One of the challenges of teaching adults is overcoming our established patterns around learning. Most of us came through a school system where we were rewarded for 'right' answers and humiliated if we got something 'wrong'. These environments were also highly competitive. We were graded and stacked along a bell curve, proud to be at … Continue reading The safety to make mistakes
This entry is dedicated to Rowe Morrow. When I wrote and told her about our training she asked me to write it up and make it available to others. So here we go. With the latest PDC over it's time to review. We always do this. Nature's patterns are cycles and not straight lines. Things … Continue reading Permashare and the PDC
Lately I’ve been thinking about the ethics of permaculture. I became aware that there are now whole branches of permaculture using ‘future care’ as a third ethic, and revisiting David Holmgren’s Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability reminded me of his very specific definition of ‘fair share’ and how that definition seems to have been softened … Continue reading Wait…Are there three ethics? Or four? Or five?
I have known people describe their first permaculture design course (PDC) as a life-changing event. I've known others that found it practically useful for designing their own garden, or a foundation for what ultimately became a professional career in permaculture. Occasionally I meet someone that thought it was a waste of time or money, but … Continue reading Where to now? Life after a PDC
I am not the first person to use and teach SWOT analysis within the permaculture context. I've seen it incorporated into a number of different design processes either as a tool for designers to improve their work, or as a method for students to learn better design methods. SWOT is easy to use and simple … Continue reading You say SWOT and I say TOWS
I'm a fan of the concept plan. Complete your sector and site analysis, establish your clients' goals, priorities and vision, and play with all that information using design tools until you've come up with some broad brushstrokes across the site. These are sometimes called 'bubble plans' because you outline areas where different things will … Continue reading Concept plans vs detailed plans
One of the best things about teaching permaculture is that it motivates me to create resources for students and that gives me the opportunity to reflect upon my own processes. Here's something I put together today about using the ethics and the principles in an integrated way, as both a design tool and a self-assessment … Continue reading Integrating ethics and principles
We're in the middle of teaching a PDC which always inspires fresh thought on established thinking. This is one of the great benefits of teaching; the opportunity to apply permaculture design methods to teaching permaculture. As a consequence, there's been a shift in the way I teach systems thinking. (To be honest, every time … Continue reading Systems thinking in permaculture
A family member recently commented on what she considers to be the unreasonable opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). To the uninitiated, a GMO is a plant or animal that has had it’s gene sequence manipulated by humans to give it qualities that the original species didn’t have, or to remove qualities that it did … Continue reading Can GMO Bananas Prevent Blindness in Children?
I was asked recently by a fellow trainer how I would teach a session called 'What is permaculture?' to a group of young adults. It was one of those occasions when I was already really busy, and I was tempted to give a short answer, but the person asking the question is particularly dear to … Continue reading What is Permaculture?