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The Full Permaculture Experience

Cas Wainwright went on a full 2 week intensive Permaculture Design Course earlier this year. Cas Lives in Llanfyllin, and was fortunate enough to find a course right on her doorstep as part of the Workhouse restoration project. This is her account of the experience.

My curiosity and interest in Permaculture was inspired by watching “A Farm for the Future”, a BBC 2 Natural world programme screened earlier this year. The film covered the basics of peak oil and permaculture as film maker Rebecca Hosking investigated how to transform her family's farm in Devon into a low-energy farm for the future.

Concerned as I am about the issues of climate change, peak oil and our ability to grow enough food in an ethical, humane way that is kind to the environment I was delighted to find

a 2 week Permaculture design course being held at the Workhouse during May and that I had the time to do it.

My experience of the course was a wonderful, fun-filled 2 weeks. Meeting and getting to know a great mixture of people of different ages and different backgrounds from all over Britain and Europe was a stimulating experience. We all had different skills, knowledge and experience to bring to the group and many of us started with little if any knowledge of Permaculture.  A lot of what we learned and did in the course was about how to work well in groups and with each other.

The course was very well designed  and enthusiastically delivered by the facilitators - Steve Jones, Chris Evans and Looby Macnamara.  Tutorials were always well balanced with visits, slide shows and practical sessions, when we had the chance to put the theory into action or see how other people had used Permaculture design.

During our practical sessions we built a compost toilet and an earth oven, planted a forest garden, learned how to use a scythe and an A frame for marking out contours and built and planted poly veg beds. The tutorials covered subjects such as Permaculture ethics, erosion, Holmgren principles, web of life, trees and their microclimates, soil conservation and much much more

Throughout the course we were putting what we learned into action and the culmination of this intensive 2 weeks was working in groups to produce a Permaculture design. Four groups were assigned 4 different areas around the workhouse and one group was assigned the proposed car park expansion and river site in Llanfyllin. To arrive at the design we went through the whole process of surveying the site, talking to the “client”, producing a base map, analysing the functions, designing the systems and elements and presenting the final designs to the rest of the group and other invited guests on the final Saturday of the course.

We were all very sorry that the course had finished and lots of plans were made to keep in touch with each other. I would thoroughly recommend this course so look out for details of the next Permaculture design course or if you want to get a taste of what it’s about, Steve Jones is running introduction to Permaculture courses at the workhouse in Llanfyllin.

(see Sector39 in web links)

Cas Wainwright

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