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Permaculture Course in Detroit 3/27 - 4/8

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Instructors: Larry Santoyo and Keith D. Johnson
Date: March 27 - April 8, 2011
Location: Detroit

****HALF PRICE / 2-FOR-1****

Course Overview
The Permaculture Design Certificate course is an internationally recognized, seventy-two hour course serving as an introduction to permaculture design as set forth by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. It serves as a 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.

Agricultural Urbanism

    Whether we call it Agricultural Urbanism, Urban Agriculture, Urban Farming or simply gardening, sustainable communities likely are not possible without locally produced food. A large part of CO2 emissions come from transportation, and in food production in particular, transport is a significant portion of the GHG burden and the 10 calories of energy needed to produce 1 calorie of food. Most cities will need to develop close relations with surrounding areas and be able to import their food from within a 30 to 100 mile radius. Detroit can grow a huge percentage of its food within city limits, decreasing the burden on surrounding cities and reducing CO2 emissions.

Course Content:
The format is designed to be taken in three modules to accommodate students who cannot or do not wish to attend a full PDC. The course sections can also be attended as one-, two-, or three-day workshops with the advisement of, and permission from, the Instructors. Send inquiries to: studentservices@pri-de.org

Part One

Fire, Water, Earth & Air... New Ecology and Sacred Geometry: Introduction to Permaculture Design and Natural Pattern Understanding

Day 1
Course description, group introductions, site orientation & house rules, Permaculture Design ethics, theory, Indicators of Sustainability.

This session will introduce the guiding philosophies and fundamental methodologies of Permaculture Design. Students will develop skills for recognizing the intrinsic characteristics of natural systems.

Day 2
Concepts and themes of design, origins of form, design methodologies, zones and sectors, base mapping, procedures of property design, design teams.

Permaculture design emphasizes the patterning of landscape, function and species relationships. Concepts of flow patterns, guilds, edge effects and harmonics are covered in this section with reference to specific site examples. Students will begin to formulate their own ideas for site improvement using Permaculture principles. Each student will be assigned to a Design team, and each team will be responsible for a final group presentation.

Day 3
Water & trees, Keyline Design, the hydrologic cycle, global climate, agro-forestry.

Water has been called the stuff of life. Without it, life is not possible. We will examine unique approaches to water harvesting, storage and utilization, and the role of trees and their energy in landscapes to manage water, store carbon and provide other benefits to agricultural zones.

Day 4
Urban Restoration, temperate and tropic zones, reversing erosion, management practices, difficult soils, compost, mulch, earthworks.

Cultivating Soil Fertility: The soil is alive! This workshop will cover key strategies for improving soil health naturally, and reducing the classic problems of pests, weeds and pathogens. Soil classifications and the role of soil in nutrient cycling and plant nutrition will be covered, along with restorative earth works and necessary equipment.

Part Two

Food, Water, Shelter... Earth-Friendly Techniques & Technologies: Building the Home Ecosystem.

The second Part will focus on techniques and technologies for designing & building a complete home ecosystem, restorative agriculture and natural building.

Day 5
Zone and Sector Planning, Zones 1 and 2, home scale projects, house design, green interiors, cooking, cooling, heating, building techniques; straw bale, cob, earthbags.

The Permaculture concepts of zones and sectors help land stewards and community designers make best use of a given site. We will cover the application of landscape profiles, base maps, and on-site analysis to assist in the logical orientation of design elements.

Day 6
Zones 3 and 4. Broadscale design, alternative transportation wind and solar energy, micro climates, working in other climates of the world, restoration of degraded lands.

This workshop will provide students with an overview of large property designs and renewable and affordable technologies with a Permaculture Design emphasis on how to assess their relative appropriateness to a given circumstance.

Day 7
Zone 5. Wilderness preservation, ponds, polycultures, water works, grey water systems, water harvesting.

Aquaculture and wetland environments are among the most productive on the planet. They nourish plant life, provide habitat, help recycle natural resources and more. This course section will survey the world's principal wetland habitats, both natural and manmade: marshes, estuaries, chinampas, Keyline ponds and constructed wetland.

Day 8
Zones 5 and beyond; EcoUrbanism Equals Wilderness Preservation.

Animals in Permaculture; animals and insects offer an astonishing array of intrinsic factors that can prove invaluable to a design. Holistic management of a site using animals.

Part Three

Creating Community... Self-Reliance, Eco-Villages and Eco-Economics: EcoVillage Design and Community Celebration

The final session will feature community building & "creating a sense of place," patterns of human dynamics, intentional communities & eco-villages. We will learn strategies for creating community-wide sustainability and methods for finding our own right-livelihoods.

Day 9
MicroVillage, Village design concepts, collaborative housing, design teams.

Eco-Villages and Invisible Structures. Various strategies for the design and development of intentional communities and eco-villages will be considered, including legal structures and sociological ramifications.

Day 10
Cooperatives, LLC, credit unions, trusts, EarthBanks, and local currencies, review of Principles.

EcoVillage design and strategies for Urban Links. Invisible Structures underlie the arrangement of human societies, and involve psychological, political and economic patterns. These hidden frameworks for human interaction link the Permaculturist and one's site to society at large, and exert a profound influence on how decisions are made and, how effective they can be over time.

Day 11
Products, services and skills, and community organizations.

A principal challenge to moving off the grid and into more holistic lifestyles is meeting one's daily needs. Ideas for establishing community-scale industry, bioregional associations, and for increasing self-sufficiency will be shared.

Day 12
Global issues and permaculture, starting a permaculture consultancy, starting a MicroVillage group, "Where do we go from here?", Designer apprenticeships, design presentations, Talent & Trade Show.

Course Details


    * Permaculture: A Designers Manual - Bill Mollison
    * Gaia's Garden - Toby Hemenway

** It is not required to have the texts in hand for the course, but students should
acquaint themselves with them at some point. **

Location: TBD; determined by course size.


    * Option 1.Staff and students will be housed at the PRI-De and will sleep on the floor and should bring appropriate bedding.
    * Option 2. There is limited space for two large tents or several small tents.
    * Option 3. The intent is to foster a close-knit, collegial atmosphere during the course and encourage everyone to stay on campus. We will assist you with finding accommodations, if requested, or if required for non-course-related reasons. A new hostel has opened recently.
    * Option 4. We will attempt to arrange homestays if requested, but cannot guarantee placement. An additional fee will be required.


    * Local pick-up is available to persons arriving from out of the area via air, bus or train. Please notify us of your travel plans several days prior to the course.
    * Daily transport exists on a limted scale. You may wish to drive or rent a vehicle if you expect to be out often. Bicycles encouraged, but not available at this time.

Food: Every effort will be made to accommodate all preferences. Be prepared to make meals communally unless course size is large.

What to Bring:

    * Comfortable clothes you can work in and will be comfortable in in a wide range of settings. Detroit can get near freezing in March and April; layering is a good strategy.
    * Toiletries and a towel.
    * Any special dietary items, though there are organic markets available.

* - $250 if no room and board.
** Pay any amounts not available via the PayPal link on this page via the "Misc Goods/Services" PayPal button on the home page.
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