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Re: Shared ideas...
Sharing design ideas can be useful. It is also important to honor original
work and to avoid sharing any but the best work.
I confess that I was burnt in this regard about 15 years ago when New England
permaculturists decided to house designs at Gap Mountain Permaculture. We
also circulated designs among a few "active" designers. Well so far as I
ever found out, my designs were the only ones filed at Gap Mountain, at least
as long as I was associated with them. The "exchange" designs that I
received were garbage. A designer's original work is never fully compensated
by the design fee and the right to re-use it needs to be delegated carefully.
Otherwise, design work is unsustainable. There is little that a competent
designer who as visited a site and made a proper assessment needs to take
from a design for an unrelated site. Those things that transfer are properly
set up as STANDARD DESIGNS and their use licensed. Otherwise the capable are
crushed under the heavy burden of carrying the incapable.
Personally, I feel it is more useful for the capable to teach than to design,
though design jobs are appropriate in some circumstances too. A better use
of communication resources might be to convince the incapable to qualify
themselves before either teaching or designing. If this were successful, the
progressive quality dilution of permaculture practice would hault and might
I advise all permaculture designers to copyright their materials,
particularly if they are to make the available on public media. In most
countries, a copyright notice copyrights a document and in many any original
work is automatically copyrighted. (But the notice may remind others.)
If I want to use your standard design, I'll ask for permission and expect to
pay a (reasonable) license fee per use. Good design work does not fall out
of the sky into someone's lap. It results from hard work qualifying oneself,
usually a lifetime committment to honing the creative process, and a lot of
leg work and thinking and practical experience. 99% of this is investment
and 1% is immediate return, what you get for the first time you use a
standard design. Designers who throw away the 99% aren't sustainable as
Put another way, the over-riding principle of permaculture design or
ecosystem design is the law of gifts--there must be a harmony between giving
and receiving. You have to feed the ox.
Yankee Permaculture has its standard designs available in our special order
list, as well as a cross sections of both professional and student designs of
high quality. These cover mainly cool temperate areas, though there is some
subtropical and tropical material as well. I'll provide information on our
special order materials on request.
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
courses via email. Next starts in Aug 1997. Internships available. Copyright
, 1997, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O. Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA
We don't have time to rush.