Category Archives: Partnership

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

NAPC – North American Permaculture Convergence

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North America’s first convergence may not have had the flash of a Renaissance Festival, but the content of the presentations and conversations eclipsed even the intermittent thunderstorms and driving rain. Brilliant minds, diplomatic discourse, and energy

by Dan Halsey

The 2014 North American Permaculture Convergence was held at Harmony Park in southern Minnesota, USA. Attendees at the convergence were treated to an early and intense thunderstorm and tornado watch, as is the common practice in Minnesota for any outdoor event in summer. Sunny and fresh cool mornings welcomed everybody to the day’s events (and to dry out their tents).

Harmony Park is an Oak Savannah and wetland in the midst of the upper Midwest agricultural landscape. Just off the Interstate highway, attendees had a 90-minute commute from the airport or train station. Many drove from the coasts and from as far south as Texas. Most all states were represented and even broke off into groups at one point to build regional communication. Continue reading NAPC – North American Permaculture Convergence

EPT-intro brochure finished!

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We are proud to present version 1.0 of our “General Introduction Brochure to the EPT”!

Only 2 weeks after the funding period of the Leonardo Da Vinci-Partnership has ended we proudly present our EPT intro-brochure-brochure!

This brochure provides an overview of the project and contains loads of links to the respective content on the permateachers.eu-website. Hopefully it will be a good starting point for many people to find out more about the EPT Partnership!

Several partners are working on translating this brochure to their countries’ languages to make the project more accessible. These will hopefully be available at the beginning of September. Translations that will definitely be available are:
spanish, finnish, dutch, ukranian, german
If you are interested in translating this to your own language, please get in touch so that we can provide you with the source documents and style guides – or just translate and edit it!

Please note that all URL addresses in the document have been embedded and are not explicitly spelled out, except the main URL for the permateachers.eu web site. When making a printed version for your translation you may want to deviate from this policy and include direct links to material that is translated in your own language.

Please feel free to submit comments and / or corrections. We will consider any feedback for publication in the next version of the document – suggested update frequency is every three months, unless there are no comments.

Introduction to Apprentice-Teacher Spreadsheet

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The harvesting of a group at the Leeds meeting led to a mandate to set up a spreadsheet (link to Google document) for experienced teachers to link up with people seeking apprentice opportunities across Europe and beyond.

Every teacher will have different interests and will offer slightly different kinds of support to an apprentice. What they all have in common is a willingness to share their experience and support new teachers in their learning. At the same time every apprentice comes with different skills and competencies. What they all have in common is the passion for improving their permaculture teaching skills.

So if you are a teacher looking for keen apprentices or an apprentice looking for great teachers to learn from, then here you will find their details and contact information.

At the meeting in Leeds UK, June 2014, 40 members of the EPT discussed:

What apprentices might hope for:

what apprentices hope for

What experienced facilitators might hope for:

facilitators hope for

How to make beneficial connections between each other.

beneficial connections

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?

Partners

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Organisations in the EPT:

For an overview of the Partners, please scroll down to find the websites and contact persons. Here you can find a poster gallery of presentations of permaculture organisations that were present at the Escherode, Germany meeting. More detailed descriptions of many of these organisations can be found under Educational Structures. If you want to add a description of your own organisation, please follow this link.

Funded partnership organisations are:

Other partner organisations (non-funded / from other countries) are for example:

Via Permacultura

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PLAN_ShellThe “Permaculture Learning Action Network” (PLAN) is a lean startup approach to building a sustainable network for sharing knowledge, working from available resources, developing them and growing from there.

To address the issue of travel, one of its core principles is that nodes in the network need to be at a distance that can be easily covered on foot or by bicycle (20 – 80 km radius). Each node will provide accommodations, food and other essential needs in return for some work and a good story. Continue reading Via Permacultura

European Permaculture Federation

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Navigation, our group that focuses on strategy and how we relate to the outside world, hosted a couple of sessions exploring the future direction for the EPT. Throughout the Learning Partnership we discussed the possibility of a network of European Permaculture Associations and teachers, and at the meeting in Denmark a conversation cafe was held to look at what a network could do and what the next steps would be to progress it.

Some of ideas for the purpose of a network included the need to maintain a platform to ensure good communication between us and to foster the quality and standards of Permaculture education in Europe. Facilitating the sharing of job opportunities in Europe, coordinating the European LAND projects and offering peer support to teachers were also identified as important functions of a future network.

The next steps identified were to explore the possibility of the the European Permaculture Council hosting an alliance or federation of European Permaculture Associations and for the EPT to present and launch the idea at the European Permaculture Convergence in July 2014.

Read the article “Federation or Foundation” by Steve Hart here.

Diploma System in Sweden

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GUIDELINES FOR QUALIFICATION

All subject to successful completion of the 72 hour Permaculture Design Course; qualifying period can be prior to the course provided it is permaculture-related.

Site design
10 designs recorded on paper (or justification of larger projects).

Site development
At least 3 years involvement, but can be just one site. Process of attaining sustainability for the site should have started. Documentation preferred.

Education
Teaching of 10 design courses (or equivalent in workshops, lectures, etc.); at least 50% of the teaching on these courses; at least 5 design courses. Written evaluation from participants for each course preferred, essential for one course. Curricula also to be submitted.

Continue reading Diploma System in Sweden

Communication is key

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How stay in touch – and how to spread the word? Two questions that kept us busy.

Internal communication in-between meetings

In such a large Partnership, whose actors are spread out across Europe, how to organise communication in between personal meetings is a crucial question.

Being part of a global sustainability movement, there were some ethical concerns whether to use (and thus support) free services from big global corporations (like Google). We did test some other options but decided to stay with:

  • Google Drive – document editing and sharing with different levels of access and editing
  • Google Groups – multiple mailing groups for project workgroups (using delivery settings depending on the level of involvement) and for the whole EPT-Partnership
  • Google Forms – for surveys on a variety of topics
  • Doodle – finding optimal meeting times
  • Skype – regular online meetings in between physical meetings

Inclusion

The EPT is designed to support permaculture teaching across Europe so we kept access to Partnership documents and mailing groups open. Anyone could follow simple instructions of Welcome document to join and follow the Partnership activities.

Continue reading Communication is key

Facilitation for smooth group work

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Facilitating our process

The Process-team both ensured a good flow of the meetings, using a number of techniques, and enabled newcomers to facilitation to learn, practice and improve their skills.

Some of the facilitation techniques we used are listed here:

Circle Work

The first session of each EPT meeting started in circle, this allowed us to reconnect with each other and to focus our attention on the topics set for discussion. The purpose of working in circle is to create a level playing field, one in which every person is equal to all others.

Open Space Technology

Using the Open Space approach participants create an agenda together around a question or topic. Participants put suggestions for conversations or workshops forward and a market place of options is created of topics to be discussed. Although a number of conversations take place at the same time participants are free to employ the “law of two feet” any time, which states that someone is not bound to any one session for its entirety. One may choose to leave and move to a different group to contribute as desired. Each session is written up and contributes to the overall documentation harvested.

World Café

A World Café consists of a number of rounds of questions. Participants are seated around tables with paper to write, doodle or draw on as they discuss the questions that has been posed on this table. Each round lasts for approximately 20 minutes and after the round participants move to different tables, with the exception of the table host, who leads the discussion and remains at the table for all rounds. The World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue.

Our Working Structure: Based on the VSM

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Why we use the Viable Systems Model

Initially at the kick off meeting of the EPT in Germany (August 2012) the group found great difficulty in deciding how it would work and move forward with delivering the stated outcomes of the Learning Partnership. Davie Philip from Cultivate Ireland suggested using the Viable Systems Model (VSM), as a way to structure the work of the partnership.

The study of ecosystems and the way muscles, organs and the nervous system of the human organism interact, were the inspiration for the Viable Systems Model, which was originally developed by the English management cyberneticist, Stafford Beer. The VSM is used as a tool for diagnosing problems in social organisations, and to help to improve their functioning.

As both the Irish and UK partners had been using VSM in their own organisations and were familiar with the model, and as the other partners were interested in learning and applying a new approach to structure an organisation, we decided to host a workshop exploring how we as a Partnership could adopt this model to structure our work.

How we implemented the VSM

In the workshop the first step was to ask: “What are the operations that do the things that justify the existence of the Partnership?” The partners identified its “Primary Activities” or what we need to DO from the project application to Europe and set up working groups to focus on these outcomes. People then gathered in the areas that they wanted to work in and discussed the work that would need to be done in each activity, including identifying their “5 top tasks”.

Continue reading Our Working Structure: Based on the VSM

What is “microteaching”?

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(…) Invented in the mid-1960s at Stanford University by Dr. Dwight W. Allen, micro-teaching has been used with success for several decades now, as a way to help teachers acquire new skills. (…)

Micro lessons are great opportunities to present sample “snapshots” of what/how you teach and to get some feedback from colleagues about how it was received. It’s a chance to try teaching strategies that the teacher may not use regularly. It’s a good, safe time to experiment with something new and get feedback on technique. (…)

For more information, go to http://www.microteachings.com/

(excerpt from Wikipedia)

Strategies to Widen Participation : Survey Results

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For this small survey, responses were given by only eight EPT partner countries (ES, GE, FR, BG, SLO, CZ, NL), whose educational activities are conducted in more than 17 countries in Europe and other parts of the world. Spain is exceptional in this case with reaching people in 4 continents through on-line teaching.

Educational activities are mostly focused on urban and suburban environments with rural context represented rarely. The activities mostly take form as a short workshop (e.g. 0,5-1 day long), public talks and PDC courses. Not so often as longer (e.g. 2 days long) permaculture courses, diploma pathways and other forms as property development, full vocational. Academic permaculture education school establishment, spreading of printed info, environmental awareness activities, FETAC students in Ireland etc.

The questionnaire asked each responder to describe the strategy they use in the specific country and to answer the questions: ‘Which target groups is this strategy designed for?’ and ‘Which groups of society this strategy does not reach?’ The summary of results shows that the most popular target groups are:

Continue reading Strategies to Widen Participation : Survey Results

UPDATE on Educational Structures in Ireland

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Update: How have the Educational Structures in Ireland changed in 2012-2014?

The article is written by Monika Frank, and it is based on the interview of Davie Philip, CULTIVATE Ireland, May 2014.
Ireland has no national organisation of PC education and only two diploma holders. The partner of the EPT was CULTIVATE Ireland, a NGO based at an ecovillage and learning centre.
The EPT has helped to learn as well from already established educational systems like in Britain or Germany as well as from emerging structures like in Bulgaria, what a national association can be and do. This resulted in talking to other parters in IRE to create a loose national association in order to ensure a diploma pathway. Davie is enrolled on the pathway of the British system.

Other useful: As we design PDC, we have two accreditaed PC-courses (for unemployd people); shared with the EPT, accreditation reviewed, and reviewed the content, partnership has helped.

Despite the economic situation in Ireland going dramatic, the interest in Permaculture has not increased, people are not taking initiative to change their lifestyles and become more self organised. ?Permaculture is often not the best term? thinks Davie. The content and the benefit for the participants is not obvious. Sometimes it is better to undertitle it ?a course in ecological design to make it more mainstream and more accessible.

More permaculturists have stepped up to teaching; people who have come to the EPT meetings are more confident to teach now. The meetings have also identified teachers from other countries to come and teach in Ireland.

CULTIVATE has learned how to structure courses and how to teach certain elements in a more impactful way.