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Davin Eberhardt
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Hello everyone!

I'm excited to join the forum.  Taking Geoff's PDC right now and curious if others in this forum are in the online course? 
 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Davin, I know my sister in law has been enjoying it !

https://permies.com/u/160965/Kani-Seifert
 
Peter Kalokerinos
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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I'd be interested to know how many people with larger properties (say 20+ acres) are taking it? any ideas?
 
Davin Eberhardt
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I have no idea what size properties everyone has.  There have been a couple people posting pictures of some large properties as well as stating it.  Like this guy "We are a church-based, sustainability training, intentional community, eco-farm on 67.7 acres about 20 miles Northeast of Kansas City, Missouri. "

Pretty amazed at all the interaction and additional info/value you get beyond just learning from Geoff/Bill/David.
 
Peter Kalokerinos
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Davin Eberhardt wrote:Pretty amazed at all the interaction and additional info/value you get beyond just learning from Geoff/Bill/David.


Interesting insights, thanks Davin.

We weren't organised enough to do it this year, but part of the problem I've had with PDC's generally, is the group seems more urban/small holding focused. And/or tropical climates, neither of which is relevant to our situation.
 
Davin Eberhardt
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lol Peter, I am the opposite.  As I'm looking for a property of 5-10 acres.  Which PDC's have you done that focused on urban/small holdings?  Locally or online?
 
Peter Kalokerinos
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Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Yeah, we're on 110 acres....so its a little different. I look at it this way, I could do a local PDC about how to grow tomatoes better, or I could spend that time building more hugel beds and observing.....I personally learn more doing and learning from mistakes...but that's me. If I could do Sepp's thing in Austria that'd be perfect....but that's unlikely.

The other thing is I could spend $1k on getting someone suitable (David Spicer comes to mind) over for a day and we could plot out a plan to keep us busy for at least a year or two....I cant remember the podcast, but either Paul or whoever it was he was talking to had a similar outlook on PDC's....then he went and did a PDC and ate humble pie.......I suspect I'll be doing the same at some point





 
Dave de Basque
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Location: Basque Country, Spain-42N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
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Hi Davin,

I'm on the course and enjoying it loads! I figured it would be demanding but had really no idea... It's taking up every single minute of my spare time... I hope my lovely friends here at my beloved permies online home will forgive me for being completely absent the first 6 months of this year!!

Peter Kalokerinos wrote:I'd be interested to know how many people with larger properties (say 20+ acres) are taking it? any ideas?


There are 1000 people on the course so there is a some of absolutely everything and everywhere. A couple of recent quotes from the course's Facebook group:

"Does anyone have suggestions on how to accommodate game (100 antelope etc) and 800 merino sheep on a 2800 hectare farm? The antelope tend to run and break the fences..."

"When is the deadline to turn in designs? June? I'm working with 1000 acres and I live far from the land ..."

and of course others who have no land (yet) and wonder what to design, or who wonder if it's OK to design an 80m2 suburban backyard (yes it is), etc. Virtually every situation you can think of is well represented.

The level of discussion is more than intelligent, it's unbelievable. How to grow tomatoes better has not been mentioned at any point so far and I can't imagine it coming up except maybe as a side comment. That is not what this course is about at all. Geoff is basically teaching Bill's PDM (that's what's supposed to happen in a PDC) and the content is double-triple-mind blowing as our dear Bill was a fucking genius and his book is double-triple-mind blowing. Take Paul's word for it and find ye a GOOD, reputable PDC that bases the lessons on the PDM and TAKE it, you will not be sorry!

Going back into PDC-induced hibernation, see you on the other side in June!!
 
Kani Seifert
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Location: USDA Zone 3-4/Sunset Zone 1a/in South Central WY
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Hi! I'm Miles' sister-in-law! We are working with three different properties as we are in the process of moving. One is a blank-slate 35 acres of sage brush, another is the new house on 8 acres of sage brush, and the other is the small town lot with a house, but with no sage brush. The PDC is an interesting journey, and I'm really enjoying getting into the practical aspects of permaculture. The course is opening many potential paths for the future.
 
Angela Aragon
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I took Geoff's online PDC in 2014 and found it very informative. This year was the release of the updated version: PDC 2.0. Geoff offered the course to all alumni at half price. I opted to pass on the offer, not because I thought it would not be valuable. On the contrary, everything I have heard about it is that it is fantastic. Instead, I chose not to enroll because at this point I feel that what I need more is practical experience and I am more interested in pursuing those opportunities.

I think that it is important that people are clear about theIr expectations for PDCs and be realistic about them. Most PDCs, including those that are on site, are overviews of the field and should be understood as such. There simply is not time to address each topic in depth. That work is the responsibility of the student after they complete the course.

One criticism that I have of PDCs is the claim that you will have the tools to be a designer upon completion of it. The idea that I would finish a PDC, especially an online one (which by definition is strictly theoretical), and be adequately prepared to design someone else's property seems on one hand recklessly irresponsible and on the other incredibly arrogant. Nevertheless, this is what many PDCs claim, including Geoff's online PDC (at least the version I took in 2014). In fact, Geoff recommended that we design 5-6 other properties before focusing on designing our own. The rationale he gave was sound, but he did not address whether we would actually have adequate knowledge and experience to design ANY property at the conclusion of the online PDC.

I chose not to take Geoff's advice and jumped right in designing my own 8.5 acres, rationalizing that any mistakes I made only would effect me. And I made plenty of them . I learned a lot from my mistakes and gained valuable experience along the way.

I am not anti-PDC. I believe that they have value. The one that I took was valuable for me.

My advice to anyone taking a PDC, online or on site, would be to use it to "get your feet wet" and use the enthusiasm that you gained to shadow or work alongside someone that has more experience than you do. If you want to be a designer, seek out someone that is doing designs for people/organizations. If you want to teach others, find someone that already is doing that and follow them around.
 
Dave de Basque
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Location: Basque Country, Spain-42N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
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Angela, What you've said is good food for thought. I agree with you that if you really want to be a competent permaculture designer, you can't just rely on a PDC and expect it to get you there by itself. Before, during and after a PDC, you have to be doing some related activities and reading up on permaculture stuff that interests you.

People are so different and permaculture is such a broad subject ("natural systems and how they work," i.e. everything in the universe) that I think there are as many successful paths to getting to be a good designer as there are people. Each of us will no doubt find themselves lacking in quite a few areas and have to do things to bone up on those. Some are really important to be a good designer and some are less critical. Some people will come to a PDC with a lot of knowledge and skills previous to the PDC that are useful in becoming a permaculture designer, and maybe the course gets them to 100%. I think this is a fairly common situation. Personality, learning style and work history are all really important to consider, I think, for anyone who's trying to figure out what's the best path and a timeline I suppose for them to become a permaculture designer.

The world needs a zillion permaculture designers and it needs them yesterday, though, so I would do nothing but encourage people to dive in and yes, take a good PDC sometime in the not-distant future. If you're interested, I'd say get the ball rolling pronto however works for you.

Personally, anyhow, I'm finding that the 2016-17 version of the course, combined with the support of its online community, is about as good as I reckon a course could possibly be. Sure the subject matter of Permaculture is overwhelming. Bill Mollison even said he had huge gaps in his knowledge. He didn't let it stop him, lucky us, and we can't either. Between permies.com and the online community of Geoff's PDC, both places of which have loads of super-helpful, experienced and knowledgeable people ready to help you out of any sticky situation, you can get a darn lot of great insight on almost anything that might come up.

If you don't have a permaculture mentor in your area to accumulate experience with, I wouldn't hesitate *if you feel ready* to strike out on your own as a designer after a PDC. Of course it's important to use your noodle, be responsible and ethical, and know when and if you're in over your head. And then ask around your permie communities, bring in "ringers" to help you with the project, or whatever. I think if you feel 50%ish prepared to do that coming into the PDC, I really think the course could get you the rest of the way, at least to make a start at it.

I wouldn't worry much about the possibility of making mistakes, either. You will. geoff lawton still makes (and acknowledges, and learns from) mistakes on his designs. Mistakes are part of a lifelong learning process, and in a "live, soft" science that is as broad as Permaculture, they are inevitable. There are far too many factors involved to ever have a design locked up. But we have to remember we can make some spectacular improvements too, just by doing some really simple things. And it's important that we get out and do them. We have lots of people to ask about aspects of a project we're not sure about.

My overall strong feeling is that I think Geoff's online PDC this year is one of the most exciting courses I've ever taken on any subject: broad-ranging, mind-blowing, challenging, fresh, well-organized, surprising, supportive, comforting, beautiful... If you're in the right place for it, it's a fantastic choice. And in that case, it can prepare you as well as anything could, to go straight out and do good Permaculture designs. Each of us needs to add the part of being smart, ethical and responsible about it. And face the inevitable difficulties with the help of the support communities it gives you access to. We all need to start somewhere. And the rest is lifelong learning.


 
Kit Carson
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Location: United States
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Davin Eberhardt wrote:Hello everyone!

I'm excited to join the forum.  Taking Geoff's PDC right now and curious if others in this forum are in the online course? 


Hi Davin, Kit Carson here.  I'm taking the course from down in Mexico.  The property we live on and I will be doing my design for is 2 hectares, around 5 acres of high desert.  The course is way more in depth than I had expected, but that's all to the good.  I'm loving it.  Where are you located?
 
Anna Tennis
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Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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I'm taking Geoff's PDC. It's pretty astounding. I'm grateful for the length of time we have to absorb the material and work on our design (I've got young kids and we unschool, so it's generally a struggle to stay on top of it all).

I don't have any property yet. I'm actively looking for a house on an urban lot to buy (Portland, Oregon, US). I do plan to make it my design project, when I find it, so I'll be one of those working on probably +/- quarter acre urban situation.
 
Jessie Twinn
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Location: Central Highlands, Victoria Australia
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I'm also on Geoff's course and have 20ac of land in what I now know is warm temperate Victoria, Australia (always thought we were cool temperate but I guess globally it's different). Ch 4 was bloody hard slog and I felt so overwhelmed but chapters 5 & 6 were fantastic and solidified much of what we've learned for me. Lovign CH 7 right now.

Much of the course has a tropical or at least sub tropical feel as that is where Geoff's farm Zaytuna is based but discussion on the fb page is helping people to find the cooler climate versions. Tropical banana circles are replaced by hugels in cooler climates. LOVE that!

I also think most of the course is seeming fairly climate generic but examples are sub tropical. I'm not having too many difficulties relating to my climate.

All in all, loving it.
 
Anna Tennis
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Location: western slope of Oregon Cascades/Portland, OR
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Jessie Twinn wrote:Ch 4 was bloody hard slog and I felt so overwhelmed


Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
 
André Troylilas
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Location: North of France
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I am part of this course, with only 80m² of my own, renting 300m² and having access to 4500m² at work, but with no earthwork possible.
 
Tim Barker
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Hi all hopefully i can offer a few thoughts and perspectives that others might find be helpful. I was on the 10 week internship at Geoffs place in 2010. Basically i wanted to get in a room with like minded people and talk about permaculture as where i was living didnt have much in the way of people switched on about the upcoming set of challenges we as a race face. I had read Permaculture 1 in 1981 and since that time had been practising in my own small way and consuming everything i could on Permaculture but had never taken a PDC. Anyway i signed up for the Internship but one of the stipulations was that you had done a PDC. As i was blowing all my holidays on the internship i did an online/correspondence PDC through Permaculture visions in Australia. I did the course and was happy with it but was aware that the real deal was doing one onsite. As it turned out nobody ever checked to see if i had my certificate anyway.  Partway through the internship i was invited to stay on and work at PRI which i did packing up the family and leaving the town that had been our home for 15 years. Its so liberating to say to hell with it and follow your heart!.

Anyway long story short i did quite a lot of co teaching with Geoff and others along the way and found a passion for that also. I ended up being farm manager at PRI and later getting invited to develop an appropriate technology curriculum for PRI New Zealand. I got my Permaculture Diploma in appropriate technology while teaching in New Zealand. Recently ive been washing up on American shores since getting an invite to the rocket stoves innovators even at Wheaton labs a few years running and this year will be teaching a PDC and appropriate technology course back to back there starting 28th May.

For cash and time poor folk the online courses can be a great thing. I remember talking about my experiences with the online course at length with Geoff who was even then interested in offering an online course. But having experienced going through an online course and then later teaching many PDC's i have to say you cannot underestimate the power of going through a PDC with a group of people on site.

As for when you start designing and charging for it i'm with others and suggest that you need to gain experience first. i think we as permies have a very clear obligation to act in and hold ourselves to a very high ethical standard. You wouldnt send your car to a first year apprentice and be confident of the best possible job. As designers we are quite possibly designing with peoples lives and livelihoods.  I dont know how anyone could  not be daunted, humbled and burdened by that.

The PDC is about how to design,  that's why it's call a design certificate. The strategies and techniques you learn in the PDC are purely there so that you at least have a good enough knowledge of them to put together a design to show you understand the PROCESS. Doing the PDC is the start of lifelong learning as the strategies and techniques are like a pallet of colours, the more you have the richer becomes the painting but beware without the supporting canvas of the design process it won't work.

Cheers Tim


 
John Athayde
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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia (Zone 7a)
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Like Angela, I took the 2014 PDC but I decided to give this one a whirl as well. I've been working on my own property now for 3 years and I've learned a lot. I will agree with her assessment and concerns about the marketing of PDCs. I have a M. Architecture and even with that extensive design background I still don't feel confident enough to design someone else's property.

I'd kicked around the idea of a post PDC continuing studio design process but never got very far with it. Doing a design, getting feedback from professionals, and repeating that process taught me more than anything else during Architecture school. Maybe I'll spend some more time seeing if I can recruit/hire a group of practitioners and be my own guniea pig.
 
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