The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1468: Permaculture & Reforming International Development with Brad Ward


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    My guest for this episode is Brad Ward, an Agriculture Technical Consultant at ECHO, a faith based development program. Brad also is a trained permaculture practitioner, receiving his permaculture design certificate from Andrew Millison and Marisha Auerbach in 2012 through the online program at Oregon State University.

    Brad came to my attention on a recommendation by Eric Toensmeier, originally as a possible guest for the Faith and Earth Care series, but in setting up the interview with Brad, he and I spoke quite extensively about development aid and how permaculture can be used to ask better questions. In turn that allows us to reform our efforts to meet people where they are at. That forms the basis of our conversation. Along the way we also touch on the personal struggles and transformation that comes from wanting to aid others in a meaningful way. As with the conversation with Rachel Kaplan, there is a lot of internal work to bring change out into the world.

    Whether you have an interest in international development or not, quite a bit of this conversation applies equally to our internal landscape, as well as the business of permaculture. Asking the right questions, and stepping out of our normal frame of reference, changes the quality of our practices. Listen to this interview with Brad and let me know what you think, and how I might assist you on your path.

    Two other things that stand out from this conversation were Brad’s reference to Pandora’s Box, and the artificial busyness of life. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is that myth of Pandora’s Box and how there was something left in the box after all the evils of the world were released, Elpis, the spirit of hope. Though hope wasn’t released, I don’t see that as a negative side of the story, but that we each carry hope, Elpis, inside of us. I know I do with me every day. I am an optimistic person and see the future as bright and abundant, but that we have to take the path seriously and work towards it. Myself, people like Brad, each and every one of you who listens to the show, we are all part of that abundant future. I’m here to use my hope to help you on your path. We can do it.

    The other piece, is the artificial busyness of life. Something Brad Lancaster asked me to do a show on was how I live a full life with so many things going on, and roles filled. A big part of that is overcoming the distractions. I let go of the mindless brain-numbing entertainment that Brad mentioned. I disconnected from advertisements. It took a lot of work, and there are still times I catch myself consuming media, but when I do notice what I’m doing I put it down and move to something of meaning.

    With that I continue to use permaculture to design the way I live my life so that I live with intent. Nearly everything I do is a conscious choice. With that comes an acceptance of what matters and what needs to get done or can be left for later. There’s something beautiful about spending an evening with my children and being completely present in their lives. To ask a friend how they are doing, and creating a space where I’m not trying to fill the space until I can speak again, but to listen and really hear what they have to say. You’re life becomes your own and, as Mark Lakeman spoke to, you inhabit your own story. That’s the big picture idea of what it’s like to let go of that artificial busyness. I’ll put together something that goes through my process of getting to this point so you have something more practical to use in your own life.

    The world is beautiful and abundant. Let us be stewards of a bountiful future by taking care of Earth, our selves, and each other.

    From here next week’s interview is with Ethan Roland, of Appleseed Permaculture, to discuss the Eight Forms of Capital and Regenerative Enterprise. The following week, on October 22nd, is the third and final piece with Mark Shepard on Restoration Agriculture.

    The Show is On The Road
    The show is on the road so that I can go report on events of interest to the growing movements to build a better world, and to continue to spread the word of this wonderful system of design we call Permaculture. Next up I’ll be going to CHABA-Con, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on October 11th, 2014 where Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute will be the keynote speaker for a day of lectures, discussions, and tours on how to transform the world we live in.

    The last of the currently planned trips is to Roanoke, Virginia, from October 20th-22nd, interviewing farmers and local permaculture practitioners. I am also delivering a presentation, “Permaculture: Creating a Better World by Design” on 630PM on October 21st, 2014, at the Roanoke Natural Food Co-Op at Grandin Village. If you’re in the area I’d love to see you there or at any of the other events I’ll be attending. More on those as they are scheduled.

    If you value this show and the work of the podcast in spreading the word of permaculture to the world, lend your assistance in supporting these projects. Share links posted to the Facebook page,, with your friends or followers. Retweet messages sent from @permaculturecst. Leave reviews on iTunes or your favorite podcast sites. The show can also use your financial support, either as a one-time or ongoing monthly contribution. Find out how to do that at:

    Get In Touch
    Phone: 717-827-6266

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    Twitter: @permaculturecst

    (Episode: BradWard)


    1. October 26, 2014    

      im so glad i found this podcast it’s highly refreshing to hear such meaningful views on the idea of ‘development’

    2. Michael CommonsMichael Commons
      December 10, 2014    

      Really enjoyed this podcast. It seems like Brad shares a similar view of development to what I have come to. Also while I have never met Brad, ECHO Asia is a partner of ours here in Thailand, working together in different areas such as OP / Organic seed. Glad to hear someone from the main office there in Florida thinks this way.

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