“I believe that permaculture is the only way to save our land and our planet. We don’t have much time left to amend our past actions. We must promote permaculture to people all over the world and motivate them to act now before it is too late.”
Exciting news with a new opportunity to study accredited permaculture training in Australia. The RTO Gold Standard will commence with Certificate II and IV in Permaculture for Australian and Chinese students later this year. Martina, from the PA Education team, talks with Lucy Chen from Gold Standard about how she became interested in permaculture and the potential for permaculture in China.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got in contact with permaculture?
I run a small accounting practice and a registered Training Organisation (RTO) called Gold Standard Education – which used to teach Accounting, and has an English Language Centre. My family started gardening about 20 years ago after passing by, and later joining, a community garden. My husband was, and still is a keen gardener. I was mostly a helper. Our interest grew through reading gardening magazines such as Pip, Organic Gardening & Mother Earth. We’ve done a lot of research about organic gardening and gradually we have come to understand and appreciate the true value and meaning of permaculture. This has given us direction and an overall plan for a vegetable garden and food forest we want to develop in our backyard. We know that this will be environmentally friendly as well as economically viable.
Why did Gold Standard as a Professional Language Centre decide to offer permaculture courses?
In over 200 years of industrialisation, humans have rampantly consumed the natural resources of our planet and now we are faced with the possibility of completely running out of some of them. We are also facing the reality of global warming and associated disasters. It is impossible to ignore the damage we have done to our planet. We are starting to think ahead to what this means for future generations – what are leaving for them? How can we show them there are better, less damaging ways to live? We also recognise that there is an expanding movement towards organically grown, chemical-free produce and that a ‘grow your own’ movement has really “taken off” in this time of Covid-19. Awareness of the value of the permaculture movement is gaining momentum. What is needed now is education. The current generation needs to provide programs that show future generations there are better ways to manage and care for the planet, both at a personal, individual level and at a broader, societal level. I see the two permaculture certificates that we will offer as an excellent way to introduce the philosophy and practice of permaculture to our students, who are future community leaders.
Tell me about the permaculture courses that Gold Standard will offer?
We are going to offer two courses; Certificate II in permaculture (delivered via VET in school program) and Certificate IV in permaculture (delivered via face to face, online, work experience.)
What future plans do you have for permaculture training – and will it expand to include China based students?
Three years ago, I went back to ShenZhen in China to visit my husband’s family. There, we had a few trips to the country side. I discovered that most agriculture lands were deserted due to young people moving to cities to look for work. I learned that soil in some areas of the land is highly polluted by nearby factories. I was also told that the soil in inland China has mostly been damaged by chemical fertilizers, pesticides and that some provinces use genetically modified seeds. Of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, China has 16 of these. I was saddened by what I saw and learned.
When I came back from China, by chance I read an article by Bill Mollison that changed my thinking. I learned that by practicing permaculture, polluted soil can be recovered which was eye-opening! It was then I had what might seem like a crazy idea – why not spread the knowledge and skills of permaculture to China to save the land? These programs have the potential to advance permaculture knowledge and skills to many Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Because of my personal connection to China I believe that it is the logical place to take the first steps.We initially plan to deliver Certificate IV in permaculture via online training to Chinese agriculture university students or any students with sufficient English skills. Our English Language Centre will be available to support our students’ English language skills while they carry out their permaculture study.
Once these students have permaculture understandings, skills and qualifications, they can then use them enrich their own lives and to inform and educate village people and others in the countryside in the techniques of permaculture with the long-term aim of healing the land in a productive, economically viable and environmentally sound way.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe that permaculture is the only way to save our land and our planet. We don’t have much time left to amend our past actions. We must promote permaculture to people all over the world and motivate them to act now before it is too late.
Want to know more about permaculture education in Australia?
To find out more about how to study or offer the Accredited Permaculture training in Australia here or contact the education team via firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is available for RTO’s considering offering the permaculture study packages, including how to purchase the study guides to support your offerings.