Do you love food?

Here’s an invitation to from Darja Samad to a lecture in Göteborg, Sweden, with Derk Loeks:

The 18th of December we have the honour to present Derk Loeks, a permaculture designer, restoration ecologist and biologist. He will do a fun, interesting and provacative lecture on planetary design with tema seeds here at the university. Seeds mean much to us, they are our food, they create oxygen and grab carbon and they contain a lot of information that is crucial for our survival.
The soveregnity, the independence and integrity of our communities and our food supplies are all dependent on our ability to save and develop our seed stocks. But this most basic human right is under severe restrictions by global corporations that are ignorant and unconcerend about these traditional, natural seeds. This lecture gives us tools and a strong understanding of major issues affecting communities, food and seeds, the resources we have in our own communities to take action and the profound opportunities that are before us.
Let us design how we want to live, how we want to eat and how we want the world we are all living in to be, in a fun and effective way possible for anyone.

Here is an interview with Derk Loeks with more information about the lecture and what Planetary Design and seeds mean to him 🙂

Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Derk Loeks. I work as a permaculture designer and instructor, and as a restoration ecologist. My University work was in field ecology. I went on to work with the US Department of Agriculture, the US Forest Service and the Beureau of Land Management. My primary interest was in the ecology of damaged systems. I began studying the regenerative dynamics of large system wildland fires, and continued studying erosion, overgrazing, pollution and damages that are result of other damage such as loss of species habitat, loss of plant systems, loss of insect base, loss of soil web etc. Basically what happens when an ecological system spirals out of control. Of course the human factor very quickly becomes very apparent, and so I began working with large and small organizations and corporations to find ways of increasing effectiveness as a result of embracing a strategic vision of healthy planetary ecosystems. In the mid 90’s I began to call my area of concern ’restoration ecology.’ My design firm, Earth Island Research works with governments, communities, corporations, local organizations and co-ops around food production, energy efficiency, soil dynamics, wind breaks, compost systems, erosion control as well as community and organizational strategic vision and purpose, holistic land management, resource management and financial integrity.

What is Planetary Design?
It is looking at the entire ecology of the earth; local, bioregional, extremely large system and planetary, and asking the question: what kind of local/global planet do we want to live on? It´s extremely powerful to look at an entire planetary system as a design problem. Given that human beings are the single greatest impact on the health of the planet, Planetary Design gives us the opportunity to consider how to create best influences, to design our ineveitabel impact, rather then having it be a random, accidental disaster of negligence. As such, it is an endeavor that is far to important to abandon to the experts, yet is one which will require all of the expertise we have co-generated as multiple cultures.

Who made up that concept/idea? How? And why?
I may be among the first to articulate the idea in this way, but the idea in one form or another has been here for a long time. Ian McHargh, Vandana Shiva, Buckminster Fuller, Mahatma Ghandhi are among some of the famous thinkers in this area, along with Leonardo da Vinci, the unnamed design team of Alhambra and others. Frank Herbert in his famous novel Dune introduced the figure of the planetary ecologist.

Many of the foundation concepts around the idea of planetary design have been around among some ecologists for at least 50 years, probably much longer. Understand that parrallel to the development of the field of ecology since the 1950’s, there has been a parralel development of city planning, regional planning, national agriculture, forest planning, wilderness and recreational plans, waste management plans, air and water quality managment, and also the hugh question of food and natural resources on a global level, and financial resources on a global level. The concepts and fields of human ecology, ecology of commerce, ecology of nations have been simultaneously developing. And of course, governments, large multi national corporations, universities and extremely powerful special interests have been concerned with organizing the resource/social political/commercial aspect of the planet for quite a while. Bu talong with all of this we have the hugh cultural networking that is happening thorough art, music, entertainment, travel, recreation along with social networking and dramatic increase of geopolitical awareness. So much of the essential building blocks are in place. What has been missing, and is the understanding of how critically essential the design input of the citizens of planet earth is to the design process.

Mothers and fathers and kids and students, workers, entrepreneurs, life time adventurers of all cultures and economies, have a direct experience of what works and doesnt work in the life they are living. Thats what is meant by the phrase, ”It’s far to important to leave to the experts.” I don’t think this is an issue of hugh databases of people sending in comments. No, its far more intimate and personal, it’s a matter of some critical number of people in all walks of life in all cultures getting that this is my planet. I live here, and I want it to be a great place to live.”

What is the lecture about?
The lecture is about Planetary Design as ”an idea whose time has come.”
We will explore what it is, why its so important, and how we, as individuals and as communities can participate.

Why are you doing this lecture?
I live here. I and my kids and my friends and my friends children and their friends…we all live here. Almost everyone would like to live on a healthy planet that they can truly enjoy.

Why do you think this is important?
This earth has all the components for a design of paradise, and yet so many many people and cultures are living in an accidental result of hell on earth. And this condition of not enough time, resource, lots of stress and no fun is deeply penetrating all the so called first world cultures such as Sweden, the EU, the US. In other words the stress and breakdown that happens in one place on the planet now is being communicated, the effects are being felt everywhere on earth.
There are some lifestyles and ecomics that can be isolated from the effects more than others, but when we are dealing with air, water and food, and the quality of shared experience, then everyone is of course being impacted.

Why should we care?
Everything is more fun when we are directly involved with what matters most to us. Planeatery Design absolutely is dealing with the the quality of our life.

How are Planetary Design and seed connected to each other?
Some of the initial projects in planetary design are project air, project water, project energy, project infrastructure and project seed. In all lectures and interviews about Planetary Design I include the extremely powerful information and intiatives around seed, as it impacts the importance and power of community and individual action, our health and our food.
What do seeds mean to you?
The entire regenerative system of the planet is completely dependent on the regenerative power of seeds. All of our food plants, medicinal plants, a large part of oxygen creation and carbon isolation is dependent on seeds. Seeds hold vast amounts of information that is critical to our co- evolution as a species. Large amonts of our culture, our agricuture, our seasonal clebrations are connected to seed. But there is something else. The sovereignity , the independence and integrity of our communities, our bioregions, our food supplies are all dependent on our ability to save, propagate and develop our seed stocks. This most basic of human rights is under severe restrictions by global corporations that are ignorant and unconcerend about the integrity and super nutrition that is available within our bioregional and meta regional seeds.

How would you describe this lecture?
Informative, provacative and fun, this lecture surfs the wave of science technology and culture on the ocean of being alive, awake human beings on planet earth.

Who is the target group for the lecture?
I dont have a target group as of right now, I dont know ’who is out there’
I would like to see local organic and natural farmers, people who are interested in the earth and planetary issues, people who are interested in the quality of their food, and people who could be concerned about the issue of community law and international law. But they all would have a concern for the earth and for the quality of human life on earth. I want to send to my connections in swedish green cross and swedish green party, but people interested in an awakening planet, whose focus is meditation and yoga for example, can get really turned on by this. So it really goes beyond the labels of grteen, or environmental or ecological, or political action.

What are the 3 most important questions we need to ask ourselves when it comes to planetary design and seeds?
1. What kind of planet do I want to live on? What kind of planet would I like to be born on?
2. As a member of the planetary ecosystem, do I feel I have the right to co-design the best future for the planet?
3. Do I think co-designing a best planet is impossible and overwhelming, or is it conceivable that an evolutionary ecosystem has built in to it the means for individuals and communities to participate.
4. Is it possible my own brain/mind /feeling intelligence might have built in capabilities for planetary design?

What will be brought up on the lecture?
1. The scope of Planetary Design, what is the opportunity?
2. The conditions that make Planetary Design to be a real possibility.
3. The issue of seeds as an essential step in planetary design:
a. Seeds and community sovereignty
b. Seeds and food integrity
c. Seeds as a database for understanding what can be done.

What will the lecture give me as a listener?
You will have a strong understanding of major issues affecting communities, food and seeds, the resources we have i our own communities, and the profound opportunities that are before us.

What do you want to accomplish with the lecture?
I want to inform and motivate people to gently and creatively start thinking about the earth as their personal home, and to think about the kind of world they would like to live in, and to pass on to children. I would like to support people to increase their involvement in local food networks, and possibly in seed saving, seed sharing and community action.

It´s almost christmas and people are packing to go home, why should they stay and come to your lecture?
Christmas, and the holiday season is an opportunity to think about what is most important. People can go overwhelmed so easily during the holidays, and knowing about the inspiring opportunities that exist in our communities can bring meaning and purpose to the holiday season.

Are there any questions I haven´t asked that you think is important to inform about?
Maybe its too soon to inform others, but I think that I and some people could start thinking in advance about next steps that can happen in the community that are creative and fun and would not ”wear people out” with ”community action.”
What are the simple things that can be done now, that are fun, and actually make a contribution, and demonstrably start to make Gothenberg a more powerful, creative and good place to live.


Registration: or by phone:
0735- 09 91 10. We can only fit 80 persons in the room so make sure that you contact us in time if you want to come!
Place: Sal 220 at Annedalsseminariet, Seminariegatan 1A, Göteborg, Sweden
Time: 17.00-19.00

Price: For free!


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December 2013
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