Our Permaculture Legacy is Bound to the Rising Generation

What’s fastest way to spread permaculture?

What’s the longest lasting way to spread permaculture?

photo credit: Matt Powers 

Education seems to be the agreed ‘fastest way’ in our community though by example is cropping up now, but we focus primarily on adults and sometimes large groups like governments. I worry that it might not be a lasting change if we simply change the adults, even if we change all adults. As a high school teacher, I know that most kids don’t even have a section of psyche to house permaculture in yet; they’re mostly too caught up in drama, grades or entertainment. If these are the new voters in 2 or 3 years, how are we going to compete against their apathy & ignorance? They’ll just bulldoze over our food forests when we die  or make them illegal and then do that while we live, or any number of things. We need to have the rising generations join us in this ecosystemic and cultural rebirth.

…but how would that work?

I think it requires a closer examination into how we learn. Evidence is coming in that is shocking. Street children in India are teaching themselves to operate computers and learn English with no adult help (TEDtalk - Sugata Mitra: Can kids teach themselves?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRb7_ffl2D0). Andre Stern taught himself to read in 3 hrs, has learned through play all his life & works with scientists - this proves that kids don’t necessarily need what public education is offering (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5y9xqViXw4). What we all lack is a thriving ecosystem surrounding us and the experience of growing up in symbiosis with it, so we all need a permaculture course or network of folk to navigate it. We need instruction in how to thrive & survive on our planet, not on the difference between APA & MLA formatting, not as a sophomore in high school, not ever!! We don’t NEED their education. You wouldn’t DIE without it though climate change is coming no matter what we do, and we’ve only seen a soft prelude so far. The only thing I know of to get us through that storm and mediate it in a sustainable, safe & provable way is permaculture design applied to landscapes, homes, social entities & economies.

Ok, but still how would it work?

photo credit: Matt Powers

photo credit: Matt Powers

Just like permaculture works: start small and work out from a center,  iteratively using as many unique elements and guilds as possible focusing on each areas microclimate of skills and resources. 10-20 families team up, hire an experienced teacher to run a homeschool satellite program (the most minimal amount of control), host the classes on a rotating basis between the family home sites so everyone gets service, and use real activities to teach the scientific principles of nature & the ways permaculture design can be utilized on a homestead. Within a few short years of activity, the homesteads in each learning community of families would grow and thrive. As students grow older, they will study in-depth their interests to find out how to create a business around them.

Why would that work?

photo credit: Matt Powers

photo credit: Matt Powers

When the children see the work they’ve done, the money their parents are saving, the change in the flora & fauna in and around the homestead, the food they are responsible for & the power of working together in a positive way, they will be changed especially when they see how they could support themselves ethically. It may not be instantaneous, but it will grow with time as a little seed grows. This is the best way to guarantee a future that honors and continues the work we do to take responsibility for ourselves, our families, and our futures.


Learn more about Matt's permaculture-centric school, family farm, etc.