The Permaculture Student series: K-12 Permaculture
by Matt Powers
The Permaculture Student grew out of a need to find permaculture curriculum for my two young sons. I was taking Geoff Lawton’s online permaculture design course, and he kept referring to children’s curriculum, but after investigating this further, I found it was for adults to use with children, not for children.
As a teacher that’s been generating their own curriculum for years, I find that structure of teaching/learning to be disempowering. The teacher has all the information, controls, & pace in their grip. I like texts, books, videos, ideas, and people that are empowering, so I wanted a textbook that was accessible directly to the students, independent of a teacher. I imagined unschooling and homeschooling kids taking it into the woods and disappearing for weeks on end, building their own permaculture paradise to present to their parents, and later, for them to be designing or adapting their homes and yards.
I believe that teaching children permaculture principles using hands-on examples and novel applications for day-to-day life is the fastest path to a regenerative future. Permaculture is a design science that uses the patterns of nature to regeneratively support both humans and the ecosystems we thrive on. It’s the backbone of being an earth citizen yet it’s absent from schools. We don’t know how to sequester carbon yet it’s a basic part of almost all the natural cycles. This fundamental disconnect is why I feel that getting this into schools is critical for all human civilization. If we do not change, we will run out of options and resources within a few decades.
Currently, my online course which is all ages and my books which were intended for middle schoolers are being used in all sorts of contexts. They’re being used by students, teachers, adults, families, and K-12 schools all over the world. Teachers are using it in elementary, students are using it in the upper grades, and families are using it as their main reference. It is already available in Polish, but soon French, Spanish, and Italian will also be included as over a dozen other languages are being translated currently as well.
This next volume that is currently being crowdfunded is the critical next step: high school. With the creation of The Permaculture Student 2, I’ve updated Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual with new research & proven examples like Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Food Soil Web, Peter McCoy’s Radical Mycology, Eric Toensmeier’s Carbon Farming Solution, Alan Savory’s Holistic Management, Alan Yeoman’s Priority One, Brad Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond, Toby Hemenway’s The Permaculture City, & many other additional lenses.
In addition, I am working with a team of experts like Geoff Lawton, Erica & Ernie Wisner, Neal Spackman, Elaine Ingham, & more to read over the work & give critical expert feedback and advice. I’ve written it in a direct, clear fashion for an easy and enjoyable read. The feedback from the first volume’s release has been incredible and we are poised to release the next one.
Join us in support of The Permaculture Student 2, the first permaculture high school textbook ever!!
And for more on our backstory, listen to the podcast episode we recorded: