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This episode is a look forward to 2015 and where things are going.
All in all 2014 was a pretty incredible year for this podcast. Over fifty interviews and fifty shorter episodes produced and released. In addition to that I took the show on the road to the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA, CHABACON in New Jersey, the Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour in New York, and a permaculture farm tour through Virginia. Yes, there were some rough spots in the beginning of the year, but things picked up and got flowing smoothly as time went on. As this year draws to a close, what is in store for the year ahead?
First, on a personal level with some impact on the show, I’ll be completing graduate school in May, 2015. As this episode goes up I am in the middle of my internship which wraps up my course of study. To finish out my education strong I need that to be main professional priority. I’m interning with a local non-profit as a grant writer and event organizer which in turn I want to bring to the permaculture community once I’m done. In order to focus on that I am going to continue with the current schedule of releasing one interview a week until such time as I am no longer a formal student, and to have a bit of downtime to enjoy the accomplishment of earning my Master’s degree. Then in June I’ll move to two shows a week on an ongoing basis, organized so that we have a better balance between practical, “how to practice permaculture in the landscape?” episodes and others that examine the more philosophical questions like, “how does all this fit together in a larger context?”
Thanks to all the responses to a recent post on Facebook asking for guest suggestions, I have enough potential interviews to see us through until August or September if everyone says “Yes”. To keep that list growing please let me know if you have anyone in mind who you would like to hear on the show, including follow-ups with past guests.
Second, I plan to continue to take the show on the road to tour sites and perform more in-person interviews. Tradd Cotter invited John, Layne, and I down to tour Mushroom Mountain so that is definitely on the list, as is going to Philadelphia to sit down with Pandora Thomas of EarthSeed Consulting and Robyn Mello of the Philadelphia Orchard Project. I am always looking for additional ideas of places to visit, as my time and budget allow, so let me know if you have any suggestions.
Something else I really want to do is to sit down and record more round table discussions with groups of permaculture practitioners. Travel to a town, sit down with three or four people from the region or an organization and have a conversation that can later be released as an episode of the podcast. That could be something we do in front of a live audience, or as a fundraiser if you wanted to by collecting donations at the door. Let me know if you would like to host such an event and we can work out the details.
Third, I’m moving my online permaculture work towards a gift economy, not just for listener support of the podcast proper, but also for sponsorships, class announcements, and any other service I can provide to the community. I feel that in order for others to know that a different way is possible we must try another way and show that the system that exists isn’t the only way for us to live productive lives. I know for many of the permaculture courses and projects out there money is a barrier and a burden for many, so I want to lend a hand. We all have surpluses beyond the financial that can make a big difference in the world and I’d like to have those be a larger focus of my work moving forward. Let’s work together and make something happen. More talking. More collaborating. More action.
This idea of using a gift economy and more talking moving forward also applies to the online Permaculture Design Course I’ve been running over the last year and a half. I’ve been contacted by a number of individuals who want to take a PDC, but who do not, for whatever reason, have the financial means to do so. Through my own personal journey I have also discovered that I work best with small groups and one-on-one so am focus my educating of others through direct interaction via email, phone, and online meeting spaces. If you are interested in this kind of PDC experience, please let me know.
That spirit of collaboration includes that thought of editing a 21st Century Designers’ manual. I don’t want to write it, but rather organize the collection of materials to go into it, perhaps as an annual digest. I’ve received feedback from several folks interested in the idea and want to hear from you if you want to get involved or know someone who you feel should contribute materials. I’m still setting up the ideas for this, and look to the fall of 2015 as the time when I put together the formal proposal, but would like input now so that the idea can mature with multiple inputs rather than just my own.
With the idea of doing, one of my personal goals is to share more of my personal projects with you whatever those may be. As I work in an incremental fashion, picking away at something in pieces, we can explore different ideas as they develop over time.
Another goal, that is a mix of personal and professional, is that I am looking to acquire several acres of land in 2015 that I can begin converting into a private permaculture center in central Pennsylvania to show working models of the different ideas we talk about grounded in a sense of place. I’d like use that space to host ongoing, regular events and gatherings for the community where we can come together and have face time in a place that embodies the work that we are doing. I find that time together, in person, really helps to build community. In turn we can get to know one another and work together to create solutions and try out different things. Some questions that come to mind that I would like to explore include:
What is it like to coppice with a billhook or a pull saw?
What about recharging batteries with a solar panel for an electric chainsaw?
What are the best methods for establishing and raising mushrooms off the grid?
What does a human scale site without heavy equipment look like? Because I have a particular bent when it comes to permaculture my thoughts on a human scale are not large like Mark Shepard, but also not totally without electricity or petrol like Ethan Hughes.
Together we can ask and answer our own questions, add to the body of permaculture knowledge, and walk away with additional skills to take back to our own lives and communities.
Get in touch with me of anytime along the way there is any way I can help you. I am here to assist you on your path in whatever way possible.
You can also send me a letter:
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
And, as I wrap things up, if you are able, please support the podcast through a one-time or ongoing monthly gift so I can continue to release material openly for anyone to find and listen to. Find out how at: www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support.
Until the next time, take care of your self, the earth, and each other.