Last Chance for a Face-to-Face PDC with Patrick Whitefield

Permaculture magazine
Wednesday, 6th August 2014

World renowned permaculture teacher, Patrick Whitefield is retiring from teaching residential courses. His final Permaculture Design Course in September will be the last opportunity to be taught by him face-to-face.

Permaculture teacher Patrick Whitefield is retiring from face-to-face teaching this September.

His final Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is at Ragmans Farm, from 1st-13th September 2014 ( Patrick will still be teaching the Land Course online (

There are a few places left so make the most of this last opportunity to be taught by Patrick Whitefield in person.

Patrick has taught over 150 courses in his 25 years of teaching, around 100 being PDCs. He has taught in Spain, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

Hundreds of people have taken Patrick's courses, including permaculture teachers such as Sarah Pugh and Sandra Campe, Shannon Smy of the band Seize the Day, woodsman and author Ben LawNicola Peel who does such great work in South America, green activist Brigit Strawbridge, and Stuart AndersonChris Smaje and Deano Martin each who are prominent smallholders/bloggers on the permaculture scene, Pooran Desai OBE, Co-Founder and International Director of the Bioregional Development Group ... and our very own Tim Harland, co-founder of Permaculture magazine.

Patrick has been writing for Permaculture magazine since 1992, and is the author of several books, including the ultimate permaculture guide: The Earth Care Manual plus his latest book due our this autumn, How to Read the Landscape.

One highlight for Patrick has been teaching in Spanish. Since 2001, his wife Cathy has spent the winters in Spain for her health and Patrick has visited whenever possible. He explains: "We both learnt to speak the language and before long I found myself teaching courses there in Spanish. Teaching in a foreign language isn't as difficult as you might think. I prepared and rehearsed my sessions beforehand, and questions and contributions from others are always on subject, so they're not hard to understand. Even though my Spanish isn't brilliant I always felt that people appreciated the effort I'd made and the communication was much more direct than it would have been through an interpreter. Those courses were some of the best times I had in Spain. I was really making contact with Spanish people in a way that I would never have done otherwise."

Patrick has also thoroughly enjoyed teaching the 'Reading the Landscape' courses. "Reading the landscape is something I love doing for the sheer fun of it. Although it's an important part of permaculture it's also one of the most enjoyable things in my life."

The Land Course Online which includes the PDC plus modules on Soil, Ecology, Organic Horticulture and Sustainable Forestry is another highlight. "It's a very interactive course, with activities and projects integrated with the information. I really enjoy the contact it gives me with permaculture learners, especially now I'm retiring from the residential courses. The monthly Skype conference is particularly valuable as it gives us the opportunity to talk directly together."

"A very satisfying aspect of my work has been working with both the venue, Ragmans Farm (, and my co-teachers. Ragmans is an innovative permaculture site, always ready to try leading edge techniques. The work they're doing with holistic orchard management is particularly impressive. Our relationship with them has always been great. I've also had great good fortune in finding young teachers of exceptional talent and experience to whom I've been able to hand on the baton. One who deserves particular mention is Caroline Aitken (, who will be taking over from me as leading teacher. But in general it gives me great satisfaction to have created a team and a format which can put on first class courses without me.

Patrick's retirement is due to the diagnosis of cancer of the bone marrow. He is responding to treatment and is looking forward to teaching in September, but will be retiring afterwards. He will continue to teach the Land Course Online.

To grab one of the last places on Patrick's course this September visit for more information.

Further resources

Planting Fruit Trees - Part 1 - Which Fruit?

Planting Fruit Trees - Part 2 - Which Variety?

Watch: Patrick Whitefield on the art of growing healthy plants


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