PERMACULTURE CONSULTING ONLINE COURSE
PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE, BECOME A PERMACULTURE TEACHER AND CONSULTANT
If you are passionate about the changes that permaculture can bring for the future and want to spread the word by teaching, training and consulting, this is the course to your dreams. Learn about permaculture, how to operate as a consultant, with a large variety of electives such as organic agriculture and farming; sustainable agriculture, alternative energy; nut and fruit production and more.
Permaculture is a growing movement worldwide that revolutionises the way we manage the environment around us to maximise the use of energy to increase food production and environmental health. Permaculture courses are in demand as are skilled consultants. This is a great course for those already practicing permaculture and wanting to take the next step and those just wanting to start out and learn more.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Permaculture Consulting is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
MORE ON THE CORE MODULES -
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE FOR CONSULTANTS
There are eight lessons in this module as follows:
1. Determining if a Consultancy
Practice is for You
- Attributes of successful consultants
- Advantages & disadvantages
- Codes of Conduct
- Are you ready?
2. Planning a Consultancy Practice:
- Methods of getting into
- Business structure & name
- Working from home or an office
- Set up costs
- Surviving start up
- Getting assistance
3. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 2
- A comprehensive Business Plan & Implementation / Pro-forma
4. Knowing What to Charge
- Your costs
- Available Working Time
- Different ways to charge
- Value based fees & justifying your fees
5. Setting Up Your Consulting Practice
- Letting clients find out about you/Advertising/Marketing
- Creating a press kit
6. Keeping Accounts and Records
- Keeping Records
- Source documents
- The invoice
- Being organized
7. How to Generate Business & Keep It
- Using agents/brokers
- Using other consultants
- Asking advice from clients & potential clients
- Asking for a reference
- Writing articles
- Successful client relations
- Keeping clients
- What to do if a potential client says ‘no’
- Principles of acquiring business
8. Maintaining Your Consultancy Practice
- Professional development
- Hiring staff to expand your business
- Creating passive income
- Pitfalls to avoid
- Analyse current industry requirements and your individual needs to determine if opening a consultancy is appropriate.
- Determine the business structure appropriate for your consultancy practice.
- Produce a business plan and implementation schedule
- Determine costs involved in setting up a practice and how to set fees.
- Describe different communication and marketing techniques.
- Describe different administrative procedures including invoicing and maintaining records and accounts.
- Determine industry best practice for obtaining and keeping your customers
- Recognise responsibility towards yourself and employees in maintaining and expanding your practice, and to develop strategies to cater for increased demand.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
- Evaluating Design Strategies
- The need for sustainability
- Low input farming
- Regenerative farming
- Biodynamic systems
- Organic systems
- Conservation farming
- Matching enterprise with land capability
- Integrated management
- Permaculture planning
- Reading patterns
- Mapping overlays
- Design strategies and techniques
- Undulating edge
- Spirals and circles
- Zig zag trellis
- Temporary shelter
- Small scale sun trap
- Small scale sun shading
- Keyhole beds
- Understanding Patterns
- Understanding patterns
- Know your land: evaluate a site
- Weather patterns, soil pH, EC,temperature, water etc
- Electromagnetic considerations
- Herbicide or pesticide consideration
- Land carrying capacity
- Assessing land capability
- Checklist of sustainability elements
- Indication of sustainability
- Log books
- Water supply
- Water saving measures
- Dam and pond building
- Construction; concrete, brick, stone,
- liners, earth construction
- Collecting rainwater
- Recycling waste water
- Using farm waste water
- Town water supply
- Well drilling
- Pumping subterranean ground water
- Pumping from natural supplies (eg. lakes, rivers)
- Pumps and plumbing supplies
- Water use: power generatyion, deisel generators
- Fish culture: land and water, dams
- Water plant cultureWater plants to know and grow
- Seasonal changes in a pond
- Sweage treatment: reed beds
- Problems with water
- Wating water and conservation
- Swales and keylines
- Keyline design
- Site clearing
- Solving drainage problems
- Surveying techniques: triangulation, direct contouring, grid system etc
- Levelling terms
- Levelling procedure
- Levelling a sloping site
- Loss of soil fertility
- Soil compaction
- Soil acidification
- Build up of dangerous chemicals
- Improving soils
- Using lime, gypsum or acidic materials
- Humid Tropics
- Climatic systems
- The wet tropics
- Sources of humus
- Soil life in the tropics
- Barrier plants
- Animal barriers
- Permaculture systems for the wet tropics
- Garden beds
- Tropical fruits to grow
- Dry Climates
- Water storage and conservation
- Dryland gardens
- Dryland orchards
- Planting on hills
- Corridor planting
- Overcoming dry soils
- Drought tolerant plants
- Temperate to Cold Climates
- Characteristics of a temperate biozone
- Cool temperate garden design
- Useful crops for this zone
- Crop protection
- Soils in a cool temperate area
- Growing berries
- Soil life
- Planning Work
- Alternative planning procedures
- The planning process
- What goes where
- Equipping the environmentally friendly garden
- Barriers, walls and fencin
- Rubble, brick and concrete walls
- Retaining walls
- Changing an existing farm to be more sustainable
- Monitoring and reviewing
- Contingencies and seasonal variations
- Planning for drought
- Excessive water
- Property costs
- Making cost cutting choices
- Planning for the cost conscious
- Likely costs to establish a garden
- Socio economic considerations in farming
- Production planning
- Economies of scale
- Value adding
- Sustainable Systems
- Other sustainable systems
- Working with nature rather than against it
- Minimising machinery use
- Only use what is necessary
- Different ways to garden naturally
- Organic gardening
- No Dig techniques
- Biodynamic preparations
- Crop rotation
- Bush gardens
- Succession planting
- Seed saving
- Environmental horticulture
- Sustainable agriculture around the world
- Integrated pest management
- Cultural controls
- Biological controls
- Physical controls
- Chemicals Quarantine
- Controlling weeds without chemicals
- Animals in sustainable systems
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Evaluate appropriate design strategies for a specific development site.
- Explain the relationship between a Permaculture system and natural patterns occurring in your local area.
- Develop strategies for the management of water in a Permaculture design.
- Determine earthworks for the development of a Permaculture system.
- Design a Permaculture system for the humid tropics.
- Design a Permaculture system for a dry climate.
- Design a Permaculture system for a temperate to cold climate.
- Determine planning strategies for the development of a Permaculture system.
- Prepare cost estimates for a Permaculture development plan.
- Explain alternative sustainable systems practiced in various places around the world.
What You Will Do
- Explain the evolution of a Permaculture system which is at least five years old.
- Compare the suitability of different planning procedures, for development of a Permaculture system on a specified site.
- Develop a permaculture plan on a specified site, by using flow diagrams.
- Illustrate the progressive development of one view of a Permaculture system, over several years
- Explain the relevance of patterns which occur in nature, to Permaculture design.
- Explain the importance of observation skills in Permaculture planning.
- Analyse the weather patterns of a site in your locality as a basis for planning a Permaculture system.
- Compare different methods of water provision, including collection and storage for a specified Permaculture system.
- Analyse the adequacy of two different specific Permaculture system designs, in terms of: water requirements, water provision, water storage, and water usage.
- Explain, the use of different survey equipment.
- Survey a site, that has been selected for a proposed Permaculture system, recording details, including: topography, dimensions, and location of features.
- Prepare a Permaculture site plan, to scale, of the site surveyed,
- Distinguish between, using labelled drawings, different types of earthworks, including: banks, benching, terracing, and mounds.
- Compare different methods for the provision of drainage on a site proposed as, or being developed as a Permaculture system.
- Determine the factors unique to the design of Permaculture systems in humid tropical climates, dry climates, and cold climates.
- Determine a large number of different plant species suited for inclusion in a Permaculture system in each of the climates above.
- Determine different animal species suitable for inclusion in a Permaculture system in each of the climates above.
- Prepare a Permaculture design for each of the climates above.
- Calculate the quantities of materials, showing necessary calculations, required in a specified permaculture plan.
- Estimate the work-hours required, showing any necessary calculations, to complete each section of work.
- Estimate the equipment required, showing any necessary calculations, to complete each section of work.
- Determine suppliers for all materials, for a specified Permaculture development, in accordance with specific plans supplied to you.
- Determine the costs of different types of materials, for a specified Permaculture development, from different suppliers.
- Determine the essential costs for services to establish a specified Permaculture system, such as: labour costs, sub contracting fees, equipment hire, permits and planning applications, technical reports, legal fees.
- Compare the costs of establishing different Permaculture systems, which you visit and investigate.
- Explain different sustainable agricultural or horticultural systems, other than permaculture.
- Differentiate Permaculture from other sustainable systems, including: Biodynamics, Organic farming.
- Compare specified sustainable agricultural or horticultural practices from different countries.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Permaculture Principles
- Permaculture principles and ethics, Principles of Design (Relative location, Multiple Functions, Multiple Elements, Elevational Planning, Biological Resources, Energy Recycling, Natural Selection, Maximise Edges, Diversity); Permaculture Relationships to other Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Growing, No Dig Gardening, Sheet Composting, Not Till Planting, No Dig Raised Beds, Crop Rotation, Cover Cropping, Composting, Companion Planting, Pest and Disease Prevention, Biological Control
- Natural Systems
- The Ecosystem (Abiotic and Biotic components), Ecological Concepts, Biomass, Climate, Microclimates, Water, Water and Plant Growth, Maximising Plant Water, Arid Landscapes, Irrigation, Swales, Waste Water Treatments, Reed Beds, Aquatic Environments, The Hydrological Cycle, Rainfall, Evaporation, Infiltration, Effective Rain, Soil Environments (Micro organisms, Organic Matter, Soil Degradation and rehabilitation, Erosion, Salinity, Acidification), Managing Wildlife in a Permaculture System, Structure, Structure of a Permaculture System, Stacking, Successions.
- Zone and Sector Planning
- Five Standard Zones, Sectors (sun, Cold, Windy etc), Site selection, Pre planning information, Staged procedure for concept design.
- Permaculture Techniques
- Forests and trees, Trees as energy transducers, Forest types (Fuel, Forage, Shelterbelt, Animal barrier, Structural, Conservation), Establishing a forest, Sector/Zone Analysis, Firebreak, Windbreak, Mandala Gardens, Keyhole beds, Water bodies, Pond design, Pond construction,
- Animals in Permaculture
- Locating animals in a system, Function of animals in Permaculture, Bees, Poultry, Mobile Tractor Systems, Pigs, Grazing animals, Fencing, Water supply, Shelter, Birds, Earthworms, Aquaculture
- Plants in Permaculture
- Vegetable Growing Hints, Soil Management for plants, Organic fertilizers, Animal manures, Liquid feeds, Rock dusts, Legumes (Nitrogen fixing), Mycorrhyzae, Mulch, Weed Management, Pest Control, Culture of a large range of plants suited to permaculture, in different environments (including: Asparagus, Black locust, Cassava, Chicory, Dandelion, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Leek, Mint, Okra, Pigface, Rhubarb, Sweet Potato, Taro, Warrigal Greens, Water Cress, Water Spinach, Yam, Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Citrus, Fig, Loquat, Nashi Pear, Olive, Peach, Pear, Plum, Quince, Avocado, Banana, Carambola, Coconut, Custard Apple, Guava, Mango, Paw Paw, Pepino, Pineapple, Grape, Passionfruit, Kiwi fruit, Strawberry, Raspberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Mulberry, Blueberry, Brambles, Elderberry, Cranberry, Nuts, Fodder Trees, etc)
- Appropriate Technologies
- For example; Solar energy, Wind Energy, Methane, Bio fuel power, Composting Toilets, Energy efficient housing, Living fences (hedges, hedgerows etc), Water recycling (grey water and constructed wetland).
- Preparing a Plan
- Design for natural disasters, Drawing a Plan, Preparing a final design
- Several plans will be prepared by the student, including one major design.
- This is an ideal starting point for anyone who already has professional
- training in a related field such as agriculture or horticulture
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Explain the principles of permaculture.
- Explain the concepts of natural systems.
- Explain permaculture techniques involving zones and sector planning.
- Explain a range of permaculture techniques: (forest plantings, mandala gardens, ponds etc).
- Explain the significance of different animals in a permaculture system.
- Select plants appropriate for inclusion in a permaculture system, to supply a useful and sustained harvest; explain their husbandry.
- Select appropriate technologies for use in permaculture systems.
- Draw permaculture designs (plans) to scale
What You Will Do
- Differentiate between Permaculture and other sustainable systems.
- Explain the procedures followed in practicing different techniques which are sympathetic to Permaculture, including: No-dig gardening, Companion Planting, Biological control, and Sustainable harvesting.
- Explain the interactions that occur between living and non-living components in five different natural environments, including: Forest Systems, Aquatic Environments, Soil Environments, and Arid Environments.
- Evaluate different Permaculture designs against the nine Permaculture principles.
- Distinguish between different garden zones in a Permaculture system.
- Explain sector planning in a specific garden design.
- Design a mandala garden for a specific site.
- Determine the appropriate use of swales on a sloping site.
- Investigate distinctly different Permaculture systems.
- Explain three different cultural techniques used to minimise the maintenance requirement, in Permaculture systems you study.
- Determine different animal breeds, which can provide a useful and sustained harvest from a permaculture system in your locality.
- Describe the harvest, treatment and use of various products derived from different types of animals in a Permaculture system.
- Explain the factors which can affect the success of different types of animals, in a Permaculture system, including: Poultry, Aquatic animals, Domestic farm animals, Insects, Earthworms.
- Describe the husbandry of one specified type of animal, in a Permaculture system visited by you.
- Determine different species of plants which can provide a useful, sustained harvest from a Permaculture system.
- Describe the harvest, treatment and use of various products derived from twenty different plant genera in a Permaculture system.
- Compile a resource file of fifty information sources for different plants which can be incorporated into Permaculture systems.
- Explain the factors which can affect the survival of different types of plants, including those used for: Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, Fibres, Building materials, and Fuel.
- Explain the husbandry of one specified type of plant, in a Permaculture system visited by you.
- Explain the relevance of appropriate technology to Permaculture design.
- Compare three different waste disposal techniques which may be used for kitchen scraps in a Permaculture system.
- Compare three different waste disposal techniques which may be used for effluent in a Permaculture system.
- Evaluate the suitability of different building techniques in a Permaculture system.
- Explain the application of two different systems of alternative energy in a Permaculture system.
- Compare differences in the impact on a Permaculture system, of three alternative technologies designed for the same purpose (e.g. three alternative sources of electricity).
- Evaluate the use of technology in a house (you choose the house).
- Determine more "appropriate" technologies to replace currently used technologies, in a house you evaluate.
- Illustrate on a plan, twenty different components of a design, including: Plants, Buildings, and Landscape features.
- Transpose a simple Permaculture plan to a different scale.
- Represent an existing site, drawn to scale, on a plan.
- Describe the stages involved in the process of producing a Permaculture design.
- Prepare a concept plan for a Permaculture system surveyed by you, which is between five hundred and one thousand square metres in area.
- Prepare a detailed design for a Permaculture system of between five hundred and one thousand square metres in size, including: Scale drawings, Materials specifications, Lists of plant and animal varieties.
This course develops very broad skills, pertaining to sustainability, but with a particular focus on permaculture.
There are many different ideas about how to be more sustainable. You will find different people promoting different concepts with great vigour and enthusiasm, and in most cases, these concepts will have something valuable to teach you. Many are quite similar in approach, often being just variations of a similar theme. Each approach will have its application; but because it worked for someone else does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Some of these concepts are explained below and will be discussed in more detail later in the course.
Low Input Farming Systems
This approach is based on the idea that a major problem is depletion of resources. If a farmer uses fewer resources (e.g. chemicals, fertiliser, fuel, money, manpower), farm costs will be reduced, there is less chance of damage being caused by waste residues or overworking the land and the world is less likely to run out of the resources needed to sustain farming.
Regenerative Farming Systems
This seeks to create a system that will regenerate itself after each harvest. Techniques such as composting, green manuring and recycling may be used to return nutrients to the soil after each crop. Permaculture is currently perhaps the ultimate regenerative system. A Permaculture system is a carefully designed landscape which contains a wide range of different plants and animals. This landscape can be small (e.g. a home garden), or large (e.g. a farm) and it can be harvested to provide such things as wood (for fuel and building), eggs, fruit, herbs and vegetables, without seriously affecting the environmental balance. In essence, it requires little input once established, and continues to produce and remain sustainable.
This approach concentrates mobilising biological mechanisms. Organisms such as worms and bacteria in the soil break down organic matter and make nutrients available to pastures or crops. Under the appropriate conditions, nature will help dispose of wastes (e.g. animal manures), and encourage predators to eliminate pests and weeds.
Traditionally this involves using natural inputs for fertilisers and pest control, and techniques such as composting and crop rotation. In Australia and many other countries, there are schemes which "certify" produce as being organic. These schemes lay down very specific requirements, including products and farming techniques which are permitted, and others which are prohibited. In Australia, you can find out about such schemes through groups such as the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) or the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA). See directory for addresses.
This is based on the idea of conserving resources that already exist on the farm. It may involve such things as identifying and retaining the standard and quality of waterways, creek beds, nature strips, slopes, etc.
This approach involves separating plant growth from the soil, and taking greater control of the growth of a crop. This increases your ability to manage both production and the disposal of waste. Hydroponics is not a natural system of cropping, but it can be very environmentally friendly. A lot of produce can be grown in a small area; so despite the high establishment costs, the cost of land is much less allowing farms to operate closer to markets. In the long term, a hydroponic farm uses fewer land resources, fewer pesticides, and is less susceptible to environmental degradation than many other forms of farming.
Matching Enterprise with Land Capability
Some sites are so good that you can use them for almost any type of farming enterprise, for any period of time without serious degradation. Other places, however, have poor or unreliable climates or infertile soils and might only be suitable for certain types of enterprises or certain stocking or production rates. If you have a property already, only choose enterprises that are sustainable on your land.
This principle involves breeding or selecting animal or plant varieties which have desirable genetic characteristics. If a particular disease becomes a problem, you select a variety that has reduced susceptibility. If the land is threatened with degradation in a particular way, you should change to varieties that do not pose that problem.
Many modern farms practise monoculture, growing only one type of animal or plant. With large populations of the same organism, though, there is greater susceptibility to all sorts of problems. Diseases and pests can build up to large populations. One type of resource (required by that variety) can be totally depleted, while other resources on the farm are under-used. If the market becomes depressed, income can be devastated. A polyculture involves growing a variety of different crops or animals, in order to overcome such problems.
This concept holds that good planning and monitoring the condition of the farm and marketplace will allow the farmer to address problems before they lead to irreversible degradation. Chemical pesticides and artificial fertilisers may still be used, but their use will be better managed. Soil degradation will be treated as soon as detected. Water quality will be maintained. Ideally, diseases will be controlled before they spread. The mix of products being grown will be adjusted to reflect changes in the marketplace (e.g. battery hens and lot-fed animals may still be produced but the waste products which often damage the environment should be properly treated, and used as a resource rather than being dumped and causing pollution).
The term “Permaculture” is derived from the idea of “permanent agriculture”.
In its strictest sense, Permaculture is a polyculture system of agriculture based on perennial or self‑perpetuating plant and animal species which are useful to man. In a broader context, Permaculture is a philosophy which encompasses the design and establishment of environments which are harmonious, highly productive and stable. These environments provide food, shelter, and energy, as well as supportive social and economic infrastructures, in a sustainable manner.
In comparison to modern farming techniques practised in most modern civilisations, the key elements of Permaculture are low energy and high diversity inputs. The design of the landscape, whether on a suburban block or a large farm, is based on these elements. It also takes ethical issues into consideration.
Design is required to place plants, structures and animals in relation to each other so that their functions and yields are enhanced. Permaculture design skills include observation, deduction, analysis, mapping, pattern reading and experience.