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Darren J.  Doherty
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6-21 September 2011 PDC on Paros Island, Greece with Darren Doherty

Posted by Darren J. Doherty almost 13 years ago

Darren Doherty will be leading a 15 day PDC in Paros Island organised by Permaculture Greece.

Permaculture (permanent agriculture or permanent culture) is the conscious design & maintenance of agriculturally productive and energy efficient systems. Regenerative human settlement design is its prime focus, where the concept strings the disciplines into a web of appropriate & productive development. Originally developed as a methodology in the early 1970’s it is now practiced and applied in nearly every country, and works to sustainably promote low energy & solid state food and resource security….’ Darren J. Doherty (1994)

We are proud to announce the first Permaculture Design Certificate Course in the Cyclades Islands, in Tao’s Center on Paros, with world renowned Permaculture Designer and Teacher Darren J. Doherty.

Darren has extensive experience across the world in Permaculture project design, development & management. A career-long focus on the profitable retrofit of broadacre landscapes has seen Darren acclaimed as a pioneer in this important & often overlooked field. He is a Certified Whole Farm Planner (University of Melbourne), Approved Keyline® Designer, Accredited Permaculture Trainer (APT®) & Certified in Workplace Training & Assessment and was formerly a Registered Teacher of the ‘The Permaculture Institute’ (teacher registration system ceased in March of 2010).

Darren has been involved in the design & development of over 1400, mostly broadacre projects across 5 continents in 41 countries, ranging from 1 million hectare cattle stations in Australia’s Kimberly to 110,000 acre Estancia’s in Patagonia, EcoVillage developments in Tasmania to Public:Private R&D Agroforestry & Education Projects in Viet Nam, Family farms across the globe with a range of private, corporate, government & non-profit clients.

A true ‘integrationalist’, Darren has more recently been the originator of the Keyline® Design, Carbon Farming, Carbon Economy & Regenerative Agriculture (RegenAG®) course series across Europe, North America & Oceania. This wide experience has created an international reputation of achievement plus and enviable & expansive network that integrates many disciplines.

Darren is married to Lisa Heenan and they have three children, Isaebella (18), Pearl (11) & Zane (9), all of whom are based in the Bendigo region of central Victoria, Australia.

Course Audience

This Course is relevant for those people working in any of the industries that all-encompassing Permaculture can be applied to (agriculture, building, energy, health, education, economy,…) and have an interest in or are working in regenerative project development. Urban fringe and rural landholders wanting to buffer themselves and their properties against the vagaries of climate change and on-going land degradation through drought-proofing, soil renovation, crop diversification and social renewal are also a likely market. Urban participants wishing to understand, design & develop the more intensive production systems & architecture needed in cityscapes are also targeted, as are students, teachers, professionals and activists wishing to broaden their minds and vocational horizons for the betterment of earth systems and the habitats of humans.

There is no minimum age limit to attend a PDC and children are most welcome to attend, provided that they are able to cope with the intense load of information and participation that is endured throughout a PDC. Some of our best students have been in the 12-18 year old mark and they have gone on to quite active roles in their respective locales.

There are no minimum education requirements to attend a PDC, though some previous reading or knowledge, traditional or scholastic, is an advantage. Our preference is to limit class sizes to 20-40 people, with learning, assessment and participatory difficulties faced more often than not where numbers above this are encountered.

Course Outcomes

Our clear intention is to facilitate to all students the understanding of the design concepts and themes that are Permaculture Design and to provide them with the best opportunity to manifest these into sustained on-ground action as Permaculture Design teachers and/or developers.

Furthermore our intention is to enable future local and regional Permaculture Designers to broaden and strengthen their business opportunities by free access to our pioneering business model which has been very successful and identified as such by many a Permaculture luminary.

Participants attending this PDC will gain the following outcomes/products. The first of these is a minimum requirement of a PDC delivered by a Registered Teacher of TPI. All others are available to accelerate the ability of participants to develop, consult and teach Permaculture Design:

  • Demonstrated understanding of Permaculture Design according to the criteria laid out in Permaculture: A Designers Manual
  • Basic understanding of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications in developing Permaculture Designs
  • Daily Design Exercises and Practicums such that you walk out of this course with up to 7 diverse designs completed & presented in a open feedback format
  • Provision of Microsoft Excel-based Worksheet package for Client & Project Management, Development and Management processes
  • Complete digital photo library catalogued according to Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (Mollison, 1988) chapters & more
  • Base understanding of design and development principles involved with Broadacre Permaculture applications including:
    • Whole Farm Planning/Property Management Planning
    • Land Component identification and classification
    • Use and development of land system-based standard designs
    • Broadscale Farm Forestry & Tree Crop ground preparation, management & processing techniques
    • Understanding of Keyline® Design principles and techniques as a foundation to Permaculture landscape design
    • Exploration of all manner of Permaculture-related techniques and activities in the sphere’s of natural land management, innovative enterprise structures & models and participatory development
    • Holistic Management® Principles & Techniques (HolisticGoal Formation, Holistic Decision Making, Financial Planning, Land Planning and Grazing Planning)

Course Outline

Session Times

Breakfast 07.30 – 08.00
A 08.30 – 10.00
Break 10.00 – 10.30
B 10.30 – 12.00
Lunch 12.00 – 14.00
C 14.00 – 15.30
Break 15.30 – 16.00
D 16.00 – 17.30
Dinner 19.00

Education Modules

The timing of the delivery of the education module program is on a ‘subject to a day’ basis. This allows students to focus primarily upon the subject of the day. Most PDC’s do not do this and negative feedback is common, hence our respecting the strategy of the TPI Curriculum in total by following the Permaculture: A Designers Manual chapter order, though as of early 2009 we revised this to bring forward ‘Aquaculture’ &’ The Strategies of an Alternative Nation’ ahead of the major climates such that these important core topics were included in the designs and discussions around these ‘Major Climate Days (Days 13-15).

Delivery of the program within the individual modules is not static however, with a wide range of activities that are subject to change according to the facilitator (s) assessment of the respective course participants needs and as new and emerging activities come to light. As we are now engaging with the internet in ever increasing ways we are prefacing the course with online introductions and expectations so that we can tailor each course to the respective participant group. This happens about a month out and through Google Groups. This is a unique process, not used in other PDCs, and renders the course more personalised, coupled with the fact that there is a single teacher-trainer giving the course.

As in life we need to be flexible. On that basis we will have a range of different exercises that include the following mediums:

  • Film & Audio Documentaries
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations
  • Physical Activities (eg. Composting, Field Walks, etc.)
  • Modelling
  • Group Design Development & Presentations
  • Group Research Exercises
  • Open Discussion

Education Module Program

Day 1 Registrations, Housekeeping, Introduction
Day 2 Concepts & Themes of Design
Day 3 Methods Of Design
Day 4 Pattern Understanding
Day 5 Climatic Factors
Da y6 Trees & Their Energy Transactions
Day 7 Water
Day 8 Free Day
Day 9 Soils
Day 10 Earthworking & Earth Resources
Day 11 Aquaculture
Day 12 The Strategies Of An Alternative Nation
Day 13 Humid Tropics
Day 14 Dryland Strategies
Day 15 Humid Cold To Cold Climates – Major Design Presentation – Evening Concert
Day 16 Where To From Here? – Parting Declarations – Certificate of Completion Presentation – Departures

Design Exercises & Groups 

Early in the PDC participants will be formed into groups of between 3-5 people. Group participants will be randomly selected using a highly challenging process. These groups will have a name given to each and their task will be to work together on a range of research & design projects all culminating in a Major Design Exercise to be presented on the last day of the course. These participatory exercises will be used to assess the student’s capabilities and competencies and will be on whatever the subject of the day is about ‘coloured’ with the knowledge and experience we all bring to courses such as this.

Most PDC’s just have one or two designs for the whole course. We have found this to be extremely limiting in the development of our participants design skills. As such we want to give you as many real design scenarios as possible to design in groups. Designs will be both those of your own properties that you can then develop, but also based on work Australia Felix Permaculture has done over the years from our stable of over 1400 designs and developments.

We would love to have you prepare the necessary information and data about your own projects in the month before the course and then we can use these for design exercise, further enriching the design exercise experience.

Course Venue

About Tao’s

Tao's Center

Tao’s Center is a retreat & meditation center on Paros.
Located on top of hill with a panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighboring islands, it is a place dedicated to the practice of awareness, self development and awakened life in the spirit of Tao.

Tao’s Center offers daily activities – Meditation, Qi Gong, Yoga and Dance, scheduled workshops, seminars & retreats, a long-stay Work & Study program and Group Hosting for guest teachers. Those are accompanied with Tao’s Going Green project, aimed at creating and practicing ecologically sound living through various workshops & events.

The activities are led by Tao’s home teachers together with experienced and renowned guest teachers, group leaders and therapists.

Tao’s Restaurant, with its amazing view, is open all year round, offering the best of Asian Cuisine together with live music events and night parties, a meeting point for happy people from around the world.

About Paros

Naoussa, Paros, the old port

Paros, the second largest island of the Cyclades is known by many as the jewel of the Aegean. The hills of Agii Pantes gently slope down to lonely pebble-covered coves and wide sandy bays.

Compared with the usual barren landscapes of the Cyclades, the first impression of Paros is that of a greener and more fertile island. A well-developed network of bus routes entirely encompasses Paros and its 120 km of coastline. Depending on the season, the primary locations are served up to 25 times a day: from the little seaport of Naoussa, where much of the tourism is centred, to the bathing resorts of Drios, or Pounta , the ferry port to the neighbouring island of Antiparos, and Aliki – close the local airport and its tiny arrivals hall.

In the idyllic South and East of Paros agriculture dominates: acres of wheat and barley, beds of melons, orange- and lemon-trees, olive groves, figs and almonds. There is even enough water to plant tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and, of course, vines. From the red Mantilaria and white Monemvasitika grapes, about a thousand local farmers produce near 2,5 million litres of wine every year.

The Wind and Kite surfing centers are popular and highly recommended: winds of four Beaufort or higher turn the 700m long Golden Beach on the east coast into a pro-ground swarming with kites and sails where many championships are hosted. Behind the bay, one can glimpse a white mound under the mountain of Kefalos. This is Marpissa, said to be the most beautiful village in Greece. From here for 2km, a byzantine trail stretches up to the flowery mountain village of Lefkes.

Dozens of writers, painters, sculptors, musicians and poets consider Paros to be the cultural hub of the Cyclades. Instead of a contrived aesthetic, an authentic flair dominates the scene.

In Parikia, the capital of Paros and another main tourist centre, people stroll through the white alleys, rest below the Kastro or graze at one of the tavernas opposite the impressive church of Ekatontapyliani, the oldest church in Greece which has been in constant use. Around midnight locals and tourists alike promenade the mile long water front where tavernas, clubs and bars are only a step away. Everything is open and welcoming, like the people of Paros.

From parosweb.com.


Course fee is €650, including 3 meals and 2 breaks a day.

There is a possibility to apply for a scholarship. Please check this page later for more information.

Accommodation Options

Tao’s center does not have accommodation facilities in the center itself but will assist you in finding accommodation, chosen according to good atmosphere, closeness to the center and reasonable prices.

You may choose between an organised camping facility in Santa Maria beach at an average of 5€ per person per night with own tent or share a double room in a guest-house in Ambelas fishing village at an average of €15 per person per night. More upmarket options exist as well.


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Evan Young
Evan Young : I love Greece, you need an assistant?
Posted almost 13 years ago

Report Evan Young on 6-21 September 2011 PDC on Paros Island, Greece with Darren Doherty


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