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Feb. 2010 Sahale Permaculture Design Course

 
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Hi, all -  Here is some information about a new Permaculture Design Course we are offering at Sahale Learning Center, the lovely location of the last 2 years' Washington State Permaculture Convergences.  The teachers are the amazing Larry Corn (translator of Masanobu Fukuoka's ONE STRAW REVOLUTION), the fabulous Marisha Auerbach of Wild Thyme Farm, and the very organized Laura Sweany of Terra Flora Farm.  Check out our website for more information: www.sahalepermaculture.com
For those of you who are ready for the intensive immersion experience that is a full PDC, this is the course for you.
 
Laura Sweany
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Hey, folks - spaces are filling up for our Feb. PDC at Sahale Learning Center.  Check out our instructors, our website, and especially our prices!  You won't find a better value for a full PDC anywhere else in 2010.  We've cut our tuition to the bone to guarantee a large gathering and the most diverse student body possible.  There isn't a better investment to make in your future right now than a complete Permaculture Design Course.
 
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I just wanted to add to Laura's post, I took this course the first year it was offered at Sahale in 2004 (where I met Laura) and it is a wonderful location, beautiful place with lots of permaculture things going on. Skeeter and Marisha were the main instructors. It was a great experience, and I know Marisha, Laura and the others will provide you with a huge amount of permculture info for the cost. So don't miss it if you can attend. Barbara Greene
 
Laura Sweany
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Hey, Barb - good to hear from you!  Thanks for the kind support.  I had heard you had moved to Nevada - are you still raising goats?  E-mail me at lauraflora@msn.com and let's catch up!
 
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And here is a permies thread about the 2005 course (that I was part of)

https://permies.com/permaculture-forums/280_0/meaningless-drivel/sahale-pdc-2005

What an excellent experience.

In the 2005 course, some of the 2004 alums came on the last day.  That's when I first met laura. 

 
Laura Sweany
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Howdy, everyone -

A bit of an update on our course and our instructor lineup.  Our lead instructor is still none other than Larry Korn, translator of Masanobu Fukuoka's classic ONE STRAW REVOLUTION.  One of our instructors, Marisha Auerbach, has had to withdraw from our course for personal reasons.  We wish her the best  in her upcoming endeavors; check Marisha's website at www.herbnwisdom.com for more information on her upcoming classes. 

Deston Denniston of Abundance Consulting LLC will be joining us to fill out our team; he brings with him both a wealth of practical experience and a deep understanding of whole system design.  Deston has been practicing and teaching permaculture for many years at his rural homestead in SW Washington.

Also, Paul Wheaton has graciously offered to travel all the way from Montana to join us for our Sahale Alumni Reunion on Saturday, Feb. 27th.  Paul will arrive late Friday and will offer evening presentations on rocket mass heaters and wofati construction to compliment Friday's instruction on natural building techniques.  Saturday will bring our final team project presentations and instruction on animals in the system; Paul will share his presentations on raising chickens and the benefits of pigs within permaculture systems.  Then comes the traditional Permie Talent Show!

On a final note, we have noticed that the current economic downturn has taken its toll on PDC enrollment throughout Cascadia.  We encourage you to sign up for our course, which at this time is a small group with an low student-to-teacher ratio.  We will be need to evaluate our fully-registered student numbers no later than Feb. 3 to make sure that we will be generating sufficient income to cover our expenses.  We've done our part by keeping our prices low - now you do your part by letting all your friends know what an amazing value this course is, and by planning to attend!
 
paul wheaton
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I think this is a rare opportunity to study under Larry Korn.  The things that Fukuoka accomplished were so incredibly advanced that I am still mesmerised.

 
paul wheaton
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And now I want to tell a story. 

When I arrived at sahale in 2005, I had read damn near every permaculture book available and had carefully combed through nearly all of the web sites.  I had had a lot of long discussions with several other permaculture people.  I was prepared to get my certificate so that I could use the word "permaculture" in my endeavors. 

The class changed my life. 

Oh sure, the instruction was excellent, and there was so much I learned above and beyond what I already had.  But the real life changing experience came from the dining room. 

I am still flabbergasted at how 25 very different people had such a common ..... enlightenment?  These folks were far beyond protesting and being angry about bad things.  They were there to create good things.  Almost purely. 

I once tried to make a joke about george bush and there was this sort of awkward silence before someone said "I think george needs a hug" and everybody laughed. 

The lessons of purity and wholesomeness were so advanced, I struggled to undertsand what I was witnessing. 

I left sahale a far better person than when I arrived. 

 
                                        
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Hi there,

I'm really interested in taking this course! Two questions: 1) It's going to be in February. What will the conditions be like for us to learn about say, fruit trees when it's not really the season for their growth? Can someone please elaborate on this? I have a particular interest in learning more about this. 2) I live in Capitol Hill, Seattle. Is there anybody signed on that would be willing to do a rideshare? I do not possess a car.

Thanks everyone!
 
Laura Sweany
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Hey, Lemurlizard -
Timing is always tricky for a residential PDC, and at Sahale we have consistently had ours in the Feb/Mar zone.  We figured that folks would learn their permaculture, get all fired up about it, and then be able to put it into practice right away during the upcoming Spring-Fall.  We also figured that folks who were already growing would have a slow time in that late winter zone, and could afford to take a couple of quiet weeks off. 

As for fruit trees, pruning has always been a topic of conversation and demonstration - Sahale has a bunch of them, young and old.  It's so much easier to see plant structure when leaves are absent, although you don't get to identify diseased leaves...once again, it's rather a toss up.

Lastly, we have several people signed up who are either coming from Seattle, or coming thru Seattle to get to Sahale.  I wouldn't worry about finding a carpool if I were you - if you've signed up to attend, we won't leave you behind!
 
                          
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Paul said:

Not only are there tickets still available, but if they don't get enough paid attendees by (I think) Feb 4, then the class might still be cancelled.

It is my obnoxious opinion that if the class ends up being cancelled, it is living proof that if a PDC is offered, a low price is not wise.  It is better to have a higher price and have your minimum student count lower.  And this is the lowest price I have seen for a PDC in many years.



I'm not so sure I agree that low-priced PDC courses are unfeasible.

I recently began a PDC course through the SF Permaculture guild. It's an urban permaculture course, so it's not residential, and students bring food to share rather than having food provided. The cost for the course is $750, $600 with work trade. While I don't know how many people are getting work trade (I am), I feel certain it's less than half and think it's likely to be as much as a quarter. The enrollment for the course is thirty and it's reasonably diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, economic background and prior knowledge (though still dominated by young white hipsters--it is San Francisco). So I'd estimate the gross of the class to be around $21K.

So far it's been excellent--we meet every Wednesday evening for three hours and Saturdays all day, from the second week of January to March 13. While we're getting additional training focusing on urban environments, I feel pretty comfortable that I'm learning the full PDC material well enough to apply it to rural and peri-urban areas. There are two instructors as well as two or sometimes three apprentice instructors at each class, so we're doing a lot of small group work as well as getting some one-on-one interaction. We're also getting a good amount of land work—we have a working permaculture garden designed for our use right outside our classroom; yesterday we studied water in McLaren Park (which is the second biggest park in San Francisco and a great classroom for studying water flow); today I was with many of my classmates and some recent graduates at an urban farm that's just being started in Hayes Valley, sheet mulching and moving tons of manure. The instructors aren't big names, but I think they have good credentials and deep experience, especially in the urban environment, and their teaching styles are very effective.

So there's this other model that can maybe make a permaculture course more accessible to people who are being impacted by the downturn. I know folks like to do intensives. I think it's really valuable to be able to live on the land I'm partnering with, especially for long enough to see change over time--I'm still planning a residential internship for spring, summer, and part of fall once I'm finished with the course. I think that kind of observation time is essential for developing pattern vision. But for many people who could really contribute to the work of permaculture in the world, traveling out of their zones for a two-week intensive isn't always feasible, and that may be why enrollment is low.

If the timing and location worked out for me for Sahale, I'd be there, but it's not to be for me this year. I hope you get enough enrollment and that the course goes well.


(I just want to complain that I had to go back and edit this to fix my links because the word permaculture has to link back to the front page every time it's used. Wah.)
 
                              
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I think the lower price is better because there are so many students interested and the economy is so impacted right now.
Debbie
 
Laura Sweany
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We had a discussion about course format at the recent Cascadia Permaculture Teachers' Convergence at Wild Thyme Farm, and we came up with over a DOZEN different kinds of formats for course structure.  These were actual examples of courses that the attending teachers had created and offered.  I was fascinated by the diversity of all these offerings, and there were some very clear benefits detailed by Jude Hobbs for offering local, non-residential courses (see her article with Toby Hemenway on the subject "In Praise of the Weekend Design Course" at http://www.cascadiapermaculture.com/articles/weekenddesign.html )

However, I also had a conversation with Doug Bullock about this very subject just last weekend, and we both remain staunch supporters of residential, intensive courses, and here's why: they re-wire your brain in a very specific way.  There is something about the insistent pressure of eating, sleeping, breathing (and everything else) with a group of devoted comrades that literally changes how you think, and even how you can think - Doug calls it brainwashing, and I would agree, but in a good way.  Because you're all so close together, sharing every intimate detail, your mind and heart are more open.  The exquisite elegance of permaculture's whole system design really penetrates and shapes you.  Then add in sensitive, experienced teachers that are aware of everyone's tender state, and you have a truly transformative core experience. 

Don't get me wrong; teaching (and learning, and practicing) permaculture, however it's done, is the primary goal.  I'd rather see loads of weekend courses taught than be a purist about seeing my particular favorite taught to the exclusion of all others.  But I don't mind saying that I do have a favorite, and detailing why that is so.  Vive la difference!

 
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Chiming in here.  A two-week PDC is not for everyone.  As far as we try to make the cost as low as possible it is still a lot of money.  And then, how many of us can get away for two solid weeks?  The weekend courses are practical for many people.

One really nice thing about the intensive courses, though, is the sense of community that develops during the course.  It illustrates so much of what permaculture is saying about  people getting along and creating their own villages, rural or urban.  Either way, there is a core teaching that one will get from either approach.  There are many fine teachers out there who are not "big names" in the field.  But they know permaculture.

Find what is right for you, but do try to get a track record for the instructors.  More than 95% of the time it will be just fine.
 
Laura Sweany
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This just in: we finally got enough students registered to be able to guarantee the course will go on!!!

YAY!!!

Needless to say, we still have room for more folks to join us at the beautiful Sahale Learning Center - to bask in the glow of Larry's fine teaching, to work and network and learn so much it'll make your brain hurt, and then to soak in the glorious spring-fed cedar hot tub!  What could be better?!?

We even have a few spots for diligent work/traders; visit www.sahalepermaculture.com for more information.

And finally, a big round of thanks goes to Paul Wheaton, who pulled out all the stops for us to help get our attendance over the top.  You're the best, man!
 
paul wheaton
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And when, exactly, is the sahale PDC reunion?





 
Laura Sweany
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Thanks for that intro, Paul...

The Sahale PDC Alumni Reunion is traditionally held on the last evening of the course; in our case, that's Saturday, Feb. 27th.  We invite all previous attendees to Sahale PDCs, or even previous WA State Convergence attendees, to arrive any time on Saturday.  We will be enjoying our final module on "Animals in the Landscape" (ably taught by none other than the fabulous Paul Wheaton), and presenting design team final projects during the day, and then having the Talent Night escapades and networking like mad!  The firepit will be blazing, the cedar tub will be hot, so don't miss this great opportunity to see old friends, meet new ones, and welcome a fledging clutch of permaculturists to the edge of the nest.  Cost for food and lodgings will be $40 per person - give me a call at 206-369-7590 to reserve your spot! 

 

 
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hey guys have a geat course. I wish I could be there  maybe next year.. fukuoka is my hero so I hope to hear lots about it on here  Sam
 
Laura Sweany
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WE NEED WORK/TRADERS!  We have room for several partial work/trade students for the Sahale PDC.  We've got cooking prep and cleaning needs that we don't have folks for, so give me a call at 206-369-7590  or e-mail me at lauraflora@msn.com if you have more energy than money and want to get your permaculture certificate.
 
Laura Sweany
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Can this be true?  A PDC with NO work/trade participants?  How wierd is that? But that's the situation with this Sahale PDC.  We had a couple, they fell through, now we have none.

Last chance, folks - give me a call at 206-369-7590 if you're ready for the life-changer that is the residential PDC.  You'll be glad you did!  WE'LL be glad you did, too!
 
                              
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I will share this with my class
Debbie White
 
                    
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Oh wow, I just looked at this thread again.  No work traders?  That is amazing.  I'd be willing to do (some, not all!) cooking and cooking prep.  The thing about work trading during a course is that it takes time, and a two week course is already so intensive that it's hard to step away and go do chores.  But I'm willing! 

See y'all in a few hours! 
 
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So how was the course?
 
Laura Sweany
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I thought it went very well.  The students were engaged, the weather was pretty good, the food was wonderful - everyone graduated with a certificate and seemed to go home happy.  It was a very calm group; more older folks than usual, less college-aged students.  I'll be interested in what others have to say about the experience as well.  I'm proud of the good job that Larry, Deston and I did.  It was an honor to continue my teacher training with .these two fine permaculturists.
 
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