Permaculture Design Certificate course preparations
Most people have no idea what it really takes to run a PDC. The behind the scenes, pre-course preparations take place months in advance. I have this huge mental checklist in my head and sometimes I have to put it down on paper for my co-workers to wrap their head around.
Green Warrior courses are 50% hands-on so the lead trainer, me, has to figure out what projects we are going to build during the training. The trick is to create a project of the right size and scale so it can be completed to perfection during the course. Leaving a half finished project incomplete doesn’t inspire confidence in trainees. Completing the project in the first few days and leaving nothing else to do also doesn’t achieve the aim either. It has to be the right size and in the right place.
After 25 years doing this I can visualize the outcome of any small scale project on a farm. A large scale project is just a bunch of interconnected small scale projects. Always, we build a vegetable garden that would feed several families so I have to find a suitable space and it must have access to water and be secured with a fence. At the end of the course it must also be maintained and utilized. No use building a wonder garden for nothing!
Food is another factor. People want to eat organic produce. If we teach permaculture then we should eat from it. I’m busy now planting as much produce as possible. In the Philippines conventionally raise vegetables and meat is always compromised with chemicals or GMO contamination if you look carefully. We are going to feed out people with farm grown organic vegetables and meat. Its growing as I write this!
Our kitchen is taking shape and I have an Australian volunteer training our team of local ladies on healthy cooking and food preparation. Some of them have never cooked western food either so its fun to watch them learn and taste what they are cooking.
Accommodation in a new center on a budget is also a challenge. We’d like it to look like the Hilton but we will have to get creative with what we have. Our team of volunteers and staff have a huge supply of recycled wood so its custom made furniture that will grace our lodge.
Community forestry is another part of our training so I’ve selected a steep hillside on which we will plant out a poly-culture forest system with trees that have some economic value. So far I’ve found cacao hybrid trees that bare fruit within 5 years, some Pilli nut trees, Moringa, some sugar palm that makes several products, and a few others. I’ve got to hunt around the forest for wild seedlings to pot up for other trees to add to our forest and have them ready in the nursery for the forestry training component of our course.
Tools are another challenge. Crap cheap tools are the only tools available these days for sale in agriculture shops here. I have to remanufacture hoes and shovels by welding light steel handles on them instead of the low quality wooden handles supplied. They are exactly the same weight after welding as the old tool but vastly stronger. Ill get several years out of these tools now rather than several days!
I’ve secured a supply of non-hybrid open pollinated seeds for us to plant. Ill have seedlings also ready before the training so students get the benefit of both ways of planting. Seed selection is so important these days because the seed companies of the world have been taken over by the chemical giants and we are losing all our heritage seeds. The hybrid seed you get from conventional sources are weak so you need chemical input to make them grow.
Students are coming from several countries. We have Chinese, Taiwanese, Australian, some Europeans and of course the local Filipinos. Interpreters have to be engaged for the Mandarin speakers and I have 2 main interpreters and a back up in case one breaks down. Ill have some special foods available for the Chinese crowd too. I want them to feel at home here on our lovely farm school.
Lastly it’s the classrooms. One indoor and two outdoor classrooms are needed. The indoor in no worries as we have several options in our buildings on the farm. Making an outdoor classroom is simple if you have the right materials. A tarpaulin, some seats, a whiteboard and I’m in business!
The trick is to sight the classrooms under a shady tree with a commanding view of the farm. It’s best to rotate the classrooms, several times a day, to keep our training interesting but outdoor classrooms are quick and cheap to build. The earth is our school so getting stuck indoors on a permaculture course would be counterproductive. Our indoor classroom is used mainly for films or if we get some monster storm or it gets too cold for comfort.
Twin Creeks is almost ready. All systems are go! If you are thinking of joining us please sign up ASAP. Positions are filling. 6 weeks to go and we are almost ready…