Comments

  • From Meg McGowan on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: From Solving Problems to Developing Potential (E27)

    Ah wonderful! Does this mean that holistic design turns out to be the next step on the journey?

    I put a comment on the PA facebook page regarding your last post: “I’m excited to know where you are going. Away from strengthening weak links and towards a holistic redesign? Love that the core is the core, and Brenna’s beautiful illustrations make it easy to understand.” I hadn’t seen this latest post at the time.

    This particular post resonates with me. I have never been interesting in solving problems. Our focus has been “How do we get more permaculture happening on the ground?” and by starting with what we hope to achieve we have found innovative ways to design, teach and mentor others. One of the great strengths of permaculture has always been the ethical foundation. How do I find more opportunities to care for the earth, care for people and share fairly?

    Systems thinker Peter Senge used to ask people to compare their organisation to a ship. He would then ask, “Who is the leader in relation to the ship?” Many leaders described themselves as the captain and some as the chief engineer in the boiler room keeping it all running. Staff described some leaders as cruise directors; calling in from time to time to keep morale up but not actually contributing much else. Senge suggested that leaders were actually the people that designed the ship. “People work within systems. Leaders work on systems.”

    Soft systems present us with mushy, complex relationships and my preferred approach is not to seek out weaknesses (although an awareness of them can be a significant clue) but to find points of leverage. Least effort for maximum return. Sounds familiar!

    I’m excited by your new direction and looking forward to what comes next. Thank you once again for the deep thinking and tireless effort. Inspirational.

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    2019/09/30 at 1:00 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: From Solving Problems to Developing Potential (E27)

      Thanks Meg! As I’ve shared I’m preferring Carol’s language of nodal intervention over the more mechanical idea of leverage and not so sure about the ship metaphor and the implication that people and leaders are different. I love the idea from adaptive leadership that leadership is itself an intervention, not a role and certainly not something that happens from outside the system. But I may be missing Senge’s point and I do appreciate his work in general.

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      2019/10/08 at 10:44 am
  • From Jason Gerhardt on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: From Solving Problems to Developing Potential (E27)

    I keep saying it, but I so appreciate how transparent you’re being in your own process. You’re not pushing a pre-formed message as an expert or evangelist, but instead allowing us to tag along on your walk through your developmental growth as it occurs, often along with your clients. The blog is like a little camera inside the unbroken eggshell of Dan Palmer. This post feels like a big peck at the interior, and the shell is cracking. All is in anticipation.

    I wanted to share something I’ve been feeling a lot. On this big project I’m designing and building out I’m getting to witness the potential creating process inside myself in real-time, seeing how much patience, non-attachment, and mental and emotional flexibility are required in this work. For some reason this project allows me to see the site and community development process differently. Perhaps it’s the scales of space and time that we’ve committed to, though it could also be that I’m just on the project full-time. Regardless, it doesn’t feel like a simple pivot from problem solving to potential creating. I think it’s the paradigm shifting, in motion. It’s not shifting from one idea to another better idea. It’s the abandonment of ideas as an organizing force in ones life. What’s left, for me anyway, is a freer experience of being. It’s light, and yet focused. It feels so, well, full of potential.

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    2019/10/11 at 11:35 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: From Solving Problems to Developing Potential (E27)

      Thanks Jason and you are so right. The shell is cracking! Fuck! Thankfully the fear of entering an unknown new world is outweighed by the joy of what just might be possible out there. The next post is gong to be about the biggest peck so far. The shell’s beautiful work is almost done.

      I love how you put that, the abandoning of ideas as a driving force, and I’d like to hear more (there’s another episode topic, right there!). I have to share a passage I reread recently in Alexander’s The Timeless Way of Building where he says the same in explaining what he means by a pattern language:

      Get rid of the ideas which come into your mind. Get rid of pictures you have seen in magazines, friends’ houses …. Insist on the pattern, and nothing else.

      The pattern, and the real situation, together, will create the proper form, within your mind, without your trying to do it, if you will allow it to happen.

      This is the power of the language, and the reason why the language is creative.

      Your mind is a medium within which the creative spark that jumps between the pattern and the world can happen. You yourself are only the medium for
      this creative spark , not its originator. (p. 397)

      Go to comment
      2019/10/14 at 9:44 am
  • From Meg McGowan on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

    The map is not the territory and the tree is not permaculture. It is useful only inasmuch as it reflects the reality or assists us in understanding it.

    I actually think that the design process IS largely generic, with some variations between soft and hard systems, some branches based on whether we are problem solving or innovating and some acknowledgement of the fact that our systems are never ‘done’ but designed to constantly evolve.

    For me, the significant difference with permaculture is that our design model is ethically based. It’s not the only ethically based model, but being ethically based is what differentiates it from the fundamental design model.

    I still prefer to use a spiral to describe it rather than a tree. Perhaps your ‘bottleneck’ thinking has been influenced by the model. I respond with the observation that while a tree-like structure might create a bottleneck, actual trees don’t exhibit the same problem and have no difficulty functioning via their trunk. In fact, the trunk is critical to their success and their survival. A trunk stays relatively stable and puts on girth over time, with the top of the tree undergoing considerably faster changes. This is a fair analogy for the difference between the ethics and principles of permaculture (that serve as a foundation for all design) and the strategies and principles (context based and changing with technology, innovation and improvement). I still think the analogy limits thinking because the primary evolutionary opportunity for a tree comes from reproducing. Perhaps a forest is a much better model, with the soil being our ethics and principles?

    Here’s my latest design model. It’s a spiral. I played with trees. This worked better.
    The other (other) design cycle!

    Everything should be as simple as possible and not one bit simpler.

    Loving this new direction.

    Go to comment
    2019/10/21 at 1:39 pm
  • From Jarrod on Exploring Developmental Pathways for Permaculture Designers with Jason Gerhardt (E25)

    Great chat. Exciting to hear Jason announce his efforts toward curriculum pathways!

    “Find mentors and follow them around” golden tip!

    “Permaculture is an internal process”
    In here lies the key!

    If we dont really know why we’re doing a thing it will never be its essence. And in the case of permaculture alot of people feel the power, the wattage eminating from its essence just waiting to be practiced and nourished and ushered into evolution. Though we don’t even know it’s full potential!

    Thanks again for all this epicly thought and soul provoking work you are doing Dan and, of course Jason and all guests and friends of MPS!

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    2019/10/23 at 9:48 pm
  • From Kathryn Pegiel on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

    Hi Dan you make some good points. I really found your endnotes about grafts interesting. And a thought ocured to me while listening is that the grafts are really a symptom of a greater cultural problem. To always have the answers. And rush to grab anything quickly that looks like it will do the job. A pattern you often see repeated in politics.

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    2019/10/30 at 8:06 pm
  • From Finn on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

    Hey Dan,

    This is another one of the episodes that largely went over my head and will have to listen back to again to make proper sense of it. I enjoy following your learning journey with the Regenesis group but sometimes I feel like I’m playing catchup to concepts and nuggets of wisdom you’ve come across between episodes, and I need a second listen to really tune into what’s being spoken about. Also I listened while doing the dishes, which might not be the best time to process meta-level thinking tools that I’m hearing for the first time!!

    Re: Originating Impulse, I think it would be remiss to not include Mollison’s ‘Prime Directive’ in our investigations. I don’t know where it comes from, but it is always quoted verbatim so he obviously wrote it down at some point, and is as follows: “The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.” (Source: https://northdevonpermaculture.com/2015/03/27/the-prime-directive/)

    Interestingly, in this interview Ben mentions that “permaculture provided [him] with a set of questions, which are the same questions he is trying to answer with the work he is doing today, whilst not providing the “mental tools” he needed at that time . I found this a very noteworthy statement – I have often in my head formulated permaculture as a ‘narrative’, a ‘way of seeing the world’, or a ‘set of questions’ which challenges the mainstream and strives for something else, because this is the way I most actively use it in my everyday life. However, these terms suck for use in an elevator pitch because they come across either too vague or too exclusive! My new favourite def. of pc, as of last week and I want to keep it for a while, is as ‘a field of study’ (trying to find ways to create human systems with greater ecological harmony/of meeting human needs while increasing ecological health). The benefit of this term is that it implies there are many roles: researchers, students, practitioners, social activists etc., all of which exist in pc. It also implies that it is asking some seriously big questions, none of which have straightforward answers and all of which are going to take a lot of time and energy to answer, and which can be tackled from multiple different directions.

    I know I preach to the choir which much of this, but I felt compelled to emphasise that the hugeness of the questions the pc community is trying to answer is what keeps us all engaged, motivated and still talking to each other as colleagues! Perhaps it was the case in the 80s and 90s that pc represented itself as having the answers to those Qs – I don’t know, I wasn’t there and can’t put myself in those shoes – but by the time I inherited the pc concepts and toolkit in 2015 it was very much my understanding, which will have been facilitated by the teaching process (although I know everyone leaves a PDC with slightly different understandings depending on context), that permaculture was in no way a ‘done deal’, it didn’t have everything ‘sorted’, and there was still a lot of work in trying to get it right every time.

    Now I guess the task ahead is formulating these questions (that I’ve referred to a lot but not articulated!!). I think the question IS the originating impulse, the prime directive. Perhaps you, and others here, will feel the need to strip back what’s already out there and try to go a couple layers deeper towards an innate essence, or perhaps reformulating the original writings of Mollison as questions is good enough. All I know is that getting the right questions is the next nodal intervention along our co-coppicing journey 😉

    I’m really interested to see what other folk put forward on this.

    Go to comment
    2019/11/05 at 8:58 pm
    • From Dan Palmer on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      Thanks for this Finn and I’m with you all the way here and thanks for bringing in Bill’s prime directive – super relevant for sure. It is interesting that a lot of people have been telling me they’ve been listening to certain episodes twice or even three times and getting more each time. I’m not sure quite what to make of this in terms of how I go about things from here. Like should I be slowing the pace and aiming to get them such that folk can grab onto the key nuggets in one shot, or is the fact there are layers to go back and unpack for those keen enough rather a positive thing? I also want to repeat your “All I know is that getting the right questions is the next nodal intervention along our co-coppicing journey” – YES!

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      2019/11/26 at 10:14 am
    • From John Carruthers on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      Hey Finn, you’re not alone (riffing Jason’s encouragement too). I reckon I’ve replayed the companion interviews with the other Regenesis principals too at least 3-4 times. While not doing the dishes (!) and with quiet reflection time in between. Only in that way have I been able to let their clarity really speak too me. This one will be no different I expect. Another absolute gem from the curatorial genius of Dan Palmer.

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      2019/11/07 at 7:16 am
      • From Dan Palmer on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

        As always you’re too kind John 🙂

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        2019/11/26 at 10:19 am
      • From Finn on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

        Ahh, time to focus followed by quiet reflection time, that thing of great myth that parents of tiny people often dream about, and barely believe ever existed or could again exist! ha 😉

        Jason, I wrote a long and drawling answer here, luckily I got interrupted and had to leave the computer and by the time I came back my thoughts had crystallised much better. For me, calling it a field of study (or even a discipline?) is more true because it brings with it the narrative of seeking knowledge by asking questions about the very essence of being and experimenting on them. Contained within that narrative is the idea of the ever-expanding knowledge base – ‘the more you know, the more you know you don’t know’. I think there are many fields of practice associated with the field of study which all share certain commonalities but definitely require different focus and skillsets. Perhaps fields of practice could be considered different types of experimentation, or perhaps fields of practice could mean something more like Holmgren’s seven Domains.

        In short, study = pursuit of knowledge whilst practice = application of knowledge. There is clearly already a great deal to practically do with all that we already know about this thing we call permaculture, but we can also acknowledge that there’s far more out there to learn than what we already know. Bringing it back to the elevator pitch, I also think that ‘field of study’ invites a more inquisitive mind than ‘field of practice’ – imagine the difference in response between someone who is interested and says “Great, how can I start learning?” (A) compared to “Great, what can I do next?” (B). I think A will sooner take the journey within themselves, whilst B will more likely want to be shown the nearest demonstration garden. I’m not suggesting one is better or worse, but they have different functions and I know with the way you’re thinking about refreshing your PDCs that this subtle difference could have large ripples.

        If you want help putting the finishing touches on your piece then hit me up, I’ve helped with some of Dan’s work and he’s always very complimentary 🙂 you can ask him for my email.

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        2019/11/08 at 10:44 am
        • From Jason Gerhardt on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

          Great points, Finn. Thanks for thinking on this with me. I like how you explain “field of study”. It has an inward characteristic, which is something I encourage in permaculture. Field of practice has an outward quality in the sense of application. I also like the idea of permaculture posing a “set of questions”. That has been my process. Lots of internal and external questioning, never ceasing.

          Ultimately, I think with something as aspirational as permaculture, it has to be both internal and external and maybe more. We need inward and outward forms of study and practice. I think the practice of designing and building (even just little design decisions implemented in ones daily life) is the space in which permaculture becomes a discipline that sharpens ones mental faculties and shapes ones character, so maybe discipline is a good term after all. Toby Hemenway and I discussed this idea of permaculture as a ‘discipline’ a lot. His argument was that permaculture doesn’t look like other disciplines that have a singular focus and typically many levels of study and practice. My argument was, well, what if we made it look more like that? Which is not to say we should make it an academic discipline (I tried that in academia, it’s not the way). I think it’s more like an evolutionary discipline for self and world improvement.

          We have to try things out in order to stumble and course correct, which I think is the experience of life in general. That’s the developmental process. I want to develop the proper guidance that leads one to use that process as a pathway to continue to improve oneself and the results one gets from ones work in the world, thereby improving the community of life for all. I also hope to provide something for those with the outwardly projected idea of improving the community of life. And ideally that sends them within and without, with a process that allows them to continually grow and improve. Or something like that. 🙂

          Go to comment
          2019/11/10 at 4:11 am
    • From Jason Gerhardt on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      Excellent comment, Finn! Definitely stick with this podcast. Listen over and over. Ben has articulated something deeply insightful.

      I like your “field of study” definition, but want to seek your thoughts on permaculture as a ‘field of practice’. Does that shift anything for you? In general, much of your comment resonates with a piece I’ve been writing that recontextualizes permaculture. That it is a field of practice is a big part of it. I also think you are right on the target with the prime directive. Part of what Ben is saying in this interview is that we’ve not emphasized the personal transformation side of permaculture. I think that is the core of it actually and the prime directive is the germination of that seed. Permaculture is indeed aiming for something much larger. I hope to share the new piece I’ve been working on in regards to that soon.

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      2019/11/07 at 12:28 am
  • From Amber Lehrman on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

    I also love the thought process behind this. I have only recently found this project and wish I had come across it much earlier. I teach the PDC through both the Kansas Permaculture Institute (in collaboration with 2 other instructors) and at the University of Kansas (on my own) and I have run up against these same issues in my students’ understanding. I struggle with how to explain what is both a design process and a state of co-evolving with an ecology over time. As I go through my own design practice and my own co-evolving with my small piece of the world and the constantly renewing process of trying to help others begin this journey, I have run into these same realizations and questions and struggles. I suppose this is a long way of saying thank you for doing the work and I’m so glad to have found you!

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    2019/11/18 at 10:52 am
  • From Amber Lehrman on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

    In thinking more about this, perhaps the choice of tree is suspect. What if the model was an aspen, not an oak? An aspen grove is all a single organism with a single root system but many trunks and canopies generating from them. If a single trunk is not well suited to its place, it dies and a different one regenerates to try again. Applying this to the model, each trunk is its own variant on a design process customized to the place it is being applied but still rooted in the same philosophy/ethics/principals. Each manifestation of that design process (canopy) can itself look very different based on its place in the world just as one aspen tree can look different from another. I think this ties into the comment above about looking at the process as a forest instead of a single tree but with the addition of the forest still being, essentially, a single being.

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    2019/11/20 at 5:08 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)

      Interesting thoughts Amber thanks. I’m sort of moving on from this whole metaphor in my mind, be it tree or forest, in that all metaphors are misleading (as well as hopefully helpful in clarifying certain similarities between one thing and another and in the process generating new questions). Yet I think your suggested tweak does shine a helpful light on a different aspect of this whole conversation, namely that each instance of a design process will (hopefully) be a unique variant on a deeper underlying theme. The question this generates for me is “what then is this underlying theme?” – a question I’m not ready to answer but so look forward to diving into and seeing what further questions it leads too. Look forward to exploring all this further in due course and hope to enjoy your continued input then!

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      2019/11/26 at 10:34 am
  • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

    There’s a lot in this conversation that I would like to respond to, but since it’s been over a week I’ll just speak to the originating impulse of permaculture.

    I recently attended a talk by farmer-activist Leah Penniman, of Soul Fire Farm in New York, which runs farming training programs for Black, indigenous and other people of color. She delivered the somewhat radical statement, “Permaculture has collapsed,” and later elaborated that she means it’s never explicitly integrated it’s true origins, and therefore has stolen from the indigenous beliefs, ethics and practices upon which it was based.

    If we’re going to talk about the wider conditions, context or system in which Permaculture originated, we should be addressing the stagnation and imminent decline of the global economy, and the very present decline of the biosphere. David Holmgren speaks particularly about this decline in a recent conversation on The Permaculture Podcast, and he offers the notion that our way of organizing land use, and the production of goods and services is not the only way. He was inspired by Mollison’s community of self-reliance, and both of them understood that many indigenous cultures past and present understood the intertwining of the health of their culture and the land, and as such organized land use and production in ways that benefited the environment and increased diversity.

    In my PDC, there was a token mention of F.H. King’s Farmers of Forty Centuries, and much less on the cultures that lived on their lands for millenia. I would like to expand the discussion on indigenous influences in Permaculture, and particularly in the area of design, but I think this will suffice for now as my two cents on Permaculture’s often detrimentally ignored originating impulse.

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    2019/11/21 at 12:38 am
    • From Jason Gerhardt on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      This comment has been percolating within me for a couple days. Lately, I hear this idea that ‘permaculture is dead’ a lot. And it’s always chalked up to that is has “stolen” the ideas from indigenous cultures. I’ve been there, and after sitting with it for a long time, I’m very sure it’s not so clean cut. I think it behooves us to be more precise with our thinking and language.

      In everything I’ve experienced in permaculture, the originating impulse of it is to understand who we are and how we harmoniously relate to all things. Or as I say in my classes, “permaculture is about what it means to be alive in an ecosystem”. That’s not only an indigenous culture urge. It’s a human urge. Permaculture, and things like it, all arise from the desire to improve life on earth. In my experience, that’s why people show up to PDC’s, because they feel the inner yearning to wake up and develop harmonious relationships with life. This is an innate quality to every human, and I see no basis for any culture (or movement, or religion, or design practice) past, present, or future to claim ownership of that.

      It would be a disservice to see permaculture taken down by statements like “permaculture has collapsed”, because permaculture represents one of the few things that people today can grab onto and learn how to be in better relationship. We will need many forms of those things too. If I squint, it’s almost looks like the politically correct among us are saying people that are non-indigenous have no right to strive to decolonize their own minds and lives. And let’s face it, we’ve all been colonized by the separation, exploitation, greed, anger, and all the other things that industrial culture has programed us with.

      So perhaps the greatest potential is to ENCOURAGE people to learn permaculture and adopt it as a practice in their life. That feels like a very high order of positive contribution for the future. I don’t know why we would want to stifle that urge in others. That’s certainly not been the case in my experience with indigenous and traditional land-based cultures either, so something is amiss.

      To be more precise with our language, permaculture certainly has to recontextualize itself. It must include honoring indigenous cultures, it also must include a pathway for more and more people to learn ways to truly wake up, which inevitably means ancient ways will get re-articulated and made fresh for the time and people. We will have to grow to see that as a positive thing for life on earth.

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      2019/11/28 at 4:20 am
      • From Meg McGowan on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

        Hi Jason,
        I have responded to many of the ‘stolen from indigenous cultures’ comments by observing that:
        a: all knowledge is derivative and builds on what has come before. This is part of why our species has proliferated: we can learn from the achievements and mistakes of others (although our ability to do so is often outweighed by our preparedness to do so! 😀 )
        b: the indigenous knowledge in permaculture was not appropriated as it honestly credited indigenous knowledge where it was referenced, and
        c: indigenous knowledge was not the only thing that informed the development of permaculture. It was also strongly influenced by contemporary systems thinking, the rise of the environmental movement and the work of people like Fukuoka, Yeomans et al. So yes, it does reference indigenous knowledge but it is far more than JUST indigenous knowledge. It is an ethically based design pattern that can be applied to any design task.

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        2019/12/13 at 6:46 pm
      • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

        Thanks for your well articulated and very nuanced response Jason. I completely agree, permaculture’s essence is about relationships. I really appreciate the depth and coherence with which you addressed these “permaculture has collapsed” and “stolen identity” narratives.

        Usually when someone asks me the basic “What is permaculture” kind of question, I often struggle to reach the realm of fundamental human desires to deepen relationships on Earth, and how that work can address the trauma in human communities and bodies perpetrated by colonization from the dominant culture of the West. There’s so much depth and history to this core narrative because we’re talking about both societal and individual trauma and needs. There are many threads to trace, through social, economic and environmental justice, and often the lack there-of.

        The threads mostly lead back to wholeness, what it means and how it arises. This blog stands as a great example of a deep exploration of the meaning of wholeness, and how we might create it- or at least avoid contributing to more separation. So thanks to all for contributing their insights and experience to make it so rich and exciting.

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        2019/12/04 at 12:20 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

      Trevor I really appreciate your input here. Makes me want to get Leah Penniman on the show – I love this ways of phrasing things around in how neglecting to integrate its true origins PC has been more prone to grab and import stuff from outside, where for me this has been perhaps more from modern industrial culture than from indigenous beliefs, ethics and practices. I would also like to expand the discussion you mention and would invite anyone out there to help us do so!

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      2019/11/26 at 10:41 am
      • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

        Yes Dan, I totally agree. You mentioned in a previous episode how Permaculture had merely imported industrial/reductive design strategies into its process, which I had also come to realize through my conventional landscape design classes. We were using essentially the same kind of categorized map layering that I learned in the PDC.

        It was mostly thanks to your focus on Christopher Alexander- back then- that I could see how similar the conventional design process is to the modern permaculture one.

        I don’t really agree with Penniman on permaculture’s collapse, but I think she’s right that many indigenous cultures exemplify permaculture’s deepest aspirations to be resilient and regenerative.

        I think Alexander offers a critical difference in perception between the industrial/modern permaculture design reductionism, and the more holistic spatio-emotional tool of the human ability to make beauty and community (human and non-human relationships) upon a landscape. It’s odd to think of Alexander’s spatio-emotional process as functional, but that’s the effect of a person moulding the space around them with their whole living context as an influence. We can’t mentally conceive of our whole living context in any given moment, which is why the rational process must at least be tempered by the emotional. One could say that the emotions are a kind of rationality, our “evolutionary environmental safety logic”. And of course, within socially-adept humans at least, emotions are so much more. I would say Alexander is closer to the indigenous perspective. The word “indigenous” means ‘born inside of’, so we can be sure that the English word ‘place’ is not the first word for human-land community.

        I don’t mean to paint indigenous cultures so generally, but the fact is that many lasted far longer than this modern civilization has so far, and I would argue that was essentially due to a core understanding and perception of “home” that allowed place-based cultures to maintain their land with a biogeocultural reciprocity. They shared narratives built over centuries and millennia that carried implicit truths about who they are, where home is, and how to respect it. It’s that kind of understanding of origin and essence which I believe we are seeking to recreate with permaculture. The essence then isn’t the narratives themselves, which are more like the ties that bind, but it’s the culture of kinship where all beings are included as kin. It’s the sense of continuity that comes from considering lineage and ancestry in the kin-ecological context, think of totems.

        I wonder a lot about that sense of continuity within the precious few remaining indigenous cultures. Their stories and cultures must have changed extraordinarily through the past and present colonial oppression to be represented today. I think such magnitudes of adaptation and resilience are only merely available in permaculturists’ dreams now. It’s those dreams that breathe intention into permaculture’s potential to flower within a dying civilization.

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        2019/11/27 at 6:23 am
        • From Dan Palmer on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

          I’ll plan to reply properly later Trevor but want to say thank you – I go so much out of this comment (and not only because it starts with agreement then has a central focus on Christopher Alexander :-)) and can’t wait to dip back into it. There are many flavours here that resonate deeply with what are emerging for me as the right next steps with this project. Actually I think this is not the first time you’ve demonstrated an uncanny ability to steal my thunder, come to think of it :-).

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          2019/11/27 at 4:14 pm
          • From Trevor Lohr on Ben Haggard on Potential and Development in Permaculture and Beyond (E30)

            Well the feeling is certainly mutual. Listening to your conversations, I often catch myself smiling when the subject weaves through the same threads I’ve been exploring on my own. I really appreciate your recent enthusiasm and focus on language, as I’ve also been digging into word meanings and etymology.

            For instance, the Old French meaning of “Develop”, *desveloper*, was to unroll, unfold, unveil, reveal the meaning of, explain. Even more interesting, it changed in English by the 18th century to mean: “unfold more fully, bring out the potential in”, “come gradually into existence or operation”, “advance from one stage to another toward a finished state”, “become known, come to light”.

            Exciting as some of those meanings are, I also think “Development” is a risky word to use in common circles without explaining our meaning, and how it’s different from the common understanding. I think most people hear a kind of biblical, “make Bread from Stones” meaning, which is practically antithetical to the meaning we intend. The common meaning is essentially a colonial imposition of space and a powerful meme or mental tool for extractive capitalism.

            There is another surprising word with a similar meaning as “Develop”, which I couldn’t help thinking about during this conversation. Apocalypse is generally considered to mean “end of the world, cataclysm”. Once again though, the etymology reveals a much richer origin in the Greek apokalyptein- to uncover, disclose, or reveal. The prefix Apo means off, away from, + kalyptein is to cover, or conceal.

            I was perhaps a bit overzealous to refer to the current global context as “dying civilization”, but there is certainly enough revelation available to anyone wanting to know that the cracks are now gaping chasms. Between dozens of countrywide protests by young and working people against the failed neoliberal economic consensus, and central banks ramping up their bail outs of the failing banks and corporations *again*, the global system that distributes our goods and services is looking like it may never, and maybe should never recover to its current form. I believe this past decade will be looked upon by history as The Great Stagnation, but also as The Great Revealing.

            I don’t mean to get too political, I just mean to address the context to which Mollison and Holmgren were ultimately responding with permaculture. There are certainly even wider contexts, larger wholes beyond our earthen economy and ecology, and I think we will need to consider even those systems at some point along our earthly descent if we are to true regenerative cultures into existence.

            Go to comment
            2019/11/28 at 2:09 am
  • 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..

    Go to comment
    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!

    Go to comment
    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.

      Go to comment
      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.”

      Go to comment
      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
    Meg
    PS: Your recaptcha is still glitching 😀

    Go to comment
    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.)

    Go to comment
    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.

      Go to comment
      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.

    Go to comment
    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.

    Go to comment
    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: https://youtu.be/U7DQmTjpFI0

    Go to comment
    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!

    Go to comment
    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!!!

    Go to comment
    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.

    Go to comment
    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!

      Go to comment
      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

    Go to comment
    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?”

      Go to comment
      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.

    Go to comment
    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,
    Manuel

    Go to comment
    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! 🙂

    Go to comment
    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.

    Go to comment
    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!

    Go to comment
    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,

    Andy.
    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?

    Go to comment
    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 🙂

    Go to comment
    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 : ),
    Manuel

    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).

    Go to comment
    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 www.desigingforlife.org, 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.

    Thanks

    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!

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    2020/05/29 at 12:16 pm
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