Home » Illawarra Councils, Permaculture

Permaculture Design Certificate Scholarship!

1 July 2011 12 Comments

My three local Councils (Kiama, Shellharbour and Wollongong) often team up together on projects. One recent example was to offer 12 scholarships for people to do Permaculture Design Certificates (PDCs).

The idea was that they would provide funding for 4 people from each Council area to attend a PDC course of their choosing, and Council would pay the course fees (up to $1400 worth). The students have to pay accommodation, meals, travel, etc themselves. In return, the 12 students agree to share their new skills with others in the community, through whatever forms of community service interest them.

It sounded like a great opportunity, so I applied and was successful!

Because of work and family commitments, I couldn’t afford to be gone for 2 weeks on a typical PDC course. So I elected to do my course by correspondence, through local trainers Permaculture Visions. I met the owner, April, and toured their property a little while ago so I have full confidence that they offer a great course and have excellent knowledge of local climate, conditions, and resources.

A correspondence course lets me do the reading and much of the work at night, when I have free time. I like that I’m able to support a local business, and it may also be useful to be able to visit them in person once or twice during the course if need be.

I’ve wanted to do a PDC for a long time now, but could never really justify the cost. Most (all?) of the course content is available either free on the internet or in books from the library, and I’m the kind of person who enjoys learning from books. So I figured there wasn’t enough extra value in paying for a course.

But doing the PDC course brings all that disparate knowledge together into a structured curriculum. It also puts you in contact with other students and experienced instructors, so you can get information and advice on specific issues you have. And you get the certificate at the end, which demonstrates your qualification to others and gives you the right to use the term “permaculture” in a business name (likely not a big deal to me, but you never know what the future may hold!).

I’m hoping that by the end of the course, I’ll have at least the bare bones of a permaculture design plan for our property here. I’ll be able to pick the brains of the students and instructors, and hopefully get feedback as I develop it. So that will be a huge tangible benefit.

I’ll be able to use the skills I learn from the PDC in my activities in various local groups – Jamberoo Community Growers, Jamberoo FutureCare, the Kiama Council Health & Sustainability Advisory Committee, etc. Jamberoo Primary school is just starting to get a school garden going, and I’ll be involved in that too. Plus I’ll be blogging about the course as I go. So, plenty of opportunities to share the PDC goodness with other people!

I’m just waiting on the paperwork from Council so I can enrol and get started. I’m super keen!

Organic food growing for beginners manual.


  • nellymary said:

    Hi Darren, Well done for being one of the 12 selected…You will learn heaps that will prove valuable for both the community and you own property……I have plenty of Ferny Azola if you would like some now….Now must be its peak growing time, cause it’s gone mad…I originally got it from April at Permaculture Visions..April is a lovely person….Have you seen her lady scarecrow?

  • Darren (author) said:

    @NellyMary: Thanks! I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’ll email you separately about catching up soon. And yes, I saw the lady scarecrow – what a sculpture!

  • Donna said:

    Congrats Darren. This is a fantastic opportunity… YOu will learn loads from April. Donna

  • Darren (author) said:

    Donna: Thanks, I’ll keep you posted how it goes.

  • Penny said:

    Congrats Darren! My hubby got one too but he is going to do his with Geoff Lawton up north hopefully. I am doing my PDC with April at the moment and loving it. It’s been a long time since I enrolled but am completing it faster now with her intensive Friday afternoon sessions. Also I believe we have some mutual friends in the Vidilinis?!

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Penny: Thanks. A Geoff Lawton PDC would be awesome – I’ve got most of his DVDs, and I think I’ve read everything he’s written on his web site and watched all his YouTube videos. It’d be like trying to sip from a firehose! Good to hear you’re enjoying April’s PDC – I’m really excited to get started. The Vids are very good friends of ours – small world, eh?

  • GreenerMe said:

    Hey Darren,

    That sounds like a great course. I am sure they will see that you would be a great student to have on board their program.

    I myself have just been accepted into the Sydney City Council Sustainability Leadership program and I am also excited.

    Looks like you and I both have some interesting stuff that we can blog amount in the coming weeks / months.

    I’ll look forward to reading about what you are learning.

  • Bev said:

    Well done, Darren. You’ll love the course. It was the best thing I ever did. What a great initiative from your local councils. Wish ours was half as good.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Bev: Thanks! I’m positive I’m going to really enjoy the PDC, and am determined to squeeze everything I can out of it. We all like to bash our Councils, and they do make seeming-silly decisions from time to time, but I do think our local Kiama Council is right up there on sustainability issues. Even so, I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw these scholarships being offered!

  • Kirsten Bradley said:

    This is such a great initiative. I think we’ve got 6 of the sholarshippers (if that’s a word) coming to Milkwood for the Nov PDC – it’s going to be great to have a little illawarra bioregional troupe in the mix 🙂 – enjoy, enjoy!

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Kirsten: Yep, there are a bunch of them coming to your PDC. It should be lots of fun!

  • Kiama Primary School Garden Opening said:

    […] I was awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate scholarship by my local council? One of the other recipients was Maria, a teacher from Kiama Primary School, […]