Is permaculture ECONOMICALLY sustainable?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by zydeco, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Wow good job.
    I think you make a point, that if the system is too small and lacks capital for resources and development it is doomed to fail, or grow to slowly to be viable. Permaculture, like life in general takes a huge capital/energy investment.
     
  2. CRTreeDude

    CRTreeDude Junior Member

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    Perhaps the concept is as well - if you want to be profitable, permaculture needs to be part of the picture, hopefully that which makes you more profitable. But there is no profit "per se" in permaculture, unless you sell the idea itself. You have to have a product and you have to have clients. Permaculture itself is merely a tool.

    An example, we may have a business model of a benevolent dictator (ME!) - but you can't make money on the business model - it is merely a tool of management. It says nothing about product, it says nothing about how you make money.

    In my mind, if you say you are trying to make money in Permaculture, it means you are selling the idea itself, via classes, training, internships, whatever - your product IS permaculture. But, using permaculture as a way to reduce cost and increase the long term viability of your business is very profitable and beneficial in my mind.

    That being said, it is rare to start a company without capital. Starting any kind of business without capital or worse yet, in debt, is to lower your chances of success considerably - or make you spend years and years in sweat equity. Perhaps to make a successful company that uses permaculture, you need to first start off with the basics of a successful company.

    Hopefully that made sense.
     
  3. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Yea
    The principles of permaculture (like the Natural Step) are just common (uncommon) sense. I have been thinking that the systems meme of permaculture can be applied to anything to reap greater results...even sociology and politics. For example say with nastiness and bad humors...if you think you can keep it away from you by being nasty first, then this just increases the general % of nastiness in the world. If however you use such social toxicity as manure, put it in the compost or around your creative-fruit bearing trees, then this recycling process adds to the goodness, truth and beauty quotient in the world. This nonreactivity or pollution-processing can be applied to any problem in personal life, business and international affairs.
     
  4. CRTreeDude

    CRTreeDude Junior Member

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    Yes, I would agree. I think there is an attitude that we (i.e. humans) need to get over - and that is that there is somewhere else we can go for more resources, or a cleaner place.

    We need to start thinking about never moving. That isn't to say I am against people moving around - travel is great for learning. What I mean is not thinking - "well, if it gets bad enough here, I will just move."

    I just came back from an interesting meeting. The local business people want me to buy a piece of land and are helping negotiate for it. Also, they are encouraging us to submit to be a recognized provider for the town. All this is great - wonderful in fact. They emphasis we are part of the community and they appreciate us. Instead of trying to take advantage of us - they are supporting us.

    One reason - we are all neighbors and aren't planning on going anywhere. Therefore, we all are working at making our homes a better place for the future. This is a "Permanent Culture" - a culture that doesn't focus on short term wins - but on how to build for the future.
     
  5. Sonya

    Sonya Junior Member

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    Interesting thread... started off thinking only of permaculture as a food production system but has expanded out to cover all the realms.

    Personally, I've seen people who run multi million dollar companies based solely on permaculture principles and this is where I think permaculture really does work.

    By no means as I saying we all need to become millionaires of course, but we can apply those principles in all areas of our lives.

    We can remove or downsize debt, we can grow most of our own food, we can find right livelihood, we can put excess (food, money, time) back into the 'system' of permaculture generally, we can follow David Holmgren's advice on sustainability in an energy descent future.

    Personally, I'm setting up a business to earn a wage and it will be based on permaculture principles although I won't be 'teaching' PDCs or any other type of common permaculture courses.

    Also, I'm applying permaculture principles in my own community with a relocalisation group who are all working on personal food production systems, sharing food surplus, sharing skills etc.

    I don't see permaculture as something you do only in your own backyard, it should permie - ate everything you do and then yes, permaculture can move your even more closer to a higher level of sustainable living.

    I'm interested in seeing just how far permaculture can be applied in my life - socially, business wise, home & garden, community, even attitudinal changes.

    Sonya
     
  6. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    in permaculture is contained all the tools that are needed to be used to be more sustainable, p/c is not anyone thing to anyone person or situation, like a mechanics tool box you take and use the tools you need for then and for later.

    yes it is more like uncommon sense nowadays but that is one of the reason we need the focus of p/c as wide as it is to get people thinking outside the indoctrinated square. if p/c can't attract the grass roots of society then where is it going to be? they can't be forced or cagoled into it just like they know that if they don't put fuel in the car then the car will surely stop the same goes with p/c.

    and as odd as it seems lots seem to think i'm ok jack never mind what the grand kids will be left with as if to say someone will find another address for us like a sea/tree change except a planet change hey chuckle?

    well they gotta learn real quick "it ain't gonna happen" what we have is what we have to leave for the children of our childrens, children etc.,.

    len
     
  7. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Permaculture and native systems is really the ephemeralization (Buckminsterfication) of the natural world. Considering that the breakdown of culture, aspartame riddled, ADD and the degenerative disease pandemic...will plow on as usual, because it appears that a certain % just never switch on, and never get the message...and the culture as a whole-the one that is dying-is perfectly set up to run the environment into the ground and degrade our humanity. Survival as a refugee in the dying culture is marginal and somewhat pointless...however building the new models through which others can learn when they are ready seems about the only viable option. It is futile to race around the world telling everyone what to do, when they are still involved in the standard cultural dream...while not establishing our own units of experimentation.
     
  8. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Permaculture is probably one of the few processes (for lack of a better word) that IS sustainable.

    But you have to understand that you can't start something without some capital investment, even if it's a littel bit at a time.

    I know people ask that question in relation to existing businesses like convential farming. Now, THAT'S the business to ask if it's economically sustainable! Because it isn't!

    I don't know how it is in Oz, but without loans and subsidies and conniving, farmers here couldn't exist. They are forced to keep food prices artificially low. Conventional farming as it exists today is like pouring money down a rat hole.

    Some people say that ethanol and biodiesel aren't economically feasible, but they're not taking into consideration the real costs of fossil fuels.

    One term that I don't like to see people use is 'We want to become totally self-sufficent'. That is impossible. If you want to be self-sufficient in your food supply, that's one thing. But to be self-sufficient in all things is not.

    Sue
     
  9. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yes sue,

    everything takes capitol to start with merely having in your possession a piece of land and a home is the basics, even to stay um healthy takes capitol to visit the doctor. so all that takes care of the 'self' part of any claims.

    if you talk to conventional farmers even if they know deep down inside they won't buck their peer pressure mates by admitting to not being sustainable, the only thing sustainable to most is that they get to live their lives on a farm as they want to. over here subsidies are more back door and many then say there are no subsidies but there are. farmers don't get paid properly for produce anyway the middle men who own the retail outlets see to that and the consumer pays top dollar, for what at best is a reasonable product that may have been in storage for up to 12 months. have you ever know a fish & chip shop or any business get any gov' subsidy dollars if for some reason be it flood, fire or drought their customers couldn't come buy their product or they couldn't produce product to sell, that's the difference between running a business and being a farmer.

    too true it is a catch cry phrase bandied about to put some importance on what someone is attempting to do, doubt there are too many of us modern people who could live a hand to mouth existance out in the wilds far removed from the infrastructure we have grown up with and only the shirt you have on your back, that to me is what self and sufficient are trying to portray. better goals are self supplementary or frugality, my being sufficient & self stops at simply not being able to generate the mulch i need without spending money to buy it, as with the seedlings i buy and any other product i may buy from time to time.

    i do a pretty good job of supplementing our diet which cuts down on food that needs to be bought, even to process and store excess fresh product all takes money & resources so there can't be any self in it?

    len
     
  10. grease

    grease Junior Member

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    Permaculture is about a paradigm shift. Just as we need an attitude change to the way we have waged war on the land to produce food, we need an attitude change to the "economy" . Communism has for all intents and purposes failed, the countries that practised this are by and large changing over to capitalism. We are all in the near future going to see that capitalism doesn't work thanks to the surge in demand for the worlds finite resources from China and India (amoung others) and the imminent collapse of the all but bankrupt American 'economy'.
    The way the world 'economy' is going America drives it by being the biggest consumer. Unfortunately? it is almost bankrupt. Which leaves it vulnerable to the cashed up economies of China and India who are only to happy to buy up her cash strapped companies. This leaves America a bit paranoid and the administration has actively blocked Chinese and (to a lesser extent ) Indian investment ,espescially in oil stocks. Meanwhile the rest of the real world ie not the 'economy' suffers.
    Permaculture is about being in tune with the world as it was designed and not trying to exploit it for our own greed. Unfortunately the way we have set up this world you have to make money to get by. This has to change to a system where we can sustain ourselves, and by that I mean our (plural) selves. Rupert Murdoch would not be welcome in permaculture as he would try to turn the permanent culture aspect of it to his permanent culture advantage.
    The economy of permaulture as I see it is in co-operation, getting back to the basics, relationships............for profit in every sense except financial.

    Sorry for this little rant I've gibbered enough, I'm off to that La La land I call reality where I work for monetary reward so I can put a roof over my families heads ie pay rent to the bank, put food on the table that I can't provide from my garden and try lo leave as small a footprint on this earth as I can by building networks that sustain. I feel I'm losing the battle but I'm still in the fight.

    SueinWA said "One term that I don't like to see people use is 'We want to become totally self-sufficent'. That is impossible. If you want to be self-sufficient in your food supply, that's one thing. But to be self-sufficient in all things is not."

    Solidarity Brothers and Sisters.
     
  11. CRTreeDude

    CRTreeDude Junior Member

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    The funny thing is I didn't start off trying to be permaculture. I just feel strongly that you need to not be wasteful. "Waste Not Want Not". Then, I was talking to someone who was practicing permaculture and he was impressed on how many of the princibles we were following. I guess I am an accidental permie?

    Sort of like being an accidental environmentalist. We started off just growing trees but then decided it wasn't reforestation unless the end result was a forest. So, we planned on how to eventually move it to being a forest - and the idea took off. Now we are considered environmentalist when in reality, we are just trying to be honest.

    I said all of the above to say this: Any progress in the right direction is good progress. Someone who gathers his leaves by the side of the road and puts them in his garden is to be encouraged. As he sees an improvement in the garden, perhaps the idea will spread to other parts of his life.

    But, if someone jumps in with both feet and fails because it was just too complex, they are likely to give up and go away.

    Though I am constantly refining our system - we aren't totally there yet, and may never be. But we make progress. I read all the time of new stuff we can do - which is great. But, I know that I have to introduce it slowly to make sure it works well.

    It was sort of funny today - we have a large nursery to grow our seedlings for reforesation and as we prepare for this year, I know we don't have enough fertilizer. The chickens just aren't doing enough pooping I guess. :lol: So, we are expanding chickens. I contacted our favorite restaurant and they said that they would love to buy organic chickens from us. Since we get fertilizer from it - I can sell organic chickens for the same price as he has been buying elsewhere - and a lot nicer too! All our workers want to buy them too. Honestly, we sell the chickens just a little above cost because what I really value is the fertilizer. :eek:

    So, here I am expanding chickens not because we need the meat - but because we need more chicken poop! :lol:

    Sometimes I really think we are having too much fun but you won't find me complaining about that. ;)
     
  12. noog

    noog Guest

    Everybody needs CASH

    Unless you live in a totally barter style community, we all need cash in some amount. How you get it is the question.
     
  13. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    I haven't gotten into the permanent-culture systems language yet...but I can see that Decentralization leads to the optimum order. In the parasitic culture the thinking is that hierachical design with one central leader leads to the greatest order. However in actuality what happens is the one guy at the top acts in his own interests while sucking energy out of the collective sociosphere. If we consider decentralization on all levels then we see that Point Of Use and Serial Resource Tributaries (Resource Flow Trees), plus Zero Waste are essential to any Noble-Sustainable Culture (Permanent-Culture). Decentralization leads to greater efficiency, economy, integration and minimum waste...more utility and less infrastructure.

    For example as Point of Use comes into effect, wires in buildings would be a thing of the past. There would be a small solar collector on the external wall that looks simply like an architectural feature...this will connect to a liquid crystal battery inside the wall itself, and directly on the inside wall will a light fixture or other appliance. Eventually such Decentralized Direct Use energy systems will simply feed off of zero point itself. I see zero point as the main energy source in high tech cultures within 50 years. https://myfacilitate.net/jana/Solaris.htm

    In the war between sanity and insanity the technology of Permanent-Culture will ultimately win because it will be the only economically viable means of survival as Decentralization and Independence come to the fore, and the parasitic culture dies off. Regenerative Systems (Beyond Sustainability) will become increasingly selected as the moral demands of the consumer increase. In evolutionary terms it is survival of the smartest...the most aligned with the depth of Cosmic Truth that will thrive in Noble-Condition....for the parasitic culture ultimately leads to genetic decay.





    SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030 by Harvey Wasserman solartopia.org
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dpZap0GFFk —Harvey Wasserman Nuke vs. Green


    Harvey Wasserman article: https://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/05/6191/
    —According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, some $6 billion in new wind farms are currently under construction in this country. Billions more are pouring in solar, bio-fuels, ocean thermal, wave, tidal and other forms of green power.
     
  14. CRTreeDude

    CRTreeDude Junior Member

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    Very interesting Jana - To a large degree, our current civilization (if you call it that) is having a party due to free energy. All we pay for is the cost of extraction (and profit of course) - not for the resource itself. (i.e. who pays the earth for removing the oil in the first place)

    The ability to move around the way we do is based almost entirely on oil. As the price of oil moves up due to supply and demand - systems that allow you to stay in place will become much more financially feasable.

    But currently, it is hard to compete against free energy.
     
  15. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    The central-power parasitic way is a kind of brute-technology that requires war, propaganda, and a largely dumb-sick and disempowered population in order to survive. Cheney and cronies are actually investing in wind farms, while they are carrying out illegal oil wars and filling their coffers.
    “Crude oil is the real ‘currency’ of the world,” said Lindsey Williams. He also said that they are going to keep raising the oil price to $150 a barrel.
    Why are these people making a last ditched effort to extort money from the people and concentrate it into the hands of the few...probably in an attempt to gain total global control through implementing a star wars program.

    If Bush (Carlyle Group) is going to Saudi Arabia they are probably raising funds for their next fiasco...probably an illegal war on Iran to implement regime change because Iran just changed over to selling oil in the Euro.

    Bush trip to Middle East/Saudi Arabia only decided upon a few weeks ago - Jan. 8 through 16 https://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 315020.ece
    https://www.swamppolitics.com/news/polit ... ush_4.html


    5 Iranian fast boats and 3 Iranian ships hassling US Navy for 15 minutes this weekend. 1/4/08

    Bush visits Saudi Arabia May’01
    https://www.truthout.org/docs_01/0662.Bush.Saudi.htm
    'Let's say Carlyle is going fund-raising in the Middle East and they bring Bush along,''
    New ambassador to Saudi Arabia is another Bush/Carlyle Group crony…Oct’01
    https://eyesonamerica.org/200110/10050102.html
     
  16. Tan

    Tan New Member

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    Back to being economically viable (which of course if your running a business is Obtaining a Yield).

    Surely p/c principles are a way of altering our decision making and, as such, making money in order to function in this world.

    I run an organically managed farm on 7 acres. We make enough to pay the mortgage etc. and not work anywhere else, which is fantastic as well as tiring. Apart from the occassional holiday all the profit has gone towards capital expenditure. In the begining we had no tractor, no shed. I'm soo pleased I no longer have to turn compost by Hand!!

    To achieve this I've learnt that the principles guiding my decision making (and thus management) is much more important than if I use a mandala garden etc. So I have had to make sacrifices and in places my husband has won the fight to have straight lines. Practicalities come into play.

    In the last couple of years I have been using Biodynamics to enhance our system and am very pleased with the results. Living in the remote North it has lead to a significant reduction in our input costs (and thus the quantity of inputs).

    The only reason we are still going is because of diversity. Diversity of sp. grown, processing, labour, methods and markets. Not to mention a believe in the bigger picture.

    To add to this diversity and to work towards self sufficiency we are building a Cafe, Shop and Info on our block.

    Profit allows you to give back more to the community and hopefully leading by example inspires others.
     
  17. Luisa

    Luisa Junior Member

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    Tan,
    whereabouts is the "remote north"?

    I have been following this thread, apologies for picking this one inconsequential to ask about, but I'm curious because it seems to me there's lots of info for those in colder climates while those in the hotter climes struggle with different issues.

    Your comment makes much sense, that it is the attitude and the principles, rather than the oft-spruiked techniques, which matters. My place is far from economical, in fact far from p/c still, but I am trying to use the principles in decision-making instead of focussing on implementing techniques. The principles are getting me there although my techniques are not the standard.

    Luisa
     
  18. Tan

    Tan New Member

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    I'm just out of Broome in WA.

    You are right about alot of info for down south. We've had to work alot of techniques out for ourselves.

    I would think that by using p/c principles to guide your decision making that you are practicing permaculture.

    As Holmgren says it's radical reinvention that is needed, which means implementing new techniques.

    I like to call it reverse farming, you put tons of effort in to begin with without much return but over time the system requires less inputs whilst providing more gains.
     
  19. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    you can't eat money, maybe it will compost?
    _______________________________________


    If we are really serious about solving the main problems that face society today, I believe that in addition to taking the necessary political and technological actions we must accept responsibility for healing our hurts at the individual level and in so doing we will be dealing with seminal causes of all of our problems. It is usually not easy to accept this for as R.D. Laing commented, "In our development it is as if each of us were hypnotized twice, firstly into accepting pseudo-reality as reality, and secondly into believing that we were not hypnotized."
    excerpt
    https://www.soilandhealth.org/06clipfile ... Values.htm
    another good read
    https://www.sott.net/articles/show/14768 ... -the-1990s
     
  20. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    “We must recognize the frequent contradictions between short-term benefit and long-term harm.” Dali Lama

    You could say that the human species is delinquent and mentally ill because we set up systems for short-term profit and long-term harm. The word for that is "irresponsibility." What we need is a revolution in responsibility from individuals up to nations and leaders of nations. One of the most useful psychology books is "Reality Therapy, A New Approach to Psychiatry" by Dr. William Glasser. You might find relief in the idea of increasing ones sense of responsibility as being central to improving mental-emotional health and the potential for happiness in life. Glasser say that we are irresponsible and behave badly not because we are mentally ill, but that we are mentally ill because we are irresponsible. He also wrote "The Identity Society” and “Choice Theory."
     

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