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Permaculture as a pyramid scheme

 
                    
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So this post will be sure to ruffle some feathers but I'm not one to mince words. 

It seems the more permaculture groups I join the more messages I see relating to "come take this class for x hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn permaculture" or even better "come take this class for x hundreds/thousands of dollars to learn how to TEACH permaculture".

Most classes look to be a few days of sessions.  To me these just amount to crash courses at which time you get a 'certificate' at the end.  If anyone is in I.T. it reminds me of the phrase "paper MCSE's"

I have never taken a course but troll/research/grow/experiment enough to know that there's no way you can learn enough to be a permaculture expert from a crash course.

It may be a good way to quickly cram some knowledge or a way to get a shiny certificate but the shear volume of these classes that are offered reeks of a way to funnel money up to those who have already taken classes and are looking to make a quick buck of those who just want knowledge.

I know some classes offer hands on at farms and tours during their sessions.  But nothing is going to compete with planting your own stuff and experimenting with it.  I guess I'd rather get outside and spend my money on plants to start my own setups than to waste that money on something I can research on the internet anyway...

oOOOooo I just went there =P

I understand not everyone has the knowledge or time to effectively search the internet for permaculture info, so for them the classes might make sense.  But really some of the 'teaching how to teach permaculture' threads I've seen on multiple permaculture mailing lists recently smells fishy to me.

Sorry for the rant that I'm sure will be unpopular.  I just want to see if anyone else out there feels this way as well.
 
              
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yeah, others of us feel that way, but I guess everyone has their own way of learning.  I wouldn't get much out of such experiences. Internet is my best source for info and help guides me. 
 
                    
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I would compare it to yoga. There are lots of people offering yoga classes, and if one gets yoga magazines or is on yoga email groups, one is exposed to ads for yoga teacher certification. Not a big deal, IMO. Everyone needs to develop their own plan, and maybe the best plan for someone is to use the dvd they checked out from the local library ... if they get some exercise and stress relief, they win.  Some people will read  and experiment with permaculture on their own, some will go to classes, some will become consultants,  others will hire consultants to develop and implement plan for their land
 
tel jetson
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it's no secret that there's frequently more money to be had talking or teaching about permaculture than there is practicing permaculture.  taking a design course is valuable for a lot of folks, though they certainly aren't all equal.
 
Paul Cereghino
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I think for it to be a pyramid scheme someone needs to be getting rich...
 
Charlie Michaels
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Yea they all seem to be around a thousand dollars, so if its just some independent guy that I don't know much about, I wouldn't know where the money goes (more specifically than his pocket). But if its taught by a Permaculture Institute, you know its going to a great cause.

Man this one in particular seems to be invaluable, its around a thousand dollars but you get to hang out with the legends of Bill Mollison and geoff lawton! For anybody that can get to Australia in September, this seems pretty great: http://www.tagari.com/?p=488
 
gary gregory
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Its "buyer beware" with just about everything isn't it?    We took a 2 week PDC and it was great.    In ours they brought in teachers that lived it and knew a lot about it.  I feel like I could teach one but would still want to bring in someone way more skilled than me to do the bulk of it.    A lot of folks just want to leave the city for a weekend and learn a little about permaculture and thats ok too.  And in some ways it is like an old fashioned barn raising where as part of the class you add another layer to the cob building or lay out the contour lines for a new swale, or turn a compost pile etc.  In barn raising folks gave up valuable time from their own farms to help and this way you pay money.  Seems similar to me.
 
Chelle Lewis
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
I think for it to be a pyramid scheme someone needs to be getting rich...


And others would leave with nothing....

Not happening.

But it is definitely as Gary says a matter of "buyer beware' as in any arena. Permaculture attracts all types... but I have found it to largely attract those worth knowing.

Chelle
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Paul Cereghino wrote:I think for it to be a pyramid scheme someone needs to be getting rich...


Perhaps more essentially, when I think of pyramid schemes, there's always a mechanism to transfer money several layers up the pyramid, e.g. the product lower-level salespeople buy includes commissions for the people that recruited them, plus commissions for the recruiters' recruiters, plus the founders make a profit on them.

If the same permaculture lecture program also suggests that you join an affiliate marketing program with its favorite publisher of instruction booklets, my pyramid scheme alarm system would begin to buzz.
 
                          
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I've had similar concerns, and it's partly for this reason (and partly for lack of a thousand dollars to throw around) that I've avoided permaculture design classes with the "big names"--I don't want to become part of a cult of personality. The folks I'm working with right now know their stuff and practice permaculture in the real world, and they're also good teachers, and that's good enough for me. I think there's danger in bowing down to the certificate or the "lineage" as the arbitrator of someone's skill--it can weaken and dilute the body of permaculture knowledge. It reminds me of past experiences in the martial arts world--I had teachers (who undoubtedly knew their stuff) recommend things to me that I was really skeptical about, and follow it up with "You know this is true because I have such-and-such belt and was taught by So Anso, who was taught by Famu Sperson, who was taught by Fao Nder himself--and I find your lack of faith disturbing." The people I learned the most from took the attitude that the practice was everything. Not the name, not the belt, not the lineage, not the style, not the reputation--just the practice. It's a harder road to walk, though--and it's certainly not as convenient to figure out who to learn from if you have to actually watch them work for a whole season and see the results before you can evaluate their practice; that's why reputation is such a seductive short-cut. The most financially successful permaculturists, like the most financially successful martial artists, have to be masters of managing their reputations.
 
paul wheaton
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I think that if you learn better over the internet, then by all means, do that. 

I feel a bit .... off ... at the idea that a person enjoys one form of learning and suggests that another form that people seem willing to do is a lessor form.

I think the fact that people are paying to attend PDC's is proof that people at least like the idea.

For myself, before attending the PDC in 2005, I read nearly all of the books and did massive internet research.  And the PDC had a large positive change on my life.  I found it was well worth what I paid for it. 

If you think a PDC is too expensive, then please don't go.  I encourage everybody else in the world to go to a PDC.

If you think a PDC is some sort of wacky scam, then please don't go.  My opinion is that there is no PDC that is a wacky scam.

If I had the money, I would go to a PDC every year because I enjoyed it so much.  I would like to sample PDC's from lots of different instructors.  It would be, IMOO, heaps of fun.



 
                          
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Don't get me wrong, I think PDC courses generally are good! (I must; I'm taking one myself right now.) I'm just concerned about how easy it can be to substitute a name for a practice, and it's the practice that's important to me. I do not think that I personally can learn that practice from the internet. I've done a lot of reading and thinking about permaculture and it sure is not the same as getting my hands in the dirt and doing it. And sitting in a room listening to a famous person is not the same as working on a team and seeing the results of our efforts. Obviously just because a person has a name in the permaculture world doesn't mean they aren't also great practitioners and great hands-on teachers--but it doesn't guarantee that they are, either. My point is to keep permaculture from becoming like a cult of personality, everyone who wants to learn has to use our heads and not be lazy about it; we can't just show up to a class and let BillDavidBrockPenny MolliDolHolmston-Stark* pour knowledge into us, learned and wise people though they are. Especially not if we're going to turn around and pass that knowledge verbatim on to others, without having tested it in the world. Having those great names, I think, makes that a temptation I'm not sure I'd be equal to--I'm glad I'm learning from people who aren't famous; I'm guessing none of you will care if I say "Kevin Bayuk told me so," so I HAVE to go out and test it for myself!
 
paul wheaton
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I think there are many permaculture icons I trust more than other permaculture icons.

I guess I'm not seeing the "scheme" in all of this.    If there is a real scheme going on, I want to help solve the problem.  I don't want there to be any shenanigans going on in the permaculture world.

On the other hand, I really don't think it is good to yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire.

 
                          
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No, but it's good to have the ushers do a walk-through before the show starts and look for fire hazards.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Kerrick wrote:
No, but it's good to have the ushers do a walk-through before the show starts and look for fire hazards.


Hear, hear.

Not to appoint myself usher, but within that metaphor: I see a couple people sitting in the stairwells, but otherwise things look safe.
 
                                
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Here's the suggestion I'd make to the permaculture novice who wants to learn: buy toby hemenway's book "Gaia's Garden." That will get you about 75% of the way there. The rest involves site observation and researching native species.

Gabriel
The Permaculture Fast Track
http://home.comcast.net/~palalab
 
Paul Cereghino
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Since we are on risky social critique here's a proposition that I got  beat up for once...

There are four interrelated but separable aspects to this permaculture thing:

Design theory -- relatively well defined by Mollison/Holmgren, built on the shoulders of giants.
Practice -- people observing, treating land, observing results, and learning
Subcultural identity -- Im a permie, your a permie, he's not a permie
Brand name -- buy this; its permaculture, and because its permaculture it is a better value then that.

All of these cut both ways.  theory can replace observation, identify can replace relationship, brand can replace discipline... except practice, which reminds me of Buddhism.

"I've started something I can no longer understand - it's out of control from the word go"

"I can easily teach people to be gardeners, and from them, once they know how to garden, you'll get a philosopher. But I could never teach people to be philosophers - and if I did, you could never make a gardener out of them."

- Bill Mollison (interview from In Context)
 
                          
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Paul, that model really resonates with my observations.
 
Chelle Lewis
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
Since we are on risky social critique here's a proposition that I got  beat up for once...

There are four interrelated but separable aspects to this permaculture thing:

Design theory -- relatively well defined by Mollison/Holmgren, built on the shoulders of giants.
Practice -- people observing, treating land, observing results, and learning
Subcultural identity -- Im a permie, your a permie, he's not a permie
Brand name -- buy this; its permaculture, and because its permaculture it is a better value then that.

All of these cut both ways.  theory can replace observation, identify can replace relationship, brand can replace discipline... except practice, which reminds me of Buddhism.

"I've started something I can no longer understand - it's out of control from the word go"

"I can easily teach people to be gardeners, and from them, once they know how to garden, you'll get a philosopher. But I could never teach people to be philosophers - and if I did, you could never make a gardener out of them."

- Bill Mollison (interview from In Context)

Right on, Paul. Nothing can replace practice.

And without practice philosophy has no sound foundation.

Easy to spot.... by those with practice.

Thanks for the interview link.

Wirh regards to a PDC course. Cost is relative. Did it make a life-changing impression? How much value do you put on that? Money is usually spent on less than this.

palalab wrote:
Gabriel
The Permaculture Fast Track
http://home.comcast.net/~palalab
Gabriel, Good Fast Track. Thanks.

Chelle
 
Pat Maas
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For me,
    Not having enough dollars to do more than feed my family and pay bills was reality for many years after a life changing accident. I did have access to the internet though and a librarian that on occasion could get books for me- here most permaculture books but Mollison's first own have not been able to get on inter-library loan. That still hasn't changed.
      As gained more experince and income slowly increased from what was being done on the land it did begin changing.  I began buying the various books-reading them and giving them to the library.  Was able to go to some free lectures/volunteer opportunities from different groups which helped with hands on learning. Became a good observer .
      This place is still a longs way off and it looks to  be a while before an official PDC is in the works for me, but in the mean time many skills will have been learned and how to's figured out. Just another example one wheel- barrow at a time.
 
jeremiah bailey
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Pat, way to go with your progress! Before you know it, you might be the one with the experience and knowledge to teach a course.
 
Pat Maas
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Thank you Jeremiah,
    Have learned one thing over the years and it's the "nuances" that you don't always pick up when doing things on your own. Such things can make or break a project no matter how small or large.
    It's like the Excel program. Although I'm deemed an expert on it, being mostly self taught, there are things that until I have to deal with them like for a friend needing help(bartering)-not been exposed to it-have to stop-read-re read and do. Will keep at it until proficiency is gained. On my own time.
    Or when learning computer programming or math or any number of subjects where there are "givens" not written down. There is an assumption made by those writing the books/learning material that anybody reading them will understand what the nuance is-the unwritten step or two.
      It won't be until the PDC class is behind me to know what it is that was missing. I know that sounds weird, but its how I'm wired. But, thank you again.
 
              
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good thread. thanks for all the tidbits of knowledge.

aside from the seminar junkies, networking trolls and up-selling hosts, i have learned a lot of things from seminars. the best being how to run a successful scheme. anyone want to set one up for the permaculture crowds of the masses, lets team up.

best thing about going to a seminar, you do not have to think, it's planned for you, you get a chance to network with others, potentially get instant feedback on thoughts and ideas, and listening to other conversations and what others are doing can help give you new ideas.

barn raising principle, think that is how permaculture will take root. i think the issue with permaculture taking off has to do with control. what is the tax base on a well established efficient plot of land vs a person working to pay for energy and food?
 
Chelle Lewis
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On top with the benefits of any seminar are forums such as this......if not superior... because the learning never stops.... and at the pace best managed with enjoyment.

On a forum the learning is phenomenal and immediate. The scope of input potential enormous. The pool of experience for the cost ... unbeatable.

I have also enjoyed an e-seminar where a specific topic was tossed about by email day after day with a specialist. The knowledge increase was fast and relevant.

Many ways to learn effectively.

I love meeting new people of like interest, and that would be the greatest benefit of a PDC for me. It is probably why couch-surfing has developed... but I'm still a bit leery of that.... and likely to stay that way.

Chelle
 
Scot Aldred
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serj McCoy wrote:So this post will be sure to ruffle some feathers but I'm not one to mince words. 

It seems the more permaculture groups I join the more messages I see relating to "come take this class for x hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn permaculture" or even better "come take this class for x hundreds/thousands of dollars to learn how to TEACH permaculture".

Most classes look to be a few days of sessions.  To me these just amount to crash courses at which time you get a 'certificate' at the end.  If anyone is in I.T. it reminds me of the phrase "paper MCSE's"

I have never taken a course but troll/research/grow/experiment enough to know that there's no way you can learn enough to be a permaculture expert from a crash course.

It may be a good way to quickly cram some knowledge or a way to get a shiny certificate but the shear volume of these classes that are offered reeks of a way to funnel money up to those who have already taken classes and are looking to make a quick buck of those who just want knowledge.

I know some classes offer hands on at farms and tours during their sessions.  But nothing is going to compete with planting your own stuff and experimenting with it.  I guess I'd rather get outside and spend my money on plants to start my own setups than to waste that money on something I can research on the internet anyway...

oOOOooo I just went there =P

I understand not everyone has the knowledge or time to effectively search the internet for permaculture info, so for them the classes might make sense.  But really some of the 'teaching how to teach permaculture' threads I've seen on multiple permaculture mailing lists recently smells fishy to me.

Sorry for the rant that I'm sure will be unpopular.  I just want to see if anyone else out there feels this way as well.


The idea of learning permaculture from random searches on the web just don't work. Even watching free videos in a free PDC don't work. I tried reading Mollison's book on my own and that didn't work.
I learned more from my 2 week 72hour course than I could have learned from the other approaches. Why? Because the courses change the way you look at things. It challenges the norms that we have grown up with. A properly constructed PDC alters your world view and that is something that is unlikely to happen with independent research across the internet.
I'm willing to bet that there are some terrible permaculture teachers, but I was lucky.
The money they charge is small compared with universities and vocational education and you are accommodated and fed good organic food. It's a pretty good deal if you ask me.
Best,

Scot.
 
Dawn Hoff
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When I was a kid my mom took a psyco-therapist education with the Jung Institute in Denmark. She laughts when I say that a permaculture education is expensive.

Private education costs money (public too, but you don't pay for it out of your own pocket). The invention of the internet is the biggest thing since the invention of the press... I personally do think that you can learn a lot, if not most of what permaculture is about from the internet - yet the experience of being at a PDC and meeting other permies and working with them for two weeks cannot be replaced - not even with a forum like this.

I haven't got a PDC - my husband does. Last year we had the chance of attending a PDC in Barcelona w. Geoff Lawton. Only one of us could go, and I opted out because I could not sit through a 72 hour lecture. Geoff never came (don't know why) and they got Rosemary Morrow instead. We would have never gone had it not been for Geoff's name on the poster - we were very new to permaculture and had not heard of Rowe before. Now I regret that I had not taken the spot when I had the chance - she probably won't be going to Europe again she said. So now I am on the look out for another course - but I will not go to just any course advertised, because I have no way of knowing if the teacher is worth anything if I have never meet them, never read anything they've done or never heard about them before. There are many people in the permaculture world I would gladly pay to meet - only one of them lives in Europe.

Permaculture cannot become a pyramid game exactly because in order to charge those horrendous prices, you have to make a name for yourself - you cannot just say "I was taught by Bill Mollison" and then expect people to come running. So first you have to apply what you've learned. At least I would not pay €1-2000 for a PDC if I had no way of knowing who taught it and what their credentials were - I might pay €300 just for the experience and the whole "being with other permies" thing. But €300 for two weeks of teaching can hardly be called a pyramid scheme
 
Frank Brentwood
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Dawn Hoff wrote:The invention of the internet is the biggest thing since the invention of the press... I personally do think that you can learn a lot, if not most of what permaculture is about from the internet - yet the experience of being at a PDC and meeting other permies and working with them for two weeks cannot be replaced - not even with a forum like this.


I totally agree. Forums and videos and podcasts are all a great starting point. They can expose you to a LOT of information and get you thinking in new ways, but that final step for me will always need to be a practical, HANDS-ON exercise. An on-line PDC might be great for some, but I've always been a tactile learner.

The problems I have finding a PDC are:
1) Affordable - Including things like travel/lodging/meals/incidentals on top of the cost of the course often pushes it out of my price range.
2) Efficient - I just cannot take 2 weeks off to go do "permie stuff" yet. If it was a weekends-only PDC spread out over a few months, it would be more likely to grab my attention.
3) Worthwhile - This is the hardest to quantify, but I think of it as "Name-brand Permaculture". If it's Geoff or Sepp (or even that guy Paul ), I'm a lot more likely to think of the PDC as valuable. I know that there are LOTS of people out there walking the walk every day that are very knowledgeable and excellent instructors. But there are also some that are examples of the old saying 'Those who cannot do, teach'. Unless there's a "Big Name" attached to a course, how do we know?

The issue is the convergence of these three. Big names mean big costs. Big names also can't commit to long-term things due to busy schedules. Affordable classes can't get big names for a few hours a week over several weeks/months. Catch-22, eh?


Dawn Hoff wrote:Private education costs money (public too, but you don't pay for it out of your own pocket).


A wise man once said, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Somewhere along the line, the money that pays for public education IS coming out of YOUR pocket.
 
Dawn Hoff
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Frank Brentwood wrote:
Dawn Hoff wrote:The invention of the internet is the biggest thing since the invention of the press... I personally do think that you can learn a lot, if not most of what permaculture is about from the internet - yet the experience of being at a PDC and meeting other permies and working with them for two weeks cannot be replaced - not even with a forum like this.


I totally agree. Forums and videos and podcasts are all a great starting point. They can expose you to a LOT of information and get you thinking in new ways, but that final step for me will always need to be a practical, HANDS-ON exercise. An on-line PDC might be great for some, but I've always been a tactile learner.

The problems I have finding a PDC are:
1) Affordable - Including things like travel/lodging/meals/incidentals on top of the cost of the course often pushes it out of my price range.
2) Efficient - I just cannot take 2 weeks off to go do "permie stuff" yet. If it was a weekends-only PDC spread out over a few months, it would be more likely to grab my attention.
3) Worthwhile - This is the hardest to quantify, but I think of it as "Name-brand Permaculture". If it's Geoff or Sepp (or even that guy Paul ), I'm a lot more likely to think of the PDC as valuable. I know that there are LOTS of people out there walking the walk every day that are very knowledgeable and excellent instructors. But there are also some that are examples of the old saying 'Those who cannot do, teach'. Unless there's a "Big Name" attached to a course, how do we know?

The issue is the convergence of these three. Big names mean big costs. Big names also can't commit to long-term things due to busy schedules. Affordable classes can't get big names for a few hours a week over several weeks/months. Catch-22, eh?


Dawn Hoff wrote:Private education costs money (public too, but you don't pay for it out of your own pocket).


A wise man once said, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Somewhere along the line, the money that pays for public education IS coming out of YOUR pocket.

As to the last - I agree, but I believe that is venturing onto forbidden territory around here

I think weekend courses are a very good idea - because two weeks out of most people's schedules is a lot, and it costs a lot - you know how much money do you make in two weeks?
 
Peter Ellis
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Spreading a PDC over a couple of months of weekends would be a very different thing than the immersion of two weeks just living and breathing permaculture. Not saying it would not be worth doing, but it would be a different thing.

As to the pyramid scheme - the phrase has a specific meaning, and one that does not apply here. The students who take Professor X's PDC and then go out and teach their own course are not kicking back a portion of each student's tuition to the person who taught them. So no, Permaculture is not a pyramid scheme.

Do I find myself with some questions regarding how well it works, when it seems like the people we hear about are all making much of their income from teaching about it, rather than from doing it? Certainly. But I question the accuracy of the numbers that get thrown around, I wonder how many people we do not hear about because they are way too busy doing permaculture to be showing off their results to people - and how well those people are doing in financial terms without selling permaculture courses, or even consulting.

I wonder how fair it is to permaculture to be trying to measure the success of both Permaculture and its practitioners in terms of income generated. To me, one of the huge values of permaculture is not the money it generates, but al the money it spares me from spending. If my expenses for food, shelter and energy are reduced to near zero in cash dollars, that represents something very substantial for me. But it is not income generated, so for some people it seems to be of zero value.

But as a pyramid scheme, permaculture is an utter failure, because the pyramid structure simply is not there.
 
Scot Aldred
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Frank Brentwood wrote:
Dawn Hoff wrote:The invention of the internet is the biggest thing since the invention of the press... I personally do think that you can learn a lot, if not most of what permaculture is about from the internet - yet the experience of being at a PDC and meeting other permies and working with them for two weeks cannot be replaced - not even with a forum like this.


I totally agree. Forums and videos and podcasts are all a great starting point. They can expose you to a LOT of information and get you thinking in new ways, but that final step for me will always need to be a practical, HANDS-ON exercise. An on-line PDC might be great for some, but I've always been a tactile learner.

The problems I have finding a PDC are:
1) Affordable - Including things like travel/lodging/meals/incidentals on top of the cost of the course often pushes it out of my price range.
2) Efficient - I just cannot take 2 weeks off to go do "permie stuff" yet. If it was a weekends-only PDC spread out over a few months, it would be more likely to grab my attention.
3) Worthwhile - This is the hardest to quantify, but I think of it as "Name-brand Permaculture". If it's Geoff or Sepp (or even that guy Paul ), I'm a lot more likely to think of the PDC as valuable. I know that there are LOTS of people out there walking the walk every day that are very knowledgeable and excellent instructors. But there are also some that are examples of the old saying 'Those who cannot do, teach'. Unless there's a "Big Name" attached to a course, how do we know?

The issue is the convergence of these three. Big names mean big costs. Big names also can't commit to long-term things due to busy schedules. Affordable classes can't get big names for a few hours a week over several weeks/months. Catch-22, eh?


Dawn Hoff wrote:Private education costs money (public too, but you don't pay for it out of your own pocket).


A wise man once said, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Somewhere along the line, the money that pays for public education IS coming out of YOUR pocket.


If you are interested in our permaculture journey so far check out: http://pernaculture.blogspot.com.au/

I'm offering an online PDC next year that will solve the transport and meals issue. I'm an educator who specialises in online learning at university level--the PDC will be offered at $800AU, which is considerably cheaper than any comparable PDC and IMHO, much better. I will be offering some scholarships as well, so keep checking this forum for the details.

Scot.
 
Joe Camarena
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I partially agree with the original poster. There are some great people teaching amazing stuff out there and are charging a fair market value for their PDC. These are very knowledgeable folks with many years of real hands on experience. They have green thumbs, you could say. What they are teaching is tried and true knowledge.

There are also a few weasels out there just trying to make money off permaculture (PDC's, grossly over priced workshops, etc...), but they seem to be the minority right now. There are easy to spot. Look for the guy/gal that hasn't really done anything (cannot produce a portfolio). Look for the guy that was in another business, or still is, and is just branching into permaculture to cash in. I won't pay to learn from someone that cannot show me how well a design is doing that was completed ten years ago. If some nut job just heard of permaculture 5 years ago, got some shitty online PDC and is teaching permaculture now...I wouldn't pay him/her one red cent because the majority of their knowledge will not be practical. Their knowledge will all be from a text book, or worse, just BS from the hip.

Conclusion, vet your possible teachers and what you pay for their knowledge will be worth it.

Joe
 
Bill Bradbury
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There are more ways to learn than paying money, but you will pay something for quality knowledge. I have apprentices; I pay them and they get to learn, but it ain't no free ride. They work their butts off doing the kinds of things that people who pay money for a permaculture experience would rather not do. If you want a free ride, then go figure it all out for yourself!
 
kirk dillon
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Location: Maple City Michigan
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Pyramid scheme; Person A sells something to person B with the understanding that when person B sells the same something to person C that part of the funds go back to person A as well as a portion of the funds that person C, D, E, F, etc. bring in. As long as the lineage keeps going person A gets rich.

Permaculture; Person A sells something (their knowledge) to person B. Person B sells their knowledge to person C, etc. Person A must continue to teach in order to make more money and has nothing to do with person B's success or failure.
Permaculture is definitely NOT a pyramid scheme

Are people making money teaching permaculture? Absolutely. Is their teaching worth YOUR money? That depends on the teacher. I studied all I could about Permaculture for about 5 years before I took a PDC. A lot of that came from this forum. I found an inexpensive course ($800) and loved it. There were over 40 students attending. The amount of knowledge learned would have taken years of internet searches. Take a PDC from a qualified instructor you will learn way more than you can anywhere else. I've never heard of anybody who finished a PDC and said that they already knew all of what was taught. I wish I had spent more money for a better course because now I know how much I don't yet know. If I can spare the money, I'll take more PDC's in the future just to get another "experts" views, experiences and opinions. Somebody with 20 years of hands on permaculture experience is invaluable. The course I took crammed so much knowledge into 2 weeks that I left in awe of the teachers knowledge. I was told in the class that if you want to be a teacher, then give a free 1 hour class. Then give a 5 dollar 2 hour class, then a 10 dollar 4 hour class and keep adding to the time and money until you feel confident to teach a full 72 hour course. I am certain that NOBODY from my class is teaching PDC courses yet (1-1/2 years ago) because we just don't have the experience and knowledge to be able to teach that long of a class with confidence. To assume that PDC graduates are attending PDC's to get a certificate and get rich is absurd. Most people taking a PDC genuinely care about the planet and doing their part to reduce our (human) impact on it. We left that PDC ready to change the world. If we somehow made money too, that would be a bonus.
I feel that even remotely comparing a PDC to a pyramid scheme is disrespectful. Take a PDC, you won't regret it.
 
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