How Everything Started
Graham Calder has more than 13 years of experience teaching permaculture and ecological design. In 2009, he finished his BA in Environmental and Ecology Studies at Concordia University (Montreal, QC). Dissatisfied with the traditional environmentalist approach and its inability to meet the challenges of our time, Graham turned to Permaculture. The same year, he obtained his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) from Jesse Lemieux and then became an apprentice to one of the great names of Permaculture, Geoff Lawton, at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia (PRI).
At the same time, he founded P3 Permaculture in Montreal: a social enterprise teaching and consulting permaculture design with the goal of making permaculture accessible to all. To date, Graham has certified more than 350 students in Permaculture Design. He has offered consulting and design services in more than 9 countries around the world; from urban gardens in Montreal, to the desert lands of Gansu in China, the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica and Cameroon.
Putting into action permaculture principles, we aim to design solutions which offer an abundance of good food, information, access to healthy lifestyle choices, meaningful employment opportunities and fulfilling experiences.
Strengthening the collective social infrastructure
Accessibility is the core of P3’s vision. Solutions must be simple, practical, affordable and attractive. Our permaculture interventions are meant to establish and strengthen supportive networks between people and organizations. We promote dynamic and diverse knowledge and skill exchange, including traditional, indigenous, innovative, intergenerational, and intercultural practices.
Implementing appropriate & durable transformation
Taking into account human and environmental legacies, we strive to innovate and realize lasting and tailor-made solutions. We want our financial, social and creative economies to be an ecosystem of responsible enterprises that share resources and provide mutually beneficial opportunities for development, adaptation and growth.
Adopting appropriate technologies
While permaculture is certainly about observing Nature and imitating what she has always done best, it doesn’t mean that it rejects technology altogether. Permaculture is about finding the appropriate solution for each context, budget, place and community. There is no all-encompassing trick, but there are certainly ways to make permaculture more effective. P3 is currently working with some of the most interesting and innovative technology collectives in order to develop ways to improve permaculture processes, while respecting the environments and people that they benefit. To be continued!
Growing with you
P3 Permaculture and its community are like an ecosystem. We thrive on growing together and on finding more and better ways to collaborate and pool our creative, human and economic resources. We are always on the lookout for new mutually beneficial partnerships and projects. Just reach out to us with your idea, we’ll do the same.
Improve your well-being
P3 Permaculture works on the well-being of everyone in our living environments. Indeed, very often the offices are not made to be in optimal conditions for work. P3 then created products to bring greenery indoors, using recycled and natural materials. Currently, P3 offers Moss Art frames, terrariums, green walls and green plants.
More education options
P3 is currently working on an online course to offer the core content of the PDC to a larger network of prospective students. This will allow for even more hands-on techniques and participative training during the design portion of the certification.
We are working on delivering more content through how-to videos, articles and podcasts that will make the information accessible to our students in-between courses and to people new to the field. Also, to support our students who have obtained their PDC we will be hosting more advanced and in-depth courses to bring their knowledge to the next level; allowing them to further their own projects and careers.
For us at P3, we find that this is the case with many land acknowledgements that mention the land is stolen - end of discussion; without offering any contribution or actual actions to remedy the situation.
The simple fact that the term reconciliation and reparations are in the past tense is a continuation of harm; as Canadian paramilitary forces and police are actively taking by force new territories that have never been ceded by the Wet'suwet'en peoples of the Unist'ot'en territory in northern British Columbia to continue the building of the oil pipeline.
Whether you are of settler decent or not, if you are a new immigrant to Canada, supporting the Canadian system and paying Canadian taxes you are actively contributing to the colonization of First Nations territories and no one is talking about that in their land acknowledgement.
Our commitment to have reconciliation in action is the following
- 1% of our profits to be donated to First Nations land defender organizations
- 50% discount to all workshops and courses for First Nations peoples.
- Hosting more events and screenings: educating citizens about the reality of the situation.
- All donations from these events will also go towards this community.
I have completed the part-time PDC in Montreal in 2015. The staff is great, friendly and motivated. The teacher is very knowledgeable and takes the time to ensure everyone grasps the material. I initially entered without fully knowing what permaculture was about, but their passion and concepts are highly contagious to pass it forward. I would like to thank the P3 team for sharing and opening opportunities."
" I had my PDC with P3 this spring and it was awesome. Graham, our teacher, is so good explaining the topics and also give us so much motivation to be the change this world need!! I loved it. "
" I learned a lot more valuable information than I did at my 1st year of Business Administration at NSCC this year. I took a 2 week intensive course with Graham Calder in the summer of 2011 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I loved enjoying nature and learning about it from a fresh and unique perspective surrounded by new people with similar interests. I feel really confident in telling people about different plants and their properties, as well as the benefits and amazing ease of growing their own gardens. I have a fascination with nature and its ability to adapt and evolve which was only enhanced and further supported by my experience with P3 Permaculture. "
How is permaculture different than gardening or agriculture?
Permaculture is a design science as well as a philosophy that can be applied to all areas of life. Permaculture comes with a set of values, a holistic and solution-oriented vision of our communities, homes, relationships and food. Permaculture is not just a set of techniques for growing plants, it’s a worldview.
How is permaculture different from other branches of ecological design?
Permaculture comes with a set of ethics and values, unlike for example bio-mimicry, that models itself on the observation of nature just like permaculture, but has no ethical agenda about how to apply the findings and observations.
What are the ethical dimensions of permaculture?
Permaculture has three main ethical pillars:
1) Care for the Earth: it’s about allowing provisions and resources for all life systems to continue and multiply, and for ecological systems to be balanced
2) Care for Others: the human contribution can be highly beneficial, as we are an important part of the ecological system. We need to care for each other.
3) Fair Share: the surplus of resources generated by permaculture must be reintegrated into the system.
Is permaculture expensive?
No, it doesn’t have to be. At P3 Permaculture, accessibility is a key part of our vision. Permaculture projects do not have to make use of the newest and most expensive technology. The use of technology must be adapted to context, place, people and budget. And most of the time, permaculture will illuminate solutions that are very simple by observing carefully rather than applying boilerplate quick fixes.
What does it mean to have a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)?
To obtain a PDC, a student must complete 72 hours of classes and learn not only techniques, but also design methodology, visions, and solutions applicable in various aspects of life. The PDC certification developed by Bill Mollison in Australia in the 1970s is recognized and respected worldwide, even though it has not been formally accredited.
How can a PDC benefit your career?
People who have completed a PDC can use the word ‘permaculture’ in their work and become facilitators and teacher themselves. Many also chose to start their own business as permaculture designers, consultants and practitioners. Permaculture opens doors in all kinds of paths including social entrepreneurship, natural building, food forestry, passive-solar building design, natural agriculture, community organizing, research & development, and many more.
What sets P3 Permaculture apart?
The vision at P3 Permaculture is focused on accessible permaculture. We do design work for all kinds of clients, scales and budgets, and we have three different PDC funding options for low-income students: work trades, grants and a crowdfunding platform. We truly believe that permaculture is about appropriate, contextual and lasting solutions. Additionally, we are working towards positioning ourselves as a resource not only for permaculture, but also for social entrepreneurship by cultivating an ecosystem of responsible partner enterprises.