Advice for the New Permaculturist

I’ve herd people ask similar questions. Basically they amount to “I have dreams of permaculture, how do I pursue them?”

The perennial permaculture advice is “it depends”.

Every person’s journey is different.

Take a breath.

Then start looking around you. What is possible now? How can you start investing in yourself and your projects? What can you learn that will help you along the way? How can you connect with people around you? How can you increase the possibilities?

In what ways is your current thinking limited? What if it’s hiding possibilities from you?

For many years I lived in Chicago in apartments. There I foraged, explored, and learned as much as I could. Eventually I decided to move to Ann Arbor to give me more access to literal greener pastures. I helped form a cooperative to steward the unused portion of 64 acres at a residential addiction recovery facility. Now I’m mob grazing sheep there in the summers.

These types of “designs” take many years to observe, evaluate, make the necessary moves, and allow processes to play out. Sometimes there are false starts. I would plan on 10’s of years at the very least.

In the meantime, educate yourself, plant a garden, preserve and eat food. Make connections. Seek out situations that can lead to the next thing, the adjacent possible.

Published by Milton

C. Milton Dixon is an permaculturist, forager, educator, and computer wizard. He is co-manager at the emergent Cooperative at Dawn Farm and teaches with Three Waters Permaculture. You can reach him at or 773.789.8887.

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