[permaculture] History of Permaculture in North America

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Sun Jan 29 12:01:12 EST 2012

On 1/29/2012 5:25 AM, Michael Pilarski wrote:
> The History of the Permaculture Movement in North America
> A book proposal by Michael Pilarski
> I am proposing a group effort to produce a permaculture history for the
> US and Canada. Initially I can think of three major parts:
> 1) Stories by permaculture elders. Their own history and their
> perspective on permaculture history.
> 2) Histories of individual bioregions by collaborating authors who have
> been involved with the permaculture movement in their bioregion all along.
> 3) Youtube interviews with permaculturists about pc history. This of
> course can be open-ended and continuing
> Sections 1 and 2 can be published as an in-print book and as an on-line
> book as well.There can be on an on-line forum dedicated to updating the
> history as more people want to contribute to the effort.

I am now involved with three people in the creation of a comprehensive 
seed and plant sourcelist as a Google Docs spreadsheet, Docs, Site, 
Blog, Group and ibiblio mailing list, seedkeepers. These are proven, 
excellent, robust tools to use to create the history. Individuals can 
use Google Docs for their submissions while project editors can use hat 
material to create a working draft and various versions of final 
documents which can be made available through a Google site. Copies than 
can be made available wherever anyone wants to host them, in their blog 
or website, using open source information standards like Creative 
Commons. Anyone wanting to turn it into an EBook or hardcopy published 
work for profit should be encouraged to do so as long as credit is given 
to the pc history project as a source.


I would.

What about creating a collaborative permaculture knowledgebase too?

The two would complement each other.

Could we derive energy from Paul Wheaton's ever-growing, vast, 
multi-dimensional permaculture empire to help with his? That is to say, 
involve people who participate in the forums at permies.com, like me for 
example. There is so much incredibly good stuff happening there it is 
mind boggling, and that is an understatement, coming from an information 
junkie like me.

> It is possible that someone else may be working on such a book already.
> Please let me know if so.Have any bioregional histories been published?
> Or started?

I have no idea but could look around. Yours should be done anyway.

> For my own part I will compile a history of permaculture for two
> bioregions; the Maritime Pacific Northwest (Cascadia) and the Inland
> Pacific Northwest (Columbiana). I can do a first draft and float it to
> my peer groups for comments, changes, additions, perspectives, etc. I
> have been involved in permaculture in both bioregions continuously since
> 1981. For some years I published a regional paper called the Pacific
> Northwest Permaculture News & Gossip. I recall that Peter Bane, in the
> Permaculture Activist, once referred to me as perhaps the biggest
> permaculture gossip in the USA. Flattering at the time, but that was
> some years ago and I am sadly out of touch with developments in most
> other bioregions.

That would be extremely interesting to read.

> Here are some bioregions which have a strong permaculture history. I am
> not listing all the bioregions here and of course each of these has
> subset regions within it. Let’s see who answers the call. I am not
> proposing a comprehensive history, nor a concensus viewpoint. But you
> gotta start somewhere.
> Northeast US
> Mid-Atlantic Region
> Southeast US

In North Carolina resources of note include:

Lee Barnes
Chuck Marsh
Earthhaven (Peter Bane and Keith Johnson era)
The PDC teacher/lecturer/workshop host, NCSU faculty member in Raleigh 
(can't remember his name)
Permaculture gathering at Celo, NC

I wish there was more permaculture activity in the Central Piedmont 
region of NC.

> Texas

Add Georgia (Koinonia) and Florida (Dan Hemenway), much happening there

> Upper Midwest
> Southwest
> Southern California
> Bay Area, California
> Maritime Pacific Northwest
> Inland Pacific Northwest.
> British Columbia, Canada
> Eastern Canada
> Etc, etc.
> This is an initial attempt to find out who is interested and what has
> already been done. Of course there are voluminous reams of articles and
> publications from the Permaculture Activist, regional pc magazines,
> articles, conference proceedings, the 1998 American Permaculture
> Directory (online at http://www.permaculture.net/apd/index.html), the
> 1^st US permaculture directory by Guy Baldwin in the 1980s, etc, etc.
> Let me know if you are interested and see what kind of team we can put
> together. There is room for varying levels of participation. Who would
> like to be on the coordinating/editing core team?
> Michael Pilarski,
> Friends of the Trees Society
> PO Box 826, Tonasket, Washington 98855
> 509-486-4056. Michael at friendsofthetrees.net
> I just had a great time reading “Permaculture Pioneers” which is a
> history of the first 30 years of permaculture in Australia. This is a
> inspiring book and I highly recommend it to all permaculturists no
> matter where they live. Of course unless/until it is translated it can
> only be read by English speakers. The book is composed of articles by 24
> leading permaculturalists in Australia with an afterword by Stuart B.
> Hill. It contains many insights into the foundations of permaculture.
> “Permaculture Pioneers: Stories from the new Frontier”. Edited by Kerry
> Dawfurn and Caroline Smith. Melliodora Publishing, Hepburn, Australia.
> June 2011. Available in the US from Chelsea Green Publishing. $34.95
> retail. Here is the review from Chelsea Green’s website.
> “Permaculture is much more than organic gardening. Arguably it is one of
> Australia’s greatest intellectual exports, having helped people
> worldwide to design ecologically sustainable strategies for their homes,
> gardens, farms and communities. This book charts a history of the first
> three decades of permaculture, through the personal stories of
> Australian permaculturists. From permaculture co-originator David
> Holmgren, to ABC TV's Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the
> authors span the generations and the continent.
> These stories represent the scope, depth and diversity of permaculture
> in Australia and around the world. They explore some of the influences
> on those who have embraced it, record milestones and highlight recurring
> themes. The editors’ contributions and afterword by social ecologist
> Professor Stuart B Hill frame the stories in terms of transformation of
> the inner landscape of our minds and hearts, as the critical starting
> point for the outer change that is needed.
> For those whose lives have been changed by permaculture, this book
> provides a context for articulating and celebrating their own stories
> and experiences. Even more, it invites each of us, permaculturists or
> not, to embrace our power in designing our world out of the best in
> ourselves, for the benefit of the whole earth community.”
> Here is a brief on-line permaculture history from an Australian viewpoint.
> http://pacific-edge.info/a-short-and-incomplete -history-of-permaculture/

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