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)