Other peoples money

For 20 years Andrew has been using other peoples’ money (OPM) to advance his permaculture career. This (modest) flow of cash has enabled him to make a living at permaculture work for more than half his working life.

Now it is time to lift the bar and make permaculture a go-to investment zone for the world at large. Some preparations are in order: -

The first is to institute income solidarity across our community - if we don’t take care of ourselves why should anyone else take care of us? This involves transparency around relative wealth coupled with a system of income redistribution that uses a voluntary, self-managed mechanism.

Further we can implement capital sharing, an approach that allows us to pool our liquid capital resources and lend these to each other to support our projects.

These are not idle suggestions as Andrew has been participating in both types of schemes for the last 10 years and can attest to their simple effectiveness.

Further, Andrew is leading Gaia U into an agile co-op phase using the concepts of “Teal” organizations, sociocracy and ‘sumak kawsay’ (‘buen vivir’ in Spanish) that provides incomes to members using median parity incomes as a basis for sharing the organizational income.

Together these devices make it possible for all to know that this project does not serve to support lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

Andrew proposes that more organizations in permaculture could take these ethical pathways ready to attract increased levels of OPM into our spheres of operation.


Andrew, a permaculture elder, co-leads the Gaia University project, a project that emerged from his time as Britain’s first permaculture teacher, the first coordinator of the Permaculture Association of Britain, Britain's first professional designer whose designs include the action learning Diploma system pioneered in Britain and now used world wide. His presentations draw on this wide and varied experience. Andrew currently lives in California, USA after living 8 years in Mexico.

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