Advanced Permaculture Design at the Bullock's Permaculture Homestead

On our last day at Linnaea Farm, all the teachers, garden students, family and friends had a celebration of the community, learning and joy that we had created over eight months.  There were many words of encouragement to send us off on our merry way, but I also remember one of our teachers saying this: "Remember how this feels.  Because the rest of the world is not like this."

Sometimes I think back on these words and ponder her meaning.  Are we meant to hold on to the feeling of love and acceptance in our hearts as we go about our business in the world?  Like a hero in a fairy tale who has travelled to a magical kingdom and come back to reality with new confidence, friendships and strengths?

Magical bamboo tunnel at the Means of Production, Vancouver,BC designed by Oliver Kellhammer

Are we meant to take the feeling as a mark of how we could help to transform the communities we live in to be more inclusive, more caring, more resilient?  To hold onto a model of how we could build community?

Are we meant to take this comment as a challenge?  That there is much work to do in the world?

I'm not sure what our teacher meant by the words but sometimes I think of them as: you have an oasis here.  In this community you can come to be inspired and recharge.  We care for each other.  We are here for each other.

The IronHorse Ranch, an urban oasis of fun and sharing, Vancouver, BC
So it is always a blessing and a surprise when I find myself in another community that feels like Linnaea.  The Advanced Permaculture Design course at the Bullock's Homestead in last week of August recreated that feeling for me.  The course was taught by Douglas Bullock, Sam Bullock, Dave Boehnlein, and Paul Kearsley.
I went to the course really excited go deeper and learn how to improve my design process.  The teaching team did a really great job at sharing their wisdom, provoking thoughtful discussions and bringing critical feedback into the course.  I really appreciated this learning opportunity, and plan to bring some new tweaks and patterns into my business and designs.

The teaching team, as well as all the people at the Bullock's, also created the conditions for people care, connections and beautiful ideas to happen.  There was a really well organized system of food preparation, chores and ways to help the course run smoothly, but that's not all.  Having shared meals, breaking out into different teams for working together, having different formats of teaching allowed for great conversations and sharing of resources.  I think much of the inspiration of the course came from the people attending it.

In the nursery at the Bullock's on a tour of irrigation systems
The participants and teachers of this advanced design course are the people who are taking the design process and running with it.  They are small business owners, they are community organizers, they are teachers and they are practising earth and people care in their day to day life. They reflect similar challenges and successes in their own lives, that I have in mine.  In that way, we were able to share ideas and equally importantly, share learning moments and frustrations.

Doug Bullock teaching about water systems

"How is it that one of seeing the world becomes so widely shared that institutions, technologies, production systems, buildings, cities become shaped around that way of seeing?  How do systems create cultures? How do cultures create systems?" Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems (2008)

Sam Bullock teaching about irrigation systems

I left the course feeling more confident and more enthusiastic to continue my learning journey to connect with mentors and colleagues in the field.  I continue on the path of service, of how can I be of value to my community, and in this work, practice earth and people care.

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" -Vincent Van Gogh


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