Unfortunately, having a degree in this society(western) does make a difference. I love gardening, especially edibles. I love nature. I want to share this passion with other people and try to help as many people grow in the right direction(pun intended!). My garden in the back yard will reach about 10 people a year, mostly from people visiting the neighbors. That's not really getting the message out quick enough in my opinion.
So I decided to become a certified SFG teacher(which got put on the back burner for other projects). While doing hideous amounts of research, I ran into the cooperative extension office and through that, the Master Gardener program. While I didn't learn much new in the MG program as far as vegetables and fruit/nut production, I did learn a lot of "other" stuff. It was well worth the money and the time. Now that I am a certified Master Gardener, I can reach a lot more people. There is another great aspect to the Master Gardener program(at least the one in the US, not sure about Austria and Germany), you get to network with a bunch of people that also enjoy gardening.
Recently(as in last week), I ran across 2 projects in my area: one is directly related to permaculture(though I do need to find out more information), the other is a program where the neighborhood is turning all green space and abandoned lots into food production(there are quite a few orchards). I would have never have found out about these 2 projects unless I was a Master Gardener. While I understand that MG is not a degree in the US, it is a land-grant college certification.
Now I've taken on the objective of earning a PDC. Again, this is not a degree in the accepted sense, but when I pull up to somebody's house and hand them a card with Master Gardener, Certified SFG Teacher and Certified Permaculturalist after my name, it will make a difference, more than having some random Joe pull up. If I wanted to take it a step further and start a business instead of just helping people for free, then I'd probably take a horticultural course too.
While I agree that colleges and universities(and institutional education in general) need a fundamental change, they are still the only "accepted" way to learn. I think they number one reason that people want to know about your education level is because it is an easy way to see your qualifications. People in the arts industry(actors/models) carry a book of their accomplishments, with photographs. I think something like that would help tremendously in the permaculture world, especially when those pictures of projects have before, during and after pictures that include a picture of you doing some work.
I hated school, I hated high school even more. I refused to go to college, and I do not regret that decision one bit 20 years later. Having said that, I made sure my daughter went to college. The societal pressures of graduating from college(or some form of higher education) are greater now. What you're really doing is getting 10+ years of experience in 2+ years when going to college.
There are ways around the institutional-ness of education, but you have to be diligent.
Funny, I was taught to share surplus, not take the Permies.com / capitalist point of view... ..I guess we must be talking about 2 different kinds of Permaculture.
Originally Posted by PeterFD
Ya know what, go spend 80,000$ or so to get a degree, put yourself into massive debt, AND THEN learn about Permaculture from someone / some place else and go further into debt before you even have land to use. After all, you need a degree and you need to support all those people who don't give a damn about Permaculture since a University or College is about making money.
Then after you pay for your University degree by doing things you don't want to do and you got yourself out of debt, now you get to go back into it while paying off your property and starting a Permaculture practice.
Yeah, this way seems highly sustainable.
Last edited by Pakanohida; 06-05-2012 at 02:08 AM.
If you still have a job, get everything in order, and quit. Do it as soon as you can, because we’ve never had a more important work to do. -Kyle Chamberlin
"I awoke, only to see the rest of the World was still asleep" - Leonardo Da Vinci
It's just my 2 cents,
Paka no hida
May I say that I found your posting quite inspirational!
I am very optimistic that a new sense of realism is taking hold within the permaculture movement and that can only be beneficial.
For permaculture to go mainstream, we need the key to the door so that we can go inside and be heard.
That key is provided by a recognised qualification, degree, diploma, certificate, ……… anything that gives confidence to the audience you need to reach.
Mollison was more than aware of this when he got his degree in Bio-Geography. He was even more aware of this when he became a Professor at the University of Tasmania.
People listened to Mollison because he was a qualified professor from a respected University. Whatever he may have felt about the University system, he obviously worked hard, gained the key to the door, and started the permaculture movement.
I would tend to believe that without the key, Mollison would have been just another voice blowing in the wind.
Equally, I believe your posting is particularly important because it clearly shows that you don’t need to accumulate 80,000 dollars worth of debt. You just need to be prepared to go that extra mile.
If you ever pass through the South of France, drop by and meet the goats. I’ll be the one with less hair on its face.
Hi again Pakanohida
You certainly have a strong dislike of the University system. A dislike not justified when you consider that the whole permaculture movement owes its existence to the University system in general and the University of Tasmania in particular.
From his short biography in the designers manual, it is quite evident that Mollison was getting nowhere fast until he got his degree in Bio-Geography and became a University professor.
I don’t quite know if it cost him 80,000 dollars, his short biography talks of “living on his wits, running cattle, bouncing at dances”, etc., rather in the time-honoured fashion of working your way through college. I suppose in today’s world it’s too difficult, so a loan from the bank is often sought.
For my own part, I was fortunate enough to go to a British University at a time when students paid no course fee’s and were given a grant to live on. This was a time when the economic philosophy of Maynard Keynes still prevailed and most Europeans believed that Education, Healthcare, etc., were basic human rights, not a privilege given only to the wealthy.
Sadly, the Americanisation of Europe, and in particular the adoption of the Economic philosophy of Milton Friedman, has seen the brutalisation of most of the population and the re-adoption of poverty creation strategies. Basic human rights have been lost due to cost …….. however, there’s always a couple of trillion dollars available to start a war or support the banks.
I don’t know if you ever got around to reading Geoff Lawton’s posting entitled “MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY and Permaculture”?
I make no comment at this time concerning its content, however, I hope Geoff wont mind if I quote the first few lines;
«« Dear Permaculture warriers worring about money and the lack of it the use of it and how it should or should not interact with permaculture.
Get over it.
We need to raise the profile not keep dragging permaculture design through the poverty gutter.
Strangely enough, Geoff eventually confesses to being in debt. Perhaps he should have worked his way through college rather than taking that bank-loan?
Hi again Pakanohida
There are hundreds of thousands of people (probably more) around the world trying to help people, even those they have never met. Helping people is not the exclusive domain of permaculture ……. and I’m equally sure that all those good soul’s would be likewise insulted that anyone would suggest otherwise.
Further to this, I’m unaware of any correlation between a University/College education, and a willingness/unwillingness to help people, either those known or complete strangers.
In short, I fail to see the point of what you’re saying.
Possessing a recognised qualification, degree/diploma/certificate in a related subject from a recognised University/College, and then a PDC, will give you access to the widest possible audience which will allow you the opportunity to do the greatest good.
You don’t have to get yourself into debt. I have a friend studying Biology with the Open University in England. It’s not free, but neither is it 80,000 dollars. You can pay as you go and study at your own pace ……….. and the degree is internationally recognised.
It all comes down to going the distance, putting in the effort to go that extra mile.
In today’s society people crave instant gratification. Pay your money, after 72 hours get your PDC certificate of attendance, ………… then call yourself a “graduate” and put letters after your name. Sometimes I despair ……………
Isn't this thread just demonstrating that some people do well going via an academic track and others do well by avoiding said track?
Originally Posted by pebble
My mother's retired and she's spending time in her homeland, Germany. She tries to travel to France every year when the lavender is in bloom(and for the wine..pretty sure it's mostly for the wine).
Originally Posted by PeterFD
I think you have to decide what exactly youwant to achieve and decide the best way to achieve that goal. That might be just to start a garden and work a business helping people do the same and I dont think a degree or formaleducation will help that. You might want to change the way Catchment Management Authorities approach to hydrology and creek restoration so you will have to gain a degree and be very tenacious in changing state and federal education. This is what Peter Andrews is trying to do, even though he has Australia's top scientists behind him, it is consuming a large amount of time and energy with no real results being found.
I take comfort in knowing Darren Doherty dropped out of school when he was 15, but through permaculture developed systems thinking and pattern recognition to develop his business that is one of the most repected regenerative Ag consultancies and training in the world, working for private landholders, large invertors, corporations and governments. Cam Wilson is another person gaining recognition as another regen ag proponant, very skilled, very knowledgable without formal education. ANU have tried to get him onboard to do a Masters degree, not sure if he is continuing that as he has a lot on his plate in regards to applied work in the same field.
I realise these are exceptional circumstances and each individual will have a different need for the type of education. But who says you can be more knowledgable with a university degree, lots of good books and lectures out there.I think it depends on where you want to use it. and I also think that surrounding yourself with the experts and leading proponants of your field will also help you succeed,with or without formal education.
About Geoff being in debt, it could be that he is taking loans to do more projects around the world, using the system of money and big banks as a source of financial capital to build natural capital before the shit hits the fan. Geoff can show to banks his income stream through the PRI, and knowing banks they will keep throwing money at him while he keeps making repayments on the interest. It could be that its set up to fail, if and when the occasion arises. Its not as though he has built a very good support network when the banking system collapses.
Can't say whether he is doing this or not, but its a very intriguing concept. Think of all those venture capitalists doing something similar but for greed and profit, taking off with the money stored in offshore bank accounts while the people left behing start again with nothing. Could be a bold move to use the system for good and not evil. But that too depends on the individuals comfort level...
Last edited by matto; 07-05-2012 at 05:12 PM.