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PEP1 is 2 weeks, PEP2 is 3 months, PEP3 is 9 months and PEP4 is 2 years

 
master steward
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A formal PEP1 program would last 2 weeks (~80 hours).  Completing the PEP1 program requires 16 sand badges.

A formal PEP2 program would fill a summer (~510 hours).  Requires 1 wood badge + 7 straw badges + 14 sand badges.

A formal PEP3 program would take about nine months (~1550 hours).   Requires 7 wood badges + 15 straw badges.

A formal PEP4 program would take a little over two years (~4700 hours).  Requires 3 iron badges + 12 wood badges + 7 straw badges.


In general, I think the approximate time to complete a badge would be about:

   sand badge: ~5 hours
   straw badge: ~40 hours (+35 hours over sand, about 4 or 5 days)
   wood badge: ~220 hours (+180 hours over straw, about 4 to 5 weeks)
   iron badge: 1250 hours (+1030 hours over wood, about six months)

Most of the students would have completed the PEP1 program in 80 hours, but some would have put in longer hours.  Some people would complete PEP1 without a formal PEP1 program.  They would have done it all from home - they posted pictures of their progress to permies and got certified online.  Somebody in the permaculture bootcamp program would probably get half of their PEP1 requirements met with project labor in a month - and they might get the other half completed on their own time (evenings and weekends).


 
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I like that it allows some wiggle room for personal interests to drive how PEP works for me. I can get my straw badge in animal husbandry for instance and my other 12 sand badges will show how I can stack functions with my animals through landscape design, fiber harvesting, on farm economics, rotational grazing, green woodworking, etc. Now I might have the required covered, ive started to see the world through Pail’s Eyes, but I get to start to build the permaculture system of my dreams. Then I can move on to PEP 2 to grow my skills and uncover more interconnectedness.
 
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So, if a person completes one of these things, like felling the tree with the bow saw, where do you put the documentation?  Just start a new thread, or add to the one about felling the tree or ?
 
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If there's a Badge Bit thread on felling a tree, you add it there. If there's not, I'd post to the appropriate badge page (the woodland one, right?)
 
Trace Oswald
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Nicole Alderman wrote:If there's a Badge Bit thread on felling a tree, you add it there. If there's not, I'd post to the appropriate badge page (the woodland one, right?)



Thanks Nicole.
 
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So I am not personally likely to participate in PEP. I don't need to inherit land from a stranger, or do anything else where proving my permie cred is likely to matter.

I suppose it's possible that I might use it to evaluate someone else at some point, especially as a measure of willingness to comply with instructions.. Hm. Actually that aspect does sound kind of useful!

It is an interesting experiment...

But if I was interested in hoops I would be frustrated at the idea of stopping halfway and moving off to take pics, or in some of these posts needing to have a second person around to take pictures. Do you really expect people to go out, take a before pic, get someone else to cut down the tree, then take the after pic?

A half cut tree is just not something I walk away from...


Digging holes specifically to get a badge strikes me as not very permie... perhap the site does not need holes. Perhaps it needs a ditch, or a foundation, or one enormous hole... I've got a few tens of hours in my excavator so far and have never yet operated it while other people are available as it's a one person job...

Perhaps some more flexibility in this scheme would be beneficial?

 
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This is interesting to me because while I do not have much interest in being certified, I know it addresses a few problems. The first is that from the observation of people that have traveled the country, few people are fully engaged in Permiculture (me included), but rather just picking and choosing elements of it. This puts a whole set of guidelines in a nice box so everything is defined, and obtainable. It really gives structure for someone that is struggling with the overwhelming aspect of where to start and where to go with permaculture on their farm, and at the end they get a certification that shows their progress.

I grew up farming, and took it for granted what I knew until I was at work, and a guy that had been raising cattle for 3 years in a homestead sort of way, said that he just learned that cows needed salt. I was blown away because I thought everyone just knew that. Over time I realized there was just so much stuff that people do not know, so I fully understand where having a course has a lot of merit to people. This is especially so for those that are competitive, or people who love to knock things off a list. That is not me, but that does not mean being competitive is wrong, I think it is great for people to take on challenges on things not yet tried.

Stopping to videotape, or take photos would indeed be a hassle, and in fact I have thought many times about doing a YouTube Channel about Homesteading. The problem is, I am a doer and not one to talk about it. I almost sawed THE biggest log I have ever put on my sawmill yesterday without taking pictures of it because I wanted get the log sawed out, but figured I had better get a camera and snap some pictures because I do not saw 30 inch pine logs everyday. But most of the time, I just forge ahead and do not stop for pictures, BUT I am not looking for a certification either. If I was competitive, wanting to certify my farm in Permiculure, then I would. I would have too, and that is just how life works. You have to do the work up front to get the reward. In this case, you do the work, document it, then submit it for a certification award.

Eventually the program could be set up like the American Tree farm System, where volunteers around the country (Permie Forum Staff) inspect a farm for Permie Compliance. The individual farm would then be Certified under Pep 1/2/3/4 so that any potential buyer would know the property had achieved certain stages of Permieness, allowing them to include or rule out, potential properties before leaving their own home. To wit: if a buyer wanted only a farm that was at Pep 3, the beginning work done, but not a lot of Permie work done, then a simple search would show what properties had met that criteria. Of course the fairness comes in for the seller whom has done the work, so being Pep 2 instead of Pep 1 means they can sell the property at a higher price. The same for Pep 3 and Pep 4 of course. The farm even gets a nifty Certified Permicultural Farm sign to put up.

But unlike the American Tree Farm System, I would not stop there, I would include in the database another other possibility. Right now, as an American Tree Farm I get swamped with letters asking if I want loggers to cut my land. This gets kind of annoying, so I would have a database where the Certified Permie Farm could check a status box that says sell or not. This is like a marriage of the American Tree Farm System and Make-Me-Move App where with the latter entity, a homeowner lists their house for a high selling price, not really wanting to move, but willing too if a certain price is met. In that way, if a potential buyer is looking at the Certified Permie Farms and likes a particular farm because of the pictures of the farm posted on the Certified permie Farm website, they can see if the owner would sell at a high price, would never sell, or wants to sell.

Because each Certified Permie Farm is an accomplishment, each farm would have ample space dedicated to it on the database. Who does not like pictures of their farm? Pictures of the owner. Pictures of views. Pictures of abundant harvests, etc. But also detailed descriptions of progress, harvests, and plans! For example: Johnson farm: A Certified Permicultural Farm. Then on that page the who, what, when, where, why;s are all answered, like pictures of us as a family, pictures of our farm, our farm philosphy, etc. It can be as sharing or as reclusive as the farm owners want.

For all this, Paul (assuming he would run the certification and database) would get a small certification fee, and an small annual fee for maintaining the Permie Farm Certification database and process.

Does this put food on the table, conserve electricity or make our bodies healthier? Nope, but it sets a stanadrd, and from that an increased value can placed upon the hard work accomplished and documented. When a realator comes in and sees a litany of apple trees in the back yard, they see a lawn that is hard to mow, where as a Certified Permicultural Sign would give what the owner is doing, some credentials.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Dillon Nichols wrote:
Digging holes specifically to get a badge strikes me as not very permie... perhap the site does not need holes. Perhaps it needs a ditch, or a foundation, or one enormous hole... I've got a few tens of hours in my excavator so far and have never yet operated it while other people are available as it's a one person job...

Perhaps some more flexibility in this scheme would be beneficial?



I've really only been looking at the sand and straw badge levels, but one of the things I like is that one usually gets something neat and relatively useful out of the deal--a spoon, a mallet, a sign, a birdhouse, pealed log, a mulched garden, a small deck, etc. I can say that, as a teacher, it's HARD to find ways to teach people and have them have something physical after ward. Just think of most of your schooling--you probably just got an essay or a graded test out of what you learned. Whereas here, there's almost always actual artifacts.

Maybe you don't need holes, but your neighbor does? Maybe you can convince us that you actually already dug a bunch of holes. But, for someone who's never made a deck or carved a spoon or dug a hole, it's an excellent learning experience. I rather want to get the roundwood woodworking badge because I WANT to learn to carve, and someone already found the youtube videos to teach me how, and I get cool things out of it, and I'd get a badge under my name. I kind of want at least one badge!

I think what we have is the dilemma between someone who's NEVER felled a tree or dug a fence post hole, vs someone who's done 100. Someone who'd never felled a tree probably is going to want someone there to watch them to make sure they don't kill themselves (I know I would!) and that other person could be taking the pictures.

Hopefully we can find a way to prove that someone who's experienced has already learned those things, has actually learned them. BUt, it IS hard to be retroactively get certified in most fields, and that's because it is hard to show that someone had already learned these thing.
 
Dillon Nichols
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"Maybe you can convince us that you actually already dug a bunch of holes."

This strikes me as a lot more practical *for people who already own land*. It also dovetails nicely with Travis's post where he's describing the benefits of certifying the land instead of the person.

Like hell I'm going to take a million specific progress pictures.. but if the certification carried value, in terms of increasing what people would pay for farm products, or for the property, that would be a different angle. I could show satellite pics of what this place looked like last year, and over time. I could also run around with a video camera and roughly document several years work in a 30 minute sprint..

Permaculture is currently a real joke in this regard.. a lot of farms throw the word around very casually, without any apparent distinguishing features. Often they have planted a 'food forest', aka a small mixed orchard with lip service paid to a shrub layer.


The obvious catch is that one certification standard is a poor fit for both people and land in some ways. To certify land, it doesn't matter who did the work. In my case it's me, 99% of the time; 6 months in, I have yet to hire out any labour at all.

My neighbour works full time and has 3 kids. He's hired out a lot of labour, and will continue to do so. Aside from personal satisfaction and the part where I can't afford to do so, I don't see any problem with this.. the design and the progress will not notice who did the walking, long as it's done well.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm thinking, from what I've heard Paul say, that the PEP is more for certifying people than farms. It could probably be applied to the latter, though!

He once mentioned that there's a lot of people looking to pass along their farms to the next generation...but the people they  find aren't skilled in tasks people 50 years ago would have known--like how to cut and stack wood, let alone more advanced homesteading techniques.

THe PEP is a way for the inexperienced people to (1) Learn those valuable skills, for free!; and, (2) TO have a way to show others that they do, indeed, know this stuff. So, someone who's looking to gift their land, or hire someone, or something, can look at the person's badges and badge bits and know a bit more about their qualifications.

Personally, I LOVE the educational aspect of this. I remember when I started out, I knew so little, and so little that I didn't even know where to start. I've never built ANYTHING woodworking-wise by myself. I don't have any of the rudimentary skills, nor even know what those skills would be that I'd need to learn. This give people a framework for how to navigate and learn these skills, for FREE and at their own pace. I honestly think that's freakin' awesome. I love that permies is a place where we can share knowledge and learn, for free. It really makes the world a better place, and I think the PEP is a beautiful extension of that.
 
paul wheaton
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I think the PEP program is not perfect and it is not for everyone.   It is also not designed to be THE permaculture thing.    It is designed to be an experiment - to be A permaculture thing.

At the moment, as we are attempting to flesh out this idea, I think the best feedback is about how make it awesome.   Suggestions about making something different might be better after we are done getting this idea put together and trying it out a bit.  

Personally, I think that this idea has the potential to be more popular than the PDC.  And if Bill Mollison were alive today, I think he would spend 80 hours a week helping me flesh it out and then start on PEB.

I also think that permaculture has a bit of a reputation for being a bit too dreamy.  I think that this will give permaculture a lot of grit.

I also think that the general design leans heavily on the tools we have available today:  the internet and phones with cameras.  Plus mountains of photos, blogs, articles and youtube videos.  We can do all of this as a free thing, and we can do all of it as formal course, and there are a thousand variations in between.

---

I like the idea that if you whittle up a mallet and a spoon, you can now take on a stool.  And then a sawbuck.  Then a shaving horse and then a crappy chair.  And then a pretty nice chair ...

You can be working on some crappy job somewhere, carefully getting yourself out of debt and your garage is filling up with the things that you will take to your new gert-i-tude plot.  And, more importantly, you have the foundational skills to really pull it off.   Or, maybe you will complete PEP4 and leave your crappy job to move onto a free 200 acre plot complete with a house, a barn, a tractor, a pickup and a pile of free coin.  

google wrote:The number of students projected to attend American colleges and universities in fall 2018 is 19.9 million



Can we get a dozen people to shoot for PEP4?  


 
Dillon Nichols
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I think that there is a self reinforcing point of momentum for something like this... a point at which the exposure reaches some critical mass and it takes off.

The more broadly applicable the thing is, the more likely it hits critical mass...? Unless it gets too cumbersome..


I can see that the step by step nature is a real boon to people at the bottom of the staircase. Especially with things where you are literally building tools to help you with later projects.


I am not clear on how linear the structure is meant to be, though.

If you happen to be halfway up the staircase, can you document making your good chair, and consider this as inherent proof you could make the crappy chair, etc?
 
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paul wheaton wrote:A formal PEP1 program would last 2 weeks (~80 hours).  Completing the PEP1 program requires 16 sand badges.




I'm wondering if the number of badges has changed for PEP1, or if you pick and choose your badges. I count 28 possible badges. I'm making an excel spreadsheet for myself, a check list. Maybe that's already around and I've missed it - I'm not here as much as I'd like! (Oh, and I just saw the animal care sand badges, which aren't included on this ...)
 
paul wheaton
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I'm wondering if the number of badges has changed for PEP1, or if you pick and choose your badges. I count 28 possible badges.  



There are 22 badges.  You need to complete any 16 sand badges to get PEP1.

I suspect that the first few days will be attempting stuff in groups.   And then there will be a lot of people finishing up in the evenings.   Toward the end it will just be a lot of people trying to finish up, and less group stuff.



 
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There are a few threads in this forum that may look like badges but they are from brainstorming a few years ago and are not actually a part of the PEP program. Is that maybe how you got 28?

For the official list:

https://permies.com/wiki/96022/aspects-PEP
 
Erica Colmenares
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:There are a few threads in this forum that may look like badges but they are from brainstorming a few years ago and are not actually a part of the PEP program. Is that maybe how you got 28?



That's probably it, Shawn. Thanks for the link! Off to re-vamp my spreadsheet.
 
Trace Oswald
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It seems like a lot of people are concerned with the merits of completing the different levels.  I just thought it sounded like fun, so I'm going to work on a couple of the things with that in mind.  I need to cut a few trees anyway, I can't see why I wouldn't take a couple of pictures.  I also agree strongly with what Nicole said.  It's a great way to pick up some new skills with a simple logical progression.  I've never carved a spoon.  Ah, but I will...
 
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