Nectar: Interview #2 with Permaculturist Kevin Bayuk. By Willi Paul, Publisher, PlanetShifter.com Magazine
we are now creating
inside of the
the rational relationships
that will be there to replace it
once its oppressive structures
have stopped functioning
western post-modern society
is now in a chrysalis
& there are many,
small & colourful
fertilizing and beautifying
dancing & creating
this Great Transition
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Interview with Kevin by Willi –
Do you have any strategies to increase the pay and project work for PDC graduates?
I am interested in supporting individuals who complete a Permaculture Design Certificate training in finding vocations that enable them to provide meaningful, needed goods and services while enhancing all life (i.e., applying permaculture design to their livelihood). The strategies that I am currently exploring include helping local, ethically grounded businesses and organizations to grow to provide more opportunities and emphasizing how to apply permaculture principles to one’s current vocation to help transform organizations from the inside (where possible).
I am also thinking of creating a workshop or training about applying permaculture principles and design methods to livelihood (i.e,, entrepreneurial permaculture) where we can share skills about building business plans/designs and operating organizations using permaculture design. UC-Berkeley Extension has invited me and Fred Bove to develop a class like that.
How many PDC grads from your program do you figure are making money?
I do not have the data. Of those individuals that I know well who have completed their Permaculture Design Certificate training almost all of them are employed in some capacity and making money.
You relayed at a recent Permaculture-SF Guild meeting that the “permaculture movement” is fragmented and dysfunctional due to a disconnect between the “old guard” and the new folks. Can you elaborate and suggest how this schism might be repaired?
Firstly, I am not certain I am in a position to assess the “permaculture movement.” From my observations (international permaculture listserve, conversations with other permaculture trainers and designers, conversations with my teachers, etc.) it seems to me that the movement is somewhat fragmented (maybe to its advantage) and might be considered dysfunctional in terms of agreement on certain fundamental approaches to best practices in sharing and applying permaculture principles and design methods. It would seem to me to be an oversimplified assessment to say that there is a fundamental schism between the “old guard” and “new folks” and I apologize if I gave that impression.
it is my observation that some of the permaculture teachers and leaders who have been designing and teaching for two decades or more seem to communicate in a way that is less than optimally collaborative. I’m not sure that I have any suggestions on how any perceived schism might be repaired, though I would advocate for more thoughtful and protracted observation of what strategies are successful and what strategies are not successful at providing for people care, earth care and effective at reinvesting any surplus. And, I suspect that focusing our collective energy and intent on developing high quality communication skills that emphasize quality connection and understanding between people would be helpful.
I would love to see the Guild as more idea laboratory or live charrette than the current “listserve and announcements” format. Is the Permaculture-SF Guild under-performing?
I love that idea and want to support you in making the guild into what serves your vision for it. Like any collective emergent organization the San Francisco Permaculture Guild and its “performance” seem to be product of the intent of the individual participants and the structure that allows for the expression of that intent. My emphasis in my role as a participant in the guild is to help facilitate a structure that allows for the guild to be what individuals want it to be. I know I have my own visions and aspirations for the guild – (I wrote them out a while ago and I see it slowly evolving in that direction.
I certainly feel it has more potential to be of greater service. It can only be said to be “under-performing” in relationship to its goals and mission – the current mission of the guild: “The specific purpose for which this corporation is organized is to support a local community of designers and those interested in permaculture by producing educational and social events, enabling permaculture projects and providing opportunities to exchange information related to permaculture design.”
There is a growing, unsustainable plethora of causes, groups, egos and visions in the Bay Area. How do you sort through them? What makes for a synergistic permaculture / Guild group connection in your eyes, patterns to details?
I am not sure what you mean by the premise of this question. If I guess correctly that you are asking how to make sense of the many organizations and groups and who and how to support them and be of service. I would advocate for engaging in those projects and organizations that are nearest you (Zone 1 or 2) and/or those that are addressing solutions you are most passionate about. Additionally, you can “sort” and then support by assessing those projects, groups, organization and causes that you feel have the most leverage to provide systemic shifts in providing people care, earth care and reinvestment of surplus. Helping and supporting such groups, organizations, and causes to see how they are part of a whole system of transformation and offering support and guidance on how they might be more effective in achieving their goals is one approach that I might advocate for…I’ve written some about the need for such an approach here.
With LIFT, your business coaching firm with partner Shawn Berry, you write:
“Recognizing the power of commerce to impact our world, we partner with and support leading businesses in the Next Economy who provide needed goods and services in a way that enhances all life – for us, people and the environment. As we grow into the Next Economy, we share a vision of a world where all human needs are met, where people have more time to play and enjoy each day and where life flourishes in the richness of a stable climate and resilient ecosystems.”
What is a “leading business”?
We see leading businesses of the Next Economy as those that successfully provide needed goods and services to people in such a way that benefits all life. They are ethically grounded organizations working in service to all life. Our observation is that many of the leading organizations are still working to become more whole in how they operate.
Is permaculture and VASTE a basic driver as you vision and build the Next Economy? How so?
Permaculture ethics, design principles and design methods certainly inform my vision for the Next Economy. The permaculture ethics (including land use ethics) bound the scope of the activities of organizations in the Next Economy and the core models of design and design methods are useful in designing whole, functional organizations that work with nature rather than against it.
What firms have you worked with so far; and to what success?
In many ways LIFT is just getting started. Watch the website http://www.lifteconomy.com for more details on the organizations we serve and their successes.
I applaud your mantra (needs, play, stable climate…) but discuss what transition strategies you bring to your clients that bridge the often unhealthy and unjust work and social environments so prevalent here.
The strategies we advocate for are entirely dependent on the situation. So far we have found that organizations we serve have excellent ethical instincts for how to operate their organization but have certain gaps in their total business design that hold back some of their potential. We assess the wholeness of the organization, identify gaps and provide information and guidance on how to implement strategies to fill those gaps. The strategies can be as diverse as investing in organization culture, unconventional thinking regarding how to structure the organization (such as worker ownership), ways to partner with customers, partnerships with other organizations in the region that can ease cash flow and and create more healthy balance. I’d be happy to comment on how we might address a specific example you might cite from what you describe as “an often unhealthy and unjust work and social environments.”
Is LIFT working on private and / or public partnerships for clients? How is transitional?
LIFT is working to create a sustainable, thriving bioregion and certainly we see partnerships amongst organizations an integral theme of the Next Economy. We help develop partnerships that serve our clients best and help them serve life best.
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Interview #1 with Mr. Bayuk:
Kevin Bayuk’s LinkedIn Profile Summary
(I leverage my) skills in entrepreneurship, having spent nearly a decade starting and growing technology companies, activating projects and organizations that regenerate healthy ecosystems and socially just and joyful environments. I am co-founder and partner of Lift Business Coaching, leading local business and ventures into the next economy and the Urban Permaculture Institute. I serve on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Urban Alliance for Sustainability, the San Francisco Permaculture Guild and the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council. I facilitate permaculture trainings and teaches food systems design with Earth Activist Training, UPISF.com and UC Berkeley Extension.
I am a career entrepreneur. Formerly, I co-founded Clarus Systems, Inc. and helped develop International ThinkLink corporation. I’ve been intimately involved in raising ~ $40 million in private equity and debt financing for startups. Over the past few years, my goals have shifted away from a primary focus on technology to a focus on sustainable living system design, which involves all aspects of human activity, including interaction with technology.
I was once told that I “ooze strategy.” I certainly love to envision possibilities and see relationships that others might miss. I can whip together a mean spreadsheet to solve a problem and I love to sell solutions when they are a good fit.