Hi, this is Geoff.

Let’s jump straight in to this week’s Friday Five…

Fortunate kids: School cafeterias around the world might want to look at what this high school recently did with theirs. If you’re a permaculturist with some excess produce, why not approach local schools, show them this video, and offer to source them your fresh fruits and vegetables?

Good news from India: “In a recent report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based think tank, ranked Tamil Nadu as one of the top nine markets in the world for acquiring a high percentage of net energy needs from renewable energy sources.Full report here.

Leonardo da Vinci and…permaculture? From a recent article in Quartz: “…whenever we have had giants like Aristotle, Galileo, and da Vinci, the contributions they made even in specialized fields may not have been made in the same way if they hadn’t attacked a problem with a diverse inventory of mental knowledge and understanding. Polymaths see the world differently. They make connections that are otherwise ignored, and they have the advantage of a unique perspective. In a world increasingly dominated by machines, I have a feeling that this approach is going to become increasingly valuable.” What does this have to do with permaculture? As I’ve shared before, permaculture design focuses on the connection between disciplines. While it appreciates the individual disciplines themselves, it is less focused on silo-like, deep knowledge of individual systems and instead prizes an understanding across systems, i.e. the connections between the disciplines. Cultivating this interdisciplinary skill set helps you “see” in a more holistic way, and to develop a knack for recognizing that things are connected in surprising ways.

Counterintuitive (but great!) advice: Steve Jobs was famous for saying, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” And Warren Buffett had his own version of this: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” To see what they mean (and why it works), this 5-minute read on the Farnam Street blog differentiating speed and velocity is a great place to start.

In case you missed it: A few pieces of interest this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute:

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have comments / reactions / a different point of view, please share them with our community of readers below.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


PS: Autumn is absolutely beautiful here at the farm. We still have spots available for two of our on-the-ground PDC course taught at Zaytuna Farm: the PDC course (April 2-14) and the Permaculture-in-Action (PIA) course (April 16-27). The PIA picks up where the PDC leaves off by taking students through some of the core systems we currently run on the farm: renewable energy systems, farm irrigation, roof water harvest drinking water systems, mixed animal systems, crop production, nursery, organic fertiliser, food forest and farm forestry along with waste system management. The PIA is a practical course — 80% of the time will be spent working directly in the field gaining hands-on experience in applied permaculture. If either of these fit your schedule, and you want to learn to think like da Vinci 🙂 we’d love to have you! And if April doesn’t work or you’d simply prefer cooler weather, the next pair of courses takes place in July. Full details here.