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Long Term Data Gathering to Sell Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Belizaire Meaux
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Location: Louisiana
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I was reading the elevator speech thread about permaculture and got to thinking about selling points.

The best way to sell the idea to fiscally minded government officials or prospective participants is long term financial data and projections.

I started an excel file when we got our chickens, but opening the file each time i got an egg was a bit cumbersome.

My idea was to have a google document spreadsheet ( you can set it to where the only people who can modify the doc are people that arrive at the document through the link provided) 

Everyone could add their data from money saved, money spent, long term cost and maybe weekly data updates on what is collected. An agreed upon value (per egg, hog, etc etc) could be linked to the values and totals calculated by the sheet.

Then the number of participants and numbers reaches could be used to provide an average, a best and worst. A comment section for what the reasons for the best and worst producers perhaps to explain.



Then all these numbers crunched into a financial spreadsheet calculating all those cute fractions and numbers like:  (of course not all will apply, due to no stocks but im copy and pasting from a spreadsheet and being lazy to cull the inappropriate data)
EM
CR
QR
Cash Ratio
TDR
Times Interest
TAT
PM
ROA
ROE
PM*TAT*EM
P/E


Anyways, this may have been discussed at length somewhere, but i figured if not it merited posting the idea.
 
Salkeela Bee
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Just an observation... most Permies in my experience "go with the flow" and keep few records! 
 
              
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If you heard Mollison speaking at Permaculture Design Courses back in 1983! You would have heard that they are totally OVER trying to prove Permaculture and have moved on to action and doing as there is no time left to fart around trying to prove it to others. Here in 2011 you still want to prove it for some reason

Cheers,
PeterD
 
Tyler Ludens
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The best way to prove something is to demonstrate it -  aka "action"    Folks interested in proving permaculture "works" will probably be most successful by employing it in their own lives and demonstrating it to the people they know.  If folks want to keep records of yields, etc that's fine too.
 
Jonathan Byron
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What if permaculture can produce more food per acre with fewer inputs, but requires more labor and results in less corporate profit? It might be good for people and good for the planet, but unattractive to Wall Street.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Bingo!
 
                                      
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What if permaculture can produce more food per acre with fewer inputs, but requires more labor and results in less corporate profit? It might be good for people and good for the planet, but unattractive to Wall Street.


QFT

proving that permaculture 'works'?

it depends on what your aims are. if feeding people is, it works well.

if sustaining a natural environment in which we can live for the nest centuries, it works.

if setting an ethical framework on which one can act. it works

making a lot of money i dont think you can do this through PC (sorry paul), not even by teaching and publishing.

and besides? why would you wánt to convince wallstreet?
 
Troy Rhodes
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Even if all your data shows compelling financial reasons why PC makes sense, I doubt the powers that be would help you, or us, or permaculture.  It doesn't get them more power, and in fact, it makes individuals, families and small communities more self reliant and independent of the nice government people.

While that sounds attractive to you and me, most of the government folks find the idea either incomprehensible, or horrific.

People who don't need the government very much?  That's just crazy talk.

HTH,

troy
 
Jordan Lowery
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
The best way to prove something is to demonstrate it -  aka "action"     Folks interested in proving permaculture "works" will probably be most successful by employing it in their own lives and demonstrating it to the people they know.  If folks want to keep records of yields, etc that's fine too.


i agree, when i first moved to the area im in now, when talking to the locals about forest gardening and polyculture. most thought i was a bit crazy, or just someone who doesn't know what they are doing/talking about. so i built my forest garden anyways and forgot about those people. time and time again one by one they would end up here standing in front of my forest garden. and one by one they changed there minds on what was possible. the word is spreading and people are starting there own forest gardens. point being they had to see to believe, otherwise it was all fantasy.

data is nice but it only gets you so far into the whole picture of things.
 
Kay Bee
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I don't think this is so much about "proof" anymore; the OP is more about "selling" permaculture.  I read this as selling it to someone who isn't familiar with the concept.

Having documentation such as development photos and some numbers from successful examples could certainly help if one is looking for financial backing.

I personally enjoy collecting the data and I think it may benefit the development of our own place as well as others in the region who may be interested in starting up their own design.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Funny...

I am now one of "those government folks" and I have been applying permaculture design principles all the time -- and my colleagues find it comprehensible and helpful.  In fact most of the "government folks" I hang out with actually believe in figuring out how to provide better public service in protecting public trust resources -- and even the 'policy elite' are hungry for effective efficient solutions to the huge problems we face.

I think we need to be very careful about generalizing and getting sloppy with definitions.  If Permaculture only applies to homestead polycultures, then for me this is a dead end road.  The project is to transform ourselves for the purpose of transforming our communities (and governments) for the purpose of restoring the resilience and productivity of the earth.

The polyculture, closed loop, systems design concepts promoted by Mollison are permeating all sorts of professions.  The ethics of fair share are spreading and transmuting as they enter different cultural settings.  I think it is more a question of whether the "Permaculture brand" remains relevant given the rate of change.  The idea that we are going to replace some kind of ecologically regenerative but mechanized farming (yes in rows!) with homesteading does not withstand scrutiny.

You can have a rigorous case study that is light on data and heavy on pictures, and if it can withstand intellectual scrutiny, it can result in a strong sale of concept.  Many of the critical decisions made by our communities are 'data free'.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Dear Paul,

If I offended you by painting with a broad brush, I apologize.

And I am overjoyed to know that there is still some responsive and thoughtful public servants out there.

Would you mind coming over and teaching my public servants a few things

What level of government do you serve at?

Please carry on,

troy
 
                                
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What doesn't need to be proved about permaculture is that it is a more ecologically sound form of agriculture which preserves biodiversity and improves soils. This is intuitive and based on sound ecological principles. What does need to be proved about permaculture is that it can produce enough food with a minimum of labor. A chief claim of permaculture is that it reduces the amount of labor required by taking advantage of the work of natural ecosystem processes. This certainly sounds good in theory, but without some numbers to back it up we can't be sure that it plays out that way in reality. To produce this proof, some permaculturists could keep track of their total input energy (human, machine) in calories and also their output of human edible calories. This would give an estimate of net calorie production and a number to quantity the efficiency of food production. This number could be compared to other agriculture and permaculture systems to give an idea of the relative efficiency and the data could be used to help determine which areas could be optimized.

Of course, there are going to be many who want to grow food and simply stay more in tune with the natural world and spend less time in front of a computer spread sheet. There is absolutely no problem with that. However, I commend those who are willing to keep detailed records and anylize the data to help further the future of food production.
 
Berry Buiten
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Actually, there is someone that is collecting extensive data on a rather large system that is build up in the Permaculture way, even though he doesn't call it PC... Check out the movie of Willie Smits on TED:

http://www.ted.com/talks/willie_smits_restores_a_rainforest.html

Many of the principles he uses are PC, eventhough it is aimed at reforestation to create habitat for Orang Utangs.
 
John Polk
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Willie Smits is also providing economic stability and a sense of pride, hope and independence amongst the local population.  His work stands as an inspiration to any permaculturist in any climate or region of the world.  What he has accomplished in a few short years is nearly miraculous.  His village, and the world are better places to live thanks to his efforts (and, I'm certain, a lot of cash!).
 
Dave Miller
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I too have found that the best way to "sell" others on a concept such as permaculture is to let them see it in action, and be able to ask questions of the permaculturalist (if that is a term?).   I have done this not with permaculture but with sustainable features in city parks, e.g. using a self-sustaining lawn mix instead of traditional turf grass.  I had experimented with some sustainable features in my own yard, and had also visited a site about 15 miles away that was doing what I was doing but on a larger scale.  I ended up bringing the landscape architect and city parks supervisor to see what I was doing in my yard, then we drove to the other site and met with the facility manager who had spearheaded the effort there.  In the end, the architect and supervisor liked the idea and incorporated it in to the design of a new park in my neighborhood.

I think I could have shown them all kinds of reports and powerpoint slides, and that would not have convinced them.  But a 1 hour field trip did the job.  There is a lot of power in seeing successful local examples, and being able to ask questions of the "person in charge".

Regarding people keeping data on their permacultures and their own food consumption, the best example I have seen is Norris & Tulsi's permaculture experiment: http://farmerscrub.blogspot.com/2011/02/self-sufficiency-five-years-in.html  His site (discountpermaculture.com) seems to be down at the moment though. 
 
                                
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I agree that the best way to show em is to do it.  Right now, I'm actually trying to scope out areas around town that are abandoned for all practical purposes to engage in some Guerilla Gardening. It's not that I don't have faith in our city officials, but with budgets stretched thin in everyone's world it's kind of hard to get people to draw away from making ends meet to try something new.  We have just enough warmth in our season to start a three sister's garden right now.  I just need to find a place to put it that will stay hidden long enough for whomever to give it a chance to grow.  Then, I'll try to lead that horse to water.
 
Belizaire Meaux
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Im glad to see all the responses. I, myself, live in the city and at most have a couple chickens some plants and have really enjoyed reading and watching videos about using common sense (at least it was a hundred years ago) to sustain ones self.

I have a friend with a non profit rehab facility and they do a greenhouse already and talked to him about putting bee hives and a few other things in along with chickens. The labor is cheap/free because the men have nothing else to turn to and they are provided many services in return for their labor, not just monetary.

My professional background is sales and i was just thinking of things i hear when i mention the idea to people in the city working full time jobs.

Could you imagine the potential for a pc community that the destined-to-be-demolished parts of Detroit present? although i find it too cold up there lol
 
                              
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The profitablity of some of the less complex permaculture systems are much better documented

Holistic Management, Agroforestry, Pasture Cropping

Holistic Management has a specific financial decision making process that perfectly compliments permaculture.  One of the biggest fans of this is Darren Doughtey out of Australia.  

Also check out Mark Shepard there's a thread already dedicated to him at http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/7833_0/permaculture/106-acre-profitable-permaculture-farm-interview-with-mark-shepard-

Financial permaculture is a new but growing--and important-- part of permaculture. Do a web search and see what comes up.
 
Belizaire Meaux
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cool thanks.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul talks about Norris and Tulsi, their need for more calories coming from their land, and their decision to move to Hawaii in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/405-podcast-066-kelly-ware-permaculture-gatherings/
 
Benjamin Burchall
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Belizaire,

I'm totally with you! To me too many people into permaculture seem to be more about "sugar and spice and everything nice" than about practical application. In my experience, a lot of permaculture in the United States comes off as a middle class, white, hippy thing. Outsiders take note of all the new agey feel-good stuff, the high cost of PDC's, and high startup costs for a many applications. Couple that with the obsession permaculture seems to have with the suburbs and rural areas along with a derth of visible evidence and data that permaculture does what we say it does, and you've got the recipe for something that just looks irrelevant to almost everyone except us permaculturists.

I think we can do a much better job of selling permaculture to the masses - especially here in the US - if we record and publish our data. If nothing else, it would help others skip over a great deal of trial and error. I don't think it's enough to simply assert that permaculture works. Works for what? How? How well? If you live in a city as most of the 7 billion human beings do and don't have a lot of land, you need to know how to maximize what you have just to meet your household's needs, let alone use your space to produce income. What if there was an information source where you could get all the relevant data to help you plan appropriately to reach your goal with fewer headaches and less time? With that info, you even know ahead of time if you have enough growing space to meet your needs. Then you can work on getting more. But with no data, you just have to guess. What if you are a farmer considering permaculture. Presently, there really isn't enough data out there to show you if you can realistically convert your farm to permaculture and make a decent living. Why because there are few permaculture farmers and even fewer who are keeping the kind of records a farmer would need to make an educated decision. Right now, farmers have to make a leap of faith to make the switch or transition over a long period of time. With the right compelling info, farmers could make a swifter conversion and probably make more money their first permie year than they probably currently make if they are were farming conventionally.

I. too, am guilty of having not documented my work in the past, but having learned how effective the Dervaes family of Pasadena, CA is in teaching what they do using the data they collect from their food production, this is a mistake I won't make as I go forward.  This is no longer a hobby for me.
 
Tyler Ludens
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BenjaminBurchall wrote:
I think we can do a much better job of selling permaculture to the masses - especially here in the US - if we record and publish our data.


Specifically what data do you think folks should record?  I'd like to start keeping records, but don't know what is relevant or how to document it.

Thanks.
 
gary gregory
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"The map is not the territory",  Mollison.  ok I'll give myself an eyeroll on that one.

I think the data collected should be be extensive on soil type and climate, rainfall and additives used.

I sometimes have a hard time translating what folks do elsewhere to my place.  The current Skeeter video is a good example in that it does not provide enough info for me to emulate what he's doing.

Where is the largest existing permaculture operation?  How many permaculture operations currently sell to market on a large scale?    What examples are there for a corn/soybean farmer in Kansas to study in order to consider a change?    I think Benjamin is on the right track.

By the way, I am a white middle class hippy.   (on a 150 acre ranch with 550 goats)






 
Tyler Ludens
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gary gregory wrote:


I sometimes have a hard time translating what folks do elsewhere to my place.   The current Skeeter video is a good example in that it does not provide enough info for me to emulate what he's doing.



Now I don't know if I even want to watch it.    Am I just going to see a lot of pretty images but no idea of how to achieve similar results?  This is very frustrating to me. 
 
gary gregory
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Now I don't know if I even want to watch it.     Am I just going to see a lot of pretty images but no idea of how to achieve similar results?  This is very frustrating to me.   


I didn't mean to trash it, its just that soil types and annual rainfall and general weather would give me enough info. to consider trying something rather than guessing.    
 
Benjamin Burchall
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gary gregory wrote:
By the way, I am a white middle class hippy.   (on a 150 acre ranch with 550 goats)


LOL! You get my point though?

I'm (no longer) middle class, not a hippy (although very countercultural), and not white. I admit it's difficult speaking about permaculture convincingly when there are so few great examples to point to in the country. The ones that are out there don't look like something non-white, non-hippy, and perhaps non-middle class people can relate to. This is what is fueling my urgency to get some land in my new city of Atlanta. If I'm going to be successful working with the population I've targeted, I have to become an example they can related to. Now that I've had my own financial collapse I won't be tempted to spent much money for startup. That will definitely be more relatable to the community I'll be working in.
 
Benjamin Burchall
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Specifically what data do you think folks should record?  I'd like to start keeping records, but don't know what is relevant or how to document it.


Off the top of my head...

1. Soil type (clay, sandy, etc.)
2. If tests are done: ph, nutrient levels toxicity
3. Average annual rainfall (real and estimated)
4. Climate type
5. Location (including if it is valley, mounatain, plains, rural, urban, etc.)
6. Average, min, max temps throughout the year
7. Average, min, max wind speeds
8. Acreage
9. Crops (sweet potatoes, sweet potato leaves, okra, tomatoes, various seed crops for eating and seed saving, etc.)
10. Pounds per crop of food (this can later be translated to calories)
11. How each crop is grown (in ground, in container, in raised bed, hulgulkulture, trellised, indoors, etc.)
12. What vertical space is utilized (especially important for small space gardening)
13. Soil amendments if any
14. Planting and harvest times by crop
15. Were crops sold? Which ones? How?
16. What's your irrigation?
17. What problems did you have? How were they resolved?

There's probably some helpful ones I'm missing? This can probably be made easy by having a spreadsheet that can quickly be filled out as we work. It might seem like a lot (it's not really), but if enough permies record this kind of data and we combine it someplace like this website, then it would be so much easier for newbies to get started. Another benefit is that if you move, you'll could have data from the area to help you get started in the new location without having to guess. We still have to do our own continual observations, but this kind of thing would shorten the time necessary for startup observations and experimenting. It's a "pay it forward" kind of thing.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks! 
 
nancy sutton
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I share your sentiments, Ben.  I've seen garden writers express scepticsm re: PC because it seems like "pick a little here, pick a little there" with no real productivity.  The sustainability, closed loop aspect is not questioned... but how much food?

The more data the better... might be able to add a cell for ' which polycultures worked best, worst], etc.

In 'farm income' threat I posted a link to an Ohio St Univ project - 6 yr 'ecologically designed' polyculture experiment that predicts $100K per acre (found on Ran Prieur's blog).  Will have to research and see if the details of the project are online.  I think this kind of 'see how' demos and quantified results are a key to spreading PC.

Plus book 'One Circle' by Duhon from Ecology Action (biointensive method) calculates nutrient and land needs in exquisite detail. 

(btw -I wish everyone would put their location under their names... could immediately make their info more valuable to the rest of us
 
Paul Cereghino
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I'd suggest that if you are going to work with numbers, defining your spatial units is really important, because to make comparisons you need to standardize your units, and so labor or yield PER UNIT AREA is how you can make comparisons.  I think PC needs to be very careful of labor accounting.  Complex systems can become labor intensive, and labor cost is a critical part of any non-hobby enterprise.

I think the easiest way to start is with photopoints.  Pick a point and take high res digital pictures (or a panorama) in the same direction every 6 months with leaves on and leaves off.

For the other extreme, check out...

Gordon, A.M. and S.M. Newman.  1997.  Temperate Agroforestry Systems.  Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, New York, NY, USA.

Also use google scholar.
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=agroforestry&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=1%2C48&as_sdtp=on

I'd agree that Permaculture just gets itself in trouble because is uses lots of buzz words that emerged from that white liberal privileged (if not currently middle class) counterculture that I grew up in.   You can deconstruct it, and use different words -- like ecosystem-based management mixed with some public trust doctrine ethics, a bunch of agroforestry, mixed with low-impact development techniques in an innovative integrated community-based system with extensive consideration of ecosystem service valuation... now you sound like a bureaucrat   or you could go more vernacular and colloquial as needed.
 
Benjamin Burchall
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Nancy Sutton wrote:
In 'farm income' threat I posted a link to an Ohio St Univ project - 6 yr 'ecologically designed' polyculture experiment that predicts $100K per acre (found on Ran Prieur's blog).  Will have to research and see if the details of the project are online.  I think this kind of 'see how' demos and quantified results are a key to spreading PC.


I'll check that out.

Nancy Sutton wrote:
Plus book 'One Circle' by Duhon from Ecology Action (biointensive method) calculates nutrient and land needs in exquisite detail.


I'm a little familiar with biointensive gardening. From what I remember it seems much more labor intensive than the kind of stuff I did, but is very effective. I'll look more into it to see how different (or not) it really is from what I do.

Nancy Sutton wrote:
(btw -I wish everyone would put their location under their names... could immediately make their info more valuable to the rest of us


My location is in my profile, so I don't know why it doesn't show under my name.
 
Benjamin Burchall
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
I think PC needs to be very careful of labor accounting.  Complex systems can become labor intensive, and labor cost is a critical part of any non-hobby enterprise.


Good point about labor accounting! I had thought of that before, but it didn't cross my mind making that list.

Paul Cereghino wrote:
... now you sound like a bureaucrat   or you could go more vernacular and colloquial as needed.


Doesn't sound like a bureaucrat to me. Sounds like someone who knows the standard professional verbiage. I think the word "permaculture" itself is a barrier. Honestly, the word sounds "hippy". It doesn't help that a lot of times we start off talking talking to people about the 3 ethics. You can almost see peoples' eyes glaze over as we bombard their ears with all those hippy-sounding words. haha! (Formerly guilty here.) We can get across the message much better using normal vernacular. Otherwise, the movement will continue to attract mostly hippies, pot advocates and new age thinkers. I think we've pretty much got a good handle on attracting that demographic. We could do better at attracting other demographics. Having real data and results would be a big part of that to me.

Can you tell I have an opinion? 
 
John Polk
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"Numbers and Data" are certainly important for selling the idea to farmers.  But, here in the US, the "typical" (if there is such a thing) permaculturist is living urban/suburban with possibly a 50' x 50' backyard, trying to grow a substantial portion of their family's food.

Under such conditions, with 50-100 edible crops, it is unlikely to have a surplus of any particular product.  Different sectors are likely getting different treatments, and weighing each tomato, potato, radish, etc is both time consuming, and meaningless.

Also, most of "us" are doing this more as a hobby rather than as a business.  It is a transitional process that may take years to reach maturity.  We are reaping rewards along the way, but until the fruit/nut trees kick into production mode, the numbers are not going to tell the story.

To a farmer driving a tractor that drinks 5 gallons per hour, telling him "I grew 13 pounds of tomatoes, 3 heads of cabbage, and all of the garlic we can eat for the year." is useless data.  To the neighbor next door with a similar 6x8' north facing balcony, that info could be priceless.
 
Benjamin Burchall
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John Polk wrote:
"But, here in the US, the "typical" (if there is such a thing) permaculturist is living urban/suburban with possibly a 50' x 50' backyard, trying to grow a substantial portion of their family's food.


Most are even doing that. That puzzles me. I had a heck of a lot less space than that and at least from late fall to early spring I didn't have to buy vegetables. I was feeding me and my partner. I still don't really get why so few of American permies are producing a substantial portion of our food.

John Polk wrote:
Under such conditions, with 50-100 edible crops, it is unlikely to have a surplus of any particular product.

I had enough to eat and take big trash bags full of greens to distribute to co-workers. I also gave a little food to an impoverished neighborhood. And that was doing it as a hobby.


John Polk wrote:
To a farmer driving a tractor that drinks 5 gallons per hour, telling him "I grew 13 pounds of tomatoes, 3 heads of cabbage, and all of the garlic we can eat for the year." is useless data.  To the neighbor next door with a similar 6x8' north facing balcony, that info could be priceless.


I think showing a conventional farmer that you raise, for instance, 5,000-6,000 pounds of food per year on about a 5th of an acre around their urban home with less water is very powerful. Well that's what one family I know does and they are now doing quite a bit of traveling teaching others how to do it. It doesn't seem like useless data to me. If you've got a 50x50 foot lot and all you're raising is 13 pounds of tomatoes, 3 heads of cabbage and a lot of garlic would seem wonky to me.

Without good data, you can't even know how much food is possible for you to even raise in your space.
 
Tyler Ludens
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BenjaminBurchall wrote:
I still don't really get why so few of American permies are producing a substantial portion of our food.


Where were you living at the time?  When I was gardening in Southern California, I could easily produce all our vegetables (this was pre-permaculture for me) by simply adding compost and water.  Here in Texas with an extremely challenging climate, I'm doing well to grow anything at all.  (I don't have a green thumb  )

The Dervaes family live in an ideal growing climate (Pasadena CA), I'm not sure their success can easily translate to all other parts of the planet. 
 
nancy sutton
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I ditto that terminology and repeating the dogma rote can be off-putting (I'm not crazy about 'true believers' of any stripe, though.)  I was devouring all this stuff from my first Org. Gard. mag in '68, and when Permaculture came long in the 80's, I thought it sounded like the books "Edible Landscaping" crossed with "Biomimicry" with a huge dose of design applied, aiming at increasing sustainability and reducing labor.  Plus "Tree Crops" (and Yeoman's plowing) from the '50's was sort of a prelude to forest farms and land sculping. 

Questions - since permaculture has been around for more than 5 or 6 years, where are the productive/profitable PC farms/forests?  Other than Sepp, of course, who inherited considerable acreage, and profits from more than his produce, I think.  Which brings the Bullock brothers to mind... they've been at it 25 yrs... wonder about their food production re: self-sufficiency and profitability - outside the $ from workshops, etc.  Hmmm....

Plus, maybe the more food raised in city/subs, the less needed from mono-agri?  In fact 'urban farming' is really growing - maybe off topic, but I loved 'Farm City' et al.  A lot could be said on this topic

BTW - I found that putting my Location Description in the "Text/Picture" box made it appear under my name.  When I simply entered it in the "Location" line, it did not - was frustrated for quite awhile


 
Tyler Ludens
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Nancy Sutton wrote:

Questions - since permaculture has been around for more than 5 or 6 years, where are the productive/profitable PC farms/forests? 



I think most people who learn about permaculture aren't farmers, but instead are gardeners.  So there should be loads of examples of people with yards who have been practicing permaculture a number of years and grow virtually all their own food (except possibly calorie crops, because of the space issue).  But I think there are few permaculture farmers for the reasons people have mentioned elsewhere - most younger people aren't able to go into farming (too expensive) and most older people are too set in their ways to farm a different way, even a different way which has been around for 30+ years. 
 
Hugh Hawk
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Perhaps the perceived lack of "productive/profitable" permaculture farms is related to both the mindset of the permaculturist and also the working model of traditional agriculture.

Permaculturists might be looking for a system that provides much of their needs and allows them to reduce time spent at a "real job", in order to devote more time to their family and social lives.  Scaling up a working system to produce more outputs by adding labour may be undesirable.

Secondly, permaculture farms usually produce a wide diversity of food crops, perhaps so much so that it is difficult to sell them in the normal way (no efficiencies of scale).  This is one reason that CSAs might help to support permaculture farms.

The successful examples of small scale permaculture farms I have seen rely on a focus on 5-10 major crops, supplemented by other seasonal crops.  They sell their produce at farmers markets etc.

It's also important to remember that the art and science is still evolving.  And permaculture may be more valuable into a post-peak oil world if city population densities need to be reduced, and distribution becomes short distance.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Hugh H. wrote:

The successful examples of small scale permaculture farms I have seen rely on a focus on 5-10 major crops, supplemented by other seasonal crops. 


Is there any information about the specific crops and how they're grown, how much land is devoted to them, or any other details?

 
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https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
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