Paul and Jocelyn warn that they are going to talk about some of the problems and some people might not like this. Jocelyn states that community and people systems are 90% of the permaculture at the farm. Paul has been at some communities where the people are very miserable. When the labs started it was lots of work and also lots of fun. Then it took a turn for the worse. The lab is currently looking for a land manager and some of the previous candidates did not work out so well.
The farm is now moving away from a gapper system and moving towards the ant village system going forward. Due to some of the perks there were lots of people who showed up but most did not really work out. Paul reviews how the dump truck failed, it went down. The truck was taken to a local repair person who said they could get it done quickly. After a week the local guy said it would be repaired soon. Weeks later Paul asked again when it was going to be done. It was actually three months and still he had not fixed it. In order to fix the truck they had to get someone else. Several other pieces of equipment also rely on dump truck. With the truck being down it impacted lots of equipment and other ongoing operations.
Moving on to the solar oven problem, the inventor of this oven sent one to Paul and a person volunteered to review it but several months passed and he never wrote the review. The person who took the oven from Paul said he would review it and he did use it but never wrote the review. Paul states that when you say you will do something you must do it.
The story of Emitt came next. Emitt said he would stay at the farm forever. Paul’s brother was supposed to go away and showed Emitt how to take care of their animals. After two days Emitt decides to leave(to take a job that pays more) and he just split. Paul feels it was disrespectful to just leave. Who is supposed to take care of the animals now in Emmitts absences? Emitt will not be welcome back ever. Also, smoking and tobacco is not allowed at the farm but some people try to bend the rules. They step over the property line and have a cigarette.
Next was Gerry. Gerry has shortcomings and developing a system that allows him to grow will be a challenge. Gerry peeled logs for two days and on his third day he decides to come into the house and eat mid morning. Paul asks why Gerry is in the house and Gerry explains that he is taking a personal day. Gerry told Paul what a horrible leader he is. Gerry also pointed out how a person was chewing with his mouth open and how Paul needed to reprimand this person. Gerry had a whole list of complaints and how Paul needs to be with the Gappers more and put out more podcasts and more Youtube videos and Gerrys list went on and on.
Gerry agreed to not take anymore personal days but he did do it again and again. Multiple people tried to help Gerry wake up each morning and Gerry just hid in his tent. Another time Gerry tried making bread and it did not turn out well. Paul feels that Gerry did not understand what a Gapper was supposed to do. Paul had to have multiple conversations with Gerry about making up the hours when he took time off. Gerry said that he would agree to work weekends to get caught up but he never worked the weekends. The mission now is to develop a system where a Gerry type person can grow. Gerry felt his contribution was just as important as everyone else’s. There was also a problem with the flatware. In an attempt to save money Jocelyn bought some small cheap flatware. Tim brought some flatware down and someone bent it all up into weird shapes. Paul felt this was very disrespectful. Tim brought 17 gloves down. Notice the odd number? People were disrespectful of their equipment and tools. Paul wonders how to design a system that accommodates a Gerry.
Paul’s new design requires $800 to start and you bring your own tools and own gloves and own spoons. This is just a sampling of some of the problems. Jocelyn discusses how resentment builds up. Poison always spreads more poison. When a person is disrespectful it is toxic to the community. Paul reviews the Gapper program and how it is going to evolve. Paul said the Gapper program would cost the farm a $1000 a month and the Gappers only paid $100 a week. The Gapper worked 35 hours and sometimes a lot less. There was a lack of leadership. They were not policed and no one cleaned up after themselves. During the 35 hours they would do laundry and prepare to do fun stuff. Eventually the 35 hours got knocked down to 20. Some people would take a 2 hour lunch. There was lots of coasting.
Not all Gappers coasted. The hard working people got fed up with the coasters. Everyone was taking weekends off and Paul was getting resentful about having to feed people on Saturday and Sunday. Paul was paying a cook to prepare meals on Saturday and people would sleep in and people didn’t want to work or do projects on the weekends. The program devolved more and more as time went on. Paul became poisoned and then he would spew more poison. Paul felt that the people doing good work were punished for the coasters. Cleaning was another area where resentment built up. There was a mix of Gappers and non Gappers at the farm. Some people suggested using a chore chart. Paul doesn’t like chore charts. Paul doesn’t feel as adults we need the chore charts. Paul pointed out that no one policed the chore charts.
The new gapper program requires no hourly obligation. But no food will be provided. The Ant program might provide food for those who work. There might be a potluck meal once a week. There will be tasks for pay. The pay will be lump sum. Paul thinks this will be more fair. Paul is worried about the quality of the work too. Paul discusses a situation where he had some problems getting good quality and what he calls perfect happiness. Paul hopes that the deep roots people and some of the Ants will also pay people for work. Paul explains how there are a number of large projects that he would like to see done. The Berm Shed is one big project,upgrades to the WOFATI and Pooper too. Sewing and cooking projects are on the list too. Paul could see hiring a person to prepare a meal or two a week. Paul and Jocelyn are swamped with computer work at the moment and still cleaning up from the 20 month party.
The Permies.com staff are coming during a super week along with the RMH seminars so there is work to be done to get the farm in proper order. Paul has a long list of projects that he needs done. Lots of mulching projects!! With the new Gapper program, people will not be all that welcome in the house. Paul and Jocelyn review the kitchen commander job and how it was mostly tolerated by people who took the job. Most people wished they had a better job and did not love the job. Paul was told that the job did not pay well and would take more than 40 hours a week. Paul did not agree with this. Chef Seth was able to do the job in about 15 hours a week but had a small group to serve but even so with more people Chef Seth felt that it would not take 40 hours. Other people took much longer. Jocelyn was hoping to find a person who was also into butchering and preserving food and preparing meals ahead of time. After preparing meals and cleaning up, Kaitlyn spent her time with a toddler which was very understandable. Jocelyn was surprised at how many cooks could not make things happen.
Paul talks about how the Gapper program could work well as a resort. With lots of activities and good strong leadership. The resort package would cost a person more but would fit people much better. Jocelyn feels that younger people would do better with the resort package. Some people do not know what their impact is. Paul needs it to be this way so that the people who work get rewarded and the people who don’t work as hard pay another way. People criticized how Paul needs to screen better. There was lots of talk about screening people and checking references but there is no way to really check how good or bad a person is before they arrive. Paul thinks the new system will work better. The Ants will help weed out the poor performers. Paul recalls how he use to work for a farm making $4 per hour 12 hours a day 7 days a week and the jobs were in high demand. You had to figure out things on your own or they fired you. With that money you paid your rent and bought food. Everyday Paul rode a bike to work. He saved his money instead of spending his money.
Here is the current status of people on the farm. All the Gappers are gone. All paid workers are gone. Evan is the first Ant.
Credit: Kevin Murphy
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