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Author Topic: Distance learning!  (Read 1679 times)


  • Joined Jun 2013
Distance learning!
« on: June 10, 2013, 01:45:33 am »
Hi can anyone recommend any online or useful distance learning courses that I could get under my belt?.  I think our focus would be chickens, piggies and perhaps an extensive garden for growing vegetables, particularly tomatoes and some herbs.

Are there smallholding courses of do you just get stuck in?

I've been watching lots of YouTube programmes on permaculture and we'd like to go that route - anyone else living the permaculture life have any insights? Pros vs cons etc.


« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 01:50:45 am by aPlaceforUS »


  • Joined May 2013
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Brecon View Farm
    • Facebook
Re: Distance learning!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 09:46:04 am »
Sorry I can't offer any help with finding an online course, there didn't seem to be anything quite like what you're after, perhaps that's something to consider when I come to start teaching here on our holding... :thinking:  ;)

I would say it's probably best to attend a short course to start with, I went on several before I got any animals and after, and I bought more than one book on each animal just to make sure I had all the info, there never seemed to be one that covered it all!

However there is no substitute for hands on experience and nothing I had read or seen prepared me fully for the actual caring of animals - it is a steep learning curve! The internet is massively helpful, esp You tube for showing you how to do just about anything, and forums like these, when questions crop up as you go along.   

I was trained in conventional horticulture/agriculture at Uni but I've just done a permaculture design course to help me focus my ideas for our veggies and also including our animals in the design for the farm. In my newly enlightened opinion I think everyone should farm/live the permaculture way, it just makes so much sense!

Nothing like this was taught to us ag/hort students, probably still the case, and that's a crying shame. I'm also slightly cynical that the big machinery, seed and chemical companies have a lot to do with making sure that's all they're taught  :rant:

But it's a case of pulling different ideas from each aspect or person growing or farming with permaculture principles in mind, and making the design fit for me. I've done a lot of research and there's tons more to do, no two places are alike so you'll probably find that's how you'll get to your ideal solution.

The biggest cons are that permaculture pretty much flies in the face of everything we do now and I sound like a nutter sometimes trying to convince people to see things differently!!! You would have to re-think most of what you eat - permaculture gardens don't look like allotments or mono crops in fields, you won't find a lot of the things we love to eat now in a forest garden e.g. annual crops, it tends toward permanent planting and perennial crops. Plus the heavy reliance on fossil fuels etc make most of modern agriculture/horticulture unsustainable, there would be no ploughing and seeding of crops every year, no swathes of pasture mown neatly, a very different prospect.

I don't say I completely agree with it all, and I can't imagine life without certain things we take for granted now. I think there is a compromise to be had - did anyone see Countryfile with the horses pulling the machinery? That to me is a good example of making ourselves more sustainable without drastically altering what we eat.

Whereabouts are you? I would imagine there will be someone on here with knowledge of a local course or even just a willing smallholder to introduce you to some of their animals?

I'm happy to talk or PM me if you want? Rare breed, free range.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Distance learning!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 09:24:08 pm »
I'd be happy to introduce you to my goats if you are anywhere near Shropshire.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder


  • Joined Jun 2013
Re: Distance learning!
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2013, 01:52:04 am »
Thanks all for your replies,

I'D LOVE nothing more than to visit people on their smallholdings and an onsite course would be invaluable, all of which I will do when we are back home.  We are currently living in Hong Kong so any research or courses will have to be online or correspondence.  I know it's not a patch on hands on, practical experience but its all preparation.

I am going to order a couple of books to get reading and am reading through Rosemary's journey on this site, which is super informative.   

Thanks for the invites.


  • Joined May 2013
Re: Distance learning!
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 10:52:37 pm »
i think john seymour's selfsufficiency is the inspirational bible for you - though times have changed a bit since then.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Distance learning!
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2013, 11:35:31 am »
There is a pukka distance learning Permaculture course - but it involves doing a lot of practical exercises, so not sure it would be suitable?

I'd go have an explore on the Low Impact Living Initiative site.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


Hello everyone - looking forward to sharing & learning (mostly learning!)

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