[permaculture] Overly optimistic permaculture attitude towards land

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 2 13:20:11 EST 2009

Well, Toby, I don't have the time to do a literature search to back up my claims, but I run into a lot of people like the one Christopher mentioned who didn't seem to get an appropriate permaculture education.  As for myself, I was deeply influenced by Bill Mollison, and he definitely seems like a booster to me.  I remember him saying not to worry too much about soil since you can always transform it with organic matter and amendments (which is common in Australia given the poor soil).  His Global Gardener videos make it all look so easy.  He talks about how cheap earthworks are (not!) and gives inflated statistics about how radically you can transform local climate.  For results within one person's lifetime, I'm learning to expect much less.
If you are only wanting to grow food for a small household (which is probably all that is truly sustainable in the long run), it is possible to do impressive things in tough circumstances, if you are willing to do all the work.  But it takes a long time without unsustainle inputs from outside.  Agriculture (which is not sustainable, even though included in Mollison's books) is not worth considering on most marginal land, in my opinion.
Gotta go,


More information about the permaculture mailing list