Joey Dodson

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since Feb 28, 2014
Hunan, China
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Recent posts by Joey Dodson

Ronaldo, I think you need to define the scope of your project first. Theoretically, how are you defining health? Are you thinking about a specific ecosystem or site or general rules that might be broadly applied? For example, do you think it's possible to measure the health of rain forest and desert ecosystems in the same way? Are you including man-designed food forests or are you intending to focus on totally natural ecosystems? Practically speaking, you'd need to consider the difference between what you want to measure and what you can measure. That is, will you have to design new sensors to complete this project? Or are you planning to design the project around existing sensors? For example, can you automate measuring the levels of humus in the soil? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may have vastly different research goals and vastly different implementations for your system.

That being said, Bernie Krause has a great talk about using sound to measure the health of an ecosystem in an aggregate way.

There is also a project using audio feeds from re-purposed smart phones to detect illegal logging in rain forests as it is happening and alert local authorities.
4 years ago
Hi Ann,

There are definitely some veggies that are totally new to me, but I've also found that a lot of them are very familiar. Chili peppers for example, have been here so long that Hunan people consider them to be a signature food for their region. Their whole regional cuisine is spicy and generally uses a lot of peppers.

Unfortunately I wasn't gardening the whole time I was here. I started really slow because I wasn't used to apartment windowsill gardens. I barely started composting again this past year or two. So, I haven't grown too much.

This plot of land I'm going to try to work with will be a new experiment. It's also a really hard red clay, so I will be experimenting in terms of the soil as well.

As far as plants go, I often just use seeds from the food I buy or just buy potted plants and continue with them. I have seen a seed shop though, so I will be going back there to see if they are still open to see what they have.

The cool thing here is that a larger percentage of the population is rural, so more people farm. That means there is more fresh produce (though not necessarily organic - there's no way to differentiate other than asking the seller and taking their word for it). So since I've been cooking at home more, I've discovered a lot of new veggies. I would definitely love to take some home with me and might mail some packets back before I go home.

If I am able to source them, I would also love to trade seeds as well! Hopefully I can sort that situation out soon. It has just gotten above freezing temperatures in the past week or two and I just got over a cold, so I think I can get around to it now.
5 years ago
Another poly permie here!

Everyone has their own idea about what polyamory means to them. My own vision is more along the lines of polyfidelity, though I wouldn't mind the freedom to play as well. I don't have any particular configuration in mind. I think that just depends on what happens. I just find that I love others easily and find it really difficult to close myself off to other who I might connect really well with. I've found this out through monogamous trial and error, that I just don't sit well with a mutually exclusive relationship.

Just in case anyone here doesn't know what polyamory is though, I just thought I'd point out this website which has a lot of good info about it:
5 years ago
I have been in Changsha, Hunan for the past 3 and a half years or so, but I'm new to permaculture. I just shot you an email Tiffany.

Anyone else, feel free to get in contact with me if you are planning on doing permaculture in China. I would love to get involved if I can!
5 years ago
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

Jay, I guess they would have to be pretty old as most of the buildings I've seen in the cities are all brick and concrete. I have only seen wooden buildings way out in the countryside. I'm sure there's a lot to learn, but unfortunately it's not necessarily going to be in the cards this time around. I am definitely interested in spending more time away from the cities in the future though and building is something I haven't thought of before. I'm sure it would be useful to acquire that knowledge before most of the rural population moves into cities, like they have in the states. China's down below 50% now from what I hear. That's still more than 40% above the us though.
5 years ago
As far as I'm concerned, veganism springs from the recognition that animals have equal status with humans and should have equal rights. The website Heidi linked to is a site promoting abolitionist veganism, that is getting rid of all forms of animal use. I generally agree with this position, but there is a caveat.

The reality is that humans have already established century-long, millenia-long and even longer relationships with certain species, so there is going to be some fallout if we were to totally sever that relationship. As far as I know, even abolitionist vegans don't support just turning all animals out into the wild or onto the streets. Total abolition is a long-term goal, just like anarchism is a long-term goal for the problems with government. No anarchist would seriously suggest overthrowing any government and then just letting chaos ensue. It's the same reason that the civil rights movement was still necessary after slavery was abolished and why race issues and other equality issues are still important today.

The abolitionist approach to veganism does have a strategy for dealing with the issue of domesticated animals. The goal is first to liberate them from exploitation and the ideal end result of this is that they would end up on farm sanctuaries where they can live to the end of their natural lives in a peaceful environment without being exploited. Ultimately, I believe abolitionists are also against the idea of "pets", mostly for reasons involving breeding. Again, the goal with this is still to care for the current populations of cats, dogs, et c. But the goal is to stop breeding them. I believe that the end goal is that all domesticated animals live out their natural lives peacefully, cared for by humans. These animals are generally not to be bought, as that just incentivizes breeding them. They would be acquired through animal shelters or more extremely through animal liberation from factory farms or other such places.

As for letting animals out into the wild, I don't think this is an ideal approach, but as far as I know that kind of action would be taken in places where the animals are already being subjected to very seriously cruel treatment, like factory farms, fur mills, vivisection labs, et c. It's more a matter of how to get as many as possible out of that environment before being arrested.

Now, any practices in line with permaculture are really very low on the list of priorities vegans are currently facing in securing equal rights for animals. But I agree that keeping animals could be a vegan action, for instance animals rescued from factory farms or adopted from animal shelters. I think the key is that they are acquired ethically (without paying for them in a way that furthers animal exploitation) and that they are not exploited or used in any way other than them just being there and doing what they naturally do. For domesticated animals, I guess this would resemble a parent-child relationship, where you look after them, but allow them to grow and mature on their own.

As for using eggs, I read a thoughtful post about why even totally free-range eggs would not be vegan, which partially had to do with the chickens eating unfertilized eggs to regain the calcium lost in producing it. I don't have any personal experience with chickens, so I can't speak to the accuracy of that viewpoint, though I would tend to hold that eggs are not vegan.

I also just want to say that I think permaculture is a great extension of my veganism as it incorporates a respect for the whole natural ecosystem into the picture that is not present with other forms of agriculture. For city-dwellers, veganism has a far lower impact on the environment than eating animal products, but I think permaculture is the way of the future. It's the only way to ensure humanity's needs are met. Period. But it's also the only way we can do it while also rehabilitating all of the damaged land and ecosystems around the globe. While not all permies will necessarily be vegan, I am confident that all vegans should support permaculture.

Also, I just wanted to add that I really respect the Jain practice. It predates veganism and is really more comprehensive. Since I've gone vegan, I've also become more sensitive towards all life and don't really like hurting or killing anything. However, survival does dictate some kind of diet and veganism is pretty comprehensive, perhaps only outdone by the Jain and fruitarians. Perhaps once I am able to develop my food forest I can get closer to those ideals. For now though, I'm still living in the city, which makes that quite a bit more difficult. There just isn't a huge variety of fruits available where I live. There are plenty of vegetables though. To achieve a diet that seeks to minimize all harm to other life is something that takes time and energy to develop. For the jain, it's been culturally developed and passed on through generations. For the rest of us interested in such an approach, it might take some time.
5 years ago
Hey Bill!

Yeah, I have definitely learned a lot here. I am always amazed at the vegetable selection. It's far more diverse than I am used to seeing in supermarkets back home. I've also seen some farming here. It's definitely not permaculture, but at least the majority of what I've seen isn't industrial agriculture. I hope I am able to bring some seeds back home with me.

I don't plan on leaving China for good, but will likely try to maintain a dual presence to some extent. That's especially true since my fiancé is Chinese and will hopefully be going back with me.

I am sure things will feel weird at first. Things are different than I have gotten used to here, the situation will be totally different from before and I'm different as well. I guess that's to be expected. I'll manage though. I've dealt with being out of place here for nearly 4 years.
5 years ago
I am currently living in Central/Southern China in Changsha, Hunan province. All the soil here is red clay and before really discovering permaculture recently had no idea that there was anything that could be done with it. I will actually be moving back to the US this summer. But for now, I have discovered an eroded plot of land on the mountain next to my apartment that looks like it has previously been farmed and abandoned. So I plan on just putting some concepts into practice while I'm here so I can get a bit of a foundation in permaculture.

I studied music in college, but in my last couple years there I rediscovered the wonders of nature and started gardening and growing some of my own vegetables. After graduation I moved to China and have been living here for the past three years or so. I have been limited to small containers for my gardening, even though I've been yearning for some actual dirt to get busy with. Now armed with a passion for permaculture, I'm even more hungry for it. Recently, a local friend told me that generally people just do their vegetable gardening where they like and I don't really need any kind of permission or ownership. So I've decided to start experimenting with a bit of land no one is likely to be using soon. So far, I've just started by collecting some wood and leaves nearby the site and moving my home compost onto the site. I'm planning to make it into a kind of makeshift hugelkulture mound so I will have something to work with other than the clay. Other than that, I've just thrown a few seeds around in case any of it is able to take hold. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it and how far I can develop it in the 5 or 6 months I will be here. If nothing else, I hope to leave the land better off than it is now. Who knows, maybe if I'm lucky and put enough thought and work into it, I might be able to pant a few cognitive seeds in local minds and get someone here interested in permaculture.

There will be plenty of rain here until the summer kicks in, so I have that going for me.

My long term goals involve getting out of (student loan) debt and finding some land somewhere that I can really develop into a food forest. I am independently minded and hope to develop that into real world autonomy, where I can support myself and those I love and care about. I will be totally starting over again when I get back home, so I don't really *know* what I'm going to do, but I hope to either pursue music professionally & full-time (if I can support myself and my fiance doing it) or get deeply into permaculture and work my way up to having my own property that I can transform into a permaculture paradise, thus giving me the autonomy to develop my music without needing a day job to pay rent and eat. That's more or less the idea anyways, the general trajectory if you will.

I read through a few of the more recent introductions and I just want to say that I look forward to getting to know all of you! I know there are a growing number of us permies and that it may not be feasible to know everyone, but that just makes me more excited and hopeful for the future. ^_^
5 years ago