Episode-1266- Geoff Lawton and Jack Spirko on Permaculture’s Future

Geoff Lawton - Permaculture Artist

Geoff Lawton – Permaculture Artist

Today we have the great pleasure of having Geoff Lawton on to discuss many of his new upcoming free videos, his recent online PDC and how he feels Permaculture is changing the world.    The interview segment was pretty short because we had many and I mean MANY technical issues with lag across skype.

We always have a bit due to distance to Australia alone but this time was something we could barely work though.   Geoff was a champ though and worked though it.  I then went and spent over an hour editing things out and cleaning them up.  Tune in today and you will  hear more on what I had to do to get the recording to the quality it is now, and it is pretty damn good.  Suffice to say we had about 37 minutes of audio an after I removed echos, lags, dead spaces, etc we ended up with a segment of about 24 minutes!

Funny enough the recording works great, it was often the case that we had 10 seconds of silence but all the words actually came though on the other side.  Anyway just know a LOT of effort went into making this interview work on both ends.

The great part though is I was able to include more content on my own for you guys today in reference to two of Geoff’s coming videos.  One which came out today and one that will be coming soon.  Reason being is I have quite a bit of knowledge about both sites.

One is Eric Toensmeier’s home in Massachusetts.  I will fill you guys in a bit about what you might be seeing from one of Geoff’s videos on this property because it is featured in Eric’s book that he co-authored with Jonathan Bates called Paradise Lot.  I heard about that book from Dave Jacke and found it to be a great read.

Secondly, when Geoff mentioned the video being released today he discussed that is was about suburbs and flat lands.  What he didn’t say was that it was based on Village Homes in California.  What is great about this is Bill Mollison visited this location in 1983 and you can see it at that time in Bill’s video from the Global Gardener Series.  What I did was watch the segment from Bill’s trip in 83 and then watched Geoff’s new video twice so I can discuss the impact of this showcase of permaculture for you.

Lastly I just read an incredible article by Geoff about what they did to establish a farm in Jordan.  The results are pretty amazing but the one big takeaway for me was the structures that span swales in it.  These are basically arches that shade the swales to reduce evaporation and almost make a swale into a low tech chinampa system.   I am now considering how to implement this system on my property.

Resources for today’s show…

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38 Responses to Episode-1266- Geoff Lawton and Jack Spirko on Permaculture’s Future

  1. Good show…. So, when are you having Eric Toensmeier on the show???

  2. Jack, you did an awesome job of editing this interview! I hardly noticed anything weird. Loved hearing from Geoff Lawton!

  3. My sympathies on the technical issues. When my boyfriend was in Australia for three months (me in the US) both the time difference and relying on laggy/unreliable connections was a constant frustration.

    Listening to Geoff talk always makes me excited to run outside and start playing in the dirt, he’s so enthusiastic!

  4. Great interview Jack. I like your summary at the end on Village Homes. Good insight.

  5. I am interested in more info on your idea for the “hunter gatherer” food forest, I plan on doing something similar in an area that I just had cut on my farm. I am interested in both providing better habitat for deer and other wildlife but I also plan on using it as sivilpasture for managed grazing of domesticated animals. I would be interested in a show explaining your ideas for that sort of system.

  6. Every time we get a chance to learn from Geoff is worth it even for 1 question. I’m with Jack permaculture and preparedness go together like a hand and glove. Most will eventually come around Jack keep up the great work.

    I can see the food forest series going really long, maybe even a regular series idk. I’ve been practicing permaculture for many years now but always can learn more even if it is just a different perspective or idea I have not thought of before.

  7. I’ve worked on severe pandemic flu preparedness for a long time.

    Denial, usual-but-more, tuna+ammo approaches have felt insufficient. Communities need to help each other, and food needs to grow – and this is true not only of severe pandemics of course. “Panflu” just happened to be my personal initial entry point to systemic vulnerabilities.

    Which is why I ended up using SCIM (simple critical infrastructure maps, by Vinay Gupta) and OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) as simple frameworks for complex crises.

    FWIW, I used it first for the island level [tinyurl.com/fluscim, with English versions for all 4 files, including 6-page summary] and then for the island level [pemusantacruz.com > Descargas > 13, only in Spanish so far, sorry]. The bigger framework is in ResilienceMaps.org.

  8. Also FWIW, I ended up taking Geoff’s first on-line PDC. And some of us are looking into “emergency permaculture”. Early days still!

    • Oh, there was something I was curious about – if you take his course, are the videos available for download to watch later, or is it just streamed for X amount of time? I’m not interested in pirating or anything, I’d just want to be able to brush up a year later or something. Thanks!

      • Modern Survival

        You have access during the entire course and can watch over and over again. Once the course comes to and end they did shut down the back end but EVERY STUDENT was mailed the entire thing on DVD, PLUS a DVD of an earthworks course, PLUS all 5 of Geoff’s DVDs (intro to perm, urban, soils, water harvest and food forest) PLUS a bonus DVD called Food Forest Two.

        It was pretty awesome because they didn’t sell it on the extra DVDs, they did say you would get the DVDs of the course but they gave away all the rest as a bonus AFTER they shut down sign ups.

        I have to say I have never seen that done before. Bonuses are always to get sales not to say thanks after a sale was already made. It makes me very proud to be associated with Geoff.

  9. A little off-topic, but I read in your PDF describing what you’re doing with your property that you feel you’re unable to have even miniature cattle. That may be so now with the degraded landscape, but once recovered you’ll have more than enough land. A Dexter cow needs only an acre of pasture, year round. With the fertility you’ll be building it will likely be much less than that. It is not a picky eater. Your forest will provide all the shelter needed. It may be too soon now, but in a couple years your land could easily support a Dexter, so don’t rule it out.

  10. Once you said “chickens raised in a commercial compost facility” I thought, he’s talking about Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost Company. I buy a yard of his potting mix every year. It’s is not cheap, but is worth it. I have a small farm in Vermont and started experiencing awesome things with my annual start when I started using it. He is quite the guy, a compost evangelist if you will. Also he is a fellow donkey owner, so he’s got to be cool.

  11. Jack,

    I’m not finding your link to your project on the permaculture news website.

  12. Hi Jack! Great interview, thanks for your work. I just wanted to mention that I think Bill Mollisons visit to Village Homes for the Global Gardner series was more around the 1990s according to the video copyrights dates and the maturity of the fruit trees. Is this possible? The Village Homes website mentions that “Construction on the neighborhood began in the fall of 1975, and construction continued from south to north through the 1980s.” Keep up the good work!

  13. Cranberryrose55

    Geoff and likewise Jack,
    EXCITED- Please more information as you Geoff discover whether chickens, harvested row crops, and composting can make compost: how it works or doesn’t work. From your videos on permaculture.org to your talks with Jack,~People really want to know the results of the harvested row crop experiments!~Can chickens make compost in a crop bed? What a time-saver!!

  14. It might be worth looking at http://wickonwheels.net/

    It’s a project based in East London. They’re doing all kinds of interesting work related to sustainability, resilience, and ecology.

    One of their latest publications detailing their projects can be found here, http://household-knowledge.net/2013/09/15/130914_-_EHIK_Final_lr.pdf

    It includes designs for a resevoir-based planters, that get around three times the crop for half the soil. Google for Plant-Regulated Growing System.

    The designs for anaerobic digesters for making methane for fuel, are definitely worth a look. I’ve had some entertaining arguments about how the efficiency can be improved.

    And yes, Vinay Gupta’s work has been very useful. Smart geezer… :))

  15. Frank AKA Lucid

    How is it that apart from the chickens there were no critters in the permaculture village? I have lizards, frogs, wasps, butterflies, cockatoos, and plenty of other creatures in my yard and I have only been working it with permaculture for 6 months.
    The village to me looks eerily sterile to me, like my neighbor’s yard – he uses glyphosate and nothing moves unless the wind blows.
    Did I miss something from the video? Even when the camera panned across the fallen fruit littering the ground there was not a bug or animal taking a nibble.
    Am I missing a new way to control pests?

    • Modern Survival

      Well it is Davis California, they are not going to have deer or a lot of squirrels or any stuff like that. As for bugs I am sure there are many good and “bad” but you are not going to see bugs from a camera shot like that. I really don’t get your point?

      The place is full of frog ponds, etc. Did you watch the one from the 90s with Bill Mollison?

  16. Another great interview. Just watched the video ‘How to Make a Food Forest Suburb’. Amazing. I’m definitely take the PDC online next time around.

  17. I am sort of amazed at the number of dislikes on the permaculture shows! Maybe Jack should do a call in show and let people air their beefs because I just don’t get it!

  18. Good podcast. Enjoyed the last segment, but that shouldn’t be surprising since I’m 100% on board and in agreement with permaculture as the only REAL solution. As soon as I’m debt free (#1 task we’re doing), I’ll be tossing working for “the man” and be full time building a permaculture paradise. In the mean time, its a few hours on weekdays, and most of the day on weekends.

  19. Jack,

    Although I did get a little indigestion when you identified the Great Satin as government rather than government captured by fat cats, this was an extremely delicious show fed particularly well by the chef’s extra goodies at the bottom, and the participation of the top permaculture practitioner and teacher on the planet. Your passion for permaculture, it’s principles and practice, is a joy to behold. If we can’t manage to get millions of young Americans involved with all of their passion, strength and energy, I doubt whether it is possible that there will ever be an, “and even if it doesn’t,” in the future.

    On a more practical, immediate note, RE, your technical problems this time around, it might not be a bad idea for you to put out a call to the TSP community for suggestions. For example, I’ve been in the communications business, mostly TV, all of my adult life. If I knew what technology you were using, I might have a decent suggestion or two. Without knowing, I can suggest that you have redundancy with both a regular phone and VOIP available. The cost would be very small for having two different systems if one or the other isn’t working well. Even just the simple try to remake the connection in the other direction or over again can make a big difference, i.e., do a reboot in one form or another. Just a few thoughts.

    • Forgive my mucking up your motto. I should have checked before writing, “and even if it doesn’t,” instead of, “…or even if they don’t.”

      • Modern Survival

        The great Satan is Government with out it what would the fat cats use to control the masses. As for asking for help unless you can change the distance between Australia and the US or advance skype’s abilities there is little to be done. Skype is imperfect but it works well enough most of the time. If there are to be 5 shows a week it is the way it is going to be done.

        • Modern Survival

          Oh and if you are going to tell me good government can exist, don’t bother. Self governance is the only acceptable governance.

          There is but one constant in government, if it grows it becomes more corrupt and any government by its very nature will use the power given onto it, to create more power and grow. So all government moves to greater corruption, greater loss of liberty and greater abuses of power over time.

          That indeed is the only constant of government. If you disagree show me one that hasn’t done so.

          Stephan Molyneux just coined a new word, statheist, I love it.

        • Jack,

          Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty and before I reply, I need to refresh myself on permaculture principles. Aal be back.

        • Modern Survival

          Just so you know you are in danger or wearing out my patience.

        • Modern Survival

          And there is NO GOVERNMENT IN PERMACULTURE, none, so says its founder. Question put to Bill Mollison about Permaculture is, “What do you think you have started”?

          Bill’s answer,

          “Well, it’s a revolution. But it’s the sort of revolution that no one will notice. It might get a little shadier. Buildings might function better. You might have less money to earn because your food is all around you and you don’t have any energy costs. Giant amounts of money might be freed up in society so that we can provide for ourselves better.

          So it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”

          So as to government Pemaculture isn’t a place you are going to find it, based on the opinion of the man who founded Permaculture.

  20. I have used cattle panel tunnels in my garden in the past. I grew pole beans, tomatoes, cukes, peas and peas. The beans go crazy and I have had tomatoes grow 8+ ft tall.

  21. chris in sweden

    Hi Jack, I just found your podcast from Scott Mann, and am enjoying it greatly. You mentioned something similar to ‘zy farming’. I’m sure I’ve butchered that spelling. It’s something I’ve never heard of. Any tips on proper spelling or good links for further learning? Cheers! Chris

  22. Frank AKA Lucid

    Turns out that where it gets cold the bugs tend to not be as perfusive as I am used to.