The course is based around developing a real understanding of the ethics, principles and methods of design used in permaculture.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by Australians David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture”, as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.
It has many branches that include but are not limited to ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.
Mollison has said: “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”
Throughout the course we will build on the knowledge and practical experience of the course participants and the tutors using creative teaching techniques. The beautiful surroundings of river, woodlands, organic farm, low impact buildings and visits to other permaculture sites will provide real examples.
Early on in the course, when you have basic understanding of permaculture principles and ethics, we will together develop the course curriculum including all the subjects that are relevant to the participants.
This is a fun process and gets us working well as a group.
Students are welcome to bring their own projects to the classroom and work on them as the course evolves and they are learning and develop their understanding about permaculture. In this way, we will have real life examples to work on throughout the course.
Field trips, group work and hands-on projects in the lodge will provide further insights and consolidate key concepts discussed throughout the course.
Finally, the PDC is an experience of community in itself. For twelve days, we will be living, learning and working together. Participating in the daily program of activities and helping with the daily chores necessary for the course to run smoothly is an integral part of the process and rhymes with the ethics and principles of permaculture.
The course curriculum will be built around the content of Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Designer’s Manual, enriched by the insights of Darren Doherty and the Regrarians Platform. Throughout the course we will be discussing the rural, urban and suburban context.
The subjects that we are going to cover are:
The philosophy of permaculture, Ethics, Permaculture in landscape and society
Concepts and Themes
Laws and Principles: Mollison’s approach, Holmgren’s approach
Methods and tools
Process of design
Time and space in systems evolution
Development and maintenance of a system
Pattern understanding and their use in design
Human Climate: decision making and management
Natural Climate: Climate zones classification
Weather patterns, sun, rain, wind
Landscape effects, microclimates
The ecosystem of a tree
The water cycle
Strategies for water conservation and storage
The importance of soil
Soils physics, chemistry and biology
Strategies for soil rehabilitation and fertility enhancement
Planning and designing earthworks
Tools and techniques
The “slow, spread and sink” approach
The keyline concept
Natural building methods
Communication and conflict resolution in teams