I first heard of permaculture in the early 90’s when my father-in-law, who was a serious organic grower, showed me his copy of the Designer’s Manual. I subsequently acquired a copy, began reading it and then gave up. It was too much information for me at the time and my priority was earning a living. Since I acquired my property I have become much more interested. My daily car trips provide me lots of time to listen to the many different podcast sources. I am attracted to permaculure at several levels -Intuitively, intellectually and ethically.
I have mentioned on this website several permaculture designs I have installed but did not dwell on them since I did not wish to hold myself out as knowledgeable on the underpinnings. But now I may be more forthcoming since I have taken and completed Geoff Lawton’s permaculture design course (“pdc”), and yesterday I received my certificate in the mail from Australia.
I thought the course was excellent. Geoff Lawton, other than Mollison himself, is probably the best qualified practitioner to instruct on the application of permaculture across the world from the tropics to deserts to high altitude to cold regions. His 2014 permaculture class had students from numerous, widely differing countries. The format was weekly video lectures following the chapter sequence in the designer’s manual. The cost, just under $1k, was steepish for an internet course and I, being accustomed to the excellent Coursera courses, hemmed and hawed before taking the plunge. But having made the financial commitment I worked hard at the course and basically read the whole designer’s manual as I watched and absorbed the videos.
Finally we had to submit a permaculture design and, for me this also took a lot of time. Not the writing up of the design since in my earlier life I used to issue financial/investigative reports, but in learning how to manipulate images. Which meant learning gimp and inkscape – two very powerful and free programs. A “veteran” (ours was the 2nd year the course was offered, the veterans were the students who took it in the first year and volunteered to help us) provided detailed excellent tutorials on how to produce designs digitally. I worked hard on my design and submitted it early July and was pleased to receive the certificate yesterday.
I won’t delve deeply into what permaculture is about. However, if you look at the certificate you read “The field lies open to the intellect” and so it is not about mysticism or idealism but observing the complexity and patterns of the natural world and then developing a design whether for growing or housing or whatever, which aligns and uses natural forces. And then there are the 3 ethics and I would say these are more pragmatic than idealistic – 1) care for the earth; 2) care for each other; 3) share the surplus, which can have several interpretations but generally means do not exploit and reinvest the surplus in the system.
Enough said, for the time being.