The online course "Making small farms work" is based on, and expanded upon, the brilliant book with the same name. There are probably no better place in the entire world to get this quality of teaching in this range of subjects, which perhaps sounds like a bold statement until you take a closer look at Ridgedal Permaculture Farm and see what Richard Perkins have achieved there. It is surely a world classpermaculture farm we should be proud of and use as reference along the lines of the greatest permaculture artisans out there.
CHAPTER 1 CONTEXT & INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2 CREATING A HOLISTIC CONTEXT
CHAPTER 3 MAPS AND LANDFORM
CHAPTER 4 KEYLINE DESIGN
CHAPTER 5 WATER SYSTEMS
CHAPTER 6 TREES & WOODY CROPS
CHAPTER 7 BUILDING UP INFRASTRUCTURE/ FENCING
CHAPTER 8 PASTURED BROILERS
CHAPTER 9 PASTURED HENS AND EGG-MOBILES
CHAPTER 10 GRASS & GRAZING
CHAPTER 11 BIOINTENSIVE NO-DIG MARKET GARDENING CHAPTER 12 NURTURING THE SOIL FOOD WEB CHAPTER 13 FARM ECONOMY, MARKETING AND PHASE PLANNING
This online course is particularly suited for farmers wanting to transition to permaculture and regenerative farming, but obviously also for those that are not yet succesful farmers but want to become one. After those I'd say it's useful for everyone else as long as they want to learn about pragmatical permaculture where ecologic idealism is balanced with the economic reality. They make a proper income from farming!
Richard Perkins have been hinting on his youtube-channel about making this course available for everyone to take, and now they have landed on a subscription model at a fee of 59EUR/month. So if you are an effective learner and go trough the material quickly it turns out to be really cheap. Even if you're not it will still be a really good price, compared to other online trainings and the intrinsic value.
Personally I haven't taken this particular training, but I've been an intern there and have read the book. Here are a few videos from Richard Perkins' visit to farmers that show what they have achieved after doing this exact course in person at Ridgedale:
I'm not taking it, as I've already done the internship program there, but I have a friend that are taking it, so I've forwarded your question to him. I'll get back to you with his answer. He also read the book before signing up.
Hans Muster: The short and honest response from my friend is that if you don't have the money for the training you get a long way with the book and their youtube-channel. Since that sentence is translated into english from norwegian by me, I feel the need to point out that the meaning is not that it isn't worth it for the extra content. The book is one of a kind and the amount of valuable information shared on their youtube-channel is immense.
If you choose to take the online training, please share your experience!
It seems like an option could be to pay for 1 month of the version that includes downloads. Then one could download everything that is made available and go through it in a pace more comfortable. And then if at some point the continuos updates seems tempting to watch, it could probably be done again. Please share if I misunderstood something now.
Here's Richard Perkins answering himself, from minute 18:38:
- very broad, and very deep
- over 80 hours of video with content that is not posted on youtube
- the download-option includes the spreadsheets
- you could stay subscribed as long or as short as you'd like
- regular Q&A's
I'll add my $0.02 - I haven't read the book, but we've just recently started the full online course.
The logic stands, I feel, that if we're going to try and run this 'as a business' then the cost of the course is something we can justify as part of startup costs.
The content seems, so far, to be fantastic - it's not focused on abstract theory, but on practical steps and application. Even when talking through the principals, he relates it back to how they've done that on their own farm.
The video content includes choice moments from the internship presentations etc, around the farm, content specifically for purchasers etc.
Downloads seem to be possibly excerpts from the book (there's e-book chapters for each of the chapters in the course - I suspect these ARE his book as reference material) - along with planning guides, checksheets, examples..
As an example - chapter 3, which is the shortest one - maps and landform.. downloads include ebook chapter (8 pages, summary of approach and steps with examples), slope conversions spreadsheet and some (community driven) links to various country-specific mapping services.
You can also submit your own plans and get feedback from the subscriber community as well.
Looking at chapter 4, the ebook chapter is 24 pages, example basemaps he used for his keyline designs, plus some example maps and steps for a 30ha farm. The content of the videos (of which there's 17 or so) looks to focus heavily on how to do it, step by step, more or less.
Downloads are digitally watermarked, so if you shared them around it can be tracked back to you - but that aside; the downloads do work in tandem with the course material from what I can see and I suspect you get the best value by using them in tandem.
There's also a (I think it's weekly) webinar where he'll go through a Q&A session from subscribers, which some would no doubt also find helpful.
At the start, he does make a point that if you are going to do this - then you should be prepared to do it for a while. He suggests you should probably consider paying for a year, because he suspects you'll want to keep referring back to things while you plan, get started, get things moving..
While that wasn't my intention, I can see some value in that argument, now, too.
All up - good thumbs up for us.
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