Permaculture Design Course What an amazing experience!
Now that our first PDC is over and the Ecolodge quietly expects autumn, there is time to do some aftermaths of the events that took place:
In the late of September we had the last busy days in preparing everything for the PDC infrastructure. The last bits and peaces had to come together at the Compost Toilets and Kitchen, no time for major mistakes. So we were running up and down the field with screwdrivers, drills and all sort of equipment with spirits up that we will make it in time.
NEWSTICKER: ++Major Ferry strike for 2 Days maybe more++…….major confusion, nobody can arrive at the set date on the island, reorganizing, places to sleep for participants already in Athens, informing everybody about the situation, major thanks to technology everything worked out smoothly.
Rod, Mill and Ios arrived three days before the start of the Seminar and with them came the first wave of “Permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening”
(Graham Burnett). After some get to know each other and walking around the place Mill started coming up with fresh ideas, what is still needed and how things could be organized. So through out the next 2 days Marilia, Mill, Rod, Ios and me where running up and down the field with screwdrivers, drills and all sort of equipment…organizing extra light, the classroom, pee – bales, solar lights, pillows, signs………
Rod and Mill decided to tighten the program and prolong the Seminar hours per day due to the loss of 1 day. So on day one, after the harbour pickup, everybody, already informed in the car about the tight program, run to build up the tents and get organized for the first introduction. First impression: What an organized crowd! After one hour every body was up and running with their shelters for the next 11 days.
The seminar started right after lunch with a lot of excitement to meet the group with which we were going to share the PDC experience.
What a lovely bunch, we where to find out!
Immediately Rod and Mill started with their creative and whole body learning techniques to bond the group.
The next days flowed like a river. The mornings were starting with a sunrise breakfast team (thx to the volunteers), followed by morning yoga with Rod and class was ready to go.
We could follow some of the ingenious techniques and the grass root constructions of solar cookers and rocket stoves from tins and cans between lunch, coffee and dinner!
There was a serious number of topics to be covered, from the permaculture ethics to the soil regeneration and composting to landscape reading and restoration measures, the PDC curriculum is definitely broad! Rod has a great way to teach through creative techniques and whole body learning methods, so class was moving around from one terrace to another, to the beach and to the next valley, with lots of mini meditation intervals or group games always with a goal to explore the permaculture principles. When ever things became complicated or difficult to understand, Mill just jumped in and gave it another approach for better understanding. It was just great to see such a complementary teaching team. Not to forget to mention Elena who came in support to translate the PDC in Greek! but also with her vast knowledge of the island ecology gave us a more in depth understanding of the local parameters.
We were so lucky to have a great cook with us Aggeliki who offered us delicious lunches and dinner everyday with a variety of Greek and island cuisine. So meals where a pleasant daily happening to power up and time to foul around. We were double lucky to have Ios as a volunteer who really made everything work smoothly especially during the first days!! After Ios left there was great participation of everybody to get the cleaning up done. Thanks for the great help!
We made one day field trips and visited Thiery a French herbalist who collects wild herbs of the island and extracts essential oils, Christos Fonsos a wine maker who guided us through his winery and Under the Linden Tree, an agrotourism location in Tinos who guided us through their 10 ha plot with very old orchards that belonged to the Ursulines women monastery during the last century.
The first 5 days were windy and quite cold, the weather conditions were not perfect is the least we can say, but the spirits were high and fortunately the wind went down on the 6th day and the island showed its most gentle site. On the 7th day we went swimming again with full 28 degrees and with a soil composition game ready to play.
The days passed and the PDC came to its fulfilment with the design of an actual plot. There were 5 designer groups formed to attend to 5 clients, Isa’s plot in Guatemala, Gabriel’s plot in Brazil, Ariana’s plot in Slovenia, Androniko’s plot next to ours in Tinos Akeratos and Larisa’s gang plot, how could it be elsewhere: Larisa.
The groups spend a whole day designing until late in the evening, everybody was hooked! Mill, Rod and Elena were going from group to group to assist, there was a buzz in the air..Last day arrived and everyone was excited to see the outcome. From what we saw there were some really amazing designs, that the ‘clients’ would definitely think to integrate when starting the actual implementation on the plot.
The lasts night party lasted until the morning hours, but the end came faster than we could dance……….We want to thank all these lovely people that shared with us this experience and wish you all to realise your dreams for the future!
Let the egg hatch
Pictures taken by: Nicolas Bedau, Marilia Kalouli, Anja Disher, Jos van den Akker