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My guests for this episode are Caroline Wallace and Jesse Peterson, pictured here with their mentor Dave Jacke. Caroline and Jesse are the owners of Inside Edge Design, LCC, a permaculture design firm based in Helena, Montana, that applies the social system design framework of Dave Jacke to their municipal scale projects.
During this conversation we talk about niche analysis and social system design and how to apply it to our work as permaculture practitioners to make the invisible structures a more visible part of the process. We use the 6th Ward Garden Park as an example of how they work with a local parks department and government in order to gain approval for the installation of a 1 acre food forest.
I find that this interview complements the conversation I had with Steve Whitman in Episode 1517: Community Planning, very well, so after listening to this one, go and check out that one if you haven’t already. Together they help to prepare you to be better prepared to engage the society where you live.
Before we begin, a reminder that the Traveling Permaculture Library Project is now being managed by Matt Winters, author of The Gift, and it’s a great time for you to get involved. Email your name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org and he will add you to the mailing list of this cycle of virtuous giving.
Stepping away from this conversation I’m left with the feeling that their work will have a huge impact on our ability to design with the social and economic systems of our communities in mind in a way that insures we are able to use permaculture in the process. We could use the principles that currently exist, but we are trained up to look to the landscape as the metaphor and sometimes that frame of reference gets stuck. Here with the niche analysis, the axises of social system design (PDF), and Elinor Ostrom’s Eight Principles of Managing A Commons, we can leverage other tools into our toolbox that break us out of that strictly permaculture mindset, without having to start from scratch, and then expand upon them based on our own interests and abilities and with permaculture in mind.
The road ahead for social systems is an incredible one to be a part of and likely to face numerous challenges as we move forward. I say this because of numerous conversations I encounter online where permaculture is still viewed strictly as a means of permanent agriculture, rather than one of permanent culture.
Where do you see permaculture going from here? Where are you taking it that you would like to share with the world?
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Until the next time, take care of Earth, your self, and each other.