From 2005 to 2012 we did modular courses, of 12 day modules, plus a design project at the end. We developed this approach, which was taken up by other permaculture tutors in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
The modules were mostly on Saturdays, and throughout the year, with a full weekend introduction in February and a final full weekend in November.
In 2013 we started doing a modular course through RECAP in Ashhurst. This started at the end of February and finished at the beginning of November 2013. Since then there have been further modular courses, and they are now organised and partly tutored by members of the RECAP community. We are still tutors for some of the modules.
The 2013 workshops were as follows:
1) Permaculture Principles & Design: 23 Feb
Welcome and introductions; permaculture ethics & principles; general applications of permaculture; ecological principles and design; concepts of sustainability.
2) Landscape & Site Assessment: 24 Feb
Natural patterns and reading the landscape; techniques of observation; measuring and recording land form; sectors & aspect; gathering information of natural conditions and cultural features and requirements; design process (information collection, analysis, options, evaluation and drawing up).
3) Soils: 23 March
Nature of soils and soil structure; soil life and fertility; soil testing (visual assessments & plant indications); soil/plant/animal relationships (nutrient cycles, mixing of air & water); composting; re-vitalisation aids (seaweed, rock dusts, EM, biodynamics etc).
4) Food Gardens: 13 April
Garden layout & design (sun, shelter, access, companion planting, rotation, green manures); garden preparation (digging, mulching, humus build-up); garden types & relationships; plant health & diseases/pests/predators; weed management; seed saving.
5) Culture & Social structures: 11 May
Worldviews, assumptions & identity; personal, social & economic transformation; legal structures, ownership and privilege; function of money, banking & financial systems, alternative currencies; decision-making procedures, social roles and conflict management.
6) Urban Living: 8 June
Healthy & sustainable living in cities; suburban retrofit & reducing your ecological footprint; apartment living first steps; engaging with local communities & councils; subdivision & development; layout and integration of urban areas/activities (community based and adapted to the landscape, transport and service corridors, integrated infrastructure, social services and community facilities).
7) Water & Water harvesting: 29 June
Nature and importance of water; watersheds & hydrological cycles; sources and sediments; purification & treatment (water quality, pollution & re-vitalisation); storage (naturally and in reservoirs); harvesting; uses, multiple use, re-use and conservation.
8) Tree Gardens & Small Animals: 21 July
Diversity of orchards, food forests, staple crops and small animals; climate and landscape and selecting trees/vines/berries/crops etc for site; layout for needs, guilds, diversity and in relation to facilities; planting & pruning; food forests and ecological principles; orchard management for productivity and plant health, and integration with small animals (bees, poultry, pigs); ecology of plants and animals; management and care of small animals.
9) Air & Climate: 17 August
Nature of the atmosphere (air, life and climate); types of climates, circulation patterns and changing climates; weather (rain, snow & ice, frost, droughts) & micro-climates; air quality, pollution & re-vitalisation; shelter & shade (design & species).
10) Nature’s Abundance & Dynamics: 7 Sept
Natural eco-systems, biomes and changes in climate and landscapes over time; role of forests and grasslands; large animal grazing and soil fertility; grazing management and animal care (water, stock movement, shelter, shade and health); structures (fencing, yards etc); forest types and habitats; services and re-generation; uses and management; coppicing and pruning, thinning; species and spacing; wild foods and herbal medicines. Dynamics of natural processes and large events; hazards (physical, biological/chemical, social and economic) and risk assessment; information about hazards, preparedness and responses.
11) Energy & Technology: 5 Oct
Nature and types of energy; sources of energy; energy analysis (efficiency, life-cycle energy); peak oil and energy descent; approach of science & technology and industrial production; appropriate technology and R principles – refuse, reduce, repair, re-use & recycle; energy and transport alternatives.
12) Shelter & the Built Environment: 2 Nov
Principles of building biology and ecology; orientation & layout for site and surroundings; building design (warmth & ambience, insulation, passive and active systems, storage & heat pumps, sound, light and electro-magnetism); building materials & construction (local earth, straw, timber, embodied energy, toxicity, finishings); services (on-site supply, micro-hydro, wind & solar energy, re-use & recycling, compost toilets, greywater systems etc).
Design Project workshop day at or after end of course.
A modular approach to permaculture design courses is now being used in a number of countries around the world.
For further details please go to their site RECAP