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Advice for a wanna-be Permaculture instructor

 
Posts: 26
Location: Portland, OR
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Hello!

I'm a self-taught permaculture student (haven't attended any PDCs yet, due to lack of $$) but have educated myself with books, videos and hands-on experience.

I dream of becoming a permaculture and sustainability educator, but I don't really know how to get started (I hold a Bachelor's in filmmaking... yeah, not related.) In my dream scenario I would own and operate an educational permaculture site where I would host/teach PDCs, and would also travel around the world to teach farmers in other countries how to adapt permaculture to their individual scenarios.

Anyone working in this field that can provide some advice? Is it possible to make a liveable income (enough to support a family, buy a house etc.?) Or do you have to rely on multiple income streams (i.e. a typical 9-5 job in addition to your teaching work?) How did you get started? What would you have done differently?

Thanks in advance for any/all suggestions.
 
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Good for you for educating your self about permaculture.

If you plan on teaching PDC courses, You will have to get your certificate at the least, otherwise you should not advertise your course as a PDC.

It is possible to make a living, So far, everyone I am aware of that does so uses multiple income streams. Example; they have a permaculture farm, they teach courses on their farm and they sell the produce from their farm.

Just having permaculture knowledge can be enough but you might find it to your advantage to have some knowledge about biology, botany, as well as the chemistry of soil, mycology would also be good.

Designing is only a small part of permaculture, it also requires you to know about soil, plants, animals, and ecology. Just about anyone can sit down and draw out what they think is a good design for a farm or gardens.
A permaculture designer also includes, water flow (collection, distribution and storage), work flow (plantings are laid out so you are moving from one space to the next closest space with a conservation of effort), plants (what will grow best where so you get maximum output for the effort put in) and these are just the basics.

Being self taught is not really a set back but being in practice, so you can show how what you teach works is what makes it viable and believable to anyone who would pay you to teach them.

Don't forget that videos do sell, since that is your area of expertise, that could be a great way to start your business, making films of how permaculture works.
 
Tara Swenson
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Location: Portland, OR
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Thanks Bryant!

I'm thinking about making permaculture-education videos as one idea... Just not sure how to make money off them...
 
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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Tara Swenson wrote:Thanks Bryant!

I'm thinking about making permaculture-education videos as one idea... Just not sure how to make money off them...



Tara, you are going to be hard pressed to sell videos on permaculture without credentials.  I am not commenting on whether that is a good thing or not but its a simple fact.

That said, your ability help people produce videos IS a VERY valuable skill and that is what I would try to market.   I watch a lot of youtube stuff and most of it is about on the level of either paint drying or "mystery science theatre 2000" mockumentary stuff and only entertaining because it is fun watching a train wreck.

You can be the miner or the guy selling shovels to the miner, you have the skills to be selling video shovels.    I would love to find someone local who had your skills.  
 
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