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Thread: Permaculture Design Course DVD review

  1. #1

    Default Permaculture Design Course DVD review

    Permaculture Design Certificate Course DVD Collection with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton

    Info from

    The Permaculture Design Certificate Course was filmed in September 2005 at The University of Melbourne. Using a professional production team. The entire course is presented by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. Each disc has (+/-) 4.5 hours of content, 58.5 hours total for the set. The last disc finishes up Chapter 14, student questions, the design assignment, graduation, round table and conclusion to the course.

    My thoughts- I just finished watching this DVD set. It is extraordinarily expensive, but less expensive than traveling to a PDC session, and the benefit is that I could watch it at my leisure.

    Bill Mollison's role in this DVD is essentially that of a comical story-teller. He's extremely funny, insightful, and teaches through telling stories of his adventures in life. This can be somewhat frustrating if you are interested in an orderly, stepwise presentation of material. At times you think to yourself, "I wonder if he's a little past his prime". Mollison is a little tricky. Just when you think that senility has set in, he starts in on some practical and specific suggestions.

    When Bill uses the chalkboard, look out-- by the end of his lecture the board is an absolute mess with various drawings. I got the distinct impression that no design course taught by Mollison ever goes the same way. But Mollison does go into politics a bit and you get the sense from his statements that he is extremely anti-state and very libertarian.

    Over the span of the DVDs, I found myself looking forward to Geoff Lawton's sessions. Lawton provides more of a structured and information-packed lecture. He provides a number of references, and the guy's application of permaculture principles is simply astounding. Lawton also functions as a "reigning in" mechanism when Bill starts to get out on some bizarre tangents.

    If you are purchasing this series specifically for detailed information about improving your garden, you'll be somewhat disappointed. Permaculture is a system of integrated design, so this DVD set is extremely focused on how to replicate natural systems to get more out of your land than you put into it.

    It is not a course on permaculture gardening, and the entire DVD series is shot in a classroom. However, it does provide some useful information if you think of your garden as a part of an inter-dependent system. Practically, I found Lawton's discussion on composting incredibly informative. He composts everything that the "how-to" books tell you to avoid (such as roadkill). His system of composting is based on Jean Pain's book as well as the Berkeley method of composting (18-day composting method).

    One source of relational difficulty is that I live in the US (northern hemisphere), and this PDC was taught in australia (southern hemisphere). So there is more of a focus on tropical and subtropical plants, trees, and design strategies for those climates. They DO go into strategies for the temperate climates in the northern hemisphere (i.e. US), it just isn't the focus.

    I've recently found a free video permaculture course on itunes that I would consider an intermediate-level introduction to permaculture. The bonus is that it is free, and, has more of a focus on the temperate climate of the US. The instructor, Will Hooker, takes his students out of the classroom in lecture 5 and shows you his garden which is located in Raleigh, NC. To find this course, go into the itunes store and do a search for "HS432". Download for free and enjoy. Once you get through watching all of these lectures, if you are still interested in a more advanced exposure to permaculture design, consider the PDC dvd series from Tagari.
    Last edited by pacelli; 12-06-2010 at 11:54 AM.
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  3. #2


    Thanks for the review! I've watched some Bill Mollison on YouTube, and the whole permaculture thing seems pretty cool. I will have to check out the iTunes course. Thanks and +rep.
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  4. #3


    sepp holzer is my favorite permacvulture person

  5. #4


    I've also watched this series to and learnt a lot from Geoff and Bill. I like Geoff's structured lessons but also look forward to Bill's story's, they keep making me happy.

    For me this series is more than worth watching, but I do not see them as replacement for a course. I've also followed some teacher training and In the past I've worked as a law teacher, for that reason I learned that students learn at least as much from each other, as from the teacher, and it's a teachers job to facilitate that, and you can't ask a DVD any questions.

    I hadn't noticed Bills libertarian views, you're talking about but did notice a lot of common sense. The word libertarian is not so common in Europe as far as I know, maybe it's more of een American word? Anyhow I'm interested in what you mean by it. Is is a friendly peacefull form of political anarchism?

  6. #5


    I also did a local permaculture course wich I liked very much. If their's no permacultuur course near you, maybe you can start one. On you can find people with permaculture knowledge near you, a very userfriendly site recently made by the australians.

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