This is a rough outline of a programme I have proposed for Transition Year students in Irish schools.
Basically, the idea would be to introduce the concepts and principles of permaculture to transition year students across as many schools as possible, perhaps starting in one as a pilot scheme.
The suggested content would include;
Basic introduction to the principles of Permaculture, using books by co-creators David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.
Looking at working examples of Permaculture in action from various projects internationally.
Application of theory within the school or local community [using the design tools to come up with solutions to problems the students can identify within their environment]
Site visits to local farms and projects where living examples can be demonstrated and studied.
Creation of a space within the school where students can develop their own Permaculture projects.
The skills developed within this programme would benefit students in the following areas;
problem-solving [the basis of permaculture is turning problems into solutions, i.e. using food waste from a canteen to feed a worm farm]
social economics – looking at how business and monetary systems affect society in general, but specifically the local economy. These insights are critically important for young people to realise, if we are to build a more resilient and sustainable economy in the future.
practical/manual skills – learning how to use tools, materials and plans/drawings to build basic apparatus, structures, etc. [e.g. poly-tunnel]
creative design- given the right set of design tools, students will be capable of coming up with their own designs.
entrepreneurial spirit – this programme would introduce students to a whole range of business opportunities and career paths that might not other-wise appear on their radar. Examples include; aquaponics, gourmet mushroom production, urban farming, alternative technology, artesian cottage industry [bakery, raw foods, juicing, herb production, niche restaurants]
A real-life example of the above would be the brothers who founded “The Happy Pear” in Greystones. They run a very successful vegetarian cafe, where they also sell fresh local organic produce, sprouts and wheat-grass.
Another possible avenue to explore would be co-ordinating with local community groups and businesses to develop specific projects, such as a community garden/orchard, a playground, a wild-life santuary or a social space.
Examples of such groups would be; GIY, Transition Towns [combining two types of transition here], tidy towns, men’s sheds, local farms [Macra na Feirme], An Taisce Green communities program, Bord Bia, Parks and Wildlife department, etc..