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how important is it to get a PDC

 
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I have the opportunity to take an online PDC course. It is not cheap and its mostly for my own benefit, plus adding weight to my arguments with local government when they are being stupid. Is it worth it to get the certificate? I am already amassing a permaculture library, plus hanging out with you wonderful people and doing my own version of permaculture in my corner of the world. Opinions please!
 
pollinator
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I think this is a great big 'it depends' scenario. I'd imagine one of the biggest benefits of a PDC is the collaboration. Being there to hear questions other people bring up that you might not have been thinking about at the time and hearing the answers given by the instructor. Even if you don't remember every single point, just having been exposed to it means you will have a leg up on where to find the answer again in the future when you need to put that knowledge into action. You can kind of do the same thing here, but it isn't curated and you aren't under the guidance of someone teaching you with a comprehensive plan, so it would take a lot longer and probably leave more holes in your knowledge base versus taking a course. You don't know what you don't know, as the saying goes. I haven't taken a PDC, so someone with first hand experience could probably bring up a lot more of the benefits.

It also depends on your climate. I find quite a lot of 'growies' stuff on here doesn't apply to Florida at all. I've found the info from David The Good (author, You-Tuber, Permies member) to be better than anyone else when it comes to growing things in North Florida. Some of his methods that work great here would kill plants in colder places with less sandy soil, and using a lot of methods found elsewhere will at the very least waste a lot of water and nutrients trying to keep things alive, if not kill them outright. I would encourage people to find a permaculture teacher that works in your climate. I doubt there are many people out there that are encyclopedic in their knowledge of many regions like Geoff Lawton.

Laura Trovillion wrote: adding weight to my arguments with local government when they are being stupid.



As far as I'm aware, there aren't any governments that recognize this certification. The teacher would have to be certified with the government and the government would do what it does best and turn a good idea into complete chaos. It definitely grind my gears that even though I own my land outright (not owned by the bank, paid cash) I intend on living alone, and could easily put up warning signs for people to enter at their own risk, it is still illegal for me to live in a tiny house. So I completely understand your frustration with government nonsense. Some of permaculture falls into grey legal areas. You have to live in places without code enforcement, do things first and ask for forgiveness later, pretend that situations are problems and you might want the government to fix it to send them packing while you reap the rewards of your 'problem' and other absurdities. Also, I can't imagine anyone working for the government admitting they are wrong about anything without a statute or court order telling them such. Exerting power over people simply because they can seems to be the status quo any time a person is given any level of power. If anything, trying to convince an authority figure that you have your own authority is going to convince them to wage war against you. If you have a large group of people trying to change the laws in your area then you might have a chance, but I certainly wouldn't try to take on a fight like that by myself. I also feel that I am in the top 1% of the least convincing humans alive, so I'm a bit biased when it comes to trying to change someone else's mind.
 
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Early on when I first found the forum, one of the ladies shared what she learned at the PDC she attended.

There were so much more things that she shared that would not be available online.

Is the online PDC your only opportunity?

Is this PDC being offered by a well-known and respected individual?

Have they offered an example of what the course will cover?

I feel there are many considerations as to the need for a PDC.

Many take it to learn more about permaculture whereas other folks feel having the certificate might open doors in the professional field.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best possible outcome.
 
Laura Trovillion
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Thank you both for your insight.
The course is online and taught by Geoff Lawton. I am in central IL, so I feel my climate is pretty standard, if there is such a thing in this time of climate change.
We are "that house" in town. We have the " be the change" attitude, but haven't really made any impact other that being a pain in the local government's ass. Which is part of it. If I can go to the village board, not as that old hippy chick, but as a certified permaculturist, when I raise hell, I feel like it will have more weight. Maybe people will say " oh, she does know what she's doing...." And maybe I'm just dreaming....there is so much that could be done, right here in my little town with it's ranch homes and neatly mown and roundupped yards. Where every leaf is raked, bagged and burned(unless I get there first). Ditches are straight shots to rivers that constantly flood and everyone bitches about their water bills. Sorry for the mini-rant, it's frustrating.
 
pollinator
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I've done myself the same question.
So far, I am gardening as a hobby, with very little free time and resources, therefore I see the cost of a PDC a bad investment for my current involvement.

That said, since I have more spare time while at home, I've been perusing anything I could get my hands on about permaculture. There are lots of free resources, really, but it's time consuming finding everything, then checking what works in your land.

Usually, when watching permaculture gardeners, they tell you they are using raised beds and planting sweet potatoes along the kale, and see how gorgeus (it's May or June, of course). They are not teaching, they are not educating, they are just showing what they did manage thanks to permaculture in the best case. But you and me, watching them might be tempted to imitate the same they are doing, with awry results. Keep looking and you will find one or two gardeners that tell what they did and why they did it. Understanding the reasons is the key for developing strategies in your land.
David the Good is one of these gardeners that explain what they are doing, and even though his climate is different than mine, it has helped me to understand how to approach my own soil and climate. Geoff Lawton also gives plenty of free lessons. Andrew Millison has very beatiful drawings. Huw Richards has a very productive garden in Wales. Diego Footer does a good job summarizing and applying Elaine Ingham work about the soil food web. You can also follow Soil Food Web videos or Elaine Ingham herself, but it is very academic and looks like she's only touching the surface. Canadian Permaculture Legacy has an interesting approach, very similar to Paul Wheaton's. Most of this is gardening with Permaculture designs. If you want to learn about other uses of permaculture (housing, clothing, cooking, building community), there's no better place than permies.com.

But it took me several months of watching here and there to find the stuff that really helped.
I suppose that what you get in a course is very focused learning, meaning you don't waste your time with stuff that teaches you nothing new. Maybe in the course you can learn to think from patterns to details, as this is something I'm finding incredibly difficult.
 
Anne Miller
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Laura, a chance to take a PDC from Geoff Lawton definitely a plus!

From what Abraham has said that you can learn a lot just by reading online.  So I recommend reading the forum as there is a lot of permaculture that can be learned right if a person spends the right amount of time searching.

I recommend this book:

https://permies.com/wiki/20210/Permaculture-Designer-Manual-Bill-Mollison

There is a forum for Permaculture Design:

https://permies.com/f/123/permaculture-design
 
pollinator
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Laura Trovillion wrote:Thank you both for your insight.
We are "that house" in town. We have the " be the change" attitude, but haven't really made any impact other that being a pain in the local government's ass. Which is part of it. If I can go to the village board, not as that old hippy chick, but as a certified permaculturist, when I raise hell, I feel like it will have more weight. Maybe people will say " oh, she does know what she's doing...." And maybe I'm just dreaming....there is so much that could be done, right here in my little town with it's ranch homes and neatly mown and roundupped yards. Where every leaf is raked, bagged and burned(unless I get there first). Ditches are straight shots to rivers that constantly flood and everyone bitches about their water bills. Sorry for the mini-rant, it's frustrating.



This kind of answers your question I think.
I do not have a PDC, I've been into permaculture for over 20 years. I've done a few short courses that weren't PDCs but focused more specifically on something I was interested in--rainwater harvesting and erosion control.  I also love history, but I don't feel the need to get a BA in History because I'm not going to be working in history or trying to get people to listen to me about history.
So you could get the PDC and try to be a consultant and consult to the village board--another path would be to run for a position in your local city government--or just work on a campaign of someone who is running, so you can get in with the policy makers.
 
pollinator
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In my opinion, getting a PDC certificate is only important if someone thinks it is.  The knowledge is what's so valuable, and the interaction with other people. I got my PDC at Wheaton Labs and it was a wonderful experience. I haven't actually used the knowledge except on our property so certification doesn't help me there.

If cost is an issue, and when isn't it, Heather Jo Flores offers free online courses. https://www.freepermaculture.com/

I haven't taken the courses so I can't recommend them one way or another, but she has a good reputation and offers a lot of information and support online.
 
pollinator
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From a strictly pragmatic viewpoint, if the purpose of having a PDC is to present an air of credibility to the city council, I'd go with the least expensive online certificate that I could find. The council members won't know what distinguishes a PDC signed by Geoff Lawton from one signed by Old Clem Down At The Pub.
 
master pollinator
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Laura Trovillion wrote:but as a certified permaculturist, when I raise hell, I feel like it will have more weight. Maybe people will say " oh, she does know what she's doing...."



Geoff is one of my personal heroes, so I would love to take a PDC with him.  If it's mainly for your own knowledge and you can afford it, I think it would be a great opportunity.  If your motivation is other than just to learn from him, I think it's a waste of money.  I don't think anyone on your local government knows, or cares, about Geoff Lawton or permaculture.  If you could get them to spend any time even looking at it, you may win them over, but if making changes is your plan, I think a grassroots approach may be better.  If you can get a few friends and neighbors to try even small ideas, their interest may grow.  With their help, you may be able to expand it to enough people that you will have the support at town board meetings and the like to make real changes.  A lot of voices all saying they want something is probably going to be more powerful than the crazy hippy lady waving her certificate in their faces.  And btw, I mean crazy hippy lady in the best possible light
 
Abraham Palma
pollinator
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[quote=Robin Katz]In my opinion, getting a PDC certificate is only important if someone thinks it is.  The knowledge is what's so valuable, and the interaction with other people. I got my PDC at Wheaton Labs and it was a wonderful experience. I haven't actually used the knowledge except on our property so certification doesn't help me there.

If cost is an issue, and when isn't it, Heather Jo Flores offers free online courses. https://www.freepermaculture.com/

I haven't taken the courses so I can't recommend them one way or another, but she has a good reputation and offers a lot of information and support online.[/quote]

I've just signed. I'll let you know if it was worth the tip (they ask just for a really small donation).
 
gardener
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Do you need the certificate? If not, there is a great permaculture design course right here on permies!  

https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology

It is super affordable and the only thing you don't get is a certificate.  Otherwise you have the entire course right at your fingertips to do at your own pace.  

Having a certificate is great for people who are looking to teach or do design as a career.  If it is for your own benefit, maybe just having the confidence and jargon gained from taking a course will be enough to carry weight with the city council.


 
Laura Trovillion
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Thank you everyone for your opinions, insights and general wisdom. You have sparked conversations with myself that are bringing me closer to what my true goals and desired outcomes are. Couldn't have done it without you!!
 
pioneer
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I say, GO for it. Geoff Lawton’s PDC is just about the very best there is. Towards the end, he explains exactly how to make social and political change, using the new way of looking at the world that the PDC gives you. The PDC is much more than a bunch of knowledge. It gives you a new understanding of the world, and teaches you to see through design eyes. It takes the knowledge you already have, and gives you a whole new structure to fit it into. The PDC I took used Geoff Lawton’s DVDs as the course material. And that was the 1.0. The 2.0 is specifically for an online audience.
 
His brain is the size of a cherry pit! About the size of this ad:
Earth Friendly Heat - Full Event - 16 hours of video
https://permies.com/wiki/188928/Earth-Friendly-Heat-Full-Event
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