Darren J. Doherty’s departure from Permaculture

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I started this instalment of the interview asking if Darren had indeed departed from the permaculture movement. Darren’s reply unveiled thought provoking critiques from the perspective of a worldwide non-dogmatic renowned farm planner to permaculture. His reply also led him to explain the genesis of the Regrarians Platform and he decided to use the Keyline Scale of Permanence as the underlying structure of his farm planning approach, and Holistic Management as the main and self-determining decision making tool. It is important to say, however, that most of the critiques were made in a general sense, that Darren still uses many of the tools developed in permaculture within his framework and that his departure happened naturally as he searched and developed his own design and planning approaches.

Darren starts this instalment sharing that the Keyline Scale of Permanence and Fukuoka’s Natural Farming had been a major influence in his life even before he started studying permaculture. He notes that even within permaculture, his main approach to design and professional inclination had been Keyline planning. In hindsight, Darren comments, he subscribed to the permaculture label for 10 to 15 years, but only while he was developing his company’s own identity and methodological approach.

One of Darren’s main critiques to permaculture is the fact that, generally speaking, it is becoming a franchise. Something he personally mentioned to Bill Mollison, and that Bill disagreed. Being a design science, permaculture provides designers the skill of incorporating a diverse range of techniques and approaches in their work. But according to Darren, however, if these techniques and approaches have been developed out of the permaculture realm, they should be properly referenced and permaculturalists should not incorporate them as if they had always been part of permaculture; a phenomenon Darren calls ‘perma-appropriation’.

Despite being a great designing tool, Darren also calls attention to the fact that permaculture does not provide a good methodological approach, an A to Z that designers can follow so to speak. Noticing that Darren had been developing such an approach to his designs, Bill Mollison asked Darren to write a book about it, Darren tells in this installment. Darren did not write that book, instead he is writing the Regrarians Handbook, “a succinct & sequential outline of over 300 integrated methodologies and techniques that have been proven over many years of universal application to work towards regenerating human, plant and animals’ lives along with production landscapes.”

Darren J. Doherty is coming to the Northern Rivers to teach the course “Forestry in Practice” on the 9th and 10th of February, 2019 (please disregard dates on the digital flyer below). This two day program equipping farmers to holistically integrate trees in their landscapes and enterprises. The classes will be run at at the Holos Regenerative Design site in Brunswick Heads, where two agroforestry systems where implemented using a hybrid approach that combines a Keyline® layout with successional agroforestry.

Those keen to learn how to integrate agroforestry systems in their properties to build drought resilient farms, increase profitability and biodiversity, can still enrol for the course through this link.