Monday, 24 April 2017

Living Design Process and Permaculture in Syntropy

Living Design Process and Permaculture in Syntropy

This will be a good struggle: sharing the essence of the new advanced permaculture course ‘Advanced Permaculture Design Methods and Planning Process’ recently delivered by Dan Palmer and David Holmgren. Like a novel ecosystem, this course has been formed by beneficial and exciting relationships. The facilitators extended their collaborative and innovative approach to the attendees with an openness and transparency that honoured everyone present. To me, it emotively marked a turning point in permaculture communication.

 The course participants walk around Dan and Su's place Melliodora, in Hepburn Springs.

The course was structured around Dan’s application of Alexander’s work to permaculture design; a method that Dan names Living Design Process. It was fascinating observing how this innovation in permaculture design grows from, is supported by, and succeeds the work of David Holmgren. Personally, as a student of decolonising and critical approaches to anthropology and literary theory, the Process was familiar and appreciated, yet made much more solid through its physical grounding in permaculture design. Dan’s work can be found at his blog Making Permaculture Stronger.

Of relevance is the facilitators’ context. Dan’s self-reflexive and critical approach to the various weaknesses his own and others’ permaculture consultancy and design is informed by 10 years of studies and teaching in philosophy and particularly the works of acclaimed architect Christopher Alexander A Pattern Language, The Order of Things, esp. Vol 4) as well as Allan Savory’s Holistic Management. This has galvanised a rigorous, collective push to develop permaculture so that it can walk its talk. Dave’s background as co-originator needs less of an introduction, yet continues to support novel and fertile material for critical permacultural innovation, as experienced during various exercises in the course.

Some of the aspects of the Process are:
-       The design arises organically from the land over time, instead of static preconceptions or impositions
-       The form is drawn out of the context
-       Working with the client on every decision, every step of the way
-       The formation of a holistic context with the clients, enabling on-going feedback

Living Design Process and Syntropic Agroforestry

Having completed such an exciting course with Dan and Dave, I’m now completing an Advanced Syntropic Agroforestry course with Namaste and Patricia in Byron Bay. I won’t cover syntropic approaches here, suffice to say that it makes permaculture stronger, and permaculturalists in Australia would do well to get behind it. Thorough practical and philosophical food forestry rooted in indigenous Amazonian stewardship, syntropy takes permaculture concepts around companion planting, chop and drop, soil and fungal cooperation and so many things to whole new levels. It well embodies Dan Palmer’s Living Design Process. If you want to know more, check out:

More on these exciting collaborations to come!

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