PV 1 - The Beginning

I attended the first Permaculture Voices Conference.  It was mind blowing, world and life changing.  I can honestly say I am not the same as I was before attending the conference.  The people I met and the things I learned will stay with me forever.  I wanted to create a summary of what I learned and how the conference was.  I also want this space to be a bibliography of sorts for the conference, at least from my experience there.  Anything I have stated someone has said is only what I heard and not necessarily what the person said.  I am also including thoughts I had while they were speaking.

Day 1 – 3/13/14

Joel Salatin – Fields of Farmers

PV1 opened with none other than Joel Salatin.  He stated that the opposite of success wasn't failure it is depression.  The difference between those who fail and those who succeed is that those who succeed tried one more time.  It is when you get depressed and stop trying that is when you fail.  What encouraging words.

Mr. Salatin also said that a business is not sustainable until it has at least 2 salaries and multi-generationalism.  This will help ensure farm continuity.  He also stated that if a sector has an average age of over 35 then that sector is in decline.  The average age of a farmer is over 60 so the farming sector has been in decline for a long time.  One of the reasons he gave was that as people age they typically can handle less risk.  Being able to handle risk enables innovation.  I know this to be true because in my 9-5 job those nearing retirement often just want to go with the flow and make it to retirement.  May I be someone who can handle risk for as long as I live and may I live a very long time.

Mr. Salatin also stated that no piece of land is fully developed.  Not developed in the housing/commercial/industrial sense of the word, but in the farming income sense.  He said that there is always something more that can be done, more fertility, more ponds, more animal varieties.  As Molison says, the production of the land is only limited by our imagination.

Mr. Salatin also encouraged portable infastructure.  This allows for flexibiblity and then you do not have to own the land.  3.1 Million acres of abandonded farm land is in New York State alone.  There is lots of land to be used in this great nation.  We do not need to own the land, just be able to manage it.  We can get the land with low capitalization by using the land and separating the farm and the land.  The farm is the animals and the portable structures.  We should tie equity up in the management and the information, not the land.


  • believe the farm is nowhere near the production possible
  • keep everything portable
  • value add where you can
  • stack functions
  • You need excellent marketing
  • To have a profitable farm vertical integration is key

Larry Santoyo - Permaculture for Humanity



Jack Spirko - Building a Successful Permaculture Business

Owen Hablutzel - Anthropocene

Joel Salatin - Stacking Fiefdoms

Day 2 - 3/14/14

Toby Hemenway - Why Agriculture Can Never be Sustainable

Paul Wheaton - Woodstoves 2.0

Greg Judy - Profitable Methods Used to Heal the Land with Mob Grazing

Geoff Lawton - Permaculture Design Manual in 1 Hour

Chapters 1 - 4 is the design manual, 5 - 12 reference chapters 1 - 4.

Chapter 1 - Intro to the Subject

Energy Audit
Manual for design science for earth repair
Look at the back of most chapters for summary or checklist, read this first

Chapter 2 - Concepts of design and themes

What are the main frames of design

Chapter 3 - Methods of Design

Analyse the situation
Use of Elements
Zonal placement
Observational Design
Westerners don't sit still long enough to ask the right questions
Random assembly of lists
Wa are too accustomed to walking around a simplified landscape

Chapter 4 - Pattern Understanding

Patterns are the glue
Micro to macro
Energy expressed in physical form
orders of size are often misunderstood
Edge of chaos is the spot for creative form
"If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much space."

Chapter 5 - Climate factors

How climates make a difference
Climate shapes landscape form
This is a major pattern that affects us
Wolves shape the rivers in Yellowstone
Humans are the top predator

 Chapter 6 - Trees and their energy transactions

trees input is their climate
this is the response to climate
condensation - often an overlooked factor
trees can contribute 80% of the condensation

Chapter 7 - Water

Everything about water in all its forms
Water has many constants - level, boiling, evaporation, compression, cooling, warming
design water as a priority
cannot change the way it behaves

Chapter 8 - Soil

Indicator that the design is right - soil is increasing in quality and quantity
Partner with a soil creating ecosystem
if we are going to be regenerative we must produce soil
no surplus without soil creation

Chapter 9 - Earthworks and Earth Resources

Teraforming and big machinery
Reconstructive earth surgery
it takes 7 years to rehydrate the soil with swales

Chapter 10 - Humid Tropics

Chapter 11 - Humid Cold

Chapter 12 - Dry land strategies

Nothing decomposes
Strategies how and when

Chapter 13 - Aquaculture

30 times more productive than land based farming
Everything is in water
wild rice is more productive than domestic rice

Chapter 14 - Strategies of an alternative Global Nation

This is the rubiks cube of the manual
How to work with invisible structures
difficult chapter to understand
p510 - bioregion resources
appropriate aid for a developing world

Willie Smits - Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia

Willie Smits is from the Netherlands and is working in Indonesia
Hindu Subak system on Bali
Mapalus Agriculture in North Sulawesi
Mr. Smits developed a Physical Suitability Map to indicate where things grow well
Volkstuintjes - little farms
there is an edible fern
Sugar Palm is like a tropical comfrey it is a nutrient accumulator
Sugar Palm converts solar energy directly into oil in the sugar
The palm is tapped and the oil is taken
This was an amazing presentation.  Mr. Smits has done amazing things using permaculture and has the documentation to prove it.  

Check out his website: www.masarang.nl

Day 3 - 3/15/14

Paul Wheaton - Increasing the Velocity of Permaculture

Elain Ingham - Soil Life

Elain Ingham - Living Soil Keynote

Fraser Bliss - Life's Too Short for 9-5

Allan Savory - The Role of Livestock in a New Agriculture

Curtis Stone - SPIN Farming

Day 4 - 3/16/14

Phil Rutter - Plant Trees, But Not Just Any Tree

Allan Savory - Why Management needs to be Holistic

Adam Klaus - Small Dairy for Small Farms

Pat Foreman - Why Chickens are the Enablers and Heroes of Permaculture Design and Healthy Sustainable Living

Michael Gold - Chestnut: Building a Perennial Industry

Jonathan Todd - Restoring the Waters

Mark Shepard - Alleycropping and Silvopasture

Geoff Lawton - Permaculture and the Tipping Point

Sorry, I do not have any notes.  It was time for me to go.  What an amazing time it was.