My husband has a PDC. He left feeling that actually all the learning is great but it’s been doing the work, getting to know the land here that’s offered the real education on the systems we need... and some mistakes along the way too. 😳😅🫣🪱✨✨

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Couldn’t agree more--on all points! Permaculture is so site-specific, too. So you take a PDC in the Pacific Northwest, and then come home to the Midwest and have to relearn it all for your specific planting zone, climate, and culture anyway.

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Mar 12Liked by Lynn Cady

I have been a student and practitioner of permaculture in one form or another since my early 20’s. A couple of years ago, at age 48, I was gifted an online PDC course (thanks Mom!). The course I took was, in my opinion, really good. It was a new way for me to go through Mollison’s design manual, and I was able to see many examples of permaculture in action at large and small scale.

Did this course change my life and my practice? Honestly, no. I got a lot out of it, and certainly came across new ideas to research and think about trying here at my site. Most of the new information that I picked up, however interesting, was readily available to me via YouTube and other online forums.

I think the most important message that I internalized from the incredible instructor was the importance of using and passing along information. He was adamant that it wasn’t enough to know something, you must put it into practice!

This of course brings us back to the accessibility problem. One of the most persistent criticisms of permaculture is how the courses are prohibitively expensive for many people and those that can afford it the most easily are often of white European descent as well as being male. I think this is certainly changing for the better but it is a big problem with the current path to certification.

And then there is the certification itself. What does it really mean? I have a design certificate…but I know so many individuals that are farther along the path than I am that don’t. I am not minimizing the certificate, I actually worked really hard for mine. But there isn’t much of a standard in the industry to help anyone understand what to expect in terms of ability. I think people see a certificate and assume it indicates a certain level of competence. I am designing my life and site based on years of learning here observation of this land. Could I offer advice and to somebody else to get them started? Yes, I could draw up a pretty professional looking plan with some decent advice, but to develop a real working system they would still need to spend that time understanding their site and learning to read the land and systems to see what worked and what didn’t.

One of the things that drives me nuts is visiting a site and hearing “oh, permaculture…yes, we had a permaculture guy here a few years ago, and now, look at this jungle…we have no idea what is going on. Can you explain ?”

Anyhow, I know this was a long response, but I think these dialogues need to happen! What is the best way to share information? How do you place value on your time and experience but still participate in open sharing of knowledge? Good questions!

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