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20 Things You Don’t Know (probably) About Permaculture’s Patrick Whitefield

Permaculture magazine |
Friday, 25th January 2013

Patrick is one of Europe’s leading permaculture teachers and authors. We unearth some fun and informative facts about the author of The Earth Care Manual himself. Read on, and learn how you can win a place on one of Patrick’s Permaculture Design Courses, worth £800!

Patrick-Course.jpg

1 Patrick studied on his Permaculture Design Course with Andy Langford.

2 Since 1979 Patrick has lived in Glastonbury, one of the UK's main alternative towns and renowned for giving people the space to explore different ways of living.

3 The one tool Patrick wouldn't live without in his trowel, "...which doubles up as a measuring stick for planting distances," he says. "In a no-dig garden you don't need much else."

4 You can win a slot on one of Patrick's Full Permaculture Design Courses, worth £800. By simply taking out a 2 year subscription to Permaculture magazine before Thursday 14th February 2013 you will be placed into a draw for this fantastic prize! See page 86 of Permaculture magazine Issue 75 for further details. 

5 Patrick has been married to Cathy Whitefield since 1990.

6 Patrick's favourite food is salad. "There's so much life in freshly-picked raw leaves from my own garden," says Patrick.

7 Some notable people who have taken one of Patrick's courses include: permaculture teachers such as Sarah Pugh and Sandra Campe, Shannon Smy of the band Seize the Day, woodsman and author Ben Law, Nicola Peel who does such great work in South America, green activist Brigit Strawbridge, and Stuart Anderson, Chris Smaje and Deano Martin each who are prominent smallholders/bloggers on the permaculture scene... and Tim Harland, founder of Permaculture magazine.

Patrick Whitefield teachingPatrick Whitefield teaching8 Patrick is launching an online course which includes the full permaculture design course. The Land Course Online is based upon Patrick's long-established Sustainable Land Use course, with the PDC taking pride of place. There are also modules on soil, ecology, organic growing and sustainable forestry. It is open to anyone worldwide, flexible and participants can take whichever modules interest them most. For more information view: www.patrickwhitefield.co.uk

9 Patrick was a member of The Green Party in the early 1980's for whom he was the Agricultural spokesperson. He feels, "Politics is all about competitiveness and negativity and I didn't like how it brought that out in me."

10 Patrick has been involved with permaculture since it first spread to the UK in the early 1990s. He says, "Since then I've seen permaculture change from a fringe activity to something that's taken much more seriously."

11 Patrick started writing for Permaculture magazine back in 1992.

12 To date, Patrick has sold over 40,000 copies of his permaculture books: The Earth Care Manual, How To Make A Forest Garden, The Living Landscape, Tipi Living and Permaculture In A Nutshell (which has sold over 20,000 copies and been translated into over seven languages to date). 

13 The permaculture book Patrick has found most useful is Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally by Robert Kourik. "Right at the beginning of my permaculture career I learnt more from this book than from any other."

14 Of permaculture main principles, Patrick says his top tip is: "Zoning - placing things which need the most attention nearest to the centre of attention. I've seen again and again how valuable this is in practice."

15 Patrick appeared in the BBC TV series It's Not Easy Being Green with Brigit Strawbridge and A Farm For The Future with Rebecca Hosking. He has also appeared in many magazines, newspapers and online (including recently Stateside via permies.com).

16 Popular horticulturist and pop star Kim Wilde reviewed and recommended Patrick's The Earth Care Manual to readers of The Daily Mail.

17 Patrick's favourite style of music is Irish traditional (... and Kim Wilde). He plays the penny whistle.

18 Patrick believes that climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced.

The Earth Care ManualThe Earth Care Manual19 At the end of his new book The Moneyless Manifesto Mark Boyle quotes Patrick, "A much wiser man than me":
"All we can do in life is to make sure that we play our own part in it the best we can. Much as would like to, we can never do more than that. Everything we do is so complex, and relies for its ultimate completion on so many different people and natural forces, that we can never take responsibility for the final outcome of our actions. We can only take responsibility for the actions themselves." Patrick Whitefield, The Earth Care Manual

20 Finally, a quote that holds dear to his heart is: "Live as though you're going to die tomorrow but farm as though you're going to live forever." 

Help spread the permaculture word...

Tony Wrench |
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 2:35pm

In the time when bears roamed the earth and Patrick was a harmless builder of tipis, he used to go to the early Glastonbury festival and live in the tipi circle there making a tipi. I was in a chanting group called Prana who also used to frequent the same parts of the field. We shared several sweat lodges. When I met him in a permaculture context several years later there was something that was different about him that I couldn't put my finger on. Then I realised what it was. It was the first time I had ever seen him wearing clothes.

Plantiejo |
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 11:01am

Well that's a bit of fun about Patrick :D
I would like to add that Patrick is an enthusiastic teacher and genuinely interested in Permaculture and sharing it with others. Long may he continue to do so. Jo

Maddy Harland |
Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 11:44am

Yes, it was intended as a bit of Saturday fun. We can be so serious about things sometimes and one thing I would say about Patrick is that he has a wonderful sense of humour and, like Ben Law, doesn't always take himself too seriously. They have both been a joy to work with for too many years to mention.

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