Category Archives: EPT Partner News

More Action on the North Eastern Front

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 by Jillian Hovey

Permaculturalists from the North East of North America recently gathering for their 3rd Annual Retreat.  Our host, Omega Institute for Holistic Living, is located a two-hour (150km) train ride up the Hudson River from New York City.  For decades, this renovated summer camp has been a mecca for people seeking knowledge about alternative living.  Their educational programmes have grown to include permaculture, and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living hosts a month-long “Ecoliteracy Immersion Program” which includes at full PDC.

The 30 participants who came from Maine to Philadelphia had the pleasure of meeting in the world’s first “Living Building”, which treats the campus’ grey and black water with an Eco Machine designed by John Todd (a student of Buckminster Fuller).  The relatively informal meeting was organised by Open Space, and there were interesting sessions and a range of subjects from “business of permaculture”, through to colonialism and oppression, to Zone 00 care.
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North American Permaculture Convergence

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by Jillian Hovey, EPT delegate

At the International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba this past December, an Open Session group met to discuss a possible “U.S.” convergence. I showed up, as I thought it was important to have the event include Canada, as we are often “eclipsed” by the “Americans”: we are very aware of them, but they often “forget” that we exist (a strong social ecosystem dynamic). A “North American” convergence (which also includes Mexico) was quickly agreed to, and a group of people from the state of Minnesota stepped forward to host it, and the North American Permaculture Convergence was underway. They had about 8 months to pull it off, and August 29 – 31 we met as almost 400 permaculturalists in the American Mid-West. It was the first meeting of its kind in 30 years – the last one took place in 1984!

 

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Nordic Permaculture Festival

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The Nordic Permaculture Festival is the biggest permaculture event in the Nordic countries. This year, the fourth festival took place in Friland, Denmark. 150  partcipants joined in presenting projects, doing workshops, connecting, …

Karoline Nolsø Aaen, which was the main organizer of the festival, was smiling enthusiastically. 

“I am very impressed that everyone has been so helpful and everything is successful because so many have lent a hand in the preparations, in the kitchen, holding workshops and giving the festival positive energy.”

We look forward to next years festival in Sweden! Continue reading Nordic Permaculture Festival

Advanced Permaculture Design Courses

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There has been little debate or even discussion on Advanced Permaculture Design Courses. We see them advertised infrequently and perhaps do not recognise fully their value. As designer of many miles of experience in many different offices of the world and many more variations of projects coming from a professional background in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design lucky enough to mould Permaculture with all these disciplines I specialise in Advanced Design. This is my forte. I recognise it as tremendously valuable for “Permaculture is a Design Philosophy” but where are all the designers. I can imagine that the task of designing any project is often quite daunting. And, in all seriousness it is. From someone who knows the industry inside out, I know it is a daunting task. No matter how big the project is. I have designed many at many differing scales, from small one off kitchen gardens to an 8,000 hectare new city. I enjoy the challenge and revel in it.

I have recognised there is a need right across Europe to develop our design skills and have been invited to offer my skills and experience to lead Advanced Permaculture Design Courses. These may be either a full 7 day course or be more of a Design Workshop of a long weekend. If you feel you would like to be part of these at any level either participating in one, co-teaching or convening please do let me know and we will mutually evolve these needs and serve a growing demand to again advance more real outcomes and models of excellence on the ground. Just remember any idea can involve the exercise of design. Such a project does not necessarily need to be a garden or farm, it could be any subject or project that needs support through vehicles of design. An APDC is also a very valuable follow up course for the standard accredited PDC.

Please go online http://permaculturecollege.eu/ and comment into the Permaculture College of Europe for this is yet another programme it is supporting or email me directly. Email: steve@permaculturecollege.eu or skype me for discussion if you prefer Skype: stevenlawrencehart

Best regards Steve Hart

Permaculture College of Europe

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PCofE logoThe Permaculture College of Europe was officially launched at EUPC12 in Batak, Bulgaria July 2014. It was one specific very practical and immediate outcome of the series of EPT Conferences formulated by Leo Bakx and Steve Hart with considerable support from Martin Giannini, Dr Peter Sherwood-Roberts and Dr. Martina Petru. The challenge now is to build on this outcome to evolve it into a very worthwhile and supportive energy right across Europe. The website has evolved and much brainstorming on policy process and programmes is highly active. We invite all members of the entire European Permaculture community to come on this great journey with us. The energy will be mutual as will the outcomes and opportunities. Please do read through all links of the website and offer your comment. http://permaculturecollege.eu/ It is an evolving tool as nature is teaching us. We will be driving this vehicle for all to be satisfied. Continue reading Permaculture College of Europe

The Permaculture College of Europe

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by Steve Hart, July 2014

PCofE logoThe idea of The Permaculture College of Europe was born from discussions of objectivity  from the first series of EPT Conferences. It was recognised as a value in developing a facility that could function to serve the key future developments of Permaculture Education throughout Europe. This is but one tool in the structural tool box and as an excellent outcome to evolve the tremendous efforts created from the EPT series.  Continue reading The Permaculture College of Europe

Federation or Foundation, Society or Cooperative?

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Europe pointilizedBy Steve Hart, July 2014

At EPT 6 in Denmark there was a strong feeling among many that a “Federation” become the vehicle to support future needs, strategies and developments desired to flow on from the EPT energy.

My personal discussions of such structures has been a response to views commented on over the past four years about the collapse in Permaculture through lowering standards and the values and needs of support and service structures in order to maintain and develop the standards and performances throughout the whole pallet of Permaculture. My essay “Permaculture’s Collapse Dance” introduces this observation.

Continue reading Federation or Foundation, Society or Cooperative?

Networking Garden

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One of the activities we did at the Friland meeting was to create a Networking Garden with links relevant to our work of important organisations, places and people at international and national level.

Networking garden

NATIONAL LEVEL

Denmark:

Eco­villages (LØS), Baltic ecco­villages (BEN), Ø­network (Island­netwpork), Landsforeningen for økologisk byggerei (LØB), Vocational colleges, LAND / PLANT, PAUK (www.permaculture.org.uk) Transition network

Germany:

Transition radio (studioansage.de), GEN EUROPE & Germany (gen­-europe.org), Berlin development network, Urban gardening network (urbanacker.net), soned.de, Wildnisschulen.org, Transition network (www.transition-initiativen.de), Tiefenökologie (www.thiefenoekologie.de, Deep Ecology), International Degrowth Conference (leipzig.degrowth.org), ANU (www.umweltbildung.de)

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Third Day at Friland Meeting

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Sandra Campe
Sandra Campe

Like every morning, we formed the opening circle to start off the day, where everyone shared something learned the day before.

The morning was dedicated to working on widening participation when designing permaculture courses. The aim is to reach different audiences that are not usually represented in permaculture courses. The topics were chosen from a survey that had been passed among the members of the partnership. The topics covered in the session were: Continue reading Third Day at Friland Meeting

Second Day at Friland Meeting

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Karoline and Tycho at Myrrhis, the home they are building by hand according to Permaculture principles

We started with a morning circle where we shared in pairs, how we felt about the day before, and we were also asked to pop-corn inspiring moments about yesterday’s events. The rest of the morning was dedicated to working on the primary activities, where progress has been made in the production of materials for the COMPOST (this website).

After lunch, a visit to Tycho and Karoline’s home (and LAND project) was repeated on behalf of those who didn’t do it yesterday. The first activity right after lunch was a World Café to envisage the future of the European Teacher’s network, with an objective to determine the next achievable steps. The rest of the afternoon continued with work on the primary activities.

After dinner we enjoyed learning traditional Danish folks dances accompanied by violin, thanks to two incredibly patient teachers, circular dances from Israel and Romania, an impromptu, improvised, interpretive music and dance experience accompanied by piano, guitar, drum and violin, and typical food and drinks from several countries, celebrating our diversity.

Please share your photos on the EPT Facebook group.

Extract from the EPT Midterm Report: specific results & challenges

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This is an extract from the midterm report that all partners had to hand in to their respective NAs before june 30th 2013. The full report can be downloaded from here.

Concrete results have been

Escherode (Germany) August 1-7, 2012:

  1. We spread information about the Partnership to newcomers and on the newly established website: http://permateachers.eu
  2. We presented partner organisations to each other,
  3. We implemented a structure of organisation (based on the “Viable Systems Model” by Stafford Beer) for the Partnership,
  4. We worked out more details of the work-programme for the 2 years,
  5. We formed teams for the different tasks and functions of the Partnership,
  6. We met at a permaculture site as a practical example.
  7. A short slideshow of the meeting was produced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMAbqS1IM_I

 Trenta (Slovenia), October 21st to 25th, 2012:

  1. We gathered questionnaires on educational structures from: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Canary Islands,
  2. We made SWOC-analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Constraints – and Solutions) of different educational structures,
  3. We looked at “lessons learned” from this meeting and made a design how to better organise the next meeting,
  4. We visited a permaculture farm and a bee keepers’ museum.

 Vale da Lama (Portugal), March 25th to 30th, 2013:

  1. We collected various course curricula, different formats of courses, session plans and an overview of the content that most teachers teach.
  2. We worked on the clarification of the structure of the Partnership so that it is more easily accessible for newcomers.
  3. We decided to focus on the a WIKI (wiki.permateachers.eu) as the main place where the outcomes of the Partnership will be published and started to work out templates to upload information.
  4. We stayed on the site of a permaculture project and got involved in practical work here, and visited 2 more permaculture projects on the last day of the meeting,
  5. Video interviews of attendees at this meeting was produced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP9CDfzPeXo

 Leeds (England), May 27th to June 1st, 2013:

  1. We organized a Creative Teaching Methods training course as an option before the actual meeting in Leeds,
  2. We exchanged about Pedagogy, methods, stories of success and failure and apprenticeships in teaching,
  3. We had a talk by Jon Walker, consultant, on the Viable Systems Model, to further improve our working structure,
  4. We saw presentations about various Permaculture projects in Leeds, visited a local sustainable & affordable housing project, a nearby permaculture farm and community garden.
  5. We worked with Open Space Technology to enable as many people as possible to participate in exchange of information, knowledge and learning processes,
  6. We did a World Café Method to collect wishes, ideas and visions for the continuation and development of this project beyond July 2014 and created a group to work out details,
  7. We started to fill the WIKI with content and results.

What challenges have you met in the implementation of the Partnership, if any? How have these problems been solved?

Managing the diversity of perspectives within the project has brought a number of challenges.

A major challenge has been balancing the desire to widen participation and include as many people as possible (which supports the objective of forming a network of teachers) with the practical need to maintain enough continuity within the project to deliver the other objectives. In particular, during the 3rd meeting, we observed that newcomers to the project had high expectations and felt frustrated by certain aspects of the way the project was run and details of the programme (specifically they wanted more focus on content and less on discussing details of “how to manage” the Partnership); meanwhile “old timers” who had been involved in the project from the beginning felt that their contribution to the project had not been recognised or honoured.

We have responded to this by conducting more thorough inductions for newcomers to the project at the beginning of meetings and by splitting the groups so that people with different levels of information can participate without frustration. Also, the participants from each country made extra efforts to brief new attendees prior to the meetings.

 Another challenge that we have faced has been how to enable some degree of participation for unfunded partners: those organisations that contributed to writing the application, but did not receive the funding from their national agency (Italy and Latvia), or potential partners that failed to engage in time to be included in the bid process (e.g. Permaculture organisations in Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Ukraine etc). We decided to facilitate unfunded partners’ participation by reducing their event fee and inviting partner organisations to make donations to subsidise them.

 A major challenge has been (and remains to be) for the participants to stay in touch in between meetings, especially in the working groups, as these have been formed by interest rather than proximity of participants to each other. Using the Internet to collaborate with a multi-lingual group spread out over several time zones and countries is one of the major learning experiences! The partners try to move towards getting the work done at the meetings themselves, plus there is usually time allocated to the question of “how will we stay in touch and work together until the next meeting?”. The solution for that issue was the decision made for all to have regular Skype meetings using Team viewer and start adding (again on a regular basis) their input to the WIKI.

Last but not least it turns out that the funded partners seem to have not communicated enough during the application period and before the start of the project about how certain outcomes were going to be financed. Due to this, the partners have made budget-plans which do not allow for printing all of the material that has been planned. Although there was awareness of the “Accompanying Measures”, the partners did not have the resources to apply for this funding. The solution for now is to focus on online publication of the results and the various products that have been planned on a WIKI-platform.

Review of the EPT journey done on first day of Denmark meeting

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What have we learned or gained together so far?

  • Supporting the Permaculture movement through quality assurance of offered courses.
  • European togetherness.
  • Creating a support network that is flexible to carry out the PA activities.
  • Creating an understanding of the outcomes of the delivery outcomes.
  • VSM dynamic between people / getting rooted in VSM _ learning that it works but takes practice.
  • Social permaculture group facilitation.
  • Creation of new methods – Levels:General:Certificate:Diploma:Further? Masters PHD?
  • The whole is bigger than it’s elements.
  • Diversity put into a compost creates a new culture _ through it’s heat!
  • Learning how to network in an effective way and being confident in that process.
  • Microteaches . learning from each others style.
  • Learning not to try and do too much!

What can the EPT bring to the world – what can we share?

  • Global website and network – keep the website alive and active for worldwide use.
  • Permaculture becoming more mainstream as a result of this and other similar partnerships.
  • How to create community out of complexity.
  • Conflict resolution solutions.
  • To celebrate and manage diversity.

First Day at Friland Meeting

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Peter Cow at Opening Circle

The sixth of the EPT meetings has started today at Friland ecovillage, in Denmark with some 35 participants from Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland, Britain, Spain, Czech Republic, Latvia, France, Slovakia, Finland, Holland, Sweden and Denmark.

After the welcoming and presentations we did a group dynamic where we explored
what happened in the previous meetings through an Appreciative Inquiry, reflections on the I, the We, the world pattern and reconnecting with the primary activities (PAs), with a brief presentation of each one.

Continue reading First Day at Friland Meeting

Global Permaculture Opportunities

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Spira Svendsen

Spira Svendsen from Norway has compiled a list of permaculture opportunities worldwide.  She writes:

I was curious of what permaculture education opportunities there are other than the PDC, and have spent some time researching and compiling lists of education providers and perma projects offering interesting internships worldwide. As far as I know, this is the most thorough overview that currently exist. The lists are focusing on possible paths for permies who have already completed the PDC. PDC providers are generally therefore not listed, but some of the places listed also provides the PDC. As there aren’t really that many permaculture education providers out there, I eventually also ended up compiling lists of particularly interesting places with less structured internships / volunteering etc. (including a detailed list of such opportunities in the Middle and South America due to personal interest).

Read more | The lists

What is going on in the Permaculture Network in Germany!?

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By Sandra Campe

For about 6 years now, we are having 4 main networking and action learning meetings a year: one in each season. The first in the year happens in February, the “winter meeting”. This is really a networking meeting with project presentations, open space time, discussions, games,… In spring, the meeting happens around Ascension Day (I guess the reason for that is because that is a holiday in Germany and this creates a prolonged weekend), this is long-standing.

In summer, we meet for the “summer academy”, which is often 10 – 14 days of camping, hands-on activities, project & diploma presentations, peer learning, bonfires and joy.
And last but not least in the year, usually on the 3rd weekend in September we meet for the “Annual Convention”, at which the annual assembly of the german PC association takes place.

Continue reading What is going on in the Permaculture Network in Germany!?

Journey of the Latvian Permaculture Association

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By: Arturs Polis, Co-founder of the Latvian Permaculture Association

Despite the fact that the European Permaculture Teachers Partnership never got accepted by the Latvian National agency, thus leaving Latvia (and Italy) out of the project, Latvian permaculturists have been working since then and are ready to share the common journey now.

There were only 4 PDC holders in Latvia who hardly knew each other in 2011. Arturs Polis was busy with organizing some permaculture related workshops in Ikskile Transition Initiative which he had co-founded, Gundega Jekabsone was working hard in her organic farm, Guntra Aistara together with Gundega and other active organic farmers organized a series of permaculture workshops on organic farms, and published an academic book chapter on the experience, and Ilze Mezniece was trying hard to bring the ideas of permaculture to subsistence farmers in a very remote country-side region through activities in her farm…

Arturs and Gundega had just returned from their 10 day long PDC course in Sieben Linden, when an invitation came to participate in the prospective EPT project. This was a strong motivator for these people to come together with a clear commitment to work, and this is how the Latvian Permaculture Association was born. Many weeks were invested to prepare and hand in the project application. Of course, it was a big disappointment to learn that Latvia was among the only 2 countries rejected to participate later on… However, the group stayed together, and despite the fact that members were scattered around and discussions happened mainly virtually, there are some good outcomes since then…

Continue reading Journey of the Latvian Permaculture Association

EUPC in Bulgaria

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Permaculture Ball Rolls Rapidly down to the shores of Lake Batak

 IMG_9748In Bulgaria this month, the team of volunteers who are participating in the first-of-its-kind, FREE, year-round PDC have completed a detailed site analysis of this year’s location of the European Permaculture Convergence.

The first phase of design, already on its way, has been to bring together enthusiastic people from all over the country who are interested in permaculture, and provide them with a pleasant atmosphere of learning, sharing and designing. Once we made sure our group had bonded and worked together well, we took them onto the second phase: a week-long session at the actual site to dive them straight into the design process. Continue reading EUPC in Bulgaria

PLANT – Follow-Up to EPT

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Alan Thornton in Berlin during the first meeting about PLANT

PLANT stands for Permaculture Learning Action Networking & Training. It wants to be the extension of the UK LAND project to the European Continent.
In April 2014, an application was submitted to the ERASMUS+ EU funding scheme in order to pursue this objective. Here you can find a summary of the PLANT application:

Permaculture is a globally used design approach that creates sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns. Vocational training is being delivered by several hundred permaculture training centres in the 5 partner countries: Britain, Denmark, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.

Objectives of this project:

  1. Develop a distributed campus network of accessible and high quality permaculture education centres across Britain, Denmark, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Continue reading PLANT – Follow-Up to EPT

Reflections on the EPT and ideas for the future

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The EPT coordination group asked all participants to fill up an on-line questionnaire in order to get feedback about the direction that the EPT should take, in view of our experience so far and renewed perspectives gained. The questionnaire had the following 5 questions:

  1. Up to now, what has the ept kicked-off in your country / for you personally / … ?
  2. Where do you want the network to go? which direction should it take / put it’s energy into?
  3. Which parts are worth continuing? what should we build on?
  4. What has been challenging? what agreements / structures should be improved if we want to do it again? do you have ideas for improvement?
  5. Which ideas / structures / … can be dropped? Continue reading Reflections on the EPT and ideas for the future