Working with the land - building resilience through permaculture education
Wednesday, 12th October 2011

In the uncertain times, nothing can be more worthwhile than learning a using land-based skills. We review permaculture teacher and author, Patrick Whitefield's Sustainable Land Use course that covers many aspects of self-reliance including how to grow your own food and firewood.

Patrick Whitefield, author of a number of key permaculture texts and an experienced permaculture practitioner, thinks practical skills are ever more essential in our challenging world. He has designed a foundation course for people who intend to work with the land in a sustainable way. It is also for people already doing so, whether as gardeners, smallholders, farmers, foresters, landscapers or in other land based occupations. He teaches it just once a year, in modules, and the next course starts in January 2012. We have checked it out at and want to give you a free taster (see video link below).

The Sustainable Land Use course has a unique range of subjects which include: a full permaculture design course, ecology, organic horticulture, sustainable forestry. Patrick teaches ecology, for example, because this module gives an accessible overview of the subject and shows the valuable learning it holds for productive and sustainable land use. 

Learning by doing

Although mainly an indoor course, each day includes an outdoor session for observation and design exercises or practical work. Learning by observing what's going on in the natural world about you is  powerful tool. If you want a taster have a look at a tree identification walk from this year's course, led by Patrick: 


Patrick has gathered together some experienced teachers to add further dimension to the content who include Jo Newton, smallholder and Seedbank Co-ordinator at Irish Seed Savers, Mike Gardner MSc, a sustainable forester, and Sarah Pugh, an urban and community permaculturist based in Bristol.


The course is based at Ragmans Lane Farm in Gloucestershire, an established broadscale permaculture centre. Course participants also have the opportunity to tour urban permaculture sites in Bristol. The organisers like to emphasise the strong sense of community that the course engenders.

"This is the best educational experience of my life." Lucy Bates 

"The course has answered many questions and given me the confidence to go home and really get started on my own place." Doug Parfitt

So if you are planning to buy land or already own a smallholding or if you are looking for a comprehensive immersion in permaculture design and beyond you can find out more at 


Meanwhile, we have a special offer - £10 off on Patrick's Earth Care Manual, the authoriative manual for permaculture for temperate climates.