Holistic Decision Making (e40)

VEG’s context

Hey all so today I share a little bit about holistic decision making – the whole-oriented decision making practice I have adapted and evolved from Allan Savory’s Holistic Management decision making framework.

I’ve had a bunch of folk requesting more info about this lately and I’m feeling it very relevant to this historical moment when many of us are making big decisions about the shape of our lives and enterprises moving out of the first wave of coronavirus.

Hope is helpful – You can listen to my incredible subsequent interview with Allan Savory here, find more info here and there is a series of articles a bunch of people have found helpful here.

Here’s our family context which I refer to along with VEG’s context above.

Here’s an old vid where Adam and I talk about the impact of this stuff on our business (during a workshop we had Darren Doherty come and run for us):

I mention and thanks Allan Savory during the chat and share how he is currently in crisis (holistic) management mode of the African Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe. Visit the website here to learn more and donate. Here’s what’s up for him from his facebook page:

I would like to thank those of you who have donated to support Africa Centre for Holistic Management, which we deeply appreciate. Due to the pandemic crisis Jody and I have had to assume the management role of ACHM. All income has stopped, and Victoria Falls hotels lie empty. We have done the best of holistic financial planning to survive at least 18 months till income might start flowing. Priorities are to save the people managing the land and wildlife and stopping the poaching that is ramping up as hungry people try to feed their families. We are feeding staff and paying monthly what little we can in very tight plan. And as usual things happen! Last night the elephants tore up our water pipes so replan!!

Because we operate under a government rated as one of the most corrupt in the world and 600% inflation of the local virtual currency, we have had to install a new donate button to stop government and banks raiding donations. Now 100% donated gets to us to save the people, wildlife and all we hold dear. If you can support please go to front page at https://www.africacentreforholisticmanagement.org and every dollar will I assure you go a long way in this broken failed economy and help a lot of wildlife and poor people.

Allan Savory laying out aspects of the approach


  1. Hey Dan, you are doing important work reaching people that HM wouldn’t reach. I often share the podcast with you and Allan to people thinking that permaculture and HM is incompatible.

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  3. 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!

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

  4. 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.


    1. I’m so happy to hear from you Abraham and I always smile when I think of your beautiful garden :-).

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

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