Field Day Experiences Develop Design Skills

get out there and explore permaculture design

We provide field days to develop skills and experience in Permaculture design. These field days are open to Permaculture design course graduates, trainees and teachers.

And they are free for our Permaculture Visions course participants.

We have 50 topics for the field days ranging from practical workshops such as how to use an A frame, mapping using triangles, zoning, sector planning, and reading the landscape through to determining the potential and capacity of a site or communicating design ideas. We also explore social permaculture topics such as the ethics of intervention, systems thinking, community resource mapping and much more.

basic mapping of a site using triangles

Our Permaculture Design Process

Our Field Guide to Permaculture has 4 phases: 1. Research values and data, 2. Explore capability and culture, 3. Ideate functions and patterns 4. Communicate and implement

using an Aframe to mark contours

1. Research values and data

The design practice starts with a research phase where we are setting and reviewing our design team members objectives, meeting the clients and users and determining their wishes. We state our ethics and how this applies to the process. We develop skills for negotiating the value and costs of the design to us and the client. Then we refine our skills for interviewing the client.

Finding solar access, keypoint, and thermal band for a valley

2. Explore Potential of the Space and Culture

The next step in the design process identifies physical attributes and their potential for improvement. This includes planning Sectors, strategies to improve soils, water management, asset optimisation, and risk preparedness. Then we consult to historical records and listen to elders, explore community values, client and user habits and beliefs, cultural symbolism and networks.

communicating strategy to redirect surface water away from the pathways and into garden by installing rollover mounds
redirect path water to reduce erosion

3. Ideate Functions and Patterns

Before we focus on through-puts like composting systems. We identify the real functions required. We examine the connections and find ways to optimise energy and nutrient cycling. This part of the process is creative and fruitful. We look at zoning, creating multiple elements for each need and multi-functional components.

communicating design idea to use looped swales

4. Communicate and implement

Finally we practice communicating ideas and aim to stay involved in the implementation process.

How to get involved in these workshops

Contact us to get invited to the field days. If you are a permaculture elder, we welcome your input for free. All other experienced participants, please pay what you feel.

If you are newbie, welcome. If haven’t done a Permaculture course yet, you can enrol for as little as $225 in our introductory module and get unlimited access to the 6-weekly field days.

enrol in the introduction to permaculture course

Bite-sized Design Essentials – Climate, Sectors and Risk

spoof on whistlers mother

Face your risk from climate change with guided planning. You can then feel more secure, comfortable and fruitful.

We are powerful, creative individuals. But do we know how to be effective changemakers? Each day that we avoid thinking about the design of our lifestyle we are probably living by someone else’s design. This post offers worksheets at the end to help you design to reduce the impact of climate change and enhance the best features of any space.

permaculture visions design

CLIMATE, SECTORS AND RISK

Climate change is no longer up for debate. For many of us, it is real and now. And for many more people it is urgent. The risk is not evenly spread. One region will suffer far worse than another. There are inexpensive actions that make us more comfortable and safe.

Firstly, assess your overall risk. Then find what you can change and what can’t be changed. Rather than waiting for things to happen to us, lets plan some improvements and prepare for a dignified exist if required.

Plans can enhance the microclimates (using an awareness of energy sectors). But ultimately, calculating the risk informs the design and helps our community prepare better for future catastrophes.

MICROCLIMATE MITIGATION

Design cannot change the regional climate but it can create more liveable microclimates.
There are goldilocks “Life zones” that support living systems. But even Goldilocks needs to become adaptable because we are living through a period of rapid climate change. And not everywhere is changing in the same way or at the same rate. Every space is unique and the design team can assess what the space has and how it can be enhanced. 

Action: Research the climate site and map existing microclimates. Determine likely climate changes and how this informs the design. Finally, design to reduce the impact from a range of climate extremes.

SECTOR PLANNING

Sector analysis determines the direction, frequency, intensity and effects of both welcome and unwelcome energies. Designs that work with energies provided by nature require less imported energy and are more climate resilient.  To create a design that harmonies with the site we observe and measure the various energies, identify where they come from, their potential impact and how we can use or deflect this energy at different times of the year.
First we identify and map existing external and internal natural energy sources. We also consider predicted changes from climate worksheet. Next, we determine what design interventions could optimise the use these energies.

Action: Create a sector analysis for the space and propose modifications.

Dragon of climate change

RISK ANALYSIS AND MITIGATION

Design to reduce risk in order to save habitat, lives, effort and resources as well as minimising pollution. “Risk is the balance of consequence and likelihood .”  Lizzy Smith. Risk can be a negative or positive opportunity. An example of a (hopefully) positive risk occurs when we set out on an adventure.  Whereas a negative risk common occurs when someone moves onto a property that is subject to flooding then finds out they are not insured and can not afford to relocate.

Our risk analysis develops design strategies to prepare for and overcome risks. We determine the likely risks through a SWOT analysis. Then we design to mitigate the risk. 

Actions: Identify Strengths, Weaknesses. Opportunities and Threats or Constraints then Identify ways to reduce the risks and enhance the strengths. One of the actions that we can adopt is to keep some of the plants in relocatable wicking vessels. In the event of any type of emergency, or an opportunity to relocate, you can take young plants with you.

Earthcare secretary, Amanda Argent seeks to connect people to environmental stewardship, increase people’s skills and knowledge on how to regenerate food growing spaces following a natural disaster, and prepare for future climate extremes. This will strengthen flood affected communities collective resilience.

Tiffany-HENBURN

WORKSHEETS

Here are the worksheets we are presenting at Earthcare to help participants develop their design skills. The files are pilot samples from our upcoming Permaculture course and book called the FIELD GUIDE TO PERMACULTURE DESIGN. If you are keen to join our upcoming course to develop your design skills, write to us.

  1. Climate
  2. Sectors
  3. Risk
  4. Zones

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