How many students does it take to burn your toast? None, energy comes for free.
I remember my first course, in my house with four students from different areas of my network. I think I received a donation at the end of it. The inspiration behind it was a talk I gave at Capel Manor in which I was the student. I had already been generating interest amongst the other students there about what I was up to, and this before I went on to become a trustee for the Permaculture Association. That first course I ran was full of slideshows and principles. In retrospect the theoretical side of it was intense, but they endeavoured to the end; you only get better with practice. Part of the course was a local tour of the nature reserve on the top of my road. One student suggested that in future I should use the information centre there to run further courses. So I did, and she followed me into subsequently turn that place on its head and make it into a thriving centre of learning, introducing all sorts of colour, metaphorically and visually.

Running courses takes energy, and I ran every aspect of them, since I had been successfully running a gardening business at the same time, from cooking to plastering the walls and tables with books and charts. But in permaculture one reads the signs and a few years later I realised that the movement was undersubscribed; too many people around the country were running courses for too few students. I developed completely and organically, so that when I saw the numbers dwindle I packed it in and afterwards went where I was invited to. This journey took me to Woodlands Farm in Shooters Hill, Hackney Marsh Tree Nursery, Hainault Forest Peace Garden, Evelyn Community Gardens in Deptford, Maiden Lane Community Centre in King's Cross, Coed Hills in Wales, Spike Community in Peckham, The Urban Green Fayre in Brixton, various festivals, Goldsmiths College, and somewhere amongst that lot back and forward to Spain. My philosophy is that one goes where they are wanted. Without numbers there are no group dynamics. There is only so much personal development warranted. The pictures below show only a handful of events, since being a cameraman also could be just too much and chasing people for pictures is not strictly part of my philosophy.

So where do "I" go now. The call is for personal one to one's, neighbours who I see often, client's back gardens, students with energy to carry things through, activist groups, and whoever can afford me. One does enough volunteer work, and now there is money going around for that very organ of permaculture - food growing. To base my teaching on the availability of money would be pure suicide and corruption. Because I don't advertise anymore the people one attracts are contributing to the organic stability and resilience of one's livelihood. The root of permaculture lies here - on the availability of resources.

See the group of pictures below. In the top left corner a cob oven build in Spain. Next is a group of young kids which was a great bit of interactive management between John Stainer school, Network Rail, and Brockley wildlife groups who converted a area of suckering railway line into a lovely wildlife spot. We used the plum to make structures in the playground. This is followed by some good close-ups on green woodworking; the ecoshelter is still standing on the original site in Honor Oak Park allotments. Further along various green technologies including brash fencing, fruit tree grafting, willow weaving, and cob building. Next there are four pictures here of the Spike project in Peckham, London where I ran an introduction to permaculture. Notice the firepit area where we planted fruit trees and created a seating area from reclaimed scrap material. To conclude I have rediscovered my design course photos. Enjoy!


Guerilla gardening
Backgarden permaculture
Spanish permaculture
Cob building
Green wood
Gathering centres
Habitat surveying