• From Adrian Hodgson on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

    Thanks for this tree colony model Amber. This had me thinking about what statistician George Box said: “all models are wrong, some are more useful than others”.

    Taking this aphorism as an axiom for my design practice I have been playing around with the idea that patterns become frameworks when we select them as potentially useful, they then become models when we begin to apply them to our thinking, and seen as they are inherently wrong (but some are useful) we can try to use at least 2 or 3 of them to strengthen our relationship to what we are trying to explore/interpret. An unlikely pattern choice can reveal the unseen.

    Ultimately this may just be a wild-design technique to add to my design proceeedures, though it has led to some interesting insights for me and helps me try to take some of the ideas that have been shared here lately into the realm of the practical.

    .. What an enchanting forest gap this space has been.. to sit on the log of this fallen tree and to contemplate things that could only be thought in just this place. Daydreaming a little, the light flits through the leaves at a penetrating angle.. it is late afternoon..

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    2019/12/01 at 7:56 am
  • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

    Forgive me for another long post, I’m in between jobs and have too much time on my hands. This is the most important post I wanted to make regarding the recent conversations though.

    I want to offer one more wrench into the works about this conversation around Potential. I see a danger that’s similar to our discussion on Development, where we are intending a different meaning from the colloquial usages. We must be very deliberate with our language, especially because we are discussing things that border on the indescribable (wholeness), which tends to prefer eloquent poetic illustration rather than rational dissection.

    I think there’s a problem of perspective in this definition of Potential. It’s particularly noticeable to me around defining the unique character of a place, project or being. We have to rely on someone’s subjective perspective of something objective, which is a problem in a culture that places such a massive chasm between subjective and objective. Then we use that same subjective perspective to describe what is currently called for in the immediate, local, and greater wholes it is nested within. And finally, we subjectively speculate about what actions could harmonize the unique character and what we think is needed in the future. So whoever gets to decide and name those aspects of another being is extremely important, because the potential must change with who’s mind is filtering the present and future conditions of a place or being, and especially with their perspective on the means of resolving those conditions.

    I don’t believe in such a rigid difference between subjective and objective perspectives, but their separation is palpable throughout our culture. The definition for Potential that we’re discussing may not save us from property owners making the same decisions they always have regarding their investments, namely short-term, exploitative and profitable decisions. Who gets to decide what the unique character is, what the pertinent conditions and needs are, and how to harmonize them can be a kind of gatekeeper whose own vision and intention are the driving force of their place’s development.

    So how do we reconcile this idea of a place’s inherent unique character and it’s current conditions with the problem of subjective perspective and its associated intentions? My guess is, *there is no inherent potential of a place that is separate from the intentions of it’s inhabitants.* Therefore, it is the intentions and worldviews of people that are the key leverage point in any place’s development and potential. So the highest value work is the cultivation of a culture that can maintain life-affirming intentions for generations, which means that we have to learn to make decisions bearing fruit that we will never see.

    Finally, I’ll reply below with an excerpt on Potential from a favorite book of mine, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble by Stephen Jenkinson. He weaves an excellent narrative for the kind of village-mindedness that many people seek, especially Holmgren in his latest Retrosuburbia. In this chapter, he wonders about the history of colonization and the ways by which it demoralizes and exterminates place-based narratives and cultures. He makes a riveting case that the primary mechanism of colonial oppression is in our language. Through verbal reinforcement, a culture could be assimilated into the dominant culture within two generations by cutting the children and grandchildren off from their ancestors and linguistic traditions. In the first generation, there is trauma and cultural devastation, but by the second and third generations, those events are mere history, and the future of the West is far more captivating. Jenkinson lists four linguistic habits that feed our place-based poverty: The Universal, The Eternal, The Potential and The Inevitable. He refers to them as spells because they are so casually recognized and spoken, and yet so powerful in affecting our worldviews and what we believe is possible.

    Thanks again for all your patience with my long posts, I hope this isn’t leading our conversation too astray. It’s a privilege to have the time and space here to share my thoughts on the wonderful conversations Dan has been hosting!

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    2019/12/04 at 3:02 am
    • From makingpermaculturestronger on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      Thanks again Trevor I so appreciate opportunities to consider and refine our language and the frameworks/stories/perspectives informing it. Potential is totally a kind of buzz word that so often gets used in problematic ways, one of these being so future focused the past gets left behind and we miss out on the present. I look forward to musing further on this and I’m also drawn to relating it to the idea of possibility and navigating possibility. As for the subjective/objective thing your guess re reconciling resonates though I’m enjoying moving from the concept of ‘leverage’ to ‘nodal intervention’ point in my thinking thanks to Carol Sanford’s prompt.

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      2019/12/13 at 8:35 am
    • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      The Potential
      Chances are that some well-meaning teacher offered this to you, in the name of inspiring you or goading you: “You’re not living up to your potential.” When you hear this as an older person, it amounts not to inspiration but indictment. Apparently everyone else can see who and what you should be and do with yourself, and how to do it, though the self-evidence is lost on you. Alas, it seems that it may not be in your potential to live up to it. If you hear this as a young student, you are cast adrift on the secret sea of “could be.”

      Potential means something like “could be, but isn’t.” Held to a standard of “maybe,” young peoples’ potential is fated to remain an allegation. Forever in the future, drawing you towards itself, somehow more authentically real than you are—that’s your potential.

      Well then, what is the potential of whatever history you studied? What is the potential of children who are stillborn? What is the potential of the aged, the played-out, the spent? I know the instinct rises here to placate and to cheerlead, and I feel it myself. But allow the usual understanding of potential to run its course, and let the claim of the thing, its self-evidence, weaken as it will, and do you notice how little potential there is in the going, and none in the gone? That’s because potential requires a future, because potential is a hope-addled addiction to the virtual, to the fresh and clean, to the promise, to the untainted. To heaven, in other words.

      Never mind what’s been done, the dross of possibility not quite realized. What’s yet to be: that’s where the best part of us appears. That is as fundamental an article of faith in the West as there is.

      But prod this bit of the architecture of hope and faith, and mortar starts to fall away. If the future is the repository of the best part of us—for that is the faith architecture of progress, of evolution—what or who are we now to those who came before? Are we not their future? Are we not the best part of them shimmering into the world, into time? Are we not what they might have been, just as surely as the present is the past’s future. Are we not either the incarnation of their potential, or its exhaustion, or both?

      If that is who we are, the irretrievable playing out of what they could have been if only…, then is this the machinery of progress we’ve been tinkering with and relying upon for a good while now? Are we the betterment of our forbears? And if potential is that perpetual motion machine that grinds the past into raw material for a brave new us, could it be that the spell of potentiality that we labour under is what keeps our ancestors from us?

      No, we are not potential anythings. We are meant and dreamt somethings.”

      Excerpt From: Stephen Jenkinson. “Come of Age.”

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      2019/12/04 at 3:03 am
  • From Meg McGowan on Adrian Hodgson's Sketches on Design Process Ecology and Succession

    Hi Dan,
    Loving these explorations. I’ve been tossing around the client interview process. I have always done it after sector and site, but when I teach I acknowledge that many designers interview the client first. Recently I had a clear thought around why I don’t work this way. My friend and fellow designer, Sandi Pointner, said this:
    “When we were looking for land to buy, people used to ask us what we wanted to do with it. They seemed confused when I told them that I wouldn’t know what we were going to do with it until we found the right piece of land, did our sector and site analysis, and allowed the land to let us know what it needed, and what its potential might be.”
    The human ego inclines us towards anthropocentric thinking, where human needs take precedence over everything else. Surely one of the primary aims of permaculture is to turn this around and to reconnect us to our place in the natural world; to understand that we must first care for the earth before we ask what the earth can do for us. There’s a blog post coming (of course! :D)
    Now I’m shifting the client interview to even later in the design cycle and working on a model where we reconnect people to place, help them to read their own landscape in an evolving and ongoing way so that they can restore and rehabilitate before they reap and impose. How do we get people to understand that food production is not the aim of permaculture, but one of the many techniques we use to minimise our impact (at least) or to restore ecosystems (at best).
    Here’s my new favourite definition:
    Permaculture is an ethically based design pattern for creating and maintaining systems that rebuild ecological health while providing for human needs.
    I agree with Rowe: I am yet to see a design task that isn’t improved by applying the permaculture pattern. I appreciate that it is not the only design tool available to us, but it is a consistently powerful and effective one. What a debt we owe to David and Bill.
    I hope your health issues have resolved and that the move wasn’t too distressing for your family. I’m very much looking forward to the advanced design course next year.
    Best wishes
    PS: Your recaptcha is still glitching 😀

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    2019/12/13 at 6:39 pm
  • From Jason Gerhardt on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

    I appreciate the ongoing attention to these topics. I still feel there has to be a successional process to generative transformation or to living through a different paradigm or anything that differs from where one is currently, but I’m sincerely sitting and practicing design with it and seeing what comes up. I have no final answer. One thing that keeps coming up in regard to the “to map or not to map” dichotomy is the map in my consciousness. I think that’s the crux of the matter whether I draw it on paper/screen, lay it out with bales, bricks, stakes and flags, or never articulate it materially before grabbing a shovel or directing an excavator operator. The question I’ve been most deeply with is, ‘so what’s the difference if it all comes through consciousness?’ I think the crux is HOW we are using our consciousness (and therefore how anyone working with us is using their consciousness), which is what I think Shane was getting at with “mastery” (or attitude). For example, HOW does one actually distinguish between whether one is interpreting or observing, or projecting or being more authentically present? My best insight here is that we need to start teaching about consciousness in Permaculture. The curriculum is fairly comprehensive about how so many things work and how we work with those things, but has very little to offer about how WE work, and further, hasn’t been giving us the tools to continually be aware of ourselves working. Design is just decision making, and that is conscious action. Consciousness, then, seems like a most important place to start. It’s where I will be starting the discussion of design process with my upcoming PDC. In fact, I will be weaving it through the whole course. We’ll see what comes out. (I know, I know, Bill Mollison is rolling in his grave screaming ‘NO WOO WOO!’ Sorry, buddy, but it’s all consciousness, and that ain’t no woo woo.)

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    2020/01/01 at 9:14 am
    • From Shane Ward on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

      “I think the crux is HOW we are using our consciousness (and therefore how anyone working with us is using their consciousness), which is what I think Shane was getting at with “mastery” (or attitude). For example, HOW does one actually distinguish between whether one is interpreting or observing, or projecting or being more authentically present?”
      Exactly! 🙂
      It’s the ‘talking with’ rather than ‘talking to’ (the landscape) distinction..
      I’m trying to tease out this idea alongside Dan that if we aren’t conscious of our own role in the process and mindful of what we bring with us (hopes, agendas, patterns, expectations and & assumptions) then we start doing things TO the land again (which is what got us into this mess), and disconnect us from the reality of where we are – as many of us are not able to benefit from generations of deep local knowledge of our particular landscape any more – so gigging designers and those newer to it are starting from scratch (sort of) on each new site.
      If we go too far back into how we ‘feel’ (unquestioningly) about any element/plan etc, then it becomes much more of an ego-driven exercise where ‘the customer (us/the client) are always right’ and we repeat the mistakes again.
      All of this takes time, practice and self-awareness of where we are on our learning journeys etc – hence the mastery bit. You stumble and/or succeed enough and you get better at reading the signs and sensing which paths to take and so on. In the balance of ‘what the land/person wants’ – Bill leaned towards the land, and I kind of sympathise.
      For too long we’ve been imposing patterns, and it’s a hard habit to break. Even when we try to be better and walk the sustainable path, it’s all too common to see people fresh to Permaculture design instinctively do this (herb spirals, swales, hugelmounds anyone? lol), clinging to stamping familiar tropes, and therefore this idea of making sure we understand how we work and why we’re making choices is important.

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      2020/01/05 at 11:49 am
  • From Meg McGowan on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

    Oh it’s all making me tired and confused. Maybe it’s the fires. Maybe it’s my lack of an academic education. So many complex ideas.

    I read it. Shook my head. Went for a walk. Came back and read it again. I think it’s all moved to a place that I struggle to understand, and perhaps that’s the point. I’m past my edge and out into the land beyond, but far from making me feel energised and inspired it has left me feeling confused and overwhelmed. I find a small, chewable chunk:

    “….doesn’t ask people what they want, and if they tell her, mostly ignores it (because what people say they want is so often different to the thing that would most reveal and manifest their essence and potential right now, not to mention being contaminated with however many limiting models and paradigms)”

    Okay, this one sort of resonates with some thinking I’ve been doing around client interviews and the ongoing discussion about whether we should do them before or after site and sector. It occurred to me recently that starting with client’s wishes/visions/dreams/desires/needs is about as anthropocentric as it gets. Finally I have clear reasoning for wanting to learn all I can about the site first, and to determine what the earth needs in this particular location. I also think this process should include the client in a kind of ‘allow me to introduce you to this land’ kind of way and I’m redesigning our coaching model to do this. I’m hopeful that this will shift them from wish list thinking to genuine connection with place and a deep desire to cooperate with nature rather than impose human will upon it.

    So I get not asking people what they want. And also the idea that goal setting can be limited by our current thinking (my latest blog post includes thoughts on this topic) but I am sorry to say the rest is beyond me. I might circle back again later and see if I can do better.

    Happy New Year Dan and thank you for all of the amazing and wonderful conversations, blog posts and deep thinking. You’re an inspiration.

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    2020/01/01 at 1:00 pm
  • From Meg McGowan on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

    Oh it’s all making me tired and confused. Maybe it’s the fires. Maybe it’s my lack of an academic education. So many complex ideas.

    I read it. Shook my head. Went for a walk. Came back and read it again. I think it’s all moved to a place that I struggle to understand, and perhaps that’s the point. I’m past my edge and out into the land beyond, but far from making me feel energised and inspired it has left me feeling confused and overwhelmed. I find a small, chewable chunk:

    “….doesn’t ask people what they want, and if they tell her, mostly ignores it (because what people say they want is so often different to the thing that would most reveal and manifest their essence and potential right now, not to mention being contaminated with however many limiting models and paradigms)”

    Okay, this one sort of resonates with some thinking I’ve been doing around client interviews and the ongoing discussion about whether we should do them before or after site and sector. It occurred to me recently that starting with client’s wishes/visions/dreams/desires/needs is about as anthropocentric as it gets. Finally I have clear reasoning for wanting to learn all I can about the site first, and to determine what the earth needs in this particular location. I also think this process should include the client in a kind of ‘allow me to introduce you to this land’ kind of way and I’m redesigning our coaching model to do this. I’m hopeful that this will shift them from wish list thinking to genuine connection with place and a deep desire to cooperate with nature rather than impose human will upon it.

    So I get not asking people what they want. And also the idea that goal setting can be limited by our current thinking (my latest blog post includes thoughts on this topic) but I am sorry to say the rest is beyond me. I might circle back again later and see if I can do better.

    Happy New Year Dan and thank you for all of the amazing and wonderful conversations, blog posts and deep thinking. You’re an inspiration.

    PS: recaptcha is still glitching 😀

    Go to comment
    2020/01/01 at 1:01 pm
    • From Meg McGowan on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

      Okay, I just followed the link to Carol’s take on nature and on loving people and seeing their potential and I’m feeling much better. Loved it. Yes.
      If we only work with those that agree with us and share our perspective and our values, then we are disconnected, the opposite of what we are hoping to achieve. To love ALL people is one of the great challenges.

      Sorry, I seem to have posted my previous comment twice! Feel free to delete the other one.

      Go to comment
      2020/01/01 at 1:09 pm
  • From Ian on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

    My first take is similar to Meg’s. Will I read it a second time? Maybe. All those “Nevers” are confronting. Which seems to be the intention. But I don’t find Carol is bringing new or useful stuff for me, and as Dan says at one point, contradicting herself sometimes. If she is so much into disruption, could be useful for some/many. But so much of my permie-related conversations with so many skilled and competent change agents have been along these lines already. So perhaps I’m needing exactly what I’m reading in the MPS blog 🙂 [smile] Multipl re-inventions of the wheel may be what we need to change business as ususl.

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    2020/01/01 at 9:13 pm
  • From Christopher Milton Dixon on Shane Ward on the Carol Sanford and Jason Gerhart Episodes

    Oh, my. So much going on here!

    On Carol, disruption is certainly what we need. It takes an event and energy to make change. Change is by definition something different.

    One thing different about movies and landscapes is that movies trend towards the linear, while landscapes have a linear path but also a depth and breadth too. And, the design path of a movie in this example is 3x, a landscape has all of our efforts, plus the efforts of each and every one of the beings in it.

    What would a design process look like if it was not linear? How would would we hold a vision of the whole? What if we don’t even hold that vision but take direction? Makes me think of the telescope vs. the microscope.

    What would a design process be like if it was 100% co-creative?

    How do we get out of the way of our own performance?

    I have been inspired by this video on counter mapping:

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    2020/01/04 at 10:05 pm
  • From Janie on Dan Palmer's Journey with Permaculture Design Process and David Holmgren's Response (E11)

    Hi Dan,

    I have just listened to this in preparation for Saturdays workshop at Catherines. It resonated so strongly with my own journey as an Occupational Therapist working in Mental Health, and the deconstruction of Health. Thank you for articulating this process and sharing your story! There are so many parallels also with OT and Recovery, and your reflections.

    I really truly wanted a road map, paint by numbers, to achieve a particular outcome that I thought was my clients or at least what they needed! I used to come up with grand master detailed plans and expect them to be implemented with a specific out come at the end.

    When I finally stepped back from needing to be the expert with a process and knowledge that was going fix people or get them their goals, and instead truly “be” with people, walk alongside them, being responsive day to day, and practice mindfulness in my work, I felt a great relief and started enjoying my mahi more, and the relationships were more authentic. We use small slow solutions. I get to observe and interact as peoples vision/goals/expectations/dreams change and evolve in response in response to reflections and discoveries made along the way! I have only been able to do this as we have been able to develop a way of working as a service that has enabled such freedom to focus on how we do things as opposed to what our outcomes are.

    Anyway looking forward to meeting you on Saturday!

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    2020/01/14 at 4:09 pm
  • From Kathy Killinger on Joel Glanzberg: Continuing the conversation about permaculture and working to regenerate whole living systems (E20)

    I wanted to say how much I enjoyed both of your interviews with Joel Glanzberg. I’m not trained in permaculture but am exploring patterns in nature as a way to understand economies and cities. I found my way to your podcasts following a Twitter trail. After writing pages of notes, I’m feeling grateful for Joel’s perspectives on applying permaculture principles in a variety of settings and inspired to delve more deeply into this work. Thanks!!!

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    2020/01/27 at 8:55 am
  • From Han Kortekaas on In Dialogue with Dave Jacke (E06)

    I’m catching up on some older podcasts from before I discovered the series, and damn, this was a great episode! There is so much here, it’s amazing.

    Something that stuck out is this interpretation of ‘A Pattern Language’ as then just assembling a bunch of patterns together instead of patterning being an integrated approach to designing a site. It just hits me in relation to software development, which is another field that has been heavily influenced by Christopher Alexander’s ‘A Pattern Language’ and consequently there have been many books written about Design Patterns and how to apply them and in which situations (searching “software patterns” on Amazon in the category books gives you 7000 hits, just sayin’). Everyone is talking patterns, but almost always it’s in a context of: “Okay, we wanna do ‘this’, so let’s apply the strategy pattern here.” So it is very much about assembly.

    So what would it mean to think of these patterns differently, more integrated? I don’t know what the answer is. Code, in its artificiality, also doesn’t have the same boundaries, restrictions, etc. as living systems, though there is something alive about code as well. In any case, it is very interesting and I feel there is something we as software developers can learn from this perspective.

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    2020/01/27 at 10:13 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on In Dialogue with Dave Jacke (E06)

      Hey Han delayed reply but thanks for this. I must track down Dave and hit him up for another chat actually. Alexander’s Nature of Order series was largely about fleshing out a non assembly approach to using patterns within an authentic unfolding process – territory I’m hoping to get stuck into on the blog and podcast this year!

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      2020/03/13 at 2:52 pm
  • From Jason Ross on What permaculture isn’t - Guest Post by Meg McGowan

    Kia ora! Its nice to image you in a relaxed flow of gardening and design Dan!

    Your definition inspired an even more wordy version here on a rainy day in Southern Aotearoa

    I pluralised “pattern” added principles and swapped in “guide” for design. “Design” has singular, finalised masterplan and static connotations. Can we do without it or do we reclaim and re-define it? Heres a version without “design” just to see how it feels…

    Permaculture uses ethically based principles & patterns for guiding evolving systems to simultaneously increase ecological health and provide for human needs

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    2020/02/04 at 3:24 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on What permaculture isn’t - Guest Post by Meg McGowan

      Kia ora Jason! Be so good to catch up again one of these years :-). Meg’s definition you mean and nice suggestion. What I like most is your question which is a big one: “Can we do without design or do we reclaim and re-define it?”

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      2020/03/13 at 2:49 pm
  • From Bill on Nested Communities of Permaculture Design (E32)

    I so enjoy watching and learning from this process you are in Dan. I mentioned the book “Mastery” by George Leonard in a previous comment. To me it looks like you (we?) are in the process outlined by Leonard (and others) as progressing through predictable steps/phases leading to the unconscious competence point ie: mastery. I can identify this as a heuristic process where we are co-developing our understanding of the field while advancing the field itself.

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    2020/03/13 at 9:32 pm
  • From Manuel Higgs Morgado on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

    Brilliant conversation! Kept me awake later than I expected, but was profoundly worth it: to reframe my mind yet again.
    Carol Sanford crafts inspirational insights for this movement and everyone in general, honestly. What a simple way of beautifully describing the complexity of being an empathetic social being in an ever-changing world which is Alive. May you be safe from parasites and viruses, Dan while finding the tame to share and curate amazing content for all of us. I am very curious about how these philosophical inquiries will come to merge with your design ones.

    All the best,

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    2020/03/25 at 3:02 pm
  • From Meg McGowan on Nested Communities of Permaculture Design (E32)

    Oh thank you Dan,
    I finally got my head around what you mean by ‘nested’ and it’s awesome. My brain wants to pop it into a three dimensional model with all kinds of nodes and connections but I believe that the two dimensional model is the best way to understand the concept. No doubt you have already considered the various ven diagrams of associated communities: Those interested in design but not aware of permaculture, those whose culture or predisposition sees them living in a way that is completely aligned to permaculture although they are unfamiliar with the concept or even the word, and so on. I also think there is significant leverage in aligned communities of practice and enquiry. As an example, I have had students with a strong background in horticulture, bush regeneration and even corporate sustainability who readily transfer all of that knowledge and experience into a permaculture framework and accelerate their progression to becoming part of a community of enquiry.
    I enjoyed your reflections upon the PDC and make the observation that the extent to which people translate the learning to practice has much to do with the curriculum and the quality of the teaching. There is often a strong focus on the bodies of knowledge that inform design (climate, topography, soil etc) rather than a strong focus on ACTUAL designing, and for me this has been the difference between those that remain in a community of interest and those that shift to practice. I have them complete their first design (a courtyard garden) by day three and share each phase of the design process with each other throughout the course. We cover the bodies of knowledge by having students read the text in their own time (we are using Rowe) and then discussing the relevance of the content to design in a seminar format when we come back together. This gives us much more time for actual designing. I teach the design patterns as universally applicable to any design task and we use learning games to demonstrate this. Once students understand the model they can integrate it into their lives. As a consequence, design tasks have included zone 0, bush regeneration practice, school and community gardens, a motor mechanic business, a restaurant business, a catering business, a market gardening business and a social enterprise involving the local university. These are not theoretical. The design work has actually occurred and the redesigned contexts continue to demonstrate a capacity to rebuild the ecological health of the planet while providing for human needs. As the design spiral continues to be applied their capacity to do both with grow.
    I have also found that our part time model operating in the alternative economy, where students ‘pay’ for their course with hours helping in the garden, sees a much stronger translation from theory to practice. I attribute this to hour-for-hour hands on experience. This is consistent with best practice in adult education which reminds us that what adults don’t apply within around three months of learning will be lost. I agree with your observation about many people doing a PDC, or several, and remaining within the community of interest and feel this may be due to the two-week full-time format as it is commonly taught. We are also teaching locally and building a learning community that continue to support each other as they implement their designs. It’s made a big difference. Having seen each other’s work during the course it’s both a reinforcement of that learning and an incentive to act. Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. To change the outcome, redesign the system. I started with a stated goal of “more permaculture on the ground”, having made the same observations as you about the PDC not necessarily translating to changes in behaviour.
    The other mechanism we have developed for getting things happening on the ground is our coaching model, Permacoach. We’re seeing people from both the community of interest and the community of practice asking for our support. The challenge has been to pitch the support at the right level. This service is also useful for those that have been ‘shot out of a PDC’ because it provides them with ongoing support and encouragement.
    I was planning on presenting our model at the APC to support others that are part of the communities of practice and enquiry, but sadly COVID-19 put a stop to that. Hopefully I’ll still be around next year. I called the presentation “A case study: How we permacultured our permaculture” because essentially that’s all we did: A small group of us within the community of enquiry applied the permaculture design model to our practice and redesigned it. I encourage others to do the same. The list we developed as part of our ‘site analysis’ had much in common with yours. It’s early days, but all signs point to the redesigned model having better outcomes. For me, the single greatest difference is the extent to which students move from interest to practice BEFORE the PDC concludes, and the extent to which they remain part of that community post PDC. So far that’s tracking at 100%. I anticipate that at some point we’ll see someone that just doesn’t respond to our teaching and I hope to be able to adapt the model to meet their needs if/when that happens.
    So thank you, once again, for another brilliant post. It’s helped me to clarify my thinking and reminded me that part of good designing is reapplying the spiral. Now is a good time to do that with all this time on my hands. To what extent can I move what we are doing into closer alignment with the ethics and principles? There are always opportunities for growth and improvement, if only because change is constant and the model must adapt or become redundant (but also because growth and improvement are fun and deeply satisfying).
    Finally, I make the observation that your nested model looks like the rings of a tree. You really did cut it down! 🙂

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    2020/03/26 at 10:10 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Nested Communities of Permaculture Design (E32)

      Thanks Meg and all great observations / descriptions of how you’re making sense of and navigating these realities (and totally re the different venn diagrams this could complex into – had to hold myself back!).”Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets” – what a great line and as for “Hopefully I’ll still be around next year” what the heck does that mean? Permaculture needs you to still be around so you still be around, dammit!

      Go to comment
      2020/03/26 at 1:26 pm
  • From Bill on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

    Another amazing podcast Dan. I am listing to it the 5th or 6th time. I ordered Carol’s Regenerative Life book (along with Notes on the synthesis of form and Pattern Language). Thank you so much for your work in this area of human knowledge.

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    2020/03/26 at 10:30 am
  • From Nycole Wood on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

    Thanks Dan, I really enjoyed that. I see parallels with Cormac Russell’s work – particularly around the dangers of community development organisations ‘doing good’ without it coming down from ‘regenerate life’ – or truly uncovering essence / potential. He calls it ‘from what’s wrong to what’s strong’.

    Lots for me to think about – particularly as a public servant in local government 🙂 Going to go back and listen to your previous interview with Carol now.

    Go to comment
    2020/03/31 at 6:30 pm
  • From Jason Gerhardt on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

    I started this a couple weeks ago, and only got to finish just now. This is pure genius. Thank you, Dan and Carol!

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    2020/04/11 at 4:47 am
  • From Andy Wildman on Further Applying Carol Sanford's Four Levels of Paradigm to the Coronavirus Crisis and to Permaculture (e34)

    Thanks, Dan, for another terrific podcast. I’ve been listening to MPS for a year or so now – I think I’ve heard them all now, many two or three times – but this is my first comment.

    Fantastic conversation with Carol. I really appreciate that you’re bringing these thoughts to bear on the corona virus. I really related to your journey of personal reaction to the crisis. I did so much of what you’re talking about too – focusing hard on family and my ability to store and grow food and so on, then gradually opening it up to be more and more inclusive and creative.

    I’ve been thinking about the question you opened with Carol, about how to place ourselves, understand ourselves and the virus in a healthy thought-context. I’ve been following Chris Martenson too – he’s been a valuable sense-maker – and I was struck by something in his conversation with the virologist, Dr Angela Rasmussen… She mentioned that viruses are ancient and that we co-evolved with them to the point where our bodies respond to viruses on the level of individual cells – ie, every cell in our body responds to their presence in sophisticated ways.

    This made me think about how, collectively, we’ve responded to the pandemic as if it were ‘unprecedented’ – which of course it is, in our lifetimes. But for our species it’s probably just another dicey encounter with a fellow dangerous creature, a life-form (if they are alive), with which we are intimately familiar. Which then makes me wonder if our bodies, like so much of the complex natural world – as different to complicated human systems – already possesses sophisticated defenses even to ‘novel’ viruses, that are possibly more jujitsu-like, more work-with-and-nuetralise in effect, than our crude medical interventions.

    Is it possible, that, if we took Carol’s approach of asking ‘what’s the essence of viruses?’, and also, ‘what’s the essence of us?’, then maybe we could approach new viruses like we do for diseases in the garden – growing plants into their full potential so that they shrug diseases off. In which case harsh viruses like SARS-Cov-2 become like the bad bugs you had in your guts – a blessing that allowed you to become familiar with your gut microbiome to the point where you grow it’s health to a potential previously unthought-of. An idealistic notion, maybe, but perhaps something that could become, over time with this new level of viral threat, an ordinary part of living life well?

    It feels we need to know, or imagine well, what’s going on at that cellular level where an ancient, possibly tense, conversation is taking place. And if we can become part of the conversation we would join an ancient sort of dance with each deadly micro-creature we meet (like we’ve done with every other deadly creature – bears, hippos, snakes, arachnids etc), offering great respect and bringing to bear the physical wisdom built into our bodies.

    It’s certainly helps me to imagine the situation like this. It seems misplaced, anyhow, to see or experience this virus/pandemic as some sort of alien occurrence. Just a thought, anyhow. Looking forward to future episodes.

    Many thanks,

    Huon Valley, Tas.

    Go to comment
    2020/04/15 at 8:45 pm
  • From Bill on Can we use Inner-Permaculture to help us face a collapsing world? - Dan Palmer interviewed by Dean Spillane-Walker

    Wow, Dan. That was beautiful. Such great depth and vulnerability. Very helpful for me to hear and watch. Thank you so much for posting it. Much love and hugs. Bill

    Go to comment
    2020/04/18 at 3:52 am
  • From Delvin Solkinson on Jason Gerhardt returns for a third episode (E35)

    Absolutely love this podcast. What a breath of fresh air and natural intelligence to help uplift my practice during this time. Thanks so much.

    Go to comment
    2020/04/18 at 10:50 am
  • From Dan Palmer on Can we use Inner-Permaculture to help us face a collapsing world? - Dan Palmer interviewed by Dean Spillane-Walker

    Thanks so much Bill and love and hugs back to you :-).

    Go to comment
    2020/04/20 at 9:27 am
  • From Rowan Brooks on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

    Great podcast thanks Dan and Carol!

    I sat down to process this and ended up rewriting the myth of Hercules vs the Hydra through the lense of the 4 paradigms. A bit of an epic.

    TL:DR Hercules stops trying to kill the hydra and initiates a regenerative process for it’s habitat, the surrounding land use & local economy instead.

    Hercules sets out to kill the hydra as part of a quest to redeem himself and become immortal (extract value). To do this he has to find a way the to stop it growing new heads everytime a head gets cut off (arrest disorder).

    In a reflective, empathetic moment he remembers his own history of madness leading to murder, and wonders if the hydra’s monstrous behaviour is rooted in a deep form of distress. If the hydra is trying to eat Hercules, maybe it’s hungry, or has baby hydra to feed? It is living in a desolate swamp filled with poisonous fumes and there doesn’t seem to be much available. Hercules decides to feed it, and considers setting up a charity where people can sponsor a baby hydra (Do good).

    As Hercules turns to go his satisfaction quickly fades as he pays more attention to the wider landscape, sees a factory discharging into the swamp and intensive industrial agriculture polluting the surrounding land use. He quickly sees that there are many heads to these issues too. For the hydra to be well fed enough to leave Hercules alone on his quest, the life of the wider systems is going to need to be regenerated (regenerate life).

    From this realisation Hercules begins working with a permaculture design facilitator. Alongside the residents of the area, ecologists, the workers in the farms and factory, business owners & customers, local government, tourists (etc) they begin a long term living design process guided by ethics of care (including hydra care). This regenerates the hydra’s habitat as well as surrounding land use and economy.

    Within this longterm process they move back down the paradigms:
    The community does good by providing extra food for the hydra, arrests disorder by immediately fencing of streams and stopping factory discharge. Hercules extracts value as an apprentice to the permaculture design facilitator (who also hosts him and gives a stipend), and this starts him on a new career path.

    Later Hercules tells his story on the Making Permaculture Stronger podcast, and some listeners think he was heroic. He is clear though that it was an emergent process in which the whole living community (including the hydra) played essential roles in a collective heroic effort.

    Hercules goes on to facilitate other regenerative design processes throughout ancient Greece, and that’s why the once abundant Mediterranean forests are still around today.

    Phew, now for more modern applications! Hydra was on my mind as I was thinking about the alt-right as a hydra yesterday. I’m yet to look at that ecosystem through this framework but it feels helpful. Thanks again.

    Go to comment
    2020/04/25 at 4:02 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Regenerating Life with Carol Sanford's Four Paradigm Framework (E33)

      Love it Rowan – you had me chucking away merrily :-). I couldn’t help sharing with Carol who also enjoyed as well as pointing out that you didn’t quite make it from a high-level of do good to regenerate life, which I’m guessing would involve tapping into the essence/uniqueness of the hydra and the wholes it is nested within, making nodal interventions to support their capacity to evolve or self-regenerate, where they are increasingly expressing their uniqueness :-). I trust Hercules will consider this reflection itself a nodal intervention toward further evolving his capacity on his next quest (maybe with a cyclops or some such?) :-).

      Go to comment
      2020/04/25 at 7:16 pm
  • From Jon B on Holding multiple wholes and approaching essence on the path toward regeneration with Bill Reed (E36)

    Great podcast – finally just starting to see what they mean about people and relationships and wholes. I’ve heard people talk about their discoveries of public libraries as kids when they had little stimulation in the home. That had then completely set their lives on different courses. Is that an example of a nodal intervention?

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    2020/04/25 at 8:09 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Holding multiple wholes and approaching essence on the path toward regeneration with Bill Reed (E36)

      Thanks Jon. My sense is that a library is definitely a node considering all the energies and information that comes together in them. Maybe a kid discovering a library is more like discovering a node than an intervention. An example of a nodal intervention might then be the librarian who takes the wide-eyed entering child under their wing and gets them started by finding out something about their uniqueness and suggests a certain book (as opposed to “doing good” which might be suggesting the same book that all the other kids that age like or something). Which opens doors to new possibilities and potential in the kids life. Something like that anyway. It is useful for me to reflect on the difference between a conscious nodal intervention and the fact that sometimes we just stumble across nodes, which looking back, made a huge difference…

      Go to comment
      2020/04/26 at 8:25 am
  • From Alex Muir on Holding multiple wholes and approaching essence on the path toward regeneration with Bill Reed (E36)

    Good podcast as usual Dan! I thought I’d share a couple of things that really clicked for me. I have recently read the Habit 1 chapter in Stephen Covey’s book, and so when Bill mentioned the sphere of influence (28:00), the two connected and provided me with further clarity.

    There is the circle of concern (the lifeshed) and within this the circle of influence (those things that we have control over). “Proactive people focus their efforts in the circle of influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of influence to increase” P.83. We build up our ability to expand this sphere of influence over time, learning new techniques, skills, perspectives and increasing energy/excitement through previous successes.

    Getting yourself in order is the first step before you can move on to expanding your sphere of influence to family, property, community, watershed, etc. Perhaps this is applicable to Bills comment of manifesting new energy to support expanding the sphere of influence (37:30). Working at an appropriate scale, focusing on what we can control, impact, and hold, allows for more rapid evolution.

    If as a beginner you tried to hold the whole lifeshed in your mind and consider it all, this could be overwhelming and result in not taking any action. This is where working with an experienced permaculture practitioner could help, to ensure that the larger wholes are held, and to assist in evolving the clients capacity to hold this themselves in time.

    Go to comment
    2020/04/28 at 1:37 pm
  • From Finn on Simon Marshall and Dan Palmer on evolving one's permaculture design practice (e37)

    What a cliffhanger, Dan! You were just getting going! Looking forward to what emerges in Part 2 🙂

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    2020/05/02 at 5:07 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Simon Marshall and Dan Palmer on evolving one's permaculture design practice (e37)

      Well, Finn, if you’d waited a week before listening you could have skipped straight to the rest of the conversation :-). It was just too good not let the suspense hang in the air a while :-). I am also experimenting and want to hear from folk about what podcast length works well in general. In this case because the real conversation only starts 30m in, I thought it might be best to have that as the very beginning of the next episode rather than a continuation of this one. But I want to hear about your experience listeners and I tell you I will take note!

      Go to comment
      2020/05/02 at 9:53 am
      • From Jon on Simon Marshall and Dan Palmer on evolving one's permaculture design practice (e37)

        But Dan – that would be another week to hear the first episode, which would be a cliffhanger of anticipation of another sort.

        Personally I’m happy with whatever length, since I can pause podcasts whenever I want. But there is a certain minimum length for the conversation to develop.

        Excellent first part. Looking forward to the rest. Simon is a great interviewee and his story was honest and very relatable to.

        Go to comment
        2020/05/02 at 1:57 pm
  • From Finn on Jason Gerhardt returns for a third episode (E35)

    Thanks for offering this gentle, easy-listening episode which helped me reflect on my own situation within the pandemic. It made me more aware and appreciative of some of the life choices I’ve made which, although they weren’t made with mitigating the effects of a pandemic in mind, have made me much more prepared to take a situation like this on the chin. I compare my own choices to those of people I grew up with and see how I’ve come to arrive in a completely different place, through a combination of chance/fortune and conscious design, to be pretty much where I’d want to be in a situation like the one we’re in. So I’m appreciating my innate design capacity, and appreciating how maybe I’ve been ‘winging it’ a good deal less than I previously gave myself credit for. I’m also appreciating the village I live in, with all its flaws, a good deal more after listening to this episode. Thanks for stimulating all these thoughts!

    Go to comment
    2020/05/02 at 5:42 am
  • From Manuel Higgs Morgado on Can we use Inner-Permaculture to help us face a collapsing world? - Dan Palmer interviewed by Dean Spillane-Walker

    Great to get to know you better and better, Dan. Amazing interview. Sometimes it is better not to be ready : ) as you are so well aware, even if you pretend otherwise with your courteous apology at the beginning. We were lucky you were caught off guard, or may I see in liquid state? His speed was of the essence! Your interviews are always so fast-paced, but his quietness really steadied you and allowed you to have space to go in-depth, into yourself. I am very fast-paced like you are, and I have incredible friends to remind me of the benefits of slowness.

    Off to the Bill Reed interview now. Seems promising : ),

    Go to comment
    2020/05/04 at 9:14 am
  • From Goshen Watts on Simon Marshall and Dan Palmer on evolving one's permaculture design practice (e37)

    Great; thanks for Part 1; and thanks to Simon for sharing some of the common things permaculture designers run into; resonates with me. Def some good questions in there about the practicalities of design… look forward to hearing some discussion on them (hopefully).

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    2020/05/04 at 10:39 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Simon Marshall and Dan Palmer on evolving one's permaculture design practice (e37)

      Thanks Goshen and so you know there is a lot of practical discussion coming up about this stuff in upcoming episodes with Scott Gallant and Javan Bernakovitch both of whom are unrelenting at asking questions getting me to spit out the practical details about transitioning from a more conventional expert designer model to a more mentorship-based approach…

      Go to comment
      2020/05/04 at 10:56 am
  • From Sarah-May on Continuing the conversation with Simon Marshall (e38)

    What a brilliant episode! Thanks Dan and Simon for sharing your conversation.

    I thought I’ll give it a go sharing some thoughts here that I’ve been sitting with since listening.

    Two words jumped out at me in the prior episode when Simon first tells his story, i.e. cooperative and collective. In the step when a statement of purpose is worked on, it felt a bit like those notions weren’t carried forward as strongly as they had emerged initially. I’ve been reflecting on why it felt that way to me.

    Simon’s wish/goal to contribute to ‘healing the broader landscape’ seemed to me to resonate with ideas of creating a larger connected network of people and place, going beyond landscapes only. A collective healthy whole. Dan added a beautiful phrase later on “synergistically living in community”. The next steps in the conversation then dug into function/being/will. I felt a bit like this distanced Dan and Simon a little from fully exploring what sits behind the bigger vision. Simon started oscillating between contemplating his big vision and recognizing the need to cover basics (livelihood, financial security, maller projects). I could very much relate to that! ☺

    I wondered if both ends of that pendulum could be satisfied by trying out some of Carol Sanford’s ideas around purpose versus role (also discussed in this episode) and enabling individuals to know and develop their own potential in order to contribute uniquely to a larger system they are part of.

    I thought of Carol’s ideas around performance and growth plans for individual employees. She suggests that individuals need to be connected to the end-users, and see directly how their contributions impact and create value at the other end of the pipeline in order to be motivated to develop and grow capacities that contribute meaningfully. One’s purpose then becomes the role that is carried out to contribute to this strategy that, at the end, returns visible benefits.

    I wondered if Simon’s desire to contribute to healing broader landscapes would be met through fully immersing into his hands-on, practical and down-to-earth approach in a local small scale context IF, at the same time, he felt connected to a larger ‘permaculture strategy’ that he was contributing to and seeing the benefits of?

    Some ideas also in response to Dan’s final reflections on the approach taken for this format of shared future visioning (not sure what to call it).

    I was anticipating Dan to ask a question around Carol’s idea of essence/uniqueness early on in the episode but it didn’t come until about 33mins when Dan offers Simon a question around the positive ripples of influence he would like to put into the world, and what he feels uniquely drawn to contribute to the world.

    I’d be curious to see what might happen if the essence question was frontloaded before going into the more segregated dimensions of a purpose statement (function/being/will)? Would those three dimensions shape up differently?

    And, I agree, no need to remind himself to be humble, I’d say Simon’s already wonderfully so ☺

    Go to comment
    2020/05/09 at 4:56 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Continuing the conversation with Simon Marshall (e38)

      Sarah-May thanks for these reflections and I’m honoured you listened so closely and felt to share what came up for you. I’m in resonance re how the statement of purpose and function-being-will thing (as powerful and useful as it is – I use it daily!) can, as it was here, have a sense of slicing up or fragmenting the whole and even distracting the flow from places something like working directly with the seven first principles (or even just being with the moment-by-moment energy of the conversation and going with that more). I think your question is going to become strikingly relevant in my next chat with Simon next chat btw (not to mention how the early sense of cooperative or collective landed strongly for you) :-). Yep re role, uniqueness and potential etc – though one thing I’ve been sitting with is how the aim of the conversation which was around giving someone and their situation (incl. a little ‘sneaking up on their future’) some focused attention can feed into their own ongoing reflection and evolution regardless of the precise details of the chat. I say this having had a quick phone chat with Simon last week, where what has unfolded for him since turns out to be a little uncanny given what rose to the top out of our conversation. How’s that for a little suspense building before we hear from up again!

      Go to comment
      2020/05/11 at 9:02 am
  • From Sarah-May on Weekly Report with Anna Lena: Dan's practical adventures with Living Design Process (e39)

    A wonderful dialogue beaming with positivity and awareness. It very much felt like you were in resonance with each other. Anna’s questions were really insightful and always pinpointing and responding to what had just been shared. This is a great example of how a regular peer check-in system can work. Inspiring! I hope you will post more of these.

    Go to comment
    2020/05/10 at 2:51 pm
  • From Siddiq Khan on Weekly Report with Anna Lena: Dan's practical adventures with Living Design Process (e39)

    Lovely initiative. Would be great to hear how Anna and the other voices you are in dialogue with are working through their week as well — are you only including your report because they prefer to keep their part of the conversation private?

    Go to comment
    2020/05/10 at 11:47 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Weekly Report with Anna Lena: Dan's practical adventures with Living Design Process (e39)

      Thanks Sarah and Siddiq. First up you can listen to the whole conversation here. FYI there is no reason I can’t share the other’s sharings. I can appreciate how anyone might be curious to hear (I mean I would be if I hadn’t already heard it live :-)), and I’m sitting with to what extent it would be in service of MPS’s purpose which is to inspire creative exploration and dialogue around permaculture design process, in a way that develops our ability to think and act creatively as a community, to enable permaculture practitioners to effect the large scale systemic change we need. One possibility I’m sitting with is that I share (and link to) the whole conversation over at, given it is right on track with that project’s purpose (which is around collaboratively exploring and developing processes that bring us back to life), and maybe keeping it more focused for MPS, lest that drifts off-purpose over time (and I start sharing people’s reflections regardless of a direct permaculture connection or not and some of the audience used to that direct connection leaves). Anyways, other’s thoughts about this are very welcome, it’s all an experiment, and I will see how it’s feeling after our next catch up and maybe even take it conversation by conversation as to whether it feels on-purpose to share the whole or simply my part of these delightful engagements.

      Go to comment
      2020/05/11 at 9:22 am
  • From Delvin on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

    Inspiring and poignant illustration of this powerful design process. Brilliant addition to my life toolkit. Looking forward to learning more.

    Go to comment
    2020/05/18 at 1:50 am
  • From Abraham on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

    Hi Dan,

    Very happy after listening your podcast, make me focus in my priorities, the purpose in my life and what matters to me, My health, My family in New Zealand and my family in Bolivia.


    Go to comment
    2020/05/21 at 11:43 am
  • From Byron on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

    Future resource base: Strong teeth – Another amazing podcast Dan! Thanks for including the diagram of your family context. A lot of this feels like common sense, and yet doesn’t seem to be common in practice. It’s definitely changing my framework for thinking about decisions the more I think about it. Excited for more episodes on holistic decision making – hopefully they air once I’ve taken the time to write out some of my own context!

    Go to comment
    2020/05/21 at 5:42 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

      Thanks Byron. I will likely share a few webinar presentations on the topic soon and happy context-articulating in the meantime!

      Go to comment
      2020/06/05 at 8:38 pm
  • From J. on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

    It saddens me that the claims of Alan Savory have resonated so deeply with the permaculture community. While there are some instances of holistic management working well, it is the position of the environmental science community that the benefits of removing livestock are going to outweigh keeping them on the land for regenerative purposes.. especially when it comes to saving land for vulnerable species that rely on niche habitats. We don’t need any more people ‘returning to the land’ to farm animals. Existing animal farmers should be supported to make their land more friendly and supportive of local ecologies and everyone else should eat as many veggies as possible. Land saving with the use of nature corridors still prevails over land sharing models and we would do well to keep this in mind.

    Go to comment
    2020/05/23 at 3:35 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

      Thanks Jess. For the record the subject of this ep was holistic decision making which is nothing to do with livestock – holistic decision making is used regularly by vegans and all kinds of folk outside any kind of farming context :-). I appreciate that the name Allan Savory does set some people off though!

      Go to comment
      2020/06/05 at 8:42 pm
  • From Sarah-May on In dialogue with permaculture designer Scott Gallant on the practical and professional realities of a more living design process - Part One of Two (e41)

    Hi Dan and Scott!
    I loved listening in on your conversation – thanks for sharing this with us!
    My favourite bit was the idea of a “specting prism” (if I heard correctly?); a multidimensional scanner for seeing things in system: inspecting, aspecting, sidespecting, retrospecting and prospecting. I can already see so many contexts in which I’ll be making use of these words and concepts. Brilliant!

    I can’t wait for part 2!

    Go to comment
    2020/05/26 at 4:01 pm
  • From Meg McGowan on Living Design Process in Practice - Some Examples

    Oh incredible! Thank you so much for this. It’s a fascinating design process and I am excited to spend more time exploring it.
    I was interested in your ‘function over form’ comment about permaculture. I have always included ergonomics and aesthetics as important patterns. A space that is enticing to people will not be loved, and a space not loved will not inspire people to invest their time or energy into that space. We find things beautiful for a reason. That level of resonance with a place, a sense of ‘rightness’ about the spaces and the scale, and the ease with which we navigate pathways, stairs and slopes are all part of good design. I have never seen the living design process before and I am excited by its potential to integrate the human animals back into the environment.
    I recently had a conversation with a First Nations friend, explaining how horrified I was when I heard that white settlers designated them ‘animals’ so that they could steal their land. ‘Why are you horrified by that?’ she asked, ‘Better to be horrified by that fact that they didn’t think they were animals. Of course we are animals. We are part of the natural world. Everything that is wrong with humans can be traced back to forgetting that.’
    I had an email exchange with Clive Blazey from Diggers when he declared permaculture ugly in his magazine. ‘It’s the polystyrene boxes and old tyres. Ugliness is offensive to the soul.’ I invited him to come and see our place the next time he was in Sydney. He did, and we spent an enjoyable day together talking about beauty, design, and how Clive has naturally aligned himself with permaculture without ever learning about it. We can see this in the human family across the planet; those that through study or intuition independently develop a life completely aligned with the ethics and principles without ever knowing them.
    I continue to believe that permaculture provides us with a pattern for the best way to be human. It seems that the living design process could well be the best way to translate that pattern to place.
    Down the rabbit hole I go!

    I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on how you would describe the relationship between permaculture and the living design process. Are they a two circled ven diagram? Is one an evolutionary step up from the other?

    Sincerely grateful to you once again.

    Go to comment
    2020/05/29 at 9:39 am
  • From Joy H. on On the Relation between Designing and Implementing in Permaculture – Part 6

    Loving the comments for this post! I’m an old permie with a PDC, and am training to be a SCRUM Master for an Agile team at my day job. One of the things that has always bothered me is people’s desire to get a PDC and then go create some static design that hasn’t gathered live data for multiple seasons, etc. The rule of thumb is to live on the land for at least one year in order to observe, but the desire to design usually takes precedent. I’ve also seen it go badly for folks who then want to apply their new PDC skills to paid projects for clients, without using an iterative approach.
    I, for one, would love to create a prerequisite course to PDCs one day that teaches people how to observe over time and gather data, and how to iterate and create flexible components in permaculture designs, to change with circumstances, take advantage of antifragility, etc.
    Thanks for the great thoughts and discussion!

    Go to comment
    2020/05/29 at 12:16 pm
  • From Byron on Bringing Education back to Life with Emma Morris (e45)

    Another incredible perspective-shifting podcast Dan. Great introduction the work Emma is a part of! Really appreciate her Learning Approach. Couldn’t have come at a better time, as there’s a really cool opportunity for something like that unfolding here in the Whakatane area. Thank you!

    Go to comment
    2020/06/23 at 10:29 am
  • From Peta Hudson on Bringing Education back to Life with Emma Morris (e45)

    Thank you Dan and Emma! Living here in Aotearoa this way is so connected to place on all its levels. Makes me wonder how this is happening in Oz the place of my upbringing. Another interview perhaps?

    Go to comment
    2020/06/24 at 5:39 pm
  • From Jazmyn on Regenerating Design Process and Manifesting Making Permaculture Stronger's Development (e44)

    What do you mean by patreon?

    Go to comment
    2020/07/23 at 10:32 am
  • From Susan Cousineau on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    What a wonderful interview Dan – thanks for taking the time to conduct this really important piece of work to connect permaculture and holistic management (or, depending on the context, Permaculture and Holistic Management).

    I think that Darren Doherty’s Regrarians platform is really the first to integrate these in a more formal way that helps to scale beyond implementation of practices. Certainly your own work and sharing the VEG Holistic Context was foundational to many permaculturists’ understanding of the intersection between the two.

    I’ve noticed a lot of folks stretching from ‘permaculture’ to an understanding of holistic management (even if just a cursory introduction), and then towards Carol Sanford’s work as a business framework, so was really glad to see you’d asked about that; and the use of the term ‘regenerative’. I didn’t know the backstory of Bob Rodale’s take on it vs. the more recent white paper, and am grateful to Allan for speaking candidly to his experience with it.

    I too grapple with how to take these ideas and practices beyond backyards and farms and into policy, governance and economic structures. It’s a thorny problem that hopefully we can continue to shove into the limelight with COVID-19 through working to continually draw a bigger, more holistic worldview beyond simply ‘controlling the virus’.

    Great job; thanks for the work you’re doing here to strengthen permaculture as a practice and system of design.

    Go to comment
    2020/07/26 at 1:41 pm
  • From Jon Buttery on Permaculture design pathways - the latest adventures of Simon Marshall (e47)

    Not only was that interesting and relevant as a great practical example of what it can really be like, it was also fun to listen to. Simon was an excellent interviewee and brave for putting himself out there – he also has a good sense of humour. He’s clearly a very good and reflective practitioner, who is worth a listen.

    Would be really interesting to hear how Simon is going every three months or so as how an experienced permaculturist navigates the very un-environmental world we live in.

    Go to comment
    2020/07/27 at 4:48 pm
  • From Jon Buttery on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    Thanks Dan – great interview – that must have been a huge amount of work – but very worthwhile for us.

    Go to comment
    2020/07/27 at 4:49 pm
  • From Caio Dalla Zanna on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    Extraordinary interview!! Thank you for that!

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    2020/07/30 at 12:35 pm
  • From James Moffett on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    I enjoyed the interview, thank you Dan. This sentence of Allan’s drives to the core: “No, I have no magic or way of getting the world to think holistically, but I believe it is coming about and that it is accelerating at present this changing worldview. Right now the covid pandemic is assisting that shift in worldview. However that is not going to be enough”. I have often wondered what the missing link or “key” to this problem was and after many years discovered it, in the writings of biologist Jeremy Griffith. Jan Smuts, in his 1926 book Holism and Evolution, conceived ‘holism’ as ‘the ultimate organizing, regulative activity in the universe that accounts for all the structural groupings and syntheses in it, from the atom, and the physico-chemical structures, through the cell and organisms, through Mind in animals, to Personality in Man’ (p.341 of 380). The “key” lies in “Personality in Man”: our Human Condition (as biologists refer to our capacity for so-called good and evil) and its understanding from a holistic, inductive scientific biological perspective. This deals with the “stick rate”. If we force institutions to enforce change, without understanding our Selves, holistically, we will repeat history.

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    2020/07/31 at 2:29 am
  • From Kerry on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    Isn’t it sad, you can hear the frustration in Allans voice regarding the stick factor. I feel there are so many of us that support the fantastic work he has done but for some reason we like to separate ourselves, give it our own twist and sell it on instead of uniting. We need something to unite us, I feel a yearning for this, but feel frustrated that without funds we as farmers trying to scrape by, are excluded from further education on implementation. I am slowly working my way through the online education through the Savory Institute as I can afford it while scavenging every free or cheap scrap I can find online.

    Go to comment
    2020/07/31 at 10:48 am
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