Does anyone know how heavy the requirements are to obtain a PRI certification on your own school? I have these big dreams to meet Geoff and have him out to my farm one day. I want to build a whole education center that teaches the way the PRI does and (in a decade or two) offer a PDC with the oval stamp on it.
I know I read somewhere that the set of required elements is pretty hefty and quite strict, as it should be. My goal is to have housing and food available for long term interns. We are in a temperate climate, which seems to be ideally suited for a well rounded permaculture educational environment.
I am sure PRI will give you good information. They have much experience now. Our conviction is that you don't require certification. We know, and so does PRI, that if you do excellent work then you will be recognised. Permaculture is still young enough for you to establish yourself as a designer, teacher, implementer etc without anything other than a PDC. If you check our website you will see the video clip of Bill Mollison saying, as he said from the beginning. "Go and do it".
Institutes are generally started by private individuals even if they are Not for Profit, and so whatever standards they set, that's it. Sometimes you need to ask questions because there is no agreed equality of standards among Institutes and if there were it would require them all to meet and decide. No one controls permaculture. It is like a web (dendrite structure) not like a branching pattern. There is no 'head'. So, there is really nothing to stop you starting your own. Ethically, put up your mission, ethics and way you will work and be accountable to your students, how you work, and public acceptance of criticism. There are probably other issues you would like to consider.
I don't know about USA but UK, Germany and Barcelona are permaculture members Institutes. There are surely others. There are also several pathways to a Diploma. Some are assignment based, others by merit - for those who have beavered away for years and require and deserve recognition.
Ideally an Institute fills a gap. Some deal more with Urban, the Mittel Alpen in Austria deals primary with plants and designs for middle Apline regions. Some are more rural. The Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute wants to support students in developing countries who do brilliant work but may not have English or money to pay.
Lucas, build your dream and do it well. If then you require certification then apply. There is much in learning and doing freely which is valuable. I haven't looked at the PRI requirements by the way.
Best wishes and go for it, all of you. You are really needed.
Thank you Rosemary! That is wonderful advice. I only ask because, as we all know, permaculture is growing and evolving all the time. Like many other disciplines, eventually there will be specific standards that hold more weight (especially where education is concerned) than others.
I can't begin to predict what will happen in the future, but I do know that if our future institute has been endorsed by one of the biggest and original institutes, it will be received better and by more students than others.
More importantly, it has always been part of my permaculture dream to build such an amazing system that people like Geoff Lawton, Paul Wheaton and Sepp Holzer, among others, come all the way to Michigan to visit and provide praise and advice! Lol
Rosemary, that really is some brilliant advice, thankyou.
I am in a similar situation to Lucas, where I have grand visions of my own institute in the future to provide almost exactly as he is describing but also with a grey area of knowledge of which paths to take. I have recently been caught up in the process of deciphering which courses and education paths to choose but now I know; action!
Lucas; if you are registered on permacultureglobal.com look up an individual named 'Guy Miklos'. He has recently completed his diploma with no tutor support whatsoever and has uploaded his work for all of us to see. It's very, very impressive and proves that it's what you do that counts, but now that he has the diploma it probably does help his professional case for being a permaculture designer.
Rosemary, that's exactly how i feel (more or less) Permaculture was not intended to be this long course of study in organized institutions, although i totally respect the PRI, and for some people maybe they need to have their hand held a little longer. But really, by the time you finished a seven year apprenticeship working on someone elses garden you probably could have an awesome garden of your own and all that relative experience to boot
Buy the designers manual, and as you approach problems look stuff up in the manual, try out solutions, observe, keep going if it works, or learn some more and try something else.
Bill knew that if we get bogged down in institutions we will not get the work done. go out and dig your swales, get your mainframe and zone 1 in place, spread out from there, do as much as you can with the resources at hand. people will naturally be attracted to your design once it is up and running. that will have more impact than any certificate hanging on a wall.
If you want to keep studying that's cool, i put myself to sleep with permaculture recordings most every night, but then i go out and do stuff in the morning (even if it's just time reading the forum
Thanks for info Ollie! I'll go get registered there.
Bob, it's not that I want to "get bogged down" with the institute label and all of the steps to get there. I love to read as much as I love to design. My goal in attempting to get the PRI stamp of approval is mostly to establish recognition among the larger community of designers.
It's just a credential, but it could help make us more successful. The plan currently is to build up the best system we can with what we have available. Once we have a few dwellings and some food system established, we will take on interns and WWOOFERs who can learn while they work. I've heard of several PDCs in Michigan, all who get very good reviews by former students. But if you are looking for a school and you haven't heard anything about them, the PRI school is going to look a little better, right?
As always, i'm going to give you the same answer that works for most simple questions like this
If you have extra time and money and feel ill equipped to do the designs and work necessary to start your system, then i would think more education and certifications might be a good thing.
But i can tell you from an ongoing thing right nearby, someone i like has lots of credentials, but is still running into all sorts of problems, SOMETIMES it is only experience that will actually set knowledge into a functional framework. Bill gathered his understanding from observation of nature and was able to see the systems at work and how they integrated with each other into sustainable outcomes.
So it really does depend on what resources you have and what your goals are. Of course you also need to design into that flexibility, because as you learn more your goals and methods will change
one thing though does not change, before being credentialed you will have to have a working permaculture system that you designed and implemented. And my guess is you could get Geoff Lawton to come and visit if your design was kick ass full of stuff and maybe you found a couple little interactions that helped other people. Everyone gets a pdc and can teach with a 72 hr course, the next step though is always to have a functional design in place demonstrating that you actually have an understanding of permaculture
so all the courses in the world don't eliminate getting in the field and making real positive changes--my thought is sooner better than later, tempered by the idea 100 hrs of observation for 1 hr of work--but being able to understand as much as possible the interactions within natural systems and then use those interactions in a productive, sustainable way is really the key to successful design.
so if taking courses is your path then go ahead, just don't get too lost in learning so that is all you do. Remember, one of Geoffs opening statements to the effect, knowledge without action is useless