2012 Ashfield Permaculture Course

(also applies for the Food Forest workshop)

Scholarship Information

Hello  and thank you all for you interest in the 2012 Permaculture Design Certificate Course (and/or Food Forest Workshop) I am offering in Ashfield, MA.

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This course has had an overwhelming number of requests for scholarships and volunteer opportunities, which tells me there’s a lot of interest in the course, but not a lot of people who can afford the somewhat standard US PDC costs.  I am trying to work with that as best as I can, and want to offer this important permaculture knowledge to everyone who has time and interest, but of course, I still need to be able to cover the costs of feeding and housing you, hiring amazing instructors, and my time for site preparation, coordinating and organizing, marketing so I am able to offer you a great course.

More on our Philosophy on Scholarships
Our goal is to receive a good amount of funding to cover sponsorships for those who would not be able to attend our courses otherwise. We will need to wait until we get enough people signed up OR get enough individual donations to offer scholarships. If there are folks who can support another student to take the course, we can offer scholarships sooner.
Our first consideration for scholarships will be people of color,  and truely low income folks – not low income by choice, and those who due to oppression, don’t have equal opportunities to learn about permaculture and implement it in their countries/communities.  If this sounds like your situation, please let me know how much you can afford to pay, a little more about your present economic status, how permaculture will help you with your future goals, and why you should be selected to be one of those who recieves one of the limited scholarships supported by those who elect to pay more than the standard fee.
For Others –
At this point, I need to get a better understanding from those of you who have expressed interest, of exactly what you may be able to afford as I don’t currently have enough paying students to be able to offer a full scholarship to everyone who requested one for this course.
Here are a few ideas for those of you who want to attend but are strapped for cash….please think them over, and get back to me with your commitment to take the course (ie. your deposit) and the amount you are able to pay by the first of April (or email me for other arrangements).
Professional Development. Your work place may have money set aside for their employees to learn new skills and improve their knowledge base. Ask you supervisor to help you fund this workshop!  Show them the website and explain how your new knowledge will help improve your results on the job.
Get sponsorship from family and friends in exchange for design work you will offer them after the course. They will be investing in your education and they will benefit from the skills you learn. Show them the website, and what you will be able to help them with after the course.  If you can get five sponsors for $200 each, then you will get the benefit of five practice designs. Then you can sell you will have a portfolio and the experience to start selling your new skills to others.
Try Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/  design a project and request support for taking the course and implementing your project.
Just Ask. That’s right, if you ask, people will give you money! Here is a sample letter you can send to your network to support this great learning opportunity. To share what you learned in the class invite them all over after and tell them about it: SEE SAMPLE FUNDING LETTER BELOW
College Credit. If you are a college student you may be able to take this course for credit. Contact us about the details.
Throw a fundraising BBQ. With fresh fish you caught and/or veggies from your garden. Tell people a little bit about Permaculture and what you plan to do with what you learn, then ask people to donate $25-$50 to help you achieve your goals. Ask some friends to play music or donate food. You will only need to convince a party’s worth of people to give money to cover your costs.
Pot up your raspberry shoots that are coming up where you don’t want them and sell them at the farmer’s market.
Make dandelion fritters and sell them to curious friends.
Hold a workshop teaching whatever skill you have or whatever is your passion or hobby… everyone wants to learn something new! (Charging people $10 per workshop hour seems about right, so a 3 hour workshop is $30/person) Or ask your friends to donate their time to teach a workshop. Making cheese, keeping chickens, pruning trees, baking bread, starting a garden, making a website, knitting, etc.

Work Trade

Our criteria for choosing work trade students is prioritized the same as for scholarships: people of color, people with few economic and social fund raising resources, and people with demonstrated need, who sign up early.  Please make sure to state the work trade skills you have to offer, and how many hours you have available to work helping us with the preparation and delivery of the course -be specific when requesting information for registering, also indicate how much of a reduction you think your skills are worth towards your course tuition.
Payment Plans
Payment plans are far easier to offer than scholarships.  Please contact us about your needs, and we will be happy to work out a payment plan that works for you. At this point we have limited scholarships, so if you can afford a payment plan, this may be a good alternative. With the payment plan we are asking folks to pay in monthly installments: April 1,  May 1, June 1, July 1, and final payment expected at course start on July 27.
Your Tuition is used to:
Cover the cost of the space, the food you will eat, marketing for the course, scholarships, and then, what is left is split amongst the instructors and pays for materials and for the field trips. To maximize your exposure to the great learning opportunities offered by visiting different places and learning from different people, ideally, I’d like to be able to afford to include some other great instructors in the sessions.  There are a number of great teachers who live nearby, including Jonathan Bates who runs Foodforest Farm where you could purchase plants to take home with you http://www.permaculturenursery.com/ at his demonstration Food Forest that he co-created with one of my Terra-genesis collegues, author of Perennial Vegetables, Eric Tonesmeir http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/ .  I have also contacted Mark Krawczyk about teaching a sesssion. He just got back from researching  history and uses of multipurpose Coppice species in Europe and  is also working on a book about the subject with Dave Jackie (http://video.permaculture.coop/video/596/coppice-workshop-with-mark-kra).
Which additional teachers and activities I am able to include in the course, will depend on how much each person is able to contribute in the end, so I am asking that everyone who is interested  in the course, please send me your deposit of $300, as well as at least tell me the maximum amount you are hoping to be able to pay for the course ASAP.  I’d like to have this figured out by July 1, as some students need to purchase transportation tickets by this time, and I need to begin to make plans accordingly.
Kindly, Mary
The official dates for the 2012 course are: Arrival July 26, classes start July 27 and run through August 5, departure August 6.
SAMPLE FUND RAISING LETTER, copy and paste, then send to all your email/facebook contacts who could help.
July X, 2011
Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing to ask for your support. I’m embarking on an educational journey to receive a Certificate in Permaculture Design. Permaculture is a vision, design system, and global movement that draws on patterns and principles found in nature to help shape landscapes and communities that meet human needs, while regenerating the natural world and creating financial, social, and spiritual abundance (find out more about the teacher of this course who has extensive international experience and contacts which will help me reach my goals, and to learn more about why I want to take this permaculture course see http://www.terra-genesis.com ).
By completing this 72-hour course, I am becoming one of many critical thinkers and designers in this field. As a supporter, you will help provide me with the tools needed to restore, reclaim, and regenerate our social, financial and ecological structures and restore the earth’s delicate natural systems, leaving our planet replenished for future generations.
Your donation of any amount, along with others’, will help me to realize my goal. The tuition for this course that runs from July through November is $2000. In order to receive a permaculture design certificate—a pertinent educational experience in the pressing field of sustainability—my fundraising goal is [FILL IN AMOUNT].
Permaculture, I believe, will offer me a set of tools to help me realize my goal of [FILL IN YOUR GOAL(S)/VISION(S)]. As many of you know, my background is in [FILL IN RELEVANT BACKGROUND INTERESTS/EXPERIENCE and LINK IT TO PERMACULTURE]. E.g. :My aspiration to learn permaculture stems from my vision to create viable solutions to global challenges that will simultaneously serve people and the land to which we belong.
If you wish to support me and/or this vision, you can make a contribution by check to [YOUR NAME HERE], and return it in the envelope provided (any amount will help!). Thank you kindly for your support in this endeavor. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [YOUR EMAIL/PHONE NUMBER HERE].