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Summary

Credit: Kevin Murphy

Geoff Lawton reached out to Paul to discuss the peoples questions. Paul explained how the forum generated a lot of questions. Some of the questions were answered by other forum members. Paul thought that they should focus on the tougher questions.

Question: How can trees generate more moisture thru condensation? What is the critical number of trees needed.

Geoff: The leave area is critical to the solution. The more surface area a tree has in leaves the better. In a dryland system the hardiest of trees and tress that can reduce loss due to wind are important. You sequence fast pathways of trees. It is hard to estimate what the density should be. In the inner zones where human interaction occurs some species such as legumes are to spikey. You want to aim your goal at trees that are pioneers. Less spikey trees are better. One crucial species are the succulant ground covers. High gel leaves on ground covers work very well, one that works well is ice pratt. Geoff thinks that when you get those ground covers they insulate the soil and you speed up the sequences. The denser the foilage the better. Fast tracking the sequences with diversity thru pioneer succession will work best. Geoff stated that windbreaks that reduce the wind and also collect airborne nutrients. Windbreaks will also create shade and reduce evaporation. You build on the benefical plants you have to look at when the best time is to sequence things out.

In the video with the gabion baskets, when there are people who live in a flood plain, Pauls suggestion is that people should move out of a floodplain. If you build good soil in the flood plain there is a chance that soil coming in would be polluted with toxic gick. Especially if there is a large rain event. Rather than gabion baskets a C shaped berm might work as well. Geoff mentioned a type of irrigation called SPATE that is popular with the UN. These are used just off the edge of a waterway and used to settle out water carrying soil. Silt is deposited on the downstream side and organic matter on the upstream side. Geoff made a video about using Bamboo to trap silt.

A person asked a question about doing work in third world countries Geoff felt that its easier to work with people in the third world because they are still in touch with the land. A question was asked about what to do with the waste of a food forest.. Food forest need to be pruned pretty regularly. Paul feels that one of the great things about a food forest is that they keep producing wether people are there or not...what people do not take the wildlife do. Geoff discusses his second food forest dvd and wants to know if people want to see food forest 2. Paul asks Geoff for more details about the dvd. Geoff was amazed at what occurs within the food forest in jordan. It has a massive legume tree system. Paul asks Geoff what his future plans are as the education thru online pdc is taking off. Geoff is interested in doing what is best for all. He likes that he could teach so many in one class. The social component of the class amazed Geoff. Geoff mentioned how people stay on. The community is growing at an amazing rate. Geoff wants to get as much info out to people as possible. Geoff has a three hour earthworks course available as well. He likes that he does not have to travel as much. Getting info out can now be more of a focus. He has about 175 more videos. Paul has a ton of video which he is thinking of releasing soon too. Paul points out how each site is so different. Geoff explains how the dvd makes surveying so very simple. The videos are short enough and simple enough that they can be viewed over and over until people understand them. Geoff is happy if someone else can do it better. If someone signed up they can keep attending over and over. Geoff hopes to keep the momentum going. Paul asks if people step away can they attend in the future. Geoff will allow people to watch the next videos. You can help other students but you wont be able to ask questions. Geoff feels this is the way to go.

Keeping with scale is there a limit and how far can greening the desert go? Geoff feels there is a limit. But over large broad areas eventually it will take off on its own. Will mycellium play a larger role in the next pdc with respect to design. Geoff says that yes it will. There are a number of high tech ways to apply mycellium to speed the process up.

Question came in about how a previous participant can continue to learn. Design projects continue to come in.
Stats on 2013 course how many people attended! Videos got watched up to five times. Patterns got watched a lot along with waterworks. Geoff thinks 1500 students took the class. 90% got their certificate. The quality of the designs was amazing.

Question: How will info be distributed. On line information will be made available thru a hosting service. Geoff likes the dvd because people enjoy getting packages. Paul remembers programming with paper tape. They dicuss how technology has changed so much.

Question: Where would Geoff like to go to work. Geoff does not have any particular place in mind. Geoff likes to work where people are in the worse trouble. War zones are are probably the worst places to work. The better you get the tougher the invites. Geoff wants to be unemployable. Where everyone knows permaculture. Geoff would like to do a permaculture garden at the UN in NY City. What would Geoff do with a million dollars? A million does not go far in the aid world. Paul asks if he would set up a few projects. Geoff would like a few billion and would extend permaculture sites all over the world with training centers. They would set up kits with really capable people set up in all the climates and all the different landscape profiles. Paul has an idea about how to prove permaculture can work by buying 2 million acres in the desert. Geoff suggests trying it in Neveda or Arizona maybe. Paul thinks picking a famous place would work better by being more famous. Pauls goal is to get it to grow on its own. Geoff wants to help people where Paul wants to prove it works.

Permaculture works for agriculture. Are there example of Permaculture working on mines?
Geoff says the a lot of Permaculture is done on mining reclamation sites. How do we make sustainability cooler? As more people become aware and it becomes more popular it is taking off and becoming cooler. Should the focus be on food shelter energy income producing assets? Yes all of them. Value of a developed property is typically underestimated. Daily needs are food and clean water. A garden is a good first start. How to get large scale ag to buy in? You need to diversify their systems on a small scale. We redesign the supply line and we scaled things out of order and now they are destructive. They need to rescale and reposition so they are more stable. Paul thinks money can attract farmers to gain interest. Permaculture scales well to large scale ag by doing some pilot projects. Paul says by subdividing farms into small chunks and cooperate. Geoff likes the idea of making a portion of the large tracts woodland and then trial main crops within the forests. By growing easy crops we can get farmers interested. Prices are going down so farmers are looking to make more money. Localism is the way to diversify. Subsidies aside maybe the farmer can start to feed his chickens potatoes there by raising the value of the crop. Paul feels if you took subsidies organic food would be cheaper than the chem ag one. Geoff feels the government should subsidize the gentle shift from chem ag to Permaculture.

Geoff wants to continue but has chores to do. He ended by saying how he would like to continue the conversation with Paul at a point in the near future.

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COMMENTS:
 
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Geoff answered a TON of my questions in this podcast- thanks PAUL for asking all my questions, I felt like Geoff really took my questions seriously and gave me some great answers. Also great job Paul on pronouncing my name- not many get so close to correct on the first try!

This podcast was a highlight of my weekend. I'm especially excited that Geoff had already thought through so many of my questions about the online PDC and had a plan in place. I'll jump right in with the next PDC as a veteran!
 
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I love Geoff! OK the coolest thing that I think he said was the dream about how he could build a desert reconstruction kit inside a shipping container where we would drop in permacultuer solders who would be the most bad ass permies you can think of! Like, Rambo, Crocodile Dundee, and Geoff Lawton all in one. These folks would be super trained with the knowledge to reconstruct a broken environment! Thinking Starship troopers but instead of being dropped form the sky to fight aliens they would dropped into a desert or destroyed landscape with the tool kit they need to repair the landscape. This last November I wrote a little novel about this idea and I hope to publish it as soon as I can, but Geoff had though of it first! he is one of the most great people working for change in our world!
 
the navigator
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I don't normally have the podcasts on repeat, but this time I have. Information dense and interesting - more so than usually. I love it, and look forward to the next!
 
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He mentions the problem of his videos being pirated, and whether it's worth producing new videos that he won't be able to sell because of the piracy. Paul, have you mentioned that you've had a hand in one or two successful Kickstarter campaigns? Raw footage that needs to be edited together sounds very familiar somehow....
 
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Tyler Young wrote:He mentions the problem of his videos being pirated, and whether it's worth producing new videos that he won't be able to sell because of the piracy. Paul, have you mentioned that you've had a hand in one or two successful Kickstarter campaigns? Raw footage that needs to be edited together sounds very familiar somehow....



I too noticed the piracy comments. I think part of the problem is availability. I had a hard time tracking down his 5 DVD set, and then shipping was as expensive as another DVD. I've tried to put a bug in Ecofilm's ear, but haven't heard back. I think a digital purchase on Amazon or iTunes could easily handle Digital Rights concerns AND make it MORE available. Total win!

Maybe Paul could mention something like this to Geoff? I don't care about credit for the idea, I just want to see his stuff in front of more eyeballs - without piracy.
 
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Aj Anderson wrote:I just want to see his stuff in front of more eyeballs - without piracy.



Ditto.

And what's sad is, just yesterday I found a pirated copy of one of his videos online and reported it. I wish this was an isolated case, but I've found pirated stuff of his online before. I don't even go looking for it - it just pops up when I'm searching for other stuff. So one can only imagine how much piracy is going on out there.

Yeah, I hope Frank at EcoFilms does come up with a streaming option.
 
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Listened three times and Geoff breaks up at an inconvenient time when he describes a project that reforested 35000 km^2 ("size of Belgium"). Sounded like something grotto, but my Google-fu failed me. Something like $1200 a hectare to reclaim it. Anyone have links to the project?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Michael - here you go. The project was on the Loess Plateau in central China

 
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Really enjoyed this podcast (and the others with Geoff, and pretty much everything with Geoff in it). Paul, thanks for asking my q . It is manifestly clear that Mr Geoff Lawton is a *genius*, but I'm massively impressed by his very practical grasp of the challenges that pertain and the difficulties in getting this into brains and into the suits who decide on ag policy. I was listening to the podcast driving from Belfast to Derry, past the beautiful green fields of Northern Ireland, with hedges running *down* the hills, *nothing* on contour, and even most of the plough furrows (where ploughed) running downhill. I agree with both Geoff and Paul - if Permaculture is to move beyond the half-acre level, it needs to pay. I would also say it needs some marketing - it's MORE scientific than the simplistic "science based" Big Ag models, and while a reductionist approach is really good for understanding elements of systems, reductionism is a crap way to actually *build* overall systems. Otherwise, as a medic, I'd be chopping the limbs off my patients to make them stay in one place, which would make them very easy to manage. Kinda. And I don't think anyone regards that as a sane way to manage humans; I'm not sure why we regard the equivalent as a sane way to generate our vegetables.

This is why we need folks like Paul, Geoff, Joel Salatin and John D Liu to get those concepts and ideas into the corridors of power and the wellies of the major land-owners, just as we need it in urban gardens and rural smallholdings.

Anyway, keep 'em coming - always great to hear from Sensei Geoff!
 
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If I had that funding you were talking about I'd like to reverse the "Dust Bowl" area and help people expand the work in all directions from there adding people as the circle spreads.
 
pollinator
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I had an idea regarding DVD's, not specific to permaculture but useful to it and other things.

I'd like an app for my computer that acts like a _regular bookshelf_.  shows me all the downloaded movies, sound files, and plans (pdf/jpg) that have _monetary_ value (i.e. I paid money for it at some point or I earned it as "candy" from some source), on a few screens.

Let's say I bought a physical book that was important to me and forgot about it, and every time I walked past my bookshelf each day I got a reminder that it was there--I might finally pick it up and get to reading it.  Or I might use it for reference.  With electronic media, I'd have to search for it in my hard drive, remmeber what search term to use, fool the search engine into searching for what I actually want vs. what it wants me to think I want, etc. (why have search engines gotten so bad? the robots are taking over).  

I could zoom in on this image with the usual finger gestures on my touchpad (same on a smartphone screen), and click on a "book"/dvd/pdf etc. and it would open.  

Simple.  No other features.  Nothing that makes it get grouped by different subjects.  Dewey decimal system all the way.  Just a regular, old-school, alphabetized library bookshelf, where you can see ALL of what you have at once.

Then streaming/downloaded electronic media could be as solidly in my consciousness as physical books.  

For example, I have the SKiP book (ebook) and I have been really excited about that project for a while, but I've only opened it once and then forgotten to look at it again because it's not in front of my nose where I'll see it.  I am forgetful, and life has lots of distractions.  Maybe for that one I do need to buy a physical book too, but it would be great if it were already in my physical space.

And this app could make the library bookshelf image appear on my sleep screen and on my desktop background (periodically, if there isn't mouse/touchpad activity).  

It's great how much stuff there is and how generous people are with giving away content...I'd love it to be organized for me.

Even the "Finder" feature on the mac seems to have an agenda of its own now...I hate how things start auto-searching before I've even finished typing in what I'm searching for, imagine how annoyed you'd be if someone started running off to find a book while you're still only halfway through telling them the title of the book you wanted?  And it does not in any way show all of what I have on one screen in any meaningful way.  My iTunes library only shows audio files, and these are a mixture of music and podcasts (bookshelf content).  There's no simple "bookshelf" feature that I know of that exists.  (Well I will check the app store and see if someone already came up with this but I'm skeptical).

If the Permaculture Institute nonprofit funded the creation of an app like this, it could be a great service and also dedicate a small amount of ad space on it to permaculture-only advertisement.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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To clarify, I don't want _every_ download I ever downloaded to be on my "bookshelf"--just the ones that I either a) paid for or b) got as a free gift.  Maybe when downloading things the app will pop up a popup and ask you "is this paid?" and you have to check a box before the popup will leave you alone.  I don't need all my downloads of some map or random photo clogging up all the rocket mass heater designs and eBooks.
 
Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? - Fred Rogers. Tiny ad:
Profitable Permaculture in the Far North with Richard Perkins - Gracie's backyard
https://permies.com/wiki/133872/videos/Profitable-Permaculture-North-Richard-Perkins
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