Ten Integrated Modules
Permaculture Design. The course begins with an exploration of the principles and methodology of Permaculture Design; a holistic approach to designing sustainably, that can be used in a range of settings from small gardens to whole farms. Integrating land, ecology, social, economic and health factors, to create a resilient, abundant and functional system.
Woodland Management. An exploration of sustainable management practice; from surveying existing woodlands, to planning and planting new woodlands. Learn how to manage woodlands for production of timber, food, fuel, community use and craft materials.
Organic Horticulture. An extensive study of growing fruit, vegetables and mushrooms organically. Following the growing year you will learn about propagation, fertility and soil management, pests and diseases, weed control, seed saving, pruning, grafting and harvesting.
Soil and Ecology. An in-depth study into surveying and working with the earth beneath our feet. Learn to read the landscape, understand the roles and connections between soil, plants and animals. Includes composting and bio-brew sessions.
Re-localisation. An exploration of the possibilities of food and resource production, distribution and marketing in a re-localised world. Looking at Transition models, local food initiatives, local economics and building regenerative business models.
Green Energy. Within the context of Climate Change, we will explore alternative technology, energy efficiency and their impact in the reduction of fossil fuel use. We explore a range of local, national and global scale green energy initiatives, as well as looking at how to build our own small-scale 12V systems.
Green Building. We explore what opportunities exist to increase comfort and energy efficiency within our homes; exploring the limitations to retrofitting in rental properties, and alternative models to housing production such as self-builds and co-ops. The course culminates with 10 days building a reciprocal frame roundhouse from scratch, using a roundwood timber frame, plus cob and straw walling.
Group Dynamics. An in-depth study of the techniques and approaches that enable groups to face challenges creatively and positively. Including visioning, decision making, consensus and conflict resolution. This module utilises the coming together of the student group as a rich resource for reflection and learning.
Community Engagement. We investigate what it means to authentically engage with others. How we collaborate with community stakeholders to cultivate common ground and achieve common aims; focusing on overcoming barriers to inclusion and empowering marginalised groups.
Resilience Toolkit. A holistic exploration of how we build resilience within our bodies and minds in the face of overwhelming global problems. In a safe and supportive environment we study ways to face fears, be responsive to challenges, cultivate wellbeing and engage and align ourselves, and others, in positive action.
A variety of other sessions include; An Introduction to herbal medicine, wild food foraging, fermentation, water in the landscape, natural beekeeping, basket weaving, living willow sculpture and more.
Course Structure & Rhythms
Modules are not taught in blocks, instead we use learning cycles to revisit and develop skills in different ways over the duration of the course; which deepens our understanding and increases confidence.
Learning cycle process:
- Giving context and knowledge on a subject area
- Embodiment of the theory through practical implementation
- Reflection, in order to assimilate the theory and implementation into holistic understanding; weaving into understanding of self, the wider context of the other subjects and the framework of permaculture system design.
Each term is a step in the journey of the course as a whole:
- Term 1 permaculture as a design framework and paradigm to view the world
- Term 2 reading the landscape and building foundations for healthy resilient systems
- Term 3 the power of cycles for overcoming challenges and regrowth
- Term 4 abundance; building, growing and manifesting change in a tangible way
- Terms 5 & 6 power of community to design regenerative systems and raise roundhouses.
Some modules need to be taught within the seasons due to the practical activities involved; for example organic horticulture in the growing season, woodland management in the Winter time. As we are part of nature we work with the seasonal rhythms to guide our course activities and energy levels; we build our internal resilience in the Winter and are more physically active in the Summer.
Tension and Release
We use teaching approaches that engage our heart, head and hands. Some course activities are very physical, some use a lot of brain and problem solving power, some use a lot of heartspace.
We design the curriculum to balance these experiences, so that all students have the opportunity to embody, process and replenish themselves throughout the course.
Course Content and Delivery
See the table below for an approximate breakdown of the different teaching experiences over the year. The % does not equate to days, and each teaching day will involve a mixture of some of the below experiences. Due to the influencing factors of the rhythms described above, the seasonality, and the learning cycle of the course as a whole, each term has a different breakdown of course delivery, with some terms being more chalk & talk focused and other terms being more hands-on.
Some examples of the content taught within the delivery method:
- Fruit and vegetable growing
- Use of a range of hand tools; woodworking, DIY energy systems, woodland management
- Product creation; herbal medicine, mushroom inoculation, ferments, biobrews etc
- Permablitzing: using the power of the group to transform community projects in a day
- Application of Permaculture Principles
- Design Frameworks & Tools
- Mapping, Surveying & Observation
- Soil & ecology sampling
- Accessible technology; bunyips & A-frames
- Engagement with stakeholders / community
- Innovative visioning, problem solving and assimilation of findings
Over the year students work in small groups to produce four permaculture designs for new or existing community and land projects, in line with their aims.
- Introduction to permaculture design
- Soil and ecology
- Growing & abundance
- Permaculture design consultancy
Chalk and Talk
- Global challenges; climate change, resource depletion, societal breakdown, power & politics, the linear vs the circular economy
- Approaches to growing sustainably, for a variety of purposes
- Approaches to meeting our housing / shelter / community space needs
- Approaches to meeting our energy and comfort needs
- Approaches to connecting with the land/nature; from stewardship to livelihood creation
- Building and maintaining resilience and wellbeing for ourselves and our communities
- Approaches to working with others; from government, stakeholders, marginalised groups to those with opposite viewpoints.
- Group development; Building a safe container, creating group culture and authentic inclusion.
Group Dynamics & Resilience Toolkit
- Group development skills; sharing air time, facilitation, exploring power and privilege
- Group processes; collective visioning, decision making, conflict resolution, circles and reflection, giving and receiving feedback.
- Creating a group container; applying values to action, holding each other accountable
- Resilience Practices; breathwork, meditation, gratitude, nature connection, seeing with new eyes.
- Renewed hope in the face of uncertain times
- A powerful desire to keep learning and keep curious
- The security and self permission to take time to play and rest alongside the work
- Self discovery of passion, drive, niche and pathway forward
- Ability to be innovative and adaptive to overcome challenges
- Belief in the ability to grow and create things with our hands and body
- The empowerment and confidence to manifest visions into reality
- Self awareness of strengths and sources of regenerative joy
- Trust in the power of community
- Connection with nature as a resource - both within and externally
- Connection with a network of those active in building community