The Poor Prole’s Almanac Podcast

The Poor Prole’s Almanac

The Poor Prole’s Alamanac
Climate Change got you down? Worried about the fact that *everything* seems to be getting worse? Wondering how we got to this point in the first place, and what can we do to build a more resilient future? We take a look at historical pastoral & agricultural societies to see what worked and what didn’t, as well as what resources we have today to make better decisions to build equitable systems. We don’t just discuss ecology and history but also take a leftist perspective on prepping, foraging, homesteading, weapons, community-building, and basically anything that needs discussing during late-stage capitalism.
Transforming Food Systems through Agroecology
Have modern agricultural practices led us down an unsustainable path, and are the so-called "green" alternatives really any better? Discover the truth as we explore the evolution of alternative agriculture and unpack the misleading narratives surrounding terms like "organic" and "regenerative." We'll delve into the historical roots and political dimensions of agroecology, examining how this vital movement emerged in Latin America as a counter to the top-down failures of the Green Revolution. With a focus on context, we spotlight how language shapes our understanding and approach to building future food systems. In this episode, we shine a light on the principles and practices that set agroecology apart, emphasizing its local, knowledge-intensive methods that contrast sharply with industrial agricultural models. Learn how agroecology has become a cornerstone of resistance among peasant and indigenous communities, fostering resilience and autonomy in the face of global destabilization. Through global perspectives, we'll showcase how agroecology supports biodiversity and traditional foodways, while also considering scalable, sustainable alternatives that integrate appropriate technologies to enhance community well-being. Join us as we explore innovative small-scale projects and successful agroecological movements worldwide, questioning the romanticized view of peasant farming and the efficiency of growing one's own food. We propose a model that aligns crop selection with native ecological conditions, promoting harmony with the land and addressing issues of alienation and redundancy. Ultimately, we underscore the importance of justice, traditional land stewardship, and decentralized food systems in creating a sustainable agricultural future for all beings, amidst ecological and colonial challenges.   For sources and to read more about this subject, visit: www.agroecologies.org    To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/   Agroecology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Sustainable Agriculture, Global South, Peasant Resistance Movements, Community Agriculture, Small-scale Farming, Food Systems, Justice, Restorative Agroecology, Indigenous Peoples, Decolonization, Biodiversity, Food Security, Climate Change, Traditional Foodways, Community Ownership, Collective Effort, Sustainable Futures, Political Dimensions
Jul 22
56 min
Reimagining Suburbia: A Critical Look at Permaculture and David Holmgren’s 'RetroSuburbia'
Can suburban backyards become the cornerstone of our sustainable future? Join us as we dissect the ideas in David Holmgren's "Retro Suburbia," where he envisions a world shaped by energy descent and societal degrowth. We kick off with Holmgren's strategic re-release of his book during the COVID-19 pandemic and his bold claims, examining the validity of his assertions and his data. Holmgren's blended manual-manifesto style of his work are scrutinized for their impact and credibility. While Holmgren's vision is compelling, we challenge the individualistic ethos often echoed by prominent permaculture figures. By contrasting historical communal living with today's nuclear solutions, we advocate for more pragmatic, collective approaches like shared canning centers and communal storage. We delve into the impracticalities of doubling household infrastructures and emphasize the efficiency of systemic community-based solutions, arguing that resilience and sustainability are best achieved through collective action rather than individual endeavors. In our deep dive into Holmgren's more controversial ideas, we confront his views on human waste management, suburban farming, and population control. Highlighting the need for scientific validation and proper hygiene practices, we question the feasibility and ethics behind some of Holmgren's proposals. From the romanticization of self-sufficiency to troubling perspectives on genetics and women's roles, we stress the importance of critical assessment within the permaculture movement. For sources and to read more about this subject, visit: www.agroecologies.org    To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/   Retro Suburbia, David Holmgren, Permaculture, Community, Energy Descent, COVID-19, Academic Discussions, Individualistic Narratives, Systemic Solutions, Communal Living, Household Infrastructures, Water Management, Waste Management, Human Waste, Hygiene Practices, Urban Food Production, Population Control, Genetic Legacy, Agroecology, Sustainability
Jul 15
1 hr 15 min
Invasion Ecology: Unraveling the History of Invasive Species and Their Impacts
Unlock the secrets of invasion ecology and transform your understanding of invasive species with our latest episode on the Poor Proles Almanac. Andy takes the lead in unraveling the complex dynamics of invasives by using case studies, such as the autumn olive in New England, revealing both its beneficial traits and its invasive consequences. By contrasting this plant with the native silverberry, we reveal how historical land management practices, like fire and grazing, have shaped their spread. Learn how hardiness zones, soil conditions, and human activities play pivotal roles in the success and control of these species. In our exploration of eco-evolutionary experience, we dive into the intricate relationships between native and invasive species. Discover how the invasive Argentine ant disrupts seed planting in South Africa's Fynbos Biome, and trace the global spread of Japanese knotweed from a single introduction. We discuss the rapid adaptability of invasive species and their lasting ecological impacts, such as soil changes and hybridization threats. Historical perspectives, including Howard Odom's maximum power principle, offer a deeper understanding of how invasives thrive based on energy efficiency. We round out the episode by addressing the profound implications of invasive species on ecosystems and the critical importance of ecological integrity. Examine how modern societal practices contribute to habitat destruction and species homogenization, and why preserving native landscapes is crucial. Our concluding discussion focuses on ecological restoration, highlighting the indispensable role of indigenous stewardship and the preservation of native plants. Join us for a nuanced conversation that emphasizes the long-term goal of ensuring the legacy of our natural world for future generations. For sources and to read more about this subject, visit: www.agroecologies.org    Buy the original magazine where this piece was published!https://mergoat.com/product/preorder-vol-2-n1-a-horde-a-heap-a-pile/    To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/   keywords: Invasion Ecology, Invasive Species, Autumn Olive, Silverberry, Land Management, Fire, Grazing, Hardiness Zones, Soil Conditions, Human Activities, Eco-Evolutionary Experience, Argentine Ant, Seed Planting, Japanese Knotweed, Genetic Bottlenecks, Generalist Strategies, Soil Alteration, Hybridization, Black Locust, Native Mulberry, Capitalism, Profit, Homogenization, Permaculture, Sociopolitical Dimensions, Ecological Integrity, Climate Change, Habitat Destruction, Indigenous Stewardship, Native Plants, Ecosystems, Mutual Care, Evolution, Legacy
Jul 8
30 min
Permaculture Pioneers: History, Challenges, and the Path to Sustainable Living
"What if the key to saving our planet lies in mimicking nature itself?" Join us on an exploration of permaculture, where we uncover the fascinating history and principles behind this revolutionary approach to sustainable living. From Bill Mollison's diverse and adventurous background to David Holmgren's educational journey, we piece together how their unique experiences and shared vision culminated in the creation of permaculture. Tune in for a captivating look at the origins of permaculture and the key figures who shaped its development. We go beyond the surface to explore the early challenges faced by the permaculture movement, including the complexities of merging ecological ethics with economic viability. Discover how significant events and influential figures contributed to the growth and adoption of permaculture in the United States and globally. Even as the movement expanded, it faced internal conflicts and external criticisms, especially regarding the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and practices. In our final discussions, we tackle the contentious issues of decolonizing permaculture and ensuring it remains scientifically grounded. We scrutinize the movement's relationship with traditional ecological knowledge, the problematic nature of modernizing ancient practices, and the often tokenistic gestures towards Indigenous communities. By highlighting these critical perspectives, we emphasize the need for a more authentic and respectful approach to sustainable living. Don't miss this thought-provoking episode as we unpack the ethical implications and future directions of the permaculture movement. For sources and to read more about this subject, visit: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/a-history-of-permaculture    To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/   Keywords:   Sustainable Living, Permaculture, Organic Farming, No-Till Methods, Agroecology, Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Agriculture, History, Founders, Origins, Development, Challenges, Influences, Critique, Decolonizing, Scientific Perspectives, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Autonomy
Jul 1
1 hr 2 min
Homesteading & the Right-Wing Violence of the 21st Century
In last week's episode, we dove into the confluence of veterans from the Vietnam War returning home, the collapse of the agricultural sector, and the rise of white supremacy. All of these coalesced into a movement centered around white supremacy and Christianity.  This week, we're exploring how this movement evolved into the 21st century. From homesteads to compounds, violence fomented between these radicals and the federal government (as well as towards non-whites and other marginalized people). How did this evolve into the more nuanced white supremacy movement that dances around acceptable forms of racism today?   To read about this movement further, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/homesteading-and-white-supremacy    This episode is sponsored by: Eric Toensmeier at https://www.perennialsolutions.org/ Check out his upcoming class!   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
Jun 24
1 hr 15 min
The Homesteading Movement, The Vietnam War, & The White Supremacy Movement
The Vietnam War gave birth to a new generation of veterans, ones who came back from war feeling abandoned by their government and by their fellow civilians. Unlike prior wars, the enemies were largely non-white and the terrain of war was entirely different. Guerrilla war and traps created the conditions of dehumanization that bled racism into anti-communism. Upon returning home, many found themselves disgusted by the United States government and found the country they returned to much different than the country they had left, as progressive policies had taken hold through the late years of the 60s and early 70s. We highlighted this with the rise of the Back to the Land movement, and how the countercultural revolution fed into new visions of the future. Many point to the startling rise in white supremacy in the late 20th century to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. As narrated by white power proponents, the Vietnam War was a story of constant danger, gore, and horror. It was also a story of soldiers’ betrayal by military and political leaders and of the trivialization of their sacrifice. This narrative increased paramilitarism and separationism through homesteading and communes within the movement. In his speeches, newsletters, and influential 1983 collection Essays of a Klansman, movement leader Louis Beam urged activists to continue fighting the Vietnam War on American soil. When he told readers to “bring it on home,” he meant a literal extension of military-style combat into civilian space. He referred to two wars: the one he had fought in Vietnam and the white revolution he hoped to wage in the United States. In this episode, we explore how the politics of the 1960s and 70s drove the homesteader movement and shifted the focus of growing food as a means of resistance and purity. How did this movement shape homesteading, and how prominent was it?   To read about this movement further, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/homesteading-and-white-supremacy    This episode is sponsored by: Eric Toensmeier at https://www.perennialsolutions.org/ Check out his upcoming class!   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
Jun 17
54 min
The Back to the Land movement
The counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s is well-known, and its trappings of communes that were woefully prepared for the work required to survive has been made fodder for more than one trope from this era. We’ll explore this well-worn narrative, but to do so, we need to frame up where the Back-to-the-Land movement originated to understand how it became what is so well known. As we explore the Back to the Land movement, we'll see how the overlaps of right-wing fascism and the socialist movement engage with one another, especially as homesteaders become disillusioned with their attempts to exit from capitalist society.   This episode is sponsored by: Eric Toensmeier at https://www.perennialsolutions.org/ Check out his class coming up soon!   To read about the movement further, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/the-back-to-the-land-movement   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
Jun 10
58 min
From Howard to Rodale: the Organics movement
If you’ve been following our series on permanent agriculture, we’ve gone in extensive depth on the evolution of soil science to permanent agriculture to the Odum brothers’ vision for agroecology. While their work stemmed from the science-led movement of permanent agriculture as the permanent agriculture movement crashed under the pressures of World War 2, multipl concurrent movements followed. The first we covered was the Odum Brothers and their vision of agriculture driven by ecological limitations. An openly, self-proclaimed less scientific vision came under the organic movement, as well as the biodynamic movement, and the Back to the Land movement, and many of these advocates go on to coalesce under the permaculture movement. But before we can understand how those created the newer movement of homesteading and permaculture of today, we need to understand how and why the organic movement thrived in the early days after World War 2.  One particular advocate for this change was a British botanist, Sir Albert Howard. In 1903, he went to India as a professor to teach how to grow food in India. However, during his time there, he realized they had better techniques, specifically around composting, and he began to write about their techniques for a global audience. He was also one of the primary advocates for the study of ecology and the need to incorporate ecology into food systems. He was an ardent supporter of the permanent agriculture movement spreading across the United States. To read about organics further, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/the-birth-of-the-organics-movement   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
May 19
50 min
The Birth of the Biodynamics Movement
To talk about permanent agriculture and the alternative agriculture movement that fought against monocropping and industrial pesticide and fertilizer use without talking about biodynamics ignores one of the focal components in the development of a huge facet of how these movements came to be today. To try and explain the biodynamic movement without talking about Rudolf Steiner doesn’t fully capture how and why the movement became what it was long after his death. Steiner’s interest spanned from education to agriculture to, in his words, “how to know higher worlds.” His interests explored anthroposophy, or what he considered ‘spiritual science’, something that has continued to occupy a large space in the various ‘natural’ agricultural movements that span the globe today, including at least 6,000 farms today.1    Waldorf schools, inspired by Steiner’s work, number over 2,000 today, and highlight that his writing and speeches struck a common belief that has transcended his place and time in Germany. We’ll explore what these beliefs are and how these positions, by definition of how they can be interpreted, have been coopted by groups across the political spectrum.   To read about biodynamics further, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/the-birth-of-the-biodynamics-movement   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
May 13
54 min
Scott Nearing: Revolutionary Homesteading
Scott Nearing is another name that likely hasn’t reached most folks’ ears who may be searching for leaders in the agriculture-socialist-homesteader space, but Scott’s career spanned a wide and varied path from academics to activism to homesteading. His life was as diverse as it was long, and much of what we know from the counterculture movement of the 70s that centered on self-sufficiency stemmed from his specific brand.   However, Nearing's politics and identity as a class traitor is a bit more complex than it appears on the surface, and we explore how Scott's positions evolved and what new evidence suggests about his vision of "living the good life".     To read about Scott Nearing's contributions to history, check out the following substack for sources and further details: https://poorprolesalmanac.substack.com/p/scott-nearing   To support this podcast, join our patreon for early episode access at https://www.patreon.com/poorprolesalmanac For PPA Writing Content, visit: www.agroecologies.org For PPA Restoration Content, visit: www.restorationagroecology.com For PPA Merch, visit: www.poorproles.com For PPA Native Plants, visit: www.nativenurseries.org To hear Tomorrow, Today, our sister podcast, visit: www.tomorrowtodaypodcast.org/
May 6
51 min
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