[permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Fri Aug 8 16:47:02 EDT 2014

On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 12:42 PM, Jason Gerhardt <jasongerhardt at gmail.com>

> Michael,
> I’ll think on this one more, but here are some initial thoughts short on
> time. I realized a few years ago at the regional Colorado permaculture
> convergence that many people were there under different understandings of
> what permaculture was. In almost every break-out group at each event since
> I’ve felt there was one factor that prevented us from getting anything
> done, which was that lack of common ground of what we all thought
> permaculture was. It’s like we all have this common term and think we are
> all talking about the same thing when we use it and hear others use it, but
> over a weekend it becomes very clear that we’re talking apples to oranges.
The first major, locally-organized, permaculture events I attended was a
series of workshops
that one to dozen people attended. The first one was the largest and was
held in a school. There were lectures
and a large display of literature related to permaculture, natural
agriculture and homesteading. We adjourned and went to a working goat dairy
to brainstorm and troubleshoot site problems (drainage, pasturage, etc.)
followed by a potluck dinner. Successive meetings were held at other farms
and homesteads
for discussion, site inventory and potluck. These were all work events
where we all contributed something. I doubt anyone but those who made
presentations had ever taken a PDC.
The rest of us were in learning mode and very enthusiastic. I hosted one
event at my farm. This was a beginning for permaculture in my bioregion.

> I think NAPC will be good for this in a few ways without directly saying,
> ‘hey, we don’t have a common vision of what permaculture is’. The standards
> of the PDC discussions will inadvertently work to address this. The working
> toward a common vision of national/continental permaculture organizationS
> will be equally valuable in this regard as well as many other
> conversations. I also see not having a common definition/vision of what
> permaculture is derailing those conversations, potentially.

It seems to me that the most important objective, most pressing need, of
this first NAPC is to
bring many permaculture people together who will define permaculture itself
and document standards for the PDC's that are taught and the necessary
qualifications of teachers.
I think this will bring about the most lasting benefits for those attending
and for the movement itself. This may be the only time groundbreaking work
on this scale will need to be done, with successive NAPC's adding version
updates, making changes and adding resources as required at that time.

In my view this is the primary objective of NAPC1, all else is secondary.
If this can be accomplished people in every economic strata in the
permaculture community will be positively affected, especially those in
emerging local communities with few resources who may than see a way to
earn a livelihood in permaculture, co-existing, co-evolving with everyone
they are in touch with.
This could in some way describe Koreen's work in Florida and on the
reservation. Those who teach, make presentations and have design
consultancies will also benefit from clarification of what permaculture is
all about, how it is practiced, what its potential is and how it is taught,
in the public's mind. _Needless to say, there is competition from the you
know who's in this arena_ and that defines the urgency of the need to
define permaculture and PDC course content and teaching standards.

> Perhaps we can develop a social interaction ethic to call people out
> (humbly, gently, care-fully) if anyone is going off the rails in talking
> about permaculture in ways that misrepresent it or stretch it. Even that
> requires a certain level of common definition and vision though. I do
> seriously hope we all see permaculture as an ecological and ethical design
> system, but perhaps we can all make commitments to ourselves to make sure
> we are describing well what we are talking about. I am definitely one of
> those people that finds distinction of terms and accurate use of words to
> be a very important thing as Darrell pointed out.

> If we can’t describe
> ourselves well, nobody will understand what we are talking about. Instead
> they will see us dancing for gaia and holding hands in circles and write us
> off immediately, which is what happens and to an extent, and is how we have
> limited our own impact in permaculture (we could also seriously limit those
> such activities as part of regular programing). In large part our actions
> are better at defining who we are than our words.

Send the new agers and airey faeries off to reeducation camp for
de-programming, like ex moonies
or to a boot camp in Russia for the cure under the watchful eye of Putin's
---just kidding.
Is Skeeter going to wear his gnome costume?

> Maybe there will be a program for the whole event and a definition can be
> put on there near the top to provide a structure. I imagine the organizing
> committee has a mutually agreed upon definition in place already.
Another good idea would be for everyone attending to start a notebook in
advance of the event.
They could create an outline for a permaculture definition and for a PDC
plus long lists of ideas for presentations
at and organization of future NAPC's, which is a major event in this
millenium, and is itself a permaculture design microcosm.
Just take extensive notes and make long wishlists. Bring laptops, extra
memore, cameras, digital audio recorders.
One or more people could make money for the NAPC fund and for themselves by
documenting the entire event with photography, video and audio (podcasts
This could all be edited and turned into slideshows, multimedia
presentations and podcasts, marketed to the public by word of mouth and
through this and other lists and on websites.
maybe the NAPC could maintain a permanent website and this material could
be marketed there, maybe exclusively. Good to generate funds for future

I remember reading about the Rainbow Gatherings (Computer gurus got
together to hack Unix kernel during the festival - what an environment that
must have been)
and the Whole Earth Catalog/CoEvQt/WEReview organizational events to enable
progress with not only their catalog and but the permaculture, small
farming, homesteading and natural agriculture movements and literature as


> I hope I’m not being overly picky here, but I sincerely think this is an
> issue to consider. I have less concerns about it for NAPC considering the
> cast of characters who I know will be there, but I think it is a subtle
> issue that will have more impact than we can see (perhaps the epitome of
> invisible structures for us), and an issue that has had a lot of impact for
> permaculture as a whole already.
> Jason
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Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Skype: lawrence.f.london

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