You May Be Eligible for a $1500 Reimbursement on Your PDC

As you will know, Geoff recently began teaching regular courses at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms (MCNF), near Canberra. This means Zaytuna Farm in northern NSW is no longer your only option – thus saving a lot of travel time and carbon for many students.

Well, now Mulloon Creek Natural Farms has secured FarmReady approval by the Australian Government for its PDC courses, so if you’re a primary producer (a farmer, fisher or forester) in Australia you may well be eligible for an AU$1,500 reimbursement on your course costs.

The next PDC Geoff will teach at MCNF begins November 30.

By the way, applications are in for Zaytuna to get FarmReady status as well.


  1. You say on the left side on your website:

    “…thus saving a lot of travel time and carbon for many students…”

    On the right side of your website you have an ad

    “Take a PDC in the Dead Sea Valley!”

    where you invite students to fly from all over the world to Jordan? Isn’t this a bit hypocritical? Maybe I’m wrong and there is a passenger aeroplane which does not burn 1000s of tons of kerosine. Could you please explain how this works?

  2. Using the tools of the old system to build a new system is acceptable.

    Permaculturalists should be given a little slack since their flying around is more than offset by the systems they implement. Even if they’re held to the same standards as everybody else, the profligate flying by the masses (eg. “to Tahiti, just for the weekend”) more than cover permaculturalists flying to Jordan.

  3. Dear Fan of Wacky Vorlon
    we are now offering courses by video skype as an option, to save time and energy. This will be the future of all our courses we believe.

    We also are not against any students who want to travel to the Jordan PDC course on foot, by horse, camel, donkey, mule and sail in fact we greatly encourage them.

    Thank you for your energy audit conscience.

  4. Hi FanOfWhackyvorlon – I’ve yet to see a constructive comment from you. You don’t use your real name (either that or your parents are exceptionally cruel), you don’t even use your real email address. Too much more of this kind of lurking, and as editor I’ll have to label you a troll and treat you as such.

    PRI is endeavouring to help the people in the middle-east become more self-resilient. Water, soil, food, are all serious, practical issues – and go a long way towards adding to other tensions in the region. By having westerners on our ‘developing world’ courses, they subsidise the education of people who would normally never afford to be able to attend. If you can think of a better alternative approach to fast-tracking the training of people around the world, so they can, in turn, begin to train those around them, we would be extremely appreciative to hear of it.

    It’s true that as a race we’ve been using fossil fuels profligately. As I’ve written elsewhere, imagine if, over the last century, we’d used it very sparingly, and only for positive projects – those that would help people live more peaceful, sustainable and healthy lives? Imagine if it were used, for example, to create water harvesting earthworks, that can cause food forests to bloom out of deserts, etc.?


  5. Fine I’m a Troll. Think what you want, but there is still the fact that you guys invite 20 – 30 people to fly to Jordan to do a PDC with Geoff.

    Reading the excellent stuff you usually write Craig, I’m surprised that this is obviously not a problem for you. I honestly think that PDC’s should be done by regional teachers for regional people.

    Teacher in Melbourne should teach Melbourne people, teacher in Sydney, Sydney people; teacher in New York, people from the New York bioregion and so on. You get the picture?

    Educate one local Jordanian, fly him to The Channon if you want and send him back to Jordan to train local people there would be a much more Permaculture way of doing things.

    Am I the only one who thinks there is something wrong with the picture of flying international students to do a vanity PDC with the Australian Geoff Lawton to Jordan?

  6. Dear Fan of Wacky Vorlon
    thank you for you concerns, I would like to let you know that we have 10 Turkish and 2 Bulgarian’s, 2 Egyptian’s, 3 Syrians, 13 Jordanian’s all driving to the course, , 1 Moroccan, 4 British, 4 American, 1 from Columbia, 1 from Spain, 1 from China, and 1 from Singapore all flying.

    it is not quite that easy to create teachers from courses so quickly.

    Unfortunately the more you work as an international teacher, consultant and designer the more experience you get and if you have good teaching delivery skills the more active the students are that you produce and the quicker they become teachers, but the more invitations you get also.

    My aim is my own redundancy as quickly as possible, nothing would make me happier. At the beginning of every PDC I always tell the students that the best result that could come from the course is that every student becomes a better teacher and designer than me, and I am very pleased to say it is happening.

    In 2009 we did 18 international flights but this year we are going to do one trip encompassing Jordan, Malawi and UAE on the way home, all permaculture work. This year we have taught on PDC’s in Canada and Chile on SKYPE video, with a good camera this maybe the future for a little while. We have made a commitment to only teach on our own institute site and as we are Muslims in the Islamic world where we have very intimate connections and an ability at this point of time to create great change.

    The Jordan PDC will definitely not be a vanity event as the people of Jordan need as much help as they can get, so in many ways it will be a charity course. Our family lives in the village where the course is being held and we will be visiting family as a multifunction of the trip.

  7. Hi FanOfWhackyVorlon – just to add to what Geoff has written…

    First, thanks for making the first comment I’ve seen from you where you seem to, at least a little, step down off a high horse to make some kind of discussion, rather than just bluntly sounding like you’re convinced you’re right without factoring that there may be things you haven’t considered. With the potential for anonymity on the internet, unfortunately too many people just throw a virtual molotov and run, as it’s so easy to do.

    Second, although I agree with you on principle, getting to where you’d like to head (everyone just teaching in their own region) is not an easy task. Life is not so black and white. You may not have understood all I meant about westerners subsidising third world students. This is, to date, the best way we’ve found to finance the training of people who otherwise would never get trained. If someone from an arid area of California who has itchy feet and would probably fly somewhere anyway, decides that he wants to make it a constructive trip and comes to take a PDC in Jordan, then his ‘hard currency’ enables the course organisers (PRI) to let a needy Jordanian (or someone from neighbouring countries) to take the course at a rate he/she can afford, and where possible and where needed, they can also potentially take it for free. Experienced Permaculture teachers are not, yet, available in the area – but we’re working on it. Geoff has enough demand within Australia without flying internationally, but there is a huge need for his expertise in these countries where water and food are serious daily problems.

    You’ll probably mention Melbourne next (you have before). Consider that if Geoff doesn’t go to Melbourne to teach there, which is one person flying from Brisbane to Melbourne and back, then what will occur instead is that 15 or 30 people will fly from Melbourne to Brisbane and back instead.

    I personally face this same dilemma. People tell me I’ve had some impact on helping drive Permaculture into the mainstream – and course numbers seem to bear this out – but in order to do so, I’ve had to travel to try to shed a light on the work that’s going on. People need inspiring. If my travel causes thousands of people to reconsider the path their life is on, and then divert to a more sustainable path, then I guess it’s all worth it. Having said all that, I’m also aiming at keeping the inspiration factor going, whilst staying put – but I need some of my own land to do so. If you’ve any land to give away, do let me know! I’ll start blogging and digging simultaneously! :)

    Finally, again, if you can think of a way of fast-tracking the uptake of these critical technologies, we’re all ears. From tried and tested experience, this is the best way we know how so far. As far as we can tell, we’re spreading the word faster than ever. Again, if fossil fuels were only used for good causes, then we’d soon be living on a sustainable platform, and this kind of travel would be redundant – we could all stay home, and spend a few hours a day working with nature and enjoying the fruits of our labours.

    I say, don’t stop the education train – it’s the only hope we have.

    P.S. We’re all, as they say, ‘busy men’, so I should mention that I don’t know if we’ll have time to continue our little chat much further…

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