[permaculture] IPC Values ?

Jason Gerhardt jasongerhardt at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 11:08:44 EDT 2015

If anyone practicing permaculture or ecological design has never had any
failures they wouldn't be a very good designer, would they? I know I've
learned from the mistakes I've made more than my successes. Personally, I
would be very uncomfortable with the idea that IPC keynotes had to go
through a litmus test of successful designs to confirm their speaking
engagement. And, if that were to be a good idea I would think it wise to
include those who learned a lot from failures. Perhaps Geoff's first
Greening the Desert is a good example of this, which spawned him onto his
new Greening the Desert site that seems to be going better.

Eric Toensmeier told a group of students recently, if you haven't killed a
lot of plants, you haven't been trying to succeed. Like any early forest
garden, a lot of plants get lost in the design stages of Implementing and
Maintaining. The important part is sticking with it long enough to watch
the tide turn, and that goes for a single garden, a bigger project, and an
entire design career (or likely all of these on an ongoing basis).

I'd like to see an IPC with amateur designers keynoting on their projects
and some of their failures, then they can get feedback from the "experts"
in the audience. I know this was part of the early diploma process, which
IPCUK seems to be upholding. As a permaculture teacher in direct contact
with students almost daily year round I'm constantly having to walk them
through their failures and provide useful feedback. I find that is the best
edge to cultivate.

Last, it's pretty hard to make an entire project bomb. All projects have
their fair share of successes and failures (some greater, some smaller),
and all are great for learning. Perhaps we just don't put enough effort
behind promoting the lessons of our failures. That would take humility.

The design trade doesn't have a success and/or failure problem, it has a
humility deficiency. I think our energy is better spent in calling out
those who lack this necessary trait.





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