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what is a permaculture design course (PDC)  RSS feed

 
steward
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I was at a buddhist wedding yesterday.  (the ONLY person wearing overalls)  While sitting at a table and eating, I was asked "do you meditate?"  "Never have."  And they lost all interest in talking to me.

Later I was thinking a bit about this.  I did have one occasion where I was supposed to be meditation.  The Damanhur people were in Seattle and I was sorta helping their event and sorta participating.  Mostly I wanted to gather information about how their community worked with so many people.  As part of their event on the subject, they required everybody to spend time meditating their way.  One guy fell asleep. I just felt horribly bored.  I had a hundred questions that would take several days to ask, and we had only one day to ask them and we were, instead, taking time to lay on the floor and do nothing. 

Okay, now to get back on topic. 

The other thing that might count was at the PDC I took from Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski in 2005.  Everybody was armed with a pencil and paper.  We all had to go spread out on the 80 acre property and find a spot where we could not see any of the other students.  Sit down.  And then for 30 minutes write down everything we saw. 

I filled a page and a half.  After seeing the third ant, I started to keep a tally.  They were red ants.  I noted all of the species I saw that were well under way.  I wrote down what color the soil looked like and speculated on why it was that color.  There were some plants i didn't recognize, so I described those.  I mentioned birds and bugs.  I then started to find patterns in things.  Like clouds or the way some plants came together ....

When the time was up, I thought it was a really amazing experience.  And I doubt anybody can imagine how cool it would be unless you've done it.  And that was one of dozens of things I brought back from my PDC that I never thought would be part of any PDC.




 
            
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"No, I don't meditate. Do you compost?"

You don't run into too many intolerant Buddhists. Try rubbing his belly next time..

Paul, I think the first part of your post and the second part of your post dovetail perfectly. Similar situations. You were supposed to look inside yourself in meditation. You looked outside of yourself at the PDC. Between the two, you find where you fit.

Having run a few forums, I am loathe to ask questions without doing a thorough site search but being the cool uncle for a week is limiting my patience for everything.

So here's my question-

Is anyone running an online PDC information database with with web addresses, contact info, and/or schedules?

No, I'm not volunteering.
 
                                    
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I've taken the Institute for Social Ecology's permaculture design course 6 times. That's because I cooked for the classes and hung out. One year all I did was take the class. We had several different instructors over the years. I very much enjoyed getting to know the people involved. During the regular ISE summer sessions, we used to have John Phinney teach permaculture. I could listen to his accent all day  I can't remember if he was from Australia or New Zealand...

Anybody else ever take an ISE course?
 
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I am taking a great PDC in San Diego.

I am learning and growing so much.


 
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Hello all,

I am looking for advice on a PDC in New Zealand.  I was considering the one given by Robina McCurdy & Gary Williams at the Tui community, Golden Bay.  Have you heard or do you have any experience with it? Thank you.
 
pioneer
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Try permaculturevisions.com.
 
steward
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Two references to NZ! I'm so parochial...
I love it that people from other countries love the NZ accent, and we seem to spend so much time being uncomfortable with it!
MissVonHalsey, I've heard good things about that PDC.
 
                        
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Every endeavor has a great deal that can be learned on its own for sure, but I wouldn't want my eyes operated on by someone who had only learned from a book and the internet, no matter how much knowlege she or he had.

Seems to me that people who believe they can figure everything out on their own are to a degree requiring themselves to reinvent the wheel. There are good educational venues and not so good ones, and I personally think that knowing where the permaculture certificate was granted FROM would be a good start. There are even lawyers and doctors and in one case that I know of a University President who are later found out to have got their degrees by mail order so why should permaculture be any different? There is certainly also a lot of trash information on the internet and some of it can be compelling if you don't have the background to know better.

Observation goes a long way toward understanding but sometimes it's helpful to have someone more experienced to help interpret what you see means. That's not always as obvious as it seems. All societies  have traditions of learning from their elders. With the global community it sometimes isn't so clear which to listen to.

I sorta see it like trying to get across an unfamiliar mountain..for sure you can do  it on your own but it will be a whole lot easier and faster and a better experience with a competent guide. An incompetent guide could be worse than none.

Due diligence is sorta essential these days. That's where  the internet can shine as it's possible, through forums such as these ones and the ability to cross reference ideas over many sites, to get an idea of who can be useful for your situation.
 
paul wheaton
steward
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John L wrote:
Is anyone running an online PDC information database with with web addresses, contact info, and/or schedules?



I have seen mention of at least one online PDC. I'm afraid that is the extent of the knowledge I have about it. I'm pretty sure it has been mentioned in this forum more than once.
 
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ryan112ryan McCoy wrote:Does anyone know a solid PDC offered on the East Coast?  Ideally in North Carolina. 

I have wanted to take one, have been tempted to fly to the West Coast, but the environment is very different so many of the plants talked about might not work here.  Any thoughts?


With in permaculture circles, what is considered to be the top tier PDC?  link to their site?



NCSU has their course, Intro to Permaculture, online. It is a 40 hour course taught by Will Hooker. I have been watching it. It is very good. He owns the garden that is on the front cover to Gaia's Garden Second Edition.

http://www.permaculture-media-download.com/2011/09/introduction-to-permaculture-40-hours.html
 
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Sorry if someone has already answered this somewhere here, but I haven't had any luck finding anything out... Does anyone know of any Permaculture Design Courses or instructors/groups in the Indianapolis/Greenfield area in Indiana? And preferably one that isn't taught by a quack...
 
paul wheaton
steward
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W Whitman wrote:Sorry if someone has already answered this somewhere here, but I haven't had any luck finding anything out... Does anyone know of any Permaculture Design Courses or instructors/groups in the Indianapolis/Greenfield area in Indiana? And preferably one that isn't taught by a quack...




Have you checked the regional forums here on permies.com?
 
gardener
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try searching here

http://www.permacultureactivist.net/
 
W Whitman
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Thanks Duane. I had tried looking through the forums here, but couldn't find anything in my area. The link you provided looks like I should be able to find something there.

@ Mr Wheaton:
You're awesome. Keep up the good work. The podcasts are great. Don't get discouraged by all the folks that bad-mouth you on the internet. For every one person that takes the time to talk bad about you, you’ve got three people that support what you’re doing…we just tend to be too busy to post crap all over the internet, so you don’t hear from us as much.
 
pollinator
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Without disregard to all that took a PDC, anyone can learn permaculture just by reading materials (books, internet) and practicing on a land. Practicing on a land is a must. Because you really need to practice mulching, composting, companion planting, designing and learning from nature, polycultures, etc...

But of course going to a PDC is nice: you always meet nice folks doing the same as you, and someone that at least has some experience with permaculture.

However I have found many folks teaching a PDC (that had a PDC before) that have done less of permaculture than I did. Why should I do a PDC with them?

With Bill Mollison, Fukuoka or Holzer I would gladly do a PDC, but its too expensive for my possibilities. So what I do? I travel and meet plenty of people doing long-term permaculture projects and I directly learn from them, without spending money on a PDC.

Anyone can teach permaculture. There is no legal framework for it. The word, the concept the method and its usage is not copyrighted. So with this in mind, anyone can teach permaculture and that means you can expect to find a lot of different quality and flavors to permaculture courses, because everyone can do it. Everyone can do a workshop, lecture or course about permaculture, everyone can write a permaculture book, no matter what experience it has. Therefore, this becomes a sort of a business to many people.

It is just sad, that many courses are not cheap, because that would mean they would be more affordable to the masses. I understand that many folks need to make a living and running a PDC would be a nice source of income: ok, that is fair. But this is why I teach permaculture locally for free. I want to give the opportunity to the poor student that is unemployed.

To me it is a waste of time and money to take now a PDC. But if someone sees value in taking a PDC, that is great, I respect that. Nevertheless it does not take a course to learn and do permaculture. You only need internet connection, some plants and a piece of land or containers. I prefer spending the money of a PDC in plenty of seeds and plants Actually learning permaculture can and should require very little money. So it is affordable to the masses.

 
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Who teaches the teachers in our academic system? The Universities. The problem with the whole permaculture movement is that there are no colleges teaching permaculture and there are no teachers (PDC graduates) teaching students, There are only teachers teaching teachers teaching teachers teaching teachers. This started out as a good thing to get the ideas out there and get a lot of teachers started on a correct and proper path. We need the PDC graduates to take their knowledge and teach at the local library or farm or community college and teach "students" at a reasonable fee. Teach to people that don't need or want a design certificate, but just want to learn as much detail as they can for their own personal use. I'd love to be able to take a 2 or 3 hour permaculture class once a week for the semester at the community college. I'd like to see it as a 3 or 4 phase set of classes, (Perma-1, Perma-2, Perma-3, etc.). But I would want the teacher to be a certified instructor from a reputable firm that would guaranty he or she had gone through "all" the phases of a design course.
Some other ideas;
A landscape designer doesn't teach classes of people to design their own properties, they go to those properties and design them for the client. Why couldn't this same idea apply to permaculture.
What if the PDC teacher held the same classes they currently do, but charged half the price and offered no certification? I'd be more inclined to take a $500 dollar course than a $1000 dollar one. If I take the $1000 course I feel like I then "need" to teach to earn my money back. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that would love to take a permaculture course, could care less about a certificate and just can't afford $1000..........
 
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Here's some more data I just got with my registration email for those interested...
Permie Credentials
 
pollinator
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kirk dillon wrote: The problem with the whole permaculture movement is that there are no colleges teaching permaculture



http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/group/permaculture-oregon-state-university

http://www.bastyr.edu/academics/areas-study/certificate-holistic-landscape-design

 
kirk dillon
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Lance Wildwood wrote:
I'm looking at my freshly minted 'Certificate of Teacher training

I assume that this course cost somewhere close to $1000.00??


Lance Wildwood wrote: Now I'm about to take my Advanced Diploma Course. For a whopping $555.00

I assume that you cannot get this class or price without first taking the standard PDC course at close to $1000.00?? Please correct me if I'm wrong on this and provide any links you might have available to less expensive sources. I'm sure I'm not the only one struggling with finances right now.

Tyler Ludens wrote: http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/group/permaculture-oregon-state-university

That's a good range of classes available. I'm happy to see that sort of thing, thanks for the links. Looks like the "non-certified" course is $750.00 and has one field trip included.

Tyler Ludens wrote: http://www.bastyr.edu/academics/areas-study/certificate-holistic-landscape-design

Now "that's" an expensive and I hope "very good" course........

 
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I have a view on this and just happened to have done an article about it. At Paul's request I am posting it here.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/what-exactly-is-a-pdc-course
 
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I had asked Jack and now I ask you: Seems like the (using Jack's term) "real" PDCs are Geoff's online PDC, Midwest and Barking Frogs. In other's opinion, who else is trustworthy to be faithful to teach the concepts as Jack described it?
 
jack spirko
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See here is the thing all you need to do is talk to the teacher, ask the questions I gave you and judge for yourself. I am not trying to be consumer reports of PDC here. I just want people to know what to ask.
 
Christopher de Vidal
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jack spirko wrote:See here is the thing all you need to do is talk to the teacher, ask the questions I gave you and judge for yourself. I am not trying to be consumer reports of PDC here. I just want people to know what to ask.



True, but you've won my respect and I trust your opinion. But here I'm asking others. Grin
 
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jack spirko wrote:I have a view on this and just happened to have done an article about it. At Paul's request I am posting it here.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/what-exactly-is-a-pdc-course



Great post Jack. This is why I wanted you to be a part of permacultureVOICES.
 
jack spirko
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Diego Footer wrote:

jack spirko wrote:I have a view on this and just happened to have done an article about it. At Paul's request I am posting it here.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/what-exactly-is-a-pdc-course



Great post Jack. This is why I wanted you to be a part of permacultureVOICES.



Crap I still owe you a bio right? That will happen by the end of the week end. Busy week man.

Also I do have my topic, Taking Permaculture to The Mass Market

With the people you have on the docket nothing I bring technique wise will be a big deal to those already in the know but it is time to make Permaculture what it has always promised to be. I have a blueprint for that and am lucky enough that Geoff is willing to help me work on it.
 
Diego Footer
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Sounds awesome. Love the topic. We will have to chat more. There will be others echoing that exact sentiment.

The techniques of permaculture are out there, it is putting it into action on a bigger scale by a lot more people that seems to be lacking. Hopefully we can change that.
 
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Christopher Shein teaches permaculture at Merritt College in Oakland, CA. You can take 4 semesters (Perm 1, Perm2..). They also have Natural Building and Mushrooms classes, many more to choose from, and the tuition is low, as community colleges go. Chris Shein has a new permaculture book out, called The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Ecosystem. Great book for urban environments.
 
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I thought you all might enjoy watching this video about a "permaculture" class given in Portugal - I stumbled upon it this morning and it reminded of Jack Spirko's article about what is and what isn't a Permaculture Design Course:

http://youtu.be/kGURz1WE7yE
 
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this is in response to a very old posting by ryan112ryan McCoy: wondering if there were any PDC's in North Carolina? You've probably already found what you want, but have you seen the intro to permaculture video's that Professor Will Hooker at N. Carolina State University does? He's posted a couple different year online and they do a distance learning thing? Even if you don't go that way, I found the foundational info really helpful.
I googled Will Hooker Introduction to Permaculture and got several hits.

Linda
 
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This is an interesting discussion.

My plan is to keep reading books about permaculture, keep working on my homestead, keep learning from these forums, keep asking questions and observing, and eventually make enough money from my adventures to take a real PDC, then do the teacher training. Then my farm can be a permaculture experimental learning site. I've learned a lot about my community, home, farm, soil, plants, and animals wild and domestic, in the years I've been doing this and I still feel like a newbie. I intend to grow old and learned eventually.

I'm really looking forward to the "Permaculture: a Designers Manual" book club. I just got my book from Santa and made the decision to mark it all up in the margins. I'm committing to this book.
 
gardener
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I've been trying to dig up the more specific guidelines for what constitutes a PRI certified PDC, and while the information has been difficult to come by, it seems that basically a PRI certified PDC is one that follows a set curriculum guideline instituted originally by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton.

It might seem a little silly, but in reality, guidelines like these help to ensure the legitimacy of courses being offered, and that you're getting an education that is comprehensive and covers key core concepts, so I can get on board with that. There's a minimum for the curriculum, design testing, things of that nature, to make sure that you basically know what you're doing by the end of the course, which in my opinion, just means you're getting your money's worth

The PDC being offered here at Wheaton Labs this summer by Howard Story is a PRI certified PDC, hence my curiosity on the subject - I'm really excited to get some first hand accounts of what some of our people think of it when it's all said and done.

Here's the link to the Wiki for that course.
 
pioneer
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I think if I were going to take a permaculture course, I'd want one that starts with "Ok, so you have read Mollison's books cover to cover, and have been growing things for years, this is where you go from there." Every class I have seen puts time into things that come out of the books (thanks, read them, understand that concept, can we move on?) or that is hands on stuff I consider too basic to need (I can use several types of leveling systems for land, I don't need to learn to work an A frame level or a water level, can we move on?) My thing is I have little money right now, and if I am investing in X number of hours of instruction, I REALLY need at least 80% of that to be new information, not someone telling me things I can learn in books, or basic gardening techniques that are easy to learn. I read people online saying "it opened my mind, now I look at every piece of land and see it's potential" I've been opened, I design landscapes every time I see dirt I haven't met before, can we move on? What's the next step after THAT? That's what I want to learn.....  I don't even know what the next step is, but I can tell you a lot of steps that I've taken, and don't need rehashed.

Although, to be honest, I had this problem in school (and college) too. When the lecture covers the book, why am I here? When the general pace of the class is to the person who has never read anything about it, why am I here? This is why I dropped out of college several times. I wanted a full buffet of all the neat kinds of food on the planet, and was offered a choice of canned cafeteria garbage. I'm still looking for the full buffet And really can't pay for mashed potatoes....

What would the next step look like?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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I guess I'd ask, why do you need to take  a PDC?  You only need to get a certificate if you plan to teach the PDC.  You can learn all you need from the book, so why take a PDC? Maybe what would really benefit you might be an internship at Zaytuna or elsewhere...

Incidentally, in college when all the prof did was teach the book, I never went to lectures, I just showed up for the test and got an A because I read the book.

 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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