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Geoff Lawton's online PDC course

Heidi Hoff


Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 100
    
    6
I've been receiving Geoff Lawton's emails about the launch of his online PDC course and I've watched all the free videos he has put out recently during the run-up to the launch.

At this point, I'm not up for paying about $1000 for an online course, in part because I would rather spend my limited available time working outside during these precious early-season days. Without knowing specifically how the course will be structured in terms of calendar and time commitment, I don't think I could keep pace and really take advantage of the resources (Geoff's time, specifically) that are being made available. No doubt the content will be great.

So I have been wondering if other folks here at permies.com have signed up for the course and if there is a sort of "permies" community among the larger group of students.

I've also been wondering if or when Geoff intends to offer the course again, or make the DVDs available without the online component.

How about you? Have you signed up? What are your thoughts?


Zone 3b, Lower St. Lawrence, Quebec
Tom OHern


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 153
    
    7
I have a general rule in life that I will not purchase anything where the salesperson uses "hard sell" tactics such as what Geoff seems to be using (Buy Now! Limited Availability! We may never offer this kind of a deal again!) The moment I watched his announcement video, I knew I wasn't interested.

The online PDC that I have been looking at is the one offered through Oregon State University and Beaver State Permaculture: http://www.beaverstatepermaculture.com/events/online-non-credit-permaculture-design-course

They seem to offer it twice a year and it is only $750.

With that said, I'm in no rush to take a PDC because I've read the books and I feel I have a good grasp on the knowledge already. The only reason I would say there is to take a PDC is if you are planning on going into business offering permaculture design and you need the certificate to prove your credentials. I would like to do that someday, but I'm not there yet so I can wait to take my PDC.

Heidi Hoff


Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 100
    
    6
Thanks for the tip about the Oregon State course, Tom.

I share your aversion to the hard-sell tactics Geoff used, speaking in terms of survival and food security, etc. I commented to that effect here. It is evidently an effective sales tactic, however, judging from the response he has had.

Me, I'll stick with Voltaire and just cultivate my garden... the permaculture way, of course.

Clifford Reinke


Joined: Nov 26, 2010
Posts: 122
Location: Puget Sound
    
    4
Well, I signed on, and so far I am enjoying it. I do agree he was giving a hard sell at the end, but this course is what I was looking for, versus an in-person course. So far it looks like over 1,000 people have signed up from all over the world. The site is well organized and designed to encourage discussion. The lectures are taped and new ones will be released every week. I'm pretty sure he is producing the lectures the week before, or at least very recently, because they are up to date. Feedback seems very timely.

In a former lifetime, I used to write course material for the Royal Saudi Air Force, using standard Instructional System Development techniques. Lawton's instructional course materials, and methods, are excellent from a technical designer standpoint. As far as knowledge, come on it's Lawton for goodness sake. In addition, I just like him as a mentor and feel I will learn a lot from him, at a cheaper price than a residence course.

Bottom line, so far I'm a happy customer, and that is what matters to me.


Cliff (Start a rEVOLution, grow a garden)
Jennifer Jennings


Joined: Mar 06, 2013
Posts: 96
Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
    
    1
Owning a business, I have to say I didn't find Lawton a hard sell at all. On the contrary, he supported his pitch with some substantive video, so I was pretty much sold before he began formally "pitching" (and I really wanted to do it, too). No sense in putting something out there is you're not going to make a fuss about it, right? As an educator, I have to agree with Cliff - the materials are well organized, and have been for years, apparently. Lawton makes clear that this is Mollison's course outline that has been around pretty much since Bill was teaching.

For those of us who have been lurking on the permies.com forums, Lawton's material isn't all brand-new news to us, but I do think I may get some good quality material that we can use to help others on board the permaculture bandwagon - at least, that's what I intend to do with the urban poor in my neck of the woods.


Got a project that needs some attention? A book to review? Some product to test out? Contact me and gimme something to write about! http://www.examiner.com/natural-health-14-in-atlantic-city/jennifer-jennings
Heidi Hoff


Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 100
    
    6
I'm a business owner, too, Jennifer, so promoting what you have to offer is just fine by me. But six years after starting up, I no longer do any advertising or rain-making of any kind: word of mouth is all we need to keep work coming in. My point is that I believe Geoff Lawton is in a similar position: he has an enviable international reputation and is so well-known and sought-after that promotional efforts are overkill. From my perspective, all he had to do was say he was going to be offering an online PDC and he would have been oversubscribed in a heartbeat. All the talk of survival and food security and impending doom was simply superfluous (and for some, like me, off-putting -- even if I share all those concerns). Clearly, he does think the hard-sell is needed, or he would not have gone to all the trouble of making five pre-launch videos and disseminating them for free. As Paul Wheaton wisely pointed out to me elsewhere, a vast variety of styles and approaches to getting the message out just means that more people would get the message (or words to that effect). And this is a very good thing.

If I had more time in the coming weeks and more money laying around that wasn't earmarked, I might have signed up for the course myself just to tap into his wealth of knowledge in a formalized way. I'm delighted that at least two Permieites (Permites? Permians? Permish? Permiese? or just plain Permies?) are taking part. Maybe I'll go for it the next time around, if there is one.
Jennifer Jennings


Joined: Mar 06, 2013
Posts: 96
Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
    
    1
Well stated, Heidi. I think Paul's point is part of the reason Lawton branched out to include the survivalist comments (these folks might not be as focused on Fukuoka or Mollison, but focus their interest solely on being away from everyone else, and needing no one). A wide net catches many fish, even if some of them you're not really interested in...

and I really like your...permutations of permies! Permian sounds pretty good to me...Permite sounds too much like... termite.
David Castillo


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 24
Location: IL/WI Border
I registered for the class as I've been wanting to take a PDC, but it was very hard for me to find the time to attend IRL. And who wouldn't want to learn from someone who has as much experience as he does.

As far as Geoff's so called "hard sell" - Personally I don't mind the approach taken as it hopefully draws much needed awareness of this movement; which even at 30+ years old still resides in a niche. I wish there were more people bringing more awareness to the masses even if it requires taking "the sky is falling" approach. Sometimes that's what it takes to get people to move outside of their comfort zone, or to actually motivate them that changes are needed. I.E. Taking a smoker to a cancer hospital and showing them the lung cancer patients.

As stated above - We all know Geoff probably could've just announced he was doing this, without all the advertisements and free videos, but perhaps he has other motives for doing what he is doing.

He's also offering up the Earthworks course with the Online PDC, which has me super excited.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Here is the link the Geoff Lawton's online course: http://www.geofflawton.net/pdc/?10006

There is a 20 minute video and all the stuff to sign up.

And, for the first time ever for a PDC that I have helped connect folks to: paying for the course gives a kickback to the empire. Wow!


sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
Rick LaJambe


Joined: Dec 30, 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
    
    2
Paul, I signed up on the first day directly from an email Geoff sent to me. I found the initial collapse video because of Permies.com and I would love to feed your empire. Is there any way to retroactively have them credit permies.com with my signup?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15107
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I do know that Geoff tracked the previous video stuff and that made it so that NINE registrations so far have fed my empire. So I think you are probably already covered.
Matthew Davis


Joined: Jan 14, 2013
Posts: 3
I'm going to take it....... I won't be able to sign up till the 10th so I hope the seats closing fast is just a marketing tactic as the course starts officially may 12th plus it is an online course that technically has an unlimited student capacity.
Matt
Clifford Reinke


Joined: Nov 26, 2010
Posts: 122
Location: Puget Sound
    
    4
paul wheaton wrote:I do know that Geoff tracked the previous video stuff and that made it so that NINE registrations so far have fed my empire. So I think you are probably already covered.


Sweet, your welcome.

This morning I got an e-mail from Lawton, that he has giving the people signed up for his online PDC, his "Permaculture Earthworks Course," online for free. The e-mail says if you took the earthworks course in residence, it would cost more than just the online PDC course. I'm very happy with this new development.
Rick LaJambe


Joined: Dec 30, 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
    
    2
As am I. I feel that this online offering from Geoff Lawton is fantastic. Putting aside the sales tactics that some people are complaining about, this is something that is going to be able to reach and attract far more people to permaculture than word of mouth or a physical PDC.

Firstly, you are paying very little for one of the very best teachers in permaculture

Second, you don't have to dedicate 2 solid weeks of your life to this. 4 hour segments a week: it's timed more like a university program when you really look at it. You have more time to digest, review, redigest at your own pace. We are going to receive a Dvd set of the whole course so we can go back to anything that we're not quite clear on. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting for many hours at a time and having an intense amount of info thrown at you, and then forgetting specific details because your mind was in overload.

Thirdly, production quality. They have invested heavily into making this a very visual experience. It's one thing to see an example on a whiteboard, quite another to see a piece of land actually transform in front of your eyes. Could I find all of this information in books and online, yes. But with this online pdc you're being given the information in the most effective and stimulating manner.

The community aspect is probably the least attractive for me as I'm already part of a well established community (thanks Paul).

The earthworks course and all of Geoff's previous DVD's are just the icing on the cake. Or rather a second tier of cake on an already fabulous cake.

The top reason I'm so excited about this is because I can share this with my wife. As my partner, it's absolutely necessary that she be on the same page and this way she can be. This is something we can both look forward to watching together every Sunday.
Eivind Bjoerkavaag
the navigator


Joined: Sep 17, 2012
Posts: 47
    
    5
Yeah, the video series that led to this sales pitch were awesome - and when Geoff Lawton said this will be the best PDC he have ever taught, it was no doubt in my mind. So I signed up.

So far it looks very good. Have no doubts about this, if you can afford it, do it!
Ty Morrison


Joined: Sep 11, 2012
Posts: 107
Location: Boise, Idaho (a balmy 7a)
    
    8
I really wanted to go to Montana for two weeks (ever?) and work on Paul's place but I already set my roots (pun) here in Boise and the income from my job is still necessary as the Permie thing won't yet support Denise and I. In my small way, I get a cool 'two-fer': learning PDC from Geoff and experimenting real-time in my own compound and helping Geoff and Paul towards world domination by co-mingling web sites and name dropping. I also discovered that I can introduce my dad to the 'Jack Spirko' version, which I hadn't even explored.

This is all so cool!

Also: There is this site that allows us to show where we are located in the world. Being a visual guy, the map is helpful at improving my peripheral vision of who else is 'permie-ing' nearby. Check it out: http://permacultureglobal.com/ it is the ' worldwide permaculture network' which has a cool map feature, the forums are much more technical than I can use at this point, but I think it will start to make sense down the road.
Ed Zaborski


Joined: May 08, 2013
Posts: 1
I wonder if the folks who've already started the course could say a little more about how the course is executed.

Rick, you say that the course is served up in 4-hour segments a week. Are they only available for a limited amount of time (hours, days, the whole week, the whole course), so that you have to stay on top of it, or can you go at your own pace (faster or slower)? Obviously to get the most out of the question and answer sessions, you'd want to stay on top of it, but sometimes things come up -- I'm wondering what the implications would be if you were "absent" for a couple of weeks.

Does successful completion of the course involve assignments of some kind? I'm guessing that some kind of design project is involved at the end... are there weekly assignments?

In general, I guess I'm wondering how "flexible" the time commitment is...
Jerry McIntire


Joined: Jan 15, 2013
Posts: 75
Location: Oak savannah - Viroqua, Wisconsin - zone 4 - 34"/yr
    
    3
Ed Z, what I read was that there would be tests of a sort, and a project to do if you wanted a certificate. Some people may not want a certificate.

I have to say I appreciated the free videos and didn't think it was hard sell or too much gloom and doom. I've shared some of the videos with permaculture design clients, and the feedback has been very positive. The videos capture the excitement and basics of permaculture in an easy to watch, easy to understand package.

I guess Lawton's online PDC is less expensive than most in the U.S., but I was fortunate to be able to complete my PDC while on a trip to Argentina. The residence course at Ecovilla Gaia was USD$600. Now that was affordable. My community is a bit far away, but I made some fantastic friends from Chile, Argentina, Italy, Spain, ...


Driftless region of SW Wisconsin, our cohousing community has land! stonesthrowcommunity.wordpress.com
Mark Lipscomb


Joined: Aug 08, 2012
Posts: 38
Location: North Plains, OR
    
    1
Ed Zaborski wrote:I wonder if the folks who've already started the course could say a little more about how the course is executed.




I have completed the introduction segment and I am eagerly awaiting the next section. I think its fantastic. Geoff his maximizing todays technology to the hilt. I have reservations on the lack of hands dirty time, but I have land to play with so its not a huge concern. I also suspect Geoff has something good in mind for this as the course, so far, has been done so well. It can also be mitigated by taking local dirt time workshops, which we all should be doing in any case. The man's vision is clear and he seams to be executing well.

Spend a grand, get material from arguably the worlds best permaculture instructor, take it on night and weekends between family, work, and property obligations, and get a Lawton signed cert at the end? Yea, that's tremendous value. This was no brainer for me. Plus I just got an email that he is putting in a earth works workshop in the package.



Rick LaJambe


Joined: Dec 30, 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
    
    2
Ed, as far as I understand it, the reason for the 'hard sell' (ie. Sign up now because there's limited space) is because the course will move onto the next subject after a week and Geoff can't go back and answer questions about the past topics. With over a thousand people it's already going to be a full time job keeping on top of the questions about the current subject matter. There's a limit to how many students because of the volume of questions and grading of assignments. I'm not very clear yet on what the assignments will be as I haven't put a lot of time into it yet.

As for whether you will be able to go back and view prior material, yes you will. Online and from the DVDs that will be delivered in June. You will be able to go ahead or lag behind as you desire, but as stated above, you need to try to keep up if you want certification.

Edit*** the online content will only be available to you for 6 months and that includes the videos Geoff posts in response to student questions. I'm not sure if you will still be able to access the community (forums)
Heidi Hoff


Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 100
    
    6
Now I'm getting envious! Which is basically the feeling I hoped I would have. So glad that a goodly number of Permians are taking the class. Just like water seeps and trickles from spring to pond to swale to swale to swale, Geoff's knowledge is going to diffuse out to reach the rest of us here at Permies as more people become "ponds". Now I'm really wishing my summer was not booked quite so heavily with obligations, travel and projects ... so I could go to Geoff Lawton's online "spring" with the rest of you.

It is clear that my reaction to the style of the lead-up videos puts me in a small minority. I've concluded that my negative reaction is due to living among survivalists types in the late 70s, when survival did not include making the world a better place. It meant holing up in a concrete bunker with tons of dried food and bottled water and a veritable arsenal of weapons and ammunition, ready to shoot the marauding urban hordes (or your neighbors) when they came to raid your supplies. When I hear echoes of all that, it sets my teeth on edge. What Geoff does in Australia, in his courses and in his projects around the world is to help create abundance for as many people as he possibly can reach. I know his mindset is lightyears away from that of the survivalists of 30 or 40 years ago. So I will now officially stifle my reaction.

Best to all you students who have signed up for the course! Keep us posted on how it goes!
Christine Baker


Joined: May 08, 2013
Posts: 34
Location: NW Arizona - high desert
Like many others, I don't have time to attend classes and I was really looking forward to the online course -- for $250 or so.

Greening the Desert got me all excited about permaculture and I've been a big fan of Geoff and frequently promoted his sites and videos.

Geoff's hard sell is a huge turnoff and since last Friday I've been thinking quite a bit about why I'm so irritated by the hard sell and the outrageous price. I've come to the conclusion that it's because I didn't see it coming. I thought of Geoff as this really cool guy who truly cares and I feel a bit foolish now.

The reality is that I don't need a $1,000 certificate and I was hoping to meet some people in my area. In fact, finding 5 people to trade experiences and plants within 50 miles would be worth a few hundred dollars. Fat chance with that $1,000 price tag.

I also just looked at http://permacultureglobal.com/users and I'm not even listed although I signed up a long time ago.

After 4 years of gardening in the high desert I found it most difficult to get trees and shrubs that will actually grow here and single digit temps in two winters wiped out the many trees we planted. There's so much they don't tell you in the videos and courses and I'm glad I started a gardening club a couple years ago as that was the way to really learn what works here:

http://highdesertdirt.com/blog/2012/06/25/jans-stunning-permaculture-garden-in-meadview/

Jan didn't take any course and she didn't watch a single permaculture video! She never heard of Bill Mollison or Geoff Lawton. She used her brains and common sense. And she didn't have those unusual cold winters when she planted her trees, it does take some luck too. So whether you take the course or not, in the end it comes down to what works in YOUR soil and climate and you'll have to learn that locally.

I really appreciate permies.com, lots of good info here, I just linked to Paul's rocket stove page and I will definitely support Paul whenever I can (until he sells $1,000 online courses). I know it's a lot of work to run this site and I'll definitely order through here so that Paul gets a few $$$.

High Desert Gardening, Food and Health Forum:
http://lakemeadca.org/high-desert-gardening-and-food-forum/
Daniel Hatfield


Joined: Apr 10, 2011
Posts: 17
Tom OHern wrote:
With that said, I'm in no rush to take a PDC because I've read the books and I feel I have a good grasp on the knowledge already. The only reason I would say there is to take a PDC is if you are planning on going into business offering permaculture design and you need the certificate to prove your credentials. I would like to do that someday, but I'm not there yet so I can wait to take my PDC.



I thought exactly the same as you until I took my PDC. I got so much more out of it than a certificate.
P.S I did my pdc with Geoff.
Rick LaJambe


Joined: Dec 30, 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
    
    2
This is how I'm looking at it:

Geoff is offering this course for less than half the price of his normal PDCs. His regular PDC is about the same cost or less than anything I can find close to me (without crossing the border into the USA). So to me, that is a $1000 discount. Add to it that I don't have to miss two weeks (some local courses are three weeks) of work to take the course. For myself, that is another $2000 in savings. For me to come out at par to what Geoff is charging, someone would have to pay ME $1000 to take their course.

Granted, you do not get the hands on experience that you would at a physical PDC. That's the compromise. You can really get a grasp of all the classroom stuff and see the field work, but your not getting your hands into the dirt. But then again, isn't the rule supposed to be "observe 100 hours for every hour of action"? Personally, I don't see myself ever teaching permaculture formally or working as a design consultant. This is purely because I believe it to be the best way to get the information into my head that otherwise takes decades of trial and error to figure out on your own. I don't have access to land to play with and build my experience, so before I buy any land or go to work on someone else's, I want to have a clue of what I'm doing.

Maybe others can simply "read from the book of nature" but that book is written in a language I don't understand yet. This PDC will help me read that language so that I can see what's laid out on the page in front of me.

Besides, I feel good that I can help to support the work that PRI does around the world. Without organizations like this taking permaculture around the world and putting it into practice, teaching it, and promoting it, who would know about it?
Jen Shrock
pollinator

Joined: Jan 25, 2013
Posts: 356
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
    
    8
I signed up for the PDC course with Geoff as well. $1000 for 30+ years of experience put in a compressed format, along with the DVD's of the course to continue to use as reference, the additional DVD's that he is giving with the course and the extended Earthworks training at the end for free...it is well worth it in my mind. I think that Rick has nailed it in both of his posts and I am with him on what he says.

For the course, he has it set up in 12 weekly segments. Yes you can go back and look at things, but you really need to try to keep up because he provides A LOT of information each week and you could very quickly become overwhelmed if you didn't. It seems to me that I read or watched on a video somewhere that we will be "tested" on the weekly content and you technically cannot fail at those tests because if you get something incorrect, they have you go back through the information for that question until you get it correct. Geoff really does want to make sure the you learn the information. He is not just feeding it to you for you to forget. The project at the end is a design project. They haven't gone into detail on that yet, but I would guess that you will design a property, real or ficticious, and they will grade or give feedback based on each individual's design.

While I would like to have more of a hands on PDC experience, I think that the excellent video format of this course will be as close as you can get to being there. These videos are very well prepared, making sure that it has all of the content that Geoff wants to convey. It is not just a "set up a camera and shoot whatever happens" course. There has been a lot of thought and effort put into it. Since Geoff has global experience, he will definitely be able to provide applicable training for various climates.

The $1000 price tag is cheap for having the opportunity to train with one of the leaders in the industry. Yes I could have (and have) consumed an astounding amount of information online and through books, but there are always gaps in things that this course should help to fill. While I can and will learn by doing, this course will help me fast track some of that and hopefully prevent me from committing some unecessary areas.


"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb

www.permi-eden.com
Randy Bachman


Joined: Aug 13, 2012
Posts: 15
I finished the first week with no problem. Watched a fair amount on my iPhone on the bus coming to work. Although its mostly review so far, I really like it. The course is definitly not overwhelming in its demands on my time, so I think I can fit it into my life / family / work with no problem. I don't see the cost as a huge drawback since its cheap compared to most courses by a specialist. Of course I have the money so its easy for me to say that. But I want to share the message so a "genuine certified graduation certificate" is important to me. In parallel with Geoff's efforts there is a free on-line program that just launched by the Regenerative Leadership Institue in OR. It uses different teachers, but follows the on-line format. They just completed their Indegogo campaign and have started posting the class sessions. They will also be issuing DVDs, but there will be a cost of ~$200 to $250. I don't know the final price yet. They are not going to issue a PDC certificate, so it may be a solid opportunity for those who don't want/can't spend the money for Geoff's and are not interested in certificates. Go to this site to signup and start taking free classes: http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com/.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Daniel Hatfield wrote:
Tom OHern wrote:
With that said, I'm in no rush to take a PDC because I've read the books and I feel I have a good grasp on the knowledge already. The only reason I would say there is to take a PDC is if you are planning on going into business offering permaculture design and you need the certificate to prove your credentials. I would like to do that someday, but I'm not there yet so I can wait to take my PDC.



I thought exactly the same as you until I took my PDC. I got so much more out of it than a certificate.
P.S I did my pdc with Geoff.


+1. You can find the knowledge bits online, but you get wisdom from the way it is taught in the PDC. It is the difference of buying all the parts for a bike online (while never seeing one assembled) vs. actually watching someone put it together.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Fabrizia Annunziata


Joined: Feb 12, 2012
Posts: 27
    
    1
I am enrolled in this course and love it. So inspiring.

And he did sweeten the pot by announcing that he is also including at no cost a Bonus Online Permaculture Earthworks course valued at $1200.

Quote from the course:

"The Earthworks course is exclusive bonus content for people doing the online PDC with me. It will not be sold separately on DVD. The only way you can view this course is by taking my Online PDC.

My online Permaculture Earthworks course will be available after the online PDC."

Here's the intro video:

Permaculture Earthworks Bonus Course



Brad Vietje


Joined: Jan 15, 2013
Posts: 62
Location: Newbury, VT (Zone 4)
    
    6
First -- Congratulations on the land deal, Paul! That's a HUGE step, and I hope to see many updates as your design evolves, and is implemented. Two thumbs WAY up!

I think Geoff Lawton's on-line PDC is pretty exciting; there is no doubt that this will be a fantastic experience for all those enrolled.

I was really turned off by the heavy-handed sales pitch (and a bit too much self-promotion), but that's relatively easy to swallow when realizing that he needs people to sign up and all that. I really wanted to sign up, but there's no way I can spend $1,028 USD on this right now. While for a newcomer to Permaculture there is probably very good value even at that price, my wife and I have been studying this stuff for about 6 years already, and she's already taken week-long on-site classes with some well-known Permies up here in the Northeast, so there's no way we could justify the class at that price.

We're pretty lucky in my area that there are quite a few certified Permaculture instructors and classes relatively close by, and a few design/build schools like Yestermorrow offer classes throughout the year. Two of the people that worked on our straw bale walls and plasters were certified instructors, and we spent some of our time together figuring out some good design ideas for this piece of land. We had Ben Falk come here and consult with us about 5 years ago, but we were already well along with our own designs. A very good friend and business partner of mine is even friends with Dave Jackie & Eric Toensmeier, so we have access to some pretty good instructors already.

Bummer that I can't afford it right now -- I'm certain that I would learn valuable lessons. Maybe the next time they will have the kinks worked out, and will be able to offer it at a lower price; this IS supposed to be about saving ourselves and our precious environment, after all, and not about making money, (right?).

Best wishes for clear skies and dirty hands to all -- and plenty of time to play in the dirt!


Clear skies,

Brad Vietje
Newbury, VT
Heidi Hoff


Joined: Jan 31, 2013
Posts: 100
    
    6
Wow! Randy! You failed to mention that instructor is Larry Korn, who helped translate One Straw Revolution, the Fukuoka bible. I listened to 20 minutes of his thoughts and I'm hooked.

And this is FREE? With a North American frame of reference? From a devoted soils maniac? Thanks for the tip, Randy!
a hope


Joined: Jun 23, 2012
Posts: 31
Golly g, i was so excited when hearing about it i somehow registered twice(2x)! Initially i was worried that there would be issues getting reimbursed for my happy-clicking; but alas, faith was restored as geoff and his team made things right. So, i'm 100% sold on the integrity side of things. I'm eager to get started on it durring our (first) busiest time of year. Koodos to geoff lawton and the rest of the to be lawton clones! Cheers permies.
Micky Ewing


Joined: Dec 12, 2012
Posts: 56
Location: Merrickville, Ontario
    
    7
Christine Baker wrote:Like many others, I don't have time to attend classes and I was really looking forward to the online course -- for $250 or so.

Greening the Desert got me all excited about permaculture and I've been a big fan of Geoff and frequently promoted his sites and videos.

Geoff's hard sell is a huge turnoff and since last Friday I've been thinking quite a bit about why I'm so irritated by the hard sell and the outrageous price. I've come to the conclusion that it's because I didn't see it coming. I thought of Geoff as this really cool guy who truly cares and I feel a bit foolish now.

The reality is that I don't need a $1,000 certificate and I was hoping to meet some people in my area. In fact, finding 5 people to trade experiences and plants within 50 miles would be worth a few hundred dollars. Fat chance with that $1,000 price tag.

It seems that we are in the minority, Christine, but I feel this way too. It's obvious from the lead-in videos that Geoff has put a lot of time and money into producing this course, and I wish him success. The $1000 price tag seems steep though. I don't think Geoff has divulged the maximum class size he is prepared to allow, but he has already admitted that questions are getting the "best effort" treatment. Running a course at Internet scale is fine by me but I'd expect to pay an Internet scale price. After all, you miss out on a lot this way:

- individual attention for students;
- real social interaction with class-mates, unmediated by a screen and keyboard;
- the opportunity to ask questions, immediately and in context, and get answers;
- meaningful, spontaneous discussions over lunch or dinner where the day's material is discussed and reinforced;
- tailoring to a specific, localized audience with similar concerns about weather, regulatory climate, pests, cultural attitudes etc.

I do see value in a mass-delivered online PDC course. Just not that much.


Mike
http://tenderfootfarmer.ca
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Brad Vietje wrote: this IS supposed to be about saving ourselves and our precious environment, after all, and not about making money, (right?).


"...ecologically sound and economically profitable" --Mollison

You can't just give it all away, it won't work that way because it isn't sustainable for the giver. Good business follows the ethics even when it has no apparent connection to the earth.

If anything, Paul gives too much away.
Christine Baker


Joined: May 08, 2013
Posts: 34
Location: NW Arizona - high desert
@ Maya: What did you think of Jan's garden?

And R. Scott, how did you determine that Geoff needs to make $1 million to be sustainable and that $500,000 isn't enough? (1000 students for this course were mentioned somewhere, although I don't think Geoff disclosed the limit because he's taking all he can get.)

From Geoff's mailing today:


We have had a lot of enquiries from people wanting
a monthly payment plan to do the online PDC course.

Well, we've worked out a special $399 a month
payment plan for 3 months for people on a budget
eager to join the course.

The PayPal payment plan is now available on the
shopping cart: ...


This makes me very sad, it's so depressing. Right there with Bank of America and Chase. Doing whatever they can to get people into debt. So depressing.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Christine Baker wrote:And R. Scott, how did you determine that Geoff needs to make $1 million to be sustainable and that $500,000 isn't enough? (1000 students for this course were mentioned somewhere, although I don't think Geoff disclosed the limit because he's taking all he can get.)



I am not saying how much is enough or too much; not my place to say.

///WARNING///
/libertarian rant/

He gets to decide his price in the marketplace.

You get to decide if it is worth the price for you.

He isn't forcing you to buy it.

Likewise, you can't force him to give it away.

/libertarian rant over/



nathan luedtke


Joined: Apr 15, 2011
Posts: 147
    
  34
I've been thinking that it seems like people don't actually wan't Geoff Lawton to have lots of money.

I personally feel like I want Geoff to have TONS of money. I think that Geoff Lawton can do more with a million dollars than just about anyone on the planet!

On a semi-related note: When I was younger and less patient, Larry Santoyo was doing a PDC in my town. I was SO READY for it, it was EXACTLY what I had been waiting for. But I didn't have the money.

I wrote him an 800 word email, BLASTING him for being so fancy and having such a high price of admission. I was so righteously angry, I couldn't wait to get his response and signed apology. He was reeeealy going to have to come face to face with the truth.

That evening, I got his reply.

"Don't be a dick."

"Please take my advise - We are talking about a sustainable future not a subsidized future... The world doesn't owe you a living... get work, learn what you can, work harder, save your money -and where ever you go, always pay your full way in this world. With that skill-set, trust me, you will always be respected and always be welcome anywhere... "

Truer words... Someone came face to face with the truth that night, but it wasn't Larry.
Heather Holm


Joined: May 13, 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Nova Scotia
Being in the internet business (I'm a web designer), I recognize the sales technique and the course delivery mechanism. It's what is being promoted to experts now as the way to get their message out there, and get paid in the process, because it works - give away great information, build your mailing list, use good quality video, draw people in with your credibility and knowledge, emphasize the value of what you're getting so the price seems less of a shock, etc. I'm glad Geoff Lawton is using these techniques because he will reach lots of people and it will give a boost to what he can do in the world. I don't know anything about his personal financial situation, but I'd rather see him well remunerated for imparting his accumulated wisdom to the masses than some boxing heavyweight or football player or movie star or microstock trader, as I'm sure he'll do good things with the money and he deserves it. (For the techniques, look up Brendon Burchard and Experts Academy.)

I did a PDC last year with someone who has studied with Geoff (Graham Calder, http://P3Permaculture.ca), but even so I'm tempted to take the online course (and with my teenager) because I'm involved with a community permaculture project (http://TheBlockhouseSchool.org) and it would be great to have the materials available to the project for future use. Maybe we should go in together on it - but we're about to run another course with Graham and wouldn't want to undermine registration! It's rather pricey for just me right now.

But I'm following this discussion with interest and appreciate everyone's point of view. To those taking the course, enjoy it. Like he says, you will look at the world differently - with designer eyes.
 
 
subject: Geoff Lawton's online PDC course
 
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