Design: Making connections

This pathway is all about making connections. In the first year, I was reconnecting with permaculture, reconnecting with and reviewing how I learn best, connecting with different learning environments and making connections with permaculture teachers.

The vision

to contribute to permaculture education by

becoming a teacher of permaculture,

developing nature-based, creative and community learning environments

 and working collaboratively

Overview of the design process: OBREDIM

I used the OBREDIM design process. After each year I evaluated and tweaked the design.

design process overvieww

The Teaching and Learning Pathway

Design rationale

The design is a teacher training programme in the form of a three-year action plan with SMART outcomes. I decided on a three year pathway as an extended training period with the aim of meeting standards similar to Gaia University’s International Diploma of Permaculture Design or the Schumacher College’s post-graduate certificate in Ecological Design in terms of designing my own learning pathway and gaining expert tuition in the form of short courses in my specialisms.

Key in the design phase is the creation of beneficial connections to provide a resilient and effective system: here it is creating beneficial connections in my permaculture learning and with the permaculture community of educators. This pathway is closely linked to other diploma projects: the Action Learning Pathway is a foundation for this pathway; the Forest Garden Pathway, the Garden Pathway and the Community Life Pathway are projects to develop my permculture learning and skills; the Right Livelihood Pathway builds on the teacher training. There is a great network of permaculture teachers locally and Brighton Permaculture Trust is a well-established permaculture organisation with a focus on education, so building connections with these had very many great benefits.

In my evaluation, I explored how a typical training model with a cycle of identifying needs, planning, enabling, assessing directly maps on to the design process. In my observations, including the boundaries and resources analyses, and the evaluation stage, I identified my training needs. In the design stage, I am planning and enabling to meet those needs by creating beneficial connections.

Having explored my own, permaculture and other learning environments, I identified key principles of the learning environments I would like to create and in particular for myself in this training.

  • action learning, ie experiential and reflective learning: for me, in this pathway and when working with others
  • learning collaboratively: working and designing together
  • learning creatively: starting new initiatives
  • learning holistically: exploring teaching permaculture as a supporter, convenor and tutor
  • developing specialisms: developing my other designs into a ‘right livelihood’ as well as my design skills.

Meeting permaculture ethics

The pathway meets the ethics in the following ways:

  • earth care: in the focus on disseminating permaculture design through education, prioritising nature connection and earth care in permaculture education
  • people care: exploring learning needs and creating excellent learning environments, prioritising working with others in permaculture education, working collaboratively with best practice in all areas, ie in the classroom, in the teaching team, in the organisational aspects
  • fair shares: supporting permaculture tutors and their courses, creating a learning environment for sharing collective wisdom

The pathway design


The first year: 2012

The aim for the first year was to observe, gain experience and make connections by:

  • reviewing and extending my knowledge and experience of permaculture
  • observing and supporting permaculture teachers
  • gaining a further education teaching qualification
  • undertaking permaculture teacher training


  • complete a Training of Teachers course
  • gain PTLLS qualification
  • join Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Trainee Teacher Scheme
  • create a learning toolbox

The second year: 2013

The aim for the second year is to gain teaching experience and work collaboratively with permaculture teachers as well as begin to develop teaching materials by:

  • working collaboratively with people involved in permaculture education
  • develop teaching materials
  • develop my specialisms


  • continue to work with Brighton Permaculture Trust: as a supporter, TTS, convenor for PDC
  • set up a permaculture teaching and learning guild locally
  • design activity design
  • Intro session plans
  • CPD in my other diploma projects: Community Facilitation Training, Effective Groups Training, Holacracy Training, Action Learning Facilitator Training, Forest Gardening Training

The third year: 2014

The aims for the third year are to design courses and create opportunities for teaching:

  • continue working collaboratively and making connections with permaculture teachers: working with BPT, supporting on courses, convening the PDC, teaching sessions on courses
  • design courses
  • create opportunities for teaching locally: Hoathly Hill Forest Garden, Transition Forest Row and the wider community


  • Intro course design
  • PDC design
  • Forest Garden educational programme 2014
  • short course designs: Plant Communities, Working Collaboratively, Learning Organisations, Community Living