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Practical Permaculture for Sustainable Farming and Gardening

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(Certificate Course)

This is a series of field-based classes. Classes can be taken in series or separately. Read more details below if you are interested in permaculture certification. 

Class One: Introduction to Sustainable Design Principles

May 15 - 19, 2010 (arrive to site on May 14th, leave May 19th after 6pm); see Workshop I Schedule (for last year!)

Gaia's Garden - Home-Scale PermacultureWith Scott Pittman, founder of Permaculture Institute and Toby Hemenway, author of first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.

  • Pattern Literacy & Pattern Thinking for Sustainability;
  • Permaculture Methodology for Productive Landscape Design - site, sector & zone
  • Soils & Biodiversity

Hands-on exercises in observation, reading the landscape, soil preparation (mulching, compost use, inoculation with beneficial organisms), spring planting (vegetables, annual and perennial flowers, herbs).  Please note: hands-on portion is about 1/4 of the class time.


What is Permaculture?

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"Permaculture is a design system which aims to create sustainable human habitats by following nature's patterns. "


The word 'permaculture', coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, is derived as a contraction of permanent agriculture, or permanent culture. The idea of permacuture is considered among the most significant innovations developed by Australian's in the century since Australian federation. However like "nature", the permaculture concept evolves with time making its definition difficult. For example, consider the words of Bill Mollison,

I guess I would know more about permaculture than most people, and I can't define it. ... I'm certain I don't know what permaculture is.

Nevertheless, today permaculture can best be described as an ethical design system applicable to food production and land use, as well as community building. It seeks the creation of rich and sustainable ways of living by integrating ecology, landscape, organic gardening, architecture and agroforestry. The focus is not on these elements themselves, but rather on the relationships created among them by the way they are placed together; the whole becomming greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture is also about careful and contemplative observation of nature and natural systems, and of recognizing universal patterns and principles, then learning to apply these ‘ecological truisms’ to one’s own circumstances.


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