S39 Academy of Permaculture
3rd March 2021

Full PDC@Treflach 2021

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This course is for you

Lead tutor Steve Jones with Rogers Wasibi, who will also be contributing to the course
Ian Steele on a recent tour of Treflach farm
Al fresco lunch at the farm
Ali Tebandeke will be Zooming in to talk about his permaculture work in Uganda and South Africa.
PDC Kumi practical
Permaculture is global, through this PDC you can network and be involved with pioneers around the world, even from home

26th April – 8th May

You don’t have to be a farmer or even a grower, permaculture is for everyone. It is an inclusive and nature friendly way of seeing; one that embraces the perspective that all life is connected, that we are all part of a single Eco-system.  James Lovelock made clear in the Gaia hypothesis that all life is interwoven as a larger single, living, breathing organism, something of which we are only a part.

Permaculture teaches us that we can influence and shape this through conscious design but that we can never control it. Consequently we are all invested in building a culture and society that recognizes that our imperative is to learn how we can collectively steer this ship without crashing, and soon. The natural state for nature is abundance, somehow we have allowed our collective actions to strip the natural world to its barest bones and see that as economic growth.

Permaculture teaches how to apply the observable logic of nature to all forms of design. Permaculture is a shift in perspective designed to allow for such a behavior change, a common language we can share.

Our next key lesson is that the better we work together through co-operation and collaboration the more we align ourselves with the forces of nature. Applying this logic allows us to begin the process of rising to the many and interconnected challenges we currently face.

There is an urgency for us to meet more of our core and essential needs from an energized and interdependent local community. Food needs to take front and centre and be a the start of a process which can a forge a new resilience helping us face the coming shocks and uncertainties. Permaculture teaches you to start with the self, start small, from the back door, if we can harmonize locally then we can find ways to harmonize globally.

Also and critically the evidence mounts that the quality of our food depends directly on the quality of the soil in which it is grown; if the nutrients are not in the soil then they are not in the food. Permaculture teaches us the degree to which everything is linked, everything is connected and that by re-energizing soils, we re-energize local economies and their communities.

Permaculture design brings those elements together in a practical design framework and a PDC shows you how to begin to apply this.

A PDC is a 72 hour curriculum designed to equip you with a vocabulary of ideas, examples, patterns, to see design through the eyes of nature. Permaculture also gives you the tools you need to begin to apply that to your world around you. 

You will see living practical examples, whether in field on online, the course brings a whole new et of possibilities alive for you. It involves you in a live community of people actively applying these ideas.

Permaculture 72-hour curriculum 

Coming back from pandemic, facing the climate and ecological and economic shocks which we know are coming requires us to think again, how can we work together  much more effectively to face these challenges? We also need to be enjoying full and wholesome lives at the same time, it has to be fun also!

Permaculture can be seen as a framework, a common language of ideas, which help address complex and interconnected things, a system language.

Permaculture is not a magic bullet, rather it is a way of seeing and planning which requires conscious and thoughtful application as well as consistency over time, but with that and some humility we really can change the world.

Treflach farm sits on the edge of rising Welsh hills, overlooking the Shropshire plain. A family farm for 4 generations, of about 100 acres. Treflach is a farm that began a deliberate journey, some years ago, one of transitioning away from those post-war farming systems — so reliant on external inputs, to something that might sit better with the future, a nature led approach.

Permaculture became the methodology, a way of seeing which allowed a deeper and more holistic understanding  of how to work with nature. By embracing agro-ecology with a permaculture design approach, Treflach is learning how to farm in a regenerative way. It has been a huge and tangled journey already but we all feel this journey is only really just beginning. 

Farmer Ian Steele’s over-riding objective is for the farm to pass to whosoever might be its future custodian in a better shape than how it came to him. In this aspiration Treflach has started working with Steve Jones and the Sector39 team for over 10 years now. Bringing students, volunteers and participants to help re-people the farm, and importantly to help facilitate a huge conversation, learning and insight into how to apply permaculture in an open ended, on going application of those ideas to the farm.

S39 are excited to be collaborating with  Dr Elizabeth Westaway with her perspective on nutrition, nutrient density in food and how this relates the quality of the soil of origin. As a theme within the PDC we will focus on soil, nutrition and community and how these things inter-relate.

"Learning about mycorrhizal fungi for the first time on a permaculture course was a defining moment for me, by realising the enormity of their significance for soil health, nutritional quality of food, citizen and planetary health."

"It's so important for us all to become aware of how our food is grown and for agroecological farming practices, that regenerate mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, to become the norm."
Dr Elizabeth Westaway

Bioturbation with and without soil fauna from Wim van Egmond on Vimeo.

Soil is alive and our food connects us directly to this complex and dynamic web of life
treflach far shop sign

Treflach on-farm shop, with on-farm products

The farm itself is very much part of the course. Mainly grassland but also woodland, with wild edges everywhere; nature is quickly regenerating. The food the animals eat is largely grown on farm or saved from the waste-stream, and increasingly the community around the farm is gaining access to that produce. “We are not experts but we are certainly learning on so many fronts. “

The Sector39 team started teaching at Treflach over Autum 2010 and the relationship has evolved as the farm evolves. It is increasingly fascinating to study permaculture in this context, and we invite you to join us.

A Covid resilient course

These have been hard times to make plans, with restrictions constantly changing, regardless  we are really keen to get our PDC plans into the diary .

We are planning a Covid-resilient course,  which can function on line and include non-local participants, but will also allows us to invite participants to join us on-farm for the final 4 days, maybe more as restrictions apply at that time.

There is on-farm camping, with glamping, caravans and live-ins options will be available as well as food from the farm so is scope to be a safely physically distanced apart as required.

If you are not in the UK, Wales border region or not able to travel and would like to participate we can make arrangements so you take full part in the design activity which will come in the final third of the course.


The price for the on-line full PDC, with an e-certificate of completion is £175.00, payable to Sector39.

Consider making a donation, how about £75.00 to help fund permaculture education globally, specifically East Africa. This is entirely up to you and your budget, but is greatly appreciated and a effective way to support other pioneers.

Majority world  citizens, especially African please apply for an academy apprenticeship and we would hope to be able to help you with the cost of data fees to access the course, as long as you  can get a good enough connection.

For UK participants, if you are on a tight budget and want to come to farm, (and conditions are right) then you may bring a tent and do your own camp cooking. Alternatively we would hope you will take advantage of the wonderful on-farm facilities including produce, cooking and accommodation. If you have a caravan or camper you may bring it for a small fee or even use the farm’s glamping facilities of yurts, bell tents and more. Please make these arrangements directly with the farm.

Visit Treflach Farm to find out more.

Here is a promotional video from Treflach farm created in 2019

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