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PEX - Permaculture Design

Posts: 1047
Location: Northern Italy
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Just posting this to get the ball rolling and to receive potential updates via email. I don't currently have a very clear idea of how this would work out or what would be included. I'll probably be constantly editing this first post based on my own observations and those of others. Looking for help, so feel free to add and comment on what I've prepared.

The idea is to create a list of skills that one would need to become a proficient and then master permaculture designer. This would cover both skills in agroecology (land based design skills) and non-land-based skills needed to eventually do consulting as a permaculture designer.

Pre-reading materials:
-Designer's manual
-Gaia's Garden
-Permaculture Design - a Step-by-step Guide to the Process (Aranya)

Land based skills (off the top of my head):
1. Demonstrate knowledge of

2. be able to lay out a swale on paper and then on a piece of land with a shovel and record the results.

3. Demonstrate the ability to do
-a Zone and Sector analysis.
-a basic site analysis (access, water, microclimate, etc).
-an energy analysis of a system

5. Demonstrate proficiency in applicable design tools of choice, choosing from .
-Pen and paper
-Dafting software
-Google SketchUp

1. Demonstrate knowledge of 'invisible structures', "the intangible elements necessary for the healthy functioning of a system"

2. Observe and report on a social system you know well.

3. Do an energy analysis of a system not based on the land.

4. Have completed the PEP1 of Comunity development and public realtions badge.

5. Demonstrate knowledge of your bioregion, having done some part of a bioregional organizational analysis.
Posts: 151
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
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I like this idea! What about:

Design a 500 square foot garden

Design a 1000 square foot garden, with water catchment and a small pond


Design an acre, with multiple micro climates, water catchment, a garden that doesn't need to be irrigated, and no signs of erosion anywhere on the land
William James
Posts: 1047
Location: Northern Italy
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Hi Jesse,
I think the actual designing of natural systems (a garden, an acre) is useful, so the things you mentioned should probably go in there. An acre might be too small for a black belt. I think at least a hectare (2.74 acres) is a space that is on the upper limits of what one or two people could manage effectively (it's what my sister-in-law and I manage, and it's a lot of work).

A black belt should probably be designing spaces that can be managed by at least 2 people, if not more. With two people, we're still on the family scale, which could be done with 1000 square meters. At a hectare and more, we're working on the community scale, which might be interesting for someone earning a design badge.

Maybe for the black belt it would be something like the space needed for 3-4 families managing a smallish permaculture site or a community of 10 to 20 people managing a slightly bigger space.

That said, growing food and survival skills sort of take a back seat in this badge, since it is amply covered in other badges. The focus here is gaining the experience needed to be able to be a permaculture designer. A potential candidate might never have access to land or even be interested in growing food, but the skills that would be gained here would give them the ability to design a lot of things, not only what traditional "permaculture systems" look like (land design, food cultivation).

I'll try to outline some examples or "paths" through the belt that would allow people to choose different things to apply their design to.
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