Permaculture has many definitions, the most succinct one that I have come across recently was from the Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast, where it is defined as a ‘design system for sustainable living’ it ‘looks at the way nature does things’. For example, in nature there is no output that isn’t used as an input for something else. It is a system that is based heavily on ethics and principles which informs that meaning of ‘sustainable living.’
The diploma is self-taught and draws on action learning theories and methods. To complete it you need to do ten designs that don’t all have to be land-based or implemented. You have support from your Action Learning Tutor and Action Learning Guild, plus various Design Tutors. You need to complete the Full Design Course (FDC) before starting on the diploma, which I did in December 2007. It takes a minimum of 2 years to complete.
I enrolled for the permaculture diploma in October 2008, just before going WWOOFing in Italy. I wanted to use the time away to research and design some pieces for my portfolio. I struggled for a bit to get started with my diploma, co-ordinating a time with my tutor to chat turned out to be tricky. I did a lot of observing (one of the tools) and learnt a lot, and thought a lot about different projects I could do. I also went to the Slow Food Salone del Gusto in Turin, which was very inspiring, and guided my thinking.
While away I realised that I really don’t want to stay in London, and for a number of different reasons I think that Brighton is the place to be. When I came back in January I looked into changing my tutor to someone down in Brighton, which happened in February. The Brighton Permaculture Trust organised an induction for the people doing the diploma in March, which was great. It was informative, really useful and I felt inspired having a much clearer idea of what the diploma involved.
For the past month I have been developing my Action Learning Pathway. I read up about action learning theories, assessed the ideas I had had for designs while I was in Italy, and formulated a pathway. I found David Holmgren’s Permaculture Flower a useful tool. I have now written up a quite detailed Learning Pathway, and have arranged to meet up with my Action Learning Tutor at the beginning of May (if you would like to see it, do get in touch). So looking forward to that meeting and what comes out of it.