After taking a short one-day course on permaculture design in 2006, I’ve been pining to explore formally studying permaculture again, but this time, to go deeper. Ideally, that would look like signing up for a two week intensive residential course on a permaculture farm somewhere, in the traditional way, learning with a bunch of other enthusiastic learners – immersed. However, with a young family I’m not keen to try and squeeze this in, nor do I have the leave to take from work, nor do I want to be away from the kids to pursue this. It’s just not me to indulge like this. I’m still keen on doing a residential course in the future, but I’ve been searching for something to fit around my circumstances.
I saw Geoff Lawton’s online PDC offering, which is spread across 20+ weeks, still has a design project component and because I have my own garden and community garden to contribute to, delving deeply into the theory among my existing practical exploration on the side really appeals to me. I can almost fit in the 2-3 hours in each week to do this! 🙂 The course was launched few days ago on my 40th birthday, so it also a lovely way to launch the next decade of my life with something so personally meaningful.
You can get an idea of Geoff’s approach as he’s released some materials free at the Permaculture Circle. and the course is structured around Bill Mollison’s Permaculture A Designers’ Manual. There are people from all over the world taking the course, many have acreage but there are plenty of backyard and urban balcony farmers too. Diversity right there. There are also teaching assistants who are experienced permaculture practioners supporting Geoff, so I think that a lot of thinking has gone into making this an online community of learning.
I’m also discovering that many people do multiple PDC courses – there isn’t just one ultimate one course that will fill your bucket brim full. Perhaps some people might rightly be critical of online study of something so practical, but for me right now, mixing a deeper study of the theory, while I’m reflecting on my five years trying to self-practice permaculture design and starting new design adventures – fits my situation perfectly. One day, I would still love to head off on an intensive practical, when the stars and planets align to make this an option.
I’ll be trying to keep up with the course, and posting insights and understandings here. For me, having an accessible and well-planned online study option for a PDC is giving me an opportunity to expand my understanding without needing to be cram it all in or be away from my family to pursue this development experience. So I’m giving it everything!