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Is a PDC too much for me to take? Is it really useful?  RSS feed

 
              
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Hello. Here is my question: Is a PDC going to be so overwhelming that I wind up not knowing where to start, or feeling defeated before I begin? And, will it be worth the $800? What are other people's experiences?

The course is a 12 day course, every other weekend in June, July and August, 6 weekends (Sat & Sun all day). We are using Toby's book, which I've been reading for some time. The emphasis will be more on design practice and plant ecology and less on building technology, which is useful for me. By the way, I came to permaculture through the Transition Movement. I am a writer, a Jungian/transpersonal oriented dreamworker and spiritual director. Since moving here, I've also become a transition-ecology-post-oil localvore climate change organic conservation geeky sort of person. The price of facing one's shadows and having one's consciousness raised, as well as having a deep, intense relationship with a dear friend's new baby.

There are 4 instructors. The main instructor has many years of experience, as do the others. Their bios look good and they teach locally quite a bit. The main instructor teaches sustainability etc at a local college. Gets good reviews.

I live in a small modest house on an average sized lot in Brattleboro, Vermont. Three years ago, when we moved here, I put in a large cottage garden - a dream come true for me, actually -- including lots of herbs, some medicinal plants and some veggies here and there. All organic. Using materials we found on site - like a bunch of old slate pieces for walkways and paths. A cheery tree dots the middle. Robins nest in it. Now, after coming to consciousness about peak oil and permaculture, etc, I want to use it as the foundation of my own Gaia's Garden. I would have done this differently a bit, had I known about this first, but, I love my garden and it will be a good foundation, I think. I'm happy to move and divide flowers - which need it anyway. We have a pretty good size lot with lots of other possibilities. We have a small veggie patch that needs attention and incorporation into the overall design. We have grass in front in full sun that we hate, that screams suburbia, that is a bitch to mow and is begging to be sheet mulched and turned into living soil for something useful.  I have a small place in the back to create a hugelkultur pile thingy (that's the technical term) to grow pumpkins in, or maybe a small fruit tree. It is these sorts of things I want to learn more about.  I want to learn how to collect and use graywater, and figure out if I can put in a fruit or walnut tree anywhere. I want to know if I can do a guild under my maple trees, which provide total shade. I want to learn much, much more about the garden as ecosystem. I want to cultivate mushrooms some day. I want creatures to feel welcome here - most of them, anyway. I believe the quantum/archetypal/ecological fields have at least a slight preference for goodness, and I want to actively be contributing to that side of the equation in terms of ecological footprint.

And I want -- deeply - to inspire my neighbors by example. I am an introverted writer; example is the only activism I can really handle. My husband thinks I'm kinda nuts, but that's okay. 

I want to provide for our own food needs as much as possible, but I also want very much to help replenish the land, at least this small piece of it, and continue to increase its beauty. Beauty is vital to me personally but also I believe that it is essential for our psychospiritual well being, and I believe also, with John O'onohue, that the absence of an appreciation for beauty, especially natural beauty and pattern, is partly what has gotten us into our current situation.)

My primary concerns about taking this course are: (a) that I will be overwhelmed and defeated before I even get going, and feel like it wasn't worth the money. It will be just me doing this - not me and my husband. It's a "certificate" course, which is lovely and may be useful at some point, but right now, I'm really after solid information to use here and perhaps pass along to my friends if they are interested; (b) it will be attended only by geeks who already know a lot about this, and who are looking to just get the certificate so they can use is professionally. A fine goal but one that may conflict with anyone who is a beginner.

I have talked to the instructor and have been pretty well reassured.

HOWEVER, I've not had the opportunity to get opinions from anyone who has actually taken one of these courses.

Sorry for the long post. Just trying to explain. Any replies or reassurances or other advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22351
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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In the course I took, nearly all of the students had not read any books before arriving.  And the stuff for the course said to read five specific books before arriving. 

So I was a little miffed that only one other person had read all five books as instructed. 

The course was taught to those that had read no books.  A bit of a drag, but the instructor did pepper in a lot of good stuff for the two of us that did read the books. 

In the end, I felt like I did learn a helluva lot - although it wasn't what I thought I would learn.  A very worthwhile experience.



 
                    
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I'd say it really depends on the particular PDC.  They are all different, and what is covered is basically up to the specific teachers.  I've attended two courses, they were extremely different, and they were both worthwhile experiences. 

I think the best thing about the experience is the interaction with people who are fired up about changing their habits and the world.  Especially if a lot of the people attending live in your area, it can be a really amazing way to make new social connections.  Everyone is inspired by everyone else's story and experiences. 

You can get a whole lot of the information presented in most courses by reading some books, but the ability to ask questions of a living breathing person as they arise, and the general group dialogue that takes place during lectures, is very helpful for making that knowledge stick in your brain. 
 
                                          
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I'd agree that different courses can be incredibly different- but are almost always worthwhile, and a good course can speak to many different people at different levels at the same time.

Our courses (in northern Vermont) guide people through a design process for their homes or a site of their choosing- in addition to all of the other incredible information a PDC has to share.

What's more important than the information might be the 'Permaculture Goggles'- the perspective one gets on problems, opportunities, potential for ecological culture budding everywhere, etc.

And- as has already been mentioned- the ability to network and gain/ receive mutual support from a whole group of similarly interested people is invaluable!

Good luck, whatever you do!
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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When I did my PDC, I didn't have  the faintest idea what a 'PDC' was. Ridiculous, but there you go!
Like the other posters have said, a lot depends on the tutors' interests and possibly your location.  I say possibly because the PDC I did was taught by an international tutor, who specialised in very different climates from my country's, in an area whose climate is very different from my own. I needed to translate a  lot of the information to my own country, and then to my own area...
I think exchanging ideas and encouragement with like-minded people was one of the main benefits for me.
If you have access to a supportive community and like to read, experiment and learn, that is all you need. Just think how many books you could buy with that money.
I think I should have waited a couple of years, as I'm about ready to do my PDC now!
 
                    
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Permaculture Design Certificate Course with Bill Mollison and geoff lawton in Istanbul

PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) Course:
The Permaculture Design Certificate course is an internationally-recognized, seventy-two hour course resulting in a Permaculture Design Certificate. It provides an introduction to permaculture design as set forth by movement founder Bill Mollison.

The PDC serves as foundation for further permaculture work and study and is a prerequisite for the Diploma in Permaculture Design, offered through The Permaculture Institute. Credit for this course is now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world. 

To date, thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have been certified through this course, and now comprise a global network of educators, ecological activists who influence major corporations, individuals creating new business alternatives and groups of committed people working together to change the way we view and design into our landscapes.

The course covers sustainable living systems for a wide variety of landscapes and climates. It includes the application of permaculture principles to food production, home design, construction, energy conservation and generation, and explores alternative economic structures and legal strategies supporting permaculture solutions.


The Cirriculum is Based on all Subjects in: “PERMACULTURE: A Designers’ Manual” by Bill Mollison. Students are invited to bring details of their own sites or potential sites to consider during the course.


Topics covered include:

    * Theory and principles of permaculture
    * Methods of design
    * Understanding patterns in nature
    * Water harvesting and management
    * Drought-proofing
    * Trees & their energy transactions
    * Eco-friendly house placement and design
    * Energy efficient architecture
    * Energy conservation techniques for cold climates
    * Earthworks & their use in earth repair
    * Soils
    * Soil rehabilitation and erosion control
    * Organic food production
    * Livestock
    * Aquaculture
    * Ecological pest control
    * Humid tropics
    * The temperate climates
    * Humid cool climates
    * Dry lands
    * Strategies for urban and rural settings
    * Recycling and waste management
    * Right livelihood
    * Catastrophe preparedness and prevention
    * Money and finance
    * Ethical investment
    * Bio regional organisation
    * Legal strategies and trusts
    * Effective working groups
    * Effective aid

For course details:
http://permacultureturkey.org/en/?page_id=80

get course brochure in pdf format:
http://permacultureturkey.org/en/wp-content/uploads/PDC_Istanbul_en.pdf
Filename: PDC_Istanbul_en.pdf
File size: 464 Kbytes
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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PattiF wrote:
Hello. Here is my question: Is a PDC going to be so overwhelming that I wind up not knowing where to start, or feeling defeated before I begin? And, will it be worth the $800? What are other people's experiences?

The course is a 12 day course, every other weekend in June, July and August, 6 weekends (Sat & Sun all day). We are using Toby's book, which I've been reading for some time. The emphasis will be more on design practice and plant ecology and less on building technology, which is useful for me. By the way, I came to permaculture through the Transition Movement. I am a writer, a Jungian/transpersonal oriented dreamworker and spiritual director. Since moving here, I've also become a transition-ecology-post-oil localvore climate change organic conservation geeky sort of person. The price of facing one's shadows and having one's consciousness raised, as well as having a deep, intense relationship with a dear friend's new baby.

There are 4 instructors. The main instructor has many years of experience, as do the others. Their bios look good and they teach locally quite a bit. The main instructor teaches sustainability etc at a local college. Gets good reviews.

I live in a small modest house on an average sized lot in Brattleboro, Vermont. Three years ago, when we moved here, I put in a large cottage garden - a dream come true for me, actually -- including lots of herbs, some medicinal plants and some veggies here and there. All organic. Using materials we found on site - like a bunch of old slate pieces for walkways and paths. A cheery tree dots the middle. Robins nest in it. Now, after coming to consciousness about peak oil and permaculture, etc, I want to use it as the foundation of my own Gaia's Garden. I would have done this differently a bit, had I known about this first, but, I love my garden and it will be a good foundation, I think. I'm happy to move and divide flowers - which need it anyway. We have a pretty good size lot with lots of other possibilities. We have a small veggie patch that needs attention and incorporation into the overall design. We have grass in front in full sun that we hate, that screams suburbia, that is a bitch to mow and is begging to be sheet mulched and turned into living soil for something useful.  I have a small place in the back to create a hugelkultur pile thingy (that's the technical term) to grow pumpkins in, or maybe a small fruit tree. It is these sorts of things I want to learn more about.  I want to learn how to collect and use graywater, and figure out if I can put in a fruit or walnut tree anywhere. I want to know if I can do a guild under my maple trees, which provide total shade. I want to learn much, much more about the garden as ecosystem. I want to cultivate mushrooms some day. I want creatures to feel welcome here - most of them, anyway. I believe the quantum/archetypal/ecological fields have at least a slight preference for goodness, and I want to actively be contributing to that side of the equation in terms of ecological footprint.

And I want -- deeply - to inspire my neighbors by example. I am an introverted writer; example is the only activism I can really handle. My husband thinks I'm kinda nuts, but that's okay. 

I want to provide for our own food needs as much as possible, but I also want very much to help replenish the land, at least this small piece of it, and continue to increase its beauty. Beauty is vital to me personally but also I believe that it is essential for our psychospiritual well being, and I believe also, with John O'onohue, that the absence of an appreciation for beauty, especially natural beauty and pattern, is partly what has gotten us into our current situation.)

My primary concerns about taking this course are: (a) that I will be overwhelmed and defeated before I even get going, and feel like it wasn't worth the money. It will be just me doing this - not me and my husband. It's a "certificate" course, which is lovely and may be useful at some point, but right now, I'm really after solid information to use here and perhaps pass along to my friends if they are interested; (b) it will be attended only by geeks who already know a lot about this, and who are looking to just get the certificate so they can use is professionally. A fine goal but one that may conflict with anyone who is a beginner.

I have talked to the instructor and have been pretty well reassured.

HOWEVER, I've not had the opportunity to get opinions from anyone who has actually taken one of these courses.

Sorry for the long post. Just trying to explain. Any replies or reassurances or other advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you.


The only one IMO worthwhile is the ones by Geoff Lawton.  Since the Permaculture buzz word hit the Americas everyone suddenly has a design course in it.
 
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