Day 12, the course is approaching it's end, a massive amount of creative outpourings as we go deeper into design projects, explore Regenerative Enterprises and make the most of this glorious Swedish weather....
New arrivals on the farm, an old Swedish breed
Another sensational morning on the Ridgedale Farm as the zenith of the 2nd PDC for 2014 draws nearer. Richard asked me if I'd like to follow the PDC again and write about the experience as we go and each day I am reminded of not just the incredible amount of information being placed in front of the students to gobble up, but also the diversity of people and the stories that are here in this moment. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.
Darren (Sheffield, U.K.) from the kitchen team hard at work, everyone has been awesome making this experience flow with ease and coordination
Speaking of rewards, we start the day on a positive note looking at money…yaaaay! It’s very necessary to understand if we are going to move our living standards, our emotional wellbeing and our planet forward. We've already mentioned at least a dozen micro- enterprises people could leave here and establish to create win- win- win businesses on super low start ups, from waste to mushroom production, property overhauls and complimentary farm enterprises for low risk, low capital start up.
A quick wake up call “the modern banking system is based on debt right, fractional reserve system of banking where money is lent out that doesn’t exist, private groups creating money and lending it to banks; the vehicles of the Capitalist Industrial Militarized Complex are largely unelected unaccountable groups”. We delve briefly into history to how the Meta system of economics seems to operate.
“If there was no debts we wouldn’t have money.” This might be easy to take out of context but Richard has a vast knowledge of these kinds of systems and really is quite captivating to hear him talk about it, he’s also very good at decoding it.
We consider tangible assets and how unstable fiscal systems can be, reflecting on recent events that have affected participants such as the Argentinean Government defaulting on their debts and robbing a majority of the population of their retirement investments and of a great book called ‘Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein which documents the increasing exploitation of crises to push through controversial and exploitative policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance. “This documents the pattern of the last hundred years. History is often not how it’s portrayed to be in the public eye.”
The good news is that Richard has just as many solutions as he does lists of concerning situations. Starting with “Are you in Debt? Can you design your way out of that? A very practical thing that you can do…make a money log for 6 months, make a simple note of every penny you spend and what comes in and just look at the patterns. It’s amazing to really look at where & how you use your money, money is a vote. Most of us go through life without an empowered relationship with money. There's a lot of discussion on creating new systems, what about just empowering ourselves in what we already have.”
Nicanor Perlas, co-founder of the Global Network for Social Three-folding, is mentioned as an inspiration and someone to look up. The GN3 aims to “advance profound societal transformation towards integral sustainable development on the basis of socially-engaged spirituality and deep substantive inner change.” – Wikipedia. How do you get NGO’s organised so they can have a voice with business & Government?
There’s the International Forum on Globalisation (IFG), a research and educational institution composed of leading activists, economists, scholars, and researchers providing analysis and critiques on the cultural, social, political, and environmental impacts of economic globalization.
“Money in itself is just incredible as a communication tool, we’ve never designed a better communication tool than money…. yet we often have a very distressed relationship with it. How can we apply patterns & principles we observe in natural systems to this energy flow?”
We discuss and define Regenerative Enterprise. This is a topic, and a system, I can see becoming more and more relevant. Taking a look at 8 Forms of Capital by Ethan Roland, Richard guides us through the basic understanding of the methodology behind Regenerative Enterprise and as he unravels it, it just gets better and better and more and more attractive from an ethical standpoint. “We tend to think of capital as money but it’s just one form of many capitals. Becoming fluid with how we interact with different forms of capital allows us to use capital more fluidly, and this is how money works best, an energy flow. I see how well this merges with Holistic Management financial planning to extend that awesome planning tool even further."
Investing IN ecosystems, tangible assets like a food forest, water thats fit for drinking, materials we can build with. Investing LIKE ecosystems. “How do ecosystems create abundance? Investing in tangible assets; this is where Holistic Management context and future resource base become really important. Managing systems so that we know in a few hundred years time there will be the things that we value, like clean air, clean food and clean water.” Designing for multiple income streams, redundancy. "If we look at ecosystems we see that organisms tend to behave intimately and locally, as well as diversely."
“One defining principle for me is it needs to be local…. This is why we don’t even need to be certified, say Organic for example, we can totally outshine that by having intimate relations with our customers, wording out how we manage; we've looked at how some of the best farms around the world are doing this very skillfully. That kind of community embedding & support brings resiliency, and takes one away from fluctuating abstract market conditions.” Back home the most successful stall at our local farmers markets is Jim, not certified and he has no intention to be. He’s local and it’s an intimate consumer experience… winning!
We look at alternatives systems(LET systems, alternative currencies, local currencies in transition towns). How do we raise money for projects? We talk about Crowd Sourcing (kickstarter, indigogo) and investment sites like Crowd Cube, and look at what makes successful campaigns. We are seeing now that people are throwing very large amounts of money at ideas and businesses that they see as valuable and that are win-win-win. “It’s a way of doing market research while funding the business.”
We go back to Holistic Management, which assumes that successful enterprises must be Ecologically, Economically & Socially regenerative. You can't really separate the three if you want to design something "future- proof" RP.
I always love listening to the conversations that come up, people’s responses to this topic when Richard starts, I don’t really know, ‘decoding’ it in a way. I associate it with teaching children about colours for the first time. I can vividly remember when I learnt that green is made of blue and yellow. ”Whaaaaat!?!?!” went my expanding 4 year old mind. The same is in this class at this moment. An experience they have such an intimate relationship with, now being unveiled for what it really is, or more so, how it has been constructed to appear and be used on and by… as debt.
We take a quick sidetrack reflecting on legal scenarios and talk about the hidden language of the legal system. Richard conveys his experience in the UK and talks about Dunn & Bradshaw and their list of corporations (which includes police forces, courts of law, members of parliament). Corporations, by default, are designed to make money and we learn about your ‘Natural Person’ and your LEGAL FICTION. Now this is a super interesting, not to mention mind blowing topic, but it’s very difficult to explain so I’ll just point you to John Harris’ website www.tpuc.org. Whilst a little off topic its amazing to consider how much we engage with on a daily basis without really considering the full picture. We hear about Common Law and Statutes “Unless you form a contract you cannot have statutory law enacted on you, but we make contracts all the time every day without knowing because we often don’t know the legal language (legalese) which looks like English but it’s not.” This will look very different in different countries, but fascinating how much we assume about how this system functions.
The afternoon and evening is filled with some intense design sessions as the students start to work through their concepts and analyze the appropriateness of their strategies. Water volumes are being calculated, plant species’ considered, virtual paper animals (cut to scale) being moved across tracts of Holistically grazed base maps. Tomorrow the groups will present their final designs and take us through their understanding of Permaculture, Keyline and Holistic management, at varying scales and contexts. The farm is alive with design dreams and idea management.
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