Permaculture, the design system that seeks to meet human needs while improving the environment, is spreading like wildfire. From herb spirals and food forests, to community gardens and earthships, permaculture is the latest evolution in environmental awareness.
So where does one get trained in permaculture? The answer is: right in your own home. If you’re into treating the planet better and want to get serious about your environmental education, Permaculture Skills: a Cold-Climate, Applied Permaculture Design Course will take your green-ness to the next level.
This 4-DVD set covers permaculture instructor Ben Falk’s Permaculture Design Course (called a PDC), making it convenient for anyone, anywhere. Real life PDCs take time, often several weeks, and can be a large financial committment; classes range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Sadly those issues prevent individuals from gaining valuable skills for improving their both their lives and the environment. Permaculture Skills solves this problem by making this knowledge both affordable, accessible, and interesting, as well.
Although a basic understanding of permaculture is helpful in grasping some of the more difficult concepts of landscape design, the material in each class topic is well discussed and illustrated so that even the neophyte greenie will benefit. Resources and reading materials are listed at the end of each chapter to support and expand on the instructor’s teaching. Falk and his instructors walk the viewer through the basics of permaculture using clear examples and real-life situations. Additionally, concepts that are rarely breached in the traditional PDC (such as how forests evolved in response to the megafauna of last ten thousand years), might open the viewer’s eyes and mind to new ways of forest management. These topics spur the mind to think so out-of-the-box that even the hardcore permaculture fan will get something out of Permaculture Skills.
One doesn’t need to be a “Permie” or a homesteader, however, to enjoy some of the other more unusual offerings Permaculture Skills has to offer. Courses in basic useful knots, basic herbalism, seed saving, growing mushrooms, and knife and hand tool maintenance come in handy as well; proper knife sharpening, for example, goes outside of the tool shed and into the indoor realm of the kitchen.
The cinematography work of filmmaker Olivier Asselin and his cohort, Barthélémy Glumineau, makes you feel like you’re on vacation in New England. Asselin, whose previous work includes The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic, and Glumineau have trapped the wild beauty of Falk’s central Vermont farm on camera, making the viewer feel as if they are sitting onsite in class. Their lens has distilled the essence of 20 days of Falk’s instruction, delivering knowledge with great visuals to boot. The New England landscape is expansive in contrast to the intimate feeling one gets watching the class; at times, you may even forget you’re not there.
The DVD set price is $59.95, and the streaming digital access to the course is only $34.95 – far less than a live PDC, and a lot more convenient. For the person who wants to get a serious green education on a budget, Permaculture Skills: a Cold-Climate, Applied Permaculture Design Course is a blue ribbon winner.
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