As a result of the course a South France Permaculture Network has been established. Here participants report on the Limoux PDC

“In Limoux (Aude, France), during the second half of August, 2010, forty-four students-apprentices have attended an outstanding “Permaculture Design Course”. It was run with passion and humour by the Australian Robyn Francis, one of the most famous figures of the permaculture movement.

This course has a story: originally, Robyn was to teach the second PDC on French ground in 1986 with Lea Harrison, but she couldn’t make it. Twenty-four years later, it’s now done.

The participants have attended an English-speaking ninety hours course, translated by a devoted team, including Andrew Darlington, one of the organizers and translators of the 1986 PDC. Besides the principles and ethics of Permaculture, Robyn imparted a lot of anecdotes and cases from a whole life dedicated to the design of places and communities, eco-literacy and social and environmental activism.

Fifteen days later, French permaculture had forty-four new apprentices among its members who, beyond intellectual matters, had lived a wondrous life experience.” – Collective statement about the course by the participants, translated by Guy Morant.

Participants came from all over France, plus Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Chile and French-speaking Caribbean. Participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds, from finance to yoga teachers, academics, healers, IT, property developers, ecovillage aspirants, transition towners, aid workers, activists, a high school student and a village mayor. Participants appreciated the international content of the course and how relevant Permaculture as an international concept is to the climate and culture of France.

The highlights of the course were the two visits to Andy and Jessie’s Permaculture farm in the Pyrenean mountains, about an hour’s drive from Limoux. Andy and Jessie have been developing the farm for the past 20 years as well as operating an edible landscape business. The first visit during the course was for a tour of the farm, checking out the forestry system, ancient beech trees, orchards dripping with fruit, an abundant vegetable garden, chickens and a flock of 100 sheep. Certified organic lamb is the main commercial product and we got to try out some of the first kill of the season with a barbeque on our second visit – even some of the vegetarians crossed the line.

At the end of the course the participants established an email discussion list which has been inordinately active, and agreed to set up a South France network to support further initiative in the region.