Growth of Pc

YankeePerm YankeePerm at
Tue Jan 13 19:22:05 EST 1998

In a message dated 1/11/98 5:39:49 PM, you wrote:

<<My post encouraged a wealth of permaphilosophising.  Noone appeared to
share my initial premise that Pc was still drastically understaffed.
Before touching on some of the excellent points made, I would like to try
and establish the premise that we are too thin on the ground and rapid
growth is a priority.  Maybe not _the_ priority - but still a priority.

~~Sherry Levi stated:
"..The thought system has to become fairly well articulated in a process of
intensive development by a few pioneers before it develops sufficient
explanatory power to become appealing as a better representation of reality to
be widespread.  It is tested for functionality by use-- which is what all of
us permacultivating our living spaces are doing-- and in the more varied
circumstances, the better."

How many pioneers in how many circumstances are required?

Jack Rowe stated:
"We can operate to sow as many seed nuclei on as many levels as we can,
trusting them to grow if they are viable and placed in fertile ground (if
all the seeds grow like magic beans, great -- but remember to sow even the
little ones because the growing medium and conditions are changing, and
there is strength in diversity)."

How many diverse levels with how many seeds?

Pick an average size continent, say North America.  How many regions need
to be researched for each to become sustainable?  How many different
combinations of local cultures (indigenous/imported), climate, catastrophe
susceptibility, soils, unique biodiversity, degradation etc need to be
characterised and sustainable solutions identified.  100? 1000?

How many people need to be in each region to effectively characterise it.
10? 100?

I suggest that without 100,000 NA enthusiasts spread very evenly, we are
set to lose a significant proportion of NA's diversity (cultural and
biological).  This would be a rotten shame.  The question I am interested
in is, how does Pc get to sufficient numbers (100's of thousands in each

I thought everyones' comments about adopting paradigm shifts and critical
mass were spot on.  I wasn't looking that far in the future. Within the
research phase of identifying solutions there is still a lot of territory
without any researchers.



We may be too much hung up on the word.  I can tell you that it is two or
three orders of magnitude easier to explain permaculture to someone now than
it was when I started teaching PC 17 years ago.  I'm not talking about the
skill difference but a difference in people being able to grasp that there is
this way of thinking and designing and doing.

In our private correspondense I've mentioned people like Jose the priest, who
gives sermons on permaculture, Maria who went off into the hinterlands of
Mexico on her mission to help Mexican women with a permaculture course she
fought to be able to take, a whole class of Philippine grass-roots extension
agents who went out and resumed their daily teaching in a dozen or more
languages.  Then there are the public domain pamphlets that wend their way
back and forth around.  And that is only a bit of what is working out there
that we might guess at resulting from the work of one student in a class of
30.  I think of Joy in Canada who took a measley weekend workshop and went
home, abandoned her 3/4 acre garden in the back yard to nature, feeding her
soul, and fed her body on a fraction of her front yard.  She isn't a diploma
holder.  Her garden was never told, however.  

There is more to permaculture than the formal courses.  In my view, these are
best given for people who want to teach, design commercially, or take some
other role in bringing permaculature to others as a main focus of their lives.
The average person doesn't need certificate courses.  I find that the designs
I get from a 10-day intensive that focuses only on a design, and not on the
full range to topics required for certification, are way better than anything
I've ever seen from any certificate course.  These people go home and design
their places.  They know where to get published info, a dab on consulting on a
difficult aspect of a a project, etc. and sometimes avail themselves.  Mostly,
they just do a bang up job and live their lives.  I run into their names in
the attendance lists of bioregional gatherings, and the like, where they
connect with kindred spirits.

While the teacher-student-certificate model is the most visible and talked-
about aspect of permaculture, it is not most of permaculture.  All the more
reason to hold the line on quality in those certificate courses we do give.

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982),
Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
courses via email.  One is now underway.  Next Live program:  Paraguay,
8/10-22/98. Internships available. Copyright, 1997, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway,
P.O. Box 52, Sparr FL 32192 USA  YankeePerm at  

We don't have time to rush.

A list by topic of all Yankee Permaculture titles may be found at

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Date: 	Tue, 13 Jan 1998 19:26:44 EST
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From: FranksFarm <FranksFarm at>
To: permaculture at
Subject:   Re: growth of PC
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OK, I'm a newbie. I've read Mollison and want to learn as much as I can about
applying some of his principles, and evolved experinces, and insights into my
farm plan.

But unfortunately imho ther'e just too much empty theorizing, worries over not
being paid, and fears of somehow passing on wisdom that other sympathizers can
use for fear they'll somehow not understand it or tell others about it at no

Where are the free tools, the sites that can give us pointed , practical
permaculture advice for our climate etc. I  realize that PC probably goes far
beyond agriculture, and holistic farm planning...but that's the kind of
knowledge I'm looking for.

Larry London has offered to put up a free site....What a great idea. I hope
the mpre advanced PC'ers will contribute their thoughts, and findings. Best to
all. frank

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