Popular Power

Permaculture | Politics | Place


“Popular Power” 

Popular Power is a resource for educators and organizers interested in permaculture, politics, and place-based organizing. The name, Popular Power, refers first and foremost to Popular Education–an embodied method of education that flattens the student teacher hierarchy (we are all students) in pursuit of social transformation, solidarity, mobilization and eco-social justice. Power, secondly, is the ability to create or prevent change. Taken together, Popular Power refers to our collective work in transforming society through egalitarian education and protracted social activism, organizing and ecological design.

As an educator, activist, organizer and permaculturist involved in leftist movements for the last 16 years, and as an Assistant Professor at Naropa University, I’ve developed this website to catalogue resources that focus on building and nurturing our popular power.


Professional Website | This website serves as a professional development platform for Stephen Polk (that’s me!). I recently (winter 2018) completed a Diploma in Permaculture Design with an emphasis in the fields of Education and Human Rights from the Permaculture Institute USA. As a component part of this process, I am documenting the development and further refinement of my curriculum and pedagogy across permaculture education, ecological literacy, political literacy, movement based strategy, and other related activity– all under the umbrella of popular power.

To “popularize” my pedagogy | As all education is a cumulative process, most everything I post is a ‘work in progress.’ On this note, you will quickly see that most of my curriculum (the what) is in the pedagogical form (the how) of power point, which is not necessarily conducive to popular education; it can be rightly criticized as a “banking” pedagogy. However, I argue, it is not anathema to it. On one hand, powerpoints are an ideal form of disseminating large amounts of (especially technical) information. Once this base of knowledge is established, participants can then more effectively engage in deeper, experiential, and dialogical engagement. The form itself is also amenable to creating active and participatory environments, especially when the information is accompanied by questions that facilitate first-person inquiry. As I move deeper into developing and fine-tuning the curriculum, I hope to transition away from powerpoint, while not jettisoning it altogether. There is a much deeper debate to be had here for sure.