Session materials from “Permaculture in Cooperatives: Practices for Practical Resilience,” presented by Avery Hardy at NASCO Institute 2016.
Permaculture is a design philosophy rooted in the idea that we can embrace the mechanisms and philosophies by which nature solves problems. (The forest doesn't need to be tilled and planted and composted, right? It does it all by itself, baby.) If we want to build cooperatives that are not only resilient to the climate crisis but also resilient in the literal sense--able to be sustained without exhaustive effort over the long-term despite inevitable disturbances--we need to reconsider the spatial and ecological dimensions of our co-ops. Permaculture offers a design framework for us to do this, helping us to keep in mind key problem-solving tactics from the natural world to inspire biomimetic solutions that can improve circulation and ease of usage of our common spaces, reduce on-site water usage and waste generation, and generate low-effort and high-yield public and outdoor spaces.