[permaculture] Thoughts on PDCs - Was US National Permaculture Conference (lengthy post)

Tripp Tibbetts slowfoodguy at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 11 23:44:24 EST 2009



We've heard from the 30 years, and now from the 10s...
 
If I concede that there are 50 different people on this listserv that could relate stories of life-changing, paradigm-shifting PDC experiences, could those 50 people concede that it's possible, given certain backgrounds and experiences, for a human being to grasp permaculture without one?
 
If not that, would someone please quote me on this thread where I claim to be a "master," or talk about teaching permaculture to others in a professional setting?  I think I've been quite careful to avoid statements like that.  And in truth, am not nearly so presumptuous.
 
Neither David Holmgren nor Bill Mollison took a PDC.  Masanobu Fukuoka never had a Natural Farming course in college.  Allan Savory didn't find enlightenment at a HM workshop.  PA Yeomans wasn't a water management district official.  And Adam and Eve didn't have belly buttons.  As I very quickly point out that I am none of these uniquely gifted people, I try to bring attention to the fact that there is only one correct answer to my first question.
 
Whether or not that describes me, or others on their way here, only time and experience will tell.  
 
I read a new age piece recently, maybe on Reality Sandwich, that described how humans are evolving.  That the more recent the awakening -- the more recently that ignition point is fired -- the faster that individual is likely to come to grips with what's happening.  In other words, one who went back to the land in the 70s may have taken 30 years to find that unifying moment, while someone beginning their journey in the 90s may have found it in 10, and someone in my situation (someone hard-headed enough to miss the boat until 2008) may catch up in a year or two.  We can never duplicate your experience, but we might have a better grasp of your world than you think.  There's an event horizon that isn't waiting for us to raise funds, pack our bags, and convince our friends.
 
I want to be very serious here.  As most of you are well aware, global energetics equations are entering new territory.  I wish, above all, that I had been one of the truly early adopters of behavioral innovation like a lot of you guys.  If only so that my head wasn't always spinning with the pace of evolution, and my feet might touch the ground periodically.  But that's not how it worked out.
 
I'm not special.  Just a late arrival with a hot fire.  And now that the tide has officially turned, I think you can expect a lot more people like me to start showing up.  People on the edge, absolutely bewildered by what's happening to them, breathless and dizzy, looking for a safe harbor.
 
Here's to edges.
 
Tripp out.


 

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

--- On Sat, 12/12/09, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net> wrote:


From: Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net>
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Thoughts on PDCs - Was US National Permaculture Conference (lengthy post)
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009, 1:12 AM


I studied permaculture on my own for 6 years before getting involved 
with the distance-learning PDC offered by Barking Frogs Permaculture, 
taught by Dan Hemenway (no close relationship to Toby, Dan says he 
thinks they have a common ancestor in colonial times).  I got a lot of 
things "right" in my self-study and praxis, but two things I was missing 
was the concept of permaculture as a wholistic design art/science, and a 
good sense of how many seemingly disparate elements are integrated 
together in a design.  After six years of self-study, I was focused on 
permaculture as kind of an advanced gardening class with an emphasis on 
"forest gardening".  Well, that's certainly part of permaculture, but 
it's sort of like saying that canvas, because it is used in making an 
oil painting, is art.  I've been involved with the BF PDC for 4 years 
now, and do not consider myself qualified yet to run a PDF on my own, 
although I am more confident of my ability to do the shorter workshops.  
I consider myself maybe just getting out of the "apprentice" stage and 
moving into the "journeyman" level, and still years away from becoming a 
"master".  Once a tadpole, now a froglet.

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City
www.energyconservationinfo.org
www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org

Tripp Tibbetts wrote:
> Ben Martin Horst wrote:
>  
>   
>> I had read all the permaculture literature then available, subscribed to this and other
>>     
> lists, etc, but nothing made permaculture "click" as a comprehensive systems
> practice and pedagogy the way that PDC did.
>  
> So what if it already "clicked?"  If it clicked any more than it already has, I'd be a different species.  And I wouldn't look sideways at that already being the case...
>  
> Some really freaky interesting things have happened to me in the last year since I discovered permaculture.  I'd be glad to chat with anyone off-list about stuff like that if they're interested, but I'll leave it there for now.
>  
> Look, I'm not asking for an exception to the rule.  I'd love to take a good PDC, and have in fact been chatting off-list with my bioregional neighbor, Michael Pilarski,  about getting that done.  But it just hasn't worked out yet.  And I'll be honest, the money is a big deal.  Hence the "smoldering embers of a dying economy" image in my original post.  But the idea that I don't "get" permaculture, in all its parts, because of that one void, is argumentative at best.  No disrespect to Toby.
>  
> Thanks Mitch, for relating that PDC horror story.  Puffy paint and sparkles.  Although I think I can safely assume that if that were the norm none of us would be having this discussion...
>  
> Tripp out.
>
>
>
> The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
> -Chinese proverb
>  
>
> --- On Fri, 12/11/09, Ben Martin Horst <ben.martinhorst at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> From: Ben Martin Horst <ben.martinhorst at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Thoughts on PDCs - Was US National Permaculture Conference (lengthy post)
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Friday, December 11, 2009, 9:54 PM
>
>
> Lest those who haven't done a PDC be frightened by Mitch's description of
> his, I'd like to mention that I cannot speak praise enough for the teachers
> of the one I took (Jude Hobbs, Toby Hemenway, and Tom Ward). I had read all
> the permaculture literature then available, subscribed to this and other
> lists, etc, but nothing made permaculture "click" as a comprehensive systems
> practice and pedagogy the way that PDC did. Frankly, my only problem with
> the course was that so much was packed into 72ish hours ... I easily learned
> more in that one course than I did in four years of college, and I'd love to
> have had more of a chance to explore some of the topics more fully with the
> instructors and fellow students. Having lurked on this list for several
> years, I've seen people's bad experiences with PDCs or poor instructors do
> come up occasionally, but I'm convinced that this is the exception rather
> than the norm.
>
> If the "permaculture movement," for lack of a better term, was more
> centralized, we'd likely have more obvious ways of dealing with poor
> instructors, though I'd never advocate for that. Mollison and Tagari have
> tried to keep some control over pedagogy and qualifications, but it would
> surprise me if even a majority of the permaculture instructors in the US
> were Tagari-certified, and, frankly, I wouldn't necessarily trust that to
> make a whole lot of difference. Essentially what we've been left with is
> word of mouth: "My instructor was great!" or "That PDC was a huge waste of
> money." It would be interesting to think about how, as a community dedicated
> to permaculture, we can better ensure that the most people possible get the
> most value from their PDC.
>
> As a brainstormed example, in the Pacific Northwest / Cascadia (where I
> live) I could envision a regional permaculture body that would evaluate the
> credentials of instructors practicing in the region. One requirement might
> be that new instructors apprentice to a seasoned, respected instructor for
> the duration of one or two 72-hour courses before being "accredited." Of
> course, at this point at least, there would be nothing legally significant
> about such accreditation, but if implemented effectively, prospective
> students might look for "Cascadia Permaculture Guild Certified" on an
> instructor's curriculum vitae. Such regional bodies, ideally with similar
> certification criteria, could exist throughout the world. One side benefit
> of such regional certification bodies might be that it would be more likely
> for students and instructors to belong to the same bioregion, and the 72
> hours of standard PDC could be supplemented with learning on strategies
> specific to a given climate and region (as some already are, of course).
> These thoughts are just off the top of my head, and I'm sure actual
> instructors and folks more involved on regional levels would have better,
> more realistic ideas.
>
> -Ben
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