A few days ago, I received my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) from Milkwood after almost 14 straight days of classes. In between, we had one off day to prepare our personal design projects for presentation and submission, but otherwise, it was a 9-5 day every day. And now that it’s over, I’m a bit sad that I won’t be seeing my classmates very often, but we will continue to stay connected via a private Facebook group that Milkwood created for us.
If you’re wondering what permaculture is, my extremely basic definition is – a holistic design system for managing an ecosystem in harmony with nature, you can find other definitions here. Permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison defines it as “… A philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions rather than asking only one yield of them & of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions,” while the other co-originator, David Holmgren has updated the definition to be “Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.”
This course was a spiritual experience for me, and probably for most who attended, because we interacted with many gentle, lovely, likeminded people along the way, and the course provided a catalyst for creating change in our lives. Even though I was already open to all the concepts we discussed, the process opened me up further to doing even more for others and the community. I felt recharged after the course and on the last day, we left class on a high note, feeling that there were so many possibilities before us.
There were a total of 30 students, four teachers and two facilitators, including David Holmgren – the main reason why I chose to join this course. Other teachers included Hannah Moloney of Good Life Permaculture, Brendan Morse, and Nick Ritar of Milkwood, all whom were open to sharing and lent a supportive, learning environment to us all. The other great thing was that all my course mates were already familiar with environmental issues and most have experience growing edible crops, which meant that we were already on the same page and could have deeper discussions without leaving anyone behind.
While there was a lot to cover in the classroom, we spent a lot of time outdoors too. We visited the sustainable home of Michael Mobbs, Pocket City Farms‘ space in Camperdown, a site visit for our group design project, walkabouts, as well as trips to the nearby park, so there were opportunities for experiential learning. Overall, a good balance given that the course is conducted in a built up environment.
If you’re keen on permaculture and wondering where to read up about it or take your course, I will soon post some information on courses offered in South East Asia and the region. Check back soon!