Permaculture and PovertyFrom Poverty
Permaculture Design Consultant
Mosinee, WI 54455
My Discovery of Permaculture
My Presentation Style – Dialogic
My Goal – To build a lifestyle that repairs
the earth, nurtures my soul, and supports
What’s your connection to
When do/did you feel the most
Where We’re Going
Components of Poverty
What is Permaculture?
Our Evolutionary Foundations
A Homesteading Proposal
Payne’s Definition of Poverty
Poverty is the extent to
which an individual does
What Resources are Important?
What Resources are Important?
Positive Relationships/Role Models
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a system of
design that focuses on how food,
energy, housing, and water can
tie together for maximum
efficiency, with minimum work, to
meet the needs of people.
Permaculture “ties together” strategies that come from
throughout our past and present and from every corner
of the earth.
What makes it “Permaculture” is the intentional plan of
where and how these strategies work and meld
The inspiration and guide for a permaculture plan
comes from observing nature’s patterns from the
simple to the complex.
The Forces of Nature
Permaculture mimics nature. We learn about
permaculture by watching and observing
nature. Permaculture works with the forces on
nature, not against.
What about Human Nature? This plan works
with the forces of human nature, not against.
What Does Permaculture
Ron Finley- Guerilla Gardener
Growing Power – A Model for Urban
Cob and Straw home building in
Energy – Compost Piles
Jean Pain- The Father of Compost Heat
Permaculture, Homesteading, and
Compost Heating: Ben Falks
What Can We Learn From…
When We Face A Crisis? (War,
Tornados, Earthquakes, Mining
The Depression of the 1930s
People in Third World Counties
Native American Observations by
Lived in groups. Groups have advantages
with getting food, shelter, and defense.
They were able to be in a group if they
contributed to the group. Productivity was
essential. They needed the group and the
group needed them.
There was quality within the group. Skills would
evolve into leadership roles. Possessions were
I think that the way animals live in the tropics,
stepping outside in the morning and evening to
see if there is something to eat, and taking a
long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful
life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity
would be possible if one worked to produce
directly his daily necessities. In such a life,
work is not work as people generally think of it,
but simply doing what needs to be done.
When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught
our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes
to see his relations and makes one Indian Ramble with
them, there is no perswading him ever to return. And that
this is not natural [only to Indians], but as men, is plain from
this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken
prisoners young by the Indians, and lived awhile among
them, tho' ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all
imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among
the English, yet within a Short time they become disgusted
with our manner of Life, and the care and pains that are
necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity
of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no
The Care and Labour of providing for Artificial and
Fashionable Wants, the sight of so many rich wallowing
in Superfluous plenty, whereby so many are kept poor
and distressed for Want, the Insolence of Office . . . and
restraints of Custom, all contrive to disgust them
[Indians] with what we call civil Society.
--Benjamin Franklin, marginalia in Matthew Wheelock,
Reflections, Moral and Political on Great Britain and
Her Colonies, 1770
What did we learn from the
Depression of the 1930s?
Though most all were in poverty, small farmers
weathered the storm the best.
Having land was critical to coping. Land allowed even
city residents to have chickens, rabbits and large
gardens. Lawns were a drain on resources.
Food preservation skills were essential to surviving the
winter and spring.
Close knit groups and families did the best. (We didn’t
know we were poor).
Change from a money-dominated system to
a land and skill-based system.
Land is not just for a house, it becomes a
part of a functional, sustainable life.
Start a Homesteading System
Redesign low-income housing opportunities.
Change land use laws to minimize lawns
and build productivity.
Homesteaders take a PDC class with
other potential homesteaders. Make a
plan for your homestead.
Team with Habitat for Humanity (or
similar group) to build home. Incorporate
The PDC class becomes your local
support team to design and build
together. Provide tools.
Learn about food preservation together.
Over time there would be a gradual shift
from money-based dependency to a land
and skill-based existence.
There are thousands of local government owned
properties that need adoption. They are
government owned because of unpaid taxes.
Use the principles that worked in the past to build a
commitment to the land and build a new future.
Permaculture training would be a part of the
Property ownership would transfer when
commitments are fulfilled.
Build Community within
Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs) are a
good place to start.
Successful completion of a PDC requires the
development of a permaculture plan.
Commit to supporting each others’ plans. Build
a team. No one is alone.
Why It Could Work
Permaculture is a part of every level of
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
It supports a global climate need of
repairing the earth.
We’ve done this before. It’s what our
great grandparents did. It’s honoring their
Why I it Could Work
Permaculture is designed to make
your life easier and better. It’s about
learning new things.
It’s not a program for just a few. It has
opportunities for everyone.
You can start as an individual or with
Why it Could Work
Mental Health needs would lessen.
Physical Health would improve as activity
is great for the body.
Family stress levels would go down.
It would lessen exposure to crisis. (Loss
of Job, economic slowdown, health crisis)
Permaculture skills are yours always
What are the challenges?
Some money will always be needed.
It doesn’t support big business.
Many people will not need to do
traditional work and others could look at
It will empower the disenfranchised. That
may be threatening to some.
“It’s not that we fear the
unknown. You cannot fear
what you do not know. It’s