You’re interested in permaculture (you’re looking at this site, after all), but perhaps wondering what your next step with it will be. Using online resources, DVDs and books to understand permaculture is great way to proceed, but there are other options available as well, the main one being studying a permaculture design certificate (PDC) course. This can really help elevate and enhance your personal learning and offers benefits that self-study can’t replicate. Here are some of the reasons why taking a permaculture design certificate course can be a great decision.
Expert instruction
Undertaking a permaculture design certificate course gives you direct contact with experts in the field. Teachers on PDC courses will have successfully completed their own certificates and typically have done extra training courses besides. Most have run garden design or other companies involved with sustainable living, and run permaculture training courses many times before. Many PDC courses, besides the core teachers, will also invite guest experts to speak about specialist areas of permaculture design and application. Pursuing a course means you can interact, ask questions and generally pick the brains of some of the most experienced permaculturists around.
One of the main benefits of doing a permaculture design certificate course is that the learning process is dialogic. PDC providers typically foster an atmosphere of open debate and collaboration. That means that you can get answers to your questions, clarification on topics you may not be clear on and can bring up topics for discussion that extend the core lessons of the course. Adhering to the principles of permaculture, PDC courses focus on everyone’s voice having equal validity within the learning environment, and on being open to new ideas and interpretations. It is a forum in which free expression is cultivated. Who knows, you could teach the experts a thing or two as well!
This dialogue that helps foster holistic learning is not only between the student and the teacher, it is also team-386673_640between team-386673_640students. Indeed, because a PDC course brings together many like-minded people, it provides each person with an entry into the permaculture community, which they may not have had at home. Coming together with others who share your interests is also a good platform from which to make friends, and many a friendship has been formed on a PDC course, lasting long after the course has been completed. The coming together of different people from different locations and different backgrounds − its not just homeowners or renters that pursue PDC courses, students can include construction professionals, public officials, those working in the water or energy sectors, and educators − also opens the group up to information and ideas they may not have considered before.
While ideally the principles and practice of permaculture would inform the daily life of individuals (if it did on a large scale it would no doubt make a great contribution to healing the planet after the damage humans have done to it), sometimes life gets in the way. Indeed, while an individual may be interested in permaculture design, it can be hard to carve out the mental and physical space needed to learn and understand it. Attending a dedicated PDC course offers you this space and time, allowing you to focus on subject and gain a deep understanding of it. Whether it be a full-time course on a residential retreat or a part time course studied in the evenings over several weeks or months, doing a course sets aside time to concentrate on the ideas, principles and practice of permaculture, and the understanding gained will make using them in everyday life that much easier.
Today, you can choose to study a permaculture design certificate course via a number of learning channels. These include online learning and correspondence courses. But the majority of courses are presented at permaculture sites, either one day or evening a week over a number of months, or as a residential retreat where participants stay on a site for two weeks or more. Visiting these sites is an enjoyable experience in and of itself, As permaculture plots they have a harmony with nature that is often lacking in other parts of the landscape, and typically offer spaces of peace and quiet to escape from the bustle of modern life, giving participants a chance to recharge their batteries and reconnect with nature. The food’s usually pretty good, too! Furthermore, most PDC courses will incorporate site visits to a number of permaculture plots, allowing you to experience first-hand how the principles have been applied in different circumstances.
Successfully completing a permaculture design certificate course could change your life. It has the potential to open new doors in your personal and professional life. Holding certification that is recognized in many countries as the premier permaculture stamp of aptitude could enable you to start your own business, consulting and designing permaculture gardens for clients, as well as advising on permaculture principles to organizations, such as businesses and government agencies. (Indeed, holding the permaculture design certificate is the only way an individual is allowed to use the word “permaculture” in the name of their business.) One of the great plus points of a PDC course in this regard is that, as part of the program of study, you complete an actual design, a project that applies your knowledge to the demands of a particular site with its idiosyncratic climate and physical conditions. This project becomes the start of a portfolio that you can show to prospective clients to illustrate your abilities. Gaining the expertise that comes with a PDC may also allow you to contribute to your community, volunteering in schools, prisons and other community groups to allow people to learn about what permaculture involves.
Ongoing support
Most PDC training providers provide ongoing support even after you have completed your program of study. They may register you with a certifying body to make your qualification official, as well as offer continued support such as access to alumni resources like internet forums and beneficial rates on further training courses.

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