[permaculture] Thoughts on PDCs - the human component

Michael Pilarski friendsofthetrees at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 12 20:29:15 EST 2009

Hi permaculture friends and co-workers,

Several more thoughts on permaculture design courses, PDC’s.

Granted that a person could get a deep and well-rounded understanding of permaculture without ever having taken a PDC, through reading, experiential learning, good thinking, and the possible addition of short pc workshops. 

But, there is more to a PDC than educational facts.  Part of it is the group experience which I believe deepens the learning by bouncing off of others.  Partially it is seeing/hearing/experiencing the instructors put things together (interlace things) in a way that a book cannot. 

One of the most common comments I have heard from people who have taken a PDC course is that their first pdc changed their life.  Certainly that is the way it was for me.  I came into my first course (1982) with 11 years of organic farming experience, widely read (including all the permaculture books to date), etc etc.  In spite of all that I was blown out of the water and my life was changed forever.  

This is not to say that people could have permaculture transformative experiences without a PDC, but it definitely happens at a good course to a significant amount of pdc students.  I certainly would not claim that it happens to everyone (even at a good course, and less likely at a poor course).

I think it would be pretty difficult to become a grand master of permaculture without going through numerous PDCs.  After my first 23 PDC’s I am looking forward to learning at many more.  

PS. There are many ways of taking a PDC these days including on-line, distance and weekend courses.  For most people, I think that a two-week (or longer) residential course will always have a bigger impact on their comprehension and their group bonding. 

Permaculture is more than information or mental design and analyzing. Permaculture is also a warm-hearted, loving relationship with other permaculturists. There is esprit de corps, which is defined by the Collins English dictionary as “consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular group; the sense of shared purpose and fellowship”. Hard to get that in that in the isolation of a distance learning course sitting in front of a computer or a book.  Not impossible, but warm bodies in front of your face are hard to beat.  


Michael Pilarski

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