1 hr 16 min

Allan Savory on Holistic Management and Permaculture Making Permaculture Stronger

    • Education

In this very special episode, I enjoy an in-depth conversation with Allan Savory, originator of Holistic Management, President of the Savory Institute and Director of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. While Allan is best known for his work on holistic planned grazing, I was especially excited to dive into the decision making framework at holistic management's core and its implications for permaculture.







This is our conversation at a glance.







How we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projectsMoving from reductionist to holistic management is moving from a reactive to a proactive orientationThe process of defining what important isThe relationship between holistic management and permacultureAddressing complexity with a holistic frameworkBeyond thinking holistically to managing holisticallyThe challenge with making holistic management stickThe paradigm shifts required to manage complexityThe individual leadership to inspire and the institutional scale of holistic management we need for meaningful changeHolistic management and regenerative agriculture and businessHope for the future







Dan Palmer & Allan Savory - with thanks to the Savory Institute for creating this image.







Here's a link to a recent episode on how I've been practicing holistic decision making, here's an article I wrote about it (back in 2014), and below is the full transcript of our conversation (my questions italicised).







How we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projects







Allan thanks so much for this conversation. I’d love to start with the deep relevance of managing holistically for permaculture designers, and in particular, how we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projects. Where us permaculture designers regularly encounter clients who, as soon as we ask them what they'd like our help toward, bombard us with a long list of goals or objectives. "We want a pond and ducks and an orchard and a vegetable garden and a campsite and a meditation platform and and and." Could you please explain what it means to engage clients on a deeper level than the goals they present us with, how we might go about this in practice, and how important this is if we aspire to be managing holistically?   







Sure, let’s see if I can help Dan. You could either start by explaining what the reductionist management of humans is and how essential it is to manage holistically.  That is what is needed if Permaculture (or any agriculture) is to be regenerative. And that is essential if civilization is to survive now facing global desertification and climate change, in which agriculture is playing as large (maybe larger) role than coal and oil.  That gets boring in today’s short attention span and people’s eyes glaze over.







So the best way if there has been no training in how to manage holistically is to simply do it.







Everyone just wants to be told what to do and how to do it – it is almost impossible I find to stop farmers just wanting to know what to do and to help them decide how to make those decisions, that they don’t want to hear about.  Allan just tell me what to do!  I don’t want to hear about reductionist management and how it is the single cause of almost all that ails us, including desertification and climate change!







So the best way if there has been no training in how to manage holistically is to simply do it.  Think trying to explain how to ride a bike vs having a bike and just starting to ride it.  The more you explain how to ride a bike, the more confusing it gets, but a person simply riding a bike gets it in a day. 







So, assume I am advising or helping you Dan the farmer.  I would simply say,

In this very special episode, I enjoy an in-depth conversation with Allan Savory, originator of Holistic Management, President of the Savory Institute and Director of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. While Allan is best known for his work on holistic planned grazing, I was especially excited to dive into the decision making framework at holistic management's core and its implications for permaculture.







This is our conversation at a glance.







How we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projectsMoving from reductionist to holistic management is moving from a reactive to a proactive orientationThe process of defining what important isThe relationship between holistic management and permacultureAddressing complexity with a holistic frameworkBeyond thinking holistically to managing holisticallyThe challenge with making holistic management stickThe paradigm shifts required to manage complexityThe individual leadership to inspire and the institutional scale of holistic management we need for meaningful changeHolistic management and regenerative agriculture and businessHope for the future







Dan Palmer & Allan Savory - with thanks to the Savory Institute for creating this image.







Here's a link to a recent episode on how I've been practicing holistic decision making, here's an article I wrote about it (back in 2014), and below is the full transcript of our conversation (my questions italicised).







How we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projects







Allan thanks so much for this conversation. I’d love to start with the deep relevance of managing holistically for permaculture designers, and in particular, how we start the process of managing holistically when commencing new projects. Where us permaculture designers regularly encounter clients who, as soon as we ask them what they'd like our help toward, bombard us with a long list of goals or objectives. "We want a pond and ducks and an orchard and a vegetable garden and a campsite and a meditation platform and and and." Could you please explain what it means to engage clients on a deeper level than the goals they present us with, how we might go about this in practice, and how important this is if we aspire to be managing holistically?   







Sure, let’s see if I can help Dan. You could either start by explaining what the reductionist management of humans is and how essential it is to manage holistically.  That is what is needed if Permaculture (or any agriculture) is to be regenerative. And that is essential if civilization is to survive now facing global desertification and climate change, in which agriculture is playing as large (maybe larger) role than coal and oil.  That gets boring in today’s short attention span and people’s eyes glaze over.







So the best way if there has been no training in how to manage holistically is to simply do it.







Everyone just wants to be told what to do and how to do it – it is almost impossible I find to stop farmers just wanting to know what to do and to help them decide how to make those decisions, that they don’t want to hear about.  Allan just tell me what to do!  I don’t want to hear about reductionist management and how it is the single cause of almost all that ails us, including desertification and climate change!







So the best way if there has been no training in how to manage holistically is to simply do it.  Think trying to explain how to ride a bike vs having a bike and just starting to ride it.  The more you explain how to ride a bike, the more confusing it gets, but a person simply riding a bike gets it in a day. 







So, assume I am advising or helping you Dan the farmer.  I would simply say,

1 hr 16 min

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