[permaculture] Advance notes on Permaculture Standards and Principals for NAPC

Jason Gerhardt jasongerhardt at gmail.com
Wed Aug 20 00:43:48 EDT 2014

Well said!



Scott Pittman wrote:

There is a trend in permaculture of fear of change or of standards.  I know
that I have not mentioned authority, or paternalism in any of my
communications but the response of those opposed to standards or criteria is
always one of a loss of freedom to do whatever they choose to do in whatever
situation.  It is like the opposition to seat belts, or traffic lights that
somehow is seen as a restriction of ones freedom to kill themselves and
others with them.

I am assuming that I am dealing with intelligent people who, like me, see a
drift toward unregulated course content, and shoddy design as a threat to
the integrity of the design system called permaculture.  I am convinced that
everyone who was gifted with a permaculture course given by Bill Mollison or
one of the many people who followed in his tradition understand that we have
the conceptual and physical tools to begin healing the planet.  That this is
so is indicated by the incredible growth and proliferation of permaculture.

Could this system of thinking and action be taught in 3 days?, 5 days? Or is
it necessary to extend that time to give the full understanding of the whole
system design that is permaculture?  This is a simple question and, I
believe, it has an answer; I am sure there are those who will argue that by
teaching 20 hours a day they can transmit the breadth of the PDC in 4 days
and technically they may be right but effectively I think they are wrong.
So is it authoritarian to require the amount of time that it takes to create
the full understanding of permaculture through the PDC?, I think not.  Nor
is it authoritarian to insist on ethics, principals, and the visible and
invisible structures be presented in full.

Many who reel restricted by the rigor of permaculture have taken just part
of the PDC and called it something different like Darren Doherty's
Regenerative Agriculture.  I think that this is the appropriate path to take
if one is just presenting a small part of the focus of permaculture.  Call
it Holistic Gardening or something else that is a more accurate descriptor
of what you are presenting.

I think that each of the agenda items that I proposed needs to be defined
and then we need to reach agreement on those definitions so when one sees a
Certificate of Permaculture Design one knows it represents a particular body
of knowledge. I don't think that this tramples one anyones "freedom" or
should put them into a frisson of fear.

It is also tiresome being put into a position of defending ideas and
concepts that are not part of my agenda or desire.  I understand that we
have all been wounded by, and programmed by a culture of paternalism and
hidden agendas, can we just let go of that knowledge a little bit and start
giving each other the benefit of the doubt?

I am passionate about permaculture and very protective of its integrity and
I think I have adequate reason to want to get some kind of consensus on what
does permaculture mean.  The meaning is explicated in the PDC so I would
like to at least get that part right and see if we are all on the same page.

Scott Pittman
Permaculture Institute

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