Tag Archives: permaculture

Intro to Permaculture and Ecological Design TPP114

Yantra Garden picIn this episode I share a recording of a recent introduction to permaculture talk I gave at the grand opening of a new home scale goddess temple where I have been working with a team of dear friends to design and install gardens and ecosystemic designs.   In the talk I combine guided meditation with an exploration of some of the basic philosophies and principles and key terms taught in the permaculture design system.

 

Play

Shamanic Revolution 2.0 with Shonagh Home TPP96

Sho

In this episode I’m joined by Shonagh Home, a high priestess of the sacred mushroom to whom I deeply bow! We have been allies for several years now and this is her second appearance on the show. We discuss cultural transformation, ecology, activism and more from a radical psychedelic shamanic perspective.

She blesses us with two powerful poems, and countless gems of insight with which to break spells, get well and get free!

About Shonagh:

Shonagh Home is a shamanic therapist, teacher, writer and poet. Her specialized private sessions and retreats are probing and revelatory, assisting clients to break chronic, self-defeating patterns, and move into empowered personal sovereignty. Shonagh is an international public speaker on the subject of visionary shamanic-spirit medicine, a voice for stewardship of the honeybees, and a teacher on the subject of Traditional Foods. She is author of the books, ‘Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine,’ ‘Love and Spirit Medicine,’ ‘Poetic Whispers from the Green Realms,’ and ‘Honeybee Wisdom: A Modern Melissa Speaks.’
Website:

http://www.shonaghhome.com/

Play

50 Shades of Green with Eco-Domme Goddess Jaime TPP85

Goddess Jaime pic In this episode I’m blessed to be doing a live in person interview with my new favorite dominatrix. Eco-Domme Goddess Jaime tells all about how she runs a workforce of devoted submissive men through many shades of green ecological service work. She is the quintessential case study of my prayer and thesis contained in my poem 50 Shades of Green Sektual Purmaculture.

Play

Adapting Ancient Tantra to Modern Lifestyles with Elise Carr TPP76

Elise Carr Pic In this episode I have the exquisite joy of exploring the path of fashion model turned tantra coach Elise Carr. She shares her story of personal transformation through tantra and helps provide a framework for adapting tantra to modern lifestyles.

She was gracious enough to share some deep insights about the mainstream fashion modeling machine and provide guidance to my efforts to build alliances in the industry.

About Elise:

Elise Carr, M.A. is the Trailblazing Woman behind StellaMuse.

Known as the ‘Pioneer of Yoni Power’ & ‘The Divinely Empowered Woman’ she is a Sacred Spirituality and Sexuality Director, Life Empowerment Mentor and Certified Holistic Health Coach, Writer, Speaker, Tantra practitioner, Reiki Master, Model, Artist and Trailblazer!

With unwavering enthusiasm, fierce dedication and spirited insight, she guides inspirational souls on a purpose driven passion filled mission, away from fear and dissatisfaction, and into courageous love and divine power; living life as their most authentic, nourished, empowered selves.

Please visit her website at:
http://www.stellamuse.com

Play

50 Shades of Green Sektual Purmakultur TPP70

tantra-punk-kali in this episode I’m joined by M.F.P. for an exploration of the new 50 Shades of Green Sektual Permaculture spoken word poem I recently released. I lay out the thesis and she affirms that sexual capital can and should be invested into ecologically honorable endeavors.

In a bonus segment, with permission I read an article by Jill Lawson called “50 Shades of Namaste” all about the parallel benefits and pitfalls of both Yoga and BDSM. It is very wise and insightful and helps balance out the discourse by owning and honoring our need to escape the ego by inducing altered states of consciousness. I agree that ethics are sorely needed to ensure integrity and relative safety in all of our attempts to learn and practice arts of transcendence.

Please visit her website to access more of her great works: http://www.jilllawsonyoga.com/

Play

Orgasms for Orchards 01

orgasms-for-orchards-logo-1-smallHello Dear Beloveds,

I’m proud to launch the Orgasms for Orchards project! I will be offering “hands-off” tantra training in trade for seeds, seedlings, saplings, equipment and supplies for my edible and medicinal plant nursery which will be donating stock to Goddess temples and single mothers.

This inaugural workshop will be held at the Love Dome, a safe, sacred, charming, and secluded space in Venice. Limited capacity of 20 people.

You will be guided on a journey of erotic self-exploration with the intention to develop your capacity to have multiple and continuous GODGASMS, resulting from mastery of ejaculation regulation and sexual energetic transmutation.

There will be no sexual contact between and among participants, we will all be holding our own personal space.

Our focus will be on the principles and practicum of male sexual self-mastery however all genders are welcome.

Clothing is optional but not recommended (once you settle in of course!)

To attend this event you must:

• contact me via meetup messaging and arrange a screening phone call
• sign a confidentiality and code of conduct agreement
• go to your local nursery and purchase seeds, seedlings, or saplings to donate based on your financial means (no donation is too big or too small)

What to bring:

• Water
• Notepad
• Cushion, yoga mat, or blanket
• Coconut oil (if you will be joining the practicum)
• Towel (if you will be joining the practicum)
• Nursery donation (during the screening phone call we’ll discuss your budget and decide which item(s) from my wishlist you can purchase at your local nursery)

Workshop Outline

12-12:30pm

Arrival and Introductions

12:30pm

Securing the Space

Entrance will be shut and locked at 12:30pm! Please respect the adult nature of this event and arrive early to find street parking and get settled in before we have to ensure privacy and lock the door.

12:30 to 1:00pm

Lecture:

• What is Classical Hindu Tantra?
• What is Western Neo-Tantra?
• Tantric Principles of Male Sexual Self-Mastery (including semen retention, ejaculation regulation, chakral activation, energetic transmutation, deity invocation, and ritual sex magic)

1:00 to 2:45pm

Practicum:

• Ecstatic trance dance warm-up
• Chakra Rights Meditation
• Twin Hearts Meditation
• Guided Medibation (orgasmic self-stimulation without ejaculation)
Please contact me (Ben) via meetup messaging if you have any questions!

Participant Agreement:

Orgasms for Orchards Workshop

Participant Agreement

By attending this workshop I understand that:

  • I am responsible to maintain safe physical and emotional boundaries
  • I’m free to leave at anytime
  • I will not be asked to touch, nor will I be touched by anyone
  • I will be encouraged to be fully nude and to engage in erotic self-exploration, however I am welcome to remained clothed and respectfully observe without participation
  • I am encouraged to share general information and my own personal experience with others outside of the workshop, however the personal information shared by other participants must be kept confidential
  • While I may have differing experience, knowledge or opinion that contradicts the information presented,  a complimentary approach to sharing is preferred over heated debate

By attending this workshop I agree to:

  • Respect the boundaries set by the facilitator
  • Respect the boundaries set by fellow participants
  • Respect the diversity of opinion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and gender, of all participants

Tantra to the People with Devi Ward TPP32

Devi Ward TantraIn this episode, Devi and I discuss the need for more grass roots activism within the modern tantra movement. We explore our complimentary visions for more publicly accessible resources that will bring tantra to the people!

Devi’s Bio:
Devi Ward is an internationally recognized Tantra Expert, Certified Tantric Healer, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Tibetan Tantric Dakini of the Shangpa Kagyu Lineage, and one of the first Westerners qualified to teach the Secret Tibetan Five Element Sexual Tantras, which stem from a 2,600 year old lineage of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. She is an Author and Radio Host of Sex is Medicine with Devi Ward, airing live Thursdays at 7pm PST, on Contact Talk Radio.

Her personal journey from Stripper, to Monk, to Tantrika enables her to call upon her own experience of profound life transformation through Tantra and sexual healing. As a survivor of sexual abuse, Devi provides down-to-earth, experience-based insight into using sacred sexuality, Tantra, and “pleasure as medicine” for healing. She has had extensive training in Non-Violent Communication and has been facilitating Meditation and personal growth workshops since 2000.

Devi has been featured as a Tantra and Female Sexuality Expert in countless articles, and over 30 different radio and television networks world-wide including; Playboy Radio, Men’s Health Magazine, CBS, NBC and Rogers TV.

She has been a featured presenter at; Prana Yoga College and Rhodes Wellness College in Vancouver, BC. The 2013 Taboo, Naughty but Nice Show, The 2013 Living Extraordinary Conference, The 2013 Live and Be Well Conference in Vancouver, BC. The 2014 California Women’s Conference, The 2014 Detroit Women’s Conference, and The 2014 GDay Goddess Event in Vancouver, BC.

Please connect with her at:
http://deviwardtantra.com/

Play

EarthSky People with Victoria and Nhan TPP30

tpp-victoria-and-nhan-pic-smallIn this episode I converse with one of my favorite spiritual warrior power couples about their background and future vision for the EarthSky People project.

We talk about the increasing rate of shamanic initiation, the path of the spiritual warrior, the reconciliation of low and high technology, the medicalization of energy healing, evolving models for intentional community and more!

You can read their bios below and follow up with them at: http://earthskypeople.org

Victoria’s Bio:

Victoria is a champion of truth and consciousness.  Her diverse and colorful history gives her a unique perspective and keen ability to connect with people from all walks of life and also pierce the confounding veils of ambiguity and misdirection that are so frequently employed by the powers that be.
Raised in the ghettos of Spain, as a multi-ethnic child, by a single mother, Victoria grew from her experiences with poverty, racism, sexual harassment, congenital problems and social stigma only to achieve high level of health as well as success in the entertainment industry.  In the midst of a series of severe life trials culminating in a near death experience, a spontaneous kundalini awakening, and involvement with occult societies while exploring metaphysics, healing and martial arts, she left her old life in Spain to forge a new one in the United States.  With minimal English speaking skills, no money, and no family to help her, Victoria hustled her way off the streets of Hollywood with brute determination.  Through a series of profound learning experiences she discovered her true calling as a herald of truth.


Victoria now focuses her energies on sovereignty, disclosure, exopolitics, and truth through her radio show EarthSky People Radio. She composes transcendental music, is an author and is co-founder of the EarthSky People movement, catalyzing change and providing resources for a new social paradigm centered on regenerative living skills.  Victoria has also rediscovered the “missing link” in truth seeking via ancestral wisdom and the art of direct revelation through shamanic practices in the Zulu and Cross Cultural lineages as well as a connection with her Star Families and their invitation to partake in an Intergalactic society.

http://earthskypeople.org/victoria-vives-khuong/

Nhan’s Bio

Nhan is a dedicated Husband, Traditional Medicine practitioner, Martial Arts and self defense trainer, Bladesmith, wilderness living and primitive skills instructor.

A UCLA alumni, Nhan graduated as a pre-medical student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology.

Disillusioned with institutionalized education and work, Nhan has dedicated his life journey to the discovery of truth, and the exploration of human potential, leading him to co-founding the EarthSky People movement with his wife, Victoria.  Now he focuses on teaching self reliance skills, nature and ancestral connection, and solutions to the confounding misinformation, half-truths and deception propagated by mainstream media and the powers that be.

Integrating his background in traditional healing arts, classical and non-classical martial arts, unconventional life philosophies, pre-industrial skills and technology, and powered by a love and reverence for nature, Nhan’s mission is to help others live lightly on the Earth while developing a deeper connection with nature through aboriginal and modern wilderness living skills, ancestral wisdom, and a community of growing consciousness.

http://earthskypeople.org/nhan-esteban-khuong/

Play

Forest Garden of Eden Music Video

We will survive
Gonna get out alive
We will survive
Our Forest gardens will thrive

Work for the land
Not for the man
When you build the soil
You’ll no longer toil

Replant
The Forest
Garden
Of Eden

Replant
The Forest
Garden
Of Eden

We will survive
Gonna get out alive
We will survive
Our Forest gardens will thrive

When the cities fall
Our tree crops will be tall
Under the canopy
We’ll be wild n free

A Natural History of Demons with Laura Marjorie Miller TPP23

laura-marjorie-miller-picIn this episode I’m discussing a natural history of demons with Laura Marjorie Miller. Together we compare notes on our experiential and theoretical knowledge of demons as misunderstood friends, and misdiagnosed foes. We synthesize ecological and esoteric epistemologies and attempt to lay a foundation for a modern medical and psycho-therapeutic approach to these diverse and elusive creatures.

Laura Marjorie Miller writes about Yoga, magic, myth, fairy tales, travel, photography, marine conservation, and other soulful subjects, She is a regular columnist at www.elephantjournal.com, a contributing editor at www.beyoumediagroup.com, and a public-affairs writer at UMass Amherst. Her writing has been featured in & at such publications and sites as Parabola, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, Tripping, GotSaga, and MariaShriver.com. She is based in Massachusetts, where she lives with a cat named Huck.

Read the article we discuss “Why Feeding Our Demons Means Loving Ourselves” here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/06/why-feeding-our-demons-means-loving-ourselves/

Follow her on twitter:
https://twitter.com/bluecowboyyoga

Photo credit:
Corey Lynn Tucker Photography

 

Play

Designing a Tantric Future with Andrei Knight TPP22

tpp-dreiIn this episode I’m joined by Andrei Knight for a collaborative free-style sci-fi/fantasy design charrette. Together we visioneer a variety of interwoven pathways to a tantric future that is rooted in permanent transformational festival sites that can flourish and overgrow the status quo.

He’s a meditation instructor, life coach, public speaker, tantrika, and transformational festival producer.

He began meditation training over 18 years ago under martial arts legend Stephen K. Hayes, and was initiated into the Diamond and Lotus tradition of Tendai Mikkyo Buddhism. He has also studied under Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in Noda City, Japan, as well as the Dalai Lama, for whom he and Hayes serve as protection escorts and security advisers.

Bridging the wisdoms of both the East and the West, Andrei holds a PhD in Metaphysics from The Monastery of the Universal Life Church, and is certified as a Professional Life Coach by Fowler Wainwright International, as well as an NLP Practitioner. In 2010 he was inducted into the order of Hereditary Knights Templars of Britannia.

www.PhenoVibe.com
www.fb.com/groups/PhenoVibe
www.CosmicCarnivalEvents.com
www.KnightMediaGroup.com/success

Play

Permaculture Goddess Temples Poem

As I wtantra-punk-kaliorried about whether catastrophic Earth changes be near
Through visions she showed me how I can dissolve my fears
By building Permaculture goddess temples to last thousands of years
Some may be shaken to rubble, some burned, and some submerged
But not all would be lost if they were globally dispersed
Malta still stands, 7000 years strong
Proof of a civilization where women and men got along
Worshipping the Earth Mother Goddess, you can’t go wrong
Reverence for the sacred feminine divine
Carved out of stone to last for all time
Though gardens no longer remain
It’s never too late for the legacy to be reclaimed
Now we know how to design and build
Edible landscapes filled with perennial guilds
Co-operation not competition makes ecosystems last
Partnership not domination, how our ancestors lived in the past
In Vietnam a 300 year old food forest still thrives
In Morocco a 2000 year old one is the oldest known to be alive
Permaculture before it had a name
Ever-lasting gardens still remain
Hydrating, fertilizing, and re-seeding themselves
Humans just gave them a little initial help
A final protest to the warrior cult
May be our planting of trees around monuments of Earth and stone
Silbury Hill mound, Mother Earth’s Breast, built over 400 years with antlers and bone
In months we could establish seven layer systems and plan out the zones
And with thousands of techo-pagans, the permies wouldn’t be alone
Trance dancing to mix the cob
Guided by Tantrikas’ drums and songs
Evoking Shakti to empower the crews
170 beats per minute keep us all in a groove
Entrained by the rhythm, the workflow is smooth
What it once took generations to achieve
With the last drops of oil we could drive Earth surgeon machines
Swales, dams, ponds, and mounds
Wrap around the contours on the ground
Like the curves on the 1000s of goddess figurines that archeologists have found
Goddess food forests to be seen from space
Crop circles of bananas, spirals of herbs, dome trellised grapes
Hugelkultur keyhole beds to unlock the shackles of witches burned
In these temples the lessons of her-story will be re-learned
Modern medicine women like Julie James
Restoring traditions that were cast into flames
Fortified by thorned berry bushes and bamboo stakes
Motes of chinampas and aquacultured lakes
Marauders fought off with sharpened sugar canes
Edible weapons like cayenne pepper mace
Peace is not the absence of war
It’s the balance of masculine and feminine energy at a society’s core
Earth’s affliction is a testosterone addiction
Man’s dominion a perverted fiction
Women, animals, and nature suppressed by 5,000 years of the Blade
With a return to the Chalice our souls may have a chance to be saved
Once patriarchy is buried in a composting grave
We no longer think seven generations ahead
Modernity expects the future to be dead
Mollison warned our cosmic neighbors will scorn
If we lay waste to Earth, our galactic welcome will not be warm
Those of us who choose to stay home
While the male ego goes boldly goes where it doesn’t belong
Will discover old life and old civilizations
That held Gaia above all
If there is to be a great collapse
The next Dark Ages need not be so drab
The goddess altar candles will illuminate sacred texts
That teach of old ways suppressed by religious sects
Eco-feminist anthropologists to thank
For exposing false assumptions of cave men’s clubbing and rape
Myth of savagery a lie, our ancestors did not deny
The power of the female to give and nurture life
For 99% of human time, we lived hand in hand, not hand on throat
Women in prehistory were not enslaved as we’ve been told
Before agriculture, cities, churches, and states
The cross-cultural paradigm of goddess worship was in place
Where it was kept safe it progressed into civilization with grace
The human creative urge cannot be reversed
But it’s focus can be reworked
Rather than building phallic missiles and bombs
The male can be heroic for his devotion at home
Tools no longer wielded to cut and control
But to heal, liberate, sew and grow
It’s not that we men are bad
Just our education that is so sad
Taught to fear and hate
The wombs that create
Envious of her power
He toppled her glorious towers
Few still stand, but enough have survived
We have but to with Permaculture revive
The sacred spaces of old
And begin to value fertility above gold
Precious soil and seed stock exchanged
Yields returned for true wealth and fame
Megalithic living heroine statues standing tall
Paths not streets, groves not walls
In Permaculture goddess temples to replace the shopping malls
Guide Stone commandments built to preach across time
But edible art would be a more compelling gift to leave behind
No paternalistic laws and rules, just living temples depicting the feminine divine
What is the feminine divine you ask?
She’s what’s surging behind your social mask
Tantrikas Rhoda Jordan and Reena Desai
Can gently guide you to your knees and breathe open your 3rd eye
When you surrender to shamanic beats
Boundries will dissolve that limit how you think
You decide how much to let in
Gaia will fill you up and radiant out through your skin
She’ll whisper to your inner ear
Or sing loudly if you let go of your fear
Men afraid of losing control
Who’d rather die then find another man beautiful
Can bathe in the warm bliss of her love
And drop the act of being macho and tough
The masculine divine has a place and time
Equal in fact when properly refined
If you dare to percieve the feminine divine
You’ll see her spanning more dimensions than stars in the sky
For a 3d glimpse, see the art of Amanda Sage
She’s downloaded her visions into physical space
With permies, architects, and enginneers
Her futuristic permaculture goddess temple realms, could soon be built right here
Thanks to Ninesense for permission to use his track “Sage” for the background music:
https://soundcloud.com/ninesense/sage

Shamanic Revolution with Shonagh Home TPP21

tp-shonIn this episode I talk with Shonagh Home about strategies for a shamanic revolution to the heal psychological, sexual, and ecological wounds caused by 5,000 years of patriarchal violence.

From her website:

I am a practicing shaman, author and sacred beekeeper. I teach in the Pacific Northwest and the Yucatan. I consider myself to be a spiritual warrior and a spiritual warrior seeks to know. I take my students beyond the watered-down, westernized versions of shamanism to plumb the mysteries with curiosity and courage. My aim is to lead participants out of the cultural mass-trance and into the territory of the sacred. I work for Terra, Mother Earth, who is my benevolent guide and teacher…. Please visit her website to read more and access her wonderful array of offerings.

http://www.shonaghhome.com

Play

Permaculture and the Future of Punk TPP07

md16This was one of my columns in Profane Existence magazine addressing the need for punks to study and practice permaculture as a revolutionary praxis. You can read the text of the column here:
https://tantrapunk.com/permaculture-and-the-future-of-punk/

Play
md16

Permaculture and the Future of Punk

I was 18 in 1998 when I went to Sasha Scatter’s permaculture workshop at the Spurkraft diy/punk warehouse in Portland, Oregon. I was deeply moved by his thorough and heart-felt words. I remember he spoke about how the industrial agricultural system grows our food in nutrient depleted soil, how by laying down cardboard, dead leaves, and other organic matter you can mimic the recycling of nutrients on the forest floor and accelerate succession. He also mentioned how they have to spray vitamins onto Cheery-Os because processed food is so devoid of nutritional value. He explained how by working with, rather than against natural systems you could create ever more productive and fertile soil and crops.

That day we started to do some prep work for installing a permaculture garden but for some reason I don’t’ think the project ever came to fruition either due to soil contamination, land lord issues, or typical punk inefficacy. If I had a time machine I would go back to that day and take my guitar away until my teenage self spent as much time learning and mastering permaculture design as I did learning solos.

Over several of the following years I had numerous opportunities to help my more green thumbed friends in their backyard gardens, but I was never that psyched on it. It just seemed to yield so little and take so much time and effort. It wasn’t “my thing” really either. I’d rather be shredding on the guitar or being politically active in what appeared on the surface to be more agitational/confrontational ways.

Later when I was actually in close proximity to a fully functional permaculture project, I was virtually blind to it because the ideological camp I was in was such a manarchist macho insurrectionist-wanna-be revolutionary vanguard it scoffed at permaculture as yet another form of tame, soft, reformist, life-style anarchism. Tragically and foolishly, we sneered and snickered, thinking we knew everything and were better than everyone.

I know now that what the eco-feminists (including my own dear ex-lover) said about us was absolutely right.
I had little if any sacred connection to Mother Earth.

Just as women’s work is devalued in the dominant patriarchal society, feminized work in revolutionary movements is all too often invisible and inglorious. Gardening is for all sexes and genders and all must cultivate creative, nurturing, intuitive feminine energy within to succeed in cultivating the crops needed to feed the revolutionary war effort.

I wanted to play GI-Joe revolutionary and generally lacked the emotional intelligence, sensuousness, and patience to have authentic relationships with plants and animals. I had an inflamed ego and intellect and spent most of my time in hot winded debates in college, collective meetings, at the bar, and in street protests.
There were good and pure hearts involved in that scene, but that heart energy was misdirected and poisoned by corrupt male egos. There were some backyard gardeners among us, but we were all still living mostly off the industrial system’s food supply chain, even if a lot of it was eco-friendly, organic, vegan, and locally produced. We were still paying money for it, and would have starved to death within in a few weeks if the system we so passionately wanted to fall would have even stumbled.

It wasn’t until about 2003, 5 years after my first exposure to permaculture, that I came to a point in my political/ecological thinking that I realized that even if I don’t have a green thumb, and I’d rather be acting out my masculine revolutionary hero fantasy in mythic street battles, there was an inherent paradox. If I’m fighting to bring down the system, yet I’m completely dependent on it and it’s dumpsters for every aspect of my survival, then to bring down the system would inescapably mean bringing myself down as well. This sprouting thought continued to take root in my mind and soon the implications were too powerful to ignore.

I imagined a little comic strip that showed all different types of intellectual ideological windbags who shout out their theses and pound down their fists at the bar or podium, being held accountable to the source of caloric energy that was financing their cause, campaign, or career. What if in order to criticize the system you had to produce the caloric energy used for your rants? What if you could only bash the system with food energy you grew yourself or bartered directly from your local organic farmers? There would be great silence on the left.

On a more serious note, a synchronistic set of events unfolded that forced me to trip out really hard on the future of punk. I was watching a good friend’s diy Mad Max style video production where he and some friends chased each other around in motorized scooters with classic punkified/tribalistic armor and portrayed primal, bestial, feral mortal combat.

Something hit me hard and I realized, wait a minute, the future is real, it does exist wherever it exists and it’s determined completely by our actions now. That seems obvious but that means that we are directly responsible for it. Since most of us are caught up in our own ego-based life-dramas, we rarely pause to apply what I like to call fourth-dimensional psychology and imagine how our actions today will shape the future of our own punk progeny. At some point in the evolution of punk, our descendents will be surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s not just a sci-fi film genre, or a religious cult phenomenon, or just a great theme to write brutal music for. No it’s real and it’s out there, how close we don’t know exactly but by all measures it’s getting closer and closer.

So that begs the question, what will that world look like for punks? My college background in human ecology made me realize that I needed to let go of my anxiousness to be in the revolution, and spend more time seriously thinking about how life would look for the punks that survive catastrophe.

Would there be overflowing dumpsters? Would there be government hand-outs? Would there be people to spange from? Would there be corporate markets to shop-lift from? Would any of the once proud and dignified survival strategies of first-world scavengers hold up post-shift-hit-the-fan, or would we be the first to go? I had to get honest about it and take a long cold hard look at my relationship to food production.

Fast forward to today and I’ve initiated and/or participated in numerous urban garden projects and co-founded a non-profit punk oriented community gardening/eco-arts and education institute. It’s a humble, struggling, microscopic phenomenon, but it’s a big part of my world, and has since 2005 had a meaningful effect on people’s lives and thus the future. In short, I’ve decided to prioritize community self-sufficiency as a matter of political primacy.

Now back to permaculture. Without knowing it, I’d been practicing permaculture by definition because I’d been attempting to design permanent cultural and agricultural systems. But like in so many other areas of my life, I lacked the time and/or funds to pursue formal training.

Thanks to the podcast medium I’ve been able to not skip a beat and multi-task at high speeds while dosing myself with countless hours of free education. Since 2008, thanks to Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast, I finally started to know what I’d been missing. I had the why, but not the how. I knew that we needed to go local, go organic, and do it diy but I just saw it as organic gardening, or organic community gardening. I did not understand permaculture until I heard it passionately ranted about on The Survival Podcast.

The first real Earth-shaking, eye-opening, jaw dropping, ah-ha/duh moment was when I first heard the magical term “FOOD FOREST”. Immediately I envisioned the board game Candyland, and then the Ginger Bread House came to mind. A colorful fairy tale children’s book visual emerged as I began to understand the concept. Agro-forestry, edible forest gardening, food forests, layered gardening, whatever you want to call it. What matters most is establishing the visual in your mind.

Please pause, take a deep breath, and after reading this paragraph close your eyes and visualize the following in your mind’s eye. You’re walking through a meadow and approaching a thick woodland. You start to look for a clear point of entry so you can find your way through the forest but there is not one break in a seemingly endless barricade of weedy plants, vines, and shrubs forming a vertically stepped wall of impenetrable vegetation climbing and stacking all the way up to the lower and upper canopies.

Okay now open your eyes. Take another deep breath, read this paragraph, close your eyes and visualize again. As you get closer to this matted tangled mess of greenery, you begin to notice something odd. There’s a strip of land where all the trees bear edible fruits and nuts, all the vines are covered in pods, the bushes are dotted with colorful berries, what looked like weeds are all herbs and vegetables, the grass has been replaced by creeping edible flowers, and ground is riddled with root crops.

Now open your eyes. You’ve just visualized a seven layer food forest. A human designed landscape that takes one of the most biologically productive natural terrestrial eco-systems, a forest edge, and plugs in variables comprised of edible, medicinal, and otherwise desirable/beneficial crops. The result is a fully self-hydrating, self-fertilizing, self-sustaining, artificially enhanced natural environment that produces a yield density/diversity exponentially greater than any typical backyard garden bed or mass scale industrial agricultural field.

This form of bio-mimicry is just one of many gems the permaculture design movement has been establishing and promoting throughout the world for the last few decades. Of course it’s nothing new really; most subsistence horticultural societies in the world with any intact land rights have been practicing and perfecting these techniques for thousands of years. Permaculture just adds dimensions of western science, engineering, and systems theory. It is a synthesis of the best of both the ancient and modern worlds.

It’s also an open source technology that anyone can use and contribute to under certain minimal ethical and commercial guidelines. I think of it like Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. It’s not a closed, rigid, fixed martial arts system. It’s the opposite; it’s constantly growing, evolving, and integrating the experiences of new practitioners. However, not just anyone should go out claiming they’re a master and start charging people for lessons. There are formally recognized institutions and lineages of Bruce Lee’s students that maintain the integrity of the core concepts, curriculum, etc.

Permaculture is, I believe, the only real bridge the human population has to reintegrate itself sustainably into planetary ecology. The degree to which we establish permaculture designed landscapes now will determine the degree and duration of famine, disease, cannibalism, and mass death to be suffered if/when the global industrial system collapses.

I can’t go really deep into the concepts, mechanics, etc. in this short column, I just want to introduce it to those who haven’t be exposed, or who like me, have had a vague awareness of it but lack a solid understanding of how it’s vastly different then simply gardening. The food forest visual is the most powerful and enlightening promotional tool, but again it’s just one aspect. A core principle that ties all permaculture theory and practice together is the idea of minimizing input and maximizing output or yield.

When designing systems to provide your own abundant and regenerative food, fiber, fuel, potable water, medicine, shelter, heating/cooling, etc. you have to determine the financial, energetic, and material costs of installing and maintaining the system(s) and be sure that your yields provide an exponential return of investment over time.

Now I know why typical organic veggie gardening used to seem like such a chore. It felt almost symbolic to put in so much effort and just have a few crops that only last a couple months, only supplement store-bought meals and only for a few people at most.

But by planting a diverse array of annual and perennial crops, time stacking, using bacteria, fungi, worms, fish, chickens, and more to enhance and accelerate composting and produce protein, catching rainwater, sculpting the landscape to capture and retain moisture, etc. the yields go up over time and the inputs needed go down. In a few years, if done right, permaculture systems (like natural eco-systems) can mature to the point of near-complete self-management and essentially the only work to do is harvest.

One of the most elegant and beautiful aspects is the scalability of permaculture design. Once you grasp the concepts of layers (planting crops to maximize vertical space) and zones (the horizontal distribution of the elements, living and non-living, in your system relative to your dwelling or most trafficked area), you can build systems in window sills, apartment balconies, roof tops, backyards, front yards, vacant lots, fields, farms, mountain tops, deserts, etc.

I hope this gives you a gentle nudge to look further into permaculture. I recommend spending a couple hours watching a few of the videos that come up in a search for permaculture on google video. My favorites are those by either Starhawk, Geoff Lawton, or David Holmgren, but there are thousands to choose from. Also check out www.PermaculturePodcast.org for a punk rooted online radio show where you can learn much more for free. Another cool site is www.PunkRockPermaculture.com.

I know to be punk is to hate work, either for the man or for the land, but that doesn’t mean we have to be lazy and perpetually useless and helpless. Punk and permaculture go hand-in-hand: work less and party more by creating a natural habit to let the tribe increase. And as a result of ever-increasing independence and autonomy be able to, as permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison said, “fight the bastards” with the Earth as our greatest ally.