Hancock Permaculture Center,
Hancock NY. 13783
MODULAR PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATE CURRICULUM.
The course is divided into five modules. This is a summary of topics. This course outline follows chapter headings from the official text, Bill Mollison’s: Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. See our web sites for more information.
Course runs on Saturday, Sunday – 8:00am-5.30pm with evening session on Saturday.
CONTEXT, EVIDENCE AND DESIGN THEORY.
Paths of energy descent, civic/economic disruption. Adaptation. Creating nodes of permanence. Holmgren principles.
History of Permaculture.
The rise of permaculture has paralleled the rise in environmentalism going back to Rachel Carson in the late 1950’s. Type One errors, constants, directives and principles.
Prime Directives of Permaculture.
Permaculture is a design system based on ethics following scale and patterns found in nature. We introduce the ethical basis for permaculture and the fundamental principles and directives.. Live Intervention Principle/chaos theory. The Basic Laws of Thermodynamics and entropy.
Methods and Patterns of Design
Scale of permanence and organizing principles for landscape, homestead and bioregion. Sectors and zones, connections. Reading landscape. Water. Access. Structures. Soft energy systems . Water management. Mapping and organizing tools. Guilds in nature and design. Succession and evolution of systems.
Concepts and Themes of Design.
Practical design considerations. Niches, yields and cycles. Principles of disorder, stress, harmony and stability. Yield, surplus and abundance.
MODULE 2. PATTERN UNDERSTANDING, TREES & ENERGY TRANSACTIONS , METHODS OF DESIGN:
There are patterns in the landscape, there is meaning in the stars,; nature’s repeating patterns teach us how to live. An investigation of patterns from mythology, tribal cultures, nature and the human body. Tribal use of patterning. Design and scale, orders of magnitude. Edge thinking. Mandelbrot Set and fractals.
Climate Factors and the Hydrological Cycle.
We live in a time of climate change. To understand how to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change we need to understand how climate works. Weather systems, precipitation, characteristic and landscape effects. Wind. Classification of broad climates zones. Hardiness zones. Electro-magnetic system and frequencies.
Trees and their Energy Transactions.
Trees are the backbone of our eco system. Without trees we are gone. Trees help build soil and hold moisture, mitigate erosion and flooding and can provide enormous quantities of food and transpire moisture that is rain. Timber will become a very valuable resource in energy decent. Coppice. Forest farming for food security, food forest gardens. Reforestation, trees in flood mitigation, riparian buffers, wind-breaks, wood lots, wilderness zone and sacred space in design.Regenerative agriculture.
MODULE 3. WATER, SOIL, COMPOST, EARTHWORKS.
Water is the driving force of nature. Orographic and Forest effects. The amount of fresh water on the planet is finite. Half of the world’s fish live in fresh water. Wars will be fought over water. Water is life. Water harvesting, swales, ponds, dams and earthworks. Recycling and waste management. Compost toilets, humanure, reed beds and aquaculture.
Soil is the hidden monster that’s creeping up on us. We have lost two-thirds of our topsoil and agricultural production is dropping as we burn more forests to create more soil for monoculture. We can build soil, enrich our lives and create oil-free agriculture. Indicator plants. Swales and land harmonics. Biochar. Flood and fire mitigation/riparian buffers, erosion and rehabilitation.
An introduction to composting, soil creation and bio-dynamics. Structure and pH. Vermiculture.. No- till and sheet mulching. Berkeley method
Earthworking and Earth Resources.
Permaculture works on all natural scales and heavy equipment can greatly accelerate positive effects on the landscape. Property land-forming, dams, ponds and water-shed management.. Swales, contours and key lines.
MODULE 4. CLIMATE ZONES AND DESIGN STRATEGIES.
Humid, wet tropics, wet-dry topics, monsoon tropics.
Soil is least available in the tropics where most of the biomass is above ground in the forest. We can create dense food forests and water harvesting systems while protecting our home from natural elements like storm surge, hurricanes, fire and flood. Natural cooling systems and habitat design. Tropical soils. Earth shaping in the tropics. Polycultures. Sea level rise.
Dry land strategies. More of the world is becoming desert as forests are destroyed, rain patterns change and animals scour the ground for food. Soon nothing is left. We can apply simple principles to make the desert bloom again.
Humid-cool and cold climates.
Home heating and energy consumption are big issues in these climate zones. Understanding some simple constants like the sun always shines from the equator, will save a lot of money in home heating. Habitat design, wood lots, food storage, Attached greenhouse, passive solar hot water systems and co generating woodstoves and mass ovens, stone. Straw bale construction. Greenhouse gardening for food and warmth.
MODULE 5. AQUACULTURE, INVISIBLE STRUCTURES.
Strategies for an Alternative Nation.
In this time of energy descent we will need to travel less and live in closer commune with those around us. Food supplies will need to be local as will all our basic services. How can we design robust systems that integrate permaculture principles into the bio region and beyond?
Transition towns, bioregionalism and community. Invisible structures. Trusts and legal strategies. Eco villages. Currency and barter. Land access. Ethical investment. Food storage strategies.
Students present their designs. Students are divided into groups in Module # 2. This is the culmination of our course and graduating students receive their certificates.
Where do you go from here?
Planning for the future. Community education. Community communications, community radio.
Local government and feedback. Course feedback.
Traditionally permaculture courses finish with a fiesta and all graduates participate offering a performance - word, song or dance.