Setting up Demonstration Sites at the UK Permaculture Convergence
This September I will be presenting at the Permaculture Convergence in the UK. I will be giving a series of workshops from my work around the world including a presentation on setting up Permaculture demonstration sites. It will be modelled on our experience at Zaytuna Farm and the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI), Australia over the last 16-years, the reasons that we chose this land and how we encourage other people to look at land specifically in a location as in urban, rural and broad landscape.
I will be focusing on what we set out to achieve in a demonstration site and how courses were involved from the onset of the development phase right through to its more mature stage now. I will be including the different phases we went through in setting up more and more demonstration, by building and enhancing our education centre so that we had excellent educational facilities, excellent camping accommodation, and that everything was running as ethically as possible. This includes complete off-grid stand-alone power, reed bed grey water waste streams, and dry compost toilets. Plus we produce as much food as possible on the site, with as many variations of demonstration.
Zaytuna Farm is not a ‘family farm’. Families are welcome here but what I mean by that is that it is not an economic family farm; it is a farm specifically built for demonstration with as much diversity in appropriate local systems as it can provide so that people can copy it in similar climates.
I will then move on to the more refined situation we find ourselves in now where we teach less short courses, Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses, and specialist courses; although students are still a part of the system at Zaytuna Farm, they are on a more ongoing and continuous basis as interns. Interns come for a one-month trial, then they have the option to move on to our three-month, six-month, one-year, or two-year program with our PRI Practical Training Program Scholarships. Our two-year interns can manage a project anywhere in the world and also design a project, direct its implementation and establishment, administrate a project or understand what it needs to be administrated and also be the educator on the project or direct the education facility of a project.