Posted on

Traverse City Intro. to Urban Permaculture Design (UPD)

As part of my plan to learn more and share my permaculture learnings, I’ve decided to offer an training intensive this summer focusing on urban permaculture and growing our own food in a town and suburb setting.

This is the second permaculture design course I’ve organized and taught in, although the previous one I mostly juggled all the production aspects (full 6 month modular/72 hour for 28 students) and hired in other permaculture teachers. In this 40 hour training (+ some) I’ll be teaching, and also under the guidance and mentoring of Peter Bane and Keith D. Johnson, who will be coming to Traverse City in late August to also present and teach in the final weekend of the training (Public invited to some events and presentations).

In this offering of a Traverse City, Intro. to Urban Permaculture Design (UPD) anyone interested and especially to the folks who are LLOOFing (Learning Local on Organic Farms) on the Market Garden and O’k CSA crew as a work exchange. This means the LLOOFers are formally acknowledging that their “work is to learn, and they are learning on the job”. With four LLOOFers of the eight UPD students, there are no greenbacks being passed between us.

With an extension of gratitude to my permaculture teachers and their teachers, I’ve collected information and shared a “Companion” with everyone which outlines the objective and goals of the training:

  • To gather in folks who are re-learning the way the world works and to fine-tune their life/work path. We all need support, practice and re-learning experiences to trust our feelings, instincts and “Dream the Dream On”. Although separation consciousness has been a necessary part of our life on earth experience, this training recognizes it is time for a deeper understanding and application of fundamentals for sustainability, with a strong focus on nourishment in the form of “feeding ourselves”.
  • This training is presented with acknowledging multiple intelligences and that we are all learning and there are many different languages and ways in which to learn. Permaculture is a science and design system that is accessible to all people and all levels of education, and presented, practiced and taught by youth to 70-somethings.

  • “Permaculture provides people who have been cut off from their own traditions, land bases and even from basic contact with nature with the means to restore a healthy and productive relationship to the natural world around them. One basis of that relationship is ecology, or informed observation of the living world; the other is design—a positive, creative response to our own needs and the logic of natural systems. Permaculture is thus a system for taking responsibility for our lives at a most fundamental level, that of energy.” ~ P. Bane It is the goal of of this training to observe current operating systems in an urban setting to foster a less destructive, and MORE energy efficient way by which to work together, eat, drink, pass wastes and move around our Northern Michigan landscape.
  • This training is for anyone who wants to be the change they wish to see in the world. We are all artists, all designers Through immersion in this PDC our awareness around recognizing ourselves as full-time designers allows us a better capacity to working in groups and/or in teams. The functions of a artist and a designer is to practice the fine art of observation, first. This is a stop action, and take deep breath approach. It is also to know where things are to be placed and, in particular, why they are to be placed there. A good designer relies on the number of elements available, information about elements, ability to use that information harmoniously, and the degree of success in comprehension. It is not necessary to know how to build or level or engineer or even garden. The designer will know when his job begins and ends, and where the role of a supervisor begins.

  • Reading: Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison is the main text for this course: it is not required. An Introduction to Permaculture, by Mollison is highly recommended. ALSO, The Permaculture Handbook: For Town and Country, by Peter Bane is highly recommended (more info on ordering here: ). Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles by David Holmgren, Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway and Permaculture in a Nutshell by Patrick Whitefield are useful as preparatory reading but are not required.

Here is what is involved in the urban design projects:
th2 groups of people to work on a framed in-design project during the training and between classes. This project will help integrate the knowledge developed over the training, and involves the design of a site or a practice such as a business plan, and will be framed in by the instructors. Students will prepare a detailed design that will provide for food, energy, water use, waste community, and economics for the site or practice. During weekend sessions, some participants choose to take these projects very seriously, especially when the project is may be implemented later, and may spend more than 20 hours per person on it, but it’s really up to the student as to how much time is involved. These projects will be presented on the final day of the course. The projects are design only; they will not be fully implemented during the training. However, these design projects may go on to be implemented after the course, often serving as the basis for grants and other funding, to the great benefit of the design group, owners, clients, and surrounding community.