Social permaculture should be more more explicitly discussed by designers and permaculturalists. From my experience, the challenge to sustainable food systems is not the physical goods, such as food, energy, water, etc. Rather, it’s more about how we as people learn to create these systems. Social permaculture is a framework for developing the skills and patterns in both self and community.
The Principles of Social Permaculture: Creating Cultures of Resilience handout starts off with principles that can guide our own design process. It further dives into values, implications, practices and exercises. It’s a good document for thinking about how we can work more collectively, plan action, and evaluate what has been done.
I’ve used this document as a reference so far, and aim to discuss it further with other Cavaleiro Farm members. You can check out their other resources at Tools for Change Resources.
So how do we use something like this? The process seems to be that people get together and have discussions. Through those discussions, we develop new patterns and can collectively learn how to do stuff that we want. Wow, simple yet powerful.
The challenge we’re up against is that we’ve basically become robots in a way. We do what our bosses tell us to. We have police, lawyers and courts solve our problems. And we let ‘smart professionals’ tell us all the details of what we need to know. What to do, what not do? What is good, what is bad? Much of it’s been dictated by everyone else but ourselves.
To overcome this challenge of relearning new habits and skills that allow us to effectively work together, we need time. It seems that it often takes years, but it can happen. For example, I’ve read accounts in Argentina where neighbourhoods are now independent of outside ‘help.’ Instead, they solve their own communities’ problems. Cool stuff, and lots of lessons we can take in making a closed-loop farm, not just environmentally but also socially.