- Permaculture is a holistic approach to DESIGN. Permaculture principles come from observing and understanding nature. Whether we are designing gardens and farms, or organisations and businesses, it can help us create more abundance and harmony, while being more efficient with our energy and resources. We teach a way of problem-solving and decision-making that can be applied to gardens, farms, neighbourhoods, community projects, businesses, organisations, education, economics, activism and more.
- We emphasise participatory and collaborative learning, group work and “group teaching”. Research shows that people’s retention is higher when they teach others, so we follow this principle in our courses.
- We use a variety of learning and teaching modalities. We include some presentations from the instructors, as well as discussion, small group presentations, experiential exercises, hands-on work, observation, movement, sensory awareness and quiet reflection.
- We take time for group process. People care and learning to work well in groups is a crucial part of the long-term success of most projects and the well-being of our society. We take every participant’s needs into consideration as much as possible, while respecting the needs of the group.
- We aim to make our courses as accessible to people as possible. We realise that for many people, financial resources and flexible timing are important considerations. We’ve designed our courses with this in mind. We minimise our expenses to help keep the course fee down and offer work exchange opportunities. The weekend format with independent work helps make the course do-able for participants with full-time work. We continue to choose locations in Ottawa, making public transit, walking and biking viable options for many participants. We believe that our courses give great value for the investment.
- We aim to benefit the wider community. In the last three years, we’ve partnered with over ten community organisations for our courses. Our course participants have helped to start and expand gardens, and have created permaculture designs for a variety of community projects. Our community convergences, in the last three years will have brought together over 400 people from Eastern Ontario to learn and share about permaculture.
- Our course participants have a variety of professional and life backgrounds, and are of different ages. No experience is necessary to take our courses and our goal is to have every participant be able to come away with a valuable learning experience.
- Our courses are not mainly about gardening or farming techniques, tips and tricks. We emphasise permaculture as an approach to design, which focusses on “why”, and choosing strategies that solve problems and use available resources. Land-based applications are a big part of the course topics, however, our courses also include organisational and social design and applications.
How We Apply the Permaculture Ethics
We have been asked how our courses embody permaculture and how our courses demonstrate “sustainability”. Our courses have been created using permaculture design and we do our best to embody the permaculture ethics. The ethics are:
- Earth Care: We take care of the Earth, because our well-being depends on the Earth’s well-being. We recognise that it provides our essential life support systems.
- People Care: Humans have had a significant impact on all living systems on Earth. We do our best to take care of the needs of people – ourselves, our families, communities and societies - in ways that are as sustainable and regenerative as possible.
- Share the Surplus or Fair Share: We design with abundance in mind. We recycle and share this abundance to better take care of the Earth and the people.