Unfortunately, our wonderful semester of permaculture has come to an end. I don’t think, though, that it’s principles and practices will be forgotten by the five of us as we continue to define our lifestyles and decide how we want to eat, use energy, waste, buy products, and interact with the world. We were a small class, and that gave us the opportunity to experience some really neat, hands-on activities and discussions.
How the permaculture principles were modeled within the structure of the course:
- Each week we read one or two of Holmgren’s principles, and then we focused on those during our class period.
- For example, after reading Principle One: Observe and Interact, we went for a walk through the Arboretum and actually practiced observing and interacting. It was neat to watch our textbook’s ideas in the real world, which is something we don’t always get in other classes.
- The week that we read Principle Six: Produce No Waste, we conducted Holmgren’s Self Audit to see what waste (of time, energy, or money) we were producing. It was interesting and made me evaluate what I spent my time doing. It was neat to hear how others in the class had actually made significant changes (like dropping calc!) based on their audit.
- As we walked through the campus farm’s herb spiral or talked with permaculture business owners or visited the honey bees, we talked about what made these things different – how, specifically, they applied the permaculture principles. Even talking about school work or our future plans, it was amazing how relevant the principles were!
Changes to course structure that I would recommend:
- Overall, I liked the structure. My favorite part was that we were rarely in the classroom – I loved visiting the campus farm and the Arb. Even on the days we were in the classroom, we had guest speakers, never just lecture. I think this kept us more engaged.
- I think that maybe the blogging, reading, magazines, and out-of-class assignments were a bit too much. I really enjoyed the out-of-class assignments (Farmers Market, Food Co-op) and didn’t mind blogging, so I would keep these two. But personally, I found the textbook to not be engaging. This might have just been me, but I had trouble getting through each principle and kind of zoned out as I read. What about a one-page summary handout of each principle on CTools? These would be easy to read and easy to refer back to.
Wrapping things up:
- I think all of my blogs are in. Please let me know if I’m missing one!
- Not as my final assignment, but I’m also looking into internships for this summer. I’ve found two that I really like (though I’m looking for more!), attended an info session, emailed the director, and plan to apply over winter break.
- I’m about to eat lunch with friends (to eat and socialize and provide a break from homework and plan a club project we have coming up), and later I’m going to run to my committee meeting at the Union so I get there faster and get my workout in. Yay for stacking functions!
- And finally, here’s some tea I made with the herbs we picked at the campus farm (this is a really unappealing picture, but I promise it was delicious!!):