[permaculture] The weakening of Permaculture.

Steve Hart stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com
Tue Dec 31 16:34:12 EST 2013


This debate began by me using the Aquaponics Hydroponics issues as classic
examples of one example of the whole weakening of Permaculture. Quite
obviously, to me anyway, many just don't get it. At least my argument
anyway.

Our challenge in Permaculture is to mimic nature and work with her not
against it. It is not an arbitrary debate. It actually calls for greater
respect and dilgence and perhaps more intelligence. Not all existing
farming is artificial. But we are certainly breeding ageneration of very
lazy caretakers who are rapidly farming off the directions on the back of a
plastic bottle and under the doctrines of accountants and the banksters.

A and H are synthetic imitation attempts at production to the detriment of
the consumer. Have we forgotten the experiment that lead to the movie on
eating only Macdonalds ? "Super Size Me " ?. Then of course there is the
Mollisonism "The Bruce Effect"

For optimal health we need connection to the real qualities of soil and
water. Artificial systems do not offer this. We do not need artificial
inputs either to develop  best water and soil. But, a far greater
understanding of what exists in nature and all its realms in order to
develop patterns and processes and procedures to get there.  If one can not
or will not respect this reality then its time for another Permaculture
Design Course by a tutor that will explore and instill  these realities in
all the teachings. ...Steve Hart

Seems to me there is a hell of a lot more learning and realisation needed
for this debate to progress anywhere...Steve Hart


On 31 December 2013 13:00, <permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm)
>    2. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Toby Hemenway)
>    3. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Heenandoherty)
>    4. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Jay Woods)
>    5. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Koreen Brennan)
>    6. Re: A critique of permaculture (Holger Hieronimi)
>    7. Re: Future Scenarios- STANDARDS ? (Holger Hieronimi)
>    8. Re: Aquaponics: artificial? (Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:43:10 -0600
> From: "Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm" <farmer1 at gasperfarm.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <52C1B0AE.4060701 at gasperfarm.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> To me, fish food is a huge input, and one that is often unsustainable. What
> examples do you know of that do it without fish food inputs (or very
> little)?
>
> Pete
>
> On 12/29/2013 02:57 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> > Almost none of that is the case for aquaponics. It is a low-input,
> closed loop system, very different. Fish food is the primary input, though
> I know of systems that use almost no purchased fish food.
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:17:52 -0800
> From: Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <FF150F47-772D-4BE4-AB40-97B05A4F06B2 at patternliteracy.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>
>
> On Dec 30, 2013, at 9:43 AM, Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm wrote:
>
> > To me, fish food is a huge input, and one that is often unsustainable.
> What
> > examples do you know of that do it without fish food inputs (or very
> little)?
> >
> > Pete
>
> Yes, fish food inputs  are one weak point, for sure, just as are
> fertilizer inputs or farm-animal feed in manure-based farming. I've seen
> some systems that use compost to grow black soldier fly larva to feed
> insectivorous fish. Vegetable wastes are recycled from the growing beds to
> feed the larvae, but since the 2nd law of thermodynamics is in effect, they
> still need a few additional sources of food, though minor ones. And I've
> also seen algae and duckweed being grown to feed tilapia.
>
> Feeding the animals that provide manure, or generating permanent compost
> for crops, is the hidden defect of all organic farming. John Jeavons and
> others have calculated that for every acre of food production, 4 to 6 acres
> of compost or animal-feed crops are needed to have a sustainable system.
>
> One obvious open loop that remains to be closed is for the people being
> fed by these systems to recycle their urine and feces back into the
> aquaponics (or farms) in some way. That open loop exists for almost all
> western agriculture.
>
> To me the biggest weakness of aquaponics is the high-density fish
> population needed to supply manure. This stresses the fish and makes them
> subject to disease, and I can't imagine they are happy at those densities.
> One solution might be to grow at lower fish densities and filter the
> manure-water to concentrate the nutrients before it goes to the plants, but
> then you are adding another layer of technology on the system.
>
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:50:20 +1100
> From: Heenandoherty <heenandoherty at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <25AFF42E-C646-4A58-B76F-281F0196862E at gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=us-ascii
>
> G'day, Will Allen's Growing Power model comes to mind + he grows his
> plants in a compost-based medium as I understand it.
>
> Yours & Growing,
> Darren J. Doherty
> Executive Director Regrarians Ltd (AU)
> www.Regrarians.org
> 'LIKE'www.Facebook.com/HeenanDoherty
> +61431444836
>
>
> > On 31 Dec 2013, at 4:43, "Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm" <
> farmer1 at gasperfarm.com> wrote:
> >
> > To me, fish food is a huge input, and one that is often unsustainable.
> What
> > examples do you know of that do it without fish food inputs (or very
> little)?
> >
> > Pete
> >
> >> On 12/29/2013 02:57 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> >> Almost none of that is the case for aquaponics. It is a low-input,
> closed loop system, very different. Fish food is the primary input, though
> I know of systems that use almost no purchased fish food.
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
> > How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
> > http://www.ipermie.net
> > Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com
> > https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
> > Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech
> pioneers -- who are designing ecological land use systems with integrated
> elements for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced
> nature-compatible human habitat
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:39:47 -0800
> From: Jay Woods <woodsjaya at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <2431800.MK7mHcbZK8 at wagerie.woods>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> The closest I've ever gotten to closing the loop is to use a rotating
> pattern
> of permaculture where the composting and working of the ground for high
> intensity crops is rotated through low intensity tree gardening. My current
> cycle takes 75 years and requires that part of the house be moved every
> year.
>
> On Monday, December 30, 2013 10:17:52 AM Toby Hemenway wrote:
> > On Dec 30, 2013, at 9:43 AM, Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm wrote:
> > > To me, fish food is a huge input, and one that is often unsustainable.
> > > What
> > > examples do you know of that do it without fish food inputs (or very
> > > little)?
> > >
> > > Pete
> >
> > Yes, fish food inputs  are one weak point, for sure, just as are
> fertilizer
> > inputs or farm-animal feed in manure-based farming. I've seen some
> systems
> > that use compost to grow black soldier fly larva to feed insectivorous
> > fish. Vegetable wastes are recycled from the growing beds to feed the
> > larvae, but since the 2nd law of thermodynamics is in effect, they still
> > need a few additional sources of food, though minor ones. And I've also
> > seen algae and duckweed being grown to feed tilapia.
> >
> > Feeding the animals that provide manure, or generating permanent compost
> for
> > crops, is the hidden defect of all organic farming. John Jeavons and
> others
> > have calculated that for every acre of food production, 4 to 6 acres of
> > compost or animal-feed crops are needed to have a sustainable system.
> >
> > One obvious open loop that remains to be closed is for the people being
> fed
> > by these systems to recycle their urine and feces back into the
> aquaponics
> > (or farms) in some way. That open loop exists for almost all western
> > agriculture.
> >
> > To me the biggest weakness of aquaponics is the high-density fish
> population
> > needed to supply manure. This stresses the fish and makes them subject to
> > disease, and I can't imagine they are happy at those densities. One
> > solution might be to grow at lower fish densities and filter the
> > manure-water to concentrate the nutrients before it goes to the plants,
> but
> > then you are adding another layer of technology on the system.
> >
> > Toby
> > http://patternliteracy.com
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > permaculture mailing list
> > permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> > subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info|make a donation toward list
> > maintenance: http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> > message archives:  http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/
> > Google message archive search:
> > site: lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture [searchstring]
> > Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
> > How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
> > http://www.ipermie.net
> > Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com
> > https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
> > Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech
> pioneers
> > -- who are designing ecological land use systems with integrated elements
> > for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced nature-compatible
> > human habitat
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:09:38 -0800 (PST)
> From: Koreen Brennan <cory8570 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID:
>         <1388448578.32169.YahooMailNeo at web161006.mail.bf1.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
>
> I spent some time at Will Allen's Growing Power and he gets a lot of his
> yield by closing the loop on the waste stream that is available in an urban
> environment (he composts, creates worms, feeds some to fish, gets
> restaurant waste to feed soldier fly larvae, etc). He gets a lot of input
> from the urban waste stream. He was trying things like heating the
> greenhouse with compost (it was working a little), growing mushrooms in
> sawdust from a local mill, in unused corners, etc. ?He has a lot of
> different systems and approaches going.
>
> They use worm castings and coconut coir for a soil mix for some of the
> plants including some in the aquaponics system. The coconut coir comes from
> SE Asia and they were looking for a closer source. I suggested Haiti. They
> felt it was more sustainable to use coir from Asia than to use peat moss.
> ?He was feeding the fish with commercial fish food when we were there and
> said that is mostly what they do. To be commercially viable, most
> aquaponics places I've seen feel that they have to pack the fish into the
> tanks, and grow them fast. So, just like plants that are fed exact amounts
> of nutrients in hydroponics, commercial aquaponics places tend to feed
> their fish specially prepared nutrient dense fish food formula that will
> make them grow up fast. Fish in tanks are factory farmed, very packed in,
> in most aquaponics systems that I've seen. Not sure how commercially viable
> it would be to do it otherwise, especially in urban areas because of space
> requirements
>  but definitely something some permaculture designer(s) should try to
> figure out! There were a lot of great design elements at Growing Power when
> I was there and a lot more connections, closed loops, yields that could
> have been gotten.?
>
> Hydro or aero or aquaponics appear to be one of the waves of the future. I
> was just told that there is a big US grocery store chain that is going to
> start growing veggies on their roofs in hydroponic greenhouses - not sure
> how long that roll out will be but it's based on successes in Canada and
> England, etc. Talk about reducing the energy footprint! - Though the
> nutrients source from petroleum and natural gas for most hydro systems
> (organic nutrients clog the system - another job for a designer to solve!).
> It is still way less of a footprint than maybe even a lot of organic ag
> because of reduced water use, reduced food loss in shipping/packing, etc.
> There are high rise hydroponics factories going up in Hong Kong and
> elsewhere. ?So it would be good to apply some permaculture design tools to
> the area to see how it could be improved.?Aquaponics in backyards or small
> scale seems to have the best potential for incorporating full permaculture
> design
>  principles. I'm far from expert on these topics, just sharing what I've
> seen.?
> ?
> Koreen Brennan
>
> www.growpermaculture.com
> www.facebook.com/growpermaculturenow
> www.meetup.com/sustainable-urban-agriculture-coalition
>
>
>
> On Monday, December 30, 2013 3:18 PM, Toby Hemenway <
> toby at patternliteracy.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Dec 30, 2013, at 9:43 AM, Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm wrote:
> s
> > To me, fish food is a huge input, and one that is often unsustainable.
> What
> > examples do you know of that do it without fish food inputs (or very
> little)?
> >
> > Pete
>
> Yes, fish food inputs? are one weak point, for sure, just as are
> fertilizer inputs or farm-animal feed in manure-based farming. I've seen
> some systems that use compost to grow black soldier fly larva to feed
> insectivorous fish. Vegetable wastes are recycled from the growing beds to
> feed the larvae, but since the 2nd law of thermodynamics is in effect,
>  they still need a few additional sources of food, though minor ones. And
> I've also seen algae and duckweed being grown to feed tilapia.
>
> Feeding the animals that provide manure, or generating permanent compost
> for crops, is the hidden defect of all organic farming. John Jeavons and
> others have calculated that for every acre of food production, 4 to 6 acres
> of compost or animal-feed crops are needed to have a sustainable system.
>
> One obvious open loop that remains to be closed is for the people being
> fed by these systems to recycle their urine and feces back into the
> aquaponics (or farms) in some way. That open loop exists for almost all
> western agriculture.
> ?
> To me the biggest weakness of aquaponics is the high-density fish
> population needed to supply manure. This stresses the fish and makes them
> subject to disease, and I can't imagine they are happy
>  at those densities. One solution might be to grow at lower fish densities
> and filter the manure-water to concentrate the nutrients before it goes to
> the plants, but then you are adding another layer of technology on the
> system.
>
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info|make a donation toward list
> maintenance:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> message archives:? http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/
> Google message archive search:
> site: lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture [searchstring]
> Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
> How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
> http://www.ipermie.net
> Avant Geared? http://www.avantgeared.com
> https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
> Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech
> pioneers -- who are designing ecological land use systems with integrated
> elements for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced
> nature-compatible human habitat
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 02:55:58 +0100
> From: Holger Hieronimi <holger at tierramor.org>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] A critique of permaculture
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <52C2242E.6090508 at tierramor.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> Allways good & necessary to cuestion our believe systems and conceptual
> frameworks
> I also came across this thanks to Davids recent article- (actually a
> very good one from PCs co-originator)
>
> Peter Harper`s piece is a valid critique from a longtime sustainabiity
> expert, that should be taken seriously by all serious PC activists
> its true, that some expressions of Permacukture became a "Cult",
> Unfortunately, Bill Mollisons early activism (& slogans as "The designer
> becomes a recliner") re-enforced that a little bit too much
> everyone who seriously gets into setting up & especially developing/
> maintainig systems, quickly finds out about those flaws
> we should be aware of that, and balance this with good examples
>
> saludos desde M?xico
>
> Holger
>
>
>
> El 29/12/13 08:20, permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org escribi?:
> > Asunto:
> > [permaculture] A critique of permaculture
> > De:
> > Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com>
> > Fecha:
> > 28/12/13 20:00
> >
> > Para:
> > permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> >
> >
> > Via David Holmgren's website I came across an article that is a
> relatively accurate critique of permaculture. It's principal flaw is that
> the author, Peter Harper, seems to view permaculture more as a set of
> techniques than a design system, but in part, that is his critique: that
> many permaculturists too broadly apply nebulous principles without testing
> whether the methods they use are giving good results.
> >
> > I found his comparison of "smart permaculture" vs "cult permaculture" to
> be accurate in nearly every assessment, with a couple of  misses.
> >
> >
> http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/sites/default/files/The%20Big%20Rock%20Candy%20Mountain.pdf
> >
> > A couple of quotes:
> > "Most people attracted to Permaculture are young, dreamy idealists
> looking for some kind of system to structure their activities and impart
> meaning. It does not matter much whether things 'work' because you are not
> obliged to depend on them. It is their symbolic value that counts. I have
> encountered numerous 'permaculture gardens' with abysmal levels of
> productivity that have nevertheless persuaded their creators that they are
> virtually self-sufficient in food. A few measurements and numbers would
> quickly dispel this illusion, but Permies just don't do numbers."
> >
> > "The permaculture movement has done us a service in drawing attention to
> the possibilities of perennial plants, tree crops and 'three-dimensional'
> horticulture. But it has entirely oversold the idea, claiming to have found
> the Holy Grail of a low-input/high-output system."
> >
> > This is why my hat is off to Rafter and others who are out there getting
> numbers.
> >
> > Toby
> > http://patternliteracy.com
> >
> >
> >
>
> --
> Holger Hieronimi -holger at tierramor.org
> TIERRAMOR - Dise?o Integrado
> www.tierramor.org
> Dise?o de sistemas ecol?gicos
> Consultas y asesor?as
> Facilitaci?n de conferencias, seminarios, cursos y talleres
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 7
> Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 03:08:25 +0100
> From: Holger Hieronimi <holger at tierramor.org>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Future Scenarios- STANDARDS ?
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <52C22719.7090307 at tierramor.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> While I still believe in the validity of (most) of the original principles,
> they make mostly sense when you design a site
> and it`s often difficlult to apply them in other other domains of
> PC-related action
> (economy & finance, education, community, health...)
>
> However, the principle of "Energy Cycling" features a termodynamic
> error, we should really refomulate that one
>
> You CAN cycle materials & nutrients in a system, but you CAN?T cycle
> energy, which is allways subject to entropy
>
> personally, I like mor Davids set of principles, allthough they are
> probably not something for beginners
>
> saludos
>
> holger
>
>
>
> El 29/12/13 08:20, permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org escribi?:
> > Asunto:
> > [permaculture] Future Scenarios- STANDARDS ?
> > De:
> > Steve Hart <stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com>
> > Fecha:
> > 29/12/13 04:50
> >
> > Para:
> > permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> >
> >
> > Good to hear critical input on such a valuable topic. As Scott says this
> > debate must lead to developing the whole discussion on STANDARDS.  The
> > discussion on PC being all aboy design I absolutely agree with . For what
> > it is in fact is a Design Philosophy developed from a set of Ethics
> through
> > Principles. It is not methodology, or a set of recipes.
> >
> > My Rebuttal LL is more a further clarification or development on my
> > comments about PRINCIPLES and the example of Hydroponics and Aquaponics.
> >
> > I support all the original Principles of the original and still the only
> > qualified PDC curriculum. Offered here:
> >
> >
> >     - Relative Location -- pattern relationships
> >     - Each element performs many functions
> >     - Each important function is supported by many elements
> >     - Efficient energy planning (e.g. zone&  sector planning)
> >     - Maximise use of biological resources
> >     - Energy cycling
> >     - Small-scale intensive systems
> >     - Plant stacking
> >     - Accelerating succession and evolution
> >     - Diversity
> >     - Guilds
> >     - Edge effect
>
> --
> Holger Hieronimi - holger at tierramor.org
> TIERRAMOR - Dise?o Integrado
> www.tierramor.org
> Dise?o de sistemas ecol?gicos
> Consultas y asesor?as
> Facilitaci?n de conferencias, seminarios, cursos y talleres
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 8
> Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 02:41:22 -0600
> From: "Pete Gasper, Gasper Family Farm" <farmer1 at gasperfarm.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Aquaponics: artificial?
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <52C28332.9030809 at gasperfarm.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
> I would quibble with that. Fish food is your main input to raising fish and
> is a lot made up of ocean harvested fish, what is broadly held to be an
> unsustainably taxed resource.
>
> But my cows just eat the grass growing with sun and rainfall on the farm.
> And my hogs and chickens eat grain I or my organic grain grower grows right
> on the land.
>
> Where is the defect? You're just pointing out there is more land involved
> than people think at first blush.
>
> On 12/30/2013 12:17 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> > Yes, fish food inputs  are one weak point, for sure, just as are
> fertilizer inputs or farm-animal feed in manure-based farming.... Feeding
> the animals that provide manure, or generating permanent compost for crops,
> is the hidden defect of all organic farming. John Jeavons and others have
> calculated that for every acre of food production, 4 to 6 acres of compost
> or animal-feed crops are needed to have a sustainable system.
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> subscribe/unsubscribe|user config|list info|make a donation toward list
> maintenance:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> message archives:  http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/
> Google message archive search:
> site: lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture [searchstring]
> Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
> How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
> http://www.ipermie.net
> Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com
> https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
> Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech
> pioneers -- who are designing ecological land use systems with integrated
> elements for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced
> nature-compatible human habitat
>
> End of permaculture Digest, Vol 131, Issue 34
> *********************************************
>



-- 
Kia ora

[image: Picture]
*Steve Hart*
Ecology Architect
skype: stevenlawrencehart


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