Free Tools

Jack Rowe jackrowe at
Mon Jan 12 17:04:37 EST 1998

Good points, Rene,

Sadly, my monitor is leaving this earthly veil, and I can't read
black-on-grey web pages (black-on-black, for me), so can't comment on the
web page.

Re: THE COURSE (ominous music rises and falls in background...) 

My feeling is that there is a functional gap between the design manual(s)
and the details, and we need to fill this gap. This is the job which
currently presents itself.

Excellent expositions of design principles CAN be found readily. What is
harder to find are accurate, well-though-out, sustainable details. This is
where the sharing of ideas can come in in a useful way, as you and others
have acknowledged. I personally would call it a symposium, to remove the
requirement of immediate comprehensiveness of content. The only difference
between a course and a group of papers in this respect is probably time...
eventually, web pages being extended in time, a group of papers will turn
into a sort of course by virtue of the gaps being filled in. 

I agree, too, with Rene that the value ot the course is mostly a world-view
shattering/building thing (and learning that there ARE others like us out
there). That, at any rate, was certainly the case for me.

Tool-style details-wise, however, we're in less-than-excellent shape.
Mollison's book is a Design Manual -- Temperate Zone Toolkit Not Included.
This does NOT detract from the monumentally seminal aspect of the Manual...
I have not seen another book with as much crammed into it. Ian Harg's
Design With Nature ('72, I think), JR Smith's Tree Crops, A Permanent
Agriculture ('29 and '55), Kourik, Todd -- these are others of great value
and vision, but nobody I know of but Mollison put it all between the covers
of one book. 

Now it seems to me time for all of us who want to implement these ideas
socially, agriculturally, in our shelters and civic engineering, etc., to
build the toolkit for the cool and warm temperate zones that we so
desparately need. As Lawrence suggested (perhaps privately, I don't
remember -- I don't know about the rest of you, but my head is spinning),
the web effort is likely to support interest in actual classes because
people generally prefer to learn -- and learn best -- in a human setting.
And I agree with Rene that the broader principles and paradigm are almost
certainly best transferred in a group setting, wariness of brain-washing
aside (I, for one, could USE a good Brain Cleansing). But for now I see
many people with the principles absorbed, yet not knowing where to begin
because of the details. 

Your final point is good, too, Rene, about teacher interaction. How about
an option for users of the page to hook up with existing PC teachers, who
can be paid, and who will interact with the students directly? Dan and
April do this now (on different sides of the globe), and it must work.


More information about the permaculture mailing list