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056 – Horticulture of the United States of Pocahontas

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Paul Wheaton swings in from the jungle to sit down with Dave Bennett and talk about Horticulture of the United States of Pocahantas (husp). It's a concept that Paul has made up, and posted about initially on the permies forum.

Paul expresses his aim in permaculture and how it differs from most people, and how he wants to reach a higher place with permaculture and is seeking to find it, and how to get there. He defines husp as his attempt at finding that destination, and that it is all a process which is under development. At this point he describes it as a thought experiment.

He reads the first post directly from the permies thread on husp which lays the ground work for the concept. Paul expresses his frustration in having others try to define what husp is, and that he isn't really looking for that; Paul's more looking for help to have the though experiment unfold and materialize.

Paul reads through the second post on husp in the permies thread, which expands on the initial post and offers some ways to make it a reality. Paul then tells the story of how he got to thinking of husp in the first place, which was his experience on attempting to put in permaculture systems on the Flathead Reservation. He made the suggestion to the reservation to take 2000 acres and let different people convert the land in different lots, and be “artists in seed and soil” and then having those systems and knowledge intermingle as time goes on. It doesn't work out at the reservation, but the scenario spawned the idea of husp.

Paul speaks about his passion for the idea of husp, and tells about his plans for when he gets land himself, to provide a place where artists/experts can have a place to express their individual skill and talent, not to mention becoming a place for Paul himself to be able to do that as well.

Paul brings up Helen Atthowe and a few other people he considers experts, and their difference in permaculture approach, and how he feels there is not enough “cross pollination” between these experts, and a concept like husp could be a platform to encourage it, and accelerate the knowledge everyone has.

Paul and Dave discuss further the differences between the various permaculture experts and the benefits of 'cross pollinating' with eachother and Dave gives his views on why he can understand how others don't interact. Paul brings up that if you want to really make it as a farmer you have to stay ahead of the curve, constantly coming up with new ideas and innovation.

Another passionate point Paul brings up is related to how he highly recommends people to be active in the permies forums, since it is a way to expand and grow permaculture by idea exchanges and healthy discussions. Paul hopes people who listen to the podcasts, go to the forums and answer questions that haven't been answered, since by listening to the podcasts you're exposed to so much more information. He encourages active participation, not just consuming information and not giving anything back. He stresses the need to be nice, and no matter how valuable the contribution to the forums is, if you can't be nice, your post will be removed.

Dave changes the subject to a post he made called A Shaman's Garden, where he learned a lot about forest gardening from a man named Arthur, who had an incredible perennial garden. Dave agrees to draw an image of what was once there, since it has now many years later unfortunately been turned into a lawn.

Dave asks Paul to speak about Robert Shomer's project where he took a piece of land and restored the camas prairie to it's original capacity along with all of its native plants. Paul shares how historically, Europeans brought over pigs which destroyed the camas prairies. Paul and Dave discuss examples of Native American techniques and practices that were previously used which brings to light that permaculture is a lot like Native American Agriculture. He mentions Heidi Bohan's book, People of Cascadia, and a video he posted on the forums as a reference to this topic.

Paul heads back to his forum post to talk about a graphic he made showing comparisons between the lowest and highest grade food. He points out that sustainable as a word, while sounding nice at face value, often times doesn't mean it's actually nutritional. Paul and Dave briefly discuss the illusions people can have, the misuse of the term permaculture and they use the Wheaton Eco Scale as a gauge.

Paul brings up how many permaculture designers wouldn't frequent permies because of their own ideas about permaculture. Paul explains some of the reasons he has particular rules, and his right to censorship. He shares his respect for vegans, and desire that vegans and omnivores feel equally respected in the forums.

Paul comes back to the graphic he initially spoke about, and puts out the question if 400 years would go by with people living in a husp style system, what would it be like now? Dave mysteriously disappears and Paul finishes up the podcast, inviting everyone to the forums.

Relevant Threads

Northern Native American Agriculture
PNW Native American Agriculture Resembled Permaculture
Permaculture->Symbiculture->HUSP

Credit: Vida Norris

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