[permaculture] PCD course prices

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Thu Sep 16 13:23:34 EDT 2004

On 9/15/04 3:51 PM, "Debi Prather" <dprather1 at austin.rr.com> wrote:

> Capital P Permaculture seems to me to have a lot of emphasis
> on personality, on certifications, what seems to me to be an almost network
> marketing approach to the distribution of its ideas, where one group goes
> out and recruits another paying group, which then recruits others, etc.

Debi, I've never seen Pc courses work like that. Somewhere in this list's
archives is a whole discussion of that very topic (multi-level marketing, or
some such subject. Anyone remember?) There is definitely an effort to train
as many teachers and practitioners as possible, to get the word out there,
but the pyramid scheme appearance is a result in large part of not having
developed very many effective tools for getting the word out beyond the
design course. We've discussed here the many options, including the weekend
course and informal gatherings you mention. If Pc could be taught in schools
(and there's a whole pros-and-cons argument there) the way so many other
disciplines are, or if we were better organized in many ways, the whole
desperate effort to recruit students for PDCs would go away. Perhaps the PDC
format is reaching the end of its usefulness, which would be fine with me.
It has been, however, the principal way that Pc has been able to reach so
many people.

On 9/15/04 4:19 PM, "GlobalCirclenet" <webmaster at globalcircle.net> wrote:

> 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?

Uh, actually, yes. Regardless of the other intelligent things you say, your
posts are badly marred by the assumptions (always negative, which says
something) you make without bothering to see if there is any truth to them.
The rules are set by Mollison and the International Permaculture Institute.
There is a specific 72-hour curriculum that must be taught. Enforcement, in
terms of policing each course, is lax because we had this ideal that we
could be self-policing, and that has largely been effective (half-assed
teachers get a bad rep very fast). However, many feel that Pc has grown too
big for this now. Several countries have their own umbrella organizations
beyond the international one (the US has an Eastern, and a slowly forming
Western Pc Teachers Assn, but since most teachers are phenomenally busy and
must do this organizing in their spare time (ha!), these groups are not as
active as they could be).

To get a certificate, each student must attend every module of the 72-hour
curriculum and present a design project at the end which is critiqued by the
teachers, the course hosts, and the students. We don't administer tests
because of the screams of outrage (Old-world paradigm! Elitist! Cultural
bigot!) that arise when we talk about it. I have in a number of cases
withheld certificates from students who fail to meet the criteria. So has
every other instructor I can think of. So please, investigate the facts
before you spout off with unfounded opinions. The rest of your posts will be
taken more seriously that way.

We've talked about dropping the certificate, but have found that at least
half the prospective students really want it. Check the archives for
multiple, lengthy discussions on certification; I'm not willing to rehash
all that yet again.

With regard to low-cost weekend courses, they are currently also being
offered in Eugene and Portland OR (contact me for details) and they have
been offered in the midwest and eastern US as well, beyond the other venues
mentioned. Jude Hobbs and I wrote an article for the last Pc Activist called
"In Praise of the Weekend Design Course" (it's in the "Movement Musings"
section). I'll see if I can find time to put it on my web site.

Thanks to Paul Park for the open assessment of his PDC. And again, there are
many, many ways to learn Pc for those not able to do a PDC. Just do it with
other people is all I'd suggest.


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