Hi, I Am no exactly new to this sight but have never posted before, I was wondering if any body had any advice for me in how to start a life in permaculture. I'm in highschool right now and graduating next year, I'm really passionate about permaculture I try to learn as much as I can online but am unsure in how to "get into to it" so to speak, after I graduate, I was thinking of getting my PDC this summer but can't find any one in my area who is holding one (I live in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada). Any way my point is where do I get started do I take more courses, or get an internship? where do I go from here?
Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!
I hit the local public library and checked out every book available on permaculture, organic growing, gardening, farming, agriculture, vegetables, chickens, herbs...everything they had. It's not a large library by any measure, but it took about a year. Still winter in Manitoba? Plenty of reading to do.
I poked around online, checking out whatever subject caught my fancy at the moment. You'll never be able to read it all, so you best get started now. Get involved in these forums-there is a vast amount of knowledge to be found, and people who have done what you are interested in who can answer questions and talk with you in detail.
As spring rolls around, so does the opportunity to try out some projects of your own. Make some compost, plant some vegetables, dig around, get your hands dirty.
Information, Exploration, and Experience will lead you down a path you might not expect.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
Hi Michelle, yes, I agree, wwoof! Also, start composting where you are. Just start a nice pile of your kitchen scraps and watch the soil grow. No meat, bones or cheese products, just veggie scraps, tea, coffee. Then find some manure, just a bucket full and add it to your pile. Grow your pile and eventually you can plant in it. This is how permaculture starts, it begins simply with making soil.
You are welcome to come visit us and learn more too.
Cherry Plain Sanctuary Farm, home to a lovely Quarterhorse mare, a lovely Standardbred mare, a lovely Standardbred/Haflinger filly, two mules, two llamas, many bees, seven cats, three weimeraners, three humans, and the ever expanding plant kingdom.
Go to geofflawton.com and sign up for his email list. He will be sending out notification for his online PDC toward the end of this month. There are a limited number of slots and it probably will fill up quickly, so keep an eye out for it. I took it last year and I was extremely happy with it. If you look around on Permies.com, there is a thread or two in which people talk about their experiences with it. You can also start looking at some of the free videos that he has released on that site.
I agree with hitting your library and reading everything that you can get your hands on. It will help you fine tune what your particular interests are.
If you don't have a chance to WOOF, is there anyone around you that you can help with projects or that might donate a small space for you to experiment with? Also, you might find some projects in your community that you could get yourself involved with to get your hands in the dirt and maybe even make some very valuable connections. I would also keep your eyes open for possible workshops in your area. I would think that, with spring coming, there should be some starting to pop up.
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb
WWOOF (1 year) > PDC > Intern (2 years) > Farm/Project Manager (3 years) > Grubstaking > Cheap land / Cheap Housing / Cheap utilities > Annual-Perennial polycultures with animal integration and food forestry on a decent size of land with a good number of tools, intellectual and otherwise. (4 years)
There you go, a completely workable design plan for a life in permaculture that takes roughly (10) years to actualize. You’ll be living the good life with 4-year-old trees at age 28, long before your mid-life crisis hits.
Now go do it.
ps: this is very simplistic, life tends to throw monkey wrenches along the way.
Whops this was supposed to be with the other post, raising money for land is quite an undertaking how should I come up with funds for this? work an average job for a year or two? thanks for all your help.
Wwoofing before a pdf has its merits. You can go to any farm anywhere and not worry about it, just taking what you get and going for the experience.
Then you get a PDC which sheds light on the experiences you had on the farms and what they were doing (good and bad as it were). Then comes an internship at a permaculture farm, the best you can find/afford.
Grubstaking is a practice of earning money and spending far less so that you gather money that you later invest. You invest that money in cheap land, housing and utilities from which you mount your permaculture empire which grows year by year in vegetation and infrastructure.
really helpful! what are your thoughts on WWOOFing internationally, or should I stick to the area I'm planning on growing in to get to know the climate? internships are expensive, more grubstaking to pay for it?
Internships could be defined loosely. You could, theoretically, after wwoofing around a bit and taking a pdc, find the specific project or farm you have been looking for (via whatever channels you have, word of mouth, internet, whatever). You just stay planted there try to make your presence there more official and more "designed". You work more, they give you more responsibility and some sort of title, and you "intern". The world post-pdc is sort of a wild west right now and although there are attempts to create structured post-grad standards in most countries, on-the-ground experience with a good project that values your input and promotes your desires to become a project/farm manager, perhaps even finding you work after you finish, has its merits. Having real experience could, in some cases, be worth more than any post-pdc title you might have. All of this is free, for the most part.
Originally after a pdc, a person would be capable of doing a 2 year internship under someone who was doing permaculture. This was all un-official and the diploma wasn't really the point. The point is 2 years of worthwhile experience. Making sure it is worth your time is where your research comes into play.
Personally, I could have been spending the last year following a post-pdc Diploma in permaculture. That would have been nice, and there's even a diploma-granting body I'm in contact with. I'm not certain that if it was rushed it would be worth having. More importantly, I've used the past year making major steps toward designing and building the system I want, diploma or no diploma. There's good things and bad things about that choice too.
In the end there are choices to be made and consequences to bear. You do your best to make the right ones and bear the weight of not having made others.
All the best,
Basically, you will need a product and a market. Everything else is dependant on those two things.
Some people gain the skills to produce by being interns, and some people simply get together some start up money and start producing. Since you are starting with zero money it may be that an internship would be good. In an internship the farm owner provides food and shelter while you learn to produce a product or products.
Try heading over to SEED over on Salter and Duffern. I think you might be able to get a starter ($10k) off MASC. Plenty of land out there you can buy for less than 10k. If you are really lucky you can get a good 80 acres. Get a subscription to Dauphin Herald, they have tender things all the time.
Learn to use google maps with the terrain function. There is a sustainable agriculture MOOC at coursera.org you may want to think about taking if you are going to do the SEED thing.
Manitoba is pretty flat, it doesn't lend itself out to permaculture. But it does have 3 "mountains" (Duck Mountain, Pembina Mountains, and Porcupine Mountains). I met a lady that was quite willing to let me do orchards on her land (email@example.com). I'm sure she'll be happy to set you up with some horse manure.
University of Saskatoon has a list of cold tolerant species. Haskap being the most important and will likely take off soon.
I myself am changing gears. I'm going to grow medicinal marijuana. If you're 18, I am looking for a Proposed Alternate Responsible Person in Charge (A/RPIC). You would need to do a security clearance and account for your actions in the last 10 years. If it takes off, I'll put you to work in permaculture. It will be a rough first year.
Are you metis? If so, get your geneology done and get your harvester card. You can also harvest up to 100 m^3 of wood for housing/firewood/stuff.
One other idea I thought of is allying yourself with a land trust, after having the abilities to develop a portion of land. Land trusts seem to be growing. You have to work within the scheme of the land trust governing body, but if your project is approved you can do the thing you are trying to do without the burden of ownership.
My personal opinion is that ownership is hugely overrated, especially for people (like me) who can't own squat. Ability to use over a period of time and a potential (partial) reimbursement for money invested upon re-acquisition is much more important than ownership.
Another path to consider, whether for a given period or long-term, is the whole array of living situations grouped under the name "intentional community". Most of these groups acknowledge that many things in life, including sustainability, are both easier and more effective when pursued in larger groups than the traditional nuclear family (which is actually not very traditional at all....extended family being much older and more common in most societies). I have spent a large part of my adult life in several communities. Many will take on young people without lots of money, but with energy and motivation, since there is always more to do than people available to do it. They often have a membership process, beginning with a time similar to that of a wwoofer or an intern, and then transitioning into more of a stakeholding position. Check out www.ic.org.....a global clearinghouse of communities of all sorts.....and it's searchable by keyword (so, for instance, you can highlight groups in a given region which mention permaculture as an important part of their life.
The downside is that community life, especially on the long term, requires a set of people skills that are in decline in the modern world....If you come from a large family, have lived in an extended family, or simply consider yourself to be someone with good social skills, you can probably find a good fit. But many people will find community life sort of like intimate relationship....a huge motivator and opportunity to do a lot of inner work, and fairly frequently facing the temptation to bail and go have a quiet little life in a box with a screen......
check out the attra website for lots of internship opportunities to work on a farm. if you are enthusiastic and willing to learn and to do physical work you will find an opportunity just right for yourself. !
There is a permaculture influenced learning centre in Clearwater MB...Harvest Moon Society....website can be found under that name.
They have an internship,work days and even a music festival. They bought a former school in the small village and have done all sorts of interesting things.
All the best
First of do some introspection. Find out if you like this kind of lifestyle - one thing is to read and have dreams and completely other being in the trenches of making a living using permaculture. Start by finding a farm through WWOOF network and gain ‘hands on’ farming experience so you can see do you like that lifestyle or not.
After that, you can invest into essential skills, find workshops, courses and mentors. The best investment you can ever make is into yourself. As you become smarter and aware of what you want, define your goals and decide which path you would like to take as there are many choices in regenerative agriculture and permaculture today.
You’ll have to decide do you want to be a teacher, designer, grower or something else…and this is just the beginning of your journey.