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iPermie, an e-book by Bob Waldrop

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iPermie explains in detail why and how each of us should make a start at changing our ways, and then works creatively to empower us to go ahead and really do it. It shows how such actions would benefit not only our resilience and sustainability but the future of our world as well.

The cardinal threats which we all face are categorized as peak oil, climate instability, economic irrationality and political criminality. These are manifest at all levels of our society and his discussion of them includes how we commonly adjust to and incorporate them in our daily lives, and the long term degradation which then results.

The strategy recommended to salvage us and our community is called permaculture design. Yes, it can be applied to gardening as one very particular example, but the concepts are very general and can be applied to virtually all aspects of our culture at all levels. Bob Waldrop shows us how we can do this as individuals for the many activities of our daily lives. He has modeled this for us in Oklahoma, and writes from personal experience.

More specifically, permaculture design is about “designing ways to live in accordance with permaculture ethics, so that we care for people, care for the planet, and have a care for the future as we design and embrace voluntary limits on consumption and ensure that surplus circulates and does not centralize or concentrate”.

In between an extended discussion of the basics and the epilog, the book has twelve sections on specific topics, including Food, Water, Health, Geography, Family and Education, and each section includes many chapters.  It is written to be used as a reference, where one goes to topics of personal interest, so many of the basics are repeated in each chapter. The level of detail is great; the section on food for example has 42 chapters including Food Without Land, Composting, Menu Planning, Portable Food and Edible Landscaping. (The Bread chapter is 11 pages long, 3 columns per page.) This makes for a very long e-book, some 890 pages! The content is great for the newbie reader.

This book is written to be appropriate for the totally inexperienced city or urban dweller. I’m no good in the kitchen with anything but a frying pan, and am limited with that. But I think that with the book on the counter beside me I could make a pretty good bread the first time, sourdough or whatever, in the frying pan or the oven. And I now understand that my deciding to buy more from local suppliers has national implications and they give me motivation to keep on buying more and more locally.

I suggest you go to the site and learn more. You can read a big chunk of text there and browse the Table of Contents of the various sections. The full book can be downloaded for $1.99.

About the Author

Bob Waldrop is an incredible activist at living, demonstrating and promoting the message of this book. He is the founder of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House (which delivers food to people in need who don’t have transportation), one of the founders of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative (an organization incubating new businesses owned by their workers), and he served as the organization’s first president and general manager.  He works as director of music at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church. He has served on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, and previously served on the Migrants and Refugees Advisory Committee of Catholic Charities OKC. And much more.

Waldrop lives in a Craftsman era bungalow that was built in 1929. In 2005  he remodeled it to increase its energy efficiency and the details of what he did are inspirational. He received a certificate in permaculture design from Barking Frogs Permaculture, and is an assistant instructor in the BFPC Online Permaculture Design Course. In 2006, Bob ran for mayor of Oklahoma City, and, if elected, he promised to demand a recount. See for more of his doings and to read his rants relating to the systemic threats discussed in his book.

With a life like that I can understand why he hasn’t yet gotten to proof-read his new tome, which will be obvious as you start to read it. Big as it is, it’s still quite readable.


As an aside, Nancy and I are sufficiently taken by this book that beginning Feb. 25 we’ll be hosting an iPermie study group here in Rexford at the Healing Garden, open to all. If interested, email for more info.

Don White was a physicist in GE’s R&D Center, retiring in ’85. He and Nancy currently revel in their new solar home. He enjoys gardening, where he pays special attention to berries and to shade-loving plants, with a particular focus on ramps, ginseng and eleuthro (formerly Siberian ginseng).

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