• From Meg McGowan on Nested Communities of Permaculture Design (E32)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Many thanks,

    Huon Valley, Tas.

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

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

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    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.

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    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?) :-).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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      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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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!

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      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.

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    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?

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

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

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

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

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

    Hi Dan,

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


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    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!

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    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.

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    2020/05/23 at 3:35 pm
    • From Madge on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

      Holistic resource management means only that you manage the land based on a view of your whole ecosystem. Grazing is only one tool, of several , to facilitate encourage ecosystem restoration, and land management.

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      2021/11/15 at 8:39 am
    • From Dan Palmer on Holistic Decision Making (e40)

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

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

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

    I can’t wait for part 2!

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

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

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

    Sincerely grateful to you once again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What do you mean by patreon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Extraordinary interview!! Thank you for that!

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

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

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

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

    Go to comment
    2020/07/31 at 10:48 am
  • From Jason on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    This is a really sweet collection of Q & A’s. I enjoyed this a lot, but can’t get past Alan’s insistence that institutional policy is the way to change. That belief rests on making our existing world resilient, as opposed to embracing of change and therefore being regenerative. The premise of his thinking is that individual action is too small and too slow, and therefore too late, and so institutional change must be the only solution. There’s a fear mindset there that life is going to change too dramatically. I think that’s unavoidable, and for the better. There is a lot of regenerative potential in individual action (with the caveat that it happens in concerted community) to create the nodes of the next world to grow. I’m less interested in saving everything we have. That said, I don’t see harm in some folks holding that institutional change mindset, but I don’t love when individual and community action is made to seem less than.

    Go to comment
    2020/08/10 at 4:09 am
  • From Matthew Hayes on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    Thank you Dan, and thank you Allan for this very reflective interview. That Allan is so honest about coming to the end of his life and his call to action from the youth of today is something to reflect on – I am thinking about this. Shifting from reactive/reductive to proactive/holistic management is clearly genuinely a paradigm shift – and as such is going to demand inner work (as Jeremy Griffith alludes to above). I understand Jason’s concern about a reliance on institutional change, sidelining the central importance of individual and community action. Perhaps Allan’s call on us all to “demand” a shift to holistic management and decision making at institutional levels is a call for community action. What I find so powerful about the way Allan expresses himself is the steady clarity and systematic thoroghness of his holistic framework. He has history and evolution on his side in all his assertions. We can only be the change we expect. How must I be to hold the support of those I depend on to acheive what I know we must acheive?

    Go to comment
    2020/08/17 at 2:35 am
  • From Delvin on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    Exceptional podcast! Super inspirational expansion of design thinking. Certainly these transformative discussions are helping making permaculture stronger. Thanks so much for the practical and profound share. So grateful for the work of both Alan and Dan.

    Go to comment
    2020/08/20 at 12:25 pm
  • From Lizzy on Holistic Context for a Permaculture Design Business (Part 2 of 2)

    Thanks to all for giving this opportunity to listen to an active process of setting the context for a design; and the active listening skills needed of the facilitator/designer to support the client.
    This was also a good revision of the course (advanced design) and your focus on the energy of the words we use and the meta pattern of what is created by intent and how that gives purpose and motivation to sustain the change we see possible.
    I appreciated the point you made about aligning or bringing purposes together in terms of being viable as a business and providing value to the world.

    Go to comment
    2020/09/16 at 5:53 pm
  • From Lizzy on Allan Savory on Permaculture and Holistic Management (e48)

    A really good listen on both sides. I believe this was an honest reflection of how changing anyone’s behaviour and institutionalising a system is difficult and unpredictable in how it is applied at the end of the day. I pay respect to the Savoury institute for standing by decisions about maintaining quality of their system.

    While complexity is not only as expressed by Allan – I appreciated his methodical approach and sanguine reflections. Policy is not just made by gov. or institutions – it’s made by our choices and votes as individuals.
    So when is the ‘policy’ activism and permaculture lobby groups starting? (I believe they already have in some Gov. policy arenas):)

    Go to comment
    2020/09/16 at 6:04 pm
  • From Jason Gerhardt on Rosemary Morrow Reflecting on Four Decades of International Permaculture Work (e52)

    This is an amazing conversation, Dan. Thanks for bringing Rowe on. She remains a true inspiration through and through. Most of the subjects that came up are what has been on my mind for years and still consumes my mind. “We’ve lost the plot!” I enjoy her take on the value that permaculture still has too. The wisdom shared in the last 5 minutes of this recording are most important for all of us to be contemplating, designing, and building.

    Go to comment
    2020/09/23 at 12:16 am
  • From Meg McGowan on Rosemary Morrow Reflecting on Four Decades of International Permaculture Work (e52)

    Thank you SO much Dan.
    How I love her.
    Rowe introduced me to permaculture in my 20’s but I didn’t get to meet her until my 50’s and she continues to be my guiding light.
    Inspired by her example we developed our teaching model so that those without income could access it.
    We have also now connected with two permaculture teachers in Uganda and Kenya that are local and teaching on the ground. I think providing them with direct support is consistent with the principle of putting energy to its highest use. It is so much more efficient for us to provide these wonderful people with support than to travel there and to attempt to teach them permaculture without the local knowledge or connections. This goes beyond financial support and includes sharing teaching ideas and resources. Both speak excellent English but also speak other languages and dialect. Another efficiency because no translators are needed.
    What really strikes me is how both of them have adapted the permaculture design model to their own circumstances, and that resonated with your comments about people designing themselves into places rather than out of them.
    It was Rowe that inspired all of this with her call to all of us to support people that aren’t ‘wealthy middle class’ and who most needed permaculture.
    Here’s one of them
    I appreciate that there are millions of people that do not have access to an English-speaking local with access to the internet, but there are many that do, and that for those of us can’t travel to these places or choose not to there is still much we can do.
    If each of us in the wealthy parts of the world connect with one or two fellow permaculture practitioners in these parts of the world, just imagine….

    Go to comment
    2020/09/23 at 3:50 pm
  • From Finn Weddle on Rosemary Morrow Reflecting on Four Decades of International Permaculture Work (e52)

    Thanks Dan, an empassioned episode! I really felt like Rowe was speaking her truth, especially powerfully in the first section of the conversation; it was wonderful to hear such a gentle educator and force for good speak out with such raw frustration.

    Listening to this, I strongly feel pulled in lots of directions out of a compulsion to do more good in the world, which I’m trying to stay sensitive to and consciously remind myself of where I am now and why I am where I am. From returning to my Arabic degree to working with homeless and refugee shelters, heaps of ideas come flooding to mind of ‘things’ to do…lots of checking in needed with my context, and investigating the difference between what is and what could have been…

    Like Meg, I too have huge gratitude to Rowe. I first heard about her at the IPC in London, 2015. She gave the closing plenary at the conference and, to be honest, I was feeling a bit ‘meh’ after two days of keynote speakers who I felt were either a bit out of touch with reality or just telling a converted audience the same old, same old. Rowe stepped on stage and brought a huge energy and light into the room, and her one simple statement – ‘Anyone, anywhere, who knows anything about permaculture should be sharing it with the world!’ – compelled me to start planning my first education project the second I got home (it’s still running to this day, even though I stepped away some years ago). Her speech completely turned around my view of permaculture at a pretty critical juncture on my path!!

    Thanks for a great listen, and I’m glad the mythical David Holmgren mini-series will be appearing in my headphones in the not too distant future at long last!!!

    Go to comment
    2020/09/25 at 8:58 am
  • From Fraser on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    Hi Dan. Feels like I’m stalking you haha, let me just say I’m getting very, very good value from your direction this week.

    I really liked this podcast as I do most of your recent ones and keen to hear the next instalment. One thing really stuck out for me. David mentioned his original interest gravitated “around food production and more broadly, agriculture, as humanity’s prime way for providing for its needs” and from there the seed of permaculture from the question “why does agriculture, if not look like a forest literally, function like a forest?”

    This raises a lot of questions for me around farm scale or landscape scale permaculture that actually provides livelihoods from that kind of agriculture. The farmers I know of that are doing really good agro-ecological work don’t seem to regard themselves was permaculturists although some of them claim some inspiration. Mill Post Farm are giving it a red hot crack but will admit a loss in income and the benefit of no debt to pursue it. Ridgedale Farm seems to be really awesome and I don’t know Richard Perkins or his background but it seems like that farm has had investment way beyond what a family farm might afford and that leads me to questions around viability.

    From a personal perspective we have an open farm and I like ideas and barbecues and beer and have been at the butt end of well meaning visiting permies telling how I should be doing things and offering up all the bamboo, duck and swale tropes.None of these people have had any farming experience except for one really grating dude who worked on a big NGO project which went to ruin as soon as the funding dried up. I think perhaps this is the biggest barrier to larger scale adoption.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not permaculture trained in any way mostly I think as a result of the above experiences with permaculture ideologues although I would consider Nick and Kirsten, Robyn Rosendfeldt, Hannah and Anton and others as at least good acquaintances if not friends and I really enjoy and have deep respect for the thought that has gone into Dave Holmgren’s Principles work. I guess your work here is addressing it but I really am curious as to what the barrier is to landscape scale permaculture as an agriculture system which is the same question essentially that David and Bill asked back about when I was a wee bebe.

    Thanks and Rock On. Fraser

    Go to comment
    2020/10/15 at 7:17 pm
    • From Shane Ward on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

      Hey Fraser, one good example to check out might be Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm :
      Designed using permaculture principles, at scale and is not only viable but profitable.

      Go to comment
      2020/10/16 at 2:30 pm
      • From Fraser on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

        Looks great Shane. I noticed the language is “cutting edge” “ambitious” “innovative” and I was kinda hoping by now we’d be at “normal” so maybe it’s just a time thing. Ecologies take a long time and it takes along time to turn a ship around so it might be that all the work of the last 40 years of permaculture is only just peeking it’s head out.

        Go to comment
        2020/10/16 at 9:47 pm
        • From Finn on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

          My partner, a therapist, works closely with many professionals, public and private sector, around neonatal care. There is a broad consensus there that it takes about two decades for new knowledge to progress from ‘accepted science’ to ‘mainstream practice’, and even then the uptake can be slow. Imagine the tens of thousands of women receiving subpar medical support every year as they wait for the obstetricians, midwives, nurses and everyone else involved to catch up with the science?! It’s quite unthinkable, really, but my partner comes face to face with the fallout of that on a near-daily basis.

          So if that’s healthcare, just think how long it’ll take the farming fraternity (as we call them in aristocratic Britain) and all the ecologies in their stewardship to play catch up.

          I agree, haste is so badly needed, I guess the least we can do is be the pioneers ourselves. A friend in Wales shares a similar passion to you, he just made a fantastic video about it –

          Go to comment
          2020/10/17 at 9:39 am
          • From Fraser on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

            Hey Finn, thanks for that link. I reckon your mate in Wales and I would get along. I’m sure he likes a beer or a cider, should I ever get back to Wales I’d love to share one with him.

            I found it very interesting to learn that in the podcast Hakai’s opinion that “the permaculture vision of broad acre integrated land uses of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, beekeeping, forestry, all of these things being integrated, couldn’t come about under our freehold land tenure system.” And I’ve heard David before mention some sort of neo-feudalist system although I’d need to look that up again to understand the application of that a little better.

            It all points to more people in the landscape. Henbant Farm is a good example of just that. A farming couple or family can’t physically undertake all those enterprises and enjoy life. It’s also what I immediately noticed about New Forest Farm which looks awesome but on that scale just the hazels alone would be a full time job requiring mechanical infrastructure for harvesting and processing. Perhaps this is why permaculture is much stronger at designing smaller spaces than mixed farming systems.

            Go to comment
            2020/10/17 at 2:13 pm
    • From Fraser on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

      All that is to say- If the originating motivation of Permaculture was to address the disconnection of agriculture to ecologies- has it done that?

      Go to comment
      2020/10/15 at 10:49 pm
      • From Dan Palmer on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

        A pleasure to be stalked by you Fraser :-). Thanks so much for your comments – this is such a ripper question I’d love to explore more and welcome other’s thought on. Part of me wonders if David speaks to this in the next part – can’t remember but I’ve heard him speaking to it somewhere. Makes me think I’ll have to hit him up anyway so if anyone else has a question for him hit me up and I’ll present him with a package deal :-). Personally I’m also excited to create a stand-alone post looking real closely at David’s language here around the seed / originating impulse of permaculture as I reckon there’s an opening there that in a sense was perhaps missed at the time (while much other great stuff was progressed) that feels so aligned with my passions around making permaculture stronger and living design process it’s not funny. Bring on Phase Two proper and thanks again for chiming in Fraser. You have been displaying a pattern of getting the ball rolling in a few of our shared contexts lately – playing some kind of beneficial catalyst role – love it :-).

        Go to comment
        2020/10/16 at 9:46 am
  • From Shane Ward on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    Great episode Dan!
    Wonderful to hear David’s thoughts on the early years and also piece together the narrative of how it all developed from his perspective – what the influences were etc.
    Two things really jumped out at me.
    1. That quote that you highlighted: “in most places on the planet, nature creates some sort of forest as an optimal ecosystem response to climate and geology and landscape to optimise production and diversity from a sort of an ecological point of view, why does agriculture, if not look like a forest literally, function like a forest? For example why is it not dominated by perennial plants? Why is it dominated by annual plants?” It’s just such a great summary of the problem of imprinting industrial land use patterns on to landscape and the value of biomimicry and ‘looking to nature’ for how we might sole challenges.. Nailed it!
    and then no 2. ““Haikai really introduced the framework of strategic planning, which had become a tool used by urban planners, but it came out of the military, as he explained it. Military planners had to act with limited knowledge and where they didn’t control all the factors and that idea of having frameworks of action, but you don’t really know how that is going to express itself in final design form. We started applying strategic design process to what we call tree crop agriculture; how do you not just have grazing animals around a landscape or annual crops, but these permanent, long lived structures of tree crop. Like me Haikai was a tree crop nut; he was obsessed with trees. So the application of that sort of design process was very much part of learning from working with him.”
    I really like that way of articulating the challenge of design (or any intent really), by recognising that you never control all the factors, you can’t control the outcome but it’s really important to still engage with that process of creation and sculpting outcomes. To be a part and not separate from the process you’re engaging with and to value the process of thinking things through. Planning is not worthless just because the end result won’t/can’t match the plan. Acknowledging that at the outset and being comfortable in the ambiguity is a great starting point.
    Looking forwards to part II!

    Go to comment
    2020/10/16 at 2:26 pm
  • From Meg McGowan on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    What a wonderful insight into the history and intellectual DNA of permaculture. Thank you Dan and, as always, I am left feeling deeply grateful to David for not only creating the permaculture model, but for embedding in it the philosophy that was so much a part of his early education; there is no dogma. Design evolves! We are not trying to find the best ever design model but the one that best serves us right now.
    David’s ideas about design and implementation also resonate strongly for me. I have previously observed that there is a world of difference in the teaching styles of those that have implemented their own permaculture system vs those that have learnt the model theoretically with a view to teaching it. I was unable to stick with two different academic courses because of this disconnect (and one of them was fine arts!). I believe that good design needs at least an equal “talk to do” ratio, and ideally a whole lot more “do” than “talk”. I am reminded of Rowe Morrow’s advice to would-be teachers that our students learn by doing and not by listening to us talk.
    What a great story about his Mum intuitively finding the right space for the house. Since hearing you talk about your design work and the living design process I have added a new layer to the “observe and learn” part of our design cycle. It asks students (or their clients when they are designing for others) to wander their site with a printed map and to record their emotional responses to different spaces. I am deeply grateful to you for this idea. The results have been surprising and have led to significant improvements in the quality of the final designs. The most recent PDC students found that the clients for their group design had an unlikely place that was their favourite spot to hang out in the garden. Imagine the client’s delight when they discover that this has been integrated into the final plan. This would not have happened otherwise.
    The reference to strategic planning coming from the military has led me back to my considerations of soft systems methodology. I wonder how much of it emerges from the strategic planning that became an integral part of my policing career. Certainly the parallels are worth thinking about. All design is, for me, like gardening. We have a general direction in which we wish to head but we must also remain adaptive, embracing the changes we cannot control and the inevitable surprises.

    Thank you again for your consistently inspirational content. I am very much looking forward to your further discussion with David.

    Go to comment
    2020/10/16 at 3:19 pm
  • From Delvin Solkinson on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    What an amazing dialogue. Its incredible to benefit from your work making permaculture stronger. Love the idea of permaculture as a “radical design school”

    For a long time I have been curious history of permaculture in relation to psychedelics or plant medicines. I always wondered if Mollison had been influenced by his time with the Shipibo in Peru. In this light I was interested to hear this :
    “I suppose I’d see myself growing up as a super rationalist. Even as a child, I would wake up and not remember any of my dreams, probably because the dream world was just too inconsistent with reality. There were a few things that broke down that process. The primary one was the experience of LSD made it clear to me there were more things in the human mind that could possibly be comprehended through simple sort of reductionist methods.” – David Holmgren

    An interesting contribution to permaculture history and design process. Brilliant to hear these two great men in discussion. Thanks Dan and David.

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    2020/10/17 at 4:44 am
  • From Finn on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    I’m so glad I now know something about this Haikai fella! So far it’s just been a name that’s drifted through conversation without much follow up.

    I really enjoyed hearing about David’s learning journey and it’s very curious that he published Pc1 at what seems to be the very start of his learning journey, and to be honest it sounds like it was basically just a first punt, and then while Mollison spread it wildly around the world Holmgren was studiously developing his own work, consciously relating it to a field of design and practicing in multiple contexts. I have to say it does kinda feel like Bill took the spark of pc, drew it out into rods of lightning and sprinkled it thunderously for decades, taking centre stage all the way, whilst David just kinda sat quietly with that spark and watched it, played with it, ‘observe and interacted’ it (to nounify one of his principles) like a young child sitting at the hearth…There is a sort of keen feeling that pc’s DNA has been somewhat subdued by all the noise and bluster that followed and, whilst that had some value, Phase Two of MPS looks to be well placed to explore and expound upon that seed of potential. It sound like a Classic myth story, ha ?

    Lastly, I notice the glaring absence of any mention of David’s (or Bill’s) interaction with indigenous cultures throughout this formative process. As there are conflicting narratives about this – how directly the pair drew upon aboriginal ideas and practices, how respectfully this was done if so, if credit was ever given where due etcetera…having David’s definitive word on his perception of that narrative would be very valuable (and a recent thread on the Permaculture UK Official FB group attests to the varying perceptions of this). David’s explanation so far seems pretty rational, like he picked it all up at school plus LSD plus a couple white mentors. I’d love to know if there’s another side to that story.

    Thanks again, Dan.

    Go to comment
    2020/10/17 at 10:06 am
  • From Bill on David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process - Part One (e53)

    Speechless! Humbled and grateful to be here now. To read this, hear this and experience the space and resonance such wonderful thoughtful beings possess and share. Very reverent bow being offered in recognition of the hopefulness manifest in this work and insights. Thank you.

    Go to comment
    2020/10/17 at 9:30 pm