[permaculture] agroecology, permaculture, and data

maria morehead spiralmother at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 11:58:43 EDT 2009

YES!!! Let's connect that first weekend somehow.  It's also my 25th high
school reunion in Auburn but, honestly there are about TWO whole people I
would like to say Howdy to and one of them is the SDA pastor of the academy
church!!  he was an old "boyfriend" kinda.  Anyway, I am happy to meet you
in Centralia or maybe even migrate to PDX.  I wish I could bring Noah but
his father is getting harder and harder to deal with.  i am almost certain
it relates to dawn and their impending nuptuals in august.

Keep me posted sweet sister.  In the mean time, do you think it's ok to mail
Marie the article I found by Susun Weed (famous herbalist) on the leg

Thanks and love to you!

On 3/29/09, Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com> wrote:
> rafter t. sass wrote:
> >
> > If permaculture had focused more closely on crop ecology and community
> > development, and embraced academic research rather than (mostly)
> > spurned it, it would look something like the agroecology movement.
> > Fortunately, it didn't - more functional diversity in the system!
> Good observation, Rafter. I've cogitated a bit on the fact that
> permaculturists have ignored, for the most part, the idea of collecting
> data and documenting research. Being a former scientist, it used to bug
> me a great deal, and it seemed like it reduced permaculture's
> credibility. But I've realized that there is a pretty good explanation
> for it. First, there's been a ton of research done in the various fields
> that permaculture helps link together, such as organic farming, tree
> crops, renewable energy, water harvesting, and all the rest. And
> whole-systems theory has a mass of both mathematical and empirical
> research behind it, as does ecology, and those form the underpinnings of
> permaculture. So the data are there, just not under the heading of
> "permaculture."
> But more to the point, if you were trying to measure the effectiveness
> of permaculture, what would you measure? Does my yard yield more food
> than my chemical or straight organic gardener neighbor's? Probably not,
> and although I suspect their inputs are higher, they might not be since
> I pour on about 10 yards of free tree trimmings or mulch every year or
> two. But how do you measure that as an input, since it's waste, not
> manufactured, and not much of the mulch goes to growing food? I'm sure
> my yard is better habitat, but my neighbors are not trying to create
> habitat, while there are some yards where the owner is trying purely for
> habitat that may host more biodiversity than mine, but that don't
> produce food. Too many variables for any but the most sophisticated
> statistician, and even then, those numbers would be open to argument.
> What I'm saying is, I'm not sure what you would measure to assess
> whether permaculture outperforms anything else, and I don't know what
> you would compare it to. Is the comparison to a site using chemical
> methods? Not really, since permaculture is not a method, it's a design
> approach. So do you compare it to a site designed using, say, holistic
> management? But a site using permaculture for its design might have very
> different goals than one using HM, so how would you compare the two? By
> designing two side-by side sites with the same goals but using
> permaculture versus some other design approach? Good luck with getting
> that one off the ground!
> So I think we're back at saying Pc uses a variety of tools, and each of
> those tools has data to support it.
> For me, the proof is less tangible. I walk into a place that's designed
> using permaculture, and it feels more alive than one done any other way.
> Can't measure that, but you sure can feel it.
> Toby
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Supporting vibrant health in my community by providing education, nutrition,
herbal connection and ritual through grateful interaction with Gaia.

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