Women’s Permaculture Teacher Training West Coast

Program Purpose:

Drawing on the wisdom of ecological systems and indigenous knowledge, permaculture offers us a vision, design approach, and tools to create a world of health and abundance. Increased inclusion and support of leadership and perspective from women of diverse backgrounds is vital to this vision.  In this unique and innovative program, we explore diversity and leadership while building our confidence. We practice teaching permaculture for various formats, from introductory workshops, special topics, and short courses, to the core Permaculture Design Certificate course.

Program Overview:

Using permaculture principles as our guide, we work from patterns to details in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. We walk away with a teaching toolbox, including:

  • How to use permaculture principles and ethics in your teaching

  • Teaching techniques for different learning styles, audiences, and venues

  • How to work effectively as a teaching team

  • Best practices in planning, marketing, and evaluating courses

  • A comprehensive manual of resources and teaching materials

  • Access to a network of teachers and practitioners from around the globe

Participants will gain experience by designing and teaching a permaculture topic of their choice with personalized feedback from instructors who have more than 30 combined years of teaching experience.

Program Details:

Dates:  December 9-13, 2016

Time: 9:00 – 9:30pm daily (with a 2-hour lunch & dinner break)

Location:  The Permaculture Skills Center, Sebastopol, CA

Cost:  Early Bird (awarded to first 10 applicants) $450

           Regular Tuition $600

This course is open to Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) graduates who identify as women and/or were assigned female at birth. Women of color and queer or gender nonconforming women are especially encouraged to apply.

For questions, please contact our program coordinator Lee, at lee@permacultureskillscenter.org

Permaculture Teachers Training for Women East Coast

http://www.eomega.org/workshops/permaculture-teacher-training-for-women-0#-workshop-description-block

Honoring the Principle of Diversity

This workshop is by application only. Please submit your materials according to the directions on this page.

August 21, 2016 – August 26, 2016
Location:
Rhinebeck, NY
Course:
SM16-4005-724
Teacher:
Lisa DePiano, Pandora Thomas
Tiered Pricing – Friend:
$820
 Tier 1:
$745
 Tier 2:
$670
 Tier 3:
$595
Description

Drawing on the wisdom of ecological systems and indigenous knowledge, permaculture offers us a vision, design approach, and tools to create a world of health and abundance. Increased inclusion and support of leadership and perspective from women of diverse backgrounds is vital to this vision.

In this unique and innovative program, we explore diversity and leadership while building our confidence. We practice teaching permaculture for various formats, from introductory workshops, special topics, and short courses, to the core permaculture design certificate course.

Using permaculture principles as our guide, we work from patterns to details in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. We walk away with a teaching toolbox, including:

  • How to use permaculture principles and ethics in our teaching
  • Teaching techniques for different learning styles, audiences, and venues
  • How to work effectively as a teaching team
  • Best practices in planning, marketing, and evaluating courses
  • A comprehensive manual of resources and teaching materials
  • Access to a network of teachers and practitioners from around the globe

Participants design and teach a permaculture topic of their choice with personalized feedback from instructors who have more than 30 combined years of teaching experience.

This course requires an application and is open to Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) graduates who identify as women and/or were assigned female at birth. Women of color and queer or gender nonconforming women are especially encouraged to apply.

Please note this course begins Sunday at 4:00 p.m. and had extended hours. See Schedule section for full details.

Regenerative Urban Sustainability Training (RUST)

As a greater number of Earth’s population moves into cities, it is becoming increasingly critical that we re-design our urban environments to be more sustainable: capable of meeting the needs of their residents while simultaneously improving their ecological and social health.  Accomplishing this goal will become of dire importance as the interplay of climate change, energy constraint, and economic inequality converges upon us.

This process of transition will necessitate that we drastically reduce our consumption of Earth’s resources, as well as recycle our waste products back into natural systems.   To those not familiar with the fundamentals of sustainable living, the task of working towards it can seem daunting and confusing.

In this class, Scott Kellogg and other sustainability experts give attendees a “toolbox” of techniques and knowledge usable by anyone wanting to create sustainable systems in their own communities.  Using the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center as a living learning laboratory, class participants will engage in an intensive weekend of participatory hands-on activity, seeing firsthand how integrated ecological systems function in an urban context.  Students will come away ready to implement these techniques in a variety of spaces ranging from the micro to the macro!

Permaculture for Regional Planning

https://yestermorrow.org/learn/courses/permaculture-regional-planning

While permaculture design practices are typically applied to creating productive homes and agricultural land, permaculture design ethics and principles, when applied at the broader scales of community, regional, and urban planning, have a great impact on creating a human environment with ecological integrity. Starting with a clear understanding of the mistakes and challenges inherent in our present economy – including petroleum dependence and extreme weather — this course focuses on how to redirect our society and its infrastructure back into alignment with the earth’s natural cycles, one region at a time. Ideal for architects, regional and city planners, community organizers, land trusts, watershed groups and local food advocates, this course will provide participants with the vision and tools for coordinating and synthesizing efforts for improving regional economies and the quality of life for future generations.

Social Polycultures: Using permaculture for building resilient relationships

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by Lisa DePiano

Many people use permaculture to design physical systems like farms and homesteads, to have the resilience and benefits that are found in natural systems. They use the permaculture ethics and principles, coupled with a holistic design process to create relationships between elements that foster greater ease, mutual benefit and increase positive feedback loops. Like locating mushroom logs in a forest, next to a pond, with ducks for pest control and fertilization for a connected crop.  By placing these elements in relationship with one another we get greater symbiosis than any one of these elements on their own.

It is important to recognize that no physical system is created without social systems and stronger social systems better support our physical systems and vice versa. Each of these physical systems have some assemblage of roles that make  the whole project function. For example a permaculture based design firm working on installing an urban permaculture farm might have, designers, office managers, installers, caretakers , etc. Those people are in turn connected to and supported by additional social systems, like families or friends and colleagues that enable them to do the work that they do.

By applying the permaculture ethics, principles, and a similar design process that we use in our physical systems to our social systems we can get better at bringing about greater ease, functionality and mutual benefits in both our physical sites and social organizations and programs.  By making these social networks visible and honoring their important functions we can counter the problematic individualist narrative and learn to better collaborate for greater effective change.

Permablitz: Social systems design in action:

One example of this design thinking in action can be seen in the implementation of Permablitz’s. As defined by Permablitz Melbourne, a Permablitz is an informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:

•create or add to edible gardens where someone lives

•share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living

•build community networks

•have fun

There are many different roles in a permablitz: including but not limited to host, designer, facilitators and community members. Each of these roles have a vital role to play and the whole event would not be as successful without one of these roles.  The people that are grilling up lunch are just as valued as the people doing the heavy lifting. Without the community members the design would not get installed in and in turn the community members need the designer to have a plan.

Permablitz’s follow the principles of the yield of the system is unlimited and multiple functions as many positive feedback loops and yields come out of this social/physical system. One could argue that more than any one person could do on their own.  For example out of this particular permablitz came the physical transformation of a driveway to food forest and the ecosystem benefits of that but also     social benefits, such as building of relationships and knowledge in the community and new clients for the designer.

Additionally, permablitz’s both supplement and give us practice in alternative economic models that transcend the money economy and build on the fair share ethic.  It goes beyond the fee for service economic model and embody’s another way of interacting that is not based strictly on the monetary system or client/service relationships.

 

Social Polycultures

Just like we would design a polyculture for our forest gardens that are composed of plants that have beneficial relationships with one another we can use the same logic to create or hone what I am calling social polycultures. I am defining a social polyculture as an intentional working relationship between 2 or more people or organizations to support a given goal. We can use the above example of a permablitz as an example of a social polyculture.

 

Social polycultures can work both within organizations to match complimentary skill sets and personality traits, and/or in between organizations to leverage resources and solve complex problems. By working well within an organization and collaborating across disciplines we can create more effective and lasting change.

The following is a list of questions to begin the process of designing social polycultures and more resilient social systems:

What would the world look like if you were wildly successful?

It is so important to take a step back to visualized and describe the vision of what we are working towards. What would the world look like if your organization was wildly successful? Realize that this might look differently for each person in the organization. Take the time to allow each member to describe this and then articulate this as a collective vision.  This also might change as the organization grows. Give time and a place to revisit your original vision. Have this written down or otherwise up so that you can zoom out to the big picture when you are mired down with the daily details or frustrations.

What is your organizational niche? 

To understand this it is important to conduct a site analysis and assessment of your organization. This goes for both physical resources and behaviors and skill sets.

One of the ways that we can begin to figure out organizational identity is to do a niche analysis both of your organization and each of the people in it. What are some of your yields and needs? Allies and predators? General behaviors?

Do you have a physical office space? An amazing set of tools? Deep knowledge in a subject? Are you a great facilitator?  Each of our organizations have a unique set of needs and yields. Once we identify them we can form clearer relationships within our own organizations and then with other organizations.

 

What is your role/s in and what is the larger community ecosystem?

Realize that you are one organization in a sea of organizations with similar goals and visions. What are your roles within this ecosystem? Who are the others in this ecosystem? In what ways could you form mutually supportive relationships?  Doing this activity allows for greater collaboration between groups that might look very different or have different vocabulary but have similar underlying goals.

What mechanisms are in place to acce pt and incorporate feedback?

Just as we would accept and incorporate feedback from our physical system we need to develop mechanisms in our social systems to do the same thing.  Do you have an evaluation meeting after every big project? Do you have a way for each individual to receive feedback both positive and things to work on? Each person is able to receive feedback differently. What works for people in your group is it written, one on one, some form of stickers or notes in a common place?

What are your successes? What were th e conditions that made this possible? Did you celebrate your success?  

Sometimes in this work there is so much to do that we can forget to celebrate the small victories. Not only to start to get down your “template of success” so you can understand how you achieved your successes but we need take the time to celebrate to keep us going for the long haul. Undoing hundreds of years of systematic oppression and environmental devastation is hard work. We can use permaculture to leverage our energy and resources to create the most amount of change with the least amount of effort. Together we can play smarter not harder and lift each other up to do greater things that we could not do apart.

For further resources on this subject you can listen to a free webinar,  Permaculture 101: A Design Tool for Grassroots and Environmental Social Change Work. If you are interested in learning how permaculture principles can be used in socially check out Permaculture Feast Principles Flashcards and the article Social Permaculure: Principles in Action .

Inhabit Screening and Panel Discussion

Inhabit is a feature length documentary introducing permaculture: a design method that offers an ecological lens for solving issues related to agriculture, economics, governance, and on. The film presents a vast array of projects, concepts, and people, and it translates the diversity of permaculture into something that can be understood by an equally diverse audience. For those familiar, it will be a call to action and a glimpse into what’s possible – what kind of projects and solutions are already underway. For those unfamiliar, it will be an introduction to a new way of being and a new way of relating to the Earth. For everyone, it will be a reminder that humans are capable of being planetary healing forces.

Permaculture FEAST (PDC) Permaculture Design Course

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    Permaculture is a vision, design system, and global movement that draws on patterns and principles found in nature to meet human needs, while regenerating the natural world and creating abundance we can share. This weekend permaculture design course moves from principles and patterns to details in a supportive, respectful and collaborative atmosphere to promote rapid learning of whole systems design. The course is centered on experiential learning and hands-on skill building, including local field trips where we will see theory in action. It covers the internationally recognized 72-hour permaculture curriculum with an additional focus on social permaculture, community building and organizing. The course concludes with a design practicum, where participants will work in small groups to develop a design for the course client.

    This course is structured in twelve weekend day sessions, allowing full-time workers, students and people with families more flexibility to participate. Successful completion of this course will earn participants an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate.

    Our graduates leave ready apply what they’ve learned in their backyards, businesses and communities!

    Topics include:
    Permaculture principles & ethics
    Reading the Landscape & Understanding Natural Cycles
    Urban Homesteading
    Forest Gardening
    Water Harvesting
    Soil Regeneration
    Creative Waste Cycling
    Micro-livestock
    Energy & Building Systems
    Social Permaculture
    Food Systems Planning
    Cooperative Economics
    Design for Climate Change
    Community Building & Organizing
    Aquaculture
    Soil Regeneration & Land Restoration
    Design Projects, Methods, & Tools

Permaculture and the Myth of Overpopulation

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ldp01

When teaching permaculture I often start out by doing a giant problems mind map. I ask students to brainstorm all of the major “problems” they see in the world to reflect on what brought them to study permaculture. Nine times out of ten the idea of overpopulation as a root “problem” in the world comes up.

Overpopulation describes a situation where there are too many people for the amount of resources available. It puts the blame of the environmental crisis on the sheer number of people on the planet.

Natural scientist and former senior manager of the BBC David Attenborough sums up this sentiment when he said, “We are a plague on the Earth. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us[.]”

This cultural narrative, that human beings are the root cause of the environmental cri-sis is everywhere, especially among environmentalists. We also see this belief within permaculture design. The third ethic of permaculture reads:

Setting limits to population and consumption: By governing our own needs we can set resources aside to the above principles.

Not only is this idea of overpopulation oversimplified and inaccurate, it upholds a de-generative paradigm of scarcity, fear and competition that goes against the core teachings of permaculture. It also perpetuates problematic thinking that leads to ineffective and unjust public policies and global solutions. As permaculturalists, it is important that we contradict this notion that simply more people on the planet equals less resources and more pollution. We need to engage in dialog around the true roots of environmental, social and economic degradation. In this way, we can begin to shift mental models and design more effective and just solutions that take into account the real root causes of degradation and injustice.

In his book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, David Holmgren reframed the third ethic as “fair share” or “redistribute the surplus.” He points out the paradox of permaculture’s core belief of abundance and this ethic. He states that, “Except in extreme famine and other natural disasters, scarcity is a culturally mediated reality; it is largely created by industrial economics and power, rather than actual physical limits to growth.”

ldp02Although the third ethic has been reframed, there has been little discussion about this shift in the permaculture community or literature on how to address and refute the myth of overpopulation in the first place. I created the following talking points that we can use when having discussions around overpopulation.

6 Talking Points for Permaculturalists to debunk the myth of Overpopulation:

ldp04• Rates of population growth are declining: Between 1950 and 2000, the world population grew at a rate of 1.76%. However, between 2000 and 2050, the rate of growth is expected to decline to 0.77 percent. A UN report titled “World Population to 2300” paints a picture of Europe’s future if European fertility rates don’t rise above current levels: “The European Union, which has recently expanded to en-compass 452-455 million people (according to 2000-2005 figures) would fall by 2300 to only 59 million. About half the countries of Europe would lose 95 per cent or more of their population, and such countries as the Russian Federation and Italy would have only 1 per cent of their population left.”

• Overpopulation is defined by numbers of people, not their behaviors: Industrialized countries, who make up only 20% of the worlds population, are responsible for 80% of the carbon dioxide build up in the atmosphere. The United States is the worst offender with 20 tons of carbon emission per person. Therefore it is not just the amount of people that leads to degradation but what they are doing. Permaculture design illustrates how humans can be a keystone species and have a positive impact on the health of our ecosystems, bringing greater health and equity. We can depave the way for industrial retrofits and regenerative development.

• Overpopulation justifies the scapegoating and human rights violations of poor people, women, people of color and immigrant communities: Often times the subtext of “too many people” translates to too many poor people, people of color and immigrants. In the 1970’s Puerto Rico, under the control of and with funding from the US government , forced the sterilization of 35% of women of child bearing age . This is a human and reproductive rights violation. It also prevents us from dealing with the real social, political and economic origins of our ecological problems and places the blame on communities with less institutional power. This perpetuates a fear mindset, keeps people divided and blaming each other rather than being able to come together to organize for true self determination and security.

• Overpopulation points the finger at individuals not systems: This lets the real culprits off the hook. When we look at the true causes of environmental destruction and poverty it is often social, political and economic systems, not individuals. We see militaries and the toxic legacy of war, corrupt governments, and a capitalist economic system that puts profit over people and the environment. The founder of Social Ecology, Murray Bookchin said, “If we live in a grow or die capitalistic society in which accumulation is literally the law of economic survival and competition is the motor of progress, anything we have to say about population being the cause of ecological crisis is meaningless.

• Supports a degenerative mental model of scarcity: Much of this ideology was created by Thomas Robert Malthus, an 19th century english scholar, whose work influenced the fields of political economy and demography. Malthus gave us the idea that the reason there is famine is because there are too many mouths to feed. In his 1798 essay, An essay on the principle of Population, he goes on to say that it was human population that causes food prices to rise and therefore is the root cause of famine. Malthus was extremely influential to Charles Darwin in his thinking around “Survival of the Fittest.” His work was also used as the philosophical bedrock to justify many human rights violations such as the eugenics movement, forced sterilization, and even the Holocaust.

• Focusing on overpopulation prevents us from creating effective solutions and building movements for collective self determination: We know from the permaculture design process how we define a problem determines how we design solutions. How does viewing overpopulation as a root problem impact the way we think of and design solutions? What would solutions look like if we viewed people, all people, as an asset? The myth of overpopulation has lead to solutions of population control and fertility treatments, rather than overall health care and women’s rights. . The more we blame humans, think we are bad and evil, the harder it is to believe in ourselves, count on each other, and build a collective movement for jus-tice and self determination. Scholar, scientist and activist, Vandana Shiva said, “Hunger and malnutrition are man-made. They are hardwired in the design of the industrial, chemical model of agriculture. But just as hunger is created by design, healthy and nutritious food for all can also be designed, through food democracy.”

lpd031Together we can dispel the notion that overpopulation is a root cause of environmental degradation and deepen the discussion about the switch of the third ethic from setting limits to growth and population to fair share/redistribute the surplus. We can form new mental models that can lead to widespread, lasting social change and more effective and just solutions for collective health and abundance.

References

Thomas, Trevor, “The Myth of Overpopulation”, American Thinker, February 10, 2013

Mollison, Bill, Permaculture A practical Guide for a Sustainable Future (Covelo: Island Press, 1990).

Holmgren, David, Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability (Hepburn: Holmgren De-sign Services, 2002).

“WORLD POPULATION TO 2300.” The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2004): http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/WorldPop2300final.pdf

Hartman, Betsy. “10 Reasons Why Population Control is Not the Solution to Global Warming,”http://popdev.hampshire.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/u4763/DT%2057%20-%20Hartmann.pdf

The Chicago Womens Liberation Union.https://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/puertorico.html

10 Reasons to Rethink Overpopulation. http://popdev.hampshire.edu/projects/dt/40

Shiva, Vandana, “The Real Hunger Games”, Asian Age, August 29, 2012

Permaculture Teacher’s Training

Drawing on the wisdom of ecological systems and indigenous knowledge, permaculture offers us a vision, design approach, and tools to create a world of health and abundance. Increased inclusion and support of leadership and perspective from women of diverse backgrounds is vital to this vision.

In this unique and innovative program, we explore diversity and leadership while building our confidence. We practice teaching permaculture for various formats, from introductory workshops, special topics, and short courses, to the core permaculture design certificate course.

Using the permaculture principles as our guide, we work from patterns to details in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. Participants walk away with a teaching toolbox, including:

  • How to use permaculture principles and ethics in our teaching
  • Teaching techniques for different learning styles, audiences, and venues
  • How to work effectively as a teaching team
  • Best practices in planning, marketing, and evaluating courses
  • A comprehensive manual of resources and teaching materials
  • Access to a network of teachers and practitioners from around the globe

Participants design and teach a permaculture topic of their choice with personalized feedback from instructors who have more than 30 combined years of teaching experience.