Food Dilemmas workshop

A workshop to introduce practical ethical decision making, using permaculture as a framework, to members of the Cooperative.
It was run in 9 towns in Yorkshire in 2010, and led to the Association recieving Coop funding to run 9 1 day events across the North of England.

Food dilemmas workshop
Designed, implemented and evaluated in 2009

History: The Cooperative membership approached the Association to fund workshops which would introduce permaculture concepts to their active members groups. We decided that the Leeds Permaculture Network would be the best organisation to take the work on. The initial workshops project would be a pilot for a potential national roll out though the Association.
I took on the work to develop a bid and go on to create and develop an outline workshop which would use concern about food to introduce permaculture concepts.

Survey: What issues are people most interested in – Food and transport are both of interest, but food is something in the mainstream media and has lots of activist interest – so we decided to focus on food.
Who: Cooperative membership (tend to be 50 – 70), Transition Towns groups and permaculture groups
The team: Me - experience developing and running introduction level workshops
Debbie Jones: interest and knowledge of transition, psychology particularly focusing on change and an interest in developing facilitation skills for introductory sessions.
Steve Smith: Facilitation and teaching skills and experience, a good evaluator and interested in developing skills as a permaculture teacher.
Where – Yorkshire and Humber, towns where there are transition groups and an active cooperative membership group (10 places)

Multi-functionality – each session needs to meet several functions – providing educational opportunity for Cooperative members as well as an opportunity for networking with other active groups – transition groups and permaculture groups, plus anyone else who comes along.
The session itself needs to offer active learning, take people through a change process – modeling active change and introduce permaculture concepts in a way that allows attendees to make positive changes in their own food choices.
Design from patterns to details – The session itself needs to model a change process – the pattern is starting where we are (observation) looking at a model for change (what is permaculture) vision for a positive future; how do the bigger issues impact on my life; problem solving; collecting information; connecting with other people; steps I will take.
Obtain a yield – Budget for the bid included good time to develop and evaluate the sessions, as well as time to administrate the project. Money for resources for the Yorkshire teachers group (books and teaching equipment)
Contacts for future working would be developed with local groups – we could go on the run introduction to permaculture weekends locally
Apply self regulation and accept feedback – evaluation needs to be an ongoing process – simple evaluation for attendees and an evaluation session with Steve as an observer of the session. This is a pilot project, it needs to be evaluated and changed accordingly.
Integrate rather than segregate – Working as a team, bringing in people who want to develop facilitation skills and have good skills to share – Debbie, Steve and Joe Atkinson to organise and co-facilitate the training for trainers’ introduction weekend.
Working with local groups to identify venues and groups to contact encourages ongoing potential for co-working

Funding bid and lesson planning

The funding goes through LPN
Work to be my responsibility, working with a team to ensure sessions run well and meet the funder’s requirements.
Contacting local groups and convening sessions
Making a teaching tool box which will be used as a central resource for the Yorkshire teachers team (LPN)

Ensuring each session runs well and is well attended
Contact with local groups
A weekend introduction for facilitators will take place to give local permaculture certificate holders to run the session after the pilot ends. Each attendee of the weekend will take away a resource pack and teaching tool box starter pack, so that they can get out and run sessions.

Each session will have a target evaluation game for attendees
Co-facilitators take ½ hour after the session to evaluate
After the 1st and 2nd session Debbie and I met for a half day to make changes needed to improve the session
Steve observed the second session and made suggestions to improve the session – and our facilitation skills
At the end of the pilot project the team will take a day to evaluate the process, the sessions and the introduction to teachers training.
Ongoing budget sheets kept by me and LPN.

Notes 2010: The session outline has been used by several permaculture teachers across the UK for sessions aimed at transition towns groups. The session plan for the ethics session has been rewritten to make it easier to use after feedback from others using the session.
The Permaculture Association went on to get funding from the Cooperative Membership to organise day long networking events, the workshop outline was used to develop a 1 hour session to be used during the the event.

PDF icon lesson_plans.pdf191.55 KB
Other Designers (members of PA): 
Other Designers (not members of PA): 

Debbie Jones