In our first ever conversation, Ben Haggard of Regenesis Group shares his history with and perspective on permaculture.
This episode catalysed waves of reflection that are blowing my mind.
Yes, I was struck with the profound clarity and depth of what Ben shared.
Then the sheer resonance of the relevance to exactly where Making Permaculture Stronger is at – well that pretty much knocked me off my seat. You could say I’m still climbing back up off the floor :-).
I don’t know about you, dear listener/reader, but I have the real sense that this conversation is itself a nodal intervention in Making Permaculture Stronger’s ongoing evolution.
It is like I can feel the energy shifting and growing and generatively transforming throughout my entire being and hence the being of this project. New levels of Will are awakening.
I mean I use the terms potential and development (who doesn’t) and before this chat I would have said I had a fairly clear, coherent grasp on what they are. Not any more. I was almost dazzled by the clarity Ben gives these terms in a way that resonates deep in my bones. Then, when he spoke about the idea of permaculture’s originating impulse, well, game over. Let me pen a few reflections on each.
After decades of experience and reflection in collaboration with a tight-knit community of practice, Ben has reached a fascinating perspective on what potential is. As I understand him, he sees the potential (or the possible contribution) of something as existing in the tension between that thing’s deep, enduring, inherent character and the ever-changing reality of the context in which it is nested and in particular what this context calls for in this particular “historical and evolutionary moment.”
To identify the potential of a farm, a garden, a person, a family, a business, an organisation, a blog project, we need to ask:
- what is the unique character of this being? then
- what is currently called for in the immediate, local, and greater wholes it is nested within?, and
- what could happen here that would harmonise these two things?
Which brings us to…
Clearly, potential often remains latent. For Ben, development is then the practice of actually revealing and manifesting the potential inherent in something, which involves removing anything in the way and becoming more and more relevant and valuable to context.
When Ben first mentioned this phrase late in our chat, I knew immediately it was going to inform my very next steps with Making Permaculture Stronger. So take this as a sneak preview where I’d invite you to start sitting in the space of this all-important question: what was permaculture’s originating impulse? Please don’t rush – take your time with this – there will be space to chime in with what arises for you very soon.
One thing here I’d invite if you come across any sound bites or text that speaks of this originating impulse to you, especially if from the early days of permaculture, please send it through to me and I may well include it in the upcoming post.
Other Notable Threads
- what Ben said about permaculture’s usual initiation/conversion experiences and how these can make it very difficult to bring the ideas into one’s existing ways of working I think was well worth further exploration. I mention it here as a reminder to come back to this in future as appropriate. Any thoughts?
- This idea of the word place as a rare world in English in that it includes people, landscape etc etc…
- the idea that if you can be with a person or other living entity as it is, you are taking it as whole (as opposed to our default pattern of fragmenting things by paying attention to their various attributes)
Links to Stuff Ben is involved in
- Visit Regenesis Group here.
- Learn about the Regenerative Practitioner Training here.
- Learn about the book Ben wrote with Pamela Mang here (Regenerative Development & Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability)
- Here is the chat with Bill Reed where we dive deep into function, being and will