Profit from permaculture

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by SueinWA, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,771
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    An American (USA) garden website would not let me post a Permaculture link or mention the word "premaculture".
    I think because they thought it was advertising
    i no longer visit that site
    Their loss. :)
     
  2. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    Did you have to pay back the funding or was it "free"? depending on the economy for funding doesn't sound too promising.

    and from MMRF website

    These panels were donated to MMRF by BP Solar. The students also installed a charge controller, inverter and hardware donated by Outback Power. The course was taught by Mark Miller of Plenty Belize, and Christopher Nesbitt of MMRF, in cooperation with Solar Energy International (SEI) who provided curriculum and text books.

    sounds like you'll take free when it's offered. Not many small farms get that kind of help. Think how hard farming is without it.
     
  3. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    also many permaculture projects get a 501 c tax exempt status, because they are teaching and/or researching.

    excerpt
    The Permaculture Research Institute as a registered charity and global Networking centre for Permaculture projects.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoff_Lawton

    we don't want profits to effect that status do we?

    and the future holds alot of health and medical problems for people, where are the permaculture health specialists or are the sick unsustainable and a waste of resourses? If it depends on a consumer economy and health professionals......

    charitable ebola time.
    https://www.ecoresources.com.au/ptv2/pag ... -2006.html
     
  4. Flying Binghi

    Flying Binghi Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    Whoa............... this be one intense thread :shock:


    Thinking about the thread starter post - I find what people get for free they dont appreciate.

    Money, for the average person, is mearly a representation of their effort.

    I'd make the feckers pay - either money or effort.



    ..........Oh, by the way, hello all :D
     
  5. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    the mennonites run tons of hospitals and nursing homes
    https://mcc.org/about/tax/


    how about a nutraceutical research institute like

    At the American Botanical Council, we are passionate about helping people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbs, medicinal plants. We are an independent, nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information for consumers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, educators, industry and the media.
    https://abc.herbalgram.org/site/PageServ ... e=About_Us
     
  6. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,536
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    I know its hard. Let me just clarify a time line for you: I have been farming for 20 years. I bought some heavily damaged land in 1988. I was 22 years old. I repaired much of it, planted many thousands of trees, and am working on the balance of it. It has been hard. I have caluses and scars to show for my work, and a well developed agroforestry system! Most of what I have here, I built with my own hands. Any tree older than 4 years was certainly planted on my energy.

    Our project, though, is 4 years old, which we started with a board of directors when I was 38 years old, and in the last 4 years we have had some help in grants, not loans. Yes, we certainly do accept donated things, and we also ask for them. We give free training to local CBOs and producer groups, too. "Free" is a relative term. You have to ask for it. I write proposals for things like training, for scholarships for local farmers, for infrastructure. We have brought in permaculture teachers like Toby Hemenway, Larry Santoyo, Penny Livingston, Albert Bates and Andrew Goodheart Brown to teach local and international students. Out of a class of 22 students, with11 international students, and 11 Belizeans, we can get funding for 7 of the Belizeans, and then we provide 4 with scholarships. Mot of the funded students have been through "free" money, and all of these teachers have provided free training to 1-4 students, a part from the funding we received.

    One proposal can take months to research, months to write, and months of back and forth and, after all of that work, end up not getting funded. How "free" is it then, even if funded? I also help other NGOs write proposals, or facilitate training for them. All of the proposals I write are, in my modest opinion, worthy of funding and vitally important. Some of my proposals are funded, most are not. As a registered NGO, we are not designed to make money. Any money we make gets spent on providing services, like the work we are doing on vanilla with 30 farmers in 12 communities or in providing probono training. I wish we could get more grants, and hope to soon (am working on one with a local indigenous organization for pond based aquaculture/aquaponics).

    When we do accept something, we have been offered it because of the work we do. In the case of the solar equipment, we asked for it based on educational value, which we provided both in training and by having a working example of a solar system that people can see, and that enabling us to have that system for our class room makes us more effective as an organization.

    I also work for "free". I have yet to draw a salary from my work here.

    Backing way up here, I think that many of the ecological services of farms built on permaculture principles, intentionally or not, have great value, either as genetic seed banks, or soil retention, watershed management, habitat creation, etc, etc, etc. Agroforestry can be both a tool for alleviating rural poverty, as well as for bufering the effects and reducing the cause of climate change. Are farmers remunerated for these services? No, they are not. People breathe the oxygen created on land I manage for "free". They eat fish spawned in estuaries kept healthy by agroforestry up stream for "free". They drive around in cars, or get their power from a grid that spews carbon into the atmosphere, which I, and millions of other farmers engaged in agroforestry, do our best to lock up in trees, for "free". How much carbon do I emit, and how much am I locking up? Its a positive balance for the earth. Shouldn't I be compensated for those services? I would like to be!Why aren't I (and millions of other farmers) compensated for the global environmental services I am providing? So, "free" is a relative term, too.
     
  7. timelapse

    timelapse New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    hey guys great thread... dont know if I have over looked my answer but is it ok to profit from manual labour as in help in setting up someones yard and providing them with all the necessary info to continue eating and trading ????
     
  8. Paul Cereghino

    Paul Cereghino Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    I can't resist stuff like this--
    I'd propose two needs for 'profit'--the two big problems Pc and all progressive folks need to riddle through to build alternative lifestyles:


    • land acquisition, there is a huge need for land reform in much of the developed world where the newly born, not born into land, can't own land near population without going in debt to banks, thereby requiring 80 hours of cash-work per week per family to make debt payments. (this opens a whole debate about mainstream vs. marginal existence)

      Care in sickness and infirmity. Nutrition ain't going to solve mortality. We animals get sick, we get old, and its nice to have a means of caring for each other when things get bad.

    It seems that the trick with words like Pc is to ignore the words and observe at processes, structures, functions, and behaviors... (from my favorite Permaculture fairy interview):

    Permaculture is just a word. It can reference a copyright, it can summarize concepts, it can represent individual beliefs, it can describe group behavior or localized social networks. Pure oatmeal. "Anyone who ever studied mankind by listening to them was self-deluded." :rolleyes:
     
  9. trishandpete

    trishandpete Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    I think that its better to sell produce than to sell knowledge or tours of your garden.
    ig[/quote]


    Not sure I agree with this at all. I am going to do a PDC course in October. I have had to pay for it. Is that not buying knowledge? Without it, how would I embark easily on a new road? And in the past I have sold my knowledge: so that people could have babies safely and parent wisely, an investment in future generations. I can't give my knowledge away all the time, else how would I live?

    I think each to his or her abilities and resources. Not everyone can grow their own garden (or knowledege either) so the rest of us have to do it for them/with them. Surely sustainability is not just about me looking after me, or only growing or using as much as I need, but about the collective us....

    Therefore, if I grow more than I need of wood, veges, eggs, what harm if I sell it to the person who grows nothing? What harm if I charge a small fee for that person to hear what small wisdom I have gained? Maybe good, as that person might go home, taste the eggs, remember the lesson and start to dream....


    Trish
     
  10. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Messages:
    802
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    My understanding from my PDC is I can now use the word "Permaculture" as part of a business name or as a description of part of my business.
    While I'm still trying to sort out how and what I'm going to do, I would love to have Permaculture as part of my business ethic and principles.

    But I will have to make a profit and make an OK living at it too. I have bills to pay and a home load to pay off, just because I use Permaculture ethic's does not stop me from being a smart business person and doing thing's right, I don't deal with bartering systems or any of the like so the oh mighty is dollar is what will have to be made. ( I do barter with neighbours when I can )

    For me it's how I go about it, my current business idea will balance quite nicely with a Permaculture Ethic and spreading the word, I just have to get it off the ground which is happening slowly.

    Baz
     
  11. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    Yea, spreading the word and teaching people "how to" is way, way more important than barter or selling produce at this point. On site teaching tours is better than classroom tours...in order to get people motivated into a can do kind of attitude.
     
  12. trishandpete

    trishandpete Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    and the future holds alot of health and medical problems for people, where are the permaculture health specialists or are the sick unsustainable and a waste of resourses? If it depends on a consumer economy and health professionals......

    What on earth are you on about? As a health professional I genuinely want to know, because it sounds a bit like an accusation except it's unintelligable.
     
  13. sunnyslopes

    sunnyslopes Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    Hello SueinWA,

    What a great thread. Profit. P R O F I T Profit! profit The word conjures up so many images. Greedy capitalist. The haves and have nots. Profiteering. So many images. I guess your opinion depends on your perception of profit. In my experience profit is that part of the deal that you won't be spending today. I have made "profit" many times in my life. Usually it was in the form of wages that were more than the money I needed to live on. Profit is the only way in our culture that you can achieve security in the long run. Profit is the fuel of dreams. It can change your family tree. In the permaculture sense I like to think of profit as the resources that will drive me to sustainability and eventually will drive the earth closer to a stable and non-degrading condition. The more profit I make the sooner I will arrive at my destination. The garden as an example. Seeds, wood, water, tools, etc. all require capitol. The house has a mortgage. The more profit I make the sooner the house will be paid for. To sum it up, the more profit you make the greater your potential for good. So put me down for yes, profit from permaculture. Use money as a fair medium of exchange for your goods and services.

    But it's the unethical profits that come from dirty deals and usery. I think those are the profits that make us wonder and doubt our economic systems. But that is another subject, isn't it?
     
  14. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    I was just thinking about the question again. "Is it ethical to profit from permaculture?"

    Turning it around, is it ethical to make profit any other way?

    I would have to think profit from permaculture would be the best way to make profit!
     
  15. Re: Profit from permaculture

    One way to look at profit from permaculture might be to consider it as form of surplus yield, and based on the principles of permaculture it's pretty clear to me what I would do with surplus yield. Put another way, it is about redirecting the energy of money in a manner where it can move the planetary healing machine forward. This seems like a no brainer to me.
    Of course if we have debt to pay down we really are not in the position of having true surplus yield so to an extent some of the profit stream might be directed toward debt reduction with a portion used to enhance our ecosystems or helping those in need to become more self sufficient.
     
  16. Paul Cereghino

    Paul Cereghino Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    I recently dredged up an old thread wherein Geoff Lawton had a prolonged dialog about his experience of jet-set permaculture. I found it interesting and on a similar tack as this. I've been struggling about how to integrate permaculture principles into my vocation for a while myself, and have worked in land industries for close to 20 years. I now manage government grant programs for ecological restoration, and find plenty of applications of permaculture theory -- but I never say "permaculture". I just sell ideas that solve problems. Every-once-and-a-while a permie is in the crowd and they come to me afterwords and say, "hey! thats permaculture", and I wink and say "yes but I haven't taken a PDC so I don't call it that". I also work in an office and stare at a computer 8+ hours a day and have horrific deadlines. I think the bottom line is that you don't make profit doing permaculture... you just make a living providing service, while trying to integrate permaculture principles. Most people seem to try to make a go as a landscaper or nurseryperson, and its a brutal industry to break into (I did it for years), and most of the 'work' is mowing and blowing -- only doing permaculture landscapes just means you are working on a high-end niche market and you better be careful and savvy. Being a garden teacher is an good angle, but if you look at the economy there is a relatively very small proportion of 'garden teachers' making a living out there. Geoff appears to be working as an international development consultant. Look in the yellow pages... plenty of consultants. But the deal is you have to run a professional consultancy - you can't just grow a long beard, make soap and bamboo tools and run a professional development consulting business on the side. That kind of business has certain skill and network requirements and entry costs that you need to build up to, and then commit to fully. So... in short, just figure out how you enjoy making a living, THEN integrate permaculture principles and reinvest the surplus (profit.) I am not even sure what "DOING permaculture" is... unless you consider attempting to be self-sufficient on land the one true path. I'd suggest that Pc is three things masquerading as one, and there is risk in mixing them up.
    Permaculture = design theory (powerful.. can solve problems)
    Permaculture = sub-culture identify (you find yourself rambling on on forums alot) ;)
    Permaculture = brand name (not very lucrative yet, but watch how the world spins...)
     
  17. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    This certainly has turned into an interesting discussion!

    And when I said 'profit', I meant enough money to survive comfortably, with enough money to put into new projects, or extend old existing ones.

    I have no interest in large ostentatious houses, big/fancy cars, big-screen tvs, and all the available electronic games, that I wasn't thinking about how people would define 'profit'.

    It just seemed to me that some people were against making ANY money from PC. Permaculture, like anything else, takes money. I've read about people who make a fortune in something like toxic chemicals, then they 'get religion' and use their chemical profits to buy a chunk of land, put up a nice home, and buy everything they need. They they say that anyone who makes any money (to pay the mortgage, taxes, utilities, food, lumber, trees, seeds, etc) is doing the wrong thing. It just seemed hypocritical to me.

    If you're so poor that you don't have enough money to keep your PC place going, the people who were watching you will think that PC doesn't 'work', and write it off as a non-viable idea.

    Sue
     
  18. Re: Profit from permaculture

    I've looked at several ways to make a living providing a few goods and services that are in alignment with permaculture. I'm currently engaged in two of them and have several others germinating in a think tank, developmental incubator.

    After I did my PDC in Oct of 2000 I came back home and tried to make a go at several permaculture related business models. There wasn't a whole lot of listening for sustainable design methods. Energy was cheap, food prices reasonable and jobs were abundant (but not permaculture related gigs).

    Wow have things started to shift in the past eight years! The "green" and "green washing" movements are rapidly becoming mainstream. Most people still don't have a clue what true sustainability looks like, but I continue to see more and more evidence that we are moving in that direction.

    I thought I would share a few of my observations regarding businesses that fit into the permaculture model and are maintaining and thriving in the middle of an economic recession that continues to be heading south.

    I make rain barrels from recycled, food grade 50 and 60 gallon drums that were used to ship olives, peppers and mixed veggies from Greece to an importer about 20 miles from where I live. These drums look very much like a large mason jar and are easy to convert to rain barrels. The design I use is disease vector free and attractive in the garden. My sales are up over 200% from last year and this is by word of mouth (no formal marketing). The only problem is getting enough barrels to meet demand.

    My other business involves the sale, installation and service of water purifiers and whole house carbon filters that remove the chloramines and floride from municipal water supplies and provide pure (zero total desolved solids) for drinking and cooking. This business is steady with a slight drop in annual service calls due to money getting tight for many families. I've a few commercial customers, mostly printing companies and marine research facility that must have pure water.

    A good friend has a native plant nursery and his business is growing steadily. He is beginning to incorporate more fruit trees and edible herbacious perennials plus edible annuals in season. He offers design services, installation and retail sales. His staff of 15 is up from about 10 people a year ago. His efforts at educational outreach with the local Native Plant Society has done much to help his business grow via word of mouth. He does very little formal marketing.

    Another friend has a tropical plant nursery specializing in fruit trees and other edible plants. Her business is really cranking these days. She has two full time employees that do nothing but ship fruit trees sold on her website. She is shipping all over the US. Her retail store is steady with a slight growth over last year. This is in a recession mind you.

    I've recently hooked up with a green building general contractor who is ahead of the curve. He understands permaculture quite well and has contracted to build the first Earthship in Florida, scheduled to be completed early next year. The press has picked up on this event and the hits on his website have doubled in the past month, following some local press that got picked up by the AP wire. I am functioning as a permaculture consultant and we will be offering the 72hr PDC early next year with the Earthship site as the primary design project for the course. We expect to have over one hundred different fruit tree varieties over approximately 6 acres with a large aquaculture pond. About 3 acres will be a native wetland eco system.
    This homestead will be 100% off the grid.

    There are several other permaculture related projects that are in various stages of the design and bidding process and overall looking very positive.

    Profit from permaculture, you bet. It's about time the good guys got a piece of the action. It follows that those who do realize the value of permaculture and the abundant range of solutions it provides, and are about effective healing of our communities and the planet as a whole, are less likely, if at all, to piss these earnings away on consumer junk or wasteful endeavors. My experience is that these business people are coming from the heart and about making a positive impact in the community and our environment. They live simply, give generously, and are prosperous in the true sense of the word. They are doing what they love. They are being the solution.

    Anyone interested in checking out our permaculture meetup group please go to https://www.ThePermacultureSite.com and you'll be redirected to our Meetup.com home page. We would love to have new members join our group as we are always looking for new ideas and love to share what we know. When you get to the home page go to the message board icon on the left side and take a look at some of the permaculture related news happening in the Tampa Bay Florida bioregion. Hope to see you there.
     
  19. tranquil

    tranquil Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    What an interesting discussion. Personally I don't care for profiting off others (i.e. selling something for more than it cost me). I don't see the point, besides the necessary trading with other people to get the things I need to survive, unfortunately because the dominant economy is totalitarian and it's very hard to get by without money. If others want to create business opportunities off permaculture and integrate into the current economy, or grab the attention of those who "listen to money" as Mr. Lawton implies, that's their choice/karma. Good luck with that. I guess it's not bad to have a diversity of tactics after all.

    A problem I see however is the monopolization of knowledge through power derived from money. Although many like Mr. Lawton say they are all for everyone learning permaculture, currently only those with access to money are able to be formally trained. It in effect creates a situation where they are actually preventing certain people without money from obtaining formal knowledge.

    My plan is to offer donation-based produce and classes to my community. To do this, I just purchased some land, with the help of others. I hope to give back this way and pass on the inspiration and good will.
     
  20. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: Profit from permaculture

    Tranquil, where did you get the money to be so generous? If you only sell something for what it cost you, you are working for free and obviously have another source of income. In other words, are you profiting from that totalitarian economy you spoke of?

    These days, no matter where you are in the world, many people seem stuck in the all-or-nothing track, one extreme or the other. Is there no longer a middle road?

    Why could you not sell your permaculture-grown produce to people who have money, and then give some of it to the people who can't afford it, like a local food bank? Why could you not teach PM to the more affluent, and offer a few places in your classes in exchange for labor?

    Nothing is free. There is a cost to everything. The costs may be hidden, the costs may be ignored, but they are always there. And if a person who knows and wants to grow and teach PC can't survive on thin air and good intentions and has to go to work for a nuclear power plant, have the rest of us who wanted his/her produce and knowledge for free won or lost?

    Personally, even as poor as I am, I never expect people to GIVE me anything. If I can't pay with cash, I can pay with some homecooked dinners, a cheesecake, a double batch of cookies, pulling their weeds, driving them to a doctor's appointment, mending some clothes, feeding their pets while they're out of town, or mowing their grass.

    Any time someone INSISTS on not taking something in return, they have some private agenda. And that is often a form of control; if I give you something, you owe me. Payment is in one form or another, like it or not. I prefer the method of payment to be upfront and of my choosing.

    Sue
     

Share This Page

-->