Micro-teach session: Community Resilience

Community Resilience: Exploring how communities can thrive in these challenging times. A summary of a micro teach with Davie Philip – by Andrew Zionts

I’m interested in using video tools and media in class plans introducing teaching resilience in PDCs. I’m particularly interested in how we frame the concept of resilience and its importance, framing it as something that helps us thrive and flourish, rather than something negative or defeatist.

How do we design for resilience? Normally we focus on place, and on physical structures, I believe that it is more important to focus on building resilience in our communities. I believe that rather than focus on sustainability, it is more important to focus on our ability to cope with change. An important part of this is identifying the assets and resources that we have to approach resilience.

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Micro-teach session: Community Supported Agriculture

Framing a context for a social permaculture of creating livelihood. A summary of a micro teach with Davie by Andrew Zionts.

I’ve been largely inspired by Berkana, more information on this can be found at www.berkana.org. Berkana describes the two loop theory, the first of which is the typical loop of “peak everything” which is the curve of exponential growth, peaking and leading to sudden decline.

We can look at different ways to approach this loop, do we continue growing towards infinity? Do we stabilize with green technology? Do we try to apply permaculture principals to slow the decline? Or the fourth option, do we just collapse? The second loop is an upswing from the first, connecting, nourishing, and illuminating possibilities for growth.

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Micro-teach session: Abundance games

This post describes how to teach a game called “Resource Line” (and is a summary of a micro teach session with Mirka by Andrew Zionts at the Barcelona meeting).

The lesson plan is as follows:


  • To discover more about each other’s knowledge and skills.
  • To create more beneficial connections between participants.
  • To explore the abundance paradigm.
  • To build community.

Useful for adults.

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Micro-teach session: Basics of Ecology

A summary of a micro teach with Primož by Andrew Zionts.

Ecology is a science which explores interactions among organisms and their interactions with the environment.

Drawing an illustration on the ground of a number of elements such as sun, rain, plants, soil, bee, spider, fox, rabbit, fungi, flower, to represent the following features of an ecosystem.

Movement of Energy
Illustrate with arrows flowing starting from the sun, and connecting all the flows

Cycle of Matter
Illustrates the cycling of matter, which is finite, from the air to plants to soil to herbivores to carnivores to soil, etc.

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Cultivating Learning in the Future

noeliaDuring the 5th EPT meeting in Spain from 24th till 28th September in Mas Franch we have identified with a World café technique which are the questions and answers leading the partnership to its future activities after the end of the Leonardo Da Vinci’s funding in July 2014. Here is the result from the Cultivate learning primary activity session.

The first question asked within the group itself was “How do we continue further” and there were 5 suggestions raised:

  1. To create a pan-European permaculture educational game (contact person – Misha, Bulgaria) – see below for more details;
  2. To collect and share more teaching methods in permateachers.eu – under the identified main categories (contact person – Tomislav, Slovenia);
  3. To collect and share more teaching stories – from EPT, from failures and successes;
  4. To get to more potential users (contact person – Aljaz, Slovenia);
  5. To support the teaching permaculture process (contact person – David, Spain).

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Spain Meeting – Saturday 28 Sept 2013

leaving-mas-franchDay 5 was a long one, with most people moving from Mas Franch to Can Masdeu, where we enjoyed a site tour (along with another group of American students) and an incredible meal before heading to Barcelona centre to visit Aurea Social and learn more about that project.  The day ended on the beach where we met with people from Permacultura Barcelona and enjoyed yet another lovely meal.

Some photos follow below.

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Spain Meeting – Friday 27 Sept 2013

blurry-movementDay four was more restful, but the schedule endlessly busy with meetings on the future of the partnership, collaborating with others, and feeding back on the days gone by, interspersed with ‘contemplation in motion’ (shown right) and witnessing many people hit by a ‘zombie virus’.

For the body, activities included collecting firewood in the forest, swimming in the natural pool, morning Yoga and of course, the essential celebration.

affects-of-the-spanish-fluDuring this day we also had an evaluation session regarding the meeting, the results of which you can find here.

A gallery of photos from the day follows below (more to come from other photographers).

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Spain Meeting – Thursday 26 Sept 2013

ecollavers-visitDay three was packed with another round of micro-sessions and inputting materials to The Compost (‘Collection of Materials about Permaculture in Order to Support Teachers’), a site visit to Ecollavors Seed Saving project, an Open Space and of course, lovely foraged food and meals prepared by a Barcelona collective!

The day’s micro-teaching sessions included:

Some photos follow…

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Introducing How to Teach Patterns with Kirsty

(Note: This session would be best to give early in a PDC. The session plan for this session can be found at the bottom under “Resources”)

Time needed:  Best as a one-hour session, possibly longer. It can be flexible to fit the time available. Introduce the topic of patterns to the class and state why it is important in Permaculture. Invite the group to step up to the square paper sheets (different sizes) and ask how many times they can fold in half. Keep going until you can’t go further. Ask if there are any common experiences?

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Introducing How to Teach Inputs & Outputs with Joe Atkinson

P108 in the Permaculture Teachers Guide has a full class plan for this exercise.

Time needed: Best as a one-hour session, possibly longer. It can be flexible to fit the time available.

This activity can sit in different sessions. This is usually one of the first sessions on a PDC. Good to use to introduce principles and systems in a non-threatening way.

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Spain Meeting – Wednesday 25 Sept 2013

01-Joe-Atkinson-EthicsDay two is flying by and has been packed with micro-teaching sessions, writing, collating and inputting materials to the website, progress with using VSM (the Viable Systems Model), a lecture on Systems Thinking and more.

We’re beginning to capture the micro-sessions in text, images and videos, as resources in our Teacher’s Manual.

The sessions included:

Sample Session: Permaculture Ethics

Given on Wed 25 Sept 2013 by Joe Atkinson, UK, at Mas Franch, Spain

A french write-up of this workshop is also live.

Opening question: The teacher asks if the students know the ethics of permaculture, and if they can explain what they mean for them. Afterwards, the teacher summarises the main points, and can add some comments as appropriate.

Method: The teacher draws a circle on the floor (e.g. with chalk or strings) with scales to represent the “Fair Share” ethic. Then two further overlapping circles are added for “Earthcare” and “Peoplecare.” (An object can be used in each case to represent the ethics). This portrays the ethical framework of permaculture, and a brief explanation can be given on how they are related and interconnected. The simplicity and universality of this framework is highlighted, and its uniqueness to permaculture. In general there is no reason for Earthcare nor Peoplecare to be controversial; however “Fairshare” may provoke more debate. The importance is that these ethics offer a set of tools rather than a set of rules to follow.

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Livelihoods in Permaculture

11-livelihoods-sessionTuesday 24 Sept 2013 – Mas Franch, Spain

On the first day of the EPT Spain meeting, Davie Philip hosted a session entitled: “Refocusing on the future – how do we get paid to do the work that we love and that we know needs to be done?” This discussion highlighted the objectives and aims of the European funding programme that focus on employability, enterprise and livelihoods. Below are some of the insights and most inspiring case studies harvested in the group session. Each group had participants ranging from people who mainly earn their income from permaculture-related work, to people who currently do not have any permaculture-related income. The groups were created using the “Spectrum Line” method.


  • Work with existing economic systems and create alternatives – identify government, etc. funding that could be available for courses AND AT THE SAME TIME work on building an alternative system that is independent from external funding.
  • Find ways to bring permaculture into schools and the public sector, to reach the younger people who are not the usual audience of non-formal adult education courses.
  • Utilise diversity of activities.
  • Create a consortium of organisations to build credibility and access to funding.
  • Find a niche. It all starts from a place and an unique offering.
  • Create learning and networking demonstration centers.

07-circle-indoorsCase studies:

  • “Permanaut in Residence”: A permaculturist who resides on a (project) site and gets his/her physical needs met while creating systems that give livelihoods for the place and themselves (Leo, Netherlands)
  • Offering a permaculture course module in an university, eg. for architecture and biology students (Misha, Bulgaria)
  • Six weeks further education programmes for unemployed, with permaculture content provided by the transition network (Cat, Denmark)
  • Merging / stacking consultancy with courses, farms, caravan sites, eg. 1) make a plan / design as 2) a course and 3) train permaculture teachers
  • Green Works. In Ireland, Cultivate Living and Learning accessed European funds and worked with an accreditation partner to offer 28 accredited courses including 2 focused on Permaculture. 1800 unemployed people went through the yea- long programme and the Permaculture courses were the third most popular with 150 graduates.
  • Project Support Project (PSP) Surplus redistributed to permaculture people, projects, students (Monika, France)
  • Workers educational association. Education created by trade union for workers. Solidar, social justice. International partners (Joe, UK)
  • Food forest as a business model, adding value to production – along the lines of Joel Salatin’s farming model (Rune, Denmark)
  • Organising seminars for local planners about permaculture, to create further employment opportunities for permaculturists (Cat, Denmark)
  • Eight forms of capital by Ethan Roland (link needed)

Spain Meeting – Tuesday 24 Sept 2013

03-listening-las-manch-tourThe Spain meeting is underway.  Editing and publishing are the focus for this gathering, and we’re working offline on a local copy of the website to introduce materials to the site (in a rather chaotic fashion).  From chaos, will come order, over time.

The images are some of the participants, in listening mode, during the tour of Mas Franch given by resident Juan Pedro (shown in the second image). 04-Juan-Pablo-giving-tour

During the course of the day, new comers enjoyed an orientation to the partnership while regulars worked in their activity groups, we all participated in an interactive discussion: Livelihoods in Permaculture, and the focus for the meeting was discussed and mechanisms explained for making progress on the website.

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