Dan Palmer’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process and David Holmgren’s Response (E11)

This episode is a recording of a session during a four-day workshop that was run last week by David Holmgren from Holmgren Design and Dan Palmer from Making Permaculture Stronger. The workshop was entitled Advanced Permaculture Planning and Design Process, and this episode shares the story of Dan’s personal journey with permaculture design process, to which David responds with something of his own story.

Here is a photo of Dan sharing his story…

…and David responding…

Huge thanks to Keri Chiveralls for coming and for taking and sharing all three photos, Bec Lowe and Brenna Quinlan for supporting David and Dan during the course (and for Brenna’s amazing illustrations), Su Dennet for feeding everyone, and the other participants for coming along and making it all possible and for integrating their beautiful energies into the mix of this emerging conversation whose time has come around (once again): Andrew, Anitra, Annaliese, Anne, Ben, Daryl, Delldint, Delvin, Franky, Gavin, Jazmyn, Jenny, Ken, Kim, Ko, Linnet, Lukas, Michae,l Michelle, Pierre, Sean, Stacey, Ugo, Venetia, Wayne & Willow

Brenna Quinlan’s brilliant pictorial summary of Dan’s talk (which was then condensed into this summary of the whole day):

The course group:

Finally, for anyone who might be interested, there is a detailed six-post report of the 2017 version of this workshop here, and future iterations of this course will be listed here.


  1. 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!

  2. Hi Dan,
    Just wanted to drop you a line saying thank you for the amazingly rich conversations you share through this podcast. I’ve been stumbling around in permaculture for just the last couple of years and I am really excited about the direction that Making Permaculture Stronger is driving me as a listener. Thanks for adding another function to my commute and enhancing my own permaculture design thinking. I really enjoyed your story and the insights in this episode. Cheers.

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