Overview of My Analysis Process
It was clear from surveying my current projects & commitments, key areas of interest, skill flexes and the goals these generated, that I am left with a huge diversity of options. In order to reign in my ambition and make it tangible, realistic and achievable I have had to significantly prioritise. I have also had to skilfully stack and integrate elements as to reduce the complexity and enormity to a MSc design I can 'keep a handle on'.
As this is a pattern most likely faced by many other associates I have designed a flow chart to show my design thinking in crafting my learning intentions pathway design:
Decision Making Criteria
- L = Leadership, (main responsibility)
- C = Collaborative, (engaged working with others)
- S = Solidarity (supportive role, occasional action)
Sometimes, when managing several projects at once, taking a step back and analysing the energy input required is very useful. For example only 2-3 projects require leadership/high levels of responsibility, where a number of projects are smaller-scale and require occasional input - a way of zoning my projects and community organising commitments.
Identifying the area in broad terms helps me to see if I am too weighted in one area (the benefit of focus) vs the benefits from cross-pollination and diversity of interests.
Who is benefiting from this work?
Will this work:
- Improve life for nonhumans?
- Improve the health of the land?
- Help my community to work for self-determination and autonomy?
- Help my community to use and control its own resources regeneratively?
These are some questions taken from resources developed by Rafter Fergussen in his liberation ecology workshops. I feel they are a great decision making tool.
Could I be financially honoured through this?
This question arose in my Zone 00 Design in 2011. It helped me to identify which areas of my work were most radical/unlikely to get paid for in comparison to work that could help me sustain a right livelihood.
What other regenerative yields?
This refers to other yields from project work, for example organising a Radical Herbalism Gathering is an unpaid act of community organising, however it will create contacts and relationships for which I can sell further plants/find customers to grow for, so these are other regenerative yields.
Opportunities to optimise
I feel it is necessary to identify all of the abundant opportunities I have access to at present, to ensure these are optimised before starting new projects or journeys. Below is my summary.
- Amazing opportunities at Brook End
- Plant nursery
- Market Garden
- Herbal CSA
- Acting as Gaia U Blog Editor
- Wild Heart Permaculture Website
- Gaia U Advising
- Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design tutoring
- Being employed by Somerset Community Food
- Relationships with editors at present e.g. Positive News, Permaculture Magazine
- Being an MSc Associate
- RHS horticulture diploma structure
- HCC Diploma in Arboriculture materials
- Action learning set ups e.g. my guilds & buddies
- Spending time with my existing friends & family & optimising these relationships
- Sally Morningstar apprenticeship
- Living near Glastonbury and access to abundant sacred sites & supportive people
Making most of existing structures, websites & networks for project work including:
- Incredible Edible Somerset - passionate food growers around county
- Transition Glastonbury - interested people very locally
- Reclaim the Fields - anti capitalist food growers constellation
- Food Sovereignty South West list/network & wider movement
- Local, national and international permaculture networks
- Vegan Organic Network as allies for research, action & shared interest
- Existing animal rights movement organisations & networks
- Wider anti-fracking, extreme energy and radical environmental movements
- People's Action on Poverty Somerset - emergence of new network in Somerset
- Local & wider contacts in Anarchist Black Cross/Prison abolition movements
- Radical herbalists in Bristol & wider network forming through radical herbalism gathering
Opportunities to create
In compliment to the abundant opportunities above, there are some 'gaps' in my heart and strategic efforts where I crave more support and collaboration. I am also very aware of the need to stretch my learning edges through this MSc process and so the below are opportunities I wish to create through my pathway.
- New consultancy opportunities especially more smallholdings & plant based systems, as well as medicinal landscaping opportunities.
- Courses to design & lead:
- Herbal Horticulture for Herbalists
- Liberation Permaculture
- More freelance writing opportunities to craft & new relationships to develop
- Freed Avalon - a way of doing food-orientated resilience work locally in a more structured and strategic way than Transition Glastonbury, at a scale more achievable and doable then previous work of Somerset Community Food
- Some kind of liberation permaculture collective - a collective of designers using permaculture design as a tool for achieving social & ecological justice
- A more structured herbalist pathway/learning environment for myself
- A collective, group or movement that is focused on challenging animal agriculture specifically and connects animal liberation with wider land struggle
- A project/organisation that can support prisoners & works for Prison Abolition