So I've been wanting to take a PDC for a good while now, having been fascinated by permaculture and dabbling in its application since I first heard of it 7 years ago. I'm only in my late 20s now and am not sure yet where I will perma-nently end up, but the more likely answer to that is "many places".
Ultimately I see myself establishing home bases in a few different zones around the world, in very different climates, and this has me questioning not only where to take a PDC, but how many.
I grew up in New England, where my parents still lived, but spent much of the last ten years in the SF Bay Area's mediterannean climate. Now for the last two years I've been in subtropical northern Taiwan, where my boyfriend's family lives. Sometime in the next few years I am considering taking up dual citizenship in Israel (not in the settlements!), which has a more arid Mediterranean climate. And from there who knows.
So now that leaves us with 3 and a half distinct climates, and I'm wondering if it would be redundant or perhaps extremely useful to take a PDC in each of these zones. From what I know most PDC will cover all the same basics, with maybe more emphasis on local application. Are there maybe more simple booster courses that one can take to adjust to a new climate, without needing to go through the whole delightful two week rigamarole again?
posted 8 years ago
Not sure if there are any right or wrong answers. One could say that once someone groks the key ideas of permaculture, they can apply it to any location if they are determined to do so. Alternatively, courses geared to particular regions might be chocked full of useful ideas that might be difficult to find in books, magazines, other sources.
It's also a question of how much resources one has, and to what degree one wants to commit to and specialize in one region vs. being a generalist or spreading the resources over a larger area.
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posted 8 years ago
Yes, I think taking more than one from different teachers in different regions could be very useful. While PDC courses given by certified teachers will cover the same theoretical ground, specific applications discussed in the class will reflect the experiences of the teacher and of the students in the class. And of course a different teaching style will bring out different aspects.
If I had the money and could travel more, I would take another PDC or two.
Something you might want to consider is finding out whether a teacher offering a PDC would like a helper. As many people have discovered, one of the best ways to learn something is to help teach it.
I've been through several courses as an assistant teacher or co-teacher and I always learn new stuff from different teachers - there are so many skill sets in permaculture that learning from people with different expertises is always valuable. Plus if you choose a site that has permaculture developed on it, you get the living example which is really valuable.
When we do our urban permaculture design courses, we offer each weekend as a separate "pod" workshop, and you can do just the gardening/food forest weekend if you wish. We do focus on semi-tropical in our Tampa course, and drylands/prairie in our Pine Ridge course. Some other courses may allow you to do just part of the course as well.
Rather than base the decision on where or how many different places, select any one place and start your learning process there. Absorb Mollison's PDM thoroughly. What you learn from one good teacher can be applied anywhere. Its as much about the permaculture mindset, viewpoint, thinking process involving observation, documentation, analysis, application as it is site specific information. I see permaculture as an umbrella discipline covering agriculture, energy, architecture and most of the biological sciences to one degree or another. A person who can do permaculture work in a tropical rain forest can also do it in an arctic tundra or desert region. If you like challenges I expect you would find them in Israel with the water and soil issues to be faced and if you can generate an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence there, all the better.
My guess is that a lot of the climate-specific information you need will come from some combination of direct observation and networking.
After you have taken one or two PDCs, and applied what you have learned, you'll be qualified to teach. I find that teaching can be a lot more instructive than studying: your students in a particular region can be prompted to draw on their own networks of local knowledge and to investigate issues that you know to be important.
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