Episode-1020- Geoff Lawton on Permaculture and Blake Girardot on Maker Workshops

Geoff Lawton - Managing Director of PRI Australia

Geoff Lawton has a New Permaculture Education Outreach Initiative

Today is a really amazing show, I promise you it will be one of the most informative TSP episodes ever.  We have two parts to today’s show.

The first is about 15 minutes of a mini segment with Geoff Lawton about his new initiative to broaden Permaculture’s influence and increase its reach.

Geoff is doing this though a new web based format that has many things coming.  Yesterday I released a teaser video (well 30 minutes of amazing instruction is what Geoff sees as a teaser) and the response was so great he agreed to come on TSP and tell us a bit more about it.

Geoff to me is currently the most gifted designer and teacher we have in the permaculture movement.  The fact that he is now directing the movement at groups outside of the core eco centric usual suspects is huge.  Specifically now I feel he has realized how on board with sustainable design the prepper movement is and much of what he is doing is very much directed at out community.

Blake's Solar Back Up System, Built at a Maker Workshop

Blake’s Solar Back Up System, Built at a Maker Workshop

Following Geoff’s segment we have Blake Girardot on Maker Workshops.  When Blake approached me for an interview I found the concept pretty cool but really didn’t have any idea how cool this movement really is.  Oh and just wait until you hear the synergy that exists between this concept and the 13 Skills Challenge!

The maker movement is all about people helping people to be more self sufficient and self reliant via skills based creation of everything from software to artisan wood craft and anything and everything you can think of in between.

Imagine having a membership to a facility where you could go and gain access to anything from a band saw to a laser engraver to a wood lathe.  Or even say a place where you could use a 3D printer to prototype an item and then have injection molding equipment to produce the new item in quantity.   Cool right?  Well, what if you could also find people there that would teach you how to use all this cool stuff?

That is a thin scratch of the maker movement!  This is honestly one of the most empowering concepts I have ever heard of, and the potential to build community and skill sets at the same time in enormous.   Maker Workshops can be a way to learn a viable trade, fabricate something you can’t buy, simply learn new skills or even a gateway into a business of your own.  The cost?  50-100 dollars a month depending on the facility.

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

Geoff Lawton’s Links on Permaculture

Blake’s Links on Maker Workshops

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

53 Responses to Episode-1020- Geoff Lawton on Permaculture and Blake Girardot on Maker Workshops

  1. Wow I’m glad to see the word maker here. I’ve been into DIY electronics and other maker subjects awhile now


  3. Al in SF Bay Area

    The Maker movement is gaining strength here, we have the Crucible in Oakland, and I teach at TechShop in San Jose. We see a wide variety of people, gals and guys, learning to make “stuff” for work, for fun and hobbies. One fellow is working on building a Sterling engine, a lady is making a trap control mechanism for capturing feral hogs. I just finished making a hefty gas-line shut-off wrench out of scrap steel using a vertical mill. A number of people are using the facility to start their business and build consumer oriented products.

    • The Morgan Hill Homesteading Project

      I am going to have to drop by there some time and check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. It was great to hear about techshop on TSP today. We have a couple of those in the bay area and I would say it does feed the small startups that funnel through the area. Between this and Kickstarter an revolution of entrepreneurship

    If you get a chance you need to see the Makers community get together at Maker Faire . These two days are soo very inspiring. http://makerfaire.com/ The San Mateo event is absolutely packed with participants of all types.

    The ones in Detroit, New York and Africa are so amazing on what is coming out of these communities. http://blog.makezine.com/2012/11/13/maker-faire-africa-urine-generator/ . An example of what comes to one of these Faires


  5. The Maker movement started quite a while ago, their magazine is pretty cool and informative. Additionally they also have a youtube channel and speak at a lot of technology events (i.e. DefCon, HOPE, etc..). I found them originally on the radio show for 2600 magazine many years ago.

    • Modern Survival

      Yep I can’t believe I had never heard about them. Glad to be able to bring this info to TSP Today with Blake’s help.

    • I had to give up my subscription for a while… I had a bit of an addiction when I returned from deployment without enough time to really MAKE. But man oh man did Make magazine keep me and some buddies busy during my deployment. We would get friends to bring us parts on the “milk run” into Soto Cano from Charleston. I wish we could get a maker shop started here in central MS.

      Note: I only made it about 3 minutes into the Lawton portion of the episode before I had to shut ‘er down until the ride home, so I’m hoping to get some ideas from the second half. GREAT series of shows over the last few days, Jack!

  6. Along the lines of the Maker movement, there is a site where people show off the gadgetry they make on their own (sometimes with directions and parts lists): http://hackaday.com/

  7. Also, one more resource for working with electronics:

  8. Such fantastic stuff! Was so excited since I have a book of drawings & ideas of things I would like to make. Call it my brain book. BUMMER they don’t have that in my neck of the woods so sent them an email. Oh no wait google maker workshop Portland Oregon POOF there it is ADX building a community of thinkers & ….. ONLY 35 minutes from home. DOING THE HAPPY DANCE. This is GREAT THANK YOU!!! So much to do so little time. ah who needs sleep any way!

    Can’t wait for more info from Geoff Lawton. I swear as much as that man does correctly I do twice as much wrong. Queen of mistakes here. That makes for a very very long expensive learning curve. Some how when I see the list of what to look for in land I will be wanting to move again. Can’t wait to see whats next!

    I feel like you just gave me my best Christmas Gift THANKS AGAIN so very stoked.

  9. Thanks Jack, This is how you grow communities. Another hat’s off podcast.

    A 2 second google search found this:


  10. This one alone is well worth the membership!!!

  11. Type 1 Error – A broad, basic mistake.. that dooms everything that comes after.

    could be a ‘bad foundation’.. (doing the right thing the wrong way) or doing the wrong thing altogether. an error in basic thought or understanding leads to a type 1 error.

    • Hey you just described us and many of our projects lol Type 1 error queen. Nah I just like to learn by taking the scenic route aka the hard way.

  12. I’m definitely outside of the hippie/eco movement (stereotypically speaking) but love Permaculture for what it represents at multiple levels.

    Looks like my wife and I will be getting 10 acres along with my folks (combining households/property) by the end of the year and I’m eager to get serious about Permaculture and will add my project(s) to Permaculture Global. When I become competent enough I think I would enjoy teaching a nuts and bolts, theory & practice approach to Permaculture that would appeal to others like me.

  13. I have the woodworking tools to start one of these comunity woodworking centers. A full shop of comercial woodworking tools that we use for our business. This is interesting to me because we use our machinery maybe a total of 25% of the year and could very well do this.

    I do have a question about liability. Is it possible to get an insurance company to cover something like this? I mean there is some serious potential for someone to get injured and then the owner of the shop would be liable for those injuries. I’m all about helping others get started but not at the risk of losing my own business. If someone can answer this concern I would start one of these early next year.

    • Modern Survival

      Of course you can get insurance for something like this, they would not even exist if it wasn’t so. I would saddle a specific policy with an umbrella policy (An umbrella is a cheap way of cya in addition to specific insurance products).

    • Maker/Hacker Spaces carry Liability and Property insurance.


      A lot of the maker/hacker space founders I’ve heard speak say they’d be happy to help anyone with getting their own up and running.. (good community)

      • Awesome! I’ll be looking into the insurance. Thank’s for the information. I only ask because when I owned a Tree Service it was nearly impossible to attain insurance, because of the highly dangerous nature of the work I was doing. When I did find insurance it was costly especialy for a one man show operation like I had.

        I’m sure that there would be a need to train people on the machine they will be using, so that they can use the machine safely. Time for some reaserch. Thanks again for the information.

  14. Great double header!! Got an adrenaline rush from both!!!

  15. Woohoo! I was CHEERING throughout the interview with Blake. Even before he mentioned it, I knew he was talking about TechShop Detroit.

    I have been a member at TechShop Raleigh (NC) for over a year. They have everything Blake has talked about and more. My secondary business would not even be POSSIBLE without one of these community workshops. I have learned so much over the last year, and feel like I am now a competent fabricator in addition to my primary skills as an electronics engineer.

    I’ve used the laser cutter/engraver, a CNC metal mill, the ShopBot wood/plastic mill, sheet metal fabrication, electronic shop. I’ve learned AutoCAD Inventor, software my day job employer wouldn’t even train me on, even though they had it.

    I feel like I can make just about anything there.

    And it’s SO MUCH FUN! You can build skills while building things you can use.

    Like you say, Jack, “the revolution is YOU”, and “there is a better way to do this!”

    • Modern Survival

      @Backwoods, good to hear and the next time we meet I will likely buy you a beer, though what I should do is smack you for not telling me about this long ago. LOL

    • @Backwoods Engineer,
      I didn’t know you were in the Raleigh area. Some of the guys I work will go up there from time to time. I totally need to check it out…


  16. Wow, Thanks Jack! Two of my most favorite subjects. The more I listen and read the comments, the more realize how much I really do have in common with this community. And it just keeps getting better!

  17. Thank you so much for this podcast. This is the first I have heard of Maker Works, It is about 20 minutes away from me and and I cant wait to check it out. I was big into wood working and kind of got a way from it for a while. Seeing this makes me want to jump back in with both feet. Especially building some bee hives. Also the have welding and plasma cutting capability which will help with my 13 in 13.

    Thanks again

  18. “makers the new industrial revolution” is a great book that just came out that anyone interested in the subject will like

  19. I’m a recent listener introduced by a friend and have been wondering why TechShop didn’t get covered yet – I’m glad to see this!

    I may have missed it but it seems to me that a show on Open Source Ecology is related and would perhaps be even more important to this audience. I’m talking about the folks working on the Global Village Construction set as opposed to a general concept by the way – http://opensourceecology.org/

    One of these days I’d like to build a Power Cube or two and a few of the other machines these guys are designing, building and open sourcing. The Compressed Earth Brick machine should also be of interest to this audience.

    To me TechShop + OSE is a powerful combination to help drive a sustainable and modern lifestyle.

    One more since I’m on a roll: check out http://www.raspberrypi.org/
    If you want an open source computing platform that is dirt cheap, fully functional and can leverage massive amount of open source Linux software. While this may be off the mainline prepper radar I can’t think of a more powerful too to have along with the skill to apply it to various sustainability problems. Build and control anything from BBQ controllers, moisture sensors, to video games. Your imagination is the only limit, not some large Consumer Electronic company sourcing proprietary designs from China.

    • Modern Survival

      If you can get anyone from OSE to fill out our guest form they are more then welcome as a guest.

  20. OK, I sent email to what I believe is Marcin’s account (joseph.dolittle@gmail.com). For both of your sites there is a contact form versus being able to send a direct email so it is a bit difficult to bridge the worlds with email alone.

    I know the Raspberry Pi guy personally so that would be easier to hook up if there is interest.

    • I’d love to hear an interview about the Raspberry Pi. I just got confirmation yesterday that mine will be here in about three weeks. Been waiting 6 months for it!

  21. not trying to plug other stuff here but check out http://twit.tv/show/triangulation/61 its a interview with eben the inventor of rpi

  22. Moonvalleyprepper

    Great show!

    Always great to hear Geoff on TSP.

    Holy crap! How did I not know about these maker shops. I definitely have to check these places out, I live about equal distance from AA and Det. I had access to shops similar to these at college, and since then I have found myself on many occasions wishing I still had access to a *fill in the blank*. Awesome show! Many thanks to Jack and Blake.

  23. Jack, Blake,

    Thank you! I am 40 plus years old, born and raised in Michigan, and had not heard of these workshops. Cannot wait to get to the Ann Arbor one with the kids!

    All the best!

  24. For those in the Houston area there also a place called leisure learning. You can learn a lot there. Things from basic computer skills to how to sail a sail boat. Great for the 13 in 13.

  25. Al in SF Bay Area

    There are TechShop locations in San Francisco, Menlo Park, San Jose, RTP, Detroit, Austin and coming soon in NYC.

    More info at http://www.TechShop.ws

  26. OMG, prepgasam.

    great show.

  27. does anyone know of a place like this is the Dallas area? I’ve tried googling but have come up short…

  28. Forwarding this from Jolist in Williams, OR

    A while back I shared a link about a group of folks who are designing and building essential industrial equipment without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at JohnDeer, etc… The basic idea is that these machines are not really that complicated and we – the people – can actually build them ourselves. Their website shows us how.

    Open Source Ecology is a Network of Farmers, Engineers, and Supporters Building the Global Village Construction Set. The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts. http://opensourceecology.org/

    There is now a short video that shows us some of their progress. http://vimeo.com/51764445


  29. Jack,
    DRT + Maker = LEVERAGE.

    What if we were to encourage TSP members who live within working distance of Maker shops to take ‘ready made’ standardized plans for Solar Charging Units and start to “manufacture” these units to be distributed across the country to DRT responders so that in a disaster each team would have “x” number of charging units they could deploy to allow victims to charge cell phones (and you too could be a “hero” – just kidding)

    1) identify best materials and plans to make solar unit
    2) once 501(3) c is established to take donations then TSP members can donate funds to pay for raw materials
    3) negotiate discounted prices from suppliers for materials since it benefits disaster victims
    4) supply materials to members who can successfully turn out charging units.
    5) ship units to nearest DRT Team leaders/members to store for future use.
    6) Offer to sell units on TSP gear shop and revenue share with Maker-workers who turn out units (as a ‘reward’ for donating their labor)
    7) Next, identify other gadgets/widgets that DRT members could use to differentiate our DRT mission from other rescue/orgs that respond.
    8) Fill in the blank with tons of other ideas on how Maker can benefit DRT Mission

  30. I was feeling a little down today as its my Monday at work, this show gave me hope and put me in a good mood. I was only able to find a place by me that seems mostly to do electronics, possibly a 3d printer. I will add this search to my usual weekly google search till I find something. I am lucky a friend of mine has a full woodshop at his house, just need to find things I want that are made of wood I guess?

  31. We discovered Nexfab studio in Philadelphia awhile back. It’s a little far for us to be members but my wife built her own 3d printer there over one weekend and I took an afternoon lockpicking class there.

  32. Members of the Free State Project opened TekArts http://tekarts.com last year in an old mill building, rented from a blacksmith. (15 minutes from home!) It’s open to everyone and they have weekly open houses, demos and speakers. I’ll introduce you to them at Liberty Forum or ask the folks at AltExpo. In fact, we were hanging out with them at the bar last year! Also, some of the members are into Farm Hacks http://farmhack.net/(Very Cool!) and they have an open-source, self-replicating 3D printer that uses waste plastic for material. I’d like to design diy gun frames. The Agora Culture is alive and well!

  33. I just watched the Geoff Lawton video you said was a must watch. Now I see why you are always talking about this system. I had no idea. Thank you for pointing the way.

  34. Awesome Show, I’ve been a maker for some time but haven’t ever been to any of the work shops but maybe one day I will. Also have been following Geoff for the last few years, Looks like Jack helped with the production and or promotion..I can see his work in the details…looking forward to the other videos…just send me to the page where i can order from. 🙂

  35. Awesome info. There’s a tech shop in Round Rock. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks Blake for sharing and Jack for getting this into the show.

  36. Closest thing I found to Jacksonville on a cursory search was build-a-bear workshop… might have to add that to the 13 in 13

  37. For those in the Denver area, http://www.clubworkshop.com in near 8th and I-25

    Thanks for the show Jack, I can’t wait to go check this place out and learn how to weld!