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Allan Savory on managing complexity holistically: Part 1

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this interview has been on my podcasting bucket list for a long time. Like so many others, I’d been intrigued by Allan’s work since I saw his iconic TED talk a few years back. The promise of the ability to restore grassland ecologies through carefully managed grazing made so much sense to me. Allan adeptly explained how he learned to mimic the migration patterns of herd animals on the plains in the African savannah by bunching them together to imitate predator pressure, and then move them through paddocks to allow the land to rest and recover in between impact cycles.

Through careful observation he learned to time these grazing and rest cycles in such a way that the perennial grasses could grow larger than ever thought possible and so many other healthy functions of the land were restored in turn. It seems so simple and yet has marked a revolution in ranching and livestock management around the world, giving rise to the prominence of Holistic Management through the Savory Institute and an ever expanding network of Savory hubs around the world. 

I myself dabbled in the core teachings which are based around working with whole systems rather than reductionist scientific methods, and defining one’s own holistic context within the whole under management. From there you learn to make decisions based on the quality of life you desire for yourself and those you love and assess the resources you need to produce or acquire to maintain that quality of life indefinitely. I began to see these principles pop up in other books I was reading and Allan’s teachings were quoted in nearly all of the courses on regenerative agriculture I came across. Many of my mentors have cited this framework as the foundation on which they design farms and manage ecologies. The pieces just get coming together

Recently I finally committed and enrolled in the Holistic Management accredited professional course offered by 3LM, the Savory hub in the UK, which is responsible for training many of the other managers and trainers I’ve connected with around Europe. All of this led me to play hooky on my weekly online training to finally get to speak with the man himself. 

To be honest, this whole preamble was to try and explain why I sound so nervous in this interview. And just as Murphy’s law would have it, when I finally got Allan on the call, my connection began to fail me. So with the combination of me sounding much like I did back on the early seasons of this show and some annoying glitchy sound issues (which I promise I mostly cleaned up in the post production) I invite you to have a listen to the first of a two part call with Allan Savory in which we explore some of the insights that he’s gained from decades teaching and developing his framework all around the world. 

In this first half, we start by talking about what Allan is working on these days and what he still sees as the unfinished business of a very long career. We dissect some of the more challenging concepts in Holistic Management to grasp and also to teach, and Allan uses some of my inept use of language to illustrate some common misunderstandings that arise with newcomers like myself. 

If you’re interested in getting a chance to hear Allan Savory speak live and ask him some questions of your own, there are still spots open to register for the expert panel call that I’m hosting with him and Rudolf Buehler of the BESH farmers association this upcoming Wednesday at 8pm Central European time. It’s free to register and I’ll be posting the link on the discord channel which you can access through our website or instagram page. 

Join the discord discussion channel to answer the weekly questions and learn new skills with the whole community

Links:

savory.global

What is Holistic Management?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1287318.Holistic_Management

https://www.3lm.network/

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