Diploma of Permaculture - Career paths?

Discussion in 'General chat' started by DJ-Studd, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. DJ-Studd

    DJ-Studd Junior Member

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    Howdy all,
    I'm looking at doing some further studies. I have a history in IT and graphic design, but ultimately 'permaculture' is where my heart lays.

    What career paths would be available through completion of a diploma of permaculture?
    Should I study marketing/graphic design or IT, I'd not have an issue gaining a level employment to guarantee a solid income, thus allowing for development of a permaculture property. But what career paths are available with a permaculture diploma?


    /OUT.
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey DJ ...
    Have you read the "Money" thread by Geoff Lawton? https://forums.permaculture.org.au/...-MONEY-MONEY-and-Permaculture&highlight=money
    Much information about international consulting to various governments and the apparent lack of qualified consultants.

    I think that consulting as a business is one path to fame and glory. During my PDC, Geoff and Darren also talked about forming and heading up non-profit organizations, based on government grants, where the non-profit pays you a salary. Teaching and speaking engagements can also be lucrative, although honorariums will most likely be based on experience and accomplishments.

    Are you outgoing, personable, and comfortable speaking about subjects you are familiar with? I think Permaculture as a career has huge possibilities ... especially in "job satisfaction"!
     
  3. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Personally I think permaculture education courses, including the diploma, are a bit of a pyramid scheme. As much as Geoff might try to say that there are people waiting in lines for qualified consultants, that really isn't the case in reality. There are plenty of qualified permaculture designers all around the world who are struggling to make ends meet and nearly all of them supplement their income with another job. And most of the people who actually make their living from permaculture make it from TEACHING permaculture, not from design work.

    So don't quit your day job in graphic design or IT anytime soon. PDCs are a worthwhile investment, but beyond that I would use other means to become more experienced. Offer to do pro-bono designs for people locally, and get input to your design online from established designers in other areas. Or find someone locally who has tons of experience and does design work at least semi-regularly, but has a shitty website and poor graphic design skills, and maybe offer to join up together as partners, and possibly form a nonprofit as 9anda1f mentioned? The biggest thing you have going for you is your skills in graphic design and IT, as these are two wonderful skills that many people lack.
     
  4. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Biologist, turned Artist, turned Video Game pro making bank, turned Permaculturist & finally I am awake.

    screw other jobs, learn to truly live.

    Then IMO, they are doing something wrong with their Permaculture. They should be able to not only make a profit, but sustain themselves, if they can't then something is wrong. A property that contains Permaculture for the residence should be able to take care of nearly every need, all needs if completely anal about it. So this says more about some of the PDC teachers then it does about Permaculture as a whole.

    For example, it is no shock to anyone here that I have no love or respect for other Permaculture sites, and I can make direct links to that "place" & comments that subvert Permaculture on a daily basis in order to drive people to the site & make a profit off of the work of people like Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, Holgrem and so on. Example, according to that site, "Full Canopy" gardening is something done under some squash plants. I on the other hand am in the Bill Mollison / Geoff Lawton world and I believe "Full Canopy" gardening is something you do under the canopy of a forest by managing all 7+ layers of a forest properly.

    I cannot see how anyone could call teaching Permaculture a pyramid scheme. In fact, I find it some what offensive as I have been learning around the clock & at no time does my teacher take the money I paid her and sends in money to PRI, Mollison, or anyone. People do indeed wish to learn Permaculture, people are getting backing by entire towns. Your own country gives bonuses to teachers who learn Permaculture during time off to re-teach parts of it in school & to help others!

    There is a couple of Permaculturalists in Iowa, they are working with the mayor, police, and everyone working on an entire town level, places in the US are putting up FREE Food Forests in public parks, I am getting the help of Librarians, townsfolk, and more with what I am doing.

    I just don't see the world you do Adam, and I do not wish to either.
     
  5. Adam

    Adam Junior Member

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    Pak, you have inferred a lot about "the way I see the world" that is incorrect. I'm sorry to offend you, but that's just my honest opinion on the matter. I still love Permaculture as much as the next guy, but I am not afraid to have a critical approach to the things I love. I think teaching Permaculture is indeed very important, but you can't ignore the fact that there is a lot more money in teaching Permaculture than practicing it. That its problematic and is something I dearly hope will change as the rest of society shifts its priorities.
     
  6. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Why does it have to revolve around money making? Isn't doing the right thing more important?

    There is an amazing amount of people in the world who do Permaculture, or something very close to it, as a non-profit.

    Lastly, I do not see that teaching makes more money then growing food. Yes, courses are expensive & deservedly so, there is a ton of information to take in and learn. However, the reward of having a permaculture property (which raises the value of a home, and surrounding homes) far out weighs monetary gains that some people, and by extension non-pri forums are all about.



    Have a Happy Earth day all.:party:
     
  7. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    You have an interest in broadacre design, why not focus your studies on that. Sure, you could go down the diploma path that will garuntee good structured learning. I decided to just get out and learn from different people but I have no responsibilites to a mortgage or family.

    After 2 and a half years of self directed study, im creating a business plan to take to the banks and apply for a low interest small business loan to buy myself a Keyline Plow and trailor. Your computer skills would allow you to create maps for regenerative farm plans, and the Keyline plow can be used for rapid development of soil at $110/Ha and also as a ground prep for tree establishment. You will need a mounder but they should go cheaper than a new plow.

    There is plenty of good teachers out there but not enough sound workers. Do what excites you most and learn from the best teachers in that area. There is plenty of opportunity to work in permaculture and meet the financial bottom line. The hardest part, for me anyway, is to get my head around working for myself, being self motivated and not waiting for someone else to do the ground work. But there is plenty of good business advice around (Nick Huggins isn't too far from you) and enough potential customers whatever your chosen path my lead you.

    Good things come to those who wait, or to those who are ready to go out and get shit done!
     
  8. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    I've been thinking about the teachers out there and how many of them rely on it for 100% of their income. Most teachers I know of are also designers, consultants, developers and supplement their income with sharing their knowledge they have aquired over years of applied permaculture.

    Milkwood permaculture- teaching, event convening and Nick does some consultancy work
    Robyn Francis - primarily teaching
    Geoff Lawton - more than likely more design work than teaching
    Darren Doherty - design, development, teaching
    Cam Wilson - Land manager at Mulloon Creek, teaching
    David Arnold - High density housing project, 1 or 2 part time PDC's, permaculture calender
    Purple Pear - organic vegies
    David Holmgren - writing, teaching, home tours
    Dave Coleman - Intentional community
    Gawler Food Forest - Organic produce, teaching, tours
    Adam Grubb - Very Edible Gardens

    There is probably more teachers doing other work, but I think that most are getting their bread and butter from work outside teaching. Not sure if it was a condition of the Tagari Institute or whether Darren just called for all teachers to be practising to keep up to date with new strategies, just like a lot of the trade teachers for accredited certificates and diploma's.
    I think you just have to find you local niche market and go for it, re-design the phonebook as Rob Hopkins said. The potential is only limited by your imagination.
     
  9. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I can't speak for every where else on the planet, but the US(and I think England too) is undergoing a Renaissance of the Victory Garden thing. Locally grown food, back yard veggie gardens, even back yard chickens(where allowed) are all making a big comeback. While organic gardening isn't the entirety of permaculture, it is permacultures heart and soul. I think most people can understand the concept of organic gardening, it's the rest of permaculture that is a little far out for the masses. Sure, some people will accept permaculture in its entirety once they get to understand it, but people resist change, so you have to make the change slow.

    Personally speaking, I'll be retiring from my gov't job in less than 10 years at the ripe old age of 49(I see no point in giving up my job at this point). Assuming random diseases don't get me, I plan on doing something in the line of permaculture as my retirement work, be it paid, free or somewhere between. They have at least one landscaping company in my area that uses permacultural designs for edible landscaping. There is one guy in the area that makes and installs hot water solar systems. The biggest issues where permaculture could really make a difference in my area is with the reduction of electricity used for cooling(heating is not so much an issue in the New Orleans area) and the storage of rain water on the property to reduce flooding.

    While cooling costs are more a consumer responsibility, so a market might be high for that, increased rainwater storage would be viewed as a governmental issue and more problematic to get the homeowner to pay for or to implement. These two items could easily be designed together without the client even knowing about the rainwater storage. Add to that some food production and habitat, and you have a system that was designed for the client as a system of shading the house that can also be used to alleviate flooding, provide habitat for insects and other critters, and even provide some food from perennials.

    The point I am trying to make is this: you have to find your own niche, then build on it.
     
  10. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    It's more then just personal income though.

    Capture rainwater, and you don't pay the government for it, and it lowers your bills.

    Grow your own food, you know its healthy, uncontaminated, and it lowers your bills.

    Produce your own electrical needs, bills go down again.

    Using Permaculture to heat / cool the home, again, bills went down more.

    Suddenly you have a surplus of income because the bills just keep on dropping. So what exactly do you need money for besides to buy things you don't need; And that's the crux of it, profit for needs or is it a profit for wants?



    Matto - Add Sepp Holzer to that list, I know he doesn't only teach as a matter of making money. He has one of the most impressive looking farms I have ever seen via video of anywhere on earth. He has crops for alcohol, raises fish for sale, raises other crops for sale, and has a kitchen garden in addition to all his other work, plus consulting and teach appearances. Currently he is coming to Detroit May 15th.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Personally I'd be uncomfortable being taught permaculture by someone that wasn't living the lifestyle as well. And that basically excludes teaching full time as you need time to work your land.
     
  12. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Thing is. To me, permaculture really only has to be sustainable with its underlying basis in Earth care, People Care and Share the surplus. The main career path should be in providing that surplus. Because we haven't yet transitioned into an integrated system of permaculture (integrated permaculture villages and communities) that means at least some of that surplus needs to be shared at a 'cost' to the people it is shared with. For us that mostly takes the form of fresh garlic and other fresh vegetables.

    At this point in time a surplus of permacultural design knowledge is to me a legitimate export or surplus too. In most cases it probably does satisfy the Earth care and People care criteria.

    I'd be happy with anyone who is making a buck from conscious, caring, right minded agricultural pursuits. If all the people in the world did this it would be way beyond enough. If half the people did this it would be better than a tiny few living an intensively strict permaculture lifestyle. Lets meet people half way at least and then we might possibly be able to make the long journey together.

    I'm happy being a conscientious food grower for local people, even if in many ways I am only a permaculture pretender. At least for the moment I am. I may not be as lenient on myself tomorrow :)
     
  13. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I agree, I have learned there is no way I could possibly teach someone until a lot more gets done on this property, and sadly I am all alone at the moment. With my wifes medical problems there is no way she can ever help me aside from talking out problems I have with Permaculture.

    In short, its all on me.

    Maybe in time when trees & benches are cut into the hillside, and so on. However, right now I just give free tours to the people that ask me nicely.
     
  14. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I would love to know if this ever happens - it seems that all "profits" go straight back to the land or the people by way of improvements. But that fits the ethic and it is a great life!
     
  15. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Oh, yeah, I guess that's what happens here too PP. I think I was thinking that is 'making a buck'. It certainly counts as 'making a living' in my book. I suppose 'making a buck' could easily mean different things to different folks. For me it means paying the bills and getting a little bit of improvement here and there.
     
  16. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Well thankfully we are doing that Grahame. And indications are that prosperity may well be around the corner somewhere.
     
  17. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Sweet. I feel the same optimism.
     
  18. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi DJ…

    A very interesting thread. Many years ago I gained a degree in Ecology and spent many happy years working on various projects, mostly being grant funded by the British Government. Unfortunately, and idealism aside, it was almost impossible to earn a living as an Ecologist and so I had to return to University and get a post-graduate diploma in Computer Studies.

    As you have discovered, working with computers, allows you to earn some real money!!

    A couple of years ago I was able to sell-up and buy a small goat farm in the foothills of the French Alpes and start to do some of the things I’ve always wanted too. However, its tough going and sometimes we just don’t know where the next penny’s coming from.

    This type of story seems to be repeated many times within the world of permaculture and seems to be something of the preferred route. That is, earn enough money to buy some land and make sure you have enough spare to support yourself/family for at least a couple of years while you organise yourself sufficiently to gain an income within the lifestyle you’ve chosen to adopt.

    I suppose the next question is just where do you propose to get a Diploma in Permaculture from since I’m not aware of any recognised University teaching the subject. However, a few brave soul’s are including permaculture as a small part of a standard degree/diploma in related subjects.

    Within the world of Permaculture an obvious answer is to do a PDC course. However, this is just a 72 hour course and the PDC is just a certificate of attendance. If you read the permaculture blurb, possessing this certificate of attendance allows you to call yourself a Permaculture graduate and put the letters PDC after your name ……….. however, in the big bad world nobody is going to take you seriously!

    On the PRI’s front page I have sometimes read amazing articles of people who have done a PDC and the very next week gained a contract to install a 30,000 dollar permaculture site, or who have started a constancy with at least part of the world beating a pathway to their door. However, on closer inspection, many of these people seem to be qualified Landscape Gardeners, with many years of experience, but have decided to integrate Permaculture into their landscape designs. The big question here is, are these people consulted because of there qualifications and experience in Landscape Gardening, or because they have a 72 hour PDC? In my experience, all of the other individuals who are making any success out of permaculture as consultants seem to have qualifications in other areas, e.g., a degree/diploma in agriculture/horticulture/Biology, etc., and incorporate permaculture into their work.

    So, if you want to earn some real money as a permaculture consultant, firstly get yourself a degree/diploma from a recognised Univeristy – preferably one that includes permaculture as a component part of the course. Then do your PDC. On the minus side, you will learn many things that you feel are not appropriate, however, on the plus you will understand how the system currently works and hopefully how permaculture can provide viable and sustainable alternatives.

    People will listen to you because you have a degree/diploma in agriculture, etc., which they will recognise, and hopefully they will still be listening when you start to talk about viable and sustainable alternatives they can adopt.

    Within permaculture we often hear about “transition” and I would tend to believe that this is the key to getting permaculture established as mainstream within agriculture. However, we need consultants who clearly understand both the current practices within the world of agriculture, and the reasoning behind them, and the viable, sustainable practices proposed by permaculture ….. and in particular how to transition from one to the other.
     
  19. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    You do NOT need a diploma, if you SHOW them what you can do with Permaculture. Bill Mollison, & Holgrem did not, and do not want Permaculture taught in University due to the BS that goes with those drone factories.

    There is a couple in Iowa, without a degree, that have the backing of their entire community, creating Permaculture on a town level. (As one of a great many examples) Even Sepp Holzer says in one of his books that going to University for Master Gardener degree was a waste of time that screwed up his property.

    A University or college is nothing but a drone factory IMO.
     
  20. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Pakanohida

    If you’ll forgive the presumption, you appear to be reflecting more upon how you think things should be, rather than how they actually are. However, if you are actually correct, then DJ-Studd need not worry about Diploma’s and such-like in Permaculture, he just has to SHOW them what you can do with permaculture ……….. so, no worries there then? :)

    According to his biography in “PERMACULTURE: A Designers’ Manual”, Bill Mollison has quite a colourful history. Leaving school at 15 to help run the family bakery; followed by a spree of shark killing, chopping down trees, mill-worker, trapping and snaring wild animals (is that legal?), driving tractors, and eventually becoming a naturalist. =(

    The first big turning point came when he joined CSIRO (Wildlife Survey Section), probably being run by a bunch of drones from a University, and decided to call himself a biologist. :D

    The second big turning point came in 1966, when he decided to go to a drone factory/University. He must have been a good drone because HE GAINED A DEGREE IN BIO-GEOGRAPHY. :y:

    Having gained his degree, Mollison now had some credibility, and his fellow drones appointed him to the UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA, where, in collaboration with a research student drone named David Holmgren, he developed the concept of PERMACULTURE. :)

    Unfortunately, Mollison and Holmgren failed to develop the permaculture concept to a standard acceptable to the drones at the University of Tasmania and therefore permaculture was never accepted as part of the curriculum …………… unlike the drones who had developed Bio-Geography to an acceptable standard thus allowing Mollison to get his degree and credibility. :think:

    According to legend, Mollison and Holmgren, left the University of Tasmania in disgust, declaring they never wanted permaculture to be taught at a University ………… a bit like taking your bat and ball home because nobody wants to play with you. :rofl:

    The Permaculture Institute was formed in 1979 and Bill Mollison became its Executive Director ……….. and according to some, made lots of money. :y:

    So, if you want to learn from the master, the following is recommend;

    Firstly get rid of any environmental violence you may have by killing a few living things and chop down a few trees. :y:

    Secondly, get yourself some credibility by doing a degree at a University. If possible, integrate so well into the University system that you’re appointed as a professor. Develop your permaculture concept at this time and then leave. :y:

    Thirdly, form a Permaculture Institute and get yourself appointed as Executive Director. :y:

    Finally, earn lots of money. :y:

    Personally, I still believe the best option is to earn enough money to buy sufficient land to support yourself/family. Make sure you have sufficient reserves to carry everyone for a few years while you develop the lifestyle you can believe in. Each system, concept, idea has merit, some more that others. Never blindly follow anyone or anything, that, most surely, is the road to hell! :grin:
     

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