“Through observation, creating maps, learning appropriate hand skills, problem-solving initiatives, community building and working in teams, we come to know our worlds intimately and build settlements that are self-sustaining. By invoking intuition and practicing the arts of communication, advocacy, planning and management, and creative thinking, where we start with the whole and move to particulars, we come to know ourselves and our personal and team creative process, intimately.” ~ Wayne Weiseman
Permaculture Principles and Methodologies are Foundational
In all of courses the Permaculture Principles and Methodologies color the entire curriculum. Permaculture is about whole systems, not about separate components. Because each element in a landscape or the built environment affects every other element at a site, we believe that a complete, comprehensive assessment is tantamount to develop healthy, productive, energy efficient relationships between elements for the benefit of everyone involved in day-to-day operations and life. By paying attention to all the details: topography, climate, water, wind, sun, activity nodes and corridors, buildings, machinery and tools, the waste stream, plants and animals, it enables us to make best use of what is already on the ground, and what we intend to put there. With a dynamic interaction of elements in process, and an assessment of both spatial and temporal attributes, organized around sound ecological principles, we can maximize yields and balance the landscape.
Our classes will reveal to you the awareness of Permaculture as a complete system of appropriate technology. You will deepen your ability to understand personal needs, penetrate to the root of existing problems, and through the whole-systems approach of the Permaculture curriculum, be able to pinpoint biases and dogma in preexisting systems of education and training received, and transcend them. You learn to turn theory into practice, becoming more astute observers of your environment. You learn hand-skills that can be used for life and passed down to the next generation.
You will be exposed to the belief that minerals, plants, animals and humans interact in one vast web of being. This affords you the opportunity to apply the lifestyle methods employed from the Permaculture coursework that begin with whole thinking and move to specifics.
You will learn to use appropriate technologies that sustain life, realizing that how we make use of the natural world can be both ecologically sound and economically viable. You will be able to deliver the principles and skills learned in the course to a wider audience, family, friends, associates, where attitudes toward land-use and land-ethic will change. Overall health of nature and humanity is the first priority.
You will become caretakers of the earth, thus giving heed to a “sustainability mindset”. By becoming aware of the structure, locational pattern and function of everything you see or place in the landscape, you are able to construct circular models where zero waste, use and reuse, and conservation become the essence of our thinking and doing.
The curriculum consists of assignments and hands-on practicum in the hunter-gatherer, agricultural, Permaculture and modern appropriate technology lifestyles, depicting human settlement patterns and land-use. Information packets, course and resource materials and a complete bibliography on related topics will be distributed for each course. Student partnerships and team projects are encouraged, where appropriate.
These courses promote practical hands-on activities in the field, based on season and site requirements, giving participants a basic background and context to extend the principles, methods and values of Permaculture into a working practice that moves beyond mere theory to develop life transforming skills and abilities. The primary method utilized is observation, where we learn to read directly from the Book of Nature, gather essential data from our observations and thereby assimilate this data into a comprehensive approach that works in a balanced fashion within the local bioregion that a site exists in. We will create working maps and models that depict the entire history of human settlement and landscape metamorphosis, while working through political, social, economic and environmental issues toward an ecologically sound and sustainable land use ethic.
Training in nature and life skills sharpens our ability to see life as it is and develop hand and eye coordination, placing us into an environment where we must observe and create what we need in an immediate and balanced way. If these assumptions are correct then there is still an enormous need to communicate information about these topics and related eco-agricultural and sustainable technological systems to students, educators, administrators, politicians, the media, farmers, architects, ranchers and the like. The dual approach of theory and practice is specifically project-based. Along with practical projects that you will tackle during trainings, you will also build communication skills, thoughtful introspection and the ability to enhance your future work with prospective clientele in whatever profession you choose or at your home site.
You will learn about leading trends in sustainable agriculture, i.e. Permaculture, Biodynamic Agriculture, Bio-intensive gardening, the eco-agriculture movement as purported by Acres USA, organic systems, the natural way of farming of Masanobu Fukuoka and indigenous systems of agriculture. You also learn about renewable energy systems (wind, water, solar), ecological building practices (straw bale, cob, earthbag, etc.) and everything from tool making to animal husbandry. The basic model includes all of these systems and merges them into a working whole.
Based on an understanding of the basic principles and ethics expounded during these courses you will be able to evaluate your work in the field through an applied set of ideas that move from the whole to the specific. With astute observation and an understanding of essential and cyclical patterns found in the natural world you will be able to help yourselves and others to lift the veil of the landscape and create new ideas based on the archetypal energies and forms which give birth to all the diversified elements and interactions on the farm, in the garden, the home site, the village, suburbs and city.
By utilizing appropriate technologies that sustain, rather than hinder and destroy the balance of nature, an ethic and attitude of care, cooperation and the need to follow nature’s pristine example will become apparent. You will learn to mimic the ecological processes within the local bioregion where you live and work, creating balanced ecosystems in their own right.
Because it is postulated to start small and stay relatively small with practices such as utilization of vertical space in planning (stacking), ecologically based design, and increasing yields-not size of acreage, participants have the opportunity to deliver a unique point-of-view geared to small and mid-sized land-bases. By presenting holistic systems such as Permaculture to students, and by showing how they can be economically viable and ecologically sound, at the same time, education policies toward land use and land ethic will change. You will become more sensitive to the overall health of human life, your basic needs, and the needs of all beings in the landscape. By seeing wholes rather than parts, you will be more apt and willing caretakers who will work to restore and sustain the intended living environment for all creation.
The current education-information system will become a more flexible entity where cultural exchange between educators, students and stakeholders establish communication that precludes a deeper reading of the Book of Nature and the practical application of ideas quarried from that reading. Through a mixture of theoretical and participatory hands-on teaching and learning in the art of Permaculture methods, a responsive, learning dynamic results. By delivering a systemic approach such as Permaculture to a larger and more diverse audience, an ethically balanced “middle way” approach to land use leads to a sustainability “mind-set”, viable for a large cross-section of producers, educators and students.
The systems approach is all-inclusive. If the underlying “law of unity” is constantly at the threshold of our thinking in education, research and communication, we will always be called to look for what brings us, and nature, together in harmony, rather than the separation from the natural world that most of the populace feels. By studying and applying these courses in the ethics and principles of Permaculture you take a step closer to the stability of sustainability that all in one way or another, seek for ourselves and for future generations.
KAAP courses integrate holistic education with all aspects of life and learning that promote personal self-discovery in the natural world by:
- Encouraging self-reflection on Nature
- Increasing and defining ecological and bioregional literacy
- Studying cultural and natural diversity
- Practicing global thinking and the spiritual understanding of the natural world
- Celebrating change, observing and studying the rhythms and evolution of Nature
- Creating sustainable designs for living
- Recreating the life and folk ways of local prehistoric and historic cultures
- Intertwining environmental and ecological studies and practices with daily existence
“We must create designs for human settlements that incorporate principles inherent in the natural world in order to sustain human populations over a long span of time.” (John Todd)
Biological-Ecological Design Precepts (By John Todd, Creator of the “Living Machine”)
- The living world is the matrix for all design
- Design should follow, not oppose, the laws of life
- Biological equity must determine design
- Design must reflect bio-regionality
- Projects should be based on renewable energy sources
- Design should be sustainable through the integration of living systems
- Design should be co-evolutionary with the natural world
- Building and design should help heal the planet
- Design should follow sacred ecology
Please visit the Classes page to view a list of the general topics Kinstone covers in our curriculum.
Design: A Three-Phase Process
For every Permaculture project we take on we conduct a three-phase process as follows:
Phase I: Engage in initial discussion and cover topics such as protocol, history, institutional analysis, vision, mission, geopolitical assessment, bioregional delineation, values, objectives, needs, wants, and budgets.
Phase II: Perform an on-site assessment taking into consideration the following: abiotic and biotic factors, physical, biological and cultural attributes, landform, built environment, energy sources, present and historical land use features, activity nodes and corridors, land tenure, critical habitat foundations, soil composition, vegetation composition and cover, successional pattern and plant productivity, wildlife corridors, water resources, climatological factors, and the waste stream.
The process of design begins with a thorough evaluation of the site and available ecological resources and culminates in a detailed report and site plan, whether for raw land or preexisting settlement. Effective site plans include:
- description of the design vision;
- results of investigation of renewable and sustainable systems and materials;
- description of development and integration of systems;
- a completed detailed design;
- action steps for putting the plan into motion;
- manifest the design on the ground;
Phase III: Provide recommendations based on assessment and needs, suitability analysis, the whys and wherefores of transitioning into a “green” environment.