Permaculture for the People

Photo: Angela Angel, Permaculture for the People

While looking for photos for this blog which had  black, brown or yellow people in them, I stumbled across this PDC,   Permaculture for People  presented by the Movement Generation

The permaculture principles that they use are:

  • Start by Listening: Observe my environment and people before beginning anything
  • Make the Most of it: The way I do anything is the way I’ll do everything
  • What’s the Problem? How can I turn problems into solutions
  • Use What I Have: Play to my strengths
  • Return It: What ever I get – give something back
  • Maximize it: One element can have many functions
  • Diversify: The most efficient systems are the most diverse ones
  • Plan It: Planning for the long-term maximizes results
  • Brains not Brawn: Work smarter not harder (with nature not against it).

This is a group I want to keep on my radar screen. I particularly like Movement Generation’s curriculum tools which link to lesson plans for several workshops they have presented.  All of them seem consistent with Permaculture Principles and are great teaching resources  particularly for those working with youth and coming from a social justice standpoint.

Have you seen any other versions of the principles of permaculture geared toward an urban context?


More Thoughts on Prioritizing the Project List

As  I thought about it a little more, I created another inventory to assess where I stood on 12 permaculture principles in five overall areas:

  • Food
  • Energy
  • Water Use/Reuse
  • Material Use/Reuse
  • Community

Here is my August 10th, 2011 assessment in the area of food.

 Area of Implementation S C O R E  Comments
 Buy from a local
 I rarely make the conscious choice to buy from a local source.
 Obtain a Yield (zone 1 sources)
 Use foods with low embedded energy
 Create a diversity of sources
 Catch and store (at home)
 No waste  All foods recycled to compost or worm bin. All packaging is recycled as well.
Leverage Feedback  There is no tracking of yield or diversity of elements.
 Use Edges and Marginal Areas
 Integrate and stack functions

Here is a  link to my entire chart,  Inventory of Principle Implementation.

As you can see my scores are pretty low.  I’d like to get a minimal score in each area of the chart.  In other words I’d like a score of one for 1)buy from a local source, 2)catch and store at home, 3)leverage feedback, 4)use edges and marginal area and 5)integrate and stack functions. I need to choose projects that will give me these minimal scores. This will give me integration across the area being assessed.

To help me look at this aspect, I added an extra column to my original projects list to capture my thoughts on the functions associated with each of the projects. For example:

  • For the  Transplant Setup Project  I noted that creating capability to grow plants from seed and create my own transplants would be an alternative to buying transplants from the garden store.  Also I would be creating more a of yield in my zone 1. These are two functions.
  • For the Plant Rye Grass for a Mulch Project , I noted that doing this would provide erosion control, improve the soil and create mulch material. These are three functions.
  • For the Canning Local Produce Project, I noted this would allow me to use more local produce.  This project would create an alternative to store-bought products (diversity). I would be increasing the yield in my zone 1. I also would be increasing my stored yield. These are four functions.

So here is how I will rank my projects:

  1. I’m going to work on the projects on my list that are immediately and obviously useful (A Importance level) and easy to do or requiring a little effort (1 and 2 Difficulty level) first.  I’m going to make easy  (small) changes to my life.
  2. I’m going to choose to work on the projects that offer many functions and integrate with my existing systems first.
  3. Finally as discussed above, I’m going to choose to work on projects that fill in my gaps first.  This would mean that canning local produce (which would fill two gap areas: buy from a local source and catch and store at home) would be a better choice for me now than planting the blueberries (which would fulfill two function which I already have covered:  increase plant diversity and increase yield and storage). I won’t be looking at projects that cut food waste since my score there is already very high. Once I have a project or two that addresses each area, (which gives me a score of 1 across the board) then I’ll choose a new set of projects (to try to give me a score of 2 across the board).

So enough with the tables and on to the projects!

Also see: My First Project List and Last Thoughts on Prioritizing the Project List