how did you get to where you are today?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by makehumusnotwar, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

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    i'm interested to find out what training/study/experimentation all you forum junkies have had or are currently doing. this isn't a competition to see who's the smartest, i'm just interested in peoples backgrounds and experiences over the years with things such as : the Permaculture Design Certificate, WWOOFING, correspondence study, formal accredited training (not just in permaculture), personal study or practice with handed-down knowledge and books/internet, community groups etc.

    how did you get where you are today?

    i myself did a PDC about 5 years ago, more than anything it opened my eyes and made me more aware, but the real learning has been through personal study and mainly practice. 'doing' seems to be the only real learning for me, and i've met some amazing and passionate people who are fantastic resources of knowledge.
    i am interested in furthering my study and experience, to either go on and teach, or just work on perfecting the art on a personal level. there are so many avenues of education opening up now, has anyone tried them and if so how were they? this includes more intensive science based studies, horticultural and related studies, animal studies - basically anything that falls under the very broad heading of our environment.
     
  2. Guest

    how I got to where I am today

    I got where I am today by good old fashioned hard work - no wait, that's my Dad's answer!
    I got interested in Permaculture after wasting most of my youth as an inner city punk very disillusioned with the modern world. Then some friends of mine started putting in a garden and I thought, oh wow. Then another group of friends including I suspect the one individual who provided the impetus for that garden took off in a beatup old kingswood and travelled the east coast wwoofing. Again I thought, oh wow. We didn't see them for about 8 or 9 months and then they reappearred, all quite changed and with very inspiring stories of all kinds of sustainable ways of life or tries at it. So I just thought, heck, why not. And I caught buses, trains, hitch hiked and bicycled around the country looking for places to learn. I wwoofed for all kinds of people and learnt from their mistakes as well as their successes, I think.
    One of the places I ended up was teaching Permaculture courses, and although I was loathe to give them so much money, I liked the farm and wanted to stay on when the course came up so I did a part work exchange. That's how I came to get a certificate. Of course, I could have had headphones on and been reading Salman Rushdie novels all the way through the course and still would have been presented with the certificate, so I don't know that it is worth a bag of tipu leaves but there you go...
    Of course, I read a lot. And ask questions of everyone, even though at first I felt like I was being annoying - and then later on I realised that most people like being asked questions because it makes them feel special!
    Anyway, along the way I met my wife, and she is into it too, and she seems to know all this stuff that I don't and so we are teaching one another.
     
  3. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

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    thanks for your reply richard. i tend to agree about the certificate - there wasn't really any strong criteria in obtaining one, just show up. i don't regret doing it, but as i said i've learnt a lot more since then by just talking to people and trying things out myself. failure still seems to the best teacher. i know so many different ways of how NOT to do things now. there's also some fantastic resources on the net, if anyone wants do do some good reading, online libraries such as https://www.soilandhealth.org/ offer an amazing selection of mostly unavailable old classics in either part or full.
    one day, i'd love to try the WWOOFING thing - but at the moment just don't have the time. also, getting involved with local forest-regen organisations seems like a great way to learn more about natives.
     
  4. junglerikki

    junglerikki Junior Member

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    Hello! I did a PDC 21 months ago. I loved it & found it a real eye opener & it all felt so right. I've been a nursery person on & off for 7 years, done some travelin, pickin, a little wwoofin, worked in an organic shop and now and doin a Permaculture Diploma of Systems Establishment. Slowly as I am also doin a General Horticulture Diploma whilst I work 4 days a week at a awesome arty, environmentally conscious retail nursery, Bulleen Art & Garden, who is going under SGA accreditation. I just finished helping out in writting Permaculture handouts & an information sign going up in the nursery soon. I've designed & taught 2 X 15min intro to permaculture classes & I also volunteer for SGA (Sustainable Gardening Australia) & look after a hotel garden. I'm finding doing the Perma Diploma good, as it is all documenting my practical Permaculture work that I carry out at both my rental property and at my mums house. Very satisfying & allows one to check back on past experiments! I am enjoying learning at my own pace while I do all this other stuff but I realise I will need some more permamentoring soon. I'm soon to grow my second small scalecrop of organic veggie seedlings that I sell to organic shops(smarter this year). At Uni, I'm just about to do a plant trial i designed on a legumes affect on the plants next to them as this is such a big permaculture tool. I am going to compare 1)No legume 2)not chopping the legume, 3)chop & drop, 4) chop & dig in to soil & also trying these same things adding a product called biomex which is an innoculant certified organic & containing 23 diff types of bacteria & fungi. I'm interested in having my own perma property one day but until then am interested in introducing perma to conventionals. I'm now on UNI holidays & so have time to contribute here! Interesting to hear the histories....keep it up all u all! :wink:
     
  5. Guest

    hey folks been a while.

    guess i got here because i had kids. (well one to start with)...

    any further back would go something like inner city arts scene - spoken word - culture jamming - activism - Naomi Klein - question concumerism - see David Holmgren speak (3 months after baby)...

    anyway somehow after that brought 8 acres in Central Vic...and now have a property plan and trying to work out how to build a cheap house.

    haven't done anything except read, interact and trial. no PDC, no Horticulture, no Community Development course - i studied Creative Writing what seems like eons ago (really only 6 years).

    i guess my introduction was through David Holmgren who is very much theorectically based these days on permaculture's part in the energy descent.

    to me permaculture seems to limit itself with too much focus on how a permaculture system works in a garden or hobby farm set up. i don't think this is bad, and i understand the need for us all to understand it helps to have close working examples.

    but my interest is in Ted Trainer's writing about eco-villages and permacultures role in this, about how permacultur will support local communities to move away from global culture and back to local systems of production and distribution, how permacultural thinking can further impact on architecture, community development, local government and other systems we already exist in.

    i want to do a PDC - get my Cert IV under the new accreditation - i like the idea of the development of my family in our community as the greatest permaculture learning experience...

    good question. hope we get more answers.

    (oh - and junglerikki - lachlan plian or ollie wigg still work at Bullen A&G - Lachie's parents used to own the place - he did all the sculpture and stuff...interesting bunch of Eltham folk...)
     
  6. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

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    wow junglerikki, i got tired just reading what you're doing. pretty impressive that you're managing to fit all that in as well as sleep occasionally. with both your perma and hort diplomas, how/where are you studying them? is it via correspondence or tafe or is it all contained in whatever you're studying at uni?
    apart from general experience and practice, can anyone recommend courses that could help with one of my weaker points - plant identification?

    and dan, i agree with your comments about permaculture always being stuck in the garden. i love gardening, but i think permaculture generally is suffering on a larger scale because there hasn't been enough emphasis on the other systems it concerns. (pretty darn sad when so many of the groups involved in permaculture can't even get along with each other). we as a species urgently need to do something about developing sustainable human systems. the majority of people not involved in some sort of permaculture still seem to either not know what it is at all, or identify it as chook tractors and companion planting etc. i'd like to concentrate a little bit more on establishing sustainable human systems moving back to the tribe/community ideas, instead of continuing on the unsustainable globalised trend.

    hell, this forum would be so much better face to face around an open fire. should try it one day.......
     
  7. Luke B

    Luke B Junior Member

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    well, i've known about permaculture for a good three months now and i'm about to enrol in a permaculture course at tafe in two days time, aswell as a straw bale building course. i found out about permaculture from a guy i studied bush regeneration with, it sounded like what i was seeking so i borrowed Rosemary Morrows book from the local library and have already got my backyard started. my dad owns 100 acres of hilly land in Cobargo north of Bega and he's slowly converting the houses into a self sufficient farm. i'm hoping to help with his land as much as posibble and tell him about what i've learnt, and maybe move down there one day.

    as for your plant identification makehumusnotwar if you're interested i've got an extra sheet of weeds i've studied (about 20) that i could send you, it shows all of the identifying features, names, underground structure, habit, removal techniques and so on. the bush regen course i just completed was great, it gave me a much better understanding about how all of the individual plants work for and against each other and the role the native fauna plays. but to answer your question we studied every part of about 100 weeds and 50 natives and i can pick most of them pretty quickly. the course may be called land conservation/restoration.
     
  8. Mont

    Mont Junior Member

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    How did you get...

    My turn to testify! I contributed financially to conservation charities for years but only began gardening 3 years ago when we moved from a flat to a house in the Sydney suburbs. I did a great PDC at the Permaculture Research Institute in 2002 followed by a fortnight of on-ground training there. This turned me from a pessimistic conservation purist to an optimistic permaculturist because for the first time I saw a system or plan of action that just might work to solve the world's main problems. I've started a certificate in horticulture by correspondence, mainly to improve my plant knowledge - I think ideally I should be able to identify every plant on my land or neighbourhood. I'd love to do accredited permaculture training - for example the course now being offered at the Permaforest Trust in the Border Ranges of NSW - but nobody would pay my mortgage in the meantime. My dream is a common one - to get a degraded rural property and restore it to health and reafforest it - but in the meantime I'm doing what a city person can do. I've reduced our ecological footprint by getting electricity from the supplier most committed to green energy, and I've reduced our water usage substantially, partly by installing a water tank. I grow all sorts of plants, mainly edible, in our yard. Yields are small due to the small area, poor soil and the little time I can devote to it, but the education in what grows where, and how well, and what the plants can be used for, is priceless. Still, if our focus is just on the garden we're only scratching the surface of permaculture and may as well just join a garden club. It can and should be about all sorts of things including building healthier communities, and reducing waste and energy use on a grand scale. So the newer definition of permaculture as permanent culture rather than agriculture is spot on. We can all do things like appropriate volunteer work, lobbying of governments, etc etc etc, all of which is practical permaculture if it improves our communities or the decisions governments make.
    As for open fires Humus, it's a nice idea. In the meantime, if you're ever in Sydney and want a yarn about these sorts of things over coffee, email me beforehand. This forum is great but face to face contact with other permies is better.

    My longest post is now ended! Thank you for your forbearance!

    Mont
     
  9. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

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    a couple of years ago mont, this would have been much easier. i actually grew up in mulgoa, just south of penrith, so the trip wouldn't have been too far. after trying melbourne out for a while i've now ended up just back from the sunshine coast. i think i'm just trying out all the different climates or something. but when i do finally visit sydney again, we - and any other permies around there should try and catch up.
    how's your hort. cert. by correspondence going? i was considering the same thing, again mainly for plant knowledge. on the site i was looking at they had combined certificates in both horticulture and permaculture. there was even a certificate in self-sufficiency! wouldn't that look good on your CV! although, you probably wouldn't need a certificate cos you wouldn't need a job cos you'd be self-sufficient...
    i was looking intently at trying the studies offered at permaforest trust in the border ranges too. i've been trying to organise a trip down there for one of their monthly show n tell events. looks fantastic, though rather pricey - even with the energy swap format. has anyone else on this list been to permaforest trust? how was it?

    and luke - your weed sheet would be much appreciated - thanks. i'll try and make sure my email addy is in my profile or, i dunno, however else you'd prefer to send it. again - thanks.

    well, i'm certainly glad i asked the question - thanks everybody so far for sharing your personal histories and thoughts - it has been very interesting to find out about other people's journeys.
     
  10. Guest

    humus- i'm off to my dads for a month tomorrow and won't have access to internet so when i get back we'll organise to get the weeds sheets to you if thats cool with you. see ya
     
  11. Guest

    that last message was from luke by the way
     
  12. Mont

    Mont Junior Member

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    Certificate in horticulture

    Humus, I've made very slow progress, only doing 2 assignments in a year when I should be doing 15 each year for 2 years. Family and work concerns have made it unavoidable. I'm doing the combined certificate in both horticulture and permaculture. The second half of the course - which I'll reach in about 7 years! - is the permaculture bit. I got credit, both in time and money, for having done a PDC. I think it's a good course so far. There's a lot of info on plant identification etc, and you send 8 pressed and annotated plant specimens with each assignment so that makes you do research. It cost me about $1600 in fees. Not cheap but I think the permaculture component will make it worthwhile.
     
  13. junglerikki

    junglerikki Junior Member

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    To Dan, yes, I know Lachie Plain & his parents still do own the joint. A great bunch of people & it's the coolest place I've ever worked. Who's ollie wigg? I'll have to ask around. What did he used to do there?
    To Humus, I am doing a hort diploma at a Swinburne TAFE & my permaculture dip is through the Permaculture Research Institute by way of practicing Permaculture & documenting everything I do untill I build up 2 years worth of work. I've met a girl who has achived a dip. in this way. These combined Perma/Hort courses sound interesting! I am interested in learning in a more structured way soon & the Nth NSW course sounds good to me. For the time being though I am staying in Melb with my man & my job & am enroling at Edendale Community Farm in Eltham to upgrade my PDC into a Cert 4.
    I would recomend getting a copy of Botanica to help greatly with plant ID(My Bible!), joining local garden clubs, getting booklets/lists of indigenous plants from your councils & yep, doing a plant ID subject at TAFE can also be very helpful, firstly to help with the most common landscape plants in your area(not always useful perma plants) and secondly, pick that teachers brains! You can bring in specimens you want ID'd and thirdly, for the contacts you develop with other keen learners, you may even be able to open a few of their minds to perma practices! Back in the old days (6 years ago I was doing cert 4 in hort at TAFE) they all thought I was a tree hugger with my head in the clouds, now the teachers come & talk to me about permaculture, show Mollisons video & have a sustainable hort subject. Ha ha! Because perma makes sense! Its thrilling to see interest in the conventional hort community.
    To Manly Mont from Sydney, he shared his secret with me, but he'd punch me in the kidney if I told you in this song! We did our PDC together! I have a picture of you, me, Al, Geoff, Craig & Sindhu on my study wall! Guess who it is!?
     
  14. Mont

    Mont Junior Member

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    G'day Rikki, nice to hear you're going well. I think I'm one of the few people on the forum not surprised by how much you're doing all at once. I think you're a sustainable energy source all on your own!
    :D
     
  15. Guest

    Hi all,

    Have been wanting to reply to this thread for awhile but haven't had the time to do so b4 now....

    I stumbled onto Permaculture by accident and didnt actually realise i was practising some of the principles b4 i knew they had a name.... i wont bore you with the details!.... anyhow, some years later in Brisbane, i heard about permaculture from a friend when i told him that i wanted to get into organics for health reasons. This pricked my curiosity and doing searches found out about Bill M and David H etc etc. and proceeded to buy their books and was captivated by the design concept.

    I heard about and Open Garden Scheme at Northey Street City Farm and my wife and i went there and continued to do so for some time after. Searches on the net lead me to a PDC design course and i mentioned this to someone at Northey St. and they mentioned that it was taught at TAFE. I did further enquiries and signed up for the next course and was convinced that this was something i wanted to and could achieve!

    Less than 12 months on, we have bought our own piece of acerage and am less well on my way to implementing what i think is not only sustainable but realistic for my health and lifestyle.

    Unlike few Christians i know.... i think that the Bible, particularly Jesus teachings, leads us to a more simplified life.... there are numerous New and Old Testament texts that validate a simple life existence that leads to real life satisfaction rather than wealth.... this is a path i want to explore.

    I strongly believe that God had a plan for human existence and chasing after riches and material wealth is the opposite of this plan.... if this is the case then i wanted to know what else i could to do to respect what i believe was a created planet for me and us...

    Thats the end of my preaching b/c this isn't the forum for doing so; and i respect that not all wish to be given a sermon on something they may not be interested in knowing, or just give a care.... !!!

    I love the idea of Permaculture and its possibilities.... i use it like i would my pitch fork or any other tool that will help me achieve my goals or help me produce something that is of value to me.... to me its not the be all and end all but the generous product of someone who realised there was more to life than something that we put in our wallet or hand over at a department store for something that if we thought hard enough about didnt really need to find happiness...

    Yes, its a less selfish way to practice life.... and i am enjoying the by-products of putting it into practice...

    I love to hear how ppl step onto a different path in life... if Permaculture is a path that helps you, that makes me happy b/c i can relate to and believe i share a bond with how excited you can be about life and its continous pleasures and hopes...

    Thanks for starting this thread...

    Dave
     
  16. Chook Nut

    Chook Nut Junior Member

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    Oops... forgot to login in when i put up that reply...

    Cheers... Dave
     
  17. Guest

    Dave,
    I for one don't think you should be backward in coming forward here to talk about your spirituality, at least in terms of how it relates to Permaculture.

    I have met heaps of Christians who are into Permaculture, which doesn't really surprise me.

    Actually, since getting into Permaculture I have met all sorts of people from backgrounds that I used to regard with suspicion, such as people from the military and cops. While I am still suspicious of those institutions, (including most churches) I think this has helped me to be less judghemental of others, which is obviously an important aspect of the "care for the people" ethic that Permaculture hinges on so much.

    -Rich
     
  18. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

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    i completely agree richard, and thanx dave for the openess and honesty. being judgemental isn't very sustainable in itself, so hopefully all of us interested in permaculture can move away from the pre-conceived notions held by many in society. people shouldn't be defined by their religion, race, work or any other external titles.
    thankyou everyone for your replies and thoughts, this thread has been very interesting and given such a 'human' touch to a rather impersonal computerised forum.

    the thing i love about permaculture is it encourages us to question everything, especially our role in and as part of nature. it's not about rebelling against the mainstream just for the sake of being 'different' with no real plan, the motivations are more generous and selfless. how can we be better? how can we help each other more? what can we give back to the earth and all living things?

    we realised/suspected long ago that everything is connected, and that what we do to each other/the earth, we do to ourselves.
     
  19. Chook Nut

    Chook Nut Junior Member

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    Thanks guys!

    I've enjoyed making friends through Permaculture with ppl where our beliefs may be opposite and whose lives are on a different path and knowing that it doesnt have to affect our friendships... the 'community' aspect of Permaculture is probably the hardest area to develop. Case in point being that i know of no other person in my town that practices Permaculture except my sister. There is a lady that does in another town, but thats quite a distance.

    I look forward to when i know of many others in town that share the same ideals/passion that practising permaculture helps with.

    Thanks for starting the thread... Dave
     
  20. junglerikki

    junglerikki Junior Member

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    Mont, you are too kind, I'm so glad to see you being soooo involved as a permie! You rock! I'll have to get round to sending you a personal email to catch up so's I don't bore these other people!!! :D
     

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