Welcome to the new year everyone.
The first live, public launch of the Worldwide Permaculture Network is imminent. There are just a few things to tidy up, and then you can all ‘have at it’.
I could use your feedback on the below. Here you’ll find draft descriptions of the project ‘types’ that can be selected when you upload your various permaculture projects. (Each of these project types has a badge associated with it which will show on respective project profile sidebars.) Please feel free to let me know via comments if you have constructive observations for tweaks/improvements that could be made to the descriptions below. Thank you all in advance:
Note: All projects need to be in harmony with all three of the permaculture ethics: Earth Care, People Care, and Return of Surplus – with the surplus returning back to supporting the first two ethics. A clear inconsistency with any one of these three principles is grounds for removal from the Worldwide Permaculture Network database.
Urban: Permaculture project working in urban environments.
Rural: Projects in more sparsely populated districts.
Residential: Projects that are developing or mature examples of home-based permaculture implementation. These might be urban or rural.
Commercial: Projects that provide sustainable goods and/or services for sale or trade. As per note at top of this legend, these projects must align with all three of the basic permaculture ethics to qualify as a permaculture project. If agricultural, such projects are based on polycultures and are working toward closed loop nutrient cycling systems.
Eco-Village: Eco-villages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Some aim for a population of 50–150 individuals because this size is considered to be the optimal size for a social network according to findings from sociology and anthropology.
Community: Community projects are projects that help develop sustainable and harmonious community interaction, improve well-being and increase localised resilience.
School Project: School Project leaders create their project under this category. School Projects attempt to educate a new generation in sustainable and historically-appropriate knowledge and practical skills. These normally incorporate school gardens, but can encompass much more.
Philanthropic/Aid: All permaculture projects need to be aligned with the ‘return of surplus’ or ‘fair share’ principle, but those that are formed specifically for directly assisting people in need can select the ‘Philanthropic/Aid’ project type, or where this is the larger thrust of their work. The assistance provided by a permaculture Philanthropic/Aid endeavour is normally, to utilise the well-known proverb, not just in giving a man a fish, and not just in teaching him to fish either, but also in how to manage his fish stocks sustainably. It’s about addressing root causes of problems and working in culturally acceptable, situation-appropriate ways to apply holistic solutions. Often such aid quickly becomes unnecessary as the capabilities and independence of recipients advances, although in some circumstances such aid might be perpetual to some degree (like for permanently socially/economically disadvantaged recipients like the mentally and/or physically handicapped for example).
Demonstration: Projects deemed by their leaders as being specifically good, mature examples for demonstrating the benefits of permaculture by showcasing its implementation and advantages.
Educational: Projects that teach permaculture concepts and application by running courses and/or workshops and/or internships, etc. Projects that select this project type have an option to advertise their courses on their project profile’s sidebar.
Permaculture Local Groups / Transition Towns / Permablitz: Permaculture Local Groups and Transition Towns are groups of individuals in particular localities who meet regularly to pool and share resources, knowledge and inspiration, and who work collaboratively to advance permaculture and strengthen community resiliency. Such groups may undertake activities like local bartering or local currency initiatives, peak oil and/or other transition presentations, and they may be working to influence local government on policy changes, and much more.
Permablitzes are where people team up to give an individual’s yard a perma-makeover, usually in exchange for that individual having contributed time to help makeover other properties.
Authorised representatives of such groups are invited to create a profile on this site so they can be on the Worldwide Permaculture Network map – to be easily found and joined by individuals in your area.
Financial/Economic: These are projects which help facilitate sustainable and community-building economic frameworks and/or ethical financial investment initiatives such as credit unions, trade exchanges, or local currency or time bank schemes. Rather than being the end goal, such projects instead regard money as a tool to achieve higher, socially and environmentally beneficial ambitions. Do not confuse these with ‘Commercial’ project types.
Legal: The ethical use of resources often necessitates diverging from the default strategy suggested by the present-day economic culture (that being the maximisation of financial profit by individuals working in their own self-interest rather than acting as trustees with an obligation to use resources to produce lasting benefits to society). For this reason, setting up appropriate legal structures to ensure activities are, instead, in alignment with the core ethics of permaculture, and stay so even under adverse conditions, is important. The most important and flexible legal tool to tie capital to such rules for its use is the Trust. A project under this ‘legal’ category can provide help to set up such legal structures.
Political: Political projects include participatory democracy initiatives, local and national lobbying efforts to promote, incentivise and incubate sustainable change and even the re-design of political frameworks.
PRI Master Plan:
The ability to select the PRI Master Plan project type is only possible after approval by PRI administration. Read on to find out more about what a PRI Master Plan project is, and if your project would like to join the PRI Master Plan network, please apply to info (at) permaculturenews.org
PRI Master Plan projects are projects that are self-replicating, through being both educational and demonstrational – and which are collaborating with the Permaculture Research Institute to help them progress permaculture uptake in their respective regions. The ability to check the ‘PRI Master Plan’ box is activated by the Worldwide Permaculture Network admin after the project in question has been approved by the Permaculture Research Institute.
As demonstration sites PRI Master Plan sites show examples of permaculture in action to the community and region in which they are based, focusing on methods and materials which are the most suitable for the means, culture and climate of the area. As permaculture is regenerative, these demonstration sites often begin on poor quality land that locals would normally avoid – so that the before/after results of subsequent permaculture interventions can be dramatic and motivating for native observers. Such land is normally inexpensive in comparison to premium land.
As educational sites these projects finance themselves through selling knowledge – i.e. through course fees. For ‘two thirds’ world countries, student attendees can arrive from wealthier nations to sit side by side with local students, with their harder currencies subsidising the education of the locals who would otherwise not be able to learn. With wealthier students attending such courses in exotic locations, local students have an increased appreciation for the course content (i.e. if western students come all this way to attend, it must be valuable knowledge). Cultural exchange and positive networking results, with westerners also gaining insights into low tech traditional techniques found in such locales.
PRI Master Plan sites gain access to the wider audience of the Permaculture Research Institute. Project admin and/or team members are asked to report with interesting articles and observations that can be published on the respective PRI websites, to increase the project’s support base and student attendance and to inspire others to take up the call.
PRI Master Plan projects need three base staff members – a teacher, a farm manager, and an administrator (and a translator for courses if necessary). If there are no suitably experienced local teachers, these can be supplied as required from amongst the PRI’s teacher network. Such teachers have their expenses covered through the course fees.
Only quality teachers recognised and endorsed by the Permaculture Research Institute can teach such courses. Such courses are kept free of all religion, spirituality and ‘metaphysics’, instead concentrating on practical permaculture design science.
PRI Master Plan sites seek to become financially self sufficient within three years, and seek to provide for as much of their, and their students’, own food and other needs as possible from their own bio-diverse demonstration sites.