PDC with Scott Pittman and Durga, Costa Rica Jan-Feb 2015

I've been working on a Permaculture Diploma with a specialization in Education for the past couple years through the Permaculture Institute USA.  Many of the readings, courses and workshops I've described on this blog have been part of this journey.

I wanted to take another Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and do some assistant teaching in the process to get my head around creating curriculum for a two week residential PDC course.  I also wanted to see Scott Pittman, who was one of my teachers for the teacher training last year, teach the PDC course. Scott Pittman has taught many PDCs around the world and has been teaching for 30 years.  Scott is a direct link to how permaculture has grown and changed over the years.  He is also a master storyteller and uses storytelling to weave the interdisciplinary, emotional, cultural aspects of permaculture together.

Aranjuez Mountains, where Scott, Durga and I did preparations for the course

Durga is a force of compassion, inspiration and an instigator of change.  She is a teacher and diplomat from Costa Rica, and lives at Sat Yoga Ashram where she has implemented permaculture projects on a large scale.  She is a joy to learn from and work with and she models all the permaculture ethics in every action she takes.

Art work and Random Assembly Wheel to decorate the classroom at Finca Amrita

Processing perennial cotton plants and hibiscus

The community of people that came together for this course were from 8 different countries, spanning 5 decades between the the youngest and oldest student, and from all different walks of life.  What is so incredible about many of these residential PDC courses is that they build community in a very short amount of time with really diverse groups of people.  The quality of the people interactions and the hope, lightness and inspiration this gathering generated is truly a blessing to see and experience.

Tour of Finca Amrita

"What we need is to help open people's hearts and passions and self-belief and then be amazed at what happens next."- Fiona Ward

Mountains surrounding Finca Amrita

Finca Amrita was a lovely spot to hold a PDC, nestled into the mountains just outside San Isidro, with a lovely swimming stream nestled at the bottom of the property.  All the people who live at Finca Amrita and the helpers that came together to make this course possible were welcoming, helpful and planted the seed for a cohesive community to form.

Break Time!
The tour at Sat Yoga was one of the highlights of the course because being a permaculture nerd, I am always interested in how people arrive at design solutions taking into account the people and environment that they live in.  Sat Yoga is a spiritual community made up of people from all around the world, in a relatively remote area of Costa Rica, on top of a mountain where it rains alot! For more info about the climatic conditions and physical/botanical plans see their blog: https://satyogaashram.wordpress.com/

Ferro cement tank for capturing rain water and solar PV are integrated into this home

A solar dryer for clothes- important in a place where it is 75% to 95% humidity all the time

Solar Hot Water
Most houses had greywater treatment, Watson's Wicks for blackwater or composting toilets
The beginnings of a food forest
For a lovely video of Shuynamurti's teaching at Sat Yoga from our visit, from Permaculture to Prema-culture, there's a lovely 20 min video here.

Spreading the seeds of new models of community living, being human, and living in nature

"There are a thousands ways to kneel and kiss the earth."- Rumi

Cacao Pod- The seeds or beans are peeled to make chocolate, while the pulp is equally delicious
Felipe and Jose came and gave us demonstrations of two types of compost methods: takakura and bokashi.  I still have to perfect takakura for temperate areas but I made a good start at it this summer, I just didn't think the mix was ready for indoor space quite yet.

Invisible Structures were a big part of this course, and should be in any Permaculture Course.  Building soil, growing plants, making energy efficient buildings are relatively simple when compared to how we all get along.  Invisible structures are all the ways that our lives are limited or facilitated by the social fabric we create as human societies.  How do we trade goods?  How do we transfer knowledge?  How to we access land and resources? How we redistribute wealth?  How do we make decisions?  What kind of rules and conventions are appropriate?  These are the fairly sticky questions that are often overlooked because in a way they are invisible, even though they affect everything we do.

Durga, Scott, Melissa
Best of Two Weeks!

Big gratitude to everyone at this beautiful PDC.  It was an honour to be part of this experience!

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"- Eleanor Roosevelt


Popular Posts