For many, permaculture takes them out of the life they knew and propels them into the unknown. For us it was no different. I took Geoff Lawton’s online permaculture design course and came out determined to create permaculture curriculum for youth which is what The Permaculture Student series grew out of. As I finished the book and handed it off to the illustrators and then formatters, I realized that having the book go out to schools all over the world in over a dozen translations wasn’t good enough and wouldn’t be fast enough to make the size change we needed in time. We need permaculture to be the backbone of our education systems - it can’t just be for adults.
Recently attending a packed screening of Inhabit, an award-winning documentary on permaculture, I was struck by the questions the panel of distinguished permaculturists asked afterwards. Nearly all of the questions I’d asked myself, and found the answer in the creation of a school for kids that taught permaculture. I fought the urge to raise my hand and interrupt. All the problems seem to have one solution: teach permaculture early not later on, teach it to as many people as possible and as much as possible guarantee that our systems will be preserved by the next generation. If we plant food forests everywhere and our children still grow up to cut them down, all our efforts would be wasted; they have to want to carry our legacy forward. We can’t force it upon them either, so I came up with a new permaculture educational model for youth, a habitat for learning where children are not judged or forced.
A New Kind of School
For years, my wife and I struggled to figure out what was best for our two boys educationally: we tried traditional schooling, homeschooling and eventually unschooling, but while we distilled elements we liked (or our boys liked) from these methodologies they all lacked cohesiveness. I realized that we couldn’t adopt someone else’s programs, we had to make our own. I realized after creating the first home and public school permaculture textbook and workbook series that I could base an entire school around permaculture. Permaculture Life School is my vision of that school.
We will learn everything from annual and perennial gardening to beekeeping to scything to goal setting to reading the landscape. It will be like a PDC but with more: there’ll be art, exploration, play, field games, field trips to developed ecosystems and events, music, home business, and so much more. School will sometimes be held at student home sites to install gardens, earthworks, graywater systems and more. The school will function to develop and strengthen communities through service learning.
Childhood should be an adventure. We should all have the opportunity to learn how to be ethical, healthy and happy. We should all know how to leave a positive footprint everywhere we go. When permaculture is a language the rising generation is fluent in, the world will be a safer place for as long as the sun shines. Our school seeks to be the flagship for a new mode of education; help us start the journey out strong and share our mission with the world.
Join us in our journey by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign.
We have some fun perks too: a children’s story painted in only fruit and vegetable juices, the Permaculture Student, site consultations, cohosting Permaculture Tonight & more!
Our Youtube Video:
Watch: The edible schoolyard