*Dusts off the 9 year old post and wipes screen clear*
2012, eh? I think that is when I first stumbled upon the word "permaculture" somewhere out there. Three good questions which I'll paraphrase and answer
Q1 (from the thread title): "What's the best way to learn permaculture"
There's always the old saying that "the perfect is the enemy of the good". Joel Salatin
often says something to the effect of "anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first" with the emphasis to just do something
. Whenever people
ask Joel how they should
start farming, he'll reply "Well, what are you doing now
?" In other words, sometimes the "best" way is whichever way gets you on the path to begin with. The more you enjoy the way, the further you walk. The important thing is to make a choice.
Of course, this "choose your own way, all paths are equal" isn't true for everything
Q2: How would you suggest I begin to learn the concepts?
I think others have answered the question well enough, so I'm going to instead meander deep into the
weeds chop and drop plants
here a bit.
First, I'd assess your goals. What is your "why?"
What are you ultimately trying to achieve, and how come? I used to teach a bunch of learning skills workshops (like memory improvement, note taking, group study techniques, speed reading etc.), and I feel that it is helpful to link the thing you are trying to learn to your life goals and personal values
. That's a huge motivation factor for purposefully absorbing information thoroughly and quickly, and retaining it.
Second, consider your desired level of learning. How deep down the rabbit hole do you want/need to go?
(As an aside, there's something called Bloom's revised taxonomy
that has six levels of learning which is kind of a neat concept here.) For example, if you want to be a paid professional permaculture design consultant, then you want to know your stuff rock solid, and be at the top level -- Creating. If you want to be able to rattle off Holmgren's 12 permaculture principles in a conversation, that's a different kind of low-level learning -- Remembering.
Third, think about your time/speed. Do you need to learn quickly, or casually, and how much time
are you going to allocate to learning.
Fourth, medium. There is a myth that some people are "only visual learners" or kinetic hands-on learners, etc. I recommend tossing that mental construct out. If you want to learn something well and retain it, diversify
Next, try to identify some of the core concepts
, to do some "previewing". In a formal learning environment, those are "learning objectives"... and they are gold. I haven't taken a PDC, but teacher lecture notes are freely available, and can give an idea of the topics to be learned. PDCs are intended to cover some core areas. It's good to identify what one doesn't know in order to make a plan.
Lastly, search around the forums, check out the book review grid
, wikis, yada yada, and gather up all those diverse learning media and then create a plan and execute.
Q3: What media have I found helpful.
Here's how I've gone about learning...
I think my 9 year permgrimage
is something to the tune of: Reading self sufficiency non-permaculture books (Seymour's Concise Guide
); stumbling upon Geoff Lawton videos
; reading a couple of Joel Salatin's books
; volunteering at a church friend's community
bin; Scott Mann's Permaculture Podcast
; watching Mollison's scratchy old PDC videos
; reviewing free PDC teacher's notes; digital library rental of Fukuoka; convincing my wife to buy me the Designers' Manual for my birthday, then reading it entirely; attending a permaculture workshop
with Michael Judd
, and reading his Edible Landscaping book; reading Jacke & Toensmeier's Edible Forest Gardening vol 1&2
; reading J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops
on deployment; attending a Joel Salatin lecture; fungi
inoculation, banana growing, and mealworms eating styrofoam
experiments and yields with my folks; planting 1000 trees and shrubs with my family
; re-reading "You Can Farm
"; digging more into permies.com; getting turned away at Krameterhof because they forgot about our reservation; doing "Salatin semester" DVD set...again because of COVID lockdowns; volunteering
-- running a neighborhood compost system for +2.5 years
; seed sharing; teaching kids gardening
and mini-workshops, enjoying being motivated SKIP
; designing a community guerilla garden; and now... designing a large urban garden and Earth Day workshops for a nearby refugee center; plus re-read the PADM and plenty of gardening
, plant propagating, and YouTube videos
and other great books sprinkled throughout. And Lord willing 2023 is going to be amazing
, but no spoilers!