First PDC at Moelyci


PDC course group at Moelyci, September 2014.. with some of the produce made on site during the 2 week course.

Hopefully the first of many, we have just completed the first PDC at Moelyci: the community owned farm in North Wales. The first joint endeavour under the banner of the North Wales permaculture academy.

What is permaculture? Well in short it is design system to help us prepare for the huge economic changes and environmental challenges we face. A system that helps us move from a resource based economy to a design based economy.

Here’s Chris Martenson, spelling it out. He talks about a groundswell of popular opinion, and that Governments have a terrible record of innovating. His short talk here sets a clear scenario as to why permaculutre is important and relevant to the current moment.

On the subject of resource depletion here is the great nad sadly late Matt Simmons talking extremely knowledgeable on the subject of Peak Oil. This is froma few years ago, so it is also interesting to see how things have played out since, but at heart he is an oil man and he totally understands the realities of keeping this precious resource flowing.

This Permaculture Design Course was also a big step towards the launch of the North Wales Permaculture Academy, which will be at Moelyci and is the culmination of several years’ work to develop an on going rolling programme of permaculture and related courses along with an intern ship programme.

Here is the first of the three presentations on the design work we did on Moelyci farm. The first group had the task of considering the entrance experience and the links to the wider world. How can we make passers by welcome and encourage them to come into the site?

Presentation by Sue, Richard and Kevin, who are also the Sector39 Crafts and Catering team.

Here is the second presentation. The second group mainly focussed on the training facility and services around it. They took an over view survey of the farm then focussed on provision for courses and course participants, with the renovated barn as a focus.

Presentation by course participants: Mark, Karma, Jack, Marianne and Monica

Coming soon! Presentation three: Blue Sky group… looking at the wider farm, its vision and purpose unconstrained by shorter term limitations. (am still editing this one and hope to have it up in the next few days)

Presentation by Cwm Harry Staff member Julie and Lucy, supported by Sector39 members Grace and Martin.

There is a fuller piece about the PDC design process on the Cwm Harry Skill bblog

North Wales Permaculture Academy consultation


Attendees at the consultation and launch meeting of the North Wales permaculture Academy

Huge thanks to the 18 people who came along to the Permaculture Academy Consultation meeting at Moelyci on Friday.

With representatives from Sector39, The Permaculture Association, Transition Towns, Cwm Harry Skills, local farmers from Treflach farm Oswestry and Henbant, Caernarfon, the founders of Garden Planet Biochar as well as past course graduates, friends and supporters.

We have a fabulous opportunity at Moelyci to bring together work from Cwm Harry and Biocyle with that of the Permaculture Association and the friends and supporters and graduates of Sector39 permaculture design team.

Here are the key elements of the proposal

Proposal for a North Wales Permaculture Academy

This paper outlines our ambitions for and the potentials of developing a Permaculture Academy
centred on Moelyci community owned farm in North Wales. We are building towards a stakeholder
meeting in late August where Cwm Harry and Sector39 are happy to open up this opportunity to be
shaped and informed with others.

New Opportunities
In September 2014, assuming all goes to plan, Cwm Harry will formally become the tenant and
manage Moelyci community owned farm near Bangor. This 345 acre hill farm is an environmental
education and enterprise centre with a range of buildings, an education venue, a horticulture
business, public allotments, a community composting facility and much more. Cwm Harry has
negotiated a 28 year lease with an exclusive option to buy within the first three years. This presents
an amazing and unique opportunity to develop long term ambitions for permaculture education and
to create a regional hub for permaculture practice and enterprise development.
Moelyci was bought out by a community share offer over 10 years ago and developed as a
community owned environmental centre. Cwm Harry plans to continue this vision, whilst expanding
it to include education and enterprise. The venue offers a perfect opportunity for the development
of a North Wales Permaculture Academy to contribute to and benefit from the wider activities at the
The main attraction of this site, in terms of a Permaculture Academy, is the opportunity for:
· Land based research
· A venue for long-term permaculture projects
· Access to the rich culture and heritage of the site

Permaculture Academy Proposal
For want of a better term, we have grouped our permaculture ambitions under one heading and to
date have been calling this the North Wales Permaculture Academy. We have so far identified the
following as what might be the key elements and functions of this venture.

1. Research: To undertake long-term research projects, to develop evidence based case study
history of the application of permaculture techniques, design and processes and to establish
evidence based approach that builds citizen scientists. Moelyci offers an ideal opportunity to
launch this ambition and to link in with the Permaculture Association’s LAND network and
research co-ordination.

2. Education: To develop a team of tutors to be able to deliver a rolling programme of
permaculture design and related courses and training.

3. Volunteer opportunities and internships: We would like to be able to offer 6 month
volunteer placements as well as longer internships offering practical experience of project,
farm and design work, especially for permaculture diploma students.

4. Enterprise development: In line with wider aspirations for Moelyci, our aim is to support
interns and partners to develop their own permaculture related enterprises and to create a
support and promotional infrastructure to aid that process.

The Vision
Is to create a regional hub for permaculture education, demonstration and enterprise development
in North Wales and to maximise the opportunity represented by Cwm Harry taking a long-term lease
on the farm. The Academy will build directly on the experience and track record of Sector39 and
Cwm Harry Skills and link our work in North Wales much more closely with local projects as well as
that of national networks such as the Permaculture Association. We aim to create a centre of
excellence for permaculture.

By building a high profile and long term enterprise such as this we would hope to help raise the
profile of permaculture whilst creating many more opportunities for study and for PDC graduates to
be involved in on-going projects. We want to contribute to building the evidence base for
permaculture design’s effectiveness and possibilities and to spread the learning and experience far
and wide. This opportunity will enable experienced diploma holders, teachers and practitioners to
greatly extend the provision of permaculture education and to help develop many new projects.
A replicable model

We hope to create a replicable model that may be of use to and add momentum to similar regional
initiatives across the UK. We are keen to innovate and invest in permaculture development whilst
being a strong and vibrant enterprise in our own right.

Stages towards our goal

  1.  We have held our first exploratory meeting with Cwm Harry and the Permaculture
  2. Association and have completed a key stakeholder meeting at Moelyci.
  3.  Begin identifying funds and potential funders who will invest in components of the Academy.  This will be an on-going process.
  4. From Sept 7-20th 2014 we plan to run a full PDC, part of a series of courses based at Moelyci that will contribute to the design and development of the Permaculture Academy and help shape the vision for Moelyci.
  5.  At the Permaculture Convergence in London this September we will be using the opportunity to network and consult on the further development of the idea.
  6. In October, post PDC, we will publish a document outlining the key elements and function and stakeholders of the North Wales Permaculture Academy and make this available to all interested parties, inviting both feedback and identifying collaborators and contributors. This stage needs to consider and identify income and funding possibilities and identify roles and responsibilities within the Academy.
  7. Year-end Sector39 review and open meeting. In December at Moelyci, Sector39 will hold an pen presentation, with talks and a dinner of local produce as an information sharing even and to create an open forum for idea sharing.
  8. Based on the progress of the preceding steps and the feedback from the review process we hope to officially launch the North Wales Permaculture Academy in the spring of 2015.
  9. By September 2015 we plan to have established links with a North Wales cluster of existing permaculture projects and activity and aim to run a series of ‘edge events’ as part of the International Permaculture convergence when it comes to the UK in 2015

Partner Enterprises: Strategic
We don’t intend to do this alone. We are happy to lead and create opportunities but equally happy
to build active beneficial relationships with other stakeholders who buy into the vision of the

Permaculture Association
We intend to spread the learning and experience of this venture by being active members of the UK
Permaculture Association and will use this existing network to seek out further partnerships and
collaboration UK wide.
Specifically the Academy will aim to contribute to key strands of on-going work at the Permaculture
Association, namely:
1. LAND learners network
2. Research
3. Information dissemination
4. Convergence

Cwm Harry Skills
The North Wales Academy will maintain an umbilical link with Cwm Harry Land Trust and co-ordinate its
efforts carefully to maximise synergy with the other educational ambitions of Cwm Harry

Established in 2004 Sector39 has been a vehicle to carry on the forest garden development and
environmental education work that its founder Steve Jones had been involved with at RISC,
Reading’s Development Education Centre, where as part of a team he helped develop a roof-top
forest garden as an educational resource.

Sector 39 work includes over 10 years of ground level work, networking, teaching and training.
Sector 39 have an alumni network of over 350 PDC graduates plus extensive links to other trainers,
projects and venues. This wider network presents the core of Sector 39 expertise.

With 700+ plus member shareholders and its own extensive network in North Wales we intend that
the North Wales Permaculture Academy compliments and reinforces all that has gone before at
Moelyci and enables future plans and potentials to come to fruition. It is essential that the North
Wales Permaculture Academy and Moelyci are mutually reinforcing and beneficial for the success of
this project.


Our Next PDC starts on 7th September, part of a rolling programme

Partner Enterprises: Delivery

Cultivate Market garden and horticulture at Moelyci
Via our biochar and soil amendments, trainees, students and courses it is our intention to develop a
‘umbilical’ relationship with the market garden enterprise at Moelyci. We can provide a market for
their produce; seek to demonstrate and develop our biochar products and to develop a retail
partnership for the resulting products.

Combine Project/ Biocycle
We intend to link with other on site enterprises at Moelyci for research development and training
opportunities as well as to obtain feedstock for our Biochar enterprise

Garden Planet Biochar
Steve is working closely with Martin and Monica Wigley to develop an enterprise with the object of
creating high quality biochar for research and product development of soil and animal feed

Moelyci enterprises
Building an internal economy that links and benefits partner enterprises. Seasonal surpluses, from
both horticulture and allotments at Moelyci will be preserved as pickles, sauerkraut and more which
we will both demonstrate as courses and consume via our students and interns.

Dolen Ffermio
An example of the kind of organisation we would also like to develop active links with. One with
active links and projects in East Africa, a region of the world full of inspiration, vibrant people and a
pressing need of active collaboration in developing food security, good soil management and
community led initiatives. We will seek to develop global links for both learning and disseminating
our experiences.

+ Your Enterprise…. We are open to offers!
It doesn’t end there, we are aware there are other local enterprises that may be interested in joining
the on-going development of the Academy.

Permaculture Design Course, September 2014


Our up and coming PDC this September is going to be a really special one. It is to be the first in a series of courses which we will be running at Moelyci community owned farm in North Wales over the next three years. We also have a wider ambition to create a North Wales Permaculture Academy at Moelyci to create a platform for long term study and enable us to build on the achievements of each successive course.

Being a part of this course will give yo the chance to shape this exciting project and to make a lasting impact on permaculture education opportunities in the future. We are also developing a volunteer and internship programme as part of this ambition and want to create many more opportunities for people to get directly involved.


Permaculture is a Revolution, of sorts… a revolution of perception!
It is hard to argue against the notion that there is a profound need for change in the world currently. Governments are failing to grapple with the realities of climate change, the old development models simply won’t take us to where we need to go  and the global economic system is an edifice of lies and duplicity.

To avoid environmental catastrophe society at large is required to model on the rules and lessons of ecology. We urgently need a design system or an economic model that delivers long term sustainability and understands that as a priority.  To have any chance of achieving that  people will need  to have a far greater degree of control over their own essential services and commodities: education, water, food, housing, nutrient cycling, credit, people care all needs to be localised and brought under democratic and an informed management. It is a bottom up process, frustratingly slow at first but one that is accelerating as increasing numbers of people realise this to be the case.

Be a change maker!

It all about making personal changes, being an active part of the solution.. permaculture teaches us we can only start from where we are and work with what we have got, so where ever you are currently in your own personal development now is the the time to commit to helping bring about that change and taking an active role in a self created democracy.

More info and booking here

Talking about a revolution?
We are certainly not the only ones thinking along these lines,  permaculture is the fastest growing grass roots movement around the world and attracting the attention of more and more people. Nothing less than a fundamental shift in our thinking, values and long term goals is required to bring about the kind of change required to be able to face the 21st century with confidence and optimism. Perhaps the world revolution sounds over dramatic and conjures up images of guillotines etc. what we mean is a revolution in in thought, in our understanding or our relationship with the living planet, the biosphere.

In the video below see ex Wall Street broker Max Keiser chatting with Russell Brand about change and revolution. Although not directly mentioned in this episode I have heard both of them talk about permaculture and their understanding of it’s growing importance in bringing about the kind of profound changes required.

Please Circulate + Stop Press + General interest: Permaculture News

First Full Permaculture Design Course to be held at Moelyci, a community owned farm in North Wales

View at Henbant farm, one of the places we will be visiting on the PDC

View at Henbant farm, one of the places we will be visiting on the PDC

Moelyci, the 390 acre hill farm in North Wales was saved from development as a holiday park by the local community to help preserve its rich cultural and ecological heritage and established as a centre for conservation and environmental excellence in 2003.

Recently they have teamed up with Cwm Harry, an environmental service and training provider from Mid Wales to expand the vision of Moelyci to encompass Environment, Education and Enterprise as its core mission statement.

The first potential tenant in this new partnership and with the intention of developing a coherent framework for sharing and building on its core message is the Sector39 permaculture design team. Permaculture is a well-established and rapidly-maturing design approach informed and driven by the application of a deep understanding of both ecology and community.  Steve Jones and Sector39 have delivered numerous permaculture courses and built a reputation as one of the leading permaculture teaching groups around.

Sector39, Cwm Harry and the UK Permaculture Association are currently collaborating to develop the North Wales Permaculture Academy. We want to extend the provision of permaculture education, to create opportunities for volunteers and internships as well as for long term research and demonstration. The potential for collaboration with the community owned farm is vast, with its organic horticulture business, allotments, upland grazing and community composting facility, green wood working and more, the possibilities for innovation and collaboration are endless. We intend to use a series of permaculture design courses to help shape and deliver this aspiration.

A permaculture design course equips you with a practical design approach to attempt complex problems. It is the way in to systems thinking, a frame work for collaboration and it is the best tool-kit we have to facilitate a rapid transition to a re-localised, low-carbon and resilient economy. Completing this course is a powerful step in one’s own personal transition, putting convictions into practice, to bring about positive change and to become an active part of the solution.

We are looking for people who want to be part of the process, to help shape the Academy and build productive links with Moelyci and the surrounding community, whilst gaining practical skills, knowledge and connections at the same time.

Course fee is £600, however a discounted price of £490 is available for early bird bookers on low income (<£18k).

This includes camping accommodation, food, field trips, practicals and certification. The Permaculture Design Certificate is an international recognised qualification, authorised by the Permaculture Association.

Find out more about this and other courses at:

Follow @misterjones2u @cwmharry

Permaculture education: beyond the design certificate course

So I was in my favourite restaurant the other day and I asked them what they had on the menu.. permaculture pie came the reply. Mmm I said how does that come? .. well you can have a slice, a whole pie or ten pies the same…

So that is basically the selection we are offering in permaculture education.. you can do an introduction weekend, do a two week design course or go away and complete ten design cycles under your own steam or under the guidance of a tutor. Its a great selection if what you want is pie.

Its about time we added some options to that menu, especially if we want to broaden the customer base and make ourselves more widely appealing. We need entrées, snacks, aperitifs, soups and burgers – both meat and veggie. A selection of main courses, takeaway and eat in as well as sweets, desserts and a full cheeseboard.

So here it is the Permaculture Academy.. we are meeting in North Wales tomorrow to flesh out the menu and d fill our diaries with dates for all these new dishes we want to offer.  For teachers and schools, business and community groups, new pupils and old war horses. Stuff to take home and use, products, services, foods, ideas, web chat seminars.. a constant stream of information and practical advice as well as learning opportunities and more.

So yes, we will still be serving our old favourite permaculture pie but soon a whole menu of options is to emerge.. and if it all goes to plan tomorrow we will be setting up a Wales and North West permaculture academy based on a community owned farm near Bangor, with access to ongoing projects in energy from waste, upland pasture management, grazing, forestry, horticulture, cooking, cheese making and much more…

Its a big plan, not fully imagined yet and still to get its green light.. but the momentum is growing and we will be setting out our stall tomorrow afternoon at Moelyci environment and enterprise centre in North Wales in an open meeting this Friday.

Please get in touch with me @misterjones2u if you wan to input into this process or to find out more as and when it occurs.. but it feels like exciting times and chance to open up our palates to whole new range of tastes and textures!

PDC advert for September 2014

PDC advert for September 2014

We are also planning our next Pie, the good old PDC.. which will be in North Wales in  September.. we will be using the PDC to help develop the aspirations for the academy and we think this will be an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to be involved in helping shape permaculture education going forward from here.

I had some remarkable feedback from the most recent course.. so remarkable I thought i would share it with you here… it came in the form of  an email entitled.. You’re a sod!!!!

In the nicest possible way, of course!

The PDC has, even though I thought it wouldn’t, changed so many angles from which I look at not just my ‘project’ but the world at large.  It’s truly a revolution disguised as organic gardening!

I really want to thank you (and crew, of course) for the most inspiring fortnight of my life. Don’t know if you noticed, but I was really welling up when we did the ‘Permaculture Handshake’. As for the Permaculture Rap well, no more need be said!!

You’re an inspiring bloke and, despite your occasional (frequent, really) mannerisms – nose, hair, pens, shirt, trousers, masking tape, side-tracks etc, we were really all hanging on to what you were going to say next with a real desire and enthusiasm.  And you pulled it all together brilliantly – it showed considerable thought and planning.

I’ve often been in the receiving end of Death By PowerPoint but your delivery was the most entertaining and, much more importantly, crucial I’ve ever come across. So, many many thanks for what you do, and never change.

Thanks Simon… for the feedback.. !

Hey guys this group might have topped your permaculture rap! check this out…