The goal of Permaculture is to create a resilient, diverse, abundant, and fair world based on a ‘permanent agriculture’, which Bill Mollison said is prerequisite for a stable society and ‘permanent culture’. It envisions a world not subject to market fluctuations, technological disruption and political posturing but based on community and regional interdependence. It combines the machinery and programming of nature and ecosystems with the power of human intention.
The techniques and design principles of Permaculture revolve around its three core ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Permaculture was originally described by Bill Mollison as “an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man”, but has since evolved to be described as a design system for ecological and sustainable living, integrating energy, plants, animals, buildings, people & communities. For some it is fundamentally a state of mind or way of life.
Do you want to learn about Permaculture? Are you an urban farmer, Slow Food enthusiast, organic farmer, designer, entrepreneur, or student? Rainbow of Hope， Urban-Rural Bridge and friends are organizing a series of Permaculture classes between November and December, 2018 to be held in Shanghai and Hunan.
Proceeds from tuition fees will be used to sustain Rainbow of Hope and provide an introduction to Permaculture for local farmers in Hunan.
Permaculture is not just for farmers and gardeners, nor is it only for designers or relegated to the realm of plants and animals. Permaculture principles are applicable in all fields and provide insight to help us in any endeavor. The ethics and goals of Permaculture are universal.
For more information about Permaculture, the following resources are recommended:
Wayne Weiseman's Permaculture Project Site
Permaculture Principles - by David Holmgren
Permaculture News - from the Permaculture Research Institute
Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Design Course Outline
Core Curriculum Notes for the Permaculture Design Course - developed by Permaculture Institute
Whether you are a farmer, designer, or average citizen, landscapes and food production impact your life directly. If you plan to start a small family farm or simply design the land around your home, a Permaculture course will give you direction and manageable steps to take towards building your personal Garden of Eden.
For designers, Permaculture illuminates several ways of creating ethical and ecologically vibrant designs. Stakeholder engagement, observation, analysis, and thoughtful implementation are the keys to success in any venture or project and are broken down clearly in Permaculture thought. Permaculture is especially useful for building and landscape architects, city planners, and restoration activists
If you are an organic farmer or urban farmer, Permaculture courses can provide insights that will be useful to reduce work and minimize costly inputs while improving yield. You will complete courses with clear ideas on how to take steps forward, towards growing soils and healthy farm ecology.
If you are an average citizen interested in issues of food safety, health, nutrition, the environmental impacts of agriculture and development, or just good food, it is important to be informed and proactive. You can understand the food systems that have direct impact on our lives in ways we often may not notice. The fundamental knowledge propagated by Permaculture will empower you to understand what is possible when it comes to food, energy, and community empowerment. You will be empowered to understand and participate in the food system and public dialogue.
Even if you're not interested in Permaculture as a part of your occupation, you will still find here fun activities, great resources and an amazing, proactive and inclusive community.
Possible Course Topics
Introduction to Permaculture
As part of the curriculum for the PDC, this serves as an introduction to Permaculture design concepts and approaches, its major components and objectives in Permaculture Design.
Licensed architects, landscape architects and engineers are required to take continuing education courses in order to keep their licenses current. Wayne Weiseman and The Permaculture Project LLC is certified by the American Institute of Architecture’s (AIA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) continuing education programs to teach a two-day, sixteen-hour Introduction to Permaculture course. Architects earn sixteen learning units and increase their knowledge of the Permaculture system as applied to the built environment and the landscape.
Whole House Farming
(3 days, Shanghai)
In this intensive three (3) day class you will learn that “farming” can be defined in a much broader sense than what we are used to. Farming is not just something that is done on large tracts of land out in the country! You can farm in your own windowsills, under grow lights in your basement, in containers on your deck, in your front and back yards, on your hobby farm or larger homestead. It works ANYWHERE!
You will learn techniques to help you engage in creating your own food, medicine, and utility from a variety of sources in and around your own home. Techniques and methods that work in any environment and in various seasons will be discussed and demonstrated. Learn how to contribute to fresh, ready nutrition for yourself and your family. Learn how plants can provide you with many medicines that strengthen the body and the soul.
Hands-On Plant Course
In this intensive class you will learn techniques to help you identify and use local trees and plants, come to an understanding of their significance and use in the landscape and how to place them for best and highest use. You will practice using plants for food, medicine and utility. You will identify and harvest plants in the wild; then study, process and transform them. You will make tinctures, salves, decoctions, infusions, teas, ferments, salads and more.
Through guided observation you will discover methods to employ plants as windbreaks, shelter belts, habitat for animals, and companions for other plants that contribute to health and increased yields. Plant guilds, food forests, basic biology, basic botany, effects of climate on vegetation, interactions with animals, and the processes of various habitats and ecosystems (including farm ecosystems) will be discussed and examined. You will learn the basics of plant propagation, grafting, seed saving and more.
Explore, observe, study and interact with plants! Enjoy discovery walks through prairie, woodland, savanna, pasture, gardens, farm fields, and other ecosystems located at or near the educational venue. Students will go home with samples of plant-based products made in class which may include: teas, tinctures, decoctions, salves, infusions, syrups, ferments and more.
Integrated Forest Gardening
Wayne Weiseman teaches this three-day practicum based on his book.
The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants. It is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly, a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.
The course will cover the following topics:
Permaculture Principles, Methodologies, Applications
The Plant: what is a plant? Why is it so important as the basis of all life as a primary producer?
Plants from the perspective of Biodynamics, alchemy, etc
Definition of a Guild
Functions and Structure of a Plant Guild
Animal Interactions with Plant Guilds
Ecological Requirements of Guilds
Steps to Guild Design
Guild Project Management
Permaculture Eco-Village Design
(3~5 Days, Dingjiaping, Huaihua, Hunan)
How does one begin designing something as complex as a village that must produce no waste, and be basically self-reliant in providing building materials, food, water, energy, medicine and more?
What if you are starting from nothing on the ground and you have to consider land use designation, infrastructure, vehicle and pedestrian access?
In this course we will walk the site and learn to identify resources, micro-climates, key components, challenges and opportunities. We will engage local stakeholders to determine the main objectives, requirements and expectations of the local land owners. We will also visit villages and farms in the area to gain an understanding of the local context.
Permaculture principles, concepts, and techniques will be illuminated within the context of this explorative planning activity. The course will lead us through some of the following topics, and more:
Stakeholder engagement and discovery
Main components of a permaculture village
Zone and Sector Analysis
Water Management and Keyline Design
Rice culture and dry cultivation techniques
Integrated Forest Gardening
The uses and placement of trees, forests, and groundcover
How to optimally locate buildings within the landscape
Understanding hydrology and topographical maps
Livestock management and integration
Biodynamic Farming and Gardening
(2 days, Shanghai)
In this course we will be studying the principles, methods, and practices of biodynamics in detail, along with hands-on field applications. Biodynamics has its roots in the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and mystic who lived at the turn of the 20th century.
Steiner’s perennial philosophy is nutrition for the soul of the complete human being metamorphosing through earthly time. He offers a whole system that incorporates learning on many levels: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
The course will cover the following topics:
The underlying philosophy of biodynamics
Merging of the cosmic and terrestrial
The Biodynamic preparations
How to develop a “farm organism”
The planting calendar
Plants and animals
Social aspects of biodynamics
Other Possible Course Topics and Activities available if at least ten people are interested in the specific topics:
Natural Construction techniques
Cob, Wattle and Daub, and rammed earth Construction (hands on)
Wild, Common, and Edible Plants you should know
Observation, the key to ecological design (great for kids)
Eco-Village Development and Management