I learned an enormous amount during my relatively brief time studying my PDC at Daruma. Having discovered permaculture and its principles whilst working with others on the 4 Person Eco Home in Taiwan, I was fairly new to permaculture, but had read one or 2 books, and watched a fair amount of video content.
My personal interests before doing my PDC were mainly earthen homes, rammed earth, natural building techniques and so on. But the scope of subjects within permaculture that could be explored, studied, and importantly for me, actually worked on with my own hands…this had captured my attention.
It seemed that whatever I had an interest in, whether it was the practical aspects of improving the soil microbiome, composting, effective microorganisms / indigenous microorganisms, or how to design & implement a permaculture project from start to finish, specific design methodologies, natural building techniques, or the myriad other branches of scientific enquiry that can be pursued, I certainly left Daruma feeling as though I had learned as much as I could absorb, and more, during the course.
The depth & breadth of Neil’s permaculture knowledge, along with his obvious talent at teaching & mentoring, was something I very much appreciated. Any topic I asked further questions about, Neil had volumes of pertinent information on-tap to either help me understand the basics, or broaden & deepen my understanding. One of the best teachers I have studied with.
My class notes alone are filled with enough information & references to stimulate years of research & application if I decided to.
The PDC at Daruma was as thorough academically as I had hoped for and more, with plenty of opportunities to explore the practical application of much of what I was learning. There are many natural building techniques employed on-site from Straw Bale to rammed earth (my pet favourite interest ;-), poured earth, and compressed earth brick walls running hundreds of metres around the farm. It is a fascinating place to come and learn, both from a hands-on practical, and academic / theoretical point of view.
My experiences during the PDC, and the time spent there with Neil acting as both a teacher and mentor, led to me taking the opportunity as a Course Coordinator & apprentice Co-Teacher at Daruma. This in itself has been invaluable in further expanding my knowledge and experience, not just of permaculture and natural building techniques, but also seeing first-hand what it takes to establish and maintain an ecovillage & intentional community such as Daruma & Mosaic School.
Read more of what previous students at Daruma have to say here.