Collaboratively Realising Permaculture’s Potential
An Emergent Conversation with Looby Macnamara (e59)
For some years I've been itching to get permaculture designer, teacher and author Looby Macnamara on the show and that dream has finally come true. Not only that, we had such a lovely chat we've already booked in a second conversation, where Looby will take us through what she calls her permaculture design web.
Find out more about Looby's books and other work at her personal website here.
Looby - image source
Find out about Looby's colleague in cultural emergence, Jon Young, at his website here.
And here is an image of Looby's permaculture design web that I am excited to explore in our next chat.
Here's vid of Looby introducing Cultural Emergence
Enjoy the episode, leave a comment, and catch you in episode 60!
In Dialogue with Takota Coen about Permaculture’s Potential (E58)
I recently enjoyed the first of what I hope will be many lovely conversations with Takota Coen about permaculture's potential. Takota is co-author of the new design process book Building Your Permaculture Property. In Takota's words, we "talk about how a lack of a living, adaptive process is holding permaculture back from reaching its fullest potential, and what we can all do about it." Here's the youtube version, here's Takota's podcast where this chat was originally shared, and you can learn more about what I'm calling Living Design Process here. Enjoy and please do leave a comment sharing what you make of the stuff we explore!
Dan and Takota mid-chat
Michael Wardle: Professional Permaculture Designer and Educator (E57)
Greetings all. In this episode I get to ask my friend and colleague Michael Wardle from Savour Soil Permaculture all kinds of questions about the history and current state of his work as a professional permaculture designer and educator. Lots of great perspectives and hard-earned learnings in this one - I look forward to seeing what you make of it in the comments!
Michael with one of his teachers :-).
You can check out Michael's facebook page here and his website here, including his design consultancy offerings and a section with a bunch of edible gardening tips here. Michael also has a youtube channel with videos such as this one dropping thick and fast:
Carol Sanford’s Seven First Principles of Regeneration – Further Reflections
Hey all. So I had the urge to surf along a little in the wake of the last episode, and reflect further on Carol Sanford's Seven First Principles of Regeneration. Thus, in this episode I reflect on, unpack and further explore what Carol shared about the seven first principles and how they are enriching my own development.
My intention for the episode was:
I am continuing to explore Carol Sanford's Seven First Principles of Regeneration...in a way that supports listeners (and myself!) to better grasp and go experiment with them...so that we realising together, any value they can bring to our lives, projects and the Making Permaculture Stronger journey.
Hope you enjoy and I look forward to hearing what you make of all this in the comments :-).
Further Reading, Watching, and Listening on Carol Sanford's Seven First Principles of Regeneration
If, like me, you're itching to dive deeper, I found this most helpful series of blog posts (and a separate series of short videos) where Carol clarifies:
The history and practice of regeneration (or see this video introducing first principles)Identifying and working with wholes not parts (or see video here)Essence (or singularity) (or see video here)Potential (not problems) (or see video here)Development (video only)Nestedness (or see video here)Nodal intervention (or see video here)Fields (video only)
Here's a quote I really liked from the essence post:
Looking to existence, writing down our observations or collecting facts, will not reveal singularity. In order to sniff out essence, we must become trackers and look for it in the same way that native peoples follow the traces of animals who have passed by. Essence becomes apparent in the patterns that are specific to a person, those that reveal how they engage with the world, their purpose in life, the unique value they create as the result of their endeavors. The same is true for the essence of any natural system, community, or organization.Carol Sanford
Finally, Here's a 20m video (with poor quality audio but worth it) of Carol talking about what regeneration is. She gets into the Seven First Principles about 10 minutes in.
The Seven First Principles of Regeneration with Carol Sanford (E55)
In this episode pioneering regenerative thinker Carol Sanford rejoins me to share a living systems framework she calls The Seven First Principles of Regeneration.
Sketch by Dan based on Carol's description
Resources to Deepen Learning
My first chat with Carol (also see these follow up words from Carol)My second chat with Carol where she shares her four levels of paradigmCarol's websiteThe Deep Pacific Change Agent Community (That Dan is part of)A series of articles in which Carol applies the Seven First Principles to educationCarol going through the principles in a different way on her Business Second Opinion PodcastCarol's book The Regenerative Life in which she goes through the seven first principlesWholeness and the Implicate Order by David Bohm
A few transcribed lines from the episode
Thanks to MPS patron Jon Buttery for pulling some comments that stood out for him from the chat (with approx times):
13:36 – "I don’t want you to be disappointed that after a year you haven’t got them [the seven first principles], that’s a good sign"
18:57 - "You can’t go do – in the sense that you’ll change something – you have to go think a different way and you have to start in a different place"
22:43 - "The word ‘systems thinking’ is thrown around for a lot of things that are machine based"
23:23 – "There are no feedback loops …. we impose those kinds of ideas"
24:05 – "A fragmented view … we assume … if we get good enough … somehow we’ll see how they all relate"
26:53 – "What is the work this place does in this planet? … what is its story?"
30:23 – "Watch yourself making lists"
32:26 – "Fragmentation is the basis of every problem on the earth"
38:40 – "It took me literally a couple of decades to learn to see essence. … it’s a different way of seeing the world"
David Holmgren’s Journey with Permaculture Design Process – Part Two (e54)
Welcome back to Part Two of a conversation with permaculture co-originator David Holmgren. In which David continues sharing significant milestones from his many decades as a practicing permaculture designer.
Thanks to this project's wonderful patrons, I was once again able to have the audio professionally transcribed. The text below then received significant edits for clarity from patron Jon Buttery (thanks Jon!), myself, and most importantly David. Thanks also to David for kindly sharing relevant photos that help bring the text to life.
Don't miss Part One if you haven't yet heard/read it, and given the quality of thinking David shares in this continuation, I hope you'll leave a comment. I anticipate a follow up conversation with David exploring questions and reflections from your comments, so please make the most of the opportunity.
Finally, given this conversation again touches on the core skill of reading landscape, please check out and consider supporting the documentary film David, myself, and videographer Dave Meagher are currently endeavouring to bring into the world.
Starting Holmgren Design Services
Dan Palmer: All right. Well, here I am for the continuation of the discussion we started earlier. After a bit of a break, must have been, I don’t know, six weeks or something.
David Holmgren: Yeah. It’s been a busy time.
Dan Palmer: I’ll say! - a busy and very interesting time. It turned out the first recording was about an hour, and we got to the point where you'd started Holmgren Design Services, so that seems like a great place to start. You’d told us a lot about the project at your mother’s place in New South Wales and the learning you’d been doing from Hakai Tane about strategic planning, and then shrinking that down to apply to a site level. It’d be awesome to hear about the experience of moving into the space of permaculture design consultancy.
David Holmgren: In 1983 I started a business and registered a business name. There were lot of things that were going on in my life, which I can also correlate with things that were happening in the wider world: that led me to getting serious earning a living, personal relationships, and also living in the city. The consultancy work I did, was primarily advising and designing for people who were moving onto rural properties; what these days people call a ‘tree-change’.
Consulting on a Central Victorian property in 2020 (as part of the Reading Landscape film project)
That work fell into sort of two broad types. One-day verbal onsite advisory, walking around the property and suggesting things with clients. Then there was a more limited number of clients where I was providing reports and plans that gave me the opportunity to reflect. There were a lot of constraints on how to make a viable business in that, especially if your work wasn’t focused on affluent people, but instead empowering people who were going to get out and do these things themselves, often starting from scratch, and often making big mistakes. My advice and design drew on a combination of my own experience as well as observing how others had tackled the back to land process over the previous decade. By then I also had a very strong commitment to Victoria and South Eastern Australia of landscapes and ecologies and design issues that I was familiar with in that territory.
Dan Palmer: Was that where all or the majority of your professional work happened?
David Holmgren: Yeah, it was. There was occasional work further-afield - certainly into the dry Mediterranean country in South Australia and into New South Wales, Sydney region,
Thanks for taking permaculture thinking to another level. Really enjoyed carols interveiw, as well as other regenesis folks. Enjoyed Darren Doherty as always. whatever you have to say and whoever you want to interveiw I’m all ears, can’t get enough. Thank you.
Took my mind on a journey- amazing podcast. High density of ideas and good flow, would highly recommend.