Sydney Winter PDC with special guest David Holmgren

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Following on from last year’s overwhelmingly positive experience, Milkwood Permaculture is holding another of our unique Part-Time Permaculture Design Certificate courses in Sydney this Winter, starting on the weekend of May 15 and running until the 31 July.

We’ve found this one-day-a-week format is an effective way to enable many folks to learn permaculture design who have weekday commitments, small kids, or are just plain busy. And given this course’s fabulous teachers, site visits and workshops, we’re sure this will be a winter of amazing learning for everyone involved, including us!

Getting materials ready to make a big compost pile, to be turned each weekend

We first did this course in this format last winter, as outlined in Urban Permaculture designers Ahoy. For 12 weekends in a row, we took over Alexandria Park Community Center and introduced 40 Sydney folk from all walks of life to permaculture theory and design.

Apart form all the learning, the connections both we and the classes built were fantastic –  friends were made, alliances formed, and many joint projects dreamed up which are now coming to fruition throughout Sydney…

Returning from a site visit with lots of banana 'pups' for student's gardens

The way it works is this: we run a Saturday, and a Sunday course, for 12 weeks. Most people elect to come each week on a set day, so two classes form. If people need to swap days for a week or two, it’s no problem, and everyone pops out at the end of winter all set for Spring as accredited permaculture designers!

Student individual permaculture design for apartment block

We send out weekly emails with heaps of resources from the previous week’s class and some homework for the forthcoming week (see a sample). The aim with this format is that students are supported and challenged in their learning every step of the way, while being able to continue their normal lives at the same time. Huzzah.

Setting up a community bathtub worm farm as part of the 2010 Alexandria Permablitz

Our 2011 Part-Time PDC has some extra special components. Nick Ritar from Milkwood will again be the lead teacher, piloting each class through the stormy and exciting seas of permaculture as we know it. To add to the learning, and to offer their valuable perspectives, we have two special guests – David Holmgren and Cam Wilson. Together Nick, Cam and David are going to make a pretty formidable team.

About our 2011 Part-time PDC teachers:

Nick Ritar

Nick is Milkwood Permaculture’s primary educator and consultant. Nick is passionate about permaculture education, soil, pattern literacy and regenerative agriculture. His path as an educator has seen him be fortunate enough to teach alongside many of Permaculture’s most esteemed educators and thinkers, including as Bill Mollison and Rowe Morrow. He divides his time between extensive permaculture teaching, permaculture consultancy, writing and farming in central western NSW (ie at Milkwood Farm).

David Holmgren

David Holmgren is an ecologist, ecological design engineer and writer. He is perhaps most well known as co-originator of the permaculture concept with Bill Mollison. Through the spread of permaculture around the world, his environmental principles have exerted a global influence. He is the author of several significant permaculture texts, the best known being Permaculture: principles and pathways beyond sustainability. David lives at Melliodora near Hepburn Springs, Victoria, with his partner Su Dennett.

Cam Wilson

Traveling around Tasmania in 2004, Cam came across permaculture, and the rest is history. His passion, design talent and practical skills have resulted in him working alongside and being mentored by some of the best permaculture designers and teachers in the country. With his passion to feed all who are hungry in a truly sustainable and wholistic way, he continues to travel and teach permaculture throughout the developing world. Meanwhile, in more affluent countries, Cam believes we can choose to use the same principles to heal our Earth and to eat and live well.

Making a no-dig bed with worm tower outside our classroom

David Holmgren will do one full day on this course (for each the Saturday and Sunday class), and we expect his deep-thinking influence will inform much of the rest of the learning. We’re very lucky to have him teaching on our course and it will be a unique opportunity for everyone involved.

For the rest of the course, Nick and Cam will take alternate weeks, giving the classes a balance of perspectives and experience in permaculture’s many theories, techniques, implications and applications! And we’ll also be squeezing in a bunch of workshops in stuff like composting, grafting, mushroom propagation, and a site visit or two as well to some of Sydney’s permaculture gardens.

Planting a living fence of fast-growing trees as part of the 2010 Alexandria Permablitz

A highlight of last year’s Part-time PDC was definitely the Permablitz on the June long weekend. In 6 short hours we had more than 70 people turn up to help us and Alexandria Park Community Garden members re-vamp a section of their garden.

Lots of the PDC students came and brought their families, and it was a great day – a real tribute to what communal energy and purpose can achieve. We’ll be doing another permablitz this year as part of the course too.

Student permaculture design outlining vermiculture and water harvesting

So there you have it. The course starts on the 14-15 May and runs for 12 week until the 30-31 July 2011. We’re again offering community discounts to anyone who gangs up and books in a group of 3 or more, and at time of writing this course is 3/4 full.

For bookings and more info about this course click here.

Please feel free to forward this info to anyone you think might be interested. It’s a great opportunity and we’re all really excited about committing our winter to this venture.

We continue to be inspired by how active last year’s students are in their communities, and we’re looking forward to helping more folks become the change-makers Sydney and its surrounds so very much needs.[slideshow]

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