Over the past year, I had been feeling unfocused and a little bit lost to tell you the truth. Too many years of moving from place to place had made me feel tired and like I was lacking some kind of... rootedness. I think that in many ways, travel has kept me young, but it some ways it has also kept me from exploring my own adulthood. Earlier in 2017, my partner Victor and I decided to settle down in a small city called Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada. I said to myself: "I need to work on some meaningful long-term projects right about now or I'm going to go crazy!"
A couple of months ago, I signed on to support Food Not Lawns founder Heather Jo Flores' Patreon page. I had been following her work through social media and was always inspired by her activism, artwork, beautiful writing, and directness. Via Patreon I gained access to the pilot project of her 60 day Decolonize Yourself Creative Immersion program which has been an incredible tool for reflection, creativity, and some serious brain storming. Through connecting to Heather on Facebook, I also got to know about the call for women to teach modules in the first ever Permaculture Design Certificate course taught exclusively by 40 women from around the world. It was all about being in the right (internet) place at the right time and BAM! - I was brought on board to develop 3hrs of online teaching materials on Reimagining Economic Systems as seen through the lens of Permaculture. As I worked on my module, I got the chance to gain even more and deeper knowledge about alternatives to capitalism and less harmful ways of participating in the economy.
I also found out that this course is SO much more than the typical 72-hr permaculture curriculum. We've added more modules on social and emotional permaculture, with a focus on solidarity, as well as tons of fun activities to help participants explore applying permaculture within their local social and environmental systems. A a couple of months into planning the course, we found out that the amazing Looby Macnamara and Maddy Harland will be contributing a module to the course. I was fortunate enough to meet both women at 2016's European Permaculture Convergence in Italy. I just love it when the universe connects you to the people you need to know in that way.
In case you are wondering just WHY a PDC taught only by women is needed - the truth is that the harmful and sexist patterns that exist in society are often perpetuated in alternative circles just as much as in mainstream society. Just read Trina Moyles' article "Permaculture or Spermaculture" from Briarpatch Magazine. Even within permaculture, women are underrepresented as teachers, authors, and conference speakers. We are also paid less for our work and taken less seriously just like in many other fields of work. Sigh. From personal experience I can tell you that sexism is very much alive and well within the Permaculture community. This can range from seriously creepy online trolling, to sexual harassment by prominent male permaculture teachers, to completely unintentional passive forms of exclusion when it comes to things like natural building or eco-construction. So YES, we a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y need more women teaching permaculture!! And now, this band of 40 women of the Permaculture Women's Guild are taking steps towards bridging these sexist gaps and I am so so happy to be a part of it!
The course opened for rolling enrolment Mar 1st (with early bird pricing for the first 100 students to sign up!). The pricing is, fist of all, much lower than the average PDC, which I think is superb, but still designed to pay teachers fairly. It also allows for the course to be accessible to a wider range of folks through scholarship options. I will offer a limited amount of scholarship positions to folks who are unable to pay for the course, focusing on low income women and single mothers. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, get in touch with me! To read more about this amazing course, click the link below. If you choose to sign up through the link, you will have me as a course mentor and I will get compensated for the time that I put into creating my module (a.k.a. many hours spent mostly joyfully, though sometimes wishing I could whack my computer with a baseball bat).