Last week I got back from a PDC (Permaculture Design Course) with Bernard Alonso just south of Lisbon. The course was held on beautiful land in Meco, Sesimbra. I was very frustrated with the course in general and with the teacher in particular. On my way home, in fact at the airport, I started to write a long and detailed critique of what it was that bothered me … almost too many things.
After talking to some of the other students and some friends I decided against posting the text here. During the course I had chosen the path of least resistance and never confronted Bernard with any of this. As I found out many of my co-students had similar problems with Bernard, but had all chosen the same strategy during the course. Maybe we all are huge wimps or maybe the climate really was not very inviting to critical reflection. At any rate, since I never hashed it out in person with Bernard, it would not feel right to now post a long, drawn-out critique on this blog. It would feel wimpy and vindictive.
Suffice to say, the course sucked on pretty much every level, and I wish I had known this ahead of time. This is also what made me hesitate for a while, if I should post it here anyway – setting the information free. When I researched this PDC, before signing up, I didn’t find any critical discourse anywhere. And I really wish I had, it could have saved me a lot of time and money.
If you landed here, looking for some critical reflections on Bernard Alonso, his teaching style, his course material, please feel free to contact me, I will be glad to respond one on one, in a chat or via email. However, there is no point to now dump all of it here.
Photo: Michael Burgess
So from now on I’ll just try to remember the good things, the great people from around the world that I met, the beautiful land that I camped on, the fantastic assistant teachers Helder Valente and Joao Goncalves, the mind blowing generosity and the Portuguese hospitality, the group dynamic, and many other things. Even if my primary goals were never met, I had fun and enjoyed my time in beautiful, warm Portugal. Thanks to the team, who organized this and thanks to everyone I met. Well, except … Nah, let’s not go there