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what is a permaculture design course (PDC)

r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I think if I were going to take a permaculture course, I'd want one that starts with "Ok, so you have read Mollison's books cover to cover, and have been growing things for years, this is where you go from there." Every class I have seen puts time into things that come out of the books (thanks, read them, understand that concept, can we move on?) or that is hands on stuff I consider too basic to need (I can use several types of leveling systems for land, I don't need to learn to work an A frame level or a water level, can we move on?) My thing is I have little money right now, and if I am investing in X number of hours of instruction, I REALLY need at least 80% of that to be new information, not someone telling me things I can learn in books, or basic gardening techniques that are easy to learn. I read people online saying "it opened my mind, now I look at every piece of land and see it's potential" I've been opened, I design landscapes every time I see dirt I haven't met before, can we move on? What's the next step after THAT? That's what I want to learn.....  I don't even know what the next step is, but I can tell you a lot of steps that I've taken, and don't need rehashed.

Although, to be honest, I had this problem in school (and college) too. When the lecture covers the book, why am I here? When the general pace of the class is to the person who has never read anything about it, why am I here? This is why I dropped out of college several times. I wanted a full buffet of all the neat kinds of food on the planet, and was offered a choice of canned cafeteria garbage. I'm still looking for the full buffet And really can't pay for mashed potatoes....

What would the next step look like?

I wonder.  Maybe the next step is something like the boots-to-roots programme?  

For me, the PDC holds no strong interest.  I can read books.  I can absorb and apply data.  I can observe the environment around me and apply the permaculture principles.  I don't plan to teach PDC or start a business with the word permaculture in it.  I might write a book soon that mentions permaculture and uses the principles of it, but I don't think I need a PDC to be able to use the word (if I use it in a way that's true to it's roots).  What I want to learn is what can only be learned by doing.  

there are other programmes at wheaton labs that might be a better fit for you.  All of them involve doing and learning.  The more people put into it the more they get out of it.  Or maybe there are other places like that?  There aren't many, but there do seem to be a few places out there that go beyond what you can learn in a book.  Maybe PDCs do that, I don't know.  

Then again, if I had a scholarship to take a PDC in my area, I would jump at the chance.  Not because I think it would be a 'necessary' thing in my life, but because I love learning the same stuff from different points of view.  Taking the same course on the same book but from different teachers can open up all sorts of ideas I never discovered the first time around.  
Pearl Sutton
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Tyler Ludens & R Ranson:  
Interesting. Thank you both for commenting, lots to think on in your replies...
Off the top of my head, the reasons I'd consider a PDC (or something) are:
1. I KNOW I'm missing things. I am in the process of perming up the land I bought, I hate to make stupid errors, and keep reinventing the wheel because I don't know it's been done. What I don't know is what I don't know... If I knew where the gaps in my info were, I'd put effort into filling them, I don't know what I'm missing until things hit me in the face, and then they become a problem. As my earlier post said, I know where they are not, but I don't know where they are...

2. I don't know where I'll focus in the future, I DO know I have hated every time I have tripped over "you have no piece of paper that says you are qualified to do what you are doing." I prefer to let my results speak for themselves, but this society has a serious psychoses about pieces of paper. Maybe if I have the paper, I'll have less nonsense in the future?

3. I definitely need to meet up with others doing what I do, I am very isolated right now, just moved, been too busy to do anything social, and sick when I'm not busy. The people I "see" on the net are my only contacts who have a clue of what I'm doing or why. This area has a lot of traditional farming, and when I need advice, it's frustrating when all I can get is "spray it with these toxic chemicals!" or "spend this large amount of money and do it the normal way!" Um. No. So I reinvent the wheel, again. I need to feel like I'm not alone and that I can ask for help and know the answers I get are based on the same underlying concepts as my questions.

R Ranson: "Then again, if I had a scholarship to take a PDC in my area, I would jump at the chance.  Not because I think it would be a 'necessary' thing in my life, but because I love learning the same stuff from different points of view."  If it were affordable and scheduleable, I'd jump at it too, if for no other reason than to have the piece of paper. I'd love to see through their eyes and see what it looks like, compare it to what it looks like through mine. "I don't plan to teach PDC or start a business with the word permaculture in it." I don't know where I'm headed, I may end up doing something along those lines. I am a computer/paper graphics type, and the part of the design game that involves drawing it all out to scale on either computers or sheets of paper, to show the layers and structure and plant arrangements is easy and fun for me, and is something I might be able to get paid to do, and can do when my health is messy. So the piece of paper might be useful there.

I think a better version of my question might be: Is there a PDC or something that doesn't start with the assumption "this is all a new concept to you" ?

And I think I'm probably derailing this whole thread and I apologize, and thank you for things to think on

Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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A lot of people seem to get more out of the PDC than just what is in the book, but I think it depends on who you take the course from.  Can't remember if I mentioned recently I have never taken the PDC and have no desire to because I don't plan to teach the PDC.  Some people seem to want to get the certificate in order to do permaculture designs, but that's not necessary.  I also think results speak for themselves, so I would want to see someone's design work (for instance their own yard or other projects) before hiring a permaculture designer.

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