Which comes first, the land or the PDC training.

Discussion in 'Jobs, projects, courses, training, WWOOFing, volun' started by zydeco, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. zydeco

    zydeco Junior Member

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    I'm considering taking a PDC course, but don't want to take it too much before I actually score some land, so I can at least start using what I'm taught, and don't lose it to the neuron jungle in my head.

    However, I just started thinking that the training might give me better insight into what land to buy.

    My sister-in-law has some land in NE Mississippi, which is grown out in timber right now, not old growth, just pasture land allowed to convert, which MIGHT be acid clay soil for a foot or two, with alkaline clay under that. I only know that from reading a soil map for the area, not actually testing the soil.

    Anyway, any opinions on this?

    Right now all I have to practice on is a 10x12 concrete patio that gets limited sun. Can't find any community gardens in my area.
     
  2. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    FWIW, I think a PDC is the single most important investment a land owner can make. It might be best to take the course first so you can read the land better.

    I took one in 1992, and it was, hands down, the most useful moneys I have ever spent.
     
  3. kathleenmc

    kathleenmc Junior Member

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    Hiya Zydeco,

    I am with Christopherman on this one as well....do the PDC as it should give you all the necessary insights and design ideas for what ever and where ever you live in/on/around! It's a brilliant kickoff for life and you will engage and network with a group of likeminded people from the course that will lead to a great many other things and opportunities.

    I did mine in 2005 and have not looked back since.

    Goodluck
    Kathleen
     
  4. zydeco

    zydeco Junior Member

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    Choosing a class

    There are two classes that I can find nearer to me, and I'm wondering about them.

    One says I'll "learn by observing, and get lots of hands on over the year".

    To me, that sounds like they don't have a formal learning program (which makes me suspicious that I'll be paying someone a lot of money to provide free labor to them over the course of a year, and that I might not have much reference material when I get through). Lets say I'm not very trusting in general when I have to pay out bucks, and a lot of them.

    The other sounds like its a bit more of a classroom thing with field trips. Its with the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.
     
  5. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    zydeco - do a google for Woofers in your area - they're usually green/permie orientated people looking for a hand with their bigger projects. You probably won't get paid for your work but you will learn and you'll have at least the owners of the property to chew their ears off on just about anything. And more importantly you'll have contacts to ask for advice later on.

    Any community gardens in your area? They might be useful for volunteering your time, again no pay but no costs either.

    The other option is lots of reading and trial and error. The trial and error usually works out in the end but is a lot of work, a lot of failures and very frustrating. My first attempt at self sufficiency was down that route.

    My current (second) attempt is at the moment quite successful. I'm not, nor ever likely to be fully self sufficient in the Permie sense but its pleasing to be able to go and pick tea or to plant something and have a rough idea of what the plant will do and how it will benefit me. Planning where everything goes is also a big boon and PDC or Woofing will give you some of that knowledge
     
  6. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Well, we have two ways we provide for learning more about permaculture here at MMRF:
    1 our annual two week PDC with great teachers brought in from abroad. This is a full curriculum course, leading to a certificate. It is dense with information and both exhilarating and exhausting. Out tuition is USD1200. Money well spent!
    Advantages
    a) short course, so if you have a job, etc...
    b) world class instructors (this year we have Albert Bates, Scott Horton, and Maria Ros)

    2 interning at MMRF is a way to plug into ongoing work on an existing farm. We have a full calendar of work, much of it seasonal, reflecting harvesting and planting cycles. Our interns work hard, eat well, sleep well. This program is not a formal educational experience, but more of an immersion into the daily cycles of a farm. USD550 a month includes all food and lodging
    Advantages
    a) cheaper
    b) longer time to absorb information and see processes in depth (and we get lots of labour!)

    Either option has advantages. We have had good information transfer with them both. Having said that, a PDC would be my suggestion to you as a first step, then maybe some time spent over a calendar year on site watching the seasonal changes.

    Good luck!
     
  7. rowan

    rowan Junior Member

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    I bought my land first and found when I did a PDC that it wasn't a suitable site - it would have been better to do the course first. Also, the course I did was largely theoretical and very interesting but when I finished I didn't have the skills to actually do it. Hands on can be good, but I doubt you could get through so much conceptually if you do a lot of practical work. What I'm doing now is a follow-up hands-on course for people who've done a PDC. That seems like a good option. It's taken me 18 years to get round to it though!
     
  8. Comfrey

    Comfrey Junior Member

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    Re: Which comes first, the land or the PDC training.

    Hi there

    I'm interested in what you say about not having a suitable site. Do you mean not suitable to be self-sufficient? I'm sure my land wouldn't allow for a typical permaculture design cause it's either a tiny zone 1 or so far away from the house to be zone X, but still - isn't it possible to think of at least something to be done in these cases? I'd like to hear hear about your experiences with "the wrong land"!

    Best of luck with anyway!
     

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