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Happy New Year! Wwoof workshops  RSS feed

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Yahoo, as far as I'm concerned, spring has sprung The chickens just started laying more yesterday and today a pile of wwoof inquiries and applications! I am so looking forward to this season.

I will be hosting two workshops again this summer. I did this two years ago and it was a blast, but last year the baby was born at the end of May so I only accepted the barest minimum super brilliant helpful wwoofers. They all had previous legit permaculture training- how lucky am I?

I'd like to frame them around the permaculture principles a bit as I did last time but I'm considering focusing on maybe three apiece, in order to really grok the concepts and keep it simple. I have an idea of the ones I will choose. I plan to fit the tasks to the curriculum. Two questions: what do you think of this idea? and which principles would you focus on?

I may get lucky and get wwoofers with permie smarts and chops, and that would be cool but all I require is willingness so it could be a mix of levels of understanding. I love learning from the people who come here.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Matu Collins wrote: I'd like to frame them around the permaculture principles a bit as I did last time but I'm considering focusing on maybe three apiece, in order to really grok the concepts and keep it simple. I have an idea of the ones I will choose. I plan to fit the tasks to the curriculum. Two questions: what do you think of this idea? and which principles would you focus on?


First of all "Happy New Year" right back atcha! (Yesterday was the Chinese New Year - Year of the Horse).

Questions:

1. I think that's an awesome idea!!
2. My fave principles are:
----every element performs several functions and every function is supported by multiple elements (the principle of diversity being resilient)
----the problem is the solution. LOVE this one and use it for everything. It seems to appeal to a wide range of personality types as it focuses on the positive and the doing rather than the negative and helplessness.
----Although not a principle per se, if I was to adopt your method here in the hot desert - I would STRESS that climate plays a HUGE role in choosing elements and functions. We seem to do everything backwards in the desert - sunken beds v. raised beds/hugels/herb spirals, more shade v. less shade, water harvesting v. water drainage. Climate matters. A lot. Not all permaculture memes are appropriate for all climates.

Rock on and let us know what you decide to do. Lucky are the WOOFers who get to work your place!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I think I'm leaning toward observe (and interact) for sure but haven't narrowed it down yet.

I put the interact in parentheses because I feel like there should be a good bit of observe before any heavy duty interaction comes along

Do you feel like some of the principles are more important in early understanding of permaculture than others? "Obtain a yield" is a favorite for me because it puts the onus on me to be sure there is a point to the work we are doing. Edge is an important concept...it's hard to decide which ones but I'm feeling sure that I do want to keep it simple and focused on just a few principles.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Matu Collins wrote:I think I'm leaning toward observe (and interact) for sure but haven't narrowed it down yet.

I put the interact in parentheses because I feel like there should be a good bit of observe before any heavy duty interaction comes along


Right now, I'm teaching my first ever PDC (tiny - 4 students - which is perfect). After the introductory class, we got right into elements and functions because it basically teaches you how to observe - the key skill we as permies need to acquire! Students in my class start out with three potential properties they want to design - I had them list out three examples of each of the three permaculture elements - plants, animals, structures - for each site and bring them to class. (geoff lawton defines elements in this way - forget if it is the same way Bill does). We then spent a bit of time with one example finding the connections between the elements and how the elements functioned together. As an instructor, I got to see a lot of "AHA!" moments happening. The students were REALLY enthusiastic about this exercise (which is cool, because it leads to another fun game too - "random matching of elements" to get them to think outside the box).

We also studied "obtain a yield" in that same lesson and we learned about different types of yields (product and energy), how they could be used in our nascent system, where we might have an overabundant yield (pollution), etc. People were engrossed with this exercise. The general consensus was that people had never thought of their environment in this way before and it was exciting to them. We also applied this same model to social systems because we are in an urban environment. That was also interesting.

Matu Collins wrote:Do you feel like some of the principles are more important in early understanding of permaculture than others? "Obtain a yield" is a favorite for me because it puts the onus on me to be sure there is a point to the work we are doing. Edge is an important concept...it's hard to decide which ones but I'm feeling sure that I do want to keep it simple and focused on just a few principles.


The way I have my version of the PDC set up - "Obtain a yield" is the bridge between "elements/functions" and learning about zones and sectors. This is because a "yield" (defined as a product or energy that is used or deflected) could come from a zone (product) or a sector (energy like water, wind, sun). So once students know about elements/functions we then talk about "work" and how to make systems that do most of the work for you by careful placement of elements in correct zones or to take advantage of a certain sector, to enhance function and increase the yield.

So we keep building, one upon the other. And we constantly circle back through these too. For me, edge falls after sectors/zones and we will learn about that next. The students already got a taste of this as we observed nature filling in niches with pioneer weeds at the edges of paths, along fence lines, etc.

Basically this stuff can be taught in a lot of different ways (which is what's so great about permaculture) - this is the way I choose to teach it (this time) - we'll see how it goes!

Keep us posted on how you go about this - it would be interesting to get the student's feedback (bet they LOVE it).
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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You are such a great resource, Jennifer.

I have always wanted to rearrange the order of the principles.

I just got confirmation from some spring break wwoofers who will come help me transform a section of my barn into a year round classroom/wwoofer quarters! The sap is flowing in me, I can feel it.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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How exciting!!! Love it when the sap flows!
 
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