25th June 2022

PDC day 5: Principle 4

6: Principle 4, Limits and Feedback


Self Regulation and Feedback

“the sins of the fathers are visited unto the seventh generation”

Principle 4 is a key perspective in permaculture: It reminds us nature has limits, elements operate together in systems and that a system continually offers feedback to the observer – this is our steering mechanism.

This module contains

  • Slideshow download in PDF format
  • 1 audio file for download or  streaming format. Each approx 25 mins.
  • 2 links to one essential video or video clip

A good start to break down a system and understand it better is to ondier the inputs and outputs of each element in that system, this classic input/ output analysis of a chicken appears in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Designers Manual

Meet Ramadhan Mutebi, an S39 graduate from 2017. He has been using permaculture to galvanise and inspire his community in Busia, Uganda into action. Many were extremely fearful to leave their villages during C-19 pandemic and were not planting crops and more. He explains how working in permaculture has given hope.

He has now been gifted a plot of just under 10 acres where he hopes to develop a demonstration and learning centre for permaculture.

Through the Sector39 Academy of Permaculture we hope to develop a network of trainers, innovators and community leaders like Rama and through mutual support create resilience and abundance that can allow permaculture to reach the people who maybe need it the most.

A simple systems thinking exercise created by Bill and Reny to illustrate a chicken driven greenhouse, which also meets the needs of a chicken.

This series of photos catches the establishment of a set of 3 hugelkultur beds at Cultivate, inspired by Sepp Holzer

Taking the role of each element identified in this system, it is possible to map the inputs and outputs with a ball of wool passed around in a circle. The more connections between the elements in the system, the stronger the network becomes.

Some thoughts on positive and negative feedback loops, natures way of regulating systems, how can we incorporate this into our own design work?

This video beautifully illustrates the power of systems and trophic cascades, how keystone species can drive whole ecosystems.

Farmer Ian Steele talks about ideas around developing a food based business within pemaculture ethics and Steve presents on ‘Water in the System’ drawing on slides and ideas from Chris Dixon – a permaculture teacher from Dolgellau. Find Chris @ http://www.konsk.co.uk/ Chris’ place in Coed y Brenin in Snowdonia where among other things he has been applying permaculture design methodology to better understand traditional Welsh farming practices, whilst regenerating a 7- acre holding and converting a barn into a beautiful dwelling.

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