Thursday, February 5, 2009

Proactive with Permaculture

Catherine Austin Fitts and I had a call this week about instructors for the September 22-26, 2009 Financial Permaculture Course in Hohenwald, TN. We agreed that the main criteria for our instructor search was that the instructor have these qualities: knowledge relevant to economic development in Hohenwald, tools easy to replicate and that they themselves have hands on experience not just theory. We both felt that all of the 2008 FPC instructors fit this mold and are confident that we'll bring in even more instructors in 2009 who can be proactive with Permaculture. We will be bringing back many of the original FPC cast and adding some new faces to the team for diversity and depth.

Being proactive with Permaculture also came up several times during our local Sonnenschein Green Initiative meetings in Hohenwald, while the group has been declaring its mission and purpose. We were all in agreement after someone shared that our groups efforts need to be proactive and focused on designing and implementing working solutions. In the past 10 meetings we've had, I can't remember the group once getting bogged down by the woes of the world. No one gets hung up on the problems or focuses on taking sides. It's been probably the most inclusive proactive group that I've been a part of. We seem 100% committed to taking constructive action. That's the other exciting news about this team of people - they're not just sitting around talking - change is happening - the transition is under way - these folks are taking action.

After a general round of check-ins and proposing the agenda, our meetings usually start with updates and reports from folks who've worked on projects and implemented actions since the last meeting. We generally go through a round of defining our goals, marking priorities and discerning our action plans and next achievable steps. Most folks volunteer for tasks. We have breakout sessions on specific projects for deeper discussions. When problems arise the group looks for solutions. Everyone's learning to be opportunistic and optimistic. We're a bunch of networking wizards, cycling energy in the system - I'd like to think!

The dynamic of this proactive group of doers and designers reminds me of a productive Permaculture site. The group is diverse and inclusive to newcomers. The group looks for and acts on opportunities around all the margins. Our first motto was Green = No Waste. We've learned to stack events and projects and collaborate with any and every person or organization who has something to offer. We're also creating some working routines based on evaluated successes. Permaculture is so at the core of our process that we are using the Permaculture principles to steer our meetings, relate to one another and the community and in our proactive stance we gather around.