Learnings from Social Permaculture

Learnings from Social Permaculture

On May 26th, 2019, the Permaculture educator and practitioner Alfred Decker held a Social Permaculture workshop at SUPERMARKT. This workshop was part of the Facilitate Change! – series, which introduces various methodologies and frameworks to facilitate change processes within communities and organizations.

Permaculture and Social Change

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable and resilient communities and environments. It offers practical tools for creating productive and efficient landscapes as well as organisations and social structures. Social permaculture is about connection – between people, economies, and governing structures – and creating the conditions for humans to flourish on a societal level and to develop beneficial relationships with the ecosystems which sustain us. Combining theory with creative exercises, this workshop provided a deep understanding of the ethics and principles of permaculture and how to apply them to urban, social and group contexts in order to organise, communicate and cooperate more effectively.

Alfred Decker is an award-winning permaculture designer and one of Europe’s leading permaculture educators. Since his first PDC in 1998 in California, Alfred has been involved with social movements and projects throughout Europe and the Americas. He is the founder of the 12 Principles Permaculture Design consultancy, Permacultura Barcelona and the Forest Gardens project at Can Masdeu; is a co-founder of the Spanish Permaculture Academy (Academia de Permacultura Íbera); and was a member of the European Permaculture Teachers Partnership and the Permaculture Council of Europe. Alfred holds a post graduate diploma in sustainable architecture and renewable energy (Centre for Alternative Technology).

Alfred Decker
Permaculture Educator & Designer
Founder & Director, 12P Permaculture Design

We want to share some of the key learnings from this workshop

The workshop provided a good opportunity to reflect on notions of power and responsibility in communities.
Some strategies Alfred proposes:

++ Clear decision-making & communication strategies
++ Clear & transparent agreements on how people gain decision-making power
++ Clear structures of accountability
++ Group culture of thanks & appreciation for people doing the work
++ Group culture of care for those holding responsibilities
++ Training & mentorship for new people taking responsibilities

There can certainly be more, but the points I would add are more subtle and probably require a deeper understanding of underlying systemic patterns, e.g. How can we train ourselves to notice, understand and address power imbalances within a group in the first place? This in itself is already a challenge:

Noticing that something doesn’t feel right, finding words to transform that feeling into a message, sharing it with others, and finally taking choices, as individuals or groups, is certainly not a given.

For me this feels like a first step towards a social permaculture: cultivating our observation and expression, so that we can help each other becoming aware of the blind spots within our social fields.

Permaculture Is Solutionary… Building A New World Within Shell of Old

Alfred’s workshop presentation can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19CcRlPgZIpi8FXpY_qSPCht0x30YkG82

Graphic Recording by Sandra Riedel – thank you very much!

Power and Responsibility in groups:

Learnings from Social Permaculture