Hi, this is Geoff.

It’s another weekend edition of the Friday Five, so let’s jump right in.

First, a quick update on what we’ve been up to: We just completed the 7th week (of 28 weeks) of our Online PDC 2.0 course. We’ll be accepting enrollments through the 14th week, and then closing the course until the next time we offer it again (most likely sometime in 2020, *maybe* another cohort in 2019). If you’ve been curious about what the PDC is, or why folks interested in permaculture and sustainability describe it as “The Essential First Step,” check out the course information page here.

We’ve also been enjoying some beautiful scenes on our farm, like this, this, and — when contrasting what otherwise might be — especially this. Our next farm tour is June 1st, so if you’re in the area, feel free to stop and visit!

By the way, if you want to see how Paradise Dam looked before it became what it is now, go here, then scroll down to Pata Negra’s question, “Do you have any before pics?” then click on the “13 replies” link located immediately beneath Pata’s question. The before and after pics, along with several of the construction itself, are something to behold 🙂

With no further ado, the Friday Five…

£25,000 in Prizes: Last year, my good friends and permaculture pioneers Maddy and Tim Harland launched an unprecedented permaculture-themed award: The Permaculture Magazine Prize. Open to any permaculture project in the world, awards consist of one main prize of £10,000, four runner-ups of £2,500 each, and a youth prize in collaboration with the Abundant Earth Foundation totaling £5,000 for those under 25. The intent behind this couldn’t be more timely. In Maddy and Tim’s own words: “In a time of global crisis, the world needs well-designed, regenerative and inspiring examples of permaculture. We have set up this prize to celebrate and support pioneering, best practice projects and tell these stories and shine a light in the darkness.” The closing date for entries is May 31st. The entry form can be found here. Thank you, Maddy and Tim!

Sit-and-Compost: One of the most common complaints I here from people new to permaculture is: “Geoff, I love the idea of composting, but the last time I gave it a try, I just didn’t like the odors, mess, and all the hard work I had to deal with. It just wasn’t worth it.” There are things I teach to help address some of these pain-points, but an innovative new product called the “Subpod” is making it even easier…and giving you a place to sit while the composting happens underneath. Check out the video I put together about the Subpod here. Full disclosure: From time to time, I recommend a product or service that I feel strongly about. Sometimes, if you decide to purchase that recommendation, I receive a small “referral fee” for connecting you to the person or company making that product. That referral fee is normally a secondary thought, as I’ll sometimes donate that amount to a scholarship fund we’ve set up for the PDC course. I share this because I want you to know that I only recommend products or services that I 100% believe in (and often use) myself. The SubPod is one such product.

Wow Whitman: From Walt Whitman: “Go and sit in a grove or woods, with one or more of those voiceless companions, and read the foregoing, and think. One lesson from affiliating a tree — perhaps the greatest moral lesson anyhow from earth, rocks, animals, is that same lesson of inherency, of what is, without the least regard to what the looker on (the critic) supposes or says, or whether he likes or dislikes.” The full piece and analysis can be read here in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings.

“Recycling is Broken”: That’s the title of a piece that appeared earlier this month in Earther magazine. But its not just specialty-interest magazines that are sounding the alarm. Consider this observation from The Atlantic: “For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China—tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away. Most are choosing the latter.” Even the New York Times is jumping in to warn that our decades-long effort to promote recycling is being turned on its head: “Recycling, for decades an almost reflexive effort by American households and businesses to reduce waste and help the environment, is collapsing in many parts of the country.” Perhaps permaculture has something to contribute to this discussion?

Designing for joy: I spend a lot of time talking about design principles as they apply to permaculture. But there is a broader world of design where many of these principles overlap, so I enjoyed reading this short piece about Alessandro Mendini, a celebrated designer who engaged in his craft not just for functionality, but also for the sake of “joy and surprise.” From a recent piece published after his death: “The Alessini collection, a set of whimsical plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery, was designed to capture the imagination of the most naturally curious among us. There’s a radical dignity to them, and to all Mendini’s works. They suggest that consumers are worthy of joy and pleasure, that the mundane but crucial rituals in our lives–cooking, drinking, spending time with children–are not merely chores to slog through, but moments to celebrate. We are what we eat, and what we eat it in.” Full piece here.

That’s it for the Friday Five 🙂

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


PS: If you’re interested in finding out more about the online PDC, but you’d prefer watching over reading, check out the Permaculture Masterclass, a 4-part documentary that walks you through the why, what, and how of permaculture. And feel free to join the discussion connected to each of the videos – more than 800 aggregate comments and counting…