Aside from reading, a great way to learn more about permaculture is through completing the training program developed by Bill Mollison and Permaculture Institute. Their entry into permaculture is through the Introduction to Permaculture Course which is usually a weekend experience. After that you can complete the 72 hour Permaculture Design Course (PDC). The Introduction to Permaculture materials are typically presented as the first session of the full PDC.
In addition to reviewing written materials, participating in classroom lectures and viewing videos and films, the PDC training typically includes site visits to real installations that use the principles that you are studying. As part of your PDC training, you complete one design in an area of your choice. After completing the course, you receive a certificate that allows you to practice as a “certified” permaculture designer and legally use the permaculture label in your for profit business. After working for two years, your certified trainer reviews your portfolio of designs and can award you a permaculture diploma.
As an experienced designer from a traditional engineering standpoint, I find permaculture design intriguing. From what I’ve seen so far, the steps of the design process seem very similar to what I would do in a traditional engineering design, starting first with the big picture and then moving into the details. It seems that the difference is in how you identify the pieces that form the big picture.
To try to understand more about permaculture from a design standpoint, I’ve begun to search for permaculture design courses in the metro Atlanta area. Here’s what I found (not very much):
Koinonia PDC in Americus, GA October 15-21, 2011
Ashevillage Institute in Asheville, NC. The course meets on the 3rd weekend of every month, May-October; 10 am to 6 pm daily
Earthaven Ecovillage near Asheville, NC. The Introduction to Permaculture Course meets on June 3-5. The Permaculture Fundamentals Course June 3-5, June 24-26 and July 22-24.
Barking Frogs Permaculture in Gainesville FL. Online PDC begins January 2012.
Spiral Ridge Permaculture Class will be held at the North Alabama Permaculture Center in Huntsville, Alabama from July 1-16
There were a few more classes mainly in Florida that met earlier in the year (March – April timeframe). These will not work for me this year however I may update this listing from time to time to compile a complete listing of PDCs in the Southeastern US.
Since none of these are nearby, and most seem to focus on rural permaculture concepts, I think will continue my search and now seek out more online PDCs like Barking Frogs. More on this search in my next post.
Do you know of any other PDCs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North or South Carolina that I missed? Please let me know.