I teach Permaculture through small workshops and not through a PDC. I have done this with community groups, both acting under the umbrella of organized NGO’s ,to grassroots groups who call me to do a presentation or as an entrepreneur when I offer my services or rent a place to run a workshop.
I chose to teach this way because it allows me to focus on the areas of my interest and skills, and leaves plenty of room for others to do the same in the areas they know best.
I have also taught to a few interested individuals for whom I have done consultations and design and my next step is to co-teach small modules and partial PDCs.
My experience includes a PDC and a portion of a second (to explore other approaches to teaching and the material); a Pc teachers training to explore how Permaculture is taught (as you may anticipate, it needs to be taught by using the same ethics and principles it claims, otherwise it would be counter-intuitive (i.e. we can’t talk about “People Care” and teach through lectures only) and many TA experiences.
The philosophy of a PDC I adhere to is that of Rosemary Morrow: a PDC is basically a design process, therefore, it needs to focus on permaculture design principles, ethics and strategies but not on techniques: techniques are unique of a particular place, time, ecosystem and people and cannot be imposed but may be adapted as long as they are found appropriated for the place, people, ecosystem and specific circumstances/needs/requirements. Principles, ethics and strategies, on the other hand, are transferable and allow us to measure what we are doing and be creative pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Anybody who fully understands and lives the Permaculture ethics, principles and strategies and knows how to design properly may be able to teach a PDC, however, the activities and demos may be better presented by someone who also has hands-on experience on the areas the Pc curriculum.
The PDC sylabus is based on the Bill Mollison original curriculum, and while the activities and how they are approached may be adapted to the specific location, people, etc., they are universal.
A PDC would include the following areas (courtesy of the Permaculture Institute):
- Principles of Natural Systems
- Sustainable Design Methodologies
- Patterns in Nature, Culture and Society
- Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes
- Land Restoration Techniques
- Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements
- Grey Water Recycling
- Natural Building Strategies
- Cultivated & Productive Ecologies
- Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency
- Energy Conservation Technologies
- Appropriate Technologies and Renewable Energies
- Urban Environment Permaculture
- Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control
- Land Arts and Community Activism
- Invisible Structures: EcoVillages & Credit Unions
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Strategies for an Alternative Nation
My areas of “specialization” in Permaculture are:
- Community and household resilience building
- Food Sovereignty and food-print
- Edible gardening and horticulture
- Waste management: full cycles, up-cycling, composting, humanure, composting toilets, etc
- Career planning and life coaching: livelihood using permaculture principles and ethics, holistic goals
- Disaster management/planning and emergency preparedness
- Inclusiveness (through approaches such as UDL)
- Teaching, curriculum development, lesson panning and teaching materials development
I am currently working towards other areas including water management and energy use/renewable.
You can find here some of my posts about teaching Permaculture. Enjoy, Comment. Provide Feedback…that is how we grow and change!