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ALP reflections

22nd November 2019 – High Heathercombe Center

Sitting here on what seems like the top of the world in the Dartmoor windy hills in Autumn I am inspired by other permaculture students around me whilst we are all on the last day of a journey to be accredited with our permaculture design certificate. In many ways I had been on this path a lot longer than the start of the course, my life decisions have long been influenced by permaculture through the many travellers sleeping on my couch in Spain, the many visits to various communities in Spain, Portugal, Germany and the UK, my years of self-study and in my endeavours to start a permaculture Eco-community in Spain 2016 and then a year later in Northern Germany 2017. This process then seems like a natural progression from my day to day application to an intricate and thoughtful design of my action learning pathway.

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

– Marcel Proust

I woke up this morning with an eagerness to continue on my diploma journey by starting to work on my action learning pathway design and the earth cellar-dwelling design. The earth cellar-dwelling design process at the moment seems to be easier to do than my life path perhaps reflecting that looking back at my journey to this point is by far more difficult than designing for pleasure and function.

30th November 2019

I expect that this timeline will change around life and hopefully keep flowing until I complete my portfolio and am awarded the diploma.

As I finish the timeline I realise that I feel quite daunted when represented in this way even though I split this into the 1st and 2nd year and used a wide time frame for each slot. I use this nervous energy to think about my next achievable step.  

Before moving on, however, I would like to talk about the earth dwelling design which I had mentioned at the beginning of this document. After discussions with the community, it became clear to me that the survey phase would be a lengthy one that will involve costs and time that would be beyond the scope of this portfolio. The intention is still to carry out this design collectively with other members of the community at a more leisurely pace.

7th December 2019

After being home for almost a week and back into my rhythm I am finding it difficult to find time to concentrate on the Diploma work I would like to do, however, this is not coming as a revelation it was expected. Nevertheless, after a long day at “work” taking care of the house, booking in volunteers and cooking I have sent a message to the PDC group to ask if any of the lovely people in the group want to join into a peer group. Peach & David immediately joined in. I also joined in with the Facebook group and asked if there were any local/regional diploma students in Northern Germany. Since I have decided to go about my diploma using the independent route peer support is going to be very important for me.

15th December 2019

What’s going well? 

I seem to have gotten myself organised and despite the underlying anxious energy I feel competent and ready to get started on my one-year internship design

What’s more challenging? 

Keeping the focus on the diploma work is sometimes challenging as I am working in a communal space at the moment, this is mainly because there are not many warm private rooms, which also have a comfortable workspace so occasionally I am interrupted by the volunteers or other community members passing through. 

What is the long term vision/goal? 

My long term vision is to finish the diploma on time and teach permaculture, live on the land from the land, live in harmony with the earth and others. 

What are the next achievable steps? 

Get started on the one-year internship design.

22nd December 2019

Milestones achieved: 

  • booked my ticket for the diploma gathering in March + bus ticket Berlin to London
  • attended my first event Monthly Online Gathering (MOG) for Educators organised by the Permaculture Association 
  • Finished reading Donella Meadows – Thinking in Systems

Opportunities offered from me to others: 

  • Published the 1 year internship for project manager at the Kuckucksmuehle
  • Started a permaculture library in the hackerspace at Kuckucksmuehle & helped volunteers who wanted guidance on which books matched their interest
  • Passed on the apprenticeship offering from Graham and Aranya to the PDC group and told them about the MOG so they too can attend.
  • Short term stays at the Ecolodge are now possible as I managed to find enough furniture. 
  • Offered online and in person garden planning sessions for anyone who is interested in this topic

Opportunities received/offered to me:

  • Steve Charter at the MOG asked me if I wanted to be on a pilot team for a new course being designed that would be a bridge between the PDC and the Diploma
  • Graham Bell and Aranya would like more apprentices at their courses
  • Jemma offered to put me in touch with CoLab currently working on Ethical Lifestyle app
  • Jemma sent me an invite to join in “Creating an introduction to permaculture community process”
  • Regina offered me a space on the farmers group to try and sell produce on the market
  • Regina offered me help to prune the fruit trees in the new year

I had been feeling in the last couple of days that I hadn’t achieved anything. I felt apathetic and generally a little depressed. Probably the winter weather is not helping and also knowing how much there is still to do in preparation for Congress. Sitting down and reviewing my progress however I see that I did plenty and it does make me feel better, that it is also good to rest and take some time to feel grateful for such abundance.  


  • Feel good about progress & gratitude for every opportunity offered
  • New support channel & strengthening of existing channels
  • Better insight about self care needs and patterns
  • Served as a conduit for information and opportunities to others

22nd January 2020 – Kuckucksmuehle Hackerspace

I have been regularly reviewing the content on this design particularly as the guidelines state that I should try and keep the design to 2000 words. To bring this more in line, I will extract most of the personal details in the river of life section to the about me section and simply link it from the design. This will serve multiple functions, it makes me more human to the reader and also does not overload the design with the intricate details that are illustrated in the design, thus making this more concise.

In the last week, there were moments when I was tempted to change some of the chosen designs, perhaps if it had been just a list and I hadn’t documented how they all fit into the bigger picture I would have however the fact that they are documented and interwoven in this design with clear goals and direction has made me reconsider some of the swaps that I had been thinking. One such swap would have been the iLAND registration for Kuckucksmuehle with a mushroom cultivation design. This is still a valid design however it is very different and would not be as interconnected as the original choice. 

This exercise has brought me a new insight, not only about the design choices here but also the benefits of applying this in everyday life choices.

I did however need to print the GANTT chart as I was finding that my memory not being very good when the time came to work on my diploma I had to continuously go back into the document and look for it. A printed copy of the first-year schedule is now on my desk.

15th March 2020

As I go through the design stages and from one design to the next in a meshed fashion I take the time before starting a new design to evaluate and assess whether tweaking is necessary. Another evaluation point happened when I was invited to hold a facilitated group design session and separately give a permaculture related workshop at a coworking space.

With the material for the facilitated group design session almost complete it would make sense to make this one of my 10 designs and share it with the group, thus producing multiple yields utilizing time in the best way possible with an implemented design. This will require minor tweaking of the schedule and the web of connections but it would fit the scope of this portfolio very well.

20th December 2021

As time has passed I have had to change my designs as I moved from Germany to Spain. Some of my designs were already finished and implemented before my move thankfully! I am very happy with the outcomes and therefore the tweaks are simply a swapping of designs that are in keeping with the original sentiments and purposes as the initial designs chosen, making the choices for the swaps easier and keeping the whole portfolio coherent.

It has been interesting for me to adapt my project management skills to my permaculture practice which produced a sort of hybrid that allowed me to both be structured and remain flexible enough to allow for personal growth. Whilst keeping a clear goal for me was never going to be a problem allowing myself to rest, not getting burnt out and still enjoying the process is something that I had to keep in mind and regularly remind myself of.