Thursday, April 03, 2008

Permaculture in half an hour..

Dumb idea really.Why oh why did i choose to do a half hour lesson on Permaculture in an introduction to adult teaching course?
I was curious to know if i could manage to get a group of uninitiated and possible uninterested people to get the message in...half an hour.
But, what is the message then ?
'I liked it because it was not too, you know eco-warrior-ish' one of my fellow students kindly pondered in the post teach analysis.
'You're not one of them eco warriors are you?' Another asked.
Luckily someone else chipped in then so I didn't have to reveal that, yes, my path to permaculture started in chaotic Earth First ! meetings in the early 90s.
I planned way too much and lost some of the group early in an ambitious attempt to introduce the idea of beneficial relationships in ecosystems as the key element in permaculture design principles, as in the attempt or desire to emulate these in permaculture design.

But what i did learn was that with little or no introduction, a group can start to use pc design principles to do a bit of basic design on a simple garden plan.
I gave them a plan of my front garden and asked them to spend 10 minutes using some PC principles to improve it.And they did.Despite of and not because of my over-complicated possibly quite pompous 10 minute talk beforehand.

For what its worth, details of session are below.I think the aims and outcomes were realistic but the amount of material I planned to get there was too much-by about 50%.
I reckon the session would work with the design exercise at the start rather than the end of the session, if its any use to anyone, feel free to use as you wish.Theres also a 20 powerpoint slides (yeah-sorry I know...) to go with it.
Microteach Aims

Aim 1.
To explain what the term permaculture does / does not mean

• Students will be able to write a few lines / say a few sentences about what permaculture is

Aim 2.
To explain some of the key reasons behind the development of permaculture

• Students will be able to explain where the term permaculture originates from
• Students will be able to describe one or two factors that have led to the creation of permaculture

Aim 3.
To provide some examples of the actual and potential application of permaculture to real life situations

• Students will be able to describe one or two examples of a situation or environment where permaculture design has been used

• Students will be able to describe one or two situations where there is the potential for permaculture design to be used

Introduction (5mins)
• Introduction-connections between the rabbit, corn and tree
• An ecological design system
• Founders :Mollison & Holmgren
• What is an ecosystem /beneficial relationship?
• Explanation of beneficial relationships in ecosystems-mirroring these-making connections
• Why ? -desire for sustainable living
• Oil based economy

Some principles (5mins)
• Stacking
• Work with nature -no dig-low maintenance
• Relative location-network of beneficial relationships
• Diversity
• 3 functions for every element

Examples of application (5mins)
• Garden
• Farm
• Urban (Bed Zed)

Practical design exercise in pairs with garden plan (10 mins)

• Use at least two of the five permaculture design principles to improve the garden on the plan

Summary (5mins)
Link to objects introduced at start of session

Questions (if time)