Darren Roberts

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since May 04, 2018
A desire to build an eco home using natural building materials led to my discovery of Earthship principles in early 2017.
The Taichung World Flora Expo 2018 presented an opportunity to work on the ‘4 Person Eco Home’ in Taiwan. During the course of this project, I met many people who introduced me to the concept of Permaculture.
I began learning about Permaculture, studying what I could find online, in books, and through projects such as the 4 Person Eco Home and Datong Community Garden in Taichung.
In February 2019 I flew out to Thailand to study for my Permaculture Design Certificate at Daruma Eco Farm with Neil Willman, following which I took the opportunity to begin my 'Permaculture Course Coordinator / Co-Teacher Apprenticeship' there.
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Recent posts by Darren Roberts

Okay, so I've been tinkering with the Permaculture Principles, Ethics and Domains of Action since about June I think...this following on from my merry experiments with the Permaculture Flower.

And have eventually arrived at a 'Permaculture Wheel' that might possibly be useful during permaculture courses.

https://interconnected.me/the-permaculture-wheel/

Creative Commons / Sharealike licence, so it's free to use.

Ethics, Domains, and Principles are on separate layers so can be printed out (separate PDF files on link below, as well as a 'complete' file as per the image also below) and then rotated individually and used as a teaching tool / exploration by students to match different combinations of Principles, to Ethics & to Domains, and think of applications of these combinations.

https://interconnected.me/the-permaculture-wheel/



7 months ago

David Huang wrote:
Can I ask how thick the walls of the school and your home are?  For me I'd worry how well rammed earth without a retaining form would hold up to earthquakes.  They are rare by me, but do happen.  Actually I'd just worry about the constant minor tremors I feel when large vehicles like school buses, garbage trucks, UPS delivery, etc. go roaring down my often bumpy dirt road.  I can feel the whole house shake from it and wonder how well a simple rammed earth wall would hold up to that.  



Prof. Ng has done some interesting research & building for earthquake-prone zones in China (I'm in Taiwan, so of course had to research earthquake-resistance).

Prof. Dr. Gernot Minke's book 'Building With Earth' (Google Books with Preview) has a section from pages 135 to 148, 'Earthquake-resistant building'.  Might be useful for your road with those trucks! ;-)

As well as lots of other very well researched (and practiced) techniques, structural best practices and so on.

Various examples of Rams very much similar to your picture, and the one I used in Taitung, are on p54.

I am very much interested in the small wacker (sorry, just checked 'Heuser', but we used to call them all 'wacker plates' in the UK) plate he describes on p54/55 - although I can't tell if if by 'move within the formwork' means that it can go forwards AND backwards inside the form.  But that, looks like my favourite way yet to compact earth (I am biased towards ramming earth in forms - like the aesthetic etc..).
7 months ago
A version of the Permaculture Flower representing the three Ethics and seven Domains of permaculture, along with the twelve Principles.

Creative Commons license, so go nuts if you want to use it for anything.



HD image can be downloaded here, and will be updated as work progresses.
Used something very similar to this to tamp the earth on my friend Steve's 'earthship-style mountain cabin' near Taidung in Taiwan.

IIRC, he bound the end of the handle in barbed wire, possibly stapled / nailed.

Then a couple of old tea cans / pots to form the concrete in.

Seemed to work pretty well.
7 months ago
I've updated the presentation, and created the video for Part 4 this week, Earthships, Building with Natural & Recycled Materials.

5 down, 1 to go....

7 months ago
Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Thailand

January 6th to 18th 2020
Daruma Eco Farm, Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand



In the early days of permaculture, Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual was the stated standard for most PDC’s. Sometimes a PDC description would state that it officially covered the "14 chapters" which are listed here:

Introduction (to permaculture)
Concepts and Themes in Design
Methods of Design
Pattern Understanding
Climatic Factors
Trees and their Energy Transactions
Water
Soils
Earthworking and Earth Resources
The Humid Tropics
Dryland Strategies
Humid Cool to Cold Climates
Aquaculture
The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation

In a few places, these chapters can serve as a guide for a PDC that will wind through the maze of design concepts and supporting background material. The Daruma PDC definitely covers the topics in these 14 chapters but this is not the order (or format) it is presented.

Every PDC course here at Daruma begins with an orientation tour of the farm to give you an overall impression of how individual elements integrate with each other. This often generates a broad range of questions. We will, however, hold off on answering most of these questions initially but don’t worry, if the course material doesn’t answer them, they will be answered in time. We also spend some time getting to know each other and sharing our goals.

One reason for not answering all the questions in the beginning is the most common answer in permaculture courses is, "it depends." So it takes a little time to establish the basic foundations which we start on right away. That foundation begins with two important topics: The state of the world (why we need permaculture design thinking) and what is permaculture and where did it come from (a comprehensive overview). The overview includes a good discussion on ‘influences’ on permaculture.

Permaculture has been influenced by, incorporates and develops upon important and influential works new and old. These include classics such as A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Keyline Design by P.A. Yeomans and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, as well as more recent works such as RetroSuburbia by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and TheoryU by Otto Scharmer.



Incidentally, Daruma has an extensive library with literally (pun intended) thousands of titles about permaculture as well as many topics associated with permaculture design and what might be called the permaculture lifestyle. LibraryThing (an online library resource) lists over 800 works (less than half) of our print books. Feel free to see what is available: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/DarumaEcoFarm



So after introducing and discussing some of the influences, the real work begins. The PDC content can be daunting in its breadth and scale; it is both detailed, and diverse. We wind through an interconnected maze that on one side involves traditional sciences including ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics and on the other side, we learn the nature inspired patterning that can influence design thinking and create sustainable systems. The scientific aspects relating to ecology are very important to understand how the design principles and regional strategies actually create meaningful designs.

Permaculture design makes use of the concept of design principles. Bill Mollison introduced design principles as a way for designers to more easily pattern from nature in creating sustainable designs. Since then, many others have developed their own list of principles including Toby Heminway, Rosemary Morrow and also David Holmgren. David’s principles are explained in elaborate detail in his book, Permaculture; Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability." David’s 12 principles are listed here:

Observe and interact
Catch and store energy
Obtain a yield
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Use and value renewable resources and services
Produce no waste
Design from Patterns to Details
Integrate rather than segregate
Use small and slow solutions
Use and value diversity
Use Edges and value the marginal
Creatively use and respond to change

The PDC will discuss all of these principles, especially how they function creating sustainable designs.

Even though you are taking a PDC in the tropics, permaculture design principles are said to be ‘global’ in their application. But different regions (different climates) require different design solutions. In permaculture these are referred to as design strategies. We will look at the general strategies for a variety of regions around the world.

Many people are very interested in permaculture techniques. These, like strategies, are regional and possibly even local because of cultural influences. So while there is not enough time in a PDC (or even in a lifetime perhaps) to learn all the techniques we might employ in a design, we will discuss and also find some time to engage in practical sessions of some common permaculture techniques.



Calling these permaculture techniques is perhaps incorrect. Almost no technique used in a permaculture design is unique to permaculture. Rather the technique is considered an important practice for a particular design. These usually include things like composting, seed saving, natural building, preserving, and many more.
Finally, we discuss the eco-social aspects of permaculture. This includes the future of permaculture. Co-founder David Holmgren’s recent book RetroSuburbia illustrates ways permaculture design can make an even greater and more meaningful impact than was initially thought when permaculture was conceived more than 30 years ago. For many, this is a ‘most exciting’ part of the course.

For further details including accommodation, meals, and many other frequently asked questions, see our permaculture course in Thailand page.

Because everyone likes a dip in the Natural Pool now & then at the end of a hot day:



And, because everyone likes cute fluffy animals:

*We have a few places left on the September PDC, and room for one or 2 more for the Natural Building Course starting September 15th*

Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Thailand
September 2nd to September 13th, 2019
Daruma Eco Farm, Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand



In the early days of permaculture, Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual was the stated standard for most PDC’s. Sometimes a PDC description would state that it officially covered the "14 chapters" which are listed here:

Introduction (to permaculture)
Concepts and Themes in Design
Methods of Design
Pattern Understanding
Climatic Factors
Trees and their Energy Transactions
Water
Soils
Earthworking and Earth Resources
The Humid Tropics
Dryland Strategies
Humid Cool to Cold Climates
Aquaculture
The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation

In a few places, these chapters can serve as a guide for a PDC that will wind through the maze of design concepts and supporting background material. The Daruma PDC definitely covers the topics in these 14 chapters but this is not the order (or format) it is presented.

Every PDC course here at Daruma begins with an orientation tour of the farm to give you an overall impression of how individual elements integrate with each other. This often generates a broad range of questions. We will, however, hold off on answering most of these questions initially but don’t worry, if the course material doesn’t answer them, they will be answered in time. We also spend some time getting to know each other and sharing our goals.

One reason for not answering all the questions in the beginning is the most common answer in permaculture courses is, "it depends." So it takes a little time to establish the basic foundations which we start on right away. That foundation begins with two important topics: The state of the world (why we need permaculture design thinking) and what is permaculture and where did it come from (a comprehensive overview). The overview includes a good discussion on ‘influences’ on permaculture.

Permaculture has been influenced by, incorporates and develops upon important and influential works new and old. These include classics such as A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Keyline Design by P.A. Yeomans and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, as well as more recent works such as RetroSuburbia by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and TheoryU by Otto Scharmer.



Incidentally, Daruma has an extensive library with literally (pun intended) thousands of titles about permaculture as well as many topics associated with permaculture design and what might be called the permaculture lifestyle. LibraryThing (an online library resource) lists over 800 works (less than half) of our print books. Feel free to see what is available: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/DarumaEcoFarm



So after introducing and discussing some of the influences, the real work begins. The PDC content can be daunting in its breadth and scale; it is both detailed, and diverse. We wind through an interconnected maze that on one side involves traditional sciences including ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics and on the other side, we learn the nature inspired patterning that can influence design thinking and create sustainable systems. The scientific aspects relating to ecology are very important to understand how the design principles and regional strategies actually create meaningful designs.

Permaculture design makes use of the concept of design principles. Bill Mollison introduced design principles as a way for designers to more easily pattern from nature in creating sustainable designs. Since then, many others have developed their own list of principles including Toby Heminway, Rosemary Morrow and also David Holmgren. David’s principles are explained in elaborate detail in his book, Permaculture; Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability." David’s 12 principles are listed here:

Observe and interact
Catch and store energy
Obtain a yield
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Use and value renewable resources and services
Produce no waste
Design from Patterns to Details
Integrate rather than segregate
Use small and slow solutions
Use and value diversity
Use Edges and value the marginal
Creatively use and respond to change

The PDC will discuss all of these principles, especially how they function creating sustainable designs.

Even though you are taking a PDC in the tropics, permaculture design principles are said to be ‘global’ in their application. But different regions (different climates) require different design solutions. In permaculture these are referred to as design strategies. We will look at the general strategies for a variety of regions around the world.

Many people are very interested in permaculture techniques. These, like strategies, are regional and possibly even local because of cultural influences. So while there is not enough time in a PDC (or even in a lifetime perhaps) to learn all the techniques we might employ in a design, we will discuss and also find some time to engage in practical sessions of some common permaculture techniques.



Calling these permaculture techniques is perhaps incorrect. Almost no technique used in a permaculture design is unique to permaculture. Rather the technique is considered an important practice for a particular design. These usually include things like composting, seed saving, natural building, preserving, and many more.
Finally, we discuss the eco-social aspects of permaculture. This includes the future of permaculture. Co-founder David Holmgren’s recent book RetroSuburbia illustrates ways permaculture design can make an even greater and more meaningful impact than was initially thought when permaculture was conceived more than 30 years ago. For many, this is a ‘most exciting’ part of the course.

For further details including accommodation, meals, and many other frequently asked questions, see our permaculture course in Thailand page.

Because everyone likes a dip in the Natural Pool now & then at the end of a hot day:



And, because everyone likes cute fluffy animals:

Course: Intensive Permaculture Course, Thailand
At: Daruma Ecovillage





The concept for the Intensive PDC at Daruma emerged from one simple thing: student’s needs. Typically, these have been in two categories.

The Intensive Permaculture Course in Thailand:
Student Pre-Requisites
Category 1
The first category is students that have already exposed themselves to a significant amount of permaculture theory and/or practice. Possibly having visited, volunteered, worked, and studied at places that employed permaculture in the design or in the operational aspects of a property. Possibly students have already created PC designs, master plans and even implemented these designs on their own property. And even students that have read and studied thoroughly many of the core books that form the corpus of what is modern permaculture.

Usually these students only need an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency of understanding and competency in practical design in order to feel comfortable in having a permaculture design certificate. The intensive course allows for this but still also challenges them to identify areas that are in need of clarification and development. Time is spent validating what is known, identifying what needs expanding and integrating this all together to equal or better what is completed in a traditional PDC.

Category 2
The second category is for anyone that wants or needs to complete a PDC but has inflexible time constraints. Having hosted many courses in both permaculture design and natural building for Japanese students over the last 10 years, it is simply a fact that it is quite rare for a Japanese student to have an opportunity for two weeks of consecutively which is why most PDC courses in Japan span several months or are separate two week periods. But, with a little pre-course study and a dillignet (and long) daily schedule, this can be compressed into a shorter time frame.

How short? Well the answer depends to some extent on the student’s preparation. Daruma will recommend some books in advance of an intensive PDC as well as provide access to online materials at the permaculture academy. But the goal is to fit this into a week period including (when required) both weekends. That means 9 calendar days which is about 8 actual course days* (after administrative time).

* In some cases, the final design project can be completed off-site and submitted electronically completing the requirements for the PDC certificate.

So for category two students, plan on 8 hours a day minimum! Category one students don’t escape the rigor though as they might work side-by-side mentoring a category two student in your own areas of competency (come on, you know which of Bill’s principles that is right?)

In Japanese, 快速 or ‘kaisoku’ is a rapid train and the best train to catch when you are in a hurry. Students who complete the Daruma Intensive PDC ‘kaisoku’ Course, in addition to receiving their Permaculture Design Certificate & being registered on the Permaculture Worldwide Network, will also be presented with a commemorative Daruma Intensive PDC “Go Hard, or Go Home” t-shirt.  We know this is a modest reward for such hard work but you also leave with the knowledge that you completed what must be one of the most intense PDCs in the world.

Hit this link for further details about the venue, instructors, local area, travel, accommodation & food.
Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Thailand
July 1st to July 12th, 2019
Daruma Eco Farm, Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand



In the early days of permaculture, Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual was the stated standard for most PDC’s.  Sometimes a PDC description would state that it officially covered the "14 chapters" which are listed here:

Introduction (to permaculture)
Concepts and Themes in Design
Methods of Design
Pattern Understanding
Climatic Factors
Trees and their Energy Transactions
Water
Soils
Earthworking and Earth Resources
The Humid Tropics
Dryland Strategies
Humid Cool to Cold Climates
Aquaculture
The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation

In a few places, these chapters can serve as a guide for a PDC that will wind through the maze of design concepts and supporting background material.  The Daruma PDC definitely covers the topics in these 14 chapters but this is not the order (or format) it is presented.

Every PDC course here at Daruma begins with an orientation tour of the farm to give you an overall impression of how individual elements integrate with each other.  This often generates a broad range of questions.  We will, however, hold off on answering most of these questions initially but don’t worry, if the course material doesn’t answer them,  they will be answered in time.  We also spend some time getting to know each other and sharing our goals.

One reason for not answering all the questions in the beginning is the most common answer in permaculture courses is, "it depends."  So it takes a little time to establish the basic foundations which we start on right away.  That  foundation begins with two important topics:  The state of the world (why we need permaculture design thinking) and what is permaculture and where did it come from (a comprehensive overview).  The overview includes a good discussion on ‘influences’ on permaculture.

Permaculture has been influenced by, incorporates and develops upon important and influential works new and old.  These include classics such as A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Keyline Design by P.A. Yeomans and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, as well as  more recent works such as RetroSuburbia by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and TheoryU by Otto Scharmer.



Incidentally, Daruma has an extensive library with literally (pun intended) thousands of titles about permaculture as well as many topics associated with permaculture  design and what might be called the permaculture lifestyle.  LibraryThing (an online library resource) lists over 800 works (less than half) of our print books.  Feel free to see what is available:  https://www.librarything.com/catalog/DarumaEcoFarm



So after introducing and discussing some of the influences, the real work begins.  The PDC content can be daunting in its breadth and scale; it is both detailed, and diverse.  We wind through an interconnected maze that on one side involves traditional sciences including ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics and on the other side, we learn the nature inspired patterning that can influence design thinking and create sustainable systems.  The scientific aspects relating to ecology are very important to understand how the design principles and regional strategies actually create meaningful designs.

Permaculture design makes use of the concept of design principles.  Bill Mollison introduced design principles as a way for designers to more easily pattern from nature in creating sustainable designs.  Since then, many others have developed their own list of principles including Toby Heminway, Rosemary Morrow and also David Holmgren.  David’s principles are explained in elaborate detail in his book, Permaculture; Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability."  David’s 12 principles are listed here:

Observe and interact
Catch and store energy
Obtain a yield
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Use and value renewable resources and services
Produce no waste
Design from Patterns to Details
Integrate rather than segregate
Use small and slow solutions
Use and value diversity
Use Edges and value the marginal
Creatively use and respond to change

The PDC will discuss all of these principles, especially how they function creating sustainable designs.  

Even though you are taking a PDC in the tropics, permaculture design principles are said to be ‘global’ in their application.  But different regions (different climates) require different design solutions.  In permaculture these are referred to as design strategies.  We will look at the general strategies for a variety of regions around the world.

Many people are very interested in permaculture techniques.  These, like strategies, are regional and possibly even local because of cultural influences.  So while there is not enough time in a PDC (or even in a lifetime perhaps) to learn all the techniques we might employ in a design, we will discuss and also find some time to engage in practical sessions of some common permaculture techniques.



Calling these permaculture techniques is perhaps incorrect.  Almost no technique used in a permaculture design is unique to permaculture.  Rather the technique is considered an important practice for a particular design.  These usually include things like composting, seed saving, natural building, preserving, and many more.
Finally, we discuss the eco-social aspects of permaculture.  This includes the future of permaculture.  Co-founder David Holmgren’s recent book RetroSuburbia illustrates ways permaculture design can make an even greater and more meaningful impact than was initially thought when permaculture was conceived more than 30 years ago.  For many, this is a ‘most exciting’ part of the course.

For further details including accommodation, meals, and many other frequently asked questions, see our  permaculture course in Thailand page.

Because everyone likes a dip in the Natural Pool now & then at the end of a hot day:



And, because everyone likes cute fluffy animals:

Permaculture, RetroSuburbia, Pattern Language and Theory-U Course
Date: 22nd 23rd June 2019
Location: Thailand



This introductory permaculture course near Bangkok in Thailand will include both the history and theory of permaculture design & retrosuburbia, practical applications of the design methods, as well as diving into the commonalities and overlaps between the old (PDC) and the new (RSC), delivering a retrosuburbia-centric fusion of the best of both approaches.

Books used during the course will include David Holmgren's Retrosuburbia, A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, The Essentials of Theory-U by C. Otto Scharmer, and relevant Permaculture texts, including but not limited to Permaculture a Designers' Manual by Bill Mollison.

Because there are dozens of books specifically about permaculture as well as many hundreds indirectly guiding good permaculture design leading up to the ideas in RetroSuburbia, some time will be spent to introduce these so it will be possible to continue to learn after the course.

Our library contains an extensive collection of permaculture books, David Holmgren’s RetroSuburbia, and many other volumes related to these topics that can provide you the additional guidance as mentioned above.

Because this course goes beyond theory, you will be able to immediately apply the aspects of retrosuburbia-centric permaculture you have learned and make choices that will enhance your ecological and sustainable lifestyle. Practical aspects of retrosuburbia-centric permaculture design will be learned and demonstrated onsite for a robust learning experience.

The course will take place at Daruma, which is a permaculture designed educational ecovillage that has existed for over 10 years.

Contact

We are an hour away from Bangkok (BKK airport) in Thailand, and visitors can find pickup & onward travel options on our contact page.

Anyone interested can view details of this RetroSuburbia-centric permaculture courses here.