Rob's experience of the Permaculture Design Course

Rob Permaculture Course Social Landscapes

"I hope to make the world a better place by fostering resilience in communities."

Robert’s passion for permaculture runs deep, beginning at school twenty years ago, when his Geography teacher taught his class the fundamental principles. Robert went on to study Environmental Sciences at University and is now a member of various environmental community organisations, leads mountain walking expeditions and does youth horticulture work in schools - the variety and amount of activities in his life leave me feeling a little out of breath just thinking about it!

Currently studying for a Masters in Youth and Community Development, Robert took the Permaculture Design Course because he cares about the environment and sustainability, hoping to make the world a better place by fostering resilience in communities. Despite already knowing a fair amount about permaculture, Robert sees value in learning about something through the eyes of another person. Everyone approaches permaculture with a different purpose, and he hoped to take something away from the course he wouldn’t find in his own mind.  After completing an Introduction to Permaculture weekend with Social Landscapes, the Permaculture Design Course was the next step in his quest for permaculture knowledge.

Being able to visit a number of exciting projects in London and nearby made the course very attractive to Robert, as did the amount of active, group participation he found on the course. Perhaps most importantly, was the amount of time given to develop your critical thinking skills. This was an aspect Robert had never realised he gave much thought to before, and by encompassing this on the course, he felt the group gained a lot more from it.

A recurring theme I have found since speaking to participants of the PDC, is how much they enjoyed and gained from the domestic setting of the course, held at Treadwell, a private home in Streatham Hill. Robert also commented that this, and the potluck shared lunches, were a lovely surprise. His most valuable lesson from the course is actually quite personal, which is that he learned a lot about how he liked to learn, and the importance of reflection and a time being allocated to this in a course.

Rob Permaculture course Social Landscapes

Since completing the course, Robert has been focussing on his Masters, and spreading the word about permaculture. In his own words, “there’s a lot of cross-pollination to be done!”

Robert is a committed, hands-on fundraiser, educator and programme coordinator.  He is currently studying towards an MA in Youth and Community Work, starting a number of community gardens and fundraising for various charities. As Funding Director for Strawbale Building Association UK, Rob is keen to work with people who may be able to support with skills, knowledge, time or money to their aims. In 2017, he will be taking the Centre for Alternative Technology course ‘Sustainability and Adaptation for Cities and Communities’.

This blog post was written by Sophie Roach, who is currently interning with Social Landscapes. After working on a permaculture farm in Chile earlier this year, she is keen to learn more about the ethics and attitudinal principles of permaculture, and how these can be used to enrich the lives of children and young people. For more information on this project, please contact