The Permaculture Podcast

    1623 – Experiential Design and Capacity Building in Permaculture Education



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    Our guest today is Joshua Cubista, a permaculture practitioner from the American Southwest who teaches at Prescott College. Though the title for this episode is a bit of a mouthful, and what follows stays rather technical in how Joshua shares the message with us, the core of the conversation is fairly simple: how do we create better educational experiences for students by design, and build their abilities, talents, and skills to accomplish their personal goals inside and outside the classroom, and collaboratively in community.

    As we cover a lot of ground in less than a half hour, you will find copious links in the Resource section of the show notes, which include Joshua’s website and how to connect with him.

    Before we begin, I want to say that this podcast is a lot like your local public radio station, dependent on listener support. Unlike public media, this podcast doesn’t receive any government funding. Quite simply it continues to exist within the gift economy, which includes the sponsors you’ve heard on the show. Right now, there are 67 people, and four organizations, that help to bring permaculture to thousands and thousands of people every week. I’d like to see that number reach 200, or more, by the end of July. Can we do that together? Become a sustaining supporter or make a one-time donation via the link in the show notes, or the donate button on the side of the mainpage.

    The sponsor for this episode is The Fifth World, a role playing game initially created by Jason Godesky, but is now influenced by a growing community of authors, artists, designers, gamers, and dreamers. This open source game looks to explore a neotribal, ecotopian, animist future. What will your world look like in this feral future? Find out more and get involved at The Fifth

    Find out more about Joshua and his work, including information about Prototyping Our Future,Designing Labs for a Sustainable Future, and Permaculture for Systemic Change

    This conversation with Joshua is important to me because, and this isn’t meant in a glib way, that the easy work of permaculture, the space we focus on in a Permaculture Design Course, the landscape is well known. There are academic and other libraries full of information on how to manage plants and animals for human use. The permanent agriculture side of permaculture is upon us. We can do that. We know how.

    Moving from the land and towards creating permanent culture is a completely different issue and set of, if you will, softer skills, that are not as tangible or direct. As teachers, that includes better pedagogical approaches to teaching permaculture that includes more conversations about the invisible structures and delving deep into design, not just on-the-ground techniques.

    Using that idea of experiential design, we must design and educational experience, including the classroom and curriculum, to meet the needs of the students so they have a larger tool box of skills. Then, through capacity building, help them find the skills they need along the way. Finally, at least for this conversation, when students complete a course and go back into the world, to offer ongoing support that also connect them with or helps to create the community they’ll need for systemic change.

    It’s a big picture, but I can’t imagine us doing this if we weren’t ready to  to tackle some incredibly complex issues. We can decide to use permaculture to homestead, and I appreciate everyone who does that, but there’s also an imperative within the ethics that we do something more. By practicing permaculture, you are part of a larger community. By listening to this show, you are part of a portion of that group. If you are a part of my community. Thousands and thousands of people to call upon to help you.

    Regardless of where you are in the world, there is probably someone near you that I’ve talked to or traded email with. If not, then I can put out a call on the podcast if you are looking for someone. All you’ve got to do is get in touch.

    Call: 717-342-9658. Email:, or if you like, drop something in the mail.

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    From here the next episode is a conversation with Linda Booth Sweeney about her new book The Climate Change Playbook, which contains 22 systems thinking games that help you more effectively communicate about climate change.

    Until then, spend each day creating the world you want to live in by taking care of Earth, your self, and each other.

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