International permaculture enterprise research

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Summary

Possibilities exist to extend the geographical scope of permaculture enterprise research from the UK focus of the KEEP Project to international, in line with the international interests of potential partners like CoLab, ECOLISE and the International Permaculture Educators Network. This raises new possibilities and constraints, including a possible trade-off between breadth of geographical coverage and attention to detail. Availability and scope of funding may be a crucial factor.

Context

The two key dimensions an international project could cover are diversity among countries, and issues of scale.

Questions of scale include how contextual factors and their inter-relationships differ at various scales (e.g. local, regional, national and international), which of these scales are most appropriate for businesses and/or support and collaboration mechanisms and what factors affect this. The bioregional scale may well be of particular interest: it is widely held that this is the most appropriate scale for sustainable and people-centred economic organisation, for example within a solidarity economy or enterprise ecology. This bears testing in relation to the experiences of specific businesses and networks of businesses: what, if any, are their distinctive features and experiences at this scale, and what are the consequences of these in terms of the wider impacts of enterprise.

Examination of diversity among and within countries is of interest in various ways. Comparative international data would be useful, but is not vital. Documentation of diversity in entrepreneurial approaches in different countries is of inherent interest and creates useful opportunities for learning. Examination of the conditions (e.g., legal, economic, financial, cultural) faced by businesses in different countries and how enterpreneurs respond to these would also be instructive. It may be possible from these to identify generic lessons, including replicable strategies and/or success/failure factors, and the nature of bioregional enterprises, livelihoods and/or economies.