social permaculture

7th to 14th Dec

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.

This training will take place at our Ulex Project training centre, in the same area as the Ecodharma Centre. You can find full details of the course on the Ulex website.

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 Permaculture Design Course in 1998 in California, Alfred has been involved with social movements and projects throughout Europe and the Americas. He is an award-winning permaculture designer, a certified educator with the Permaculture Association Britain, and one of Europe’s leading permaculture educators.
Alfred 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 “Training Permaculture Teachers” (TPT) that Rosemary developed in over three decades of teaching experience around the world, Alfred co-edited her TPT manual and organised a successful crowdfunding campaign to develop the platform.
In the coastal mountains of Montnegre, Catalunya, Alfred is the co-director of the community biochar project Montbio, which won a 2017 Lush Spring Prize for Social and Environmental Regeneration.

Ever since stumbling across the concept of Transition Towns back in 2007, Ana Huertas has been committed to deep social transformation for the regeneration of our human and natural ecosystems. Ana is part of the coordinating team for the Spanish Transition Hub, where she provides help to local citizen-led initiatives trying to respond to the challenge of climate change and building community resilience. She has worked as an international cooperation technician for community development, sustainable agriculture and holistic education, and is also a trained Permaculture teacher and trainer for the Transition Movement. She has conducted research on climate change, urban and rural resilience, group dynamics and participatory tools for social change. With extensive experience in systems thinking and process work for group facilitation (through El Camino del Élder, IIFACE), she understands that most of the alchemical transformation we need takes place within group dynamics. She has served as vice-president for the meta-network ECOLISE and is currently the coordinator of the Municipalities in Transition project. Ana currently lives near Barcelona and is involved in several local initiatives on ecology and sustainability.

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

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