What is Permsteading?

Yep, talk about it here

Moderator: matt walker

What is Permsteading?

Postby matt walker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:47 am

Er....uh.....well, I.....hmmmm.

So, yeah, what is permsteading, anyway?

Well, I guess we, or I, for now, get to define it. That's what this thread is for. I'll start...

Well, it's a silly word, I'll admit. It came to me yesterday, when I was feeling especially frustrated as I cruised the usual haunts on the web in my search for more knowledge. I realized that the forums I liked tended to reflect the ideology of their respective namesakes, naturally. As I thought about that, and what fit me best, I realized I lay somewhere outside of the descriptions that exist for the life and land I want.

So, to me, permsteading is harvesting rainwater with a swale or growing a row of beets to run the pigs in. It's building a rocket stove in the greenhouse and working out a rotational grazing scheme. Building hugelkulture beds and preserving the harvest by pressure canning. It's combining techniques, without the limitations of labels.

It has a single ethic, Be Good. Be good to the soil and the land I steward. Be good to my animals, the food I grow, my community. And so on.

Well, that's enough for now. I'll think of more, I'm sure, but feel free to add your own definition. It's brand new, we get to make this however we want.
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby missusmlaargh » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:29 pm

Awesome. I second all of those things.

Now that I'm a mother, it's become incredibly important to me to teach my son where food comes from and what real food is. I get great satisfaction from growing the food that he eats, and as he gets older I look forward to teaching him how to do it for himself. It's important that we teach a new generation what people have known for thousands of years, but seem to have only in recent history forgotten.

It's the best feeling to see such a robust little animal come from just milk, vegetables and fruits.
User avatar
missusmlaargh
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:09 pm

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby matt walker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:51 pm

That's what I'm talking about! It becomes so natural after a while, I can only imagine how far ahead someone raised like that will be once he's an adult. It has taken me a long time to realize how possible it is to raise healthy food without harming the land, and most of that difficulty I think was overcoming my ingrained ideas about where food comes from. I'd love to hear more about what you guys are doing around the 'stead.

I'm gonna ask some duck questions soon too, so be ready! It's time for me to get some.
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby missusmlaargh » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:18 pm

Oooh ducks, I can't believe it's taken you so long. We just have ManDuck these days, had to give up on the lady ducks. They always find the creek and disappear. MD thinks he is "King Chicken" and sleeps in the coop with the hens. If I hadn't trained him to do that, he would most definitely not still be around.
User avatar
missusmlaargh
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:09 pm

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby Lollykoko » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:28 pm

When I bought 40 acres at the age of 54 my sister thought I was nuts. I kept saying that there had to be a way to provide most of what we needed on the property, leaving my pension for expenses. The search has been long, with some twists and turns along the way, but several years later ... here I am. The major portion of the land is no longer tied up in the CRP program so, this is the year that the major infrastructure begins.

The goal is to provide a home for at least five adults, age 23 to 60+ and to manage most of their food needs within the farm.

I'm headed north for a planning session. There are a couple of hugel beds planned for the early season. I'd like to get some of it done before the rains come, but I'm not counting on it. We plan to dig three ponds within the first few years. The house will be built (as much as possible) with materials found on the land when available, recycled where feasible, and DIY if at possible.
User avatar
Lollykoko
 
Posts: 575
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:04 pm
Location: Howard and Miami Counties, Indiana

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby missusmlaargh » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:35 pm

Oh that is great, I wish I could think (and go) that big. I've barely scratched the surface with 2 acres, there is so much more I could do if I had the time (and the help!).

The ultimate dream is a completely (or very close to it) self-sustaining property. Matt's pretty close, I think. Maybe I could hire him to come down and do some farm planning/infrastructure set up for me.
User avatar
missusmlaargh
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:09 pm

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby George Collins » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:37 am

I was driving around today wondering about the word "Permstead." Correct me if I'm wrong Matt, but Permsteading is an amalgamation of the worlds "Homesteading" and "Permaculture."

Per wikipedia, Permaculture is defined thusly:
Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on natural ecosystems.[1][2]

Permaculture draws from several other disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. "The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use." [3]

Permaculture as a systematic method was developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s. The word "permaculture" originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to also stand for "permanent culture" as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system. Mollison has described permaculture as "a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system."[4]


Another definition that seems to be fairly accurate:
1. system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem


No real surprises with the above two definitions. Both seem fairly intuitive. However, while looking up the definition of "homestead", in addition to a definition, I got an education.
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Homestead_Act
Homestead Act


A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres (65 hectares or one-fourth section) of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River.

The original homestead act, known as the Homestead Act of 1862, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862.[1][2][3][4][5][6] The law required three steps: file an application, improve the land, and file for deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file an application to claim a federal land grant. The occupant also had to be 21 or older, had to live on the land for five years and show evidence of having made improvements.

Because much of the prime low-lying alluvial land along rivers had been homesteaded by the turn of the twentieth century, a major update called the Enlarged Homestead Act was passed in 1909. It targeted land suitable for dryland farming, increasing the number of acres to 320.[7] In 1916, the Stock-Raising Homestead Act targeted settlers seeking an 640 acres (260 ha) of public land for ranching purposes.[7]

Only about 40 percent of the applicants who started the process were able to complete it and obtain title to their homestead land.[8] Eventually 1.6 million homesteads were granted and 270,000,000 acres (420,000 sq mi) of federal land were privatized between 1862 and 1934, a total of 10% of all lands in the United States.[9] Homesteading was discontinued in 1976, except in Alaska, where it continued until 1986.

History

The intent of the Homestead Act of 1862 was to liberalize the homesteading requirements of the Preemption Act of 1841. Leading advocates were Andrew Johnson[10], George Henry Evans and Horace Greeley.[11][12][13] The "yeoman farmer" ideal was powerful in American political history, and plans for expanding their numbers through a homestead act were rooted in the 1850s. The "Free soil" party of 1848-52 and the new Republican Party after 1854 demanded that the new lands opening up in the west be available to independent farmers and not be bought out by rich slave owners who would buy up the best land and work it with slaves, forcing the white farmers onto marginal lands. This was the basis of the Free Soil Party of 1848, and a main theme of the Republican Party.[14] Homestead laws were defeated by Southerners who feared it would attract European immigrants and poor Southern whites to the west.[15][16][17]

After the South seceded and their delegations left Congress in 1861, the path was clear of obstacles, and the act was passed.[3][4][18]

The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 gave 320 acres (1.3 km2) to farmers who accepted more marginal lands that could not be irrigated. A massive influx of new farmers eventually led to massive land erosion and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.[19][20]

End of homesteading

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 ended homesteading;[4][21] the government believed that the best use of public lands was for them to remain in government control. The only exception to this new policy was in Alaska, for which the law allowed homesteading until 1986.[4]

The last claim under this Act was made by Ken Deardorff for 80 acres (32 ha) of land on the Stony River in southwestern Alaska. He fulfilled all requirements of the homestead act in 1979 but did not receive his deed until May 1988. He is the last person to receive title to land claimed under the provisions of the homestead acts.[22]



So could a Permstead be defined as land which is being improved by the owner with the intent to develop a sustainable (or less unsustainable?) human settlement and agricultural system, by attempting to model natural ecosystems.
"Solve world hunger, tell no one." "The, the, the . . . The Grinch!"

"If you can't beat them, bite them."
George Collins
 
Posts: 535
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:57 pm
Location: South Central Mississippi, Zone 8a

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby matt walker » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:25 am

George Collins wrote:So could a Permstead be defined as land which is being improved by the owner with the intent to develop a sustainable (or less unsustainable?) human settlement and agricultural system, by attempting to model natural ecosystems.



I thank that fits nicely George. One of the things I like about the word is that it implies a lot of things, but since it's made up, there is no right or wrong definition. That is one frustration I've had on other sites which are based on existing ideas/words/philosophies. People like to interpret things in their own way, but then there's the danger of someone being told they aren't doing it right, or don't fit the definition. Also, established words like those above, and the sites for enthusiasts, tend to attract a fairly monocultural group. I get frustrated with that easily, and find I prefer hanging out where there are a variety of personalities. I dunno, I personally am not one for rigid structure or rules, and I love having the option/ability to see positives without first evaluating whether an idea fits into an existing framework.

I'm really happy to hear that the word made you think, and I hope to hear other's definitions as we progress here. To me, it's important that it remains a word that we can each define for ourselves. I also have no pretension regarding the word. It's made up, it's fun, it implies some values that are important to me in the way I live my life and interact with my land, but it's flexible and conceptual.

Your definition is one that I personally would use, as always I appreciate your way with words.

By the way, I love this quote from the wiki on Permaculture:
The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms.


That right there is really close to what I picture as Permsteading, and it's the part of Permaculture that appeals to me. I'll be honest, I don't want to save the world, but I hope that what I do while I'm here goes towards that more than towards destroying it. After reading the wiki though, it seems that I'm maybe more in line with PC than I thought. I suspect I have been reading the wrong PC websites as some of the righteousness that I associate with the culture is thankfully absent from the originator's intentions as defined by wiki.
User avatar
matt walker
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:50 pm
Location: North Olympic Peninsula

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby George Collins » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:33 am

I suspect I have been reading the wrong PC websites as some of the righteousness that I associate with the culture is thankfully absent from the originator's intentions as defined by wiki.


I think we might have something rarely achieved - 100% overlap. Everything you said, I completely agree with.

My original exposure to Permaculture was Greening the Desert by Geoff Lawton. I thought,
Wow! This guy aint trying to chastise others for not singing Kumbaya without some nebulous but no less well defined-by-him level of requisite zeal.

He's . . . he's . . . HE'S FARMIN! And doin it REAL GOOD!

I want to be him. I COULD be him iffn I had some cool Aussie accent. Unfortunately, I'uz born in the South and didn't get to be raised with no accent.


And then I saw Sepp Holzer and saw that old, floppy hat and the size of his hands and I thought,
Wow! This guy aint trying to chastise me for not holding hands with some ugly, smelly, long-haired, dred-locked, smelly, highschool dropout, ukelele playing, smelly eco-freak.

He's . . . he's . . . HE'S FARMIN! And doin it REAL GOOD!

I want to be him. I COULD be him iffn I had been born is some place with a cool German name like Lungau, Austria. Unfortunately, I was born in Heidelberg, Mississippi.


And then I learned about Robert Hart and I heard him talk with that aristocratic English accent and working in his garden while wearing a suit and I thought,
Wow! This guy aint trying to chastise me for not living in a yurt with a bunch of chickens in the bed with me.

He's . . . he's . . . HE'S FARMIN! And doin it REAL GOOD!

I want to be him. I COULD be him iffn I could farm in a suit on the site of some ancient Celtic monastary. Unfortunately, my family is Scotch-Irish, has only been living in South Mississippi since 1840ish with nary a monastery in sight and my wife wont let me wear a suit nowhere but to church.


Point being, the guys that originated permaculture and practice(d) it at the highest levels of expression were not engaging in attention seeking behavior. They were farmin. And doin it REAL GOOD!

They're the ones I want to emulate.

And I aint about to hold hands with a hippie to do so.
Last edited by George Collins on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Solve world hunger, tell no one." "The, the, the . . . The Grinch!"

"If you can't beat them, bite them."
George Collins
 
Posts: 535
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:57 pm
Location: South Central Mississippi, Zone 8a

Re: What is Permsteading?

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:17 am

You are right about the farmin George. And you are right about the part where they do it real good too. I had never heard of Permaculture until just over a year ago, but I had been gardening organically for 30 years. I hate to say that I have been doing it real good, but pretty good maybe. I am here to learn. Fron you, from Matt, from Lolly, from each and everyone of our members. Because I believe that there is wisdom in emulating nature, in working with nature to make plants grow. And I believe that alot of people out there have learned things that I have not learned yet. The whole idea of permaculture just makes sense to me, and has since I 1st heard about the idea. By sharing our knowledge we do not each have to reinvent the wheel. We can take what others have learned and not have to make those same mistakes over again. The only people who never make mistakes are the people who do not do anything. So I don't mind making mistakes, actually I don't make mistakes, I have Learning Experiences. But that is another topic. Lets each see what works for us, and more importantly what does not work and learn why it did not work and share our knowledge with the Group. We will All be the better for it.
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
User avatar
pa_friendly_guy
 
Posts: 1502
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: SW Pa They changed me to zone 6a what ever that is. I still figure zone 5

Next

Return to Permsteading!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron