Last Autumn we hosted a Forest Garden Design Intensive with Dave Jacke at Milkwood Farm. It was a truly awesome experience, and it changed the way many of us at Milkwood (and beyond) approach permaculture design education, and permaculture design process.
To summarise, it was 9 days of immersive permaculture design, using forest ecosystems as analogies and pattern-guides to design good permaculture systems…
Intense. Fabulous. Hard. Delicious. Revealing. Excellent: These were some of the words that came back to us through the student feedback of this course… and it was all that, and more.
But the best thing about this course, apart form the fact that it skilled-up a big bunch of folks who will, I am certain, go on to create positive change in their communities across Australia and beyond, is how it changed things at Milkwood.
Dave Jacke’s design process, and the way he teaches it to create better permaculture designers, influenced us hugely. To have our teaching team working alongside him to deliver the course was a privilege and also a valuable learning experience.
Since then, we’ve actively blended many of Dave’s teaching techniques and his design methodology into our Permaculture Design Courses, to really raise the bar on what skills our students leave our PDCs with.
The first trial run of this new PDC format was in Sydney in July, and it worked really well. The student designs produced indicated strongly to us that a higher level of good design skills and processes were being absorbed and taken home by our students than ever before.
While we still base our student curriculum on Permaculture: a Designers Manual, we’re now focussing our PDCs squarely on permaculture design process, to create and activate better permaculture designers.
Will we still make compost on our PDCs? Sure we will. Can peeps still go help pick beans, feed chickens, save seeds and dig in the dirt? No worries at all. But it’s all in the context of creating better designers.
Designers who can, with a solid design process and skills at their back, devise the best approach to an apartment balcony garden as competently as they could design a 5 acre block (hint: figure out your long-term needs and holistic goals, and then map those against the possibilities of your site, rather than diving straight into earthworks or house and garden design armed only with a contour map)
This Spring we’ll be holding our first on-farm Permaculture Design Course that follows this revitalised curriculum at Milkwood Farm, from 27 October till 9 November…
With a market garden full of organic goodness to eat while designing, a fabulous new farm chef to make our good food even better, an all-star teaching team and Milkwood Farm all around, this will be a very special 2-week permaculture design intensive.
Do you want to come? Or do you know anyone ready to take this step towards being an agent of change and permaculture design awesomeness? Pass this on if you would. Thank you kindly.
A Massive thanks to Dave Jacke for sharing his incredible brain and work with us in March, and for encouraging us to take up the torch in Australia (so to speak).
Thanks also to Nick, Hannah, Cam and Floyd for being such an awesome teaching team. And thanks to everyone else involved; students, crew, our family and all…
Photos above by me, Floyd Constable, James McIntosh, Dillon Seitchik, possibly Steve Burns and possibly also other students whose photos may have snuck into my set un-labelled…
James and Dillon’s photos are stills from the fab What is Milkwood video that they made for us during this course…