Gaia: Earth is a closed system running on solar energy
The first 6 principles as outlined by David Holmgren draw heavily on natural systems and ecology and are essentially the rules derived from observation of the natural world. Principle number 4 is the biggie I say this as it links us to systems thinking and the reality that everything is […]

Chester PDC: D4 Systems and feedback

There are at least 5 trophic levels of living organisms in healthy soil
Soil is alive, the real partnership we have to understand is with the living organisms in the soil. This is key to our long term survival on this planet and how we can meet our needs in partnership with nature. Here is Geoff Lawton taking a permaculture and bio dynamic […]

Chester PDC: D3 Obtain a yield

Medieval map of Chester
This BBC documentary was made a few years ago but has not dated. It visits permaculture pioneers Patrick Whitefield, Chris and Lynne Dixon as well as investigating the legacy of Arthur Hollins through the eyes of Rebecca Hoskins a natural world photographic journalist who is returning to the family farm […]

PDC Chester: D2 Nature as a teacher

Not your normal classroom! We are thrilled to running the first ever PDC in Chester Cathedral’s 1000 year history; we are also wondering has anyone else, anywhere actually run a PDC in a Cathedral? We are rather excited and proud of that possibility! We have 12 participants, interesting number for […]

PDC Chester: D1 The first supper

Following on from this open evening talk, a full PDC at Chester Cathedral 4
Arranging this at short notice, and we need a minimumm of 10 peope to proceed, but this is really exciting opportunty to take permaculture into a new area. Please get in touch with me directly if you are interested. Plan is to run a full PDC based on a series […]

Full PDC @ Chester Cathedral, 12 evenings + 1 weekend

PDC vision for abundance and diversity at Pen Y Bryn 1
I like to say that change is the only constant in life that we are guaranteed, although I was corrected by Geoff Lawton at this year’s PDC where, in his earthworks session he pointed out that the fact that water always moves at right angles to contour is the constant […]

PDC Day 12: Change is an unstoppable force

The path to regenerative growth
Following the well beaten and establish path is leading us over the precipice, what worked for previous generations is now failing us. Climate change looms as a spectre that reaffirms the increasingly pressing need to end the age of excessive consumption, yet from within the current economic paradigm it is […]

PDC Day 11: Exploring edges and valuing the marginal

Bill Mollison unleashed permaculture back in the 70's, it has now permeated 140 different countries as well as the imagination of millions. Bill MOllison, i salute you. RIP I guess you have earned yourself some rest! You will be missed.
Day ten is the point of the PDC where the participants take the controls to lead on the design workshop. It is always interesting, challenging, engaging and more whilst bing as a chance to start to apply some of the learning and ideas explored on the course to a real […]

PDC day 10: Embracing diversity

The 'A' team, mapping contours
We enjoyed another lovely site visit today to the, “Honeypot”, children’s Charity Pen Y Bryn near Newtown. The charity offers respite care support to young carers and vulnerable children, many of whom would otherwise have nowhere to turn. The Pen Y Bryn chapel has been refurbished and a new swimming […]

PDC Day 9: Site visit to Pen y Bryn

Learning in the field
Nature is all about connections. Nothing exists in isolation, life is a direct result of interactions between things and this is an essential observation and lesson to be integrated into our design perspective. If we want to emulate nature in design and receive the benefit of natural resilience and abundance […]

PDC day 8: Integration rules

Principle 7 is about design, about moving from seeing the over-arching patterns before focussing on the detail and risking becoming bogged down in the minutiae. Permaculture teaches us that the way to eliminate waste is by design. Analysis of the inputs and outputs of each element allows to identify where […]

PDC Day 7: Seeing the wood for the trees

Permaculutre in Timor, designed systems produce no waste by lining systems together and turning imputs into outputs.
Today we explored the principle ‘produce no waste’, and examples of how closed loop systems can materialise in two strikingly different ways: from the high-tech ecological urban systems of the Biospheric project in Salford, to post-independence Timor Leste, where permaculture design helped communities to rebuild and thrive. Another consideration of […]

PDC Day 6: Reducing waste and finding consensus

The compost toilet at Garth Organic Garden
I love language and its origins. Today we’ve been discussing permaculture principle No.5: Use and value renewable resources and services. For part of the day we’ve been looking at the flow of food intake into our own bodies and the inevitable output. How do we use and value that? The […]

PDC Day 5: Talking Crap All Day

Exploring Garth Organic, a permaculture designed community garden
    ‘There are no such things as pests only systems out of equilibrium’ really made me pause for thought. Day four’s principle concerns ‘applying self-regulation and accepting feedback’ and saw us on a day trip to Garth Organic situated 1000ft above sea level near the village of Glyn Ceiriog. […]

PDC Day 4: Pest management or restoring equilibrium

Exploring Llanfyllin's sustainable urban drainage system, willow coppice, and forest garden.
“We are three days into the PDC and I’m enjoying the way the permaculture principles introduce the learning topics and set the tone. The third principle of permaculture is ‘obtain a yield’. Or, put more poetically, ‘you can’t work on an empty stomach’. The core idea in this that spoke […]

PDC Day 3: Rebuilding Soil, Rebuilding Community