Seeding Social Permaculture

“Social Permaculture supports People Care and healthy Group Culture”  – Robin Clayfield

Softening the Edges
Social Permaculture and Beyond

There was a special charge in the air and woodland gardens at the Sustainability Centre in the British Countryside. It was here, under the full moon, that a colourful mosaic of people from all ages, languages, cultures and countries was woven together, representing the fabric of the World Community. We met in a circle, bright eyed and open to a creative journey ahead. What followed could not have been known by anyone, not even the facilitators. The Social Permaculture Course emerged through a series of interaction between the core facilitators, a team of apprentices and a host of participants, shaping itself like a permaculture design to the site specific situation, elements and energies, influences and ideas that sprang out of this incredible transformational environment.

At the heart of this new magic was four incredibly powerful and pioneering women of permaculture; Starhawk from the USA, Robina McCurdy from New Zealand, Robin Clayfield from Australia and Looby Macnamara from England. Integrating the male element was Peter Cow, an inspired and inspiring permaculture designer also from the United Kingdom. The facilitators were supported by the ‘elves’, a team of apprentices including JJ, Klaudia, Pauline, Kerry, Jo, Alex, Kym Chi, Dana, Annaliese and Delvin.

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Our ring gathered together in a beautifully hand crafted wood and canvas classroom lit by a small fireplace, and amongst the woodland surrounding. Amidst the bird songs and sun rays, we had what might be described as a Social Permaculture Experience. The learnings were nested and stacked into each other, we learned about Social Permaculture while we actively lived Social Permaculture in the midst of a fully functional Social Permaculture site.

Our world is made of systems within systems, an interconnected web of life more complex than humanity has the capacity to grasp all at once. Similarly the Social Permaculture journey we took passed through countless processes, discussions, classes, workshops, councils, experiences and learnings, all connected together in many different ways. Our time was full to overflowing with illuminations, touchstones, and moments of realization as well as games, songs, rituals and dances, lit up by lots and lots of laughter.

What we witnessed was indescribable, it was an experience that cannot be described despite a heavy focus on creative note taking alongside video and audio recordings. A series of articles and short micro-videos will emerge from this magical media mosaic to share some shimmering reflections of the territory explored in this truly transformational learning experience. Feels like the course is just the beginning of the learning, a whirlwind of new concepts, tools, processes and understandings which will come to light as we carry them out in our life bundles to people, communities and organizations all over the world.

Social Permaculture is a new wave of activism and inspiration pouring forth from permeable edges of the Permaculture Movement. Those surfing the wave of this evolution can cast an eye towards a hopeful future where all beings and things are cared for. Its up to each of us to make a personal commitment and dedication to play our own part in co-creating the harmonic and healthy future, helping take Social Permaculture beyond the edge and into ‘the everything’.

Looby Macnamara
Robin Clayfield
Robina McCurdy
Peter Cow
Sustainability Centre
Permaculture Publications

Text : Delvin Solkinson
Photos and Media : Dana Wilson
Team : Annaliese Hordern and Kym Chi


About Robin Clayfield

Robin Clayfield is an international teacher, facilitator and author who is passionate about healthy groups, organisations and communities, their structures and governance and most importantly, their facilitation and group dynamics. She presents and consults all around the world to support global health, well-being and whole systems change through using Permaculture, Social Permaculture and ‘Dynamic Groups’ methodology. Robin is a Permaculture Pioneer and Elder who has lived at Crystal Waters Permaculture Eco-Village in SE Queensland, Australia since 1988. Her books and resources include ‘You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too’, ‘The New Permaculture Principles Card Game’, ‘The Creative Community Governance and Decision Making Resource Kit’ and the ‘Creative Process Wild Cards’. She is also the co-auther (with Skye in 1995) of ‘The Manual for Teaching Permaculture Creatively’ plus several resources and card games for teachers and facilitators.

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