[permaculture] Trends in America
toby at patternliteracy.com
Wed Nov 5 09:55:07 EST 2008
> Toby, I don't want to sound harsh (as text can often be), but
> yes, if you do not have the skills to grow food and manage your water,
> then yes, I think you and most of the other p.d.c. teachers should stop
> teaching until you do.
(thanks for the note on harsh words--this is a narrow bandwidth medium
and it's difficult to get a lot of nuance in it.)
I've not yet met any Pc teacher who hasn't at some time grown food,
managed water, and done a zillion other practical things--it would be
hypocritical to teach what you can't do. I had a ten-acre homestead for
ten years--built much of the passive solar house, had a 6000 square foot
garden, catchment, graywater, food forest, harvested wood for heat,
greenhouse, solar hot water, etc, etc. But doing that is no longer the
best use of my time, given the needs of others around me (and the work
others do for me in exchange). I've also found that as people spend time
as Pc-ists, many go through an evolution from gardening and building to
design, and then to community development and focusing on invisible
structures. That's where I am, at any rate.
> Throughout pre-fossil fuel history, at least 95% of people
> primarily worked to produce food.
The primary reason that most people were farmers until recently is due
to a grossly inequitable distribution of political power (feudalism,
serfdom), not because everyone needed to farm to produce enough food.
I've seen studies showing that one farmer in 1700 could grow enough food
to feed 50 people. They were forced to grow grain and give most of it to
their rulers to feed the rulers' livestock, army, servants, courtiers,
and so on. In an equitable political system without fossil fuels, no
more than 10-30% of people would need to be involved in food production.
Don't get me wrong, I love gardening and think everyone should do it to
be connected to the land, but even without oil, we don't all need to be
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