Students and graduates in 16 countries
-----Original Message-----April and all.
From: Kelley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, 13 May 1999 7:12
Subject: [permaculture] Re: Does Permaculture have to be so expensive??? DO YOU HAVE TO THINK CHEAP = LOUSY!!!!
Thank you for sharing information on your course, as I was not referring to your course in my post, but another one that, in my opinion, as most permaculture texts, seems highly posed toward dryer climates. And no, Australian geography courses aren't typically offered in the U.S., so I'm sorry if I've clumped the entire continent under one rainfall study. However, it does seem that quite a bit of the written information on permaculture does cover very dry climates, the rest may be geared more toward rain forests, but I haven't been able to find much on more cooler, temperate climates such as there is here in New England. I'm still amazed to hear that folks grow kiwi up here.
I have looked at the information that you have on the internet regarding your correspondence course, and it does seem like a high quality course. I agree with much of what you're saying by helping people help themselves and that it's not permaculture per se that is expensive, but more of how much people are charging for the courses.
Hope you didn't take offense at my posts, none was meant, and I was merely trying to point out that there are more economical alternatives if the student is willing to take more responsibility for their own learning than is typically needed in on-location courses (where the learning is intense and specifically directed). Correspondence courses do allow the student the opportunity to focus more on their own micro- and macro-climates, if they would like to, or simply stick with the basic permaculture ideas, as you pointed out.
April Sampson-Kelly wrote:
I find it pretty insulting that neither of you have spoken to us "Äussies"
that you refer to but seem confident that you know us well enough to talk
I can clearly see that you haven't learnt any Australian geography either.
Few Australian's live in hot dry areas!!!
last year my area got over 2000ml of rain! it is temperate rainforest area.
I have worked teaching permaculture CHEAPLY without taking a wage for 5 years now
because I have another good part time job and felt their was a genuine need for detailled
and comprehensive texts which i have written myself and now offer to students on CDrom.
I do it because it makes me happy. i couldn't give a toss about earning money
from students, i follow the permaculture ethic - work where it counts and
my teaching service is highly successful in my own measures.
I have students now in 15 countries now and in many areas of isolation (phyical and social)
from prisons to 80 miles from the Post Office, those with Quadreplia to those who are tired working mums.
It's not permaculture that's expensive it's the people trying to make a living of teaching
what is essentially a lifestyle.
you can't teach a lifestyle you can only help people help themselves by providing ideas and experience.
I have an excellent system in place here on site too. Students (usually local students, pay in LETS currency - local energy transfer system - for the correspondence course and
then pay it off by working on site.
it works really well and i would recommend it to every permaculture teacher.
also, you can also get people to cook and provide accomodation through LETs or as part of their fees in the course.
about my students encouraged to do a lot of research of their own area, THIS IS NOT mandatory, they, like everyone else
doing a PDC can simply do 72 hours and not a bit over, SOME of the best students have spent 300 hours on their work
because they wanted to, and we give all student unlimited feedback - so that is a big committment from us.
they all have the option of which homework topics to do. BUT I wonder what kind student doesn't want to learn about their own community and local farming practices, native species and individual micro-climates!!!
sometimes i can get fired up and you did it well today guys!
Permaculture Visions International
Students and graduates in 15 countries
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelley [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, 12 May 1999 6:14
> To: permaculture
> Subject: [permaculture] Re: Re: Does Permaculture have to be so
> I'm not sure if you're referring to my post re: "Aussies" and
> "cheap" courses or not,
> but if you are, these are not on location, these are
> correspondence courses and with
> that comes the typical responsibility of self-teaching that comes
> with a correspondence
> course, especially since the course was designed for dry
> Australian outback and I'm
> trying to adapt the info to a wetter, cooler climate. The
> student does the largest
> percentage of the teaching and learning.
> Toby Hemenway wrote:
> > The question of the expense of Permaculture design courses
> raises its head
> > very regularly. I've recently started teaching courses, and although I
> > understand that the US $700-1000 price tag makes them out of
> reach for many
> > alternative people, I know the economics well enough to know that they
> > can't easily be made much cheaper. Nobody makes money on these courses.
> > Compared to most residential courses, they are cheap: if you
> look at course
> > catalogs from say, Breitenbush or Esalen, they charge $350-500
> just for a
> > weekend. In most of the PC courses I know of, the instructors get paid
> > $1200-2000 for one to two weeks of prep, two weeks of 14-hour
> days, and a
> > week or two to collapse and usually get sick. That's over a
> month of hard
> > work for that two grand, or $24,000 a year if they could keep
> it up, but no
> > one can (more than 3 courses a year is considered suicidal in
> most cases).
> > Some of the payment is in work-trades to accommodate those with little
> > money, so that's even less cash for the teachers.
> > And I've seen the financial breakdowns from several venues
> that run the
> > courses: they break even, maybe lose or gain $1000 or so from the
> > $10-20,000 they take in on a typical course with 15-25
> participants. That's
> > a low margin. After you buy food, hire a cook and support staff, build
> > latrines, showers, and shelters, pay rent on a space, and pay the
> > instructors, there isn't much left. That's why big courses have been
> > attempted, so that some seed money can go to start other projects. But I
> > assure you, the standard 15-person PDC doesn't make anybody rich.
> > So I'm in sympathy with those who can't scrape up close to a thousand
> > dollars to take a course. It's a lot of money for us alternative types.
> > That's why most places offer work trades, or scholarships subsidized by
> > those who pay in full. But having walked both sides of the fence, I can
> > assure you that it's not viable for the instructors and venues
> to try to do
> > it for less unless the format were radically changed.
> > I'm very curious to hear how the Aussies and others do it so cheaply. Do
> > people bring their own food and pay nothing for the land they use, or
> > commute? How does it work?
> > Okay, no more questions that push my buttons now. I'm starting to feel
> > guilty about spending too much time on these listservs!
> > Toby Hemenway
> > ---
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