social permaculture

July 28th to August 4th

The Social Permaculture course will explore permaculture as a tool for designing communities and organisations. It will help you to understand things in terms of connection – between people, economies, and governing structures – and how to create the conditions for humans to flourish on a societal level, as well as how to develop beneficial relationships with the ecosystems which sustain us.

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable and resilient communities and environments. It offers practical tools for creating productive and efficient landscapes as well as organisations and social structures. Permaculturalists place a high priority on developing resilience – the capacity to withstand shocks and disruptions – and we will look at connections between designing for resilience on a community and a personal level.

While the discipline originated as an ecological method for designing sustainable full-featured human settlements, more recently the design principles have been applied in urban, social and group contexts to organise, communicate and cooperate more effectively, rethinking existing social and economic structures – we call this “social permaculture”.

The ethics and principles of permaculture suggest a strong critique of current forms of social organisation and economic relationships. If we take seriously the idea of learning from natural systems, we are encouraged to reimagine economic and social systems as embedded in these, supporting the resilience of the system as a whole. Learning about ecological principles and patterns can help us to transform our human interactions and organisations to be dynamic, responsive to change and a means of flourishing for everyone involved.

Over the course of six days, participants will examine how to apply permaculture to civil society through:

· Applying the ecological principles of permaculture to social structures
· Studying economic models which serve to develop and enrich local communities
· Using Systems Theory in identifying the leverage points/points of intervention/entry points to support positive transformation of society

Course participants will consider how each individual functions in society, and what are our social and ecological impacts; and how everyone can find their own roles in responding to the systemic crises we are facing: economic, social, and environmental.

The facilitation of the course will demonstrate how social permaculture can be applied to group processes, and its content will include:

  • Permaculture Design: Principles and Practice
  • Invisible structures: Creating solid and efficient organisations
  • How to collaborate effectively in groups (decision making, leadership/natural authority, structures, dynamic activities, etc.) and strategies for creating environments in which something more than the sum of the individual parts can happen. Avoid the typical pitfalls for all groups (power, money, sexuality, etc.). How to increase the energy of a group and sustain it, how to grow as a group
  • Ethical money, alternative currencies, time banks, divestment, social innovation and enterprise, right livelihoods
  • Communities (including the Global Ecovillage Network and the Transition Town movement)
  • Examples of Social and Urban Permaculture from around the world
  • Design your Life: A Process for Finding Your Path
  • Designing factors of community resilience (including preparation and response to disasters)

The Team

Alfred Decker's passion in life has been ecological and social justice activism, of which permaculture has played a central part. Since his first PDC in 1998 in California, Alfred has been involved with social movements and projects throughout Europe and the Americas. He is the founder of the 12 Principles Permaculture Design consultancy, Permacultura Barcelona and the Forest Gardens project at Can Masdeu; is a co-founder of the Spanish Permaculture Academy (Academia de Permacultura Íbera); and was a member of the European Permaculture Teachers Partnership and the Permaculture Council of Europe. Alfred holds a post graduate diploma in sustainable architecture and renewable energy (Centre for Alternative Technology).
After taking a permaculture teachers training with Rosemary Morrow in 2011, he undertook a two year mentorship and later co-taught six courses with her, ultimately earning a Diploma in Permaculture Education & Community Development in 2013 through the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute (Australia). Committed to furthering the teachers’ training platform “Permaculture Teaching Matters” (PTM) that Rosemary developed in over three decades of teaching experience around the world, Alfred co-edited her forthcoming PTM manual and organised a successful crowdfunding campaign to develop the platform.
Alfred currently lives in with his partner on a smallholding in the Montnegre i el Corredor Natural Park north of Barcelona, Spain, where they are creating a permaculture demonstration site and educational project called Can Comú.

Michel Thill has been studying the relationship between ecological and cultural renewal for the last 10 years, in rural as well as urban environments. He is currently based in London where he runs a Permaculture enterprise bringing communities together to reimagine public spaces and participate in the creation of a sharing economy. He supports multiple food growing initiatives by offering training and facilitation.

Michel teaches Permaculture Design and Deep Ecology in London and across Europe. He has a particular interest in ecosystem restoration and creative teaching methods as a means to achieve social and ecological transformation.

Suggested contribution in the Dana Economy €200/€500/€700 (euros).

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