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The date of the 2017 PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) at wheaton labs
will be Sunday, May 28th through Saturday, June 10th, 2017, with one day off on the Saturday right in the middle.
Due to such high interest, web streaming is a go! Full details on our kickstarter:
Visit our Facebook event page for the PDC HERE!
The date of the ATC (Appropriate Technology Course) will be Monday, June 12th through Friday June 23rd, 2017 with one day off on the saturday right in the middle.
Visit our Facebook event page for the ATC HERE!
Happy graduates of the 2015 PDC
This thread is provided so folks can ask questions about the PDC and ATC.
This will be a homesteaders' PDC, with a strong focus on rural acreage. So, while other PDCs tend to cover urban permaculture equally with five to 200 acres (homestead size) and broadacre (200 to 20,000 acres), this PDC will shrink the urban and broadacre stuff so there can be more about homesteading.
There is a possibility that the PDC and ATC could be streamed over the web. If this is of interest to you, please click on the thumbs up of the appropriate posts here so we can guage interest.
Instructors and Guest Instructors:
This PDC will be led by:
Tim Barker, who is keen on working a lot of Holistic Management (Alan Savory's stuff) into it.
Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic, and now spends his time between Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes the US) as a semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living. He currently teaches appropriate technology for the Koanga institute in New Zealand and Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in Melbourne, to name a few. Read more here.
Paul Wheaton, who is keen on making permaculture beautiful and profitable.
Paul Wheaton, the bad boy of Permaculture, was proclaimed by geoff lawton in 2012 the Duke of Permaculture. He is the creator of two on-line communities. One is about Permaculture, permies.com, and one is about software engineering, CodeRanch.com. Read more here.
Thomas J. Elpel is an author, natural builder, educator and conservationist. He has authored multiple books: Foraging the Mountain West, Botany in a Day, Shanleya's Quest and numerous other ones about plant identification, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He has multiple videos: Building a Slipform Stone House from the Bottom Up, How to Make a Grass Rope, Build Your own Masonry Fireplace - Masonry Heater - Masonry Stove, and many more. Thomas regularly teaches classes on plant identification, primitive skills and natural building. He is founder/director of Green University, LLC in Pony, Montana.
Dubbed goddess of the soil by Paul Wheaton, Helen is a master gardener, farmer and consultant. She had first hand experience with Masanobu Fukuoka and was a horticulture extension agent for 15 years in Montana. She owned and operated Biodesign Farm near Missoula, Montana for 17 years. She has been doing consulting for different vegetable growers, including a 2000 acres organic fruit and vegetable farm. She is now an advocate of veganic permaculture.
Ernie is a botanist, educator, writer, researcher, rocket mass heater innovator, natural builder, and boat aficionado. He worked in the merchant navy and has tremendous experience with hydraulic and hot water systems. Ernie is semi-retired due to a disabling injury, but still makes time for the occasional workshop or fascinating prototype project. He co-authored multiple books with his wife Erica and he is featured in many videos, documentaries and podcasts. Ernie is a wealth of knowledge; there are not many topics on which he does not have an opinion.
Erica is a science and art educator, curriculum developer, writer, illustrator, researcher, and rocket mass heater innovator. She loves making things from scratch - anything from blueberry scones to the oven itself. Erica is a skilled educator and project coordinator, with over 15 years' experience building teamwork and leading hands-on learning experiences. Her and Ernie have taught numerous workshops on natural building and rocket mass heaters. Erica has written multiple books on rocket mass heaters, fire making, and survival shelters. She is featured in many videos, documentaries, and podcasts on rocket mass heaters.
Jacqueline is a biodynamic farmer, author, and natural beekeeper. She is known for her gentle and understanding ways with bees. She appears in the honeybee documentary, Queen of the Sun and was hired by the USDA to work with rural farmers and beekeepers in Dominican Republic using historic methods of respectful beekeeping. She lives on a farm in Washington state with her husband Joseph where they have orchards, gardens, two big greenhouses, a small forest, rich pastures and plenty of flowering bee forage. Jacqueline also has lots of experience raising livestock: cows, goats, chickens for laying and broilers, turkeys, and horses. She has two websites: SpiritBee.com and friendlyhaven.com.
Zachary Weiss - 2017 PDC Guest Instructor
Protégé of legendary Austrian farmer, sepp holzer, Zach is the first person to earn Holzer Practitioner Certification outside of the Krameterhof training program. Blending a unique combination of systems thinking, empathy, and awareness, Zach uses an action-oriented process to improve human relationships with earth. Enhancing ecosystems and harvesting natural productivity over time is the ultimate goal - with high initial input, high yield systems that will last until the next ice age.
Zach currently has projects in 11 nations on 4 continents, spanning a wide range of climates, contexts, land-forms and ecosystems. Having experience with a wide range of techniques and systems (from natural building, to greenhouses, to carpentry, to watershed restoration), Zach also graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Ecology. He has two websites elementalecosystems.com and holzerpermaculture.us
Davin is an architect, artist, and entrepreneur. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and has 16 years of drafting experience. Davin has established two community gardens in Georgetown, Texas and he is the first to map Wheaton Labs. Davin practices architecture as a one-man firm and will soon be a small restaurant chain partner. He is the future illustrator of Paul's book on "Wofatis".
Byron Joel - 2017 PDC Guest Instructor
Byron Joel is based in Margaret River, Western Australia, from where he runs Oak Tree Designs, providing environmentally aware Human Settlement Systems design and education. Discovering Permaculture in the early 2000s, Byron devoured all the information he could find and set to work connecting with like minds and putting ideas to practice, taking his first Permaculture Design Course in 2004 and second in 2009. After taking the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia's 10 week internship in 2010, Byron returned to the positions of both Nursery and WWOOFer Coordinator at Zaytuna Farm. After relocating to New Zealand, he held the position of Nursery Manager at Kotare Farm, home of the Koanga Institute and the Permaculture Research Institute of New Zealand. Armed with the invaluable tool of hands-on field time and a Diploma in Horticulture, Byron’s embryonic affinity with plants has developed and evolved into a broader, impassioned drive to the broad scale regeneration and restoration of not only the planet’s much degraded ecology, but also the human communities that inhabit her. Byron has studied and integrated design and implementation techniques from numerous related systems including Holistic Management, Natural Sequence Farming, Bio-dynamics, Natural Farming, the Regrarian Platform and more…
Byron has worked internationally as both educator and consultant.
Lots of hands-on projects
Another thing that makes this PDC different from the norm:
Tim INSISTS that this is a DESIGN course. He is frustrated that in other PDCs people make ONE design with minimal feedback. By the end of this PDC, each student will have FOUR TIMES MORE experience designing than in a standard PDC.
About this course, Tim wrote:
I teach the design process, and with a good understanding of the design process you can design for ANY situation.
People are getting strategies and techniques mixed up with design, and so we have lots of PDCs where people are are doing lots of cool stuff but coming away very light on the design.
Design is the skill set that the PDC was made to teach. I teach design.
Strategies and techniques are the crack cocaine of design. People decide to use a strategy or technique and then work backwards to fit it into the design process and somehow justify it.
I teach how to assess the decisions we make by taking a good look at the human decision making process, and show people how to make good, well informed decisions.
Of course, having lots of examples of strategies and techniques around and doing some is great because they are how we translate the design into the real world; but the student has to be aware that the PDC has just a taste of those possibilities and that if the student wants to design well then they have set themselves a course for lifelong study.
Tim also said that there will be few videos shown during the PDC. People can watch videos on their own time. He said there will be a lot of time spent on designing, and there will be several hands-on experiences.
Fun with the big toys!
This will also be an event where food is provided. So the price includes food.
War paint optional . . .
Hang out with cool people!
Selfies with Paul!
How to Pay
Send payment via:
paypal: paul at richsoil.com
Note that there are no refunds this close to the event date.
This course will be limited to 24 students. So get in early to ensure you get a spot!
A PDC creates a sense of community and support.
Missoula International Airport
If you need a ride from the airport, it's likely that a shuttle service can be arranged for you. Notify us in advance, and we'll get something worked out to get you here.
For those that may not be able to fly with sleeping bags and tents, there are a limited quantity available for borrowing at the Lab, and of course, you can always rent the Tipi, Wofati, or other structures for your stay to lighten your luggage.
There is a discussion about having on-site childcare for the duration of the courses here.
We will post the results here, once there is a dedicated childcare person chosen, and fees are decided.
This is the official schedule for the PDC. It is possible that a few details might change.
Day 1: (Sunday, May 28th) Intro to Permaculture Ethics and Principals
Day 2: Design Concepts and Themes
Day 3: Methods of Design
Day 4: Managing Holistically
Day 5: Climates and Landforms
Day 6: Water and Access
Day 7: All Day Break - Movie night
Day 8: Trees and Soils
Day 9: Soils and Crops
Day 10: Animals
Day 11: appropriate technology
Day 12: Bioregions and Communities
Day 13: Botany In a Day
Day 14: Permaculture Design Presentations and Talent Night
Learning, learning, and more learning!
Here are the exciting areas of appropriate technology that will be covered in the course!
1. Solar - passive, heating, cookers, ovens, dryers. Panels, charging, storage, lighting, mobile powered units.
2. Heating Temperate shelters - rocket stoves - (dimensions, materials, uses - hotwater, oven, cooking, mass heating), wood stoves, solar, thermal mass, insulation, floors, and composting. Thermal mass greenhouses.
3. Cooling Tropical shelters - shade, wind, ground cooling ducts, orientation, thermal mass, roofs.
4. Water - filtering, purity, potibility, design, pumps, swales, ponds, air wells, drilled wells, collection systems, storage, IBC's, Grey water (recycling, uses, low cost methods, legal, productive uses)
5. Sustainability - energy audits, home, farm, food security - measurement
6. BioChar - production and use
7. Compost Toilets - Types, designs, Humanure, urine, safety, regulation, reality.
Hands-on projects that could change your life!
I have two more guest instructors I am trying to line up. Once we have the guest instructor stuff all figured out, then we figure out where they will be staying. Usually guest instructors are here for just a day or two, but we currently have two (E&E) that will be here for the whole event.
Once we have the bunks figured out for all the instructors, then we open things up for people to rent during the event.
BUT! Now is a really good time to say what you would LIKE to rent, and that improves the odds that you actually get it.
You mentioned at least two years ago about having a room in your home. Is that still available to rent?
If not, do you have a recommendation for the motel to use? How far is it to your place from Missoula? Do you have a spot for a rental car to sit on your property? Does Verizon work at your place?
Thank you. Natalie
Natalie Manor wrote:You mentioned at least two years ago about having a room in your home. Is that still available to rent?
The VIP room has been converted into my office. But there is still the bunk room which has two full size beds and two twin size beds.
At basecamp there is lots of camping, plus the red cabin (two bunks) and the love shack (two bunks).
At the lab there is more camping, plus the tipi with the rocket mass heater, allerton abbey and cooper cabin. It is possible that the ants would be willing to rent some of their structures ...
Are you willing to share something like the bunkroom, or are you looking for a room to yourself?
If not, do you have a recommendation for the motel to use? How far is it to your place from Missoula? Do you have a spot for a rental car to sit on your property? Does Verizon work at your place?
You will get a big bunch of information with nearby hotel stuff and the like in a week or two. You will also be given our precise location.
Yes, you can park a car at basecamp. Some people, in the past, brought a truck with a topper or a van - which they stayed in.
Verizon is very good at basecamp, and okay at the lab.
Max Kennedy wrote:Not about this PDC but a general request. As a teacher I and others in the profession cannot do these courses due to the time of year they are offered. Please offer them during summer vacation as well.
Very good point! We were concerned about university students and teachers, and got the impression that most of those were letting out around mid may - so this seemed like a really good fit.
What would be the earliest sunday start date that would work for you in 2018?
But I think you will find that even though it isn't done, the main page is looking pretty dame good: https://richsoil.com/pdc.jsp
And, the guest instructor lineup is pretty stellar.
In an age where a lot of PDCs are $2000 or more, I think the current offer is extremely sweet.
I think we now have something like 9 students signed up. I'm pretty sure that this event is going to end up sold out. So the super cheap price is a bonus for those folks that regularly read these forums and the dailyish email.
paul wheaton wrote:I think we now have something like 9 students signed up. I'm pretty sure that this event is going to end up sold out. So the super cheap price is a bonus for those folks that regularly read these forums and the dailyish email.
Hey Paul, I got really excited seeing this PDC & ATC combo. I love your forums and all your videos, I would really love to attend. Sadly, I won't be able to afford the full early bird price before the end of January. However, I would really love to save my spot before it sells out. Is there any option to put a deposit down to save myself a seat? I am planning to pay in full before the end of March, to qualify for your still very awesome not-so-early bird price.
I'm wondering for me and my fiance who would also like to attend.
paul wheaton wrote:For some workshops we will grant a free ticket to one or two videographers. This is a trade where a person will get to attend at no charge in exchange for all of the video and pictures they take. To make the trade complete they will be expected to video the entire event- and sound quality is important... Microphones on the instructors would be a component. They can use all that video and pictures any way that they want. And I will be able to use all of the video and pictures any way that I want.
She is a very talented graphic designer with lots of multi-media experience, i.e. videography, editing, motion graphics, etc. I was hoping you still have a spot open for a media person to attend free in exchange for these services. We do have access to fancy equipment and such, the details of what would be required can be hashed out. Also to be noted; she is vegetarian and gluten-free, so she wouldn't be eating quite as much of the omnivore-based food. As such we'd be bringing plenty of rations for ourselves.
So this post, I suppose is to inquire about two things;
Can I put in a deposit to save my spot?
Do you have such an opportunity available for my fiance?
I know this is a lot to digest, so take your time in response if you will. I just want to add that I appreciate what you've done for the Permaculture community by creating such a helpful forum.
Brian McCune wrote:
Hey Paul, I got really excited seeing this PDC & ATC combo. I love your forums and all your videos, I would really love to attend. Sadly, I won't be able to afford the full early bird price before the end of January. However, I would really love to save my spot before it sells out. Is there any option to put a deposit down to save myself a seat? I am planning to pay in full before the end of March, to qualify for your still very awesome not-so-early bird price
I'm sorry, I just realized this morning that I probably should have sent this as a "purple mooseage"
I would have answered sooner, but your post reminded me that there were a few other emails that i needed to deal with before i could answer you ....
Can you get me samples of "very talented graphic designer with lots of multi-media experience, i.e. videography, editing, motion graphics, etc. " -- I think there is a high probability of that working out.
So I think what you are saying is that you want to buy one ticket for the pdc and atc, and this lovely woman you hang out with would be here working the whole time. So let's set her aside for now and focus on you.
Part of me is like "screw that shit - either pay or don't! things are enough of a roller coaster right now without adding another layer or stuff to keep track of."
And the other part of me is like "we don't even have our web page fully pollished yet, and there are details we are still nailing down, so it is a warm feeling that anybody wants to buy a ticket when our stuff is still under construction."
And the biggest part of me is like "I like the idea of giving my best candy to the people that actively participate in these forums and/or actively read the dailyish email." We haven't started advertising outside of the empire - we figure we need to finish our web junk first.
So, here is what I think we are about to do. Sometime today you will email me stuff about your super skilled buddy, complete with her words about how keen she is to work so very hard while her guy takes a class. And then make a proposal to me featuring the march price to hold your spot. Normally, the moment I receive payment, I forward the info to jocelyn and fred and they do all the stuff to make sure people get all the info they need right away. To make things simpler for everybody - I'm going to just not forward any of that to them until we are all square. My email is paul at richsoil.com. Sound good?
It is possible that this might be the best PDC offered in the US this year. I think we have quite the all star lineup of instructors.
The web page is almost ready. On wednesday morning we will delete all mention of the super early-bird stuff. The super early bird stuff is nothing more than a fat juicy gift to the people that regularly peruse permies and the people that read the dailyish.
We actually have two more guest instructors to list, but we are firming up the details.
Just need to know the housing details and I am in.
Thanks so much.
Looks like it is going to be a grand success.
Natalie Manor wrote:Hi ya Paul, would like to sign up for the PDC but did not get an answer from you about the housing in your home. Said I would share, but then no pricing or details.
Just need to know the housing details and I am in.
Understood. We are still trying to nail down dates and needed accommodations for the guest instructors. But .... I think we are far enough along that it is clear that we have exactly one bunk not spoken for.
How about this: one bunk in the house, for the weeks of the PDC or ATC: $400. $750 for both courses.
Tomorrow is the official day that we start selling tickets. At the "earlybird" price. It is also the day that we start to tell other people about the event. We sold two more tickets last night. Is it possible that we sell out? Maybe I set the price too low?
Natalie Manor wrote:Hey Paul, thanks for the housing info. One bunk, in the house, all mine. I have registered. Excited to be able to come. Looking forward to the rest of the details. The invited instructions look like a terrific group. Thanks for putting this all together. My best, Natalie
I received the coin for the PDC, but I did not receive coin for the bunk. Not sure what you have in mind.
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paul wheaton wrote:
Clara Rose wrote:Here's a logistics question: how cold does it get at night in Missoula in May? I plan on tenting and I have a three season bag, but it's way too bulky to bring on a plane.
Our last frost is around may 10. So, it will be very unlikely that it will frost.
Here's what I'm putting in a document for what to bring, plan on, directions, etc. (which hasn't been sent out yet!):
By rainiest month, that might be 2-3 inches for the whole month. Though with dirt roads on the lab and parts of base camp, this can mean muddy conditions. More in the wheaton labs and local weather thread.
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what to bring (and not bring)
As you might already be aware, wheaton labs is a smoke/tobacco free, drug free environment. Please help us keep it so. Plus, we would appreciate it if you do not bring any pets. Additional tips:
*The flashlights are recommended because a lot of our bumpy, rocky paths and buildings (even at base camp) are off-grid, and not well-lighted (or lighted at all) at night or the evenings.
There are no street lights out in a rural area like ours. Which makes star gazing quite amazing.
Should you wish to ship items to yourself at base camp (like the favorite flashlight you forgot, or a bulky 3-season sleeping bag), there will be instructions on how to do so when we send the directions and more info.
Bryan Vandenheuvel wrote:Paul,
I'm extremely eager to do both of these classes for homesteading. How often do you offer it? I'm not sure I can do it this spring.
Once per year. Next year the PDC will be july 1 through 14. And the ATC will be the two weeks after that.
Will there be any opportunity to wash clothes? (I assume there are opportunities to wash selves
Showers will be provided.
In the last two years we had some water shortage issues. Thanks to Fred powering through about eight weeks of super boring work, often all by himself, he came up with a series of tests to prove there was a leak in the system, and another series of tests to narrow down the leak, which involved an enormous amount of digging, digging, digging .... he found the leak, repaired it and verified that the system is now leak free.
Mr. Ettridge is allowing us to use his manual washing machine.
Also, folks will have one day off each week. Some people will go into town to do laundry. We might even fire up our 12 passenger van for trips to missoula. Most people are itching to experience the missoula farmer's market.
And while in missoula, some people go to a laundromat.
I am a celiac. Will there be gluten-free options during our meals?
I think you should plan on half the meals being a lovely meal where there is no gluten. And for the other half, you will need to bring your own food. We do have a massive collection of rocket stoves, TLUDs, interesting cooking contraptions and solar ovens. If you stay at cooper cabin, there is now a very lovely rocket wood cook stove there.
Our budget is very tight this year and we are working hard to pull this off without running in the negative. We are hoping that next year we can optimize our systems and maybe sell the tickets for a slightly higher price and offer a better diet.
For those that have eaten here in the past, you should set your expectations to: less bacon and meat, more breads and grains. In fact, for the PDC we have Stewart Hung returning and for the ATC we have Katelin Ginther returning. So same high quality cooks, but trying to cut 40% off of the food budget. I have attended some PDCs and permaculture events in the past where the food was paltry and scarce. I don't want us to be anything like that. So we will have ample food. Just not ample heaps of bacon, and amazing roasts and beautiful mountains of pork chops ... More like lots of egg dishes, stir frys, stuff where meat is part of the dish.
Two years ago I thought Stewart was going to die of exhaustion as he tried to cater to all of the different food "demands" - and at that time, he was only feeding the instructors.
In fact, if anybody wants to bring fun foodie bits, there is a good chance that our cooks might be able to work that in to the meals.
If tomatoes are a fruit, then ketchup must be a jam. Taste this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD