As I sought to complete my Permaculture Design Course, I was stymied by:
- the lack of courses nearby to me,
- the high cost of courses
- the schedule for the courses (Courses that met less often required me to travel. Long distances meant high travel costs. Courses that met every day for a two-week stretch meant I needed to stay there. Not only did I have to pay a high accommodation cost but the learning effort would be more intense.)
- the lack of courses that applied to the environment I lived in, a suburban one
Luckily, living in the metro-Atlanta area eventually a course became available that I could afford and that was geographically close by. (It was the Beginning with Home Permaculture offered by Shades of Green and Healing Roots Design. Their registration starts in September and classes begin in October.)
It requires a major financial commitment to attend a permaculture design class. This shuts a lot of people out of learning about permaculture design. But permaculture needs to be available precisely to this group of people. Permaculture focuses on generating non-financial forms of wealth. Because of this I believe it is an antidote (and maybe the antidote) to the wealth extraction processes of this western culture.
Recognizing this, early on in this blog I tried to make available a number of links to free permaculture design resources.
Having completed the course now, here is what I would suggest if you are unable to afford a permaculture design class:
Information: Make use of the free resources on the web. Blog posts I’ve written already list some of the many PDC materials available. These materials provide the information just as if you were attending a PDC.
Community: Network with others involved in permaculture. I think the best way of doing this would be to join a Meetup group in your geographic area. If there is no group in your area, at least indicate your interest in permaculture on meetup.Meetup will connect you with others with similar interest. If you can’t join a real community consider joining a virtual community through a permaculture forum.
Site Visits: It’s important to visit other permaculture sites and actually do some of the techniques that are part of the permaculture repertoire. Site visits allowed me to see what worked in my geographic location. Hands on work gave me the confidence I could do these things at home. Where possible consider being part of a Crop Mob or include site visits as part of your meetup activities.
Design Project: Using what you’ve learned, complete a design project for your property or for a community garden. You may need to set a time limit to make yourself finish. I am really finding it beneficial to have a complete design and not little projects that I design piece by piece (even though I may actually complete the design piece by piece). Each time you do a design, you will get better.
The series of posts under the PDC page I am soon to complete will offer a concise summary of the design process. I would have found this type of summary helpful even if I were doing a PDC (because during the PDC, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees).