[permaculture] official certification

Kelly Simmons kelly at bouldersustainability.org
Mon Nov 8 10:18:44 EST 2010


Hi Jason - Thanks for the response.  Perhaps we should have coffee or  
tea some time and talk in more depth about our local scene here.  This  
forum doesn't seem like the appropriate place.  I like your vision a  
lot, especially bringing in the community organizing part of it, and I  
agree about the need for more functioning, active permaculture sites.   
Are you familiar with Starhawk's Earth Activist Training that combines  
earth activism with a PDC?  I've met a few folks who've taken it and  
they speak highly.  Would love to host you at my site and get your  
feedback.  It's coming along but still needs work.

I have set aside a dream of making a living by doing permaculture,  
whether teaching or designing.  It is still my avocation, but the  
pressure to make a living at it was taking the delight out of the  
practice for me.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to still be  
making a living in the arena of sustainability, and I bring  
permaculture in to conversations whenever I can.  I did spend a year  
in Bali recently teaching permaculture and that was a real treat.  Got  
to work with John Barrie Button and I Made Chakra, two amazing  
tropical permaculturists.  John works a lot in India.  Chakra is doing  
incredible stuff with appropriate tech - manure digesters and biogas  
accumulators and such.  I've been lecturing some at the University and  
other places since I got back, and there is a greater interest, it  
seems, in the more mainstream circles than perhaps was taking place in  
years past.  That is encouraging to me.

I've heard many good things about your teaching and would love to have  
an opportunity to teach with you some time.  I'm not ready to lead a  
PDC yet by any means.  Still have a few more "assistant co-teacher"   
gigs to get under my belt before I would feel comfortable leading.   
I've been teaching with Peter Bane and that is a joy.  I highly  
recommend him.

Thanks for your thoughtful words.

Kelly



On Nov 6, 2010, at 10:01 PM, Jason Gerhardt wrote:

> Kelly,
> I couldn't agree more with what you wrote in your post!  I see some  
> local
> frustration in your writing and resonate with that as well.   
> Personal note:
> Having been part of a Teacher Training course in early 2008 that 95%
> consisted of very recent PDC grads I was dismayed and disappointed  
> initially
> feeling like all the years previous that I put in with multiple PDC's,
> Advanced Design Course, internships, mentorships, design projects,  
> etc, was
> not required of all participants.  It felt odd to follow the  
> traditional
> recommendations and see others get by without putting in the time.   
> However,
> it became apparent that those without the practice time and  
> experience would
> not excel at teaching a subject they had only been introduced to  
> through a
> PDC.  Since then I have observed most of those trainees taking the  
> time to
> put the experience under their feet as they have realized on their  
> own that
> they were not prepared to teach.  The observations from that  
> experience
> prove to me that there is inherent value in being strict about a  
> structured
> course of action for Permaculture training.  My preferred sequence  
> would be
> for students to start with a PDC, practice for 2+ years, take advanced
> design course, more practice for a couple years prior to taking the  
> Teacher
> Training, then apprenticing for many, many years before going out on  
> ones
> own.  Of course, as you say, there needs to be a way of valuing the  
> previous
> experience of students in other fields like restoration ecology,  
> landscape
> design, alternative education, etc.
>
> Alternatively, it is part of my vision to have Teacher Trainings  
> focus more
> on community organizing than occupational permaculture teaching.   
> More than
> ever we need to teach people how to work in their communities and  
> institute
> design projects.  Such a course would focus on working with
> neighbors/HOAs/Governments/NGOs/schools, etc.  Perhaps a more fruitful
> setting for permaculture teachers is along fence lines, in  
> alleyways, and
> across streets instead of in classrooms, with the goal of actually  
> putting
> permaculture systems on the ground.  I believe we have a dire lack  
> of active
> well-developed permaculture sites across the country, and I'll  
> continue to
> believe this until we have multiple sites in every neighborhood.   
> Therefore,
> it is my goal to contribute as much as I can to that end.  From this
> perspective teaching becomes a focus on supporting the development  
> of very
> competent Permaculture Designers who can effectively speak about
> permaculture and create openings for the demonstration of the  
> principles and
> concepts and go on to guide the implementation of such projects.
>
> Thanks for sharing and listening,
> Jason
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