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Permaculture College Experiences  RSS feed

 
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I've heard there are over 40 Permaculture programs today in US colleges. I'm EXTREMELY curious to know what they entail, are like to be a student in & how they compare to a PDC or OPDC from someone like Geoff Lawton.

Does anyone have any experience in taking Permaculture college courses in the US? How about outside the US?

Are they just like a PDC? Are they more lab-based? What corollary texts are used?

Thank you! This will help me design better high school and middle school curriculum to properly dovetail to the college programs.


MP
 
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I am just commenting so it notifies me when someone else answers. I am curious about this as well.. I love how passionate you are about permaculture education Matt. It is quite inspiring.
 
pollinator
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:I am just commenting so it notifies me when someone else answers.



Pssst, you can click on the "Watch Topic" button without commenting to get email updates.

Bill Mollison was adamant the Permaculture not be taught in universities yet there is an awesome DVD of him & Geoff teaching a college course (early 2000s).
 
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Pretty sure Umass Amherst has a for-credit PDC. If it's not them, then another western MA institution does. I saw it while looking for PDC options in New England.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Cj Verde wrote:

Bill Mollison was adamant the Permaculture not be taught in universities yet there is an awesome DVD of him & Geoff teaching a college course (early 2000s).



Do you know his reasoning for being so opposed to the idea?
 
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The Evergreen State college in olympia washington is a special place, and one of the colleges i attended. they operate an organic farm on campus, and while not strictly permaculture, i believe more and more permaculture practices have been incorporated and discussed in more recent years.

http://www.evergreen.edu/organicfarm/

heres a course that just finished

Ecological Agriculture: The Science and Policy of Food Systems
http://www.evergreen.edu/catalog/2013-14/programs/ecologicalagriculturethescienceandpolicyoffoodsystems-9248

i do not know of any others, but i am sure theres some other stuff out there.
 
Cj Sloane
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:
Do you know his reasoning for being so opposed to the idea?



He believed they would bury it. And that they don't operate "ethically."
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Not sure what you mean by bury it. But I get the other part. Ha
 
Cj Sloane
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Like they would angle to make themselves the only ones able to "certify" someone and then slowly stop offering the course. Ta da, the end of permaculture -which threatens the status quo especially at Ag schools who get big grants/funds from the chemical companies.

Bill was pro open source before the coin was termed.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Gotcha. That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying.
 
leila hamaya
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:

Cj Verde wrote:

Bill Mollison was adamant the Permaculture not be taught in universities yet there is an awesome DVD of him & Geoff teaching a college course (early 2000s).



Do you know his reasoning for being so opposed to the idea?



yeah thats kinda weird.
and didnt he make lots of money as a university professor before focussing on permaculture?
i am not totally sure but i think that may have happened at evergreen (him teaching in the states?)

sorry if it offends any church of mollison folks, and i do think he is a good writer and teacher.....but it has seemed to me he just caught a wave of a movement already happening and then lumped a lot of older ways and ideas together then stuck the name permaculture on it. and then copyrighted it! or someone did. much as i love all that permaculture is about, i loved all this stuff before hearing the word and knew a lot of the teachings before i was taught them in that context.

i guess i am saying this wave was coming anyway, and its not up to someone, anyone no matter how smart or cool, to say which way the wave goes. it's much larger than one movement, and one person.
probably wont be taken too seriously until it is taught in universities and made more legit, even if that does dull it down a bit for becoming more mainstream. the paradigm shift has to effect the mainstream, has to effect those who causing the most damage, not just those who are aligned with these kinds of ideas and lifeways.
but then i guess someone can call it something else, as permaculture is already copyrighted or whatever, with some cults of personalities going on as well.

 
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A lot of teachers grow a disdain for institutionalized learning, I've noticed.
 
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One of the reasons that I learned about permaculture not being in college educations from the pdc I took over the summer was that permaculture is a very broad subject and having it branched under one department or another might result in a mess of professors fighting over funds and control of the curriculum.

Instead of looking for a major or course in permaculture at a college- as Geoff Lawton mentions in his article about the USDA's unofficial support of permaculture that one agricultural economist at the Agrocultural Academy said that permaculture and agroforestry are similar- maybe, majoring or minoring in Agroforestry would be a college option.
 
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Hello Everyone:

About the time Bill and David put together permaculture, waves of mass peoples education movements were sweeping the world. There was the literacy movement in Brazil, and some other South American counties. Viet Nam had anyone who was literate go and teach the children during the war - to ensure when it was over they could participate fully. I was part of an exciting literacy campaign in Lesotho where anyone with grade 4 could teach herdboys who brought a candle at night to a rondavel. It worked and threatened the rackets in South Africa....another story. There were barefoot doctor/nurse movements. It was an exciting time.

The principles was "Each One Teach One: And also as diversity and biodiversity is a major principle of permaculture, having people simply teach it gave the diversity of styles we have today. I don't know that Bill was actually opposed to Universities because he'd probably never have had the input to become an ecologist without the University of Tasmania and David's input. It is simply another road to get to the top of the mountain....or perhaps many roads lead to the sea.

I am convinced this diversity is critical or Permaculture will suffer from over-regulation. In Australia you can go through the TAFE - Technical and Further Education pathway. I know students who have followed it and found it very good. I am simply passionate about really open access to courses because intelligence and aptitude are not tied to University entrance.

If we had it only in Universities what would happen to those people in the orphanages in Uganda, in the mountains of SW Ethiopia, the Afghanis Peace Youth, Camerouns and East Timor where there are thousands of farmers who have learned permaculture. (They are locked out of this discussion through lack of resources but they are very very good and their lives have changed). Also its still in some way a prototype....and will evolve I believe but I don't know which ways.


As a teacher of Permaculture for nearly 30 years I find the totality of it elegant and beautiful. I am grateful for such good content. It is the design component and understanding of Patterns and Orders that gives it its edge. You need all the rest to apply these. I find only that the evidence grows for the permaculture content of the PDC and we play with it at our peril. But I add evidence. Look at the new principles we now have Eco-cities and for Zone III. I don't teach all the new material but it underpins what was there in the curriculum in the 1970s.

Where people alter the curriculum there students are penalised by not having sufficient basics to become competent.

Dave about the topics....there are about 40 you can teach if you split water into Rural and Urban domestic for example. So you are right. How can a College put a course together unless many teachers have PDCs, or they have a team of PDC teachers. Sydney university had a Semester or Term in its Organic agriculture as a basis for farm designs and it is taught by PDC graduates so the systems approach to integrate units works.

And Graham....you are right about disdain, I'd call it impatience. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to University and to be able to take the time and luxury to learn. But..... I no longer want to go to a formal institution and do assignments where teachers know the answers. I like relevant information which challenges me. However other learning types do enjoy formal courses. We there is the provision for diverse learners. Ive met too many brilliant people in developing countries who run rings around me....and often their Universities are modelled on the west.

Cassie I am not sure that University where Bill and Geoff taught offered a Degree or Diploma in Permaculture I think it was simply they were sponsored of used the venue. Check it out in case Im wrong. It happens fairly often.

And Leila, no one else caught the wave and although I have reservations etc about bits and pieces Leila, it isn't just a rehash of traditional methods. Nothing else has arisen in the last four decades which even approaches it in scope and application to so many regions of the world. Ive looked at every scheme because Im not a permaculture fundamentalist. But the more I work with it, the more I see how much deep and complex it is.

Im not concerned about what universities do. I am passionate about the Right to Accurate and Relevent and Useful information of everyone especially those for whom these are difficult. This is what permaculture represents to me.

Hey, this is a big topic and has got me going.

Thank you so much.
 
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