In Dialogue with Takota Coen about Permaculture’s Potential (E58)

I recently enjoyed the first of what I hope will be many lovely conversations with Takota Coen about permaculture’s potential. Takota is co-author of the new design process book Building Your Permaculture Property. In Takota’s words, we “talk about how a lack of a living, adaptive process is holding permaculture back from reaching its fullest potential, and what we can all do about it.” Here’s the youtube version, here’s Takota’s podcast where this chat was originally shared, and you can learn more about what I’m calling Living Design Process here. Enjoy and please do leave a comment sharing what you make of the stuff we explore!

Dan and Takota mid-chat


  1. What a nice conversation! Lots of energy. It also feels like this talk could be a nice entry point into Making Permaculture Stronger in general. I’m so excited by the work you’re doing and I want to share it with other people, but often don’t know which episode to point them to to start, as many are so deep in the pool, it can be hard for those just learning to swim with these questions.

    I was surprised by the depth of this conversation as the title of the new book made it sound much less like a living design process. But this conversation definitely peaked my interest in the book!

    As you were talking about this thing of aligning ourselves with nature, or working with nature, another metaphor came to my mind. Like, we are all atoms in a piece of iron called nature. We are all part of it, but depending on how we align ourselves with in it, we’re creating a magnet of repulsion or a magnet of attraction.

    1. Thanks Han and yes it is a challenge finding the right entry point into what to me is such a crucial conversation. I’m looking forward to engaging in collegial critical discussion of this new book in ways that open up some of these doors I keep harping on about. While the focus of the book is certainly not living process as I understand it, it does provide a solid reference point in the larger conversation that I hope will tend toward more and more alive process understandings and practices over time. Also thanks for your metaphor, which took me back to the eddies in the flow of life that just need to stop fighting and trying to swim upstream so hard!

  2. The type of design process you describe reminds me of a waking dream or hallucination I had while on Peyote in which I could design the architecture into which I walked as I went. Most enjoyable. The process you describe also reminds me of how I think humanity has evolved to survive, especially going through population bottlenecks due to climate instability or other profound change by: adapting moment to moment, feeling our way, learning by doing, the pathway being home, barefoot, outcomes emergent.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Susan, beautifully put, and given how hard it can be to get the deeply nourishing lived and felt experience of designing and creating this way across, maybe I ought to look into Peyote more!

  3. I am feeling hugely uplifted after listening to this conversation. Absolutely energizing for me!

    Thank you Takota for your openness in the meander of this conversation, lifting the paddles out now and then to reflect and drift and see where the current goes.. and the water was moving nicely wasn’t it!

    ..and Dan, I am so appreciative of what I am getting from the enrichment of your way of being with these questions in this realm.. real coherence was felt in this conversation.

    Looking forward to a follow up to this someday and to checking out your book soon too Takota.

    1. Thanks Adrian – I too was so energised by this conversation, and in finding another person, like yourself, genuinely interested in having these kinds of conversations and explorations.

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