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Episode 130: Erik Ohlsen Regenpreneur Story - Economic Change Through Regenerative Design

natural capital management regenpreneur startup story Aug 19, 2023
Erik Ohlsen on the Seeds of Tao Podcast

Promotional Links

  • Synergetic Press: a diverse and eclectic catalog of books that cover topics such as ecology, sustainability, indigenous cultures, visionary art, and more. Use discount code tao20 at checkout for a 20% discount that also supports the podcast
  • Resource Commons and Community Forum: an open community, packed with free resources, of regenerative entrepreneurs creating change through the business they start, build, and grow.

Step into the world of regenerative design with us on Episode 130 of the Seeds of Tao Podcast. 🌿✨ Join us in conversation with Erik Ohlsen, a passionate permaculture designer, and founder of Permaculture Artisans. From tending a 1-acre food forest to transforming industries, Erik's journey is a symphony of change. Discover how he breathes life into landscapes and envisions an economy deeply rooted in regenerative practices. Tune in and explore how Erik's story can inspire you to create lasting impact! 🎙️🌍


Show Notes:

  1. 2:36 What got Erik up this morning? A bit about his day
    1. Lives on a 1 acre food forest 9 year old
    2. A morning of checking the homestead
  2. 4:09 What gets you excited about your work?
    1. Permaculture design since he was 19
    2. My belief that we are not powerless to create regenerative change through our personal actions gets me excited to my work
  3. 6:36 Tell us more about your work as permaculture designer and design firm you have?
    1. Permaculture Artisans is my company
    2. Just coming off writing off my book The Regenerative Landscaper
    3. Just getting back to work with clients
      1. I always introduce the regenerative gradient with my current clients
        1. From a scale of 1-10
          1. 1 A landscape that just doesn’t use chemicals
          2. 10 embraces all life in a circular
        2. Helps them to figure out what amount of energy they want to put into their projects
  4. 15:45 Share more about the education side of your design work
    1. Step one is always to listen and observe and learn from those observations
      1. That means understanding and learning about the client first
    2. Customize that education based on what my understanding of them as the client
    3. After that we find opportunities to teach throughout the relationship
  5. 23:01 Tell us the story of what got you into the work of regenerative design.
    1. I was never much of an academic person from the beginning
      1. Didn’t feed my passion
    2. What did was nature and being out in nature
    3. Parents were educators and Dad w
    4. In 1999 we started an organization called Planet Earth Activation
      1. Organizaed massive neighborhood plantings
      2. 50, 60 or more people coming to these planting
      3. End of the day there would be 9 or 10 new yards planted
      4. Doing this at 18 and 19 year old young men
      5. Planted over 200 gardens in 2 years
    5. Met Penny Livingston and Brock Dolman
      1. Started apprenticing and mentoring me in permaculture design
      2. First large agriculture project install that I got paid for really sparked something in me.
        1. Felt like this work can make a difference and I can make a difference
    6. Same time my activism was a big part of my life
      1. Saw how all types of people were organizing around effecting planetary change
      2. Early 2000 I engaged in
    7. 2004 I crashed hard from a huge burnout
      1. I had to cast off my identity my activist work
      2. Didn’t know what I should do
    8. I realized I should be offering my skills up as and it started my career as a designer and installer
      1. Penny helped me to get my first client designing a lavendar farm and orchard
      2. Learned a lot from that first project and first year
  6. 38:43 Something clicked in me
    1. “If we want to heal the earth in a massive way it has to be done professionally.”
    2. If we don’t have an entire economy working to scale these efforts than we are not making the change we want and need.
    3. We need an economy that is based in regenerative design work
  7. 45:06 What if the trades industry was transitioned to regenerative work?
    1. Landscape industry alone is over 80 billion a year in the U.S.
    2. 400 billion agriculture industy in the U.S.
    3. Construction industry is 1.8 trillion in the U.S.
    4. Industry standards are outdated
  8. 51:37 What would you hope for regenpreneurs to take from your story?
    1. To be seen
    2. Know that you are not alone
    3. We need everybody to get back up
  9. 56:20 How do we stay in touch and pick up your book and other works?
    1. The regenerative landscaper on synergetic press
    2. Website
    3. Online eco landscape course


Guest Bio:

Erik Ohlsen - LinkedIn Profile

Erik Ohlsen is a passionate writer, inspiring educator and experienced professional landscape designer. His goal is to help people connect deeper with nature and themselves.

Erik is an internationally renowned certified permaculture designer/practitioner and certified permaculture teacher. For nearly 20 years he has taught ecological landscape design and implementation to thousands of students and clients around the world. He is driven to looking for effective ways to reach larger audiences in his mission to steward the environment.

Erik is the Director of the Permaculture Skills Center, a vocational training school which offers advanced education in ecological design, landscaping, farming and land stewardship. He is also the Founder/Principal at Permaculture Artisans, a fully licensed contracting firm specializing in the design and installation of ecological landscapes and farms throughout California.

In the field of ecological land development and management, Erik has extensive experience with projects that range from small urban lots to 100+ broadacre design and implementation. His many years of experience observing and listening to landscape patterns, and managing installation crews and design teams, have led to an extensive knowledge of all aspects of ecological land development and planning. He is a specialist in water harvesting systems, food forest design, community organizing, facilitation, vocational education and more.

Erik resides in Sebastopol, California with his wife Lauren, raising a family, a homestead and running their businesses.

Host Bio:

Joshua Prieto - LinkedIn Profile

We help impact entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale their regenerative enterprises.

You want to change the world… We all do in one form or another. You might have taken that Gandhi quote to heart, to "Be the change you wish to see in the world." The challenge is creating a livelihood that allows us to be that change while finding growth for ourselves and our loved ones. Where do you start? How do you start?

Seeds of Tao is here to help you seed regenerative paths beyond sustainability with tools and resources to help regenpreneurs be the change, it's all a part of our United Learning Academy. First, we provide e-learning resources that teach the six core areas impact entrepreneurs are desiring greater competency: marketing and messaging, finances and funding, cultural forces and flows, personal development, organizational management, natural capital management. Second, After giving you the knowledge frameworks to be successful, we provide a network of peers, mentors, educators, and facilitators that help you find your unique path to developing your regenerative enterprise. Whether it is helping you to incubate an entrepreneurial venture, start a regenerative career, or become a permaculture professional, the United Learning Academy is designed to bring each individual towards a truly impactful regenerative enterprise that improves our people, planet, and future.

If you're looking to create or grow your regenerative enterprise and be the change you wish to see in the world, start by taking part in our free Resource Commons. Here you’ll find educational content, a supportive community, and collaborative events to support you on your journey. We’re here to help pioneers like yourself pave the way (tao) to a regenerative future. Let’s get to work and be an example for others to follow.


Blog Post: Economic Change Through Regenerative Design: Unveiling Possibilities

In a world thirsting for sustainable change, the concept of regenerative design has emerged as a beacon of hope. Episode 130 of the Seeds of Tao Podcast delves deep into the transformative power of regenerative design, exploring its impact on landscapes, industries, and economies. As we journey through this captivating conversation, we uncover the potential to reshape the way we view and interact with our world.

A Regenerative Symphony for the Earth

At its core, regenerative design is a symphony that harmonizes with nature's rhythms. It goes beyond mere sustainability, seeking to restore ecosystems, revitalize communities, and create lasting positive impacts. In this episode, we explore the enchanting notion that by embracing regenerative design, we can breathe life into landscapes and catalyze economic transformation.

Shifting Perspectives on Change

The discussion ignites a fundamental question: how can our actions create a ripple effect that resonates through economies? As we traverse Erik Ohlsen's insights, we glimpse the power of this paradigm shift. Regenerative design challenges us to consider not only the immediate results of our actions but also their long-term consequences—a perspective that can revolutionize entire industries.

From Landscapes to Livelihoods

Erik's journey showcases how regenerative design isn't confined to landscapes alone; it extends its tendrils into livelihoods and economies. By infusing regenerative principles into agriculture, construction, and landscapes, we unveil the potential to build a world where environmental health and economic prosperity coexist.

Crafting an Economy of Regeneration

The episode introduces a daring concept: the creation of an economy that thrives on regenerative practices. This notion sets the stage for a paradigm shift that reimagines industries and standards. Could our economic systems become catalysts for positive change? As the discussion unfolds, we realize that this audacious idea holds the potential to catalyze global transformation.

A Call to Regenpreneurs

For those embarking on a journey of positive impact, the episode offers a treasure trove of insights. Erik's wisdom encourages aspiring regenpreneurs to recognize that they are part of a collective effort, embracing a shared vision of change. The call to surround oneself with like-minded individuals who understand the journey and can provide valuable support becomes ever more relevant.

The Tapestry of Regeneration Unfolds

Episode 130 of the Seeds of Tao Podcast leaves us with a profound understanding: regenerative design isn't a solitary endeavor—it's a collective movement. The threads of this movement weave a tapestry of change that spans landscapes, industries, and economies. As we embrace the ideas shared in this conversation, we're inspired to redefine the way we interact with our world and create a future that thrives on regeneration.

With every intention, every choice, and every design, we become agents of transformation. As we navigate this evolving landscape, the concept of economic change through regenerative design becomes a beacon guiding us toward a brighter, more harmonious future. 🌱🌍