Shared vision: Open Source Permaculture

Update: Nothing came of this project, sadly. See comments for details.

Appropedia continues to be committed to free and open knowledge resources for permaculture, and we hope to have more detailed announcements on this soon. – Chris Watkins, 7 Aug 2013.

Original post:

We’ve been speaking with Sophie Novack and Evan Schoepke from the Open Source Permaculture project, and we’re glad to announce that we’ll be working together building the permaculture wiki on Appropedia, and that we’re supporting their fundraising effort.

They state:

We believe that sustainability is for everyone. That’s why we’re creating Open Source Permaculture, a free online resource for anyone who wants to create a more sustainable world.

This resonates with us. We’ve been talking about open source permaculture for some time, and putting the idea out there in the permaculture community. Our “Permaculture wiki” page describes the state of things, noting various attempts which have sadly fallen over and others which have a more limited scope, and inviting others to join us. An open source permaculture wiki page (hosted by our friends the Open Source Ecology wiki0 looks at what we need in a website to really serve this vision.

We’ve made progress. We’re now using an important tool for structured data, Semantic MediaWiki, which we can apply to a permaculture ecology to help map the relationships between inputs, outputs, plants, animals, principles and resources. We’ve cultivated the wiki platform, to enable open source permaculture to grow

But a key part of the ecosystem has been missing, until now: Passionate individuals who know permaculture, who are prepared to study and work on developing materials to explain and teach permaculture. That’s what the Open Source Permaculture project is about and we’re happy to point you to their fundraising effort. This is a vision that deserves funding, and deserves a vote of support. Please check it out, and ask yourself how much this kind of abundant future means to you.

The details of our collaboration are being worked out – it will be based on using Appropedia as the permaculture wiki, and I’m sure we’ll be working together in other ways in this work to create an abundant and sustainable world.

By the way, for those unclear about what permaculture is exactly, here’s a video from a community in San Francisco:

The vision of Open Source Permaculture is to open up this knowledge and these practices and make this a widespread reality – from progressive cities like San Francisco, economically struggling cities like Detroit (where permaculture is taking off), to cities across Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Americas.

Does this inspire you? What role do you see for yourself in this?

15 thoughts on “Shared vision: Open Source Permaculture”

  1. Thank the Lord you all are working together. When my friend sent me a link to the Open Source Permaculture indiegogo campaign and I didn’t see appropedia mentioned I NEARLY flipped out and wrote horribly disparaging things on the Permaculture Media Blog. Instead by comments there were only mildly obnoxious.

    So happy this collaboration is taking place.

  2. 🙂

    I get frustrated when I see people not collaborating. But then, people need to work on what inspires them. And we also have a responsibility to communicate – so often, people don’t understand what Appropedia is about, and we need to be ready to explain it clearly.

    Glad you were only mildly obnoxious ;-). Hope you’ll be inspired to work with us on this!

  3. This sounds great. It would be good to have a link to the permaculture category under the ‘area’s’ list on the main appropedia page as its really hard to find on the Appropeida site at the moment. 🙂

  4. Thanks Alex.

    Good suggestion. I think I’d like to see more info about permaculture before linking it from the sidebar, though. Perhaps when the Open Source Permaculture project starts developing those pages, we can link it and do more promotion.

    We do have a permaculture category, linked from the top of the Permaculture page, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find things… I’d like to hear, though, is that clear for people who don’t edit wikis?

  5. Kia ora

    I’m also glad to see the various people who share a passion for pooling permaculture information online starting to find each other. To me, free and open licensing is the key to the success of this networked effort. As long as a permie website of any kind is CC-licensed, its contents can be copied and built on by others. I wrote a proposal on this to present to the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in March, although I hadn’t discovered many of these proposals so it’s now a little dated:
    http://www.coactivate.org/projects/permaculture/a-growing-commons

    Everyone can help by talking to all the permaculturists you know about free and open licensing, CreativeCommons, GNU GPL etc, and helping them understand why information freedom is important, and how it embodies the permaculture ethics and principles. If you’re looking for ideas, I wrote a paper about this for the Free Culture research conference in 2012:
    http://www.coactivate.org/people/strypey/paper-for-freeculture2010

    This year I’ll be working on a redesign for permaculture.org.nz, as part of the governing council for Permaculture in NZ. I look forward to collaborating!

    Nau te raurau, naku te raurau, ka ora ai te tangata.
    With your work, and mine, the living will thrive.

    Naku noa
    Danyl Strype

  6. Danyl,

    Fantastic to hear from you – I wasn’t aware of your work, and it’s such an encouragement to hear from a like-minded soul.

    I’m checking out your links – and I look forward to working with you. I expect we’ll be doing a launch of the work in a few weeks time – we’ll definitely be in touch!

    Re CC-licensed websites, I’d add that it needs to be a compatible CC license. The CC-by-sa license (without any restrictions on commercial use or derivatives) gives complete freedom to reuse, as long as it’s shared under the same conditions. This is the license used by Wikipedia, Appropedia and many others. But if there’s an nc or nd in the license (Non-Commercial or No Derivatives) it’s not compatible with the CC-by-sa license that we use. So my simple recommendation is: use CC-by-sa. (A more complex recommendation is that CC-by is suitable in some cases… but don’t worry too much about that.)

    Thanks Danyl!
    Chris

  7. Danyl,

    Fantastic to hear from you – I wasn’t aware of your work, and it’s such an encouragement to hear from a like-minded soul.

    I’m checking out your links – and I look forward to working with you. I expect we’ll be doing a launch of the work in a few weeks time – we’ll definitely be in touch!

    Re CC-licensed websites, I’d add that it needs to be a compatible CC license. The CC-by-sa license (without any restrictions on commercial use or derivatives) gives complete freedom to reuse, as long as it’s shared under the same conditions. This is the license used by Wikipedia, Appropedia and many others. But if there’s an nc or nd in the license (Non-Commercial or No Derivatives) it’s not compatible with the CC-by-sa license that we use. So my simple recommendation is: use CC-by-sa. (A more complex recommendation is that CC-by is suitable in some cases… but don’t worry too much about that.)

    Thanks Danyl!
    Chris

  8. So, what’s happened over the last year? What has Sophie added to the permaculture pages on Appropedia while living on the money she crowdfunded on Indiegogo for the job? I think it’s important that we track these things, and make sure that people have something to show for the money that others have *given* them in support of a project. Without this, it’s easy for people to write off crowdfunding as just another financial ponzi scheme, instead of a form of democratised investment in social enterprises.

  9. I agree with Danyl, I was one of the ones who donated some money to the fundraiser because I thought it was a really good cause. But considering that she has basically disappeared from all social media forms and her website has been deactivated and sold, I am highly dubious that my donation furthered the project goal of helping to spread permaculture information. Did she just “take the money and run”? If so, because of her, I will not donate to another crowdfunding site unless I know the person involved.

  10. I agree with Danyl, I was one of the ones who donated some money to the fundraiser because I thought it was a really good cause. But considering that she has basically disappeared from all social media forms and her website has been deactivated and sold, I am highly dubious that my donation furthered the project goal of helping to spread permaculture information. Did she just “take the money and run”? If so, because of her, I will not donate to another crowdfunding site unless I know the person involved.

  11. Hi Danyl & Alex,
    We’re also really disappointed. There was no indication, as far as I could see, that this was anything less than completely legit. But Sophie stopped replying to emails shortly after the fundraiser finished. Evan also hasn’t heard from her. Indiegogo was conducting their own investigation last I heard. Perhaps the promises made turned out to be hard to keep and she buckled under the pressure – it didn’t look to me like a straight out fraud. If I’m right, it’s really unfortunate that she didn’t reach out for support.

    To support any crowdfunding campaign is to take a risk. My own principle, after this experience, is to only support projects where the people have a clear track record.

    One small bit of good news, Alex – she didn’t sell the site. Rather, someone picked up the domain after it expired, and has made an effort to reconstruct the site – there’s a thread on permies.com where we discuss it.

  12. Hi Danyl & Alex,
    We’re also really disappointed. There was no indication, as far as I could see, that this was anything less than completely legit. But Sophie stopped replying to emails shortly after the fundraiser finished. Evan also hasn’t heard from her. Indiegogo was conducting their own investigation last I heard. Perhaps the promises made turned out to be hard to keep and she buckled under the pressure – it didn’t look to me like a straight out fraud. If I’m right, it’s really unfortunate that she didn’t reach out for support.

    To support any crowdfunding campaign is to take a risk. My own principle, after this experience, is to only support projects where the people have a clear track record.

    One small bit of good news, Alex – she didn’t sell the site. Rather, someone picked up the domain after it expired, and has made an effort to reconstruct the site – there’s a thread on permies.com where we discuss it.

  13. Thanks for the update Chris. Where can we find out the results of IndieGoGo’s investigation?

    I guess as crowdfunding comes of age, and moves out of the “ghee whizz” phase of its deveopment, crowdfunding sites will have to start working more actively with the people using their platforms, to make sure they understand how to under-promise and over-deliver.

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