Sunday, October 17, 2010

the finale....

Yesterday was the twelfth and final day of the permaculture design certificate (and yes I made it! I'm now licensed to use the word 'permaculture' in what I may do and say and join in the greater worldwide permy network)

The (almost) two weeks spent undertaking the PDC were quite frankly amongst the most demanding, exhausting, exciting and extraordinary times of my life! I met a lovely, diverse bunch of people (from young dutch and italian wwoofers, local horticulture peeps, a forensic archeologist, some familiar local faces including our blues/roots muso of renown, public servants, and another arteeest) We are all now part of the greater permaculture network.

(here's another part of 'the crossing' site..... it's an old train carriage converted into accommodation and office and mini kitchen.... where all our yummy food was prepared and offered throughout the day - during the breaks in course activities we mostly sprawled around in the chairs and lounges dotted everywhere and natted away happily... ahhhhh I'm going to miss all this.....)

Over the 12 days the course (an intense, mostly theory-laden affair I must say) we touched on permy ethics, principles, zones and ethos; basics of ecology, map reading, climate and micro climate; methods of design, soil, agroforestry, shelterbelt design,water, patterns in nature, reading the landscape; earthworks, keyline water harvesting, eco-building design; the kitchen garden, food forests, compost, broad acre farming, aquaculture; engaging community, transition towns, intentional communities, alternative economy, designing for disaster, urban/suburban gardens (and those glorious site visits),  the self and home .... and where to go to from here....

see what I mean by exhausting!

In the final days of the course (when we are soooo tired that it's hard to even think), the participants undertake a simple small group design task (with a severe time limit!).. I thought I'd give you a quick show-n-tell of our trio's design experience...

Our design trio consisted of myself, Massi (a young italian guy currently staying/working at a local organic vege garden) and Gayle (whose Yass garden we attempted to redesign.) Here's our draft working design.....

its rough and ready - (you'll see I introduced the permy world to the wonders of collage as a design tool!) but gave us an idea of where we were going to against Gayle's wish list ....

 Here's our final drawing.....

(you can click either pic to see them a bit better)

All this had to be collectively designed and completed in about 6 hrs over 2 days..... talk about intense!

Then on the last day we had to give a 20 min presentation explaining our design choices.... (I almost did a nervous up-chuck waiting for our turn!) Certificates were dispensed, contacts gathered, and then it was over..... well at least the course was over.... the real journey in permaculture is now about to begin.

Prior to undertaking the course I had already considered myself amongst the enlightened converted but as the course progressed I felt myself undergoing an enormous paradigm shift. Permaculture is simultaneously practical and esoterically philosophical... it is all-encompassing, engaging all the senses and involving the micro- and macro-scale. Completing a PDC is an incredible experience. If you are interested in positive, creative solutions for a challenging future - go do a permy course.

Care for the Earth,
Care for People,
Fair Share.

(now back to the studio and house and exegesis chapter due in 2 weeks, and garden and monster farm projects, and kids stuff and..... and.... and..... phew!)



  1. Well done, you've survived and come out the other side with all that new knowledge. You deserve a rest but knowing your work load I don't suppose you'll be taking much time off. This has been an interesting by-road and I look forward to seeing you apply this to your Sam's Creek garden.

  2. R - Sounds like something Fiona and I could benefit from in developing the block. Love the design phase - great way to turn your whole property into a living sculpture. Go well. B

  3. Congratulations on the completion and many thanks for sharing this unique experience with us!
    I LOVE the landscape collage!

  4. Wow! a Qualified Permi-Culturist AND a Master Calligrapher! What next? Huge land-art style writing in the landscape all mapped out with native flora and edible bush tucker? Just joshing you!! Congratulations and well done!


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx