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Systems Thinking For Profit [Permaculture
Posted on November 10, 2014 @ 06:17:00 AM by Paul Meagher

Geoff Lawton is one of the major figures in the Permaculture movement. Every month or so he films an exemplary farm from different locations around the world to share some of the permaculturally relevant things they are doing on the farm. The most recent video features Mark Shepard's farm and the video is called Permaculture For Profit. Mark Shepard wrote about some of his ideas in a book called Restoration Agriculture: Perennial Permaculture For The Farm (2013). I purchased the book but have not had time to read it so I was happy to see a new video from Geoff that features his farming operation.

I'm calling this blog Systems Thinking For Profit because what impresses me most about the farm is the level of systems thinking Mark has done on his farm and how that appears to be translating into a good amount of profit. I've blogged many times about systems thinking on this blog (see my Systems Thinking and Sustainability blog among others) so will not go any deeper into it here other than to note that while system thinking may not be a necessary aspect of successful farm operations, those who practice it well are likely, on average, to exhibit more success as farmers than those who do not. It is hard to make the case for why systems thinking matters to business by citing books or ideas by systems thinkers, but when you see an operation like Mark's you can better appreciate the value of systems thinking for creating profitable business operations.

I cannot show you the complete 15 minute video on Mark's operation because you have to register at Geoff Lawton's website ( to login and view the complete video. What I'm showing here is just the teaser for the full video. I enjoy getting Geoff's updates regarding new videos so I don't mind recommending that you consider registering on his site as well to tour around the world with Geoff visiting exemplary farms and sites.

There are a few different definitions of what Permaculture is. The one I like is the one by one of its co-founders David Holmgren who called Permaculture "systems thinking for farmers". So when I look for good examples of Permaculture I'm generally looking for good examples of systems thinking in agricultural design and management (but also increasingly in social contexts as well, i.e., social permaculture).




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