Permaculture Guilds and Resilience


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This presentation from's first Design 4 Resilience conference on April 10, 2010 in Berkeley, California introduced the idea of permaculture guilds. The presentation led to a discussion of the applicability of permaculture principles to other domains.

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Permaculture Guilds and Resilience

  1. 1. What can permaculture guilds teach us about resilience?
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Introduce permaculture
  3. 3. Define permaculture guilds
  4. 4. Examine their principles and likely sources of resilience
  5. 5. Open up topic for discussion </li><ul><li>Suggested application: Urban planning/zoning </li></ul><li>Brainstorm actions each of us can take away from this discussion </li></ul>
  6. 6. Permaculture: An excessively short introduction <ul><li>“A design system for the creation of sustainable human settlements” (Rob Hopkins)
  7. 7. Originated with Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1970s
  8. 8. Values wisdom of indigenous peoples along with contemporary sciences
  9. 9. Seeks to observe nature and build/regenerate ecosystems, not fight nature with monocultures </li></ul>
  10. 10. Selected Permaculture Principles: Ethics <ul><li>Follows three primary ethical principles: </li><ul><li>Earth care
  11. 11. People care
  12. 12. Fair share </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What are permaculture guilds? <ul><li>Combinations of complementary plants (and sometimes animals) known to thrive and build resilience together
  14. 14. Example: the “three sisters” guild of Native American agriculture (corn, beans, and squash)
  15. 15. Substitutions welcome
  16. 16. Some guilds have ten or more members </li></ul>
  17. 17. Selected Permaculture Principles at Work in Guild Design <ul><li>Principles that may foster resilience include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritizing observation of nature
  18. 18. Preferring native plants to exotics
  19. 19. Favoring perennial plants over annuals
  20. 20. Selecting/siting plants for relationships to others
  21. 21. Valuing diverse elements and relations
  22. 22. Choosing elements that have multiple functions
  23. 23. Ensuring each function is supported by multiple elements
  24. 24. Matching inputs and outputs to close loops
  25. 25. Stacking plants, other elements in space and time </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Conversation starter: Are lessons from permaculture guilds relevant to urban planning? <ul><li>Are monocultures inherently fragile?
  27. 27. How can we tell what combinations (of businesses, schools, residences, spaces, etc.) work well together?
  28. 28. What challenges might we face in applying lessons from permaculture guilds to regenerating urban environments? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Brainstorm your action plan <ul><li>What discussion points resonated most with you?
  30. 30. Can you point to steps you can take in your life or work based on our discussion?
  31. 31. Alternatively, what would you tell others about permaculture guilds and what they could learn from them? </li></ul>