[permaculture] US National Permaculture Conference

Tripp Tibbetts slowfoodguy at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 9 15:13:12 EST 2009

>From a devil's advocate perspective, what's the difference between a newbie with a PDC, and someone who has relentlessly studied and implemented permaculture theory and on-the-ground practice for a couple of seasons?  Sort of like a qualifications requirement of a Masters or 3 years of appropriate experience in the field.  
For argument's sake, let's say you have a degree in biology from a major land-grant university, 5 years of experience in watershed and estuarine ecology, botany, and soil science, 4 years of organic gardening experience, and a year of intense permaculture study and practice under your belt.  (You know, for argument's sake;)  Would that make you less of a permie than say, a movie star like Ellen Page who has a PDC from last summer?
As much as I respect the time, effort, and expense it takes to earn a PDC, I can't help but feel a potentially inappropriate caste system evolving from some of the discussion I've heard here.  Fukuoka believed that formal education was only necessary because of a culture that made it so.  In line with his idea of a fire, a pinch of salt, and real ingredients being all that was required for a healthy, world-class meal, I think that a humble spirit before Nature, an open and investigating mind, and time, is what makes one a true asset to the world that permaculture is trying to create.
If that means I can't call myself a "permaculturist," then so be it.  But that's what I do, what I study, what I dream about, and what I am.  I'm not trying to certify students or instructors, or call my garden a Permaculture University, but I bet I can heal a landscape as effectively as a lot of certificate holders out there.  
I have a feeling that the permaculture plot is on the verge of a mass immigration.  Will the world hold its breath while the waves of newcomers all save up their not-insignificant tuition from the smoldering embers of a dying economy, and locate an agreeable course to satisfy accreditation?  I can't go to the Orcas Island PDC next year because our baby is due just then.  Should I fly to Hawaii or Georgia, spend a month away from my family who needs me, to study in a bioregion unrelated to my own?  Would that be a more appropriate use of my time than watching the shadows move across my garden, teaching my daughter about the world, and studying the resident soil biota under the microscope?
If an advanced permaculture discussion/presentation group is a desirable thing, and I agree that it would be, could we come up with a less enculturated way to delineate the groups?  Or would a better way to conduct such a convergence be to have the most experienced practitioners teaching us all?  
I certainly don't need Ellen Page to teach me about fertilizing with urine...hell, I don't need the NRCS to teach me about capillary fringe behavior..
Tear down the wall.
Tripp out.

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
-Chinese proverb

--- On Wed, 12/9/09, paul wheaton <paul at richsoil.com> wrote:

From: paul wheaton <paul at richsoil.com>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] US National Permaculture Conference
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 5:08 PM

I like the idea of advanced permaculture sessions.  I like meeting
people that really, really know what the hell they are doing.

There was talk of the pacific northwest convergence having two groups:
one for those that have completed a PDC and then another that is open
to the public.  The thing I like about this is that you can have
something for the newbies and then something a bit more advanced.

It seems that if there were something on a more national scale, then
the advanced stuff could end up being more advanced.

Here's a thought:  It would seem that skeeter has this idea for a
national convergence.  I would like to propose that skeeter has called
dibs.  :)  It would seem that nobody else is doing a national
convergence, so it isn't like he is stepping on any toes.  Perhaps
somebody will leap up and call dibs for a US national convergence in
2011.  So in 2010 it will be done by skeeter and in 2011 it might be
on the east coast and in 2012 it might be in the south ....

I guess my point is:  skeeter brought it up.  It doesn't seem to be
interfering with anything.  I think it's a good thing.  Go for it
skeeter!  Do a national convergence for 2010!
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