Internships in permaculture — opportunity or exploitation?

Story by Russ Grayson. August 2014.

A RECENT POSTING on the Permaculture Australia-New Zealand and Permaculture Victoria Facebooks by Melbourne-based permaculture practitioner, Miriam Bakst, raises an important question for permaculture's reputation.

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Miriam asks whether permaculture practitioners engaging interns could be breaking the law. It is the arrangement of those internships that are core to her question.

I wonder if this is something that will be discussed in a focused way within permaculture or whether it will become one of those things that surface from time to time without resolution. What I think would be useful would be for those permaculture people employing interns to join this discussion so as to create a more comprehensive appreciation of the issues around internship.

I have encountered people unhappy with conditions of permaculture internship, people who felt exploited. One such encounter was some years ago and happily that woman was not alienated from permaculture and continues to do good work in Australia and overseas, though without branding it as permaculture. Another might simply forego participation in permaculture.

Other critical comments — never to my knowledge made publicly — have been about permaculture educators offering internships on their properties after the interns complete their Permaculture Design Course there. The comments have been about hours and intensity of work, including the requirement that interns pay for their internship. To clarify, those informal comments were not critical of all permaculture establishments offering post-education internships.

The internships-in-permaculture question seems to be about:
• what constitutes a bona-fide internship arrangement on permaculture enterprises?
• how ethical is it to ask interns to pay for their internship when they are providing free labour?
• what working conditions should interns expect?
• how should internships on permaculture properties or in permaculture enterprises comply with permaculture's Second Ethic of Care of People?

WHAT IS A PERMACULTURE INTERNSHIP?

This is where I would like to hear from those offering internships.

My understanding of internship in general is that it is made up of the provision of skills, services or labour, without cost, in return for learning. The more benevolent of those offering internships might provide a small allowance to the intern.

We can differentiate internship from voluntarism as the latter might offer no learning outcomes for the volunteer. In an internship there is expectation of a win-win arrangement: labour in return for learning relevant to the intern's goals. Voluntarism is critical to permaculture as it is how permaculture associations and other entities work. A volunteer can get up and leave at any time, and volunteers do. An internship supposedly has a more formal arrangement regarding commitment for a period of time.

A question that arises is whether interns are covered by state labour law, such as the provision of workers compensation, hours of work, conditions of work, workplace safety. If they are taken on by a permaculture business I assume they are so-covered as they would probably be classed as employees with all the legal responsibilities of the employer to the employee. I don't know the answer to this, however why I ask is because, in NSW, volunteers are classed as workers under Worksafe legislation. That implies an obligation on permaculture associations or anyone else who has volunteers working with them. That, obviously, is virtually all permaculture organisations in NSW. It is also something virtually all those organisations are ignorant of. It really is something for them to think about.

STANDARDS, AGAIN

The question of internships in permaculture is entangled with the proposal that surfaces now and again of defining a set of standards for permaculture work, especially that done in public places.

This is probably a question for Permaculture Australia, being the closest entity we have to a representative body (becoming that was a wish of participants at APC10) and being the organisation that owns Australia's national permaculture workplace training program known as Accredited Permaculture Training.

A set of standards would stipulate what those hiring permaculture designer-practitioners should expect by way of design functionality, suitability, follow-up support and quality of finish. How and to whom they would be applied requires much discussion. Their publication on the Permaculture Australia website, however, would create a reference for those, whether private citizens or local governments or other institutions, contemplating hiring or engaging with permaculture business or community associations. At worst, the standards would be disregarded and we would be left with the current variable situation. At best, it could uplift the reputation of permaculture.

One reason that standards might be important is that they recognise the reality that permaculture designers and practitioners are legally liable for the consequences of the work they do. I wonder whether this and other regulatory, local government planning and worksafe legislation is discussed at all in permaculture design courses?

STANDARDS FOR INTERNSHIPS

The WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) organisation already has standards or guidelines on what WWOOfers and their hosts should expect.

To avoid further allegations (an allegation may be true, untrue or partially true) of exploitation by permaculture hosts accepting interns, a set of standards for internships could include:
• hours of work
• provision of food
• provision of accommodation to a suitable standard
• insurance cover for the intern

can anyone enlighten me on how this is presently done, whether interns are covered by something like workers compensation or public liability insurance and how it might be done — is it covered by state legislation?

• a learning package for the intern
• host expectations
• and more that is relevant and important and needs discussing.

The question I have left off this list is that of whether interns pay for their internship. If they do, then it it an arrangement of payment plus free labour in return for learning? The follow-up question that inevitably hangs off this is whether this is exploitation. I guess that would partly depend on how much was asked for, however there lingers the notion that I think many would have as to whether paying plus free labour equals exploitation. The latter suggests the possibility that internships could be turned into a business model in permaculture, turning those offering them into de-facto training organisations.

Does anyone know the legalities around this?

I think the Second Ethic comes in here, as does Stephen Covey's 'win-win' as the basis of equitable, mutually beneficial deals, one of his famous Seven Habits. For Covey, the ethical choice is 'win-win or no-deal'.

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

In this article, I've asked those in-the-know about some of the legal questions hovering around interns in permaculture. I've asked that those offering internships comment so as we gain a broader impression of issues around hosting interns. Likewise, hearing from past or current interns would be potentially revealing.

What would also be enlightening is for hosts to explain:
• why they charge for internships
• what the cost covers
• what they consider a fair charge
• what they provide in return, training-wise, to the intern.

Some might think it impertinent to ask this, what they might consider a private matter. It is not impertinent, however, because what they do impinges on other intern hosts and on the design system and those within it generally.

Permaculture operates within the reputation economy. Just as for businesses in general, it is less what the owners and spokespeople say and more about what others say about the business or organisation that becomes its reputation. What people say spreads though social media, such being an automatic function of networks.

Gaining a fuller idea of how internships in permaculture work and how they could be improved is key to maintaining a good reputation for the design system, a little of which has already been lost among individuals who have had negative internship experiences. Generally, permaculture currently basks in good reputation. Tackling these touchy, difficult issues like internship in a creative way will help keep it that way.

Comments

  1. Paul - Pip Magazine

    I think this article asks the right questions and probably has a lot of us scratching our heads. I’ll chat to my partner, who works in a legal capacity for a trade union, this evening. He might be able to shed some light on at least some of these questions, at least in an SA perspective.

  2. Paul - Pip Magazine

    Right. Spoke to the other half. (Usual legal disclaimer: This information isn’t to be taken as legal advice, blah blah blah.) WWOOFING as a contractual arrangement between two consenting parties would be covered under the common law. If a WWOOFER, say, is performing their part of the contact by giving their labour, and the other party (the host) is not meeting their part of the obligation, it may constitute part-performance of a contract, giving rise to a potential cause of action. An example of this might be where the host is not providing adequate lodging or food to the WWOOFER. Or vice versa – these things are being provided but the WWOOFER isn’t doing their share. In which cause, one could potentially sue.

    As for fee-attracting unpaid internships, that sounds exploitative. The current view of some prominent employment law academics (Stewart and Owens, 2013) is that unpaid internships (and especially situations where one must pay a fee to participate) could be illegal.

    Stewart, A. & Owens, R. (2013). “Experience or Exploitation? The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience, Internships and Trail Periods in Australia”. Fair Work Ombudsman, Australia. See: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/763/UW-complete-report.pdf.aspx (Accessed on: 14/8/2014.)

  3. Russ Grayson

    Thanks for that information, Paul.

    The ABC story you point to is worth reading, as is listening to the audio track linked to the story. It shows that WWOOFing is mainly a positive experience but there are hosts taking advantage of WWOOFers and there are deficiencies in food and accommodation provided to WWOOFers.

    Workers’ insurance continues to be a grey area. WWOOF, the organisation, provides insurance only to $10,000, leaving injury costing more than that up to the WWOOFer taking legal action against the host. Given the duration of visas and the costs and delays of taking legal action, the burden of severe injury could be left to the WWOOFer to bear. Laws, such as those applying to workers’ insurance, vary state-by-state.

    DO WWOOFERS REDUCE JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR RURAL WORKERS?
    Another point in the story is that WWOOFers can reduce job opportunities for farm workers, thus contributing to the shrinkage of this line of rural work. The ABC article says there are around 14,000 WWOOFers in Australia. I wonder if the union official interviewed in the article and on the audio track may have thought about WWOOFers becoming some kind of de-facto rural workforce — unpaid ‘guest workers’ — displacing Australians who do farm work as a livelihood?

    EXPLOITING WWOOFING
    Then there’s the practice of any host being able to advertise for unpaid workers by calling them ‘WWOOFers’. There’s an example in the article. WWOOF, the organisation, cannot prevent this. The term has become a generic one that describes unpaid internships on farms rather than a proprietary term applying only to those going through the WWOOFer organisation.

    On the audio track associated with the ABC article, a European WWOOFer says that it is a Western concept that people should be paid for work. That sort of statement isn’t likely to endear WWOOFers and their hosts to Australians seeking employment and ignores the reality of people trying to make a livelihood for themselves. Here’s hoping that statements like that don’t spread and lead to WWOOFers becoming seen as immigrant ‘guest workers’.

    DO WE NEED PERMACULTURE HOST GUIDELINES?
    Does all of this make producing a set of guidelines for permaculture farm hosts — for WWOOFing and for arrangements similar to WWOOFing, such as labour in return for food and accommodation — a good idea? There would be no way to make it compulsory that permaculture hosts sign on to a set of guidelines and some might balk at the idea, seeing creeping bureaucratisation. This should be avoided, of course, and — like the stillborn idea of setting standards for permaculture as protection for the design system’s reputation — the idea may never eventuate.

    But… permaculture operates within a public context and what people say about permaculture affects its future. Given this, would guidelines help protect the design system and those farm hosts offering a fair and authentic experience, including the training that should be part of any internship, and so maintain permaculture’s reputation for providing a good experience and for enacting its Second Ethic of care of people?

  4. Miriam Baxt

    Thanks for writing this article Russ.
    I am not a lawyer. I have studied several law subjects and know how to research case law. I am the daughter of an accomplished legal academic and solicitor. I find this a very concerning area. Sadly, we do need a code of conduct & uniformity in what we call such “training”. In my humble opinion, if permie educators want to charge people for doing intense, hands on, on the job training then call it what it is – intensive practical training (or something similar) – that legally should indicate that it is an educational experience not work. A prerequisite might be holding a PDC. It is quite clear from other industries that calling it an internship is not appropriate.

  5. Mark Brown

    I admit at the start that I have not read all the words in this article/discussion but am moved to comment as a person affected by the topic.
    We are more and more getting requests from people to do wwoofing and internships at Purple Pear Farm and are almost constantly disappointed in the result of opening the property people wanting to gain skills in permaculture or to experience the life in the mandala market garden or to run a CSA.
    We will nolonger take wwoofers as the experience in recent years has been of exploitation and disappointment. Participants take lots of supervising and are very hard on equipment. They take several days to train to a useful standard and then invariably leave to a new experience. Some are not at all interested in the farm but in a holiday at little expense and the work done is most often unsatisfactory.
    We started to take interns who requested involvement in the running of the farm on a 10 week internship. The structure of the internship was a learning focus with payment in productivity. Each module of the internship highlighted an aspect of the farm and the practical allowed for return of the time in teaching in productive endeavors. Many interns fail to live up to the bargain by leaving before the 10 weeks is completed. Some have left without so much as a word.
    We have decided that there will need to be a cost up front for anyone wanting to do an internship. There will be a charge of $150 each day. $50 will be for board and $100 for tuition. The internship will be Monday to Friday. The $100 may be reimbursed if the volume and quantity of work meets our expectation.
    We are aware of the opportunities we can provide to people starting out in Permaculture and love to share our knowledge and farm with people willing to learn. We want to always be flexible and to provide for peoples individual needs but there is a need for the arrangement to suit us and the operation of the farm.

  6. Robyn Francis

    About Internships at Djanbung
    We offer a few different types of ‘internships’ here at Djanbung Gardens, which is a permaculture education centre and demonstration farm, not a commercial production farm. Our main-crop is education, APT qualifications, PDCs and specialist courses/workshops and we provide structured training for 160 days of the year. The training programs here are conducted by Permaculture College Australia Inc, a non-profit association, and course fees don’t quite cover the full cost of providing the training and maintaining the property, so keeping courses affordable involves a lot of voluntary as well as very modestly paid work. PCA has public liability insurance and also workers compensation for the core team. We are not a registered WWOOF host, but occasionally take on people for short periods as resident volunteers in a similar type of arrangement.

    We offer residential internships primarily to our full-time APT students as an option to live on-site while they are studying (many full-time APT students live off-site and just attend classes here). Full-time students attend classes 4 days a week and have assessment projects and homework to complete in their own time. Resident APT student interns will live here for a 6-11month period and are receiving the government student living allowance (Austudy). They pay a reduced rent in exchange for participating in basic farm maintenance (animals, nursery and gardens) for 1 hr/day. They can opt to do a few extra hours a fortnight to further reduce their rent. They get their own personal garden plot and collective area to do their own experimenting with gardening, composting, and receive a share of garden surplus (from the main gardens) for the communal kitchen. They pay a modest weekly amount ($25) into a communal kitchen kitty and coordinate communal meals.

    Rent includes electricity, gas, wifi internet and full access to our student resources, library etc, the kitchen is fully equipped and living and sleeping areas fully furnished. In effect it functions like a student share-house with benefits they wouldn’t have if they were renting off-site. It costs around $5,000-$8,000/year to make this facility available including the cost of improvements, repairs and replacements. Plus someone needs to coordinate accommodation bookings, inductions, rosters, meetings, make sure residential interns and the accommodation facilities are ok and deal with any issues arising. This can be emotionally as well as physically taxing at times.
    The full-time APT courses are only available to Australian residents and NZ citizens, we cannot legally enrol overseas students on a student visa, yet we receive requests from overseas folk who’d like to participate in the training program. To accommodate this we also offer limited places for Overseas Internships for people on a visitor or working holiday visa to join us for a period of 8-10 weeks or a half-semester program, which is permitted under their visa conditions. Naturally, these interns are paying for the studies they participate in, have the same rental agreement and costs as our full-time APT student interns, and usually do a little extra hands-on project work in the gardens and on-the-job training.

    People living on-site sign an agreement, so conditions, expectations and responsibilities of all parties are clear. We also have codes of practice and protocols for students, residential interns/volunteers and staff. Inductions include workplace health and safety. We care about our resident interns and students, and take people-care seriously.
    Occasionally we will take on short-term resident volunteers (WWOOFer-style arrangement) who are mainly overseas travellers who’ve done a PDC. These volunteers do 20hrs a week work in the gardens (4hrs/day for 5 days with weekends free) to cover accommodation, use of site resources and on-the-job training. One of our team needs to induct, coordinate, train and supervise their work. Resident volunteers need to pay the weekly contribution into the student communal kitchen kitty and participate in the resident intern rosters. At times these resident volunteers have chosen to also participate in some courses as paying participants or have done additional hours for course work exchange.

    Over the years we have had a few people who’ve asked to do an internship here as part of a university course they’re undertaking. We need to screen these carefully as they can cost us a huge amount of time and effort, which often isn’t sufficiently compensated for by their input (or work output). We do not charge for these internships apart from rent and kitchen kitty contribution. We don’t encourage these types of placements mainly due to the fact that we simply don’t have the surplus time and energy to invest in their specific study and personal needs.

    We do not ask interns, students or volunteers to do any personal favours for the Djanbung management team as part of any of these exchanges. I am shocked when I hear about interns having to clean their host’s bedroom, make their bed and essentially be treated as an unpaid domestic servant – yes, I have met people burned in this way. On the other hand, I also have friends who specifically ask for woofers who are happy to help out with childcare and housework, and if it’s all up front and mutually agreed I see no issue.

    I realise what we offer are not the standard types of farm-work internships, but that’s the most appropriate term we have found to describe what we offer the serious permaculture student who would like to immerse themselves in a living learning community in a real-life permaculture system and participate in the training we provide.

    1. Daniel

      Hey Robyn,
      I was just looking at the internships available at Djanbung Gardens on http://permaculture.com.au/product-category/courses/internships/ and couldn’t find one covering the “Resident APT student interns will live here for a 6-11month period” that you mentioned. Could you please send me a link to where I’d find information on the APT student internship, I’m really keen to get on board. From what you said in your post it sounds like a very well thought & professional operation, and a wonderful, support-filled environment in which to learn and grow.
      I can’t wait to hear more.

      Kind regards,
      Daniel

      1. Robyn Francis

        This is the last year we’re offering the full-time APT courses and internships. The details for the full-time residential internships are provided upon request http://permaculture.com.au/student-resources/
        We are in the process of planning the kind of programs and internships we’ll be offering from 2016. One option will be for people doing the APT cert IV or diploma on-line course to live in an environment where they can practice and have access to the wealth of resources here, however we still need to work out details for this.

  7. christopher

    Like most things in permaculture, I think why people pay for internships is nuanced, and depends on what they offer, and what students want from them. This article is very rigid and does not see some of the value in a relationship of interns paying for their internships. I do not see a lot of nuanced understanding.

    I offer paying internships, where students come to my farm, which I built, myself, over the last 25 years. I offer a place for students to study permaculture, agroecology, renewable energy, anthropology, biology, ornithology, and I provide food, lodging and lessons to students, as well as interface between their universities and local projects, community based organizations and individual farmers.

    I have done WWOOFing, and most of them were good. Some were great, some were not good, and we had some get-overs and thieves. Paying interns pay closer attention ad work harder because they see value in what they do.

    Lastly, labour law in Belize does not allow us to have WWOOFers. As our#1 client for many years was the Government of Belize, we opted to only accept paying interns.

    I am going to answer the writers questions from my own perspective.

    • why they charge for internships
    I manage a small NGO. We provide food, weekly, to an elderly feeding program, weekly, free training to local schools, photovoltaic systems for local schools, photovoltaic water pumps that provide water for over 1000 people. The model we set up when we decided to start our NGO was to derive income from students. All of that has been made possible by income from paying interns. This year we are giving a full 72 hour PDC to a local school for indigenous youth at no cost to them. What makes this possible is the income we earn from hosting paying students.

    • what the cost covers
    Food, delicious, in abundance, from the farm, coffee all day long, internet access, clean housing, well lit, powered by photovoltaic systems, opportunities to work in remote communities that would otherwise be inaccessible, help in steering students to areas where their interests will be rewarded, site visits to exceptional farms, and, above all, safety. We have excellent facilities. We have well trained staff.

    • what they consider a fair charge
    We charge USD50 a day, USD200 a week, or USD600 a month. Interns work between 2-8 hours a day, largely dependent on their needs and interests. Many of our students are in university, and what they are studying here compliments their degree program. Belize is a very expensive country, and it is not possible to live as a traveler in Belize for less than USD40 a day.

    • what they provide in return, training-wise, to the intern.
    We teach students skills related to the farm, and, if we have photovoltaic work in the communities, we have done two ranger stations and five school systems in the last three years, how to install photovoltaic systems. We give them access to our library and evening lessons on agroecology, soil biota, Maya history, renewable energy. We also are active in the community and can make arrangements for students to plug into other projects.

    I have been farming for over 25 years, and have been applying permaculture principles to my land since 1991. I see educating young people in a supportive environment, a safe drug free environment, with good food, safe housing, a large library as People Care, and sending forth people with knowledge they obtain from us as Earth Care. Several of our former interns are now working in development, or have gone into fields related to People Care and Earth Care. I am rich in every sense of the word except financially, and the intern program we offer does not make a lot of money. If it did, it would go into our projects on the farm or int the communities around us.

    We also have a sliding scale, and some people pay basically nothing if they can show need.

    The writer says that”Permaculture operates within the reputation economy.” I think we have a good reputation, and our facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/MayaMountainResearchFarm has some reviews. Most students find good value in what they get from us.

    Again, permaculture is nuanced, and what works for us may not not apply elsewhere. Paying interns are the lifeblood of our NGO, and allow us to do a lot of good things that constitute People Care and Earth Care. We weekly donate food to an elderly feeding program, surplus from the farm, Sharing Surplus, and all of that is only possible from income we derive from paying interns. It is essential to the work we do.

  8. Nick Sykes

    If the internship provider gives quality education and experience, and its legal, then I would certainly consider paying.

    The free labor isnt an issue for me, because what is the alternative? Renting or purchasing land to work myself, which costs money. Or, if I could work land without it costing me anything, I wouldnt have tuition as I did (unless I paid for it).

    I could get some land to work for free (hobby projects in neighbour’s gardens) and apply what I learn from books. That wouldn’t cost much except time and materials.

    The face-to-face interaction with a person of high experience has a value. But if theyre not providing quality tuition then its not worth it, and Id be better off putting the money into other things.

  9. Tams

    From a potential student’s point of view, if I have already done a PDC, payment to cover board and make a contribution to efforts for the local community is all I would be willing to pay.
    I see Geoff Lawton’s internships in Jordan cost $2700 for one month, and you are already expected to have a PDC, and pay for lodging on top of that, and breakfasts and dinners are self catered. $1000+ per person for a PCD, $2700 pp for an internship, plus airfares, plus food, plus lodging, to volunteer to do difficult labour 6 days a week? I assume it is paying for the establishment of the farm, for earthworks etc, but it still feels excessive.
    My partner and I are two research scientists interested in permaculture on a small scale for our own garden, and are considering doing a PDC just to learn, not for the certificate per se. We thought it would be great to take a few months after my next post doc ends to volunteer in Jordan because I really believe that permaculture is an amazing solution to increasing desertification, but at that price, I think we will be finding other projects.
    You may avoid some slackers, but you will miss out on people who really care and want to work to contribute to the global community, by pricing them out of the experience.

  10. Jaydon Inott

    I can personally vouch for the great opportunities that both Robyn and Chris (who responded above) provide. I can also vouch for the enriching and fantastic experience that travelling with WWOOFING, and such internships can provide. I do see the huge value that this experience can have. If done correctly, getting involved in such projects, is a treasure trove of life enhancing experience to be explored. However, I believe that I have been fortuitous in my experience due, in part at least, to carefully selecting the places I go to. I have also had to quickly discard any that sound like they may have, or later reveal to have, spurious motives. In this way, my endorsement of it comes from a look over all of the experiences I have had, rather than any one locations. Without any overbearing regulation, it is truly a mixed bag out there, as diverse as the people who set them up, and this is what makes it so rich.

    There is a need for enhanced awareness from both the hosts & the students. This is why this article is a timely one to post.

    – There is a need for hosts to set clear expectations so as to enter an agreement in a mutually acceptable way.
    – Equally, there is also a need for prospective students, WWOOFERS and volunteers to exercise caution in their choice, properly research the locations, speak to the hosts ahead of their arrival, and look to settle an agreement should there not be a clear description. (this is not to hold anyone who has had very negative experience as responsible for their choice, just that these steps ensure a great chance of success)

    It is important to understand the needs of the host in terms of daily tasks and get into their motives; Are they really looking to provide an educational experience, or do they just need help? Sometimes, they just want some company! This is not to say that there is anything wrong with any of these- I have enjoyed experiences along the spectrum of these realities-, but as an intern you need to get to that motive, know up front what is involved and be happy with it.

    I do think that further guidance, is needed for hosts. Also, in case of the worst scenarios, it is appropriate that this should be reviewed in context of the legal framework as both Chris & Robyn have done. Unfortunately, as Permaculture reaches increasing scale and a need to protect its’ reputation in the public domain, this kind of bureaucracy reminiscent of larger organisations may be unavoidable. There are some important things to be learnt from our existing organisations, governance is a need.

    How we can differentiate ourselves from the need for the kind of top-down structure and beaurocacy that comes with legal reviews require, might come from how we react to that need and roll it out.

    An alternative to trying to enforce any guidance, and a way to help protect all parties, would be to include some element of this subject in the syllabus of Intro to PC courses & PDCs. A special focus on the kind of structure implemented by Robyn & Chris, using their leadership as an example, could be included in Teacher training courses. This is not a silver bullet, but might help a little.

    I wonder if this could be a topic in the next permaculture convergence, with the aim to collate all of the considerations that need to be taking into account here?

    Since the providers of such courses, are also the most visited and teach the next wave of hosts, the effect could be three-fold:

    – Teaching the prospective students the necessary steps to securing an internship they will enjoy.
    – Ensuring buy in of course providers, likely to be taking on such interns.
    – Teaching prospective hosts

    One of the most common things I hear from hosts is that people come in, learn a new task and then move on… this is not equitable in terms of the time invested in teaching & the return for the host. Awareness that the educational element only comes from also for-filling your end of the bargain, by doing some more routine tasks might be a valuable example of a topic to be covered in such a course segment……. you can’t be doing new, life changing classes everyday (the hosts have needs too). Other things highlighted in the responses here provide further examples of topics to include.

    For me, the experience should also be about enjoying the location, company, lifestyle and free time that the opportunity affords. The best that PC has to offer comes from this. The worst it could become, is to be seen as exploitative, offering only hard-working conditions which fall short of our current predicament! Am I too much of an idealist that a PC set-up can help you produce more of your needs, with less of the burden?

    If I am not a dillusioned, idealist (and I am open to any feedback that I might be), any host who has successfully implemented PC, should not have overbearing needs to have more people, working longer hours to help expand/maintain their operation. For this reason, I steered clear of some that appeared that way… they are simply not offering what is appealing about PC! Focusing on what is appealing about PC, which changes from place to place, is what will lead to its’ success, in the end of the day. In richer countries, the freedom of time & ability to reduce dependency on money are key motivators.

    Thank you to the article here… it compelled me to share my experience, and maybe trail off onto other things a little. A really great topic to address.

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