Mike Leo

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since Aug 28, 2013
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Recent posts by Mike Leo

Love the answer Paul, thank you.

Twist: don't do it at the lab at all?

Create the curriculum, and the list. Offer the online course for :: PRICE:: and then tell people to go get it done. Heck, since people might be more interested in the skill teaching than the whole package or the certification offering them a la carte would probably create great revenue too. Each skill course goes up when it is ready, hopefully funding the next filming and presentation of the next skill.

When they have completed a sufficiency (perhaps 1000 of 1200 or 800 of 1000) they can apply, and schedule, and pay for, a PEP1 certification visit. This may at first represent relatively few on sight visits by yourself to get a few others out there accredited but it would not take long I suspect before you had a core number of PEP1 certified folks. I'm picturing something slightly less attainable than say an online PDC and something more attainable than Sepp's (where you must labor under his eye for hours and hours and hours).

I suspect this model would also allow you to drop PEP1 certs immediately on a number of folks out there already doing the right stuff. I'm thinking of some of the established operations out there (Ben Falk, Mark Shepherd, Jack Spirko) or the like. And if those 3 weren't ready immediately I suspect that it would be a short list of additional skills they'd have to show to earn it. Get them on board and you've already established 3 additional potential certifiers too.

Just spit balling here, based on my understanding of your idea. I'm also thinking these skills will be a lot more "create and run a cashflow neutral - cashflow positive orchard (or livestock, or etc.) operation" and a lot less "Make a Proenneke style mallet/cabin/barn" but you're the boss, boss
3 years ago
Here because of the daily-ish.

I've read this, and read your PEP1 initial thoughts post. I am someone who has listened to 90% + of the podcasts (everything free) but I am also not going to suggest that I can repeat all of the little things that make you so.... Paul I guess that means I'm due to relisten from the beginning. This is also isn't meant to be a (rather poor) attempt at a brief resume, just letting you know that I have paid some attention before my question.

If I read correctly PEP1 would represent 1000 skills demonstrated by 1000 projects/tasks ?

Are all 1000 of these compiled in your mind at this time? I was unable to find a post with a list though I can see how that may have been intentional too.

What would a PEP1 be able to accomplish having achieved the certification? What would a PEP* MASTER be able to do?
I'm picturing this in terms of a statement like, "After earning your PEP1 we could drop you in the woods with a few supplies and come back in a year to find a a thriving site covered in beautiful systems", or "A PEP* MASTER recently dropped into the article circle with nothing but a small metal knife and a pair of boots has walked back to town now, 6 months later, to solicit new colonists for his (fully established) artic-circle-permaculture community and courses."
3 years ago
I feed my extra scoby to the chickens... no more methinks. Semitranslucent waste stream diverted scoby-leather?!? That's a hell of a niche product.
3 years ago
I think there is something important there Greg, and I think more folks this year are asking questions first and finishing the chapter (or the previous Q&As) later. When Geoff says "this has already been answered" he doesn't mean in the comments, though there is a lot of answering happening there he means in the course itself or already in the Q&A. I don't think there should be some kind of draconian requirement that a student demonstrate they have "finished" the chapter or something before they ask a question, but it certainly seems to me that the number of people asking questions immediately rather than waiting to see what the course will cover is higher than in previous years. I have lost count of the number of questions which show up and the next comment is from the same user saying "Oops, Geoff totally answered this in the next video".

I'm sure there are plenty of old students willing to answer super specific questions too, but one of the things I've seen over and over again is folks asking the wrong questions and worrying about the wrong things because they're only partway through the course. A whole army of former students answering questions in comments also doesn't change the most important lessons in the course: the super specific problem, or unique issue that "I'm sure you haven't considered" that drive so many of the questions is just false. Start at the beginning, follow the process, learn to trust what you see and leave the baggage behind and everything can be handled using these methods of planning, observation, and design. Getting folks to that point is very hard, and all too many of those "but on MY site" questions followed by a slew of details find their roots in that fallacy.
The 2014 students had access for almost a whole year. I believe Geoff only removed access for them just before launching the 2015 course, so the changes to alumni access would have gone through or appeared pretty much the same whether you were looking at it as a 2013 alumn or a 2014 alumn.

Right now the 2015 course does not include any reference to the Earthworks course or the Reading The Landscape course. I do see where Geoff and team have added links to the geofflawton.com videos within the course, and a few other things you can find out there free on the internet now (like the Greening the Desert videos, and Hope In a Changing Climate). Course material itself is unchanged, though all Q&A videos (including new 2015 responses as they come out) are still being shared.

I hope that helps, let me know if there are specific questions about the current content that I missed.
I know this falls under Paul's "issues" with people poking at the innovators instead of trying it themselves (apologies in advance) but I am curious.

I know sand was found to be unsatisfactory and pebbles worked better, especially the smallish ones. Was rock or stone dust tried? If it's a heat conductivity issue the dust should behave more like rock than sand and if it's an airflow issue a bucket or two on top to slow/stop the airflow should help the pebbles also.
3 years ago
I bought the Bill and Geoff PDC DVDs years ago. That whale story was a winner for sure, but I love all of Bill's stories.

Those DVDs were actually part of the reason I knew that the online course would work for me. After absorbing everything I could about permaculture free, I bought the 1983 PDC audio (Geoff's first PDC) and my wife bought me the DVD set (which I believe was Geoff's first PDC he ever helped teach) and if I wasn't hooked then I was definitely hook line and sinker after that. I had begun to despair too that I would have to wait a long time before I could find a semi local on-site PDC from someone I trusted and liked so I could get my certificate. When Geoff announced the online PDC that would let me get my cert from Geoff and the PRI without having to take a week off from work I was sold.

Everything else is history
I think the 2013 class was so much of an experiment Geoff didn't even think about it and was just glad it was such a success.

After 2 years (and 2-3k "participants') I suspect they realized how much more of a logistical nightmare it becomes. Never mind the presence of a whole class of "teaching assistants" Geoff didn't hire who maybe are helping and maybe are not. I also saw a decent number of veterans who treated the new year's course as a direct line to Geoff. So in addition to the questions he was trying to field from students of the 2014 class (on topic or not) often he had more advanced or more off topic questions coming from veterans, usually starting with "hey I know this is complicated/off topic/I'm a veteran but Geoff I really need to know how my questions/this issue/the color of my barn impacts my...." and that can be problematic too.

I'm sure Geoff doesn't want anyone to feel ignored especially the new students and even the time it takes to weed through questions and decide which ones to answer takes time away from actually answering the questions and participating with the students.
Might be hard to find a image with suitable aesthetic presentation of both. If you find one, let me know. In the meantime I'll see what I can do.
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