Permaculture is a path towards actualizing our potentials as caretaker-stewards of the planetary ecosystem, as well as teachers and leaders in our communities. Bill Mollison says ‘Once we begin, we will know how to proceed’ and this is the philosophy of courage and exploration that we hold dear. Many of us know we want to dedicate ourselves to personal evolution and service to the current pressing planetary crisis but we need to upgrade our life toolkit to do so. In the spirit of adventure, four stewards from the Gaiacraft collective have taking the leap into a transformative learning adventure to study with some of the Grandmothers of the permaculture movement.
Here you can see short movies interviewing the facilitators, read micro articles and see photos of the experience.
Check these 1-4 minute micro-movies made on the Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage 2.0
Social Permaculture Journey https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/socialpermaculturejourney
Future Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/starhawkfuturepermaculture
People Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/starhawkpeoplepermaculture
Life Path Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/starhawklifepathpermaculture
Future of Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/rowemorrowfuturepermaculture
World Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/rosemarymorrowworldpermaculture
Permaculture for Refugees https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/permacultureforrefugees
Dynamic Groups and Creative Facilitation https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/dynamicgroups
Future Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/futurepermaculture
People Care https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/peoplecare
Permaculture Empowerment Education
People and Permaculture https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/peopleandpermaculture
World Resilience https://vimeo.com/gaiacraft/robinaworldresilience
“Permaculture gives people a place to be a part of the solution”
– Rosemary Morrow
It was a beautiful blue day in the grassy hills near the border of Wales, the beginning of an unforgettable learning adventure. An inspiring group of teachers and actionaries met at the new Applewood Permaculture Centre to share in a life changingly awesome experience, taking a teacher training from three truly exceptional permaculture teachers : Rosemary Morrow, Looby Macnamara and Chris Evans. This historic 9 day activation included a mosaic of learnings about creative facilitation, dynamic teaching methods, presentation skills, course convening and accelerated learning. The group came together from all across the world including Australia, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Israel, Netherlands, Belgium, Wales and England bringing a diversity of perspectives and personalities. Together we played games, practiced teaching and facilitation, shared meals and gathered around the fire to deepen our understanding and practice of permaculture. Joining together in a learning guild, this unique group shared in farm chores and had a transformative experience pushing our edges to step forward into an empowered new life path. This was the first in a series of courses that are part of a Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage that continues at the Sustainability Center including a Resilience Training with Rosemary Morrow, Dynamic Groups, Dynamic Learning course with Robin Clayfield and Looby Macnamara, and a Social Permaculture Course with Starhawk, Robin Clayfield, Looby Macnamara, Robina McCurdy and Peter Cow. These are edge events leading up to this years incredible International Permaculture Convergence in London in September.
Here is a book made of the event including photos, quotes and curriculum gems from the course.
Passing through the beautiful British countryside dotted with stone houses, tiny villages and farms lined with hedgerows, the world seemed to be as it has been for hundreds of years. The landscape that inspired Narnia of CS Lewis and Middle Earth of JRR Tolkien has an almost immortal feel, despite the rapidly transforming modern world intensely apparent in the bustle of the bigger cities our permaculture learning guild has mostly avoided. We arriving alongside 16 other amazing permaculture people who have traveled from across Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia and North America to converge in an evolutionary learning experience and empowerment into the next level of their life work as teachers, facilitators, mentors and leaders in their communities. Our global collective journeyed into a living example of permaculture in action, the Sustainability Centre, an independent learning and study hub with a holistic, practical and creative approach to education. This old military site has been converted into a community centre for all things sustainable, and thousands pass through each year to study, share and take retreats from the wilds of the world. It is a historic turning point for the Centre who are embarking on a journey to create a new building that exemplifies the values of Earth care and People care. The site already hosts Permaculture Publications, one of the most prolific publishers of permaculture media in the world including the renown Permaculture Magazine. To stack functions and cover more territory, our colourful group split up and did two courses running at the same time in different buildings on site, coming together as a whole to share inspiration and learnings during meals and evening sessions.
One group did an intensive Resilience Training with Rosemary Morrow, whose lifetime of aid work in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Uganda, East Timor, Vietnam and the Solomon Islands has culminated in a profoundly relevant educational program. Participants deepened their understanding of Disaster response and preparedness while applying the learning to do Resilience assessments and planning for their own communities. The course was designed as a teacher training to empower participants to lead their own versions of the program in different areas of the world. The depth and power of this program hit home for the global participants who left empowered with a vastly upgraded toolkit and new awareness.
The other group did an inspirational Dynamic Facilitation course with Robin Clayfield and Looby Macnamara, two of the Permaculture Pioneers forging new ground along the creative edge of education. We went through countless interactive learning processes using break out groups, movement, music, role play and a melange of multi-sensory, transformational and empowering teaching practices. Our life toolkits were enhanced and upgraded along with an amazing increase in confidence and competence in facilitating groups. Smiles and laughter permeated the space and many of us had never had such fun while learning.
It was an incredibly transformational learning experience and a wonderful launch point for the next level of our lives as artful actionaries and activators.
“Social Permaculture supports People Care and healthy Group Culture”
– Robin Clayfield
Softening the Edges
Social Permaculture and Beyond
There was a special charge in the air and woodland gardens at the Sustainability Centre in the British Countryside. It was here, under the full moon, that a colourful mosaic of people from all ages, languages, cultures and countries was woven together, representing the fabric of the World Community. We met in a circle, bright eyed and open to a creative journey ahead. What followed could not have been known by anyone, not even the facilitators.
The Social Permaculture Course emerged through a series of interaction between the core facilitators, a team of apprentices and a host of participants, shaping itself like a permaculture design to the site specific situation, elements and energies, influences and ideas that sprang out of this incredible transformational environment.
At the heart of this new magic was four incredibly powerful and pioneering women of permaculture; Starhawk from the USA, Robina McCurdy from New Zealand, Robin Clayfield from Australia and Looby Macnamara from England. Integrating the male element was Peter Cow, an inspired and inspiring permaculture designer also from the United Kingdom. The facilitators were supported by the ‘elves’, a team of apprentices including JJ, Klaudia, Pauline, Kerry, Jo, Alex, Kym Chi, Dana, Annaliese and Delvin.
Our ring gathered together in a beautifully hand crafted wood and canvas classroom lit by a small fireplace, and amongst the woodland surrounding. Amidst the bird songs and sun rays, we had what might be described as a Social Permaculture Experience. The learnings were nested and stacked into each other, we learned about Social Permaculture while we actively lived Social Permaculture in the midst of a fully functional Social Permaculture site.
Our world is made of systems within systems, an interconnected web of life more complex than humanity has the capacity to grasp all at once. Similarly the Social Permaculture journey we took passed through countless processes, discussions, classes, workshops, councils, experiences and learnings, all connected together in many different ways. Our time was full to overflowing with illuminations, touchstones, and moments of realization as well as games, songs, rituals and dances, lit up by lots and lots of laughter.
What we witnessed was indescribable. It was an experience that cannot be described despite a heavy focus on creative note taking alongside video and audio recordings. A series of articles and short micro-videos and booklets, of which this is one, will emerge from this magical media mosaic to share some shimmering reflections of the territory explored in this truly transformational learning experience. Feels like the course is just the beginning of the learning, a whirlwind of new concepts, tools, processes and understandings which will come to light as we carry them out in our life bundles to people, communities and organizations all over the world.
Social Permaculture is a new wave of activism and inspiration pouring forth from permeable edges of the Permaculture Movement. Those surfing the wave of this evolution can cast an eye towards a hopeful future where all beings and things are cared for. Its up to each of us to make a personal commitment and dedication to play our own part in co-creating the harmonic and healthy future, helping take Social Permaculture beyond the edge and into ‘the everything’.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Permaculture Design at the Edge of the West
Just above the Mediterranean ocean, in the sunswept land of olive trees, is a hilly dryland that I can only describe as biblical. Here in the cradle of western civilization is a culture rich with history and facing an economy on the brink. We gather in a three story cement building with only raw floors and ceilings. Surrounded by permaculture gardens and trees, it has a 360 degree view over the countryside, mountains and across the rolling blue ocean. I cannot imagine a more appropriate classroom. Alongside permaculture pilgrims Dana Wilson and Annaliese Hordern, we gather with 22 Greek participants and 8 other international students who have come to this place of profound beauty and intensity to learn from one of the grandmothers of permaculture, Rosemary Morrow, and her wonderful co-teacher Tina Limberis.
Living and learning in close quarters with so many wonderful people is a joyful challenge, bringing a special kind of life to this transformative experience. The educational journey is deeply enrichening peoples understandings of the world, and in some cases, even altering peoples life paths. Being with Rosemary Morrow is a lesson in profound inspiration, empowerment and humility, a teaching on the power of service and dedication to the work of helping humanity and the planet.
We gather to develop our ecological literacy, exploring topics like seed saving, composting, regenerative land use, intensive no-till farming, home retrofits and community currency. Permaculture innovates practical solutions to common problems like erosion, fossil fuel use, deforestation, economic collapse, habitat loss, poverty and urbanization. We learn to design with an eye to climate, natural patterns, ecological design principles, forest systems, and generating relocalized, resilient systems that help us provide for our needs in an ethical way.
Learning permaculture with a population of need has been an eye opening experience and profoundly inspiring. The practical aspects of permaculture to provide health and happiness for people of all economic ranges as well as to care for and restore earth systems is a great source of meaning and leads me to believe that this ethical science is truly the way forward for humanity.
As a capstone, Dana Wilson made a series of ‘Meme Maps’, key photo learning flash cards.