[permaculture] PCD course prices

GlobalCirclenet webmaster at globalcircle.net
Wed Sep 15 19:19:34 EDT 2004

Understood, Riverlady. Like some others, I had hoped a list for
permaculture would be about permaculture, about how to do permaculture,
about people's experiences, successes, and mistakes, and so forth.  I
thought it would actually have some information about practicing
permaculture. It could leave one with the impression that most posters
aren't actually doing permaculture at all, because they don't talk about
what they're doing. 

We want permaculture. What some of us question is the real value of
expensive workshops where you get "certified" just for being there. No
standard syllabus, no required reading, no exams, no evaluation to see if
the person getting "certified" could teach anything if their life depended
on it.  And who exactly sets the rules for these workshop certifications?
Nobody of course. There is no umbrella organization behind it all, like
some of the herbalist schools for example.The only standard is you pays
your money, you gets your certificate. Think they're going to flunk
somebody who paid their $700? 

In other words, the usual certification is worth about as much as those
mail order PhDs. Of course workshops may be useful. But the certification
part is worthless unless it's used to teach one's own workshops, which of
course draw more people who hope to use certification to teach more
workshops ... and in the meantime they forgot to actually do permaculture.
Sure some of those running workshops have gardens with some permaculture
features. But I have to wonder how they would measure up to the original
concepts of permaculture as a complete working system of natural balances
on a farmstead.

People spend a lifetime learning to garden in a certain locality and
climate. We learn by doing, we learn from research, we learn by sharing,
and this is an unending process. What can you learn in a week? More, I
hope, than we've learned about permaculture from the posts on this list.

paul at largocreekfarms.com

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 9/15/2004 at 5:51 PM Debi Prather wrote:

>I've been lurking on this list for a year or so and the recent discussion
>course prices has echoed some of my own thoughts.
>When I first read about permaculture, I was intrigued by the ideas and
>to incorporate them into my own project, reclamation of 10 acres of arid
>cental Texas land that was originally overgrazed and then subdivided into
>recreational property. While my husband and I enjoy a better standard of
>living than probably 98% of the world, we are of middle class means with
>family obligations. Buying the land, tools, equipment and building our
>takes up a good bit of our discretionary income. The cost of a $600-900
>week-long comprehensive class is prohibitive in terms of both time and
>money. I've noticed that some major metro areas, like Houston, offer the
>classes as individual weekend components, which is certainly the most
>appealing arrangement to me.
>My impression is that there is "permaculture" and then there is
>"Permaculture". Capital P Permaculture seems to me to have a lot of
>on personality, on certifications, what seems to me to be an almost
>marketing approach to the distribution of its ideas, where one group goes
>out and recruits another paying group, which then recruits others, etc. It
>reminds me strongly of a spiritual community of which I was once a part,
>until I realized that the community's main interest in me was in my
>continued participation in their $500/weekend "training levels" that were
>its main source of income. At the time I was a single mom with almost no
>discretionary income and tried to pay my way through volunteer labor
>than cash. When I realized the organization really had little interest in
>reaching out to anyone other than a small group of well educated,
>financially secure folks, that their emphasis on "prosperity" seemed more
>like greed and self-satisfaction, I decided it was not for me.
>I have no objection whatsoever to people being paid for their time, energy
>and knowledge, and I understand the desire of making one's living at doing
>what one loves rather than making a living and doing what one loves in
>spare time. We'd all like to do it, no question. However, just because I
>understand the desire of some of my friends to make their living as a
>fishing guide, for example, doesn't mean that I hire guide each time I
>or go to Orvis for casting lessons. Instead, I find the company of others
>who like to fish and we share our knowledge. And in the community of
>fishermen and women, that works very well. If your main aim is to
>permaculture ideas into the community at large, it seems to me that
>knowledge, in the long run, will succeed best. I'm sure there is a place
>expensive certification courses taught by Permaculture "stars" for those
>already knowledgable, involved in the movement, and wishing to teach, but
>I'd bet there are far more people who are just seeking short, affordable
>courses to learn specific permaculture techniques, not the history and
>philosophy of Permaculture.
>I don't mean to disparage anyone, especially Toby--I enjoyed and learned
>from Gaia's Garden immensely and always like to hear what he has to say.
>do I mean to put down the local permaculture group, with which my contact
>has been very minimal, mostly because I don't care whether the food's
>organic or vegan or whatever, I'm a bbq gal myself, and I really don't
>time for preaching to the choir. What I've seen so far doesn't really meet
>my needs and so I'm still researching on the web, reading books, mostly
>borrowed from the library, trying to integrate information from various
>sources (permaculture, xeriscape, native plants -- all little discrete
>communities of their own with some similarities of purpose but mostly
>exhibiting a big interest in protecting their own turf (so human)).
>Your mileage may vary.
>Texas Riverlady
>permaculture mailing list
>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org

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