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permaculture and money.  RSS feed

 
                                    
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hi folks... i have a problem and i joined this forum specifically to try to get it resolved.
        i have been studying permaculture for about 6 years now.... I don't have a pdc and i feel fairly confident in my abilities.
        permaculture is such an interdisciplinary science that my own research has brought me through horticultural departments, soil labs, land surveyors, aquaculture, etc.... i understand permaculture more as a framework or a way of thinking than something rigid.
        so i have a couple of questions....
i think that most of the information for permaculture comes from traditional knowledge systems ,i guess I don't understand why that would be patented.  as expensive as a pdc course is i just feel like something is wrong with that... I feel that people should have access to this information.
i feel that permaculture (sustainable settlements) should not just be for the affluent people of america and by making the pdc so expensive that's what I feel it has become.
does anyone else know where I'm coming from?
am i insane?
 
tel jetson
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lots of folks are on the same page as you.  there are some alternatives to dropping a lot of cash:

- there's a whole lot of information available for free on these here internets and in libraries.
- some design courses offer work trade options and/or scholarships.
- there are non-profit organizations that occasionally put on courses free of charge or for very cheap.

when the cost of most courses is broken down, it's pretty clear that nobody (or very few people) is getting rich teaching these things.  the really popular locations that fill up courses are probably making a decent profit, but those are the exception.

if you want to fix the problem you see, practice what you've learned until it's real for you and you know in practice instead of just in theory.  then share your experience and knowledge freely and encourage others to do the same.  don't call it permaculture if you haven't taken a teachers course so you don't expose yourself to criticism or legal action and you'll be in the clear.
 
Steven Baxter
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Yes you are right in how you see it. PDC's are expensive. Part of farming is about being frugal, yet thousands of dollars need to be spent to attend some PDC's. Unless I was given the money, did work trade, or donated something in exchange for the PDC, I most likely would not attend it. This important info should be shared a bit more freely. Would this be like a monopoly of some sort?

There is so much free info out there in forms of books and internet article/ videos. Even taking free tours on farms is a good way to learn. One way I learned a lot was WWOOFing. I learned how to milk goats, make cheese, plant trees, operate a chain saw and wood chipper, set up grey water systems, build chicken tractors, and I could go on for days about everything I learned from WWOOFing.

How were some ways you learned about permaculture, gob?
 
                                    
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I've read bill mollison and david holmgrens early works in permaculture one and two... I've read the designers manual and holmgrens new book...  i've listened to bill mollisons 40 hr pdc course on audio about a million times... I am confident in what I know so far... I guess i'm saying that I know what to do but I would like to make it more open source.. I guess that's part of the reason why I got onto this forum in the first place.
 
Briggs Burnham
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I suppose I could answer from the point of view of someone who used to help organize PDCs.  

I know that in our case, prices were set based on the actual cost of putting on the course.  We catered the 2 week course, so that was a major cost, we paid our instructors a small but fair wage, and we bought books and materials for workshops.  Once we added up all these costs, we said to ourselves: ok, if 10 people sign up, how much do we need from each person to break even?  If more people signed up, we had to pay for more food books and materials, but we started to have a small amount of money leftover.   This money went into both our materials fund and a scholarship fund for the next year.

I worked with a couple people who strongly agreed with your perspective that this information should be free.  They set up one or two free workshops at the public library that were moderately attended, but in the end decided it was too much work to organize these things.  I haven't asked, but I believe that if they had asked for a donation or charged a small amount to compensate themselves for their time and effort, they might have decided to continue with the workshops.

It sounds like to me, you've found all the free resources, and you're only real beef is with not being allowed to use the term "Permaculture" in what you do.  So here's my question to you: if someone doesn't take a PDC, how would we be assured they knew all the basics of Permaculture and were qualified to use that term?

The good news is, all the information you get in a PDC is out there somewhere for free or cheap.  You can read books, websites, blogs, and articles.  You can watch youtube videos.  You can volunteer for someone at their farm.  What you can't do is receive a PDC and call yourself a "Permaculture Designer".  This is because Mollison and Holmgren decided they didn't want just anybody who may or may not have all the pertinent info to use that term.  
 
                                    
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i don't think my beef is so much with not being able to use the term permaculture but rather the way that the courses are set up... i don't think you need to import 'experts' on permaculture into areas where perfectly competent people are already working in local systems.  I understand the knowledge that these people possess but I think the peter banes, darren daureghty, and paul wheatons of the world are better utilized in their own locale.
so if we can eliminate the cost of importing these people that would help with the cost... I also think that a local group would be more keen on the providing their services at a much lower cost or free
also letting people bring their own food if they wish for the course would alleviate some cost... camping on site in warmer months would negate housing... you may need some infrastructure (latrines) but this is easily managed.
so I think the biggest need right now is for people like you and I that have kinda sorta an idea about what we should be doing in the landscape to put together working examples that work locally, that local people can come and learn from ...
we know that everything is site specific... we may be in the same region but soils and climate may vary, sometimes significantly, between sites even within the same region
so I think that local networks of people working in nucleas in their regions until they are large enough to expand outside of their range would be good... I don't think permaculture has evolved enough, especially in the temperate climates, for us to be moving all over the country pretending we know more than the locals do about their ecology... we should stay put and learn how to fix our backyards first
 
Salkeela Bee
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Teaching permaculture... now there's a thing.

I'm a Biology teacher 4 days a week.  I have a PDC.  I live on 25 acres that has been quietly increasing Permacultury stuff since I learned about P. in the early '90s.  It's not perfect.  Nor am I.  I don't earn my income off the site, but do grow a load of food.

Yet were I to "teach" permaculture I would probably be putting massive effort in for little to no return (even if this was a paid thing).  I am unlikely to ever use my teaching skills to this end.

However, lots of folk see what I'm up to.  Not just friends and family, but also visitors we have staying through the Helpx.net site.

So I echo what a poster above said.  If you want to learn, go and work somewhere......  Permaculture is about the "doing" in my opinion.  An actual qualification is a nice touch but not in any way required for the "doing".

Indeed for a load of stuff I like to think for myself.  So in some ways the things I do may simply be my own blend of many different schools of thought.  I don't do moon stuff, I do like organic, I don't like chemicals, I'm not biodynamic, I am into wholesome foods, I sometimes use "rows", I sometimes don't.... etc. etc.

I know it's tough to learn without money (but I don't teach Biology for free either - just the government picks up much of the tab for that....) but it's cheap to "do".

So read up, think around it all, get out and get down to the "doing"!  That's the best learning technique out.....   

 
Tyler Ludens
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gobeaguru wrote:
..
i think that most of the information for permaculture comes from traditional knowledge systems ,i guess I don't understand why that would be patented.



It isn't patented.  Anyone can learn the ideas of permaculture from a book or from a website like this one and anyone who has access to some land or a yard can learn by putting the ideas into practice - as mentioned above, practice is the best way to learn

I never took a pdc nor will I ever, probably. 

.

 
                                    
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i agree that it technically isn't patented but..whether or not the information is freely accessible is one thing.... I think the idea of the pdc makes people believe that there is proprietary information involved in this stuff.... or that you are missing something by not taking a pdc.... I think other open source avenues should be made known or accessible. or at least given as much clout as the pdc.... i just think there is this idea out there that people can't be permaculturalists unless they get a pdc and this shouldn't be the case
 
Tyler Ludens
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gobeaguru wrote:i just think there is this idea out there that people can't be permaculturalists unless they get a pdc


I agree, and it would help to dispose of the idea by not implying that it is patented and by not continuing to propagate the idea that one can only learn permaculture with an expensive course, when that is certainly not the case.  Information about permaculture is freely available, more information than one is likely to be able to apply in a lifetime! 
 
Jeff Hodgins
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I think that some of these places where you pay big money or do alot of free labour are bad examples to follow because their income is from other people and not nesesarily from their practice of applied permaculture. They don't represent real profit from sustainable agriculture.
 
Terri Matthews
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There was a free recorded course on beginning permaculture that I listened to: was it from the University of South Carolina? The teachers name was Will Hooker.

It helped me a lot, because the books that I read were giving a lot of facts but not putting them together: the course DID show how things fit together! In effect, the course took a lot of threads and put them together into a fabric, if that makes sense!
 
Sam Surman
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I'm very pleasantly surprised at the amount of agreement towards not paying for this knowledge  ... I for one do not have a huge disposible income to throw at learning so am self taught in most of my chosen topics, natural living being one, natural health another.

I do understand how someone might see a means of making money from running courses on their own farm offering to teach others how its done ... its the mind set of needing a certificate otherwise you don't really know it! but being permaculturists, natural living experts, call it what ever, its living the talk that matters.

Sadly in many fields, the powers that rule over us lay down the rules to 'protect' us and by so doing, certificates come into play.

Cheers

 
Nathalie Poulin
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While I agree that some PDC's are expensive, I would still invest in a course. In fact, I'm saving up to take a course in the fall.
I wouldn't want to learn permaculture from someone who didn't have a certificate, if only because you learn so much more than books can teach you when you're learning it from a teacher.

I've read so much about permaculture. I have spent hours on the internet, scouring sites like this one. I own a lot of books (Gaia's Garden, Introduction to Permaculture, Making A Forest Garden, sepp holzer's Permaculture, and more) and have a subscription to the UK magazine Permaculture.
Just because I know all this amazing stuff about permaculture doesn't mean I could start teaching people what permaculture is.
I took an Introduction to Permaculture course last weekend and I learned so much more than I thought I could. Way more than what I'd previously read. I'm glad I had read all those books and had that to draw from, but it's incredible the things you can learn at a PDC that isn't covered in the books.

It really opens your mind and I just don't think that's something you could learn from a book or the internet.

However, I understand that not everyone can take a PDC. But if you could somehow find the money, or save up over a year or two, I can tell you it'll be well worth it. I'm really looking forward to my course in the fall.
 
Salkeela Bee
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There is another angle to a PDC - a two week course is something like a themed holiday.  Many folk take adventure or activity holidays relevant to their interests and a 2 week residential PDC is probably quite like this.

I actually did my PDC online by distance learning (which suited as I am a teacher and none of the local courses ran during my holidays, and anyway my holidays "belong" to my children...) I did it because I at the time I thought I might get an avenue to do something permacultury through the college I teach in.  It didn't come to fruition.

However I then thought it might be a good idea to do some sort of course in order to talk to some real live Permies.  So my daughter (then 14) and I went and did one of Patrick Whitefield's courses over 5 days and although very informative and most interesting, there was also a themed holiday atmosphere.  I met some lovely people there and spent some fun times with my daughter....

So running PDCs as a money venture as part of an alternative tourism venture is surely fine.

If anyone really wants the info, then they don't need a course to find it.  The courses are for folk who want that sort of interaction, or who "need" the PDC ....  and it's also for folk who don't live in the country already and need the green time!
 
jacque greenleaf
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"Sadly in many fields, the powers that rule over us lay down the rules to 'protect' us and by so doing, certificates come into play. "

i for one am very glad that there is such a thing as a permaculture certificate. All you have to do is look at the commercialization of words like natural and organic to know what could happen if just anyone could call themselves a permaculture designer.

Also, it isn't book learning that qualifies you to be called a permaculture designer. There is an experience requirement as well.

The man who taught my PDC had over twenty years of experience of working with landowners, producing master plans for their property development. His services include follow-up - in other words, he actually keeps track of how those property plans are implemented, and how well the plan was working. IMO, nothing can replace that depth of hands-on experience in many different situations. If a teacher didn't have to have experience - well, you're right, it wouldn't be worth the money charged. It's exposure to that experience that made me cough up the money. And having some background in teaching myself, I can say that the work invested in teaching a two-week immersion permaculture course is probably more often underpaid rather than overpaid.
 
Tyler Ludens
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BDAFJeff wrote:
I think that some of these places where you pay big money or do alot of free labour are bad examples to follow because their income is from other people and not nesesarily from their practice of applied permaculture. They don't represent real profit from sustainable agriculture.


That would be one of my criteria for a good permaculture instructor - do they make any portion of their living from their practice of permaculture (growing significant food for their household, earning some portion of their income from products grown by permaculture) - or do they only make money teaching permaculture?

If I ever take a pdc and get certified, it will be so I can teach permaculture for free, if only to help dispel the notion that you need money to learn about permaculture! 
 
Sam Surman
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I'm just wondering if Emilia Hazelip, Fukuoka, Sepp and others had/have certificates? perhaps they do, I don't know. Certificates mean squat all, people can even go on these courses and get a certificate and still know little or nothing compared to folks that live the talk AIMHO of course.

Thats not to say that there are many dedicated folks that also hold certificates and have way loads more knowledge 'and' experience than I.

Some folks just put too much faith in a piece of paper.

Cheers

 
Lee Einer
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There's nothing wrong with asking for something of value in return for something of value.

You may be able to establish some other paradigm within the confines of an intentional community, but in the world at large, this is a survival strategy.

That being said, the certificate process is definitely not watertight. Another commenter asked how you know that somebody knows is stuff if she/he isn't certificated? I would pose the contrary question, how do you know somebody knows their stuff just because they ARE certificated? Or degreed? Or have some other official piece of paper? AFAIK, nobody flunks a permaculture design course. And some probably should.



 
Tyler Ludens
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dolmen wrote:
I'm just wondering if Emilia Hazelip, Fukuoka, Sepp and others had/have certificates?


I'd bet money they do/did not. 

 
                                    
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i think money has corrupted permaculture to a certain degree.... there are individuals that are pure but a pdc doesn't ensure much, those people that take that information and want to make the world better for everybody, i'm all for that... but those who want to turn it into a money making machine... no ... it's no longer permaculture

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability pg. 187
Self -Regulation
"If we have a backpack to carry our possessions when travelling, we will fill it; if we have a car, we will fill that. This tendency to use, occupy and consume whatever is available is natural and can be widely observed in human affairs as well as nature. If there is spare sunlight, water, or space, some plant will colonise the available resource "

......."there is ample evidence of traditional and indigenous people living in the midst of abundance that they did not seek to exploit"

so I think we need to regulate ourselves .... one of the 3 main principles of permaculture is fair share.... i think it is the most elusive but possibly the most important
what is your fairshare? what is mine?

i guess i'm just a hater on the price and i'm wondering where all the money goes.. I know people have broken it down but still seems excessive... and almost contradictory to the ethics of permaculture... leaves a bad taste in my mouth
 
Tyler Ludens
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gobeaguru wrote:

i guess i'm just a hater on the price and i'm wondering where all the money goes.. I know people have broken it down but still seems excessive... and almost contradictory to the ethics of permaculture... leaves a bad taste in my mouth


More reason for you to put your personal energy into sharing this information for free! 

 
Salkeela Bee
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If it were a real money spinner there would be more people doing it and the price would come down.  IMO it's not, so it won't.......... yet. 

Remember if you ask a teacher to teach for free you are really asking them to give up their free time. 

And they may not have much of that...... 
 
Jason Long
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To me, paying for a PDC is something I do fully support. Believe me, I would have paid for one a long time ago if I could afford it. I do not have loads of money, however I do value the course and understand it is simply another way to create revenue for people. This is why I would be willing to pay the money to take a course to have the PDC. Even though I can teach myself all of this, it would still be a great experience.

I have recently lucked out. Since moving to S. Florida, USA I have found a PDC apprenticeship. This is a paid apprenticeship of $10/hr. The organization that I will be taking the 500 hour course (I receive a stipend of 5000, the knowledge, and a PDC) had received federal and state grants to teach the courses. I would suggest to look around the area if you can not afford,  just simply accept that a PDC is not completely necessary, or pay for the course.

And I second what Salkeela is saying, "Remember if you ask a teacher to teach for free you are really asking them to give up their free time.  " and would add that you are also saying that you do not value their time. Barter and trades are another story, however remember the concept of a fair exchange.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jason wrote:
And I second what Salkeela is saying, "Remember if you ask a teacher to teach for free you are really asking them to give up their free time.  " and would add that you are also saying that you do not value their time.


I'm not sure anyone has said they were going to ask a teacher to teach for free.

Also, I don't agree that anything given freely is without value.  Personally I am greatly in favor of the gift economy  The gift has its own value as a gift.

 
Briggs Burnham
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If any of you guys ever organize and teach a PDC for free, please, please, please let us know how you found the experience!  I don't think we would have been able to put on the course we did without compensating our instructors for their time.

I disagree with the notion that money has corrupted permaculture.  Some people are able to make a living with it, but I've never met anyone who got rich doing it.  I'm sure that just like any strategy or system it's strayed from what the 'founders' intended, but I think that conversations like this are what keeps it closest to its roots.

LasVegasLee, you have a very good point.  Just because you take a PDC, doesn't make you an expert.  In fact, Mollison and others and our little group have always stated that the PDC is a starting point.  Your next step is to keep learning.  From experienced people.  For at least two years.  And even then, you might not be a very good permaculturist.

Last thing, I'm equating this discussion to one I had when I was in college.  I got my interior design degree once upon a time and while I was in school, a bill was passed in my state requiring interior designers to work for two years and pass a test before they could call themselves "registered interior designers".  You could still call yourself an interior designer, interior decorator, tell people you designed interiors, etc, but that particular term was protected.  The reason this happened is because law makers thought consumers would want some assurance they were working with a person who had a bare minimum of knowledge and experience.  

The point is, non-registered interior designers still have work, clients, people still come to them because they have valuable knowledge and their portfolios and feedback attract clients.  Even if you don't get a PDC, you still have valuable knowledge and experience.  You can still tell people you use permaculture techniques.  You will still find people who are interested in learning from and working with you.

Guys, I want to thank you so much for this conversation!  Understanding where people are, what is important to them, and the concerns they have.  It's eye-opening and I'm going to forward it to my friends and colleagues.
 
Tyler Ludens
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briggsshore wrote:
 In fact, Mollison and others and our little group have always stated that the PDC is a starting point.  Your next step is to keep learning.  From experienced people.  For at least two years.


Some of us don't have that luxury! 

<<<< not a good permaculturist 
 
Steven Baxter
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I am going to sign up for a 5 day lecture on herbal medicine and harvesting. Heres the link

http://www.ecologycenter.org/calendar/event.php?title=Fundamentals+of+Herbal+Medicine+5-Session+Course&eventID=35220

I was hesitant at first, and even made a thread asking if any of you knew info on the teacher. But the way I see it is, I may not have this chance again for a while. It seems like lots of good info. And it is a total of 25 hours of class time for $160.00. I feel I will learn a lot about a subject I know very little about.
 
Terri Matthews
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oracle wrote:
I am going to sign up for a 5 day lecture on herbal medicine and harvesting. Heres the link
Since you are interested in herbology I will share this little gem: Cumin, turmeric, and L-carnitine for multiple sclerosis. They have done me a LOT of good, and I know this because I went off of each of them for a little bit and then back on them to see if it was really the herbs that were helping me. Yep. It was!

I put the dried herbs in empty capsules from wonder labs to make them easier to take. I blogged about it in  a little more detail here, on the third article down: http://handicappedhomesteading.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html
 
Steven Baxter
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Terri wrote:
Since you are interested in herbology I will share this little gem: Cumin, turmeric, and L-carnitine for multiple sclerosis. They have done me a LOT of good, and I know this because I went off of each of them for a little bit and then back on them to see if it was really the herbs that were helping me. Yep. It was!

I put the dried herbs in empty capsules from wonder labs to make them easier to take. I blogged about it in  a little more detail here, on the third article down: http://handicappedhomesteading.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html


Thanks for sharing, that was new info to me, i will check out the blog
 
                                
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I agree that a lot of PDCs seem over priced. However, I don't know the operating costs, so I'll try not to place judgement on that. My real problem with PDCs is the same problem I have with many other certificate programs, the emphasis on the certificate. It's just a piece of paper. All it shows is that you had the money to attend a class for two weeks, or however long it was. I'm not saying there is nothing to be gained from going to one, but our culture places way too much emphasis on degrees, certificates, etc. True mastery of anything takes dedicated study, practice, experimentation, etc., not a two week long crash course. If you think a PDC is beneficial for you, by all means take it, but these certificates just seem so silly to me. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that something magical happens during the two weak PDC that can't be gotten for nearly free by reading, experimenting, and volunteering some time with other locals. Learning is a life long process and there are no shortcuts, no matter how much money you have.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Some welding classes are a joke.  Some welding classes are amazing.  There are expensive ones of both kinds, there are cheap ones of both kinds.  I taught myself to weld and I'm pretty good if I say so myself.  But you are less likely to get a hacker welder if they are certified.  But there are exceptions.

Some people learn well on their own.  Some really do better with a teacher/mentor and with hands-on examples.

Some people have so much to offer as an instructor, they are invaluable.  Sometimes, having a fee attached to that insures that the people who show up are serious as students, not people who came on a whim because it was free.  Then the fee is just helping to insure a good use of resources.

Welcome to the free market.  If you see a product you really want, like a first class amazing instructor at a venue that is just like your place, that's worth some money.  Isn't it?

If you don't think it worth the money, and over priced for what you get, then don't do it.  There's gobs and gobs and gobs of free resources out there.  Go use those.

I doubt very much that there are permaculture "scammers" out there, just out to make a quick buck.

That's the fun thing about the free market, you're free to choose.

Good luck and have fun!

troy

 
Lee Einer
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gobeaguru wrote:

i think that most of the information for permaculture comes from traditional knowledge systems ,i guess I don't understand why that would be patented.  as expensive as a pdc course is i just feel like something is wrong with that... I feel that people should have access to this information.
i feel that permaculture (sustainable settlements) should not just be for the affluent people of america and by making the pdc so expensive that's what I feel it has become.
does anyone else know where I'm coming from?
am i insane?



I do understand where you're coming from.

The PDC course I attended wasn't cheap, but it was the best money I ever spent. I don't think that those who organized the course made much money on it. The cost included two weeks worth of food and shelter, and paying several  permaculturists each of whom was an expert in a key specialty field to spend a day with us.

For me, it was a life-changer.

But if you don't have the $$$, it really doesn't matter if the course is priced reasonably and is actually a great value.

I agree with you that even a three figure price tag makes the course inaccessible to many of the people who need it the most. But I don't have a great way to fix that. In this culture, you need $$$ to survive. And I don't fault those who charge $$$ for teaching permaculture design courses, so long as there is commensurate value given. 

But if you can figure out a way to do it for free or cheap, go for it.
 
paul wheaton
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It's a good thing that going to harvard is free.  And the folks teaching that stuff are supposed to be pretty damn smart.

I had no idea that laying out $1000 for a two week PDC was the most expensive form of education ... so expensive that folks need to do something to make it right.

Well, I think y'all are spot on.  And I wanna see your solution.  Go on out there and offer a better thing for less.  Or free.  Set the pace!  Show us how it is done!

I keep meeting these folks that are teaching a PDC and getting an inside peek at their finances.  My impression is that a lot of them offer the PDC and run it in the red.  The few that can walk away with a thousand bucks in their pocket at the end are the big names that filled a big class.  But because their names are big, they still made less money teaching the class than if they worked on a book or something.

Wait!  Somebody just suggested that harvard might cost something like a quarter of a million dollars. So about 250 times more than a PDC.  And yet thousands of people do it. 

I think that if a person thinks that $1000 is too much for a PDC, then don't go.  And if harvard isn't worth it, don't go to harvard either.    I think the PDC is offered for those folks that think it is worth it. 



 
Lee Einer
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paul wheaton wrote:
It's a good thing that going to harvard is free.  And the folks teaching that stuff are supposed to be pretty damn smart.

I had no idea that laying out $1000 for a two week PDC was the most expensive form of education ... so expensive that folks need to do something to make it right.


I think that $1,000 is in most cases quite reasonable. But I am quite aware that this price tag makes a PDC inaccessible to many who need it the most.

So while I am by no means bashing those who charge $1,000 or even twice that for their PDC courses, I am also unwilling to dismiss the concerns of those who rightly point out that this price tag creates an insurmountable barrier for some.

Some, perhaps many, who offer such courses either offer scholarships to some or offer deeply reduced fees in return for work. This is a good practice. Can it be improved upon?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I found a somewhat local permaculture certificate course for only $400.  This gives me hope I may be able to take a course after all. 
 
                      
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Courses are very useful also because they create communities. Participants will profit from co-operation with other permaculturists. Also from the same reason, not only because of acquired skills, it is good to spend some time working on permaculture projects etc. Unfortunately, as a wwoofer or similar you need also some "input" money (and to my knowledge it is even not easy to get such job, demand outstrips supply (but these are not up-to-date informations, it could change, or it can vary in various parts of the world, I don´t know). It is true that it is not for everyone, or rather it is only for few today. People with low money usually don´t plan holiday to spend it somewhere at sea etc., so PDC is not something "instead" of it. I think most of us would agree there are no better utilized money than for such courses - not only permaculture, herbal medicine etc. - very good example. The thing is  even this money is missing and as LasVegasLee pointed out, it is inaccesible to many. The problem is not in the permaculture itself, but that daily expenses can´t be cut more today, it is system problem. We should be patient and optimistic, because it will definitely change, it can´t last in existing form very long. It will concern soil (land) too. For the "transition" period we should always try to find alternative possibilities - paying by other commodities or by work is possible in my area.

I agree with jacque g that the price is worth it only with really experienced teachers. Valuable pedagogic personality who has something to offer and pass, could be also able to learn more in one single hour than good and experienced gardener in one day. People are shortly not all the same, not every permaculturist is "designed" to be teacher and has the same results even on garden. There will be always more talented people for specific skills. Sure, it requires some reasonable measure, Harward is really not good example regarding reasonable measure regarding price Exchange of tomorrow could really proceed in new way, possibly by change of such skills and works together.

sepp holzer is in fact not permaculture designer, he is an alternative agriculturist which uses methods applicable in permaculture gardens. So of course, he doesn´t have certificate.  Piece of paper is not important, but if you have to choose from something what you don´t know, you have to decide by something, until you´ll try it (it concerns lectors, seed, etc.)
 
Sam Surman
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It really is a difficult problem to sort, as life has evolved into a make money from anything and everything without care for quality or value.

watta wrote:
I agree with jacque g that the price is worth it only with really experienced teachers.


I also agree ... but in most instances you will find that the really experienced teacher with time, gets his prized students to pass on his knowledge and so you are back to the beginning or close enough.

In my main field I've chatted with people that are teaching and it amazes me just how little they actually know on the subject and yet I've met others like myself that consider themselves students.

From a different view point, many folks would consider the knowledge that is given freely to be of little value! and unless the course cost 100's or 1000's then it would be a waste of time going or listening to that teacher.

It really is a matter for each individual, but I feel that to learn and self teach as much as possible, that way you will know enough to tell which teacher is true, and wether they teach for free or charge you will appreciate the knowledge shared.

Cheers

 
                                    
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i would just like to see an equal opportunity for all people in getting this information... I think that right now permaculture is for a certain socio-economic class... unfortunately it's the same class of people that shop at whole foods and places like that
i came to learn about permaculture because I had time and resources to educate myself to the point where i even understood it enough to make it practical
i would like to see it open source... to see permaculture design courses that are taped in their entirety for people to enjoy and mull over.  I have been listening to the audio from a permaculture design course that bill mollison did in the early eighties and it is incredibly useful to me... i have yet to get anything like that on youtube... (although this website is awesome)
i believe that if these courses were made available through video or audio in their entirety that we could all check them out and make decisions based on the trials of courses ran all across the world... i think eventually there wouldn't be a need for the all-star permaculture guru as they will be found locally.... .like they should be... and maybe they won't be calling it permaculture
the more eyes checking over the information the more of an informed decision can be made,,, and I think a more holistic form of permaculture could be realized.
 
                      
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Definitely agree. Push in that direction everything everywhere you can, think in that direction, make plans in that direction ... more people like you will be and more ideas like this will be realized. It is a progress, we can expect many changes, look at the ecology where it was two decades ago... Good suggestions anyway.
 
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