Permaculture teacher me…..

…..well not quite.

When I did my Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) a couple of years ago, I always had the idea that one day I’d like to teach permaculture.

I don’t have the confidence to start by piling head-on into the full 72-hour PDC course, so thought I’d maybe begin with an introductory course involving a couple of full days, say, over 2 weekends, when people would be better able to attend.

However things happened and the idea was put on the backburner, where it’s still simmering away.

Recently, a friend has asked me if I’ll run a permaculture workshop for the members of a community garden she’s involved in, and I’ve said yes.

It’s next month so I’m starting to think about how I’ll do it. I’m told I’ve got about 2 hours and there might be a dozen people.

The thing you begin to realise after doing a PDC is that the topic is so vast and all-encompassing—a whole new way of living and thinking—that it can’t be explained in the sort of 30-second soundbite that people want for explanations these days. There are plenty of definitions around, but they don’t do justice to the scope of the thing.

However, I’ll begin with some of the many definitions I’ve collected, explain where the word comes from and the Mollison/Holmgren beginnings of the concept.

Next, I’ll deal with the 3 permaculture ethics and briefly cover the 12 design principles. I have a great set of fridge magnets I bought from David Holmgren, showing the icons and slogans for each principle, so they’ll be good to take along.

I’ll run through the design process starting with sector and zone analysis, and designing the layout for the elements of a permaculture system. I’ll get them to do a needs/products/functions  analysis for some of the elements (the chicken is an easy one), so they can get used to the idea of making connections and integrating rather than segregating.

I’ll mention some important concepts like creating swales for water harvesting (I’ll be able to take along the A-frame I put together for marking out contours), and creating grey-water systems.

Some time ago, I did a design for a friend’s suburban block, not because she was keen to implement it (she’s in her 80’s), but just to show her, as a way of explaining what permaculture is, the sort of thing that could be achieved. I’ll take that along also, to show how a bare, lawn-covered block can be converted into a productive and beautiful landscape.

It should be an interesting exercise. They’ll be learning about permaculture and I’ll be learning how to teach!

The fridge magnets—the 3 ethics and the 12 principles

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