accounts for "Gemutlichkeit", for which Wiki's best translation is "....a space or state of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. Other qualities include coziness, peace of mind, belonging, well being, and social acceptance."

"The stuff that I quote makes it seem like permaculture is a horrendous expense followed by years of suffering. I suppose if that person wishes it to be so, then it will be so. But I proclaim that for Gert it was nothing more than knowledge and joy. " -- Paul W, leading post of this thread.
 
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John Weiland wrote:I suspect 'enable' may have to come after 'incentivize'. There has to be a strong "gotta-wanna" element in that next generation, enough so that (to them) it becomes a matter of necessity

I really hope that this is not the case. If they are collectively unable to see that the incentive is not to starve to death in a collapsing civilisation, and even worse, watch your children starve, then that is what they will do. Anyone who figures out even the pathway to a transition to sustainable living on the planet is not going to have spare resources to pretty it up just so some people will want to add it to their fashion agenda.

I love my work, and I come in most nights thoroughly pooped, dirty and ready to pass out. I expect that, if I am lucky, that is how it will be for the rest of my life. There is precious little gotta-wanna in that and a great deal of knuckle down and do the work or you go hungry. By the time that hunger is an "incentive", it wont be possible to change it.

Frankly, this is the fault of my generation, I apologise to the alphabet gens for our failure to get them to grasp the reality that is going to decide how they live out their lives.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Earl Mardle wrote: If they are collectively unable to see that the incentive is not to starve to death in a collapsing civilisation



I'm a bit of a doomer, and used to be a prepper, but for me the incentive became not avoiding starvation, but providing myself and family a more comfortable life. I don't think we can effectively frighten most people into changing, I think we need to offer the incentives of comfort, security, and beauty. Fear may appeal to some people, but I think it turns most people off.

In this video Geoff Lawton is pretty doomy, but he doesn't make permaculture seem scary, he makes it seem comforting: http://geofflawton.com/videos/surviving-collapse-designing-way-abundance/
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:For me, the low work hours mean hope.



I have noticed that it often means laughing of a false promise....
Not hope but a carrot to make the donkey walk for ever.

What is better to insit on?
The use of time can be a 3 in 1, or more than 3. ok, you do more than 1 thing while doing 1.

For me, this is the quality of spending time.
Less time in transport, more time with people, which does not mean leisure for me!

The quality of life is more about being with other people.
We might say leisure, but what's about working together?
At the same time as this topic, I saw the Ouganda video about key-hole garden.
I could not count how many people were tying the branches AT THE SAME TIME.
They were many doing what 1 person usually do....
 
Tyler Ludens
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:For me, the low work hours mean hope.



I have noticed that it often means laughing of a false promise....



That has not been my personal experience. I can not personally work hard for very long. As I mentioned before, I envy people who can do so, but I simply can't.

(53 year old woman with health problems)
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I am sorry Tyler, I do not mean anything personal, and I am not much younger, and I do have physical issues as well, and I cannot stand long work nor social stress.

I mean that the permies hope is social for me.
So that we can all do up to the point we can.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, I completely misunderstood you. I thought you were telling me that my hope for less work is false. If that were the case I would have to give up!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Well, the hope for less work IN THE FUTURE is not a permacultural hope only!
I guess many work now for working less after....

So I do not like this argument of less work to attract people to permaculture.
I think it is not appealing, that many consider it as a lure, and that it is far from being the best advantage of permaculture.
I prefer that we do more with the same work, and less work can also be an option.

In modern life, everything is too much separated. We work, and then there is family life, leisure life.... why separate all? Of course we lack time with this way of doing! It does not matter how long it takes for cooking if you are not rushing and if you cook while talking with friends! Yesterday I did some talking with a neighbour who was preparing broad beans.... The only problem is that I did mine alone when I came back home!

 
Tyler Ludens
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:
In modern life, everything is too much separated. We work, and then there is family life, leisure life.... why separate all?



I don't. I live and work at home. Part of the time I work for money, most of the time I work for living. Plus a bunch of non-work stuff. My husband also works at home; we work together. I think this might be one aspect of the permaculture millionaire's life, that life is integrated.

Also, to clarify about the hope for less work IN THE FUTURE. I actually work less (for money) now, as I describe in the thread I linked to above, thanks to permaculture, in my opinion.

The "less work" I'm referring to being hopeful about is what I call "toting" - moving rocks, logs, dirt, etc. I think my toting days are numbered.

 
Xisca Nicolas
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That is why you are a permie....
I do not speak personally but generally!
I talk about the message of permies to non permies.

I have very rarelly worked outside home.
And my problem is just to burn less pots when cooking while doing something else !!
 
John Weiland
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@Earl M: "I love my work, and I come in most nights thoroughly pooped, dirty and ready to pass out. I expect that, if I am lucky, that is how it will be for the rest of my life. There is precious little gotta-wanna in that and a great deal of knuckle down and do the work or you go hungry."

Actually, I find these lines a bit self-contradictory. It seems to me that if you "love" this work, then there must be some level of "gotta-wanna" that motivates your efforts, even as you later note that you "do the work or you go hungry". Now in my mid-50s, I can look back on having been frugal, rarely taking loans or going into debt, and always planting a garden even through college days, as a life pattern incorporated from my farmer-background parents who were born in the midwest US in the 1930s. Yet their attitude would have been the same: "Do it!....or you will go hungry!" Although that attitude still drives me to some extent, I've come more and more across those who do not equate the love of being with hands in the dirt with "drudgery"....AND do not go hungry as they love their gardening. In some examples, I find that they were reared with this attitude....in yet others, such people too learned that there is only so much satisfaction from perusing the "new mall", the "new cineplex", or moving to that "new neighborhood/subdivision". The cultural conditioning that occurs to make us feel like working in the garden is drudgery is something elaborated more in Tyler L's thread here: http://www.permies.com/t/54918/frugality/Working-money-expensive

So I'm just agreeing that we come to find our hands in the dirt (or the cob?) from different angles, but it doesn't necessarily have to be all blood and toil....maybe on occasion, yes....but not always.

@Xisca N.: "For me, this is the quality of spending time. Less time in transport, more time with people, which does not mean leisure for me! The quality of life is more about being with other people. We might say leisure, but what's about working together?"

Again, apologizing for the length, but quoting from the same Liedloff reference hot-linked a few lines above:

"....I began to see the value of the unlearning process. Several more contributions to an alternative point of view on the subject of work, too, penetrated past the intervening layers of my prejudice.
One was the apparent absence of a word for 'work' in the Yequana vocabulary. They had the word tarabaho to use about dealings with non-Indians, who, apart from us, were known to them almost entirely by hearsay. This was a slight mispronunciation of the Spanish trabajo and referred quite accurately to what the conquistadores and their successors meant by it. It struck me that it was the only Spanish derivative among all the words I learned from them. There appeared to be no Yequana concept of work similar to ours. There were words for each activity that might have been included but no generic term.

If they did not distinguish work from other ways of spending time, it was little wonder that they behaved so irrationally (as I then judged) about fetching water. The women left their firesides several times a day, carrying two or three small gourds at a time, walked part of the way down the mountain, picked their way down a precipitous slope that was extremely slippery when wet, filled the gourds from a streamlet and climbed back to the village above. The whole operation took about twenty minutes. Many of them carried babies as well as gourds.

When I went down for the first time. I was struck by the inconvenience of walking so far for a commodity so constantly needed. It was inconceivable that they should not choose a village site where water was more accessible. The last part of the walk, at the stream bank, made me tense with anxiety at the necessity for taking care at every step to avoid falling. To be sure, the Yequana have a superior sense of balance and, like the North American Indian, no fear of heights, but the fact was that neither they nor I ever fell, and I alone resented having to pay attention to my steps. Their steps were equally cautious, but they did not frown as I did at the 'hardship' of taking care. They went on gossiping and joking softly, on the flat or on the slope, for they usually went in groups of two, three or more, and, as always, a party mood prevailed.

Once a day each woman put her gourds and clothing (a small, apron like cache-sexe, and ankle, knee, wrist, upper arm, neck and ear beads) on the bank and bathed herself and her baby. However many women and children participated, the bath had a Roman quality of luxuriousness. Every move bespoke sensual enjoyment, and the babies were handled like objects so marvellous that their owners felt constrained to put a mock-modest face on their pleasure and pride. Walking down the mountain was done in the same accustomed-to-the-best, almost smug, style and their last perilous steps into the stream would have done credit to a Miss World coming forward to claim her crown. This was true of all the Yequana women and girls I saw, though their distinct personalities rendered the manifestations of their cosiness quite various.

Upon reflection, I was hard put to think of a 'better' way to use the water-fetching time, at least from the point of view of well-being. If, on the other hand, progress -or its handmaidens, speed, efficiency and novelty - were the criterion, the water walks were positively moronic. But my experience of the ingenuity of the people in question was such that I had no doubt that, had I asked them to invent a means of precluding my going to the stream for water, they would have put together some bamboo pipes or a pulley to help me deal with the slippery bit, or built me a hut near the stream. They themselves had no motive to progress, as they felt no need, no pressure from any quarter, to change their ways.

That I deemed it an imposition to have to make use of my perfectly adequate coordination, or resented, from unexamined principle, the use of time to fill a need, was an arbitrary assignment of values that their culture did not share." -- Jean Liedloff, "The Continuum Concept...."

And of course there are many other authors and documents attesting, at least in part, to these sentiments. Again, the Yequana are living outside of the "monied" societies and these are general concepts. Naturally, with each passing year, it's difficult to know to what extent they are able to maintain this lifestyle with the encroachment of development. But the integration of some of these notions, even as it is difficult to reproduce the beneficial cohesion of a tribal community, may play a role in bringing others towards the permie viewpoint.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:
I talk about the message of permies to non permies.



I think depicting an integrated life in which one lives and works and plays in a beautiful habitat could be very appealing to not-yet-permies!

My husband commutes to work along this shady path:
commute.jpg
[Thumbnail for commute.jpg]
 
Earl Mardle
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I don't think we can effectively frighten most people into changing, I think we need to offer the incentives of comfort, security, and beauty. Fear may appeal to some people, but I think it turns most people off.

I don't think you are wrong at all, I am however certain that we have now passed the point where we have the luxury of gently leading people to a better way. I don't believe we should force anyone to change and we couldn't if we wanted to, but we have lived in a world of relentless fascination with comfort, security and beauty, often perverted and full of lies, but that is what western civilsation has offered and promised that if we do the right things, we shall have it. Those right things have been clearly specified as being acts that are essentially suicidal.

We have lived in a world of Lotos Eaters, we are the drug addicts whose beautiful inner world takes place in a scabrous, stinking, filthy sewer and, while I wholly agree that permaculture offers all of those things and am grateful every day for the wonders of my landscape, I have also had the privilege of beginning the transition while the pathway is still walkable. Those who come right now might get there in one piece, but any delays will mean that the transition will have to be made by waking from the dream into the nightmare.

Your method demands that we offer joys to come in the medium future from hard work as competition with the perfect hit right now to people who have been taught that they "deserve" the best, immediately. Good luck with that.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Earl Mardle wrote:
Your method demands that we offer joys to come in the medium future from hard work as competition with the perfect hit right now to people who have been taught that they "deserve" the best, immediately. Good luck with that.



I've not seen that the method of fear works any better. In my case it worked less well. I was a doomer, but doom and prepping didn't improve my life, it nearly ruined it. I gave up fear for action based on hope, and that has worked.
 
Earl Mardle
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I've not seen that the method of fear works any better.



Yep, which is why I have stopped having conversations with those who have not already found their own way to somewhere near here. But to the original point, there is no point trying to attract people to the way when the path itself doesn't exist. I am hugely fortunate that my entire life's decisions have allowed me to make these choices now, for those in other places who don't have my options, there is currently no actual option. To hold out the destination but not to have a workable path to it is a betrayal as well. Its the lack of that path that troubles me most and it is up to us somehow to construct it. I am out of ideas for the process.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I personally see many paths and options. We discuss them here on permies constantly.

I think this conversation may be going off-topic. This might be a better thread for some of it: http://www.permies.com/t/56119/uf/world-feel-fine
 
Xisca Nicolas
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What John says is the exact background I have to say that talking about the number of hours of "work" do not seem to me the appropriate way to talk about permaculture.
To work now for working less afterward can also be called to retire! This is not typically permies.
So yes I go on saying that it is not about money nor time, but about our "activities" being MEANFUL.
The people John mention would have changed their way of doing if it had had no meaning.
Getting water this way just fit in all the culture.
This is about CULTURE.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I envision a permaCULTURE in which everyone isn't always starting from scratch, but instead inherit a permaculture fortune - eventually all people being born permaculture millionaires. Here's a thread in which to discuss some of these ideas: http://www.permies.com/t/55698/permaculture/Continuity-Operations-Permaculture
 
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We are creating the culture right now, so we are moving it into that direction. I have actually noticed that there were groups that I was in that had some excess conflicts and bad behaviors, and just by my encouraging and modeling better, more cooperative cultural habits, we became much more that way.
JohN S
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paul wheaton wrote:
Some people say that permaculture is a steaming pile of horse potatoes, because if it worked, then all of our big ag systems would convert over. I think the folks that work in big ag get a lot of marketing from chem ag, and a lot of subsidies to do the chem ag game, and a lot of marketing that says that permaculture is stupid. The ag schools are run by chem ag. And there is a lot of shame attached to the word "permaculture." And then there is the sheer volume of money that can pass through your hands .... granted, most of it comes directly or indirectly from the government, and has to be spent on certain equipment, or certain kinds of buildings (hog warehouses, chicken warehouses, dairy warehouses ...) and always on the chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides and GMO seed. The ag school teaches how to optimize this process, including how to optimize the subsidies. And when a farmer travels this path, the path is a lot like the Ferd path: work long hours, not a lot of disposable income, go get food at the grocery store and restaurants. Seek entertainment and life substance.

I think that when people have the courage to go down the permaculture path, they end up generally going silent. They just don't need the hostility that comes from sharing. There are a few people that choose to share and brave the onslaught of hostility. These are our authors, the people that try to share on the internet, the people that teach PDCs, the people that make videos. The more they share, the more hostility they harvest.



I think my first posting!!??

I say, Paul, don't listen to those people. If a post starts out bad, shuck it or glean it for a potential constructive criticism. Of course, you can be wrong in what you write or say - that's how science works, in fact that's how everything works including Big Chem/Big Ag, 'ceptin they stop at what makes them the most money while poisoning only enough folks that their lawyers can handle it.

Look at all the research and iterations that have gone into RMHs. Hardly nothing works out right first time around. [Just bought Ernie & Erica's new book out June 1 - can't wait to get it.]

When I found this place, I thought I had come home. I don't come here enough, maybe that'll change. I got me a fair chunk of land that I grass cattle on. Would love to work pigs and chickens into the mix, chickens a la Chicken Caravan to come in after rotational cattle grazing. Pigs to clean up some bush and open it up.

Don't stop doing what you're doing. It's a grand venture, it's the only way to live. Done the city crap - that ain't living.

 
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When I started reading the part about Gert, I thought someone was writing about ME! Yes, I'm another Gert, but I do work a bit more than 10 hours a week. The small homestead was purchased with monies made from working in town. Always been frugal and it doesn't take much to simply live. Some of my friends think I'm nuts because I didn't retire and move into an in-town apartment. They just don't get it, do they? I'd rather die with my spading fork clenched in my hands, face down in the rich dirt. To deny me a rural, earth-nurturing lifestyle is like denying air to my lungs. I usually eat breakfast or lunch on my front porch, sitting in the swing, watching the deer or wild turkey come down over the ridge in front of the house. It doesn't get any better than that. What's the point of living if you can't do what you love?

Faye

 
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