[permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?

Koreen Brennan cory8570 at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 4 16:33:05 EDT 2014


Everyone, 

I sincerely appreciate the dialogue - this particular topic would have been more effective 8 months ago though! 

Toby, we sincerely appreciate you and others being willing to speak for free. We do understand that you and others have worked hard for your knowledge and have worked hard at finding the best ways to share it, and we do value that. 

We have thought of most of those marketing techniques and many more (but true, not the kitten one...:-). The problem is that we have a certain number of hours in the day, and we are a small group of people who all have full time careers outside of this event.  And there are many other factors to putting this event together outside of marketing it.  We could use more help in getting the word out about this event! 

We've asked people to send out word about the event to their networks and contact lists and I'd like to ask readers of this conversation to do that as well! And I'd also like to urge people to register sooner rather than later if you know you are coming - it helps us secure equipment we need at a better price.

I am thrilled that Scott and others are coming to get some real work done. That is exactly what has motivated me to spend the hours I've spent on organizing this event. I have seen a need for years for our community to talk more, collaborate more, and do a lot more invisible structure work. I am very interested in facilitating more of this work in any way that I can. This convergence is one action that I believe can help do that. 

I am not sure I understand your comments, Toby, implying that the model of camping in a field, meeting in circles, etc, is not working. This model has appeared to be moving things forward in a number of areas regionally. I would need to have more information to know for sure what model might be better. I'm definitely not convinced that a corporate style talking heads event, for instance, is a preferable model for a convergence, which means "gathering together" and also "developing something in common." 

This subject is something that could be discussed at the NAPC, or on-line here, or at various convergences, and elsewhere. I'd like to suggest that we use all of our design tools when addressing these invisible structures, as Scott mentioned, including site assessment and client interviews. In the short time that we have, communicating and compiling site assessment (research) might be all we have time for. If we haven't done sufficient site assessment on some of these issues, I'd like to suggest that the conversation revolve around how we can best get that done, so that we have some actual hard data to go by (and I'm speaking generally here, about any issue). We can (and I believe, should) continue the conversations after the convergence. It may take longer in the short run, but in the long run, we should end up being more effective.

One yield of this convergence is that more conversations are happening about these matters already. Even if we didn't meet at all - the fact that people are already talking about some of the major issues facing our movement, sharing information and successes, is a really good thing. 

One thing I'm excited about is that at least two regional convergence organizers will be sharing some of their successes with creating various forms of collaboration in their areas. This cross-pollination is so very valuable, in my mind. Because of the rapid growth of permaculture, there are many areas of the country that are in a "pioneer" stage. With thoughtful design, we can bring them more rapidly to the next stage of succession (for those who are interested), by compiling and sharing successes in more established areas. 

At this point, the prices are not going to change, but we can consider the viewpoints expressed here for next time. I really appreciate Loren's understanding of what we are attempting to provide and its value!  That means a lot, and feels like some real people care. :-)  I like to envision a permaculture world where we really have each other's back. I know it exists in pockets, but would love to see that expand, with even more thought about how we can pull each other up, and the entire subject with us, in the process. 

I would like to remind people that one area people can contribute and receive something of value back is by sponsoring the event. http://northamericanpermaculture.org/become-a-napc-sponsor/. 

We will survey attendees after the convergence, seeking feedback on what they feel could be improved. I hope you all will fill them out, especially if you have constructive suggestions for next time. 

We continue to reach out to the community to get feedback on what people feel will assist the process to be as successful as possible. This is your opportunity to have design input - we still have a lot of room to accomodate suggested activities, working groups, etc.  

I am of the school that you get what you put attention on, so I'd like to keep my attention on putting on as meaningful an event as possible that will aid the succession process, help increase career opportunities and successes for all of us, open more doors for permaculture, increase its effectiveness wherever it is used, etc!  Any and all constructive suggestions toward that end are greatly appreciated. Toby, it would be great if you were willing to share something of people having successes using permaculture design in other career pathways. I'm aware of some of those stories, and they are wonderful. 

I'd also like to put an intention and affirmation out there that those of us attending the convergence will keep a focus on seeking areas where we can agree, where we can work together, where we can help each other achieve our highest goals as designers, as dreamers, and as composters of cultures.  

Best, 

Koreen Brennan


On Monday, August 4, 2014 12:17 PM, Scott Pittman <scott at permaculture.org> wrote:
 


Bill taught that permaculture was divided into two broad categories:
"visible structures" and "invisible" structures.  Visible structures
represented "what to do" and
 invisible structures presented "how to do it".

I think this discussion definitely falls into the invisible category.
Unfortunately less time has been spent on all invisible structures than has
been devoted to "herb spirals"!  It is a big design problem that most often
reverts to the models we have been indoctrinated/innoculated with since
pre-school.  It is the Wal-Mart model or the 1st National Bank model,
neither of which should have a place in permaculture design.

I am always (well, less and less) surprised that when I bring up one of my
favorite themes "Is permaculture capitalism an oxymoron" that I have to wade
through a torrent of outraged red-baiting before the discussion can begin.
I am heartened that few of the pc teachers and designers I know, with the
exception of the prince and duke of permaculture and a few others, are full
on capitalists.  Most of them make a modest living, work
 hard, and introduce
major change within their client base and classes.  

It has become a little tedious listening to the incessant kvetching about we
are not reaching enough people, or that we need to mainstream pc, or we need
a pc president; we have grown at an incredible pace since I joined this
motley band in 1985.  I am pleased with our influence on the design
professions, and the educational system and we have been able to do that
while maintaining our integrity and ethical bottom line.  That doesn't mean
that we have a lot of work before us but that what we have accomplished in
the face of our culture, that would be abhorred if it understood what we are
up to, is pretty phenomenal.

There are still those who a insist that only through teaching 60,000 people
at a time with low quality on line courses are we going to become relevant.
Or that we have to employ marketing gimmicks in order to
 fill our classes.
We still have a few who predate on the work of others to increase their
audience and profit.  I spend a lot of my "volunteer" time trying to shine a
light on these dark practices while at the same time trying to teach how to
maintain an abundant lifestyle without reverting to such tactics.  I don't
believe that paradigm shift is brought about by applying the tactics of the
old paradigm; that is why Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land.

I think it is this paucity of real discussion and teaching of the invisible
structures that has allowed the continuing complaint that "there is not
enough ....." fill in the blank.  Not enough students? Not enough design
clients? Not enough money?, Not enough food?  Every one of these "not
enoughs" can be addressed with permaculture design and should be.  We as an
international movement have to begin the process of designing "our"
 new
world and we have to start with some serious discussions about how we set
about this task.

For me this NAPC is the perfect venue for having serious talks and
resolutions about who we are and where we want to go.  I am not too excited
about the "big tent" events but more interested in those discussions we
never get to have in the larger body of permaculture.  I was deeply
disappointed in the Jordanian and the Cuban IPC because I spent a lot of
money to join with our international body which, ultimately, only managed to
decide where the next IPC was going to be held, I mean, come on!  I
compounded my guilt load of carbon spewing to do this?  It could have been
done by internet poll!  Hopefully the NAPC will encourage a bit more heavy
lifting.

I believe that the major obstacle to this convergence has been time; it
takes a hell of a lot of coordination and conversation to put
 something like
this together and I am humbled by the valiant effort expended by all of you
who have been developing webpages, facebook, food, venue, programming, and
response to whiners, like me.  Thank you, I support you and look forward to
seeing you in late August.  

I would like to warn everyone that I am going to Minnesota to get some work
done and I expect others to work with me.  

                    -- 0  --

"To change something build a new model that makes the existing model
obsolete"  Buckminster Fuller
-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf
Of loren luyendyk
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 12:32 AM
To: Permaculture
 Listserve
Subject: Re: [permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?

I think they also thought of most of these ideas on how to make the event
affordable, except maybe the kitten extortion.  That is very creative.
Perhaps next time you could be on the fundraising committee :)

IMO- it boils down to time.  If "we" all had volunteered to help organize
this it could have happened the way you suggest, which sounds great but
complicated.  But there's only so much time in the day.  I think the
organizing committee is doing tremendously and it will only get better.
I don't think its too late for us to offer gifts to the organizers, either.
They may be too selfless to ask but I was serious about taking up a
collection at the conference for those that have put in countless hours.

If you have any connections with donors, then bring it!  This is a team 
effort and I am sure nobody will object to money
 coming in.  Its never 
too late!

Loren Luyendyk
(805)-452-8249
Accredited Permaculture Teacher, PRI-AUS
ISA Certified Arborist WE-7805A
www.sborganics.com
www.surferswithoutborders.org
www.globalpermaculture.com




> From: toby at patternliteracy.com
> Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 22:41:58 -0700
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?
> 
> Loren, Koreen, Wes, et al--
> 
> Thanks for the thoughtful remarks, and Koreen for your constant openness.
> 
> Of course $150 is a lot for some people. Those are the people that we make
sure get in for free or really cheaply, and pay for their travel. My point
was that there are ways to
 design so it is affordable for everyone, without
defaulting to "must charge lowest price possible." There are many models out
there, and what's more, we as brilliant designers could have designed a new,
even better model. It looks like you are still only seeing "must all be
cheap" or "must all be expensive," or "could have charged a bit more," and I
invite you to move off that whole axis, go 3D. So, find donors. Get matching
grants. Have multiple tiers. Ask people to pay what they usually pay for
really great conferences. (Bioneers is $495 without meals or lodging; that
"elite" would kick down a bunch!) Get the affluent to fund half a ticket for
someone else. Ask who has air miles for travel. Charter some buses and pick
people up. Raffle some free tickets for $10 a chance. Do a fundraiser. Give
work trades to help the organizers. Have a bake sale. Post a picture of a
kitten and say you will kill it if people don't
 send money. There are a ton
of ways! Isn't there's a permaculture principle about doing important things
multiple ways? So we coulda combined a bunch of them. 
> 
> I did not ask to be paid for presenting at NAPC. It was obvious there was
no budget for it. I only charge when people can afford it and there's enough
to share. I  also help arrange so the income will be there. I've actually
thought about all the stuff you mentioned, Loren; I charge a sliding scale
right down to zero, consider a great deal of other yields besides money,
love that I am lucky enough to help my partners prosper, and try to set it
up so everybody wins very big, including attendees. AFAIK all the other
lucky "elite" do too. (I try not to be both stupid and a greedhead at the
same time.)
> 
> Like I said, it's not about paying a speakers fee. It's about valuing
people's work in some form. Of course the organizers put
 zillions of hours
into it, and I'm very grateful. That's how conferences are. But It would
have been great to use the collective generative power to let a whole bunch
of people--not necessarily the speakers, but certainly the staff and many
more--go home with enough money to do something good with it, and to create
a nest egg for great projects. "One low price" rules out those gifts.
> 
> NAPC is a different event from Pc Voices, yes, but so far it looks like
every regional convergence I've attended: camping in a field, bringing in
the usual crowd, having lots of panels and discussions, and charging one,
really low price "so everyone can afford it." I confess that some of my
reaction here is my disappointment that a different model wasn't chosen--
has there been no succession in 30 years? But I really, truly hope that a
lot comes of NAPC. 
> 
> Topic shift: The fact that a few high rollers are
 perceived as getting
most of the work (where I live we distribute it) tells me that we're still a
tiny group and still on the fringe. Niches are few and simple. It tells me
that there are still few jobs in teaching and designing, so the pattern
literate will look for employment elsewhere or create a new niche. We need
permaculture-trained lawyers, repair people, dental hygienists, mechanics,
carpenters, security guards, investment managers, and a lot of other
professions and trades, much more than we need more teachers and landscape
designers. Let's have that conversation, and many others, at NAPC.
> 
> My intention is to have a great time at NAPC and help make a bunch of
great things come of it.
>  
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
> 
> 
> On Aug 3, 2014, at 7:04 PM, loren luyendyk <loren at sborganics.com> wrote:
> 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Toby- you bring up good points, but I think you may be missing an
important one.  This is not about scarcity, it is about reality.  $150 is a
lot of money to some people, especially when you consider travel to get to
the event.
> > 
> > I was one proponent of keeping the cost of the event low enough so that
folks from "the rest of the Americas" could join (especially after the way
overpriced Cuba IPC).  This event is not just for well-to-do USAliens, it is
the NORTH AMERICAN Permaculture Convergence.  There are other countries in
North America other than the USA and Canada, "the rest of them" (ie Mexico)
will sadly not be equally represented because of- you guessed it- money.  
> > 
> > And what
 about the rest of the PC movement, the other 99%?  Those who
are just getting started, or those who are not as fortunate as some of us,
who may have travels expenses that far exceed the cost of the event- so in
effect it becomes a $1000+ affair?  Many in the PC movement deliberately
avoid making money (reduce the need to earn) because they are not into
supporting a degenerative, fiat based currency system.  Also, many are on
the frontier, are pioneers in their area (geographically) or field, who are
waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.  For this reason they may not
earn what they deserve, or will soon.
> > 
> > It is easy for us to type on our $1200 computers how we should be
compensated for our work in order to obtain a yield (ie pay off the
computer).   Is money the only yield here?  What about inspiring the up and
comers?  What about sharing what works and
 what doesn't with your peers?
What about tithing?  I can think of dozens of other yields that will be
harvested that far outweigh the speakers fee.
> > 
> > I am honored to be a speaker at this event.  I am honored to do it for
free.  I get paid very well with my work as a permaculture designer and
teacher, and I am able to subsidize my trip to the NAPC with this income.  I
am glad to support this historic event in this way. 
> > 
> > Furthermore, not everyone can garner as high a speaker fee as you, Toby.
Not that you don't deserve it, its just not equal.  Also, many of us don't
get called to speak at these events because we haven't written books or are
not very good at promoting ourselves.  Its all good, this is just reality.
Though not yours, obviously.  
> > 
> > I think PC Voices was a great event for the PC movement- taking it
 to
the masses, the mainstream, the capitalist patriarchal model- the ones who
need to get this info.  But PC Voices was HEAVILY subsidized by John Roulac
as Wes noted, without his help it probably wouldn't have been such a
success.  (Perhaps we could have had some sort of sliding scale for the NAPC
also.)  I personally am glad the PC Voices was successful, and that the PC
Elite was able to make some good cash speaking.  But to me the NAPC is not
about the elite, is is about the other 99%.  
> > 
> > I hate to phrase it this way, but I do see PC becoming the model of
capitalism that Scott warned us of- where a small group of the regular
speakers are getting 99% of the speaking gigs and design jobs, while the
other 1% subsidize their PC career with outside work.  To me the NAPC is
about sharing this wealth- of giving those who normally don't get the calls
up on
 stage.  (I know several speakers who have A LOT less field experience
than me, who are full on teaching because of a few good career moves.  I am
not bitter because I have enough, I am just making an observation.  Is this
what we want to create for PC?) 
> > 
> > I have a solution/suggestion.  For those who feel that they should be
paid to speak at the NAPC, why don't you put a donation jar at the podium,
or pass the hat during your talk?  I am sure nobody would object.  I tell
you why I wouldn't- because I would feel like a dick unless I really needed
it.  
> > 
> > How much do you need in order to feel motivated to speak?  This to me is
the real scarcity situation going on here-  feeling like you cannot afford
to speak for free, for fear of denigrating your own work.  I was delighted
to see Darren Doherty, one of the world's leading PC
 Designers, take the
stage at the last minute during the IPC Conference in Cuba- for free.  This
to me shows that he has the 3rd ethic firmly rooted in his heart.
> > 
> > Furthermore, I suggest we take up donations for the organizers during
the event, who apparently are doing a lot of this work for free- they
deserve this support more than speakers IMO.  This was one unintended
consequence of keeping the event fees so low (agreed not the best design,
but this is the first in a series hopefully so there are always better next
times).  I agree that we could have charged another $50 and most people
wouldn't have felt the pang, but why not save that for those who can
voluntarily donate to the event organizers, those who can afford it?  Like
you and I, Toby.  
> > 
> > I am good for $50.  Heck, lets make it $100.  How's that for
 abundance
consciousness?
> > 
> > Loren Luyendyk
> > (805)-452-8249
> > Accredited Permaculture Teacher, PRI-AUS
> > ISA Certified Arborist WE-7805A
> > www.sborganics.com
> > www.surferswithoutborders.org
> > www.globalpermaculture.com
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >> From: lakinroe at silcom.com
> >> Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 14:32:34 -0700
> >> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> >> Subject: Re: [permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?
> >> 
> >> hi 
> >> i agree with Toby i agree but what scale would be fair for each speaker
that presented , my understanding when NAPC was first
 organized/conceived
that they did not want taking heads , it would be a series of panels/circles
that you could or could not be part of if you attended, that has changed i
think, 
> >> 
> >> i love Permaculture Voices and supported Diego from the start with hand
outs are our events and also at many festivals. I felt with needed a
professional conference for PC. I knew he would be sweating it as PC
community waits till the last moment to register. John Roulac of Nutiva save
the day by subsidizing  a  low fee that drew the large numbers in the end.
The end result is that Diego was able to have a successful event and now is
willing to host this next year. 
> >> It could of failed and never happen again as many PC events get starved
because of lack of support. the International Permaculture Conference
/Convergence is always facing a lack of financial support for all the
 same
reasons Toby has mentioned.
> >> 
> >> I agree everyone need to be part of sharing economy and yes share
resources  to create a economy that supports the change
> >> 
> >> more later thanks Toby
> >> wes
> >> ps at Santa Barbara Permaculture Network we have always paid PC
teachers and travel expenses since our first event in 1997 .  
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> On Aug 3, 2014, at 12:09 PM, Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com>
wrote:
> >> 
> >>> 
> >>> On Aug 1, 2014, at 12:55 PM, Michael Pilarski via permaculture
<permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org> wrote:
> >>> 
> >>>> Can you imagine how much it would cost
> >>>> if we had to pay each one of them what they currently get paid for
giving a
> >>>> workshop or keynote speech!?  . . .  We don't want to set up a
> >>>> hierarchy. Come because you are excited about participating ... not
because you
> >>>> are getting paid. 
> >>> 
> >>> Since you mention it publicly, I gather that a number of presenters
have asked if they can be compensated for their work. (Warning: rant ahead,
and Skeeter, this isn't personal--since I've gotten, like, 8 copies of this
notice, it's repeatedly hit one of my hot buttons.)
> >>> 
> >>> What if a corporation or plantation boss had said, "Can you imagine
how much our products would cost if we paid our workers fairly?" Permies
don't
 get a pass on that just because we're doing good work; corporations
think they are too. It's also a guilt-tripping argument, which is kind of
embarrassing. 
> >>> 
> >>> Here's the answer to the question: Given the expected 500 attendees,
another $50 would generate $25,000. More than enough to pay everyone well,
including the hard-working organizers. Since the fee structure of NAPC
already has a set of $50 tiers, one more would have fit in fine. 
> >>> 
> >>> People aren't asking to be paid just to get money. It's hard work to
put a talk together (takes me 40-80 hours for a 90-minute talk), and if our
work yields no return, we've designed a bad system that burns us out.
Remember "Get a yield?" Not to do so is unsustainable. We should be modeling
abundance, not scarcity. "Here, come be a permaculturist, stay broke, live
in scarcity, and get nothing for your hard
 work but good feelings!"
> >>> 
> >>> 
> >>> The price of NAPC is ludicrously low. $150 for 3 days of
presentations, workshops, awesome conversation, meals, and camping? That's
just nuts! For $50 more, NAPC could have compensated everyone well for their
work and had broader appeal. And at a regular conference rate, we could have
funded the projects we'll conceive there. I know a lot of people who aren't
attending because it's just the usual folks, camping in a field, like every
convergence. 
> >>> 
> >>> It feels like the guiding principle for NAPC is "let's spend as little
as possible so we can charge as little as possible." That's a brutally
limiting design ethic. Imagine how much richer the event would be if the
ethic was, "How do we make this as awesome as we can, pay everyone fairly
for their work, and still find ways for everyone to afford
 it?"
> >>> 
> >>> One of many ways is how Permaculture Voices did it: A block of very
expensive, full-price tickets (which sold well because not every
permaculturist is poor!), blocks at half and one-quarter price, and a large
block of free tickets. They had 650 very diverse attendees, and a presenters
budget of, I estimate, over $100,000 to pay 70 speakers very well. There are
many ways to design it to be affordable for all, beyond "do it as cheap as
we can." 
> >>> 
> >>> When 500 people come together, they can generate a surplus that will
provide enough for everyone. How did NAPC miss that resource? (I assume,
since NAPC isn't paying others for working, that NAPC staff, too, are all
doing this for free). 
> >>> 
> >>> It's not that there is a "hierarchy," as the letter puts it. There is
true diversity in skills, experience, and
 income. To deny that reality, to
not take advantage of it, is poor design. 
> >>> 
> >>> Please, let's get over the idea that everyone in permaculture is poor,
that there is no money out there, that this is a world of scarcity. What
kind of a vision to hold is that? This is a huge limitation for permaculture
that we have to break out of!
> >>> 
> >>> Maybe we need a session at NAPC on how to break the scarcity mentality
of permaculture.
> >>> 
> >>> Toby
> >>> http://patternliteracy.com
> >>> 
> >>> 
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 landtech
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> > 
> >                           
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Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
http://www.ipermie.net
Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com
https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech pioneers
-- who are designing ecological land use systems
 with integrated elements
for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced nature-compatible
human habitat 

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permaculture mailing list
permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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message archives:  http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/
Google message archive search:
site: lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture [searchstring]
Permaculture Institute USA http://permaculture.org
How to permaculture your urban
 lifestyle
http://www.ipermie.net
Avant Geared  http://www.avantgeared.com
https://plus.google.com/+Avantgeared
Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech pioneers -- who are designing ecological land use systems with integrated elements for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced nature-compatible human habitat 


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