Contact info: davie [at] cultivate.ie
What is your Livelihood? Your role?
It’s a difficult question to answer, I have many roles and many streams of livelihood. As a portofolio worker, engaging in many fields, I haven’t been employed for twenty years but has always earned a small income enough to cover my expenses. For example, I run the Community Resilience Programme, where we are working with areas such as Schools for Resilience. I also curate 25 NGOs and 200 people in a festival called “The Electric Picnic”, held every year in Ireland. My main work is in designing and facilitating, and also deliviering and designing trainning. In the village where I am active, Cloughjordan, I’m part of running We Create which is a collaborative place where we work with all kinds of groups. This has been made possible after working for 15 years with establishing our community. It is only the 5th year we’re living here, now we are 53 households and we have permission for 100 or so more. Even if I am a founder of the project, I do not earn enough now to live in the village.
How does your work align with the PC ethics?
For 15 years my work has been aligned with the ethics. Mostly building social capital, reconnecting people to the Earth, the economics of the sustainability. The ethics guides my activity. Right now I have about 10 projects running on at the same time. They’re not all different projects as they’re all in the same field, just with different founders. In the eco village I aspire to work in the farm at least one morning a week, but has not been easy to do so.
How does your work align with the principles of PC?
When teaching I use the Mollison set. While working, mostly the Holmgren’s. Viable System Model, World Café, Art of Hosting, etc , these are all tools I use in my work with social Permaculture, good communication, feedback, multiple functions, stacking outputs, maximise outputs, get the flows… I use Permaculture for example to desig a festival: people and food coming in, going out, etc. It allows me to work on the edge, building social capital, working in a newer field of Permaculture. Edge – stacking and maximising the output are two of my favourite principles. Integrate rather then segregate, bringing Permaculture knowledge into all kinds of work.
What percentage of your income do you earn from PC?
1 PDC, 2/3 tasters, 2 courses with unemployed people about 20%
What’s your best advice for someone entering a PC-based livelihood?
To recognize you’re not going to become rich by teaching Permaculture! Simplify your life, so that most of your needs are met. Whatever you are going to earn from Permaculture, moneywise, will be topping up/additional income. You can also explore Gift Economy, which gives me about 30% of my total income. If you want to open up for more people to come to workshops, be more flexible in how they contribute, what they can give.
Permaculture must be FUN! It’s serious, but it must be fun. We’re trying to get the world back on track, taking care of each other and of the Earth. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, then you’re on the wrong track. Permaculture is so logical that in the future people will look back and say “People had to teach this?! It’s so obvious that this is how we shall live!”. One day Permaculture will be common sense in a world where today, we don’t follow common sense any more. The world has been brainwashed into ignoring what is common sense and making the right decisions. Permaculture can get us back to the point where we can start following common sense again, and that process to get us there is what I’m facilitating!