Another Design Course has finished at the old school on Manchester Road, Bury. The final day saw a steady stream of top-notch presentations, leading up to the grande finale of the certiciate ceremony. Congratulations are due to our new graduates for the quality of their design work and also for the inspiration they are providing to others.
The Northern School delivery team - Angus, Estelle and Krysia - were delighted to see that this course has produced such positive results. It has given us great encouragement to make further headway through all the difficulties in staging our courses for the coming year. And now we all have some new friends to help keep our spirits up as we move forward.
The Design Course at Warland Farm has continued with much lively discussion to combat the colder and darker months. Now that the skies are lightening (and sometimes even clearing) we are taking time to enjoy this wonderful Central Pennine location.
Running the course with an "extensive" format of one day per month gives us an excellent chance to observe the property throughout the year. With a variety of niches in the landscape and great potential for microclimates, the site is already rich and interesting, supporting a large number of species. The challenge now is to make the farm more productive for local people. Warland is already attracting volunteers and recruiting members for the artisan community there. The idea is that our course students can contribute to the further development of the site through their end-of-course projects.
I was recently asked to visit the University of Cumbria Business School (at their Lancaster campus) to make a short presentation on the contribution that permaculture design can make to sustainable business development. The audience was a group of mature students from a wide range of sectors and perspectives who were studying aspects of sustainabilty in business .
As I accepted the invitation, I realise that Lancaster engagements have formed a personal "Bookend" to the recent pandemic. My previous academic engagenment was at Lancaster University in February 2000, and the phone had remained quiet since then.
We started the session with a discussion about the general threats posed to society and the students came up with my preprepared list without much prompting. High on the list were the risks of economic mayhem (supply chain disruption and hyperinflation), made more difficult to address by geo-political instability and the exploitation of digital technology to exert widespread central controls.
As a response to the threats, I developed my thesis that much of the accepted business management practice has to be left behind as we deal with a complex and confusing future. Good permaculture designers deal with complexity and uncertainty every day and our skills and approaches make us ideally equipped to deal with what is coming, not just for businesses, but for everybody.
It was good to share a platform again with Michael Hallam of Lancaster Ethical Small Traders Association. Michael spoke about the contrbution that personal development can make to the emergence of sustainable business. We have much to learn from Michael about establishing the infrasturcture that will support the local traders of the future.
Trevor Wynne is busy doing landscape and maintenance work in large gardens in select areas of the Ribble Valley. It's interesting how permaculture thinking on topics such as fertiliser and composting are becoming more attractive to wealthy clients once they realise that they can save money by adopting new practices ...
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