What do we base our course pricing on?

June 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Grow Permaculture, Projects

Hillside in Haiti

Hillside in Haiti

A few people have asked what we base our fees on for our courses. Some believe that permaculture education should be very inexpensive or free so that it is accessible to as many people as possible.  There are many viewpoints about this, and we believe that multiple viewpoints on this topic, like any other, are healthy for the system and there is room for all of them.

This is how we view the subject for ourselves and why:

Our work is focused on assisting some of the highest poverty and most oppressed areas on the planet, which are also very culturally rich with much to offer.  We focus on projects that regenerate degraded lands and devastated economies so these communities can become self-sufficient and experience resilient abundance.  Our methods are focused on connecting resources and knowledge and putting them in the hands of the people at grass roots level so they can create their own destinies within their own cultural context.

Post earthquake camp, Cite Soliel, Haiti

Post earthquake camp, Cite Soliel, Haiti

We offer our courses and services for free to individuals from those impoverished areas and also bring resources into those environments to assist in the process of regeneration.

We invite students from outside those communities to participate, and charge them rates comparable to similar courses in order to help fund our work in those areas.  We feel this is a better way to do it than grant monies, where possible, as it gives us more freedom to remain maximally flexible and responsive to the needs and resources of the communities.  Please see our blogs in this section for descriptions of some of the work we are engaged in, particularly at Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and Haiti, post earthquake.

Pine Ridge reservation public housing

Pine Ridge reservation public housing

Our instructors are some of the most knowledgeable and respected available and often charge top consultant rates for teaching. They are worth it because they can impart knowledge far more deeply, quickly and accurately than someone with less knowledge and experience could do.

We provide a number of extras with our courses that many organizations do not provide, such as rich cultural experiences, apprenticeship opportunities, community building, web promotion for graduates, etc.

Our courses are well worth the fees from a purely practical investment viewpoint, because the knowledge and experience gained should save you far more than the course fee within a few weeks or months if you apply it to your life.

Please know that your course fees are what allow us to continue with our work in devastated areas, and that we strive to make your investment well worth your while by trying to go above and beyond in delivering not just information, but rich life experience that you will always remember.

Teaching students to compost, Port Au Prince, Haiti

Teaching students to compost, Port Au Prince, Haiti

Building a root cellar for food security, Pine Ridge

Building a root cellar for food security, Pine Ridge

Miami students continue to expand

March 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Grads in Action, Miami PDC

Roots in the City Overtown project is now offering a Farmer’s Market from 1-4 every Wednesday.  Overtown is the Harlem of Miami, with a rich history of culture, that has been economically devastated by a freeway running through the middle of it and a number of other factors.  PDC student Maggy Pons is working on six gardens in Overtown which will provide fresh, organic food and economic stimulus to the neighborhood. Food stamp purchases are doubled at the market, encouraging consumption of healthy, organic food and the support of locally grown food.

Marcus Thomson will be holding an Intro to Permaculture lecture Tuesday, April 27, from 7-9 PM.

You will learn common sense easy application techniques on sustainability along with the joy and wonder of a vibrant future you can create for yourself and others! Contact Marcus (Deva) for early registration. Love, peace and light…
Location: The Sacred Space
Address: 100 NE 25th Street in Wynwood
Contact: 954-856-3775
Cost: $60 at door, $30 in Advance! (that’s 50% off!)

More info at:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110372132314453

Permaculture as a career

March 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Florida Earthship PDC grads

IMG_0487

From Florida Earthship PDC grad Diann Dirks:  It was so sweet to be reminded of our Permaculture course in Fla. last March. Since then I have been using so much of what I learned and integrated there.

Right after completing the course I taught 3 series of classes in organic gardening – 13 classes all told at the local libraries and at a local forming sustainable farm. I became a the paid consultant on the creation of a community garden for a Jewish Temple, consulted at a CSA to increase yield, as well as a multitude of private gardens. And one of my students formed a CSA after taking my classes. I created my own school, Mother’s School of Self-Reliance, which has taken off, and I have been giving classes between one and three course days a week since January. Classes have included hand sewing, sprout bag making, sprout bag growing, sprout bread making, and seed propagation classes.

I have also incorporated so much of what I learned in putting in 1800 sq. feet more garden space. And I have been growing some food all winter, even in sub-freezing weather.

Soon after the course I set up a community garden in our own area and am the director. Since then we have acquired a 22’x60′ professional steel green house which is being built this spring on site of the garden for propagation and year-round growing of food.

I also founded a local farmers market that enjoyed a successful season last year, and participated and help found another one beginning this fall into winter, and participated in one all last summer selling instant raised bed gardens which helped over 100 new garden beds be set up in people’s yards where they had never gardened before or extended already growing gardens.

I have been interviewed twice on the radio, and have been writing articles for the local newspaper on sustainable issues all year and have my own column now called “Surviving the Times”.

I’m going to be on the panel of the film “Fresh” tomorrow after the film is shown, and have a booth where I will be promoting my school, community garden, and selling seeds.

I founded last year’s first City of Auburn Garden Expo and did a seminar on Permaculture Princliples to about 25 people.

Our teacher Wayne (Weisman) told me I should teach so I have been.

And I have grown enough food and herbs over the last year to provide a vast amount of food for myself and my husband, as well as sell at the farmers market. I have a .7 acre steep hillside yard which is 1/3 zone 5 (wild), with a house and large lawn which gradually I have been converting into garden by raised beds and terracing.

Anyone visiting the Atlanta area need only call for a tour. 678 261 8141

Best,

Diann Dirks, Certified Permaculture Designer

Taste of Freedom Farm

CIMG0046Andrew Wolfe wasted no time using the techniques he learned about in the permaculture course held at the Florida Earthship in March of 2009.  His goal is to get completely off the grid and make a living from what he produces in his yard. He named his urban Pinellas County homestead “Taste of Freedom Farm”, and in a few months has created a fish farming pond, planted citrus trees, grape vines, blueberries and a raised bed garden with rainwater catchment, composting bins, greenhouse, roof-top beehives, chicken coop and brooder box, duck house, a well, and wood source for his Franklin stove.

Here’s a note from Andrew about his project:

Thanks for the interest in my progress. I have not yet found it necessary to hire a board of directors to help manage my vast enterprise. But I have since the start of my little endeavor, seen almost nothing but advances and very few set-backs to acheive success.

My background has been in construction. I was a sheet-metal worker for 6 years and before that a renovater. My choice to change direction was fueled directly by my reading. I’m an avid reader of the classics and early American literature. I was reading some founder comments when I ran across one quote that struck a chord with me. It read “A person who wants to be ignorant and free, wants what never was and never will be”-Thomas Jefferson. It was at that point I reflected on whether my intrinsic right to be free made me free in actuality or just in theory. I rationalized it in this way; I may in fact be free to take a stroll down my street, but am I actually taking the stroll, or just sitting on my rear thinking about it. I was done wearing the vestiges of freedom without being so. All of it was hinged on me providing for myself. And all though it’s a very respectable thing to go to work and make a living wage, and as a result of your labors bring home bread for the table, you can never be certain that your job will be there forever. The stability of my lifestyle was rooted in the stability of my job, the stability of my job in the stability of the economy. There were far too many things in control of my destiny! So I set out to find what I could do to start to provide for myself and my family in a way the was tangible and concrete. The answer???—Overwhelmingly AGRICULTURE!!!! The wellspring of  functional freedom in society in my humble opinion is Agriculture. So I set about learning the “trade” so-to-speak. I have learned a basic working knowledge of: gardening, fish farming, beekeeping, and the raising and keeping of chickens and ducks. My hope is to try and be as self reliant as possible. The attainment of that final goal is yet to be had but the pursuit is a pleasure, and that is success.

CIMG0047

To answer the specific questions you had

1-I have been tending bees for about 8 months now.

2-I decided to sell the honey when I found out it had value:)

3-My plans for the future are to expand my honey production by finding more suitable bee yards within the county, increase the number of stores it’s available at, and lastly, which happens to be the most ambitious, try to show people the value of providing for themselves.

4- People can find my “Taste of Freedom Farm Honey” at Rollin’ Oats on 9th St, Natures Food Patch on Cleveland in Clearwater, and many of their local fresh fruit and vegetable stands. If your local stand doesnt carry it, that of course is a problem I would love to remedy!–Andrew Wolfe 727-439-4885.

A Solution for Haiti

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Sustainable solutions in Haiti

waterpump223Currently, Haiti needs water pumps desperately because the earthquake has broken many of them.  This is a life threatening situation.  A permaculture solution would be to use the existing energy (humans) to handle the situation with a bicycle or teeter totter (see saw) pump.  Gaviotas in Columbia has piloted these and they are now used in Africa and many other places.  A teeter totter pump could be created out of existing materials lying around…..

Update for Haiti Project

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Sustainable solutions in Haiti

haitian long shot

We have three sanitation experts who want to go to Haiti to set up safe sanitation systems, and we are gathering equipment to go there as well. They will teach Haitians how to set up sanitation systems from existing resources (even rubble from collapsed housing can be helpful) while they are setting up systems.  One of them has set up systems for thousands of people.

We plan to use a variety of systems including trench systems which separate liquid and solid human waste – the urine can be used as fertilizer for crops which can accelerate growth in badly degraded areas and the solid waste will compost safely much faster than if mixed with liquids.

We are working on putting together a team of water filtration, capture and reuse experts as water is the #1 issue there right now that is life threatening. The wells have been compromised by the quake and many of the pumps are down as well, so they need pumps.

We continue to work with groups in Little Haiti, Miami, to raise funds for sustainable relief efforts.

Your donations will pay for plane fares, equipment and food for the rescue workers.

We have created a database for volunteers for both now and future rebuilding efforts and are in planning stages for long term rebuilding, including education, building, planting sustainable food (food forestry, agroforestry, polycropping, etc.  We have gotten a number of offers to donate seed and equipment to help create food and water security. Haiti used to be a major rice exporter and had enough food to feed her people.  Politics and economic manipulation destroyed their food industry and we want to help bring it back.

An international web site has been set up to coordinate activities at permaculturehaiti.org.  If you’re interested in volunteering, donating equipment or other things, please see the blogs and email list at that site, as it is now the central hub for permaculture solutions for Haiti.

To a much brighter future for Haiti,

Cory

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