Stroud Commons, Lowimpact and Mutual Credit Services are reaching out to groups around the country (and the world) to help them build the commons economy in their towns – from mutual credit and credit clearing to housing, land and energy commons, and more.
Here, permaculture teacher and ‘One Planet’ smallholder Paul Jennings invites you to a public event (on Nov 3 – see posters below) and formative group in West Wales. Over to Paul.
People come on Permaculture design courses to learn techniques that they can take away and apply to their own projects. Permaculture techniques work for projects of all sizes, from land-based businesses to community gardens, or ecologically-minded self-builds. Nonetheless, there’s something else to it, more profound, often assumed or unrecognised: Permaculture courses were always intended to serve, to rebuild, or even to create communities. And there’s the hard bit.
I’ve found myself, whilst teaching Permaculture Design Courses, reminding my students, and myself, that building cabins, deep beds, or Permaculture orchards is relatively easy. It’s community that’s hard. I’ve tried to explain just how crucial this work is, and how difficult for most people. I’m painfully aware of my own shortcomings in terms of the understanding and skills to approach this task.
Feeling at least a Sociology degree short of being able to help my students in this regard, a central plank of any genuine ‘permanent culture’ of course, I approached Dave Darby for a chat. We’d talked about the commons before, but this time I’d come prepared to listen, not just to bemoan the absence of, and the desperate need for, communities as the central requirement of meeting human needs.
The Stroud Commons website makes it very clear: community can be at the heart of a new economy which will address our needs for resilience, affordability, and to lay the foundations for a society fit to face a very uncertain future.
The crucial aspects of this agenda to reclaim the commons are that it aims to meet needs directly, rather than with empty words, or the platitudes we have come to expect from politicians. The only promise here is that if you take part you will create the possibility for a better life for you and those around you. You will, in short, be part of a growing community.
The crises we face, social and ecological, are rushing towards us at a frightening rate. Clever gardening, straw bale building or rainwater harvesting won’t be enough, we’ll need each other, we’ll need communities.
I’ve brought together some Permaculture students of mine from past courses, and the great people of Permaculture Tywi. We’re holding a meeting in Llandeilo on 3rd November. We hope to sow the seeds for Commons Economy Llandeilo, and to inspire projects across Carmarthenshire and beyond. These ideas are vital now, more than ever. We all need the tools to help communities grow.
Book for the event here:
Dr Paul Jennings Dip.Perm.Des is a Permaculture teacher and practitioner with 30 years experience in the field. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the posters for larger versions for printing.