Permaculture - Getting paid vs. Paying to do it

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by insipidtoast, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    My purpose in writing this is not to bash permaculture. I love permaculture, however it presents some pretty ironic economic paradoxes.

    Has anyone noticed that most, if not all, of the permaculture internship opportunities require you to pay to work!?

    How can you get involved in the permaculture world without having to pay your own way all the time?

    When I ask most people this question they say to create demonstration sites on your own land, and to teach others. However, this assumes two things:
    1) That the person has land
    2) That the person has enough free time and capital to do such a project

    As far as certificates go, the Permaculture Design Certificate is one of the least valuable certificates I have ever acheived. There seems to be no point to it, especially since there are no jobs to be gained with the certificate. At the best, there are work trade opportunities, which still do not cover transportation costs. Permaculture is still a very fringe thing to most people, and something that is hard to explain to others - a marketing detriment, if you will.

    On that note, the Permaculture Design Certificate doesn't seem to help out the entrepreneur very much either because most people would probably be more receptive to someone who advertizes their landscaping services with a "green gardener certificate" than with a "permaculture design certificate." What the heck is that?!

    Examples:
    I obtained an Oregon food handler's license once. This allowed me to get any sort of cooking-related job in the state of Oregon.

    I also obtained a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. This allows me to obtain international jobs, GETTING PAID to teach english overseas.

    The common denominator here is that I get paid in exchange for my skilled services. (Insert Sarcasm) What a concept! Where is the payoff from getting a Permaculture Design Certificate? It's not sustainable for someone to have to pay to make the world a better place. We need to be paid to make the world a better place, otherwise we will bury ourselves in poverty very quickly. Trying to relieve poverty with impoverishing mechanisms only creates more poverty.

    So, it seems permaculture is only for the economically well-off who already have a decent amount of capital and sound business skills to create a non-profit or other entrepreneurial venture.

    Hasn't anyone ever wondered how Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton have been able to travel all over the world, even after buying multiple properties in Australia and funneling their resources to create Permaculture farms?
    Zaytuna farm hints at how they might get some of these funds:
    $50 for a farm tour
    $6,660 for a 10-week Internship. There would be lots of hands-on practical work at this course, and thus first-hand learning. but that's a large investment (especially for someone not living in Australia) for dubious returns. So, Geoff trains people to work on the farm's projects, they do a lot of the work on these projects for him, and don't get paid. Instead, they have to pay $6,600.



    This is where something like agroforestry trumps permaculture on many fronts. Agroforesty is a well-recognized science taught in Universities, and an established career field. There are internatiol job postings for people well-educated in agroforestry practices. Is there one job offer out there that requires someone to have completed a 10-week internship course with Geoff Lawton? Is there one job offer that requires someone to have a Permaculture Design Certificate? No. However, Zaytuna farm gives you the opportunity to pay to do more permaculture-related work as long as you have the certificate.

    I've done internships at permaculture ecovillages before. I had to pay to travel to and from the ecovillage and do a full-time job of gruntwork in exchange for insubstantial vegetarian meals and a place to sleep on the floor of a living room where I had to sleep in full winter gear every night just to keep warm.

    If I'm just doing gruntwork for someone, then I better be getting paid at least minimum wage. If I'm learning and doing the work, then it should at least be free.
     
  2. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    How about having a look at Green City Acres. Curtis Stone went from having zero gardening experience and a PDC to looking at making $50000 in his second year. He uses the SPIN gardening concept, redirects city trash into compost and building soil, grows healthy food for a very localised customer base, reclaims lawns for food production and does all this on pedal power.

    If you are looking for more experience, how is the wwoofing network there. I have done plenty of that over the last 2 years, had awesome food, great education and many offers of land to use.

    One of my teachers, David Arnold, would say to become a proficient designer you need 10000 hours of experience, about 5 years study. If you did a certificate 1 in horticulture, I wouldnt be expecting to be getting a job designing city gardens.
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    This kind of thing has been discussed before on the forum insipidtoast, so assuming you have read them and bearing in mind that there are valid reasons for people charging to teach permaculture what is your solute to this problem?

    And how do you think we could start creating a market for people with PDC's?

    For mine, I tend to think of permaculture training more as personal development than of career training. I've paid good money for personal development and spiritual workshops (some even came with certificates). Some of them have been of the greatest value to my life - not many of them would make me more directly employable.

    I think they do, however, make me more indirectly employable. Also I think permaculture lends it self less to being employed by someone and more to becoming 'self-employed'
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    you seem stuck in a paradigm of making money and supporting the economy, my insipid friend.

    Perhaps when you do build a demonstration site and spend you time sharing with others the things you have learnt over many years to the exclusion of a paying 9to 5 job, then you will understand why there needs to be a charge to people who want that information.

    I see your point about the PDC as this certificate will only show people who care that you have put yourself in a position to lead a life guided by the ethics of Permaculture - Care for the Earth, Care for people and return surpluses. Where is the profit in that? The "market detriment" you speak of is due to the concept being outside the market economy any you need to think in terms of a different world to the one you live in to understand the position Permaculture sits. It may well be seen by yourself and others as a fringe dweller (we like to value the marginal) but it may rise to prominence soon if the earth is not cared for better than the market economy allows.
    You have the audacity to question the ethics of Uncle bill and Geoff and yet when you get to a position where you can consult with Governments on sustainable developments you are only too eager to take the cash offered. I think you may be well surprised by the simple life these guys live and how much of the money they spend on travel to assist in the places in the world that need their input is returned by the outcomes from their visits.
    You question the cost of internship at Zaytuna. Do you even have any idea of the cost of feeding someone for 10 weeks? You say you are working for your keep but let me tell you that only in rare occasions do the work from interns equal the food they consume and the efforts of a cook and office staff needed to administer the situation. If it is not value to you then don't do it but stop winging about it.

    You talk about agroforestry trumping permaculture and this serves to tell me you don't really know what permaculture is about as it is a system of design that includes disciplines such as agroforestry and keyline and earthworks and systems that have been used for ever and brings them together into a design science and so they are no longer isolated disciplines.

    I am happy doing "Grunt work" that brings me in contact with the experience I need to implement the knowledge for myself - it is wrong and stupid to assume the world owes you anything and if you don't like it you have the option to walk away any bury your head in a bucket of money on Wall Street where they are doing wonderous things building a world economy to save mankind through an American styled democracy.
     
  5. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    sorry for all the spelling mistakes people - end of spray
     
  6. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    hehehe.

    Smithers, RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!
     
  7. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    I think permaculture is just still ahead of its time in a monetary world. As the world (yes and me ) changes there will be immense demand for permaculturists that know their place at the top of the chain as well as the bottom.
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    MONEY-MONEY-MONEY- and Permaculture

    Before anyone goes making assumptions about how the Lawtons make and dispose of their income I recommend that you read this. Then you can come back here and talk about it.

    We old folk have seen this argument come around before and it always raises people's heckles. Which is fine if you feel the need to have your heckles raised. Please be respectful of each other. Or I'll make you muck out the stables....
     
  9. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I call dibs on the muck for composting!
     
  10. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    Hi Eco

    I just read that 2007 thread (it took a while) and the most striking thing to me was how people were relating with each other. Are we our own worst enemies? Each of us are here to improve our practice, so as to improve our soil, our food production and our environment, so we're all on the same team. I learnt so much living in community in Africa for many years and I find that people in my permaculture network locally live up to many of those same behaviours, which is a delightful way to live (working in each other's gardens, sharing food and ideas, investing time in each other). But there are times on this forum that we forget. We are passionate about things - I understand that - but we are also a community and I think we need to find ways to talk to each other that challenges but also supports. Otherwise our community will shrink. And that would be a tragedy.
     
  11. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    fair call ebunny.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I spoke to Geoff about the Money thread once when he was at a Permaculture Noosa meeting last year. He remembered it well so it obviously struck some raw nerves with him too.

    There's plenty of money out there that people are prepared to part with. Heck - just look at the crap that gets sold on those shopping shows. Waiting for someone to give you a JOB in permaculture is not the way to get paid. You need to think like an entrepreneur. Find a market and fill it. Nick Huggins is teaching people the skills to turn a PDC into a business and has offered plenty of pointers for free on the main page of the PRI website.

    There are people out there that will pay $20,000 for their PDC if they think it is value for money.....
     
  13. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    I have a different way of looking at things, while I do have my own land and have spent many years building what is now an amazing productive food forest, developed water catchment systems, improved pastures and connected native re-gen areas as I wanted to improve my own environment. I often wondered when I was working as an Art director in multimedia how do I do something using my skills with Permaculture and get the hell out of IT, I never came up with an answer when I went looking for one.

    It's too easy to dump on those Permaculture teachers who are good at what they do, they are doing great positive things for our world and can be proud of what they are achieving, so what if they can afford to buy a property and fly to other countries to teach PDC courses, I'm yet to see a limo parked at any of the permaculture properties I have visited... =)

    For me I first found a focused area I was interested in which became a hobby. I started to play and developed ideas and processes, made a website around it and started to share my knowledge on the subject. The right doors then opened after many years and I started a business.

    You will have to find an area that suits your skills, be it inside Permaculture, on it's edge or no where near it. I'm never going to be a formal teacher in Permaculture as it's not my thing, but I have used my skills, knowledge and contacts with in the Permaculture world to help develop a small business with has strong Permaculture ethics that I hope one day will supply me with a pay check. =)

    If you enjoy what you do and your good at it chances are you will do well at it and make a living. You just have to find that thing.
     
  14. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    I agree. People like Purple Pear bother me on this website, simply because they assume I don't realize what you have just mentioned. That's why I made the disclaimer at the beginning of the thread. Seems Purple Pear's intention is just to rip on me for exposing some of the pitfalls of permaculture. This topic has been mentioned before. Great! Not by me.

    It's not like I'm on some permaculture site because I want to create a permaculture corporation and exploit aussies and modern-day hippies around the globe just to watch the numbers tick up on the NYSE.

    I absolutely 100% agree that permaculture should not co-exist with capitalism. I see it as the backbone of a completely new paradigm of world social structure. Having said that, it's understandable that my entrepreneurial ideas get shot down as being "not viable" by business advisors.
     
  15. insipidtoast

    insipidtoast Junior Member

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    What I noticed most about that post other than "WOW! This guy's really making a lot of money!" Was that he gives absolutely no practical advice on how to get to his position where we are disposed to work on these $30,000,000 projects.

    He mentions how the world needs to be saved very quickly. He's a great teacher to motivate people and to instill some technical knowledge, but I don't believe he has the capacity to teach people the business side of things. Ultimately to save the world we're either going to have to destroy the existing alienating socio-economic systems, or we are going to have to play by their rules and follow Permaculture's ethics closely so as not to be corrupted by money. How do we do this Dear Mr. Lawton?
     
  16. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    :think:

    I blame God for not giving out a day-by-day guide on how to live
     
  17. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    And here i thought Curtis Stone was onto a good thing accesible to anyone...
     
  18. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    At first I thought you made this thread to Troll, honestly, I did because I remember you came here after a blow out elsewhere, now I just think you are fooling yourself. Just because some bloke shoots down your idea doesn't mean they are right. I live on the Oregon coast because Cali is FUCKED. At least here in Coos County Oregon they actually know what Permaculture is sometimes without me having to explain it. I've already talked to my local produce stand and they are looking forward to my permaculture property taking off down the road.

    Again, I smell compost here. The making of PRI, the countless Youtube videos... ..it was more then enough to get a person started that didn't know what to do. It sure as hell helped me, but then again, I like working hard for things with my hands.
     
  19. TheDirtSurgeon

    TheDirtSurgeon Junior Member

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    You see pitfalls. I see opportunities, and I'm pursuing them. I will be making a full time living in a year at the rate I'm going.


    Why ever not? I would like you to show me anywhere on Earth you could get internet service through which to bitch about capitalism that wasn't financed by capitalism.

    But I'll be gentle, and go the extra mile. Most people confuse the terms "capitalism" and "free market." One should really get solid definitions before attacking. Smith's Wealth of Nations, for example, is about "free market," not what we know today as "capitalism," which could be more accurately called a kleptocracy. I rather doubt many of your university professors explained this. (They might one day wake up to find they have been replaced by a search engine.)


    A lofty and admirable goal, to be sure.

    And completely unrealistic.

    You've as much as said you won't deign to create permaculture in your own backyard (figurative), but want to acquire a highly paid job changing all the social structures of an 8-billion populated M-class planet. (Star Trek reference there... :rofl: )

    Well... best of luck to you, sir!


    I simply can't imagine why those damn evil capitalist swine don't want to hand you money!

    Oh. Right.
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    ROFLMFAO x2
     

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