Monday, 21 July 2014

A Cooperative Social Enterprise Model for Permaculture

The permaculture garden
The permaculture garden (Photo credit: doop)
by , Founder at Onchenda Global Food Co-op, a social enterprise Top Contributor, Linked In:
The typical business model for Permaculturists is, upon gaining their PDC certification, to start their own Permaculture consultancy or design firm.

For credibility sake, many feel obligated to also create their own organic farm, food forest or market garden as well.

Coping with everyday living expenses, business expenses, and garden stewardship is, more often then not, a struggle.

Those who manage to attract a following supplement their consulting/design work with publication of intellectual properties in the form of articles, books, videos, etc., provided they have the time, talent, and skill sets.

A few even achieve prominence in this manner, themselves become a brand name and winning larger and more lucrative consulting contracts from governmental agencies and NGOs. And good on them! The vast majority of PDC grads, however, never earn a living from Permaculture.

This mom and pop consultancy model has resulted in the Permaculture “community” remaining atomized and thus relatively ineffective with respect to the urgent task at hand of saving humanity from ultimate extinction.

The sad irony is that that model is also in direct contravention of fundamental Permaculture principles regarding whole-systems thinking, symbiotic relations, utilizing polycultures or guilds, layering, and seven-generation planning.

When Permaculturists do come together in cooperative teams, it is usually ad hoc. Once the given project is done, they go their separate ways to again resume their individual struggles.

Accordingly, it is that model which has precluded Permaculture from becoming a genuine global movement and, instead, relegated it to a specialized design technique somewhere on the fringe of sustainable agriculture.

Were we to apply Permaculture principles to our own community, one would see a multiplicity of cooperative social enterprises in which Permaculture would be applied to the various fields of human endeavor, rapidly leveraging any combination of the eight forms of capital locally, and thus virally bringing into being sustainable abundance and a holistically viable world.

Such social enterprises would be started with crowdfunding specifically dedicated to socially conscious and/or environmentally enlightened undertakings.

All who participated in such social enterprises would not only be stakeholders but shareholders, irrespective of whatever specialty they contributed. As projects proliferated, stewardship and mentoring would be ongoing, scalable, and the rewards residual.

Such social enterprises would, as they grew, also act as internship and apprenticeship sites, as well as incubators and accelerators for a variety of new social enterprises.

In this manner, PDC graduates would have a direct and rapid path to a professional Permaculture career, whether as a specialist within an existing social enterprise or an incubated/accelerated one of their own. And thus we would create and witness an actual, global Permaculture movement.

Automation of the design process, as far as practicable (which is now possible), is the key. But would that step on too many mom and pop design consultancy toes?

Would the mom and pop model, which misguidedly favors atomization for personal gain, work to undermine a genuine, wholly-owned, globally cooperative Permaculture community?

No comments:

Post a Comment