[permaculture] 9-day PDC???

Adam Brock staticstuff at gmail.com
Sun May 4 20:33:57 EDT 2008

Thanks, Rafter and Claudia, for starting this discussion: the issue of
quality control within permaculture is one I've been thinking a lot about
lately in a general way. You might call it "meta-permaculture": how do we
create the conditions under which permaculture itself can spread in a
sustained, but not too rapid, manner?

I think we've all considered this issue, and many of us have systems in
place for dealing with it, but it doesn't seem like there's total consensus
yet. Now's the time to get there: energy descent has more or less arrived,
the fossil-fueled illusion of material prosperity is beginning to
disintegrate, and permaculture concepts are potentially on the verge of
becoming MUCH more attractive to many more people, from suburbanites to
professors to policymakers to the urban poor.

It seems to me that we would want all of these people on our team (we're
taught to use and value diversity, no?), but it's a dangerous move to just
"let it happen". For one thing, there's the risk of Permaculture "blowing
up" and then fading into obscurity. As the movement gets more attractive to
urbanites and hence more lucrative, I'm not convinced that we can continue
to rely merely on reputation and word of mouth to determine when someone is
fit to teach. This is, I think, what Rafter was getting at.

Second, there are all kinds of potential allies that we might be missing out
on if we're not actively seeking to collaborate with them. If we really want
to see Permaculture help turn around our society, we're gonna to have to
make it accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds, approaching
these issues on THEIR terms.

In short, we need to design permaculture's evolution in the noosphere in the
same way we design in the physio- and biosphere: dynamically,
collaboratively, thoughtfully, with a mix of science and intuition. I have
plenty more ideas on this topic, and I'm interested to hear yours. I know
that there are a lot of people out there already doing the things I've just
proposed, and I don't want to discount your efforts. Perhaps we could set up
a wiki to brainstorm and share solutions? I'd be happy to get that going if
there seems to be enough interest.

- Adam Brock
brock at nyu.edu

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Claudia Joseph <permie at earthlink.net>
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 08:18:57 -0400
Subject: Re: [permaculture] 9-day PDC???
These are good points.  The material extends beyond what was originally
presented in the Designer's Manual.

I think one important point is where people go with a certificate once they
have it.  If they are not already well grounded in a field where it may be
applied they need to go practice and keep learning.  I tell all students
that the certificate is a beginning point, not an  end.  One and two hour
workshops are a great way to share and learn in community and that is one
activity I support for course graduates who are super enthusiastic.

There was a big rush here in the NE to put up PDCs.  Many people presenting
them have just learned the material themselves. Also, keep in mind that
anyone attending a course gets a certificate (in my experience).  I am
extremely strict about attendance but I would guess that not everyone is.

There is no test.
I taught permaculture in a college horticulture department and it was pretty
fun making up tests and grading people on the material.  That isn't what we
are doing in the certificate course. Defining what it means to hold a
certificate is conceivably part of the curriculum equation.

Qualitatively, place matters.  We can dissect the pro's and con's of models,
hands on time and lecture formats while we are at this.   I may add more
field study requirements as a result. of Rafter's question

This is a large and important conversation and I am all for us having it

On May 3, 2008, at 9:47 AM, Scott Pittman wrote:

> I think you do exactly what you did, alert the community that this
> particular course does not meet the standards for a certificate.  The
> Permaculture Institute does not recognize those certificates that come
> from
> below standard courses as fulfilling the requirements for diploma
> application.
> After having taught hundreds of students around the world I still feel
> pressed to cover all the material in the requisite 72 hours class time and
> innumerable hours doing projects and presentations at night.  I don't
> think
> anyone can give the course justice in less time.  Some teachers are going
> back to the three week format to insure sufficient time to cover the ever
> increasing materials like global warming and gmo's.
> Thanks for caring enough to point this out.
> My thoughts,
> Scott Pittman
> Director
> Permaculture Institute
> www.permaculture.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of rafter t.
> sass
> Sent: Friday, May 02, 2008 6:30 PM
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [permaculture] 9-day PDC???
> So...
> What do we do, as a community, when people are teaching a 9-day
> permaculture course, and billing it as Permaculture Design
> Certificate course?
> This is something we are facing in our region, the northeastern US,
> right now. Teachers are coming in from elsewhere in the US, which
> makes it trickier - no regional community pressure and accountability.
> Any ideas?
> Best,
> rafter
> rafter t. sass
> The Liberation Ecology Project
> liberationecology.org
> 518-567-7407
> skype: raughter
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