The “Fully Established System” Fallacy

“There is much to be said about permaculture in the 40 years since its creation, but there don’t seem to be many fully established systems promoting themselves. There appears to be limited peer-reviewed data to back up the claims of permaculture as a successful means of offsetting our current crisis.” (Quote from this article.)

My response: The very concept of a “fully established system” is a widespread popular fallacy that is an artifact of our limited (Western industrial-white-colonialist) human minds. Nature is always dynamic and in flux; and humans living in right relationship with Mother Earth are constantly co-evolving and co-creating with Her.

In my opinion as a bioregionalist, community activist, microbusiness advocate, and permaculture designer/educator:
“Fully established system” is a money-centric, human-centric, colonialist utilitarian term that is part of the problem, and perpetuates modern human disconnect from the rest of nature.

Even the three permaculture sites cited by the article’s author as examples of “successful sites,” are dynamic not static. And will only continue to be successful inasmuch as they are constantly evolving in collaboration with their local residents (including all species, and the surrounding ecosystems, not just the human residents and other human beneficiaries of the sites).

And a great comment from my fellow permie educator/landscaper Mike Hoag of Transformative Adventures:

“I think there are too many! Ha! I know of literally hundreds of fully established sites promoting themselves. Lillie House is the first keystone project site associated with and it has had thousands of visitors. As to peer reviewed data, this is not possible or even scientific to do. It misunderstands what permaculture is, thinking it is a technique, which it clearly is not. You will not find a single study claiming to prove that “engineering” works either. If engineering is done well, it uses research based methods to achieve goals, so it is successful, it works. Then the proof is in the pudding. Same with permaculture. Saying ”there is no peer reviewed data” is a misunderstanding of scientific methods.”