• Permaculture Open Educational Resources

last modified May 6, 2016 by strypey

Proposal to Develop More Permaculture OER 

' A Growing Commons ' is a proposal written by Danyl Strype for collaboration within Aotearoa and beyond to produce a high quality suite of permaculture OER (Open Educational Resources). An overview of the various permaculture wiki projects out there has been assembled by Appropedia, along with a similar proposal for pooling our efforts.

Free and open licensing is the key to bringing all these projects together - by our powers combined... a global permaculture wiki! As long as a permie website of any kind is CC-licensed, its contents can be freely copied and re-used by others. This makes it easier to aggregate larger pools of useful knowledge, which are easier for newbies to find and navigate. As pointed out by Chris Watkins of Appropedia, the use of more permissive licenses like CC-BY-SA or (CC-BY) makes it easier to cross-pollinate between various permaculture knowledge projects.

A Quick List of Existing Permaculture Projects Using CreativeCommons Licenses

Other CC Licensed Works on Related Topics


Learning from Past Failures

  • Open Source Permaculture - In 2012, Sophie Novack (Permaculture Media Blog) and Evan Schoepke, ran a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo for a permaculture eBook, and agreed to host the contents on the Appropedia wiki. The crowdfunding was successful, but unfortunately, Novack went incommunicado almost straight after the money was paid out, and the work was never delivered. Her Permaculture Media Blog disappeared from the web about the same time. Lesson learned: when it comes to growing commons on the web, many people putting in a small amount of unpaid time, because they are passionate about creating permaculture resources, is probably more reliable and sustainable than one person doing it as a fulltime paid job. If funds are raised to create paid roles, they funds should be received from the crowdfunding platform by a credible organisation, not the individual proposing to take up the paid role. That way, the organisation can ensure delivery of the proposed work before making full payment.
  • Kai.org.nz - started by a web design company, with a small grant from COGS community funding, but after a few years, it was infected in places with spam, and then dropped of the web (see Useful Plants ). No plans seem to have been made for ongoing stewardship of the site. Lesson learned: funders giving grants for web projects need to realise that websites are not stone sculptures which will last indefinitely once built. They are more like light sculptures, needing constant care and maintenance, and proposals for funding should include the costs and plans not only for the initial build, but for ongoing stewardship. Fortunately PiNZ has taken over stewardship of Kai.org.nz.
  • The plethora of short-lived permaculture wiki demonstrates that as with open source software projects, shared knowledge commons can't be created sustainably just by dumping materials on a website. There needs to be a critical mass of regular contributors to develop initial work into well-researched, useful articles. Where online permaculture materials is licensed under CreativeCommons-BY-SA (or CC-BY), in the worst-case scenario when sites are abandoned (as with Kai.org.nz), the contents can be migrated to and integrated into another wiki or database, without any fear of later legal action by copyright trolls.