Hi, this is Geoff.

What’s so special about the number 40?

Well, for starters, you can check out this fascinating Wikipedia article that details the symbolism and significance of “40” in everything from astronomy, mathematics, religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Yazidism, Hinduism, and even ancient Sumerian mythology), sports, and a few others that I absolutely can’t help but highlight here:

  • The number of spaces in a standard Monopoly game board.
  • The number of weeks for an average term of pregnancy, counting from the woman’s last menstrual period.
  • Forty is the only integer whose English name has its letters in alphabetical order.
  • Negative forty is the unique temperature at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond; that is, −40 °F = −40 °C
  • And my personal favorite:  The highest number ever counted to on Sesame Street


And now, with this edition of the Friday Five, we can add one more humble addition to the list: Today’s Friday Five is “officially” the 40th one since we started these back in March of last year.

I want to thank each and every one of you for being fellow-travellers on this journey. I’ve learned a lot, and I hope that at least some of the things I’ve shared and curated (200+) have been helpful or interesting to you. If you’d like to comment on anything from these past 40 Friday Fives that have especially resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

With no further ado, let’s get to it…

More patterns: If I included examples of pattern-in-nature in every Friday Five, it wouldn’t be enough: Pattern understanding is one of the foundations and perhaps even the very “glue” of permaculture design. Before we design, we observe. And the patterns we observe give insights into the type of design that we might aim for. Trees in particular are like books waiting to be read – patterns both diverse and magnificent – it’s no wonder they are so often used as a symbol of life.

Liberating constraints: One of the most frequent questions / objections I hear re: permaculture is: “Great if you have lots of open land, but what about those of us in cities, living in a ‘concrete jungle’?” Urban permaculture is one of the fastest growing segments within permaculture. And these columnar fruit trees are simple examples of one of the many ways that the basic framework and practices of permaculture can be applied despite what appear to be constraints. The only limiting factor to design possibilities is the imagination of the design. And like many artists and other creatives have long-ago discovered, those limits can expand with restrictions and constraints rather than shrink.

Job creation done right: News about the economy and job (in)security are topping headlines around the world. One approach put forth is to try and “roll back the clock,” to somehow hang on to jobs that are clearly not going to be part of humanity’s future. Another approach is to understand where things are moving to, and to help affected workers retrain for what lies ahead. I was overjoyed to see this recent story about workers in the mining, oil, and gas industries being re-trained for jobs in the solar economy. A double-win: Transitioning not just to the future, but to one that is sustainable and consistent with ecological principles. Well done.

Remembering Bill: A short, well-done audio retrospective about Bill Mollison and his work produced by Australia’s RN network (founded in 1932!). Audio for this episode expires in 8 days, so it’s worth a quick listen to sometime this week.

In case you missed it: A few interesting pieces this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute: The first is a short article by Richard Bogdanowicz about making a living while homesteading, the second is an overview of, “The Jaboticaba: The Perfect Food Forest Addition,” and the third looks at Bill Mollison’s role as a “time scout.” If you enjoy these posts, be sure to bookmark the site as several new articles go up weekly, or check out thousands of other past articles, here.  

That’s it for the Friday Five. Feel free to forward to a friend. Anyone can sign up for the next batch.

Cheers, and have a great weekend

Your friend,


PS: As you know, exactly one week ago, the first online class I’ve taught in almost two years, the2016-17 Online PDC 2.0, officially started. 100% new material, nearly 500 separate instructional media content, a robust commenting system (more than 1500 comments and questions in less than a week), a private FB group for enrolled students — we’ve just started but this already has all the markings of being something quite special. And it seems as though word-of-mouth is making its rounds, so I’m getting emails daily asking, “I was away on vacation and missed the first few days of enrollment – can I still join?”

The answer is: It depends.

One of the benefits of running the course over 20-24 weeks (and then another 28 weeks of continued, full access), is that it provides tremendous schedule flexibility. Someone coming in 1, 2, even 3 weeks after the start of the course need only put in a bit more work upfront in catching up with the rest of the class: All the videos, PDFs, animations, video Q&As, FB group, and student discussion are recorded and available on demand, 24/7. Nothing is missing.

So if you want to join, and are willing to put in just a bit more time to catch up to the 1st week’s material, you’re by all means welcome to enroll here.

Second, as many of you already know, whenever I release something that has a tuition fee, I will endeavour to also produce something that is a free, pro-bono contribution to the permaculture community. I’m committed to serving the full range of permaculture interests (beginners / advanced, serious / merely curious), as well as all income levels. For those who are either not ready or unable to do a full PDC, I invite you to the complimentary Permaculture Circle (70+ resources + online community), which itself includes some content from the full PDC course.

Finally, a heads-up: I will be adding a time-sensitive gift for all TPC members either this Sunday or Monday, something I’ve never done before. If interested, you can join the TPC community here. As you already know, it takes 15 seconds to join, and it’s free.   

As always, I look forward to serving you at whatever level, format, and commitment level that best suits your needs.

2017-01-06T12:27:03+00:00 Blog|4 Comments