158: Andrew Millison on Scaling up Permaculture
Sharing a regenerative design system and the medicine our planet needs.
Andrew has been studying, teaching and practicing permaculture since he took his first design course in 1996. He began teaching permaculture design at the college level in 2001 and has been an instructor at Oregon State University in the Horticulture Department since 2009. Andrew currently teaches the Permaculture Design Course at OSU on campus and online.
Andrew first learned permaculture design in the drylands of Arizona, where he studied for his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Prescott College focusing on rainwater harvesting, greywater systems and desert agriculture.
In recent years, his focus has been more on broad scale farm planning, permaculture housing developments and obtaining water rights. In 2015 he founded Permaculture Design International, a collaborative design firm that works on large-scale global projects. And, he runs a free Intro to Permaculture course that has had over 20,000 enrollments to date.
In This Podcast: Andrew catches up with Greg and brings him up to speed on what he has done since they took a permaculture class together 20 years ago. This is an inspiring and EPIC story of someone who was ready to take permaculture to the next level and beyond. The ultimate part of this adventure is that there is room for others to join in an online aspect.
Listen in and learn about:
- How Greg and Andrew met 20 years ago
- What is motivating him to learn more about Permaculture and how he recognizes it as the medicine for the planet
- His definition of permaculture – a sustainable land design system
- How the design system can be regenerative
- How permaculture is demonstrating abundant and productive systems in every climate zone in the planet in both urban and rural areas
- His teacher Barbara Rose’s definition of permaculture– applied common sense
- What he is teaching now in permaculture
- What is taught in the courses he offers
- Patterns and how this concept is key to permaculture design
- Pattern literacy and how that informs regenerative planning
- How to start small with permaculture – an entry point
- How empowering a little permaculture between your car and your front door can be
- Some of the examples of scaling up permaculture in his area
- Working with land and keeping both nature and economics sustainable
- The online course he is running and the free resources it offers to the masses
- 20,000 people are participating in the first course
- The inspiration and the desperation behind this project
- The paradigm shift, the earth based consciousness that is needed
- Terra Genesis International – and their work with regenerative supply chains
- Permaculture Research Institute – and their work to address the massive desertification on the planet and how the United Nations is recognizing permaculture as a tool to combat issues
- John D Liu – and his film work to document the effects of reforestation on watersheds, water supply, social structures and soil stability
- His favorite permaculture principle – designs from patterns to details – and how he applies that to his property
- How the pattern of the sun affects where he places his plants
- Greg’s favorite permaculture principle – stacking functions – and how Andrew is getting multiple functions from his water cistern
- The design collective that he and some friends started to tackle bigger projects
- A closed sugar plantation project on Maui and the study of the potential of regenerative agriculture
As well as:
- The time he failed: after a landscaping project in Prescott with a grey water and rain water harvesting and he later learned that nature can surprise
- How he feels the teaching he is doing now is his biggest professional success and the 2.5-year landscaping project for Maynard Keenan, the lead singer of Tool was the biggest landscaping success
- How he feels he is a special agent for the Planet Earth and his role is to help the planet be a harmonious place and help people enjoy being here
- He is advice is don’t get swept up by what the media tells you what you should be doing or feeling. Check in with yourself and be empowered in your own hands, with your own voice, and your own shovel and your garden. Be an empowered person and go and make the world a better place right where you are in your community, in your family. Do it. Don’t wait for a top down to tell you what to do. Make a positive benefit right now.
Andrew’s Book recommendations:
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
City of Refuge by Starhawk
How to reach Andrew
OSU Free Permaculture Online Course (Current course registration open until November 18, 2016)