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APT (Advanced Permaculture Training) was developed by Elfin Permaculture in response to an apparent need for more permaculture teachers and practitioners and for high standards in the practice and teaching of permaculture. Through APT, Elfin Permaculture shares experience from teaching hundreds of permaculture workshops and courses worldwide. Dan Hemenway, founder of Elfin Permaculture, is the principal instructor. Eventually we hope to certify graduates of the APT program to become APT trainers.

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Using permaculture design principles, APT students design their own programs based on their needs, resources, and perceptions of their role as permaculturists. Elfin Permaculture guides and supports the program design process but we will not direct it. The design specifies the work that the trainee will perform while enrolled in APT and how Elfin permaculture will provide support and guidance. Whatever the program design, it must specify trainee work in four areas: design, design implementation, research, and outreach.
Design. In addition to designing his/her own program, an APT trainee executes at least one full permaculture design during enrollment in APT. The design may be of any scale appropriate to particular training needs and the design site may be anywhere.
Design Implementation. After Elfin Permaculture and the site residents approve the design, the trainee implements in full the design s/he has prepared. We feel that this is a critical aspect of education for the designer. Changes in the design based on the experience of implementation will be discussed with the instructor and must be approved by the site residents and Elfin Permaculture. To the fullest extent possible, implementation will be done with hand tools to assure that the trainee has direct experience of the energy requirements of design choices. We will visit the design site at least three times; before implementation (during the design process), once while implementation is in process, and at the conclusion of implementation.
Research. Research can be direct field work or academic research, gathering known information together in a useful form, as suits the individual trainee. Research must be needed and useful for permaculture. Elfin Permaculture receives as part of consideration for tuition first publication rights through our sister organization, Yankee Permaculture. The trainee retains copyright and subsequent publication rights and will receive any royalties that Yankee Permaculture customarily pays. Editing, rewriting, layouts, typesetting and illustrations by Yankee Permaculture to make the information publishable remain the property of Yankee Permaculture and may not be reproduced without written permission.
Outreach. Virtually any form of permaculture outreach that is effective, needed and useful suffices this portion of the program. Depending on the individualized program design, this may be conducting introductory permaculture workshops, assisting in the teaching of design courses led by qualified permaculture instructors, organizing and promoting such events for others to lead, writing articles on permaculture, producing teaching, marketing, or propaganda media, and so forth. The critical criterion is that the trainee develop and make practical use of skills that help the overall effort to promote the adoption of permaculture principles.


An APT enrollee must be a graduate of an approved Permaculture Design Course. In addition, APT trainees must attend a second Permaculture Design Course early in his/her APT program. At least one of these must be a full Permaculture Design Course offered by Elfin Permaculture after 1986. There is presently no entrance examination for enrollment in APT.


Each APT apprentice determines the duration of his/her program in its design within a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years. Extensions or curtailments must be negotiated with Elfin Permaculture and may result in failure of the trainee to receive advanced certification.


On completion of the program, the trainee may be certified as meeting Elfin Permaculture standards for specific permaculture activities. Evaluative criteria and the skills and skill levels to be certified will have been spelled out in the program design. A participant is free to request additional certification if s/he feels that such levels of competence have been achieved during the program. Competence, growth during the program, and practical effectiveness of skills are the principal categories of evaluation criteria. All four program areas--design, design implementation, research and outreach--and all three evaluation criteria--competence, growth and usefulness--must meet the design goals for the trainee to be certified. Elfin Permaculture intends that its standards remain high. The individualized trainee program guarantees that any committed person can achieve certification at a realistic level of competence.


At present, only two slots exist for a residential APT trainees. APT students can otherwise work at home or in any field situation of their choice. In the future, we may have facilities for a small group of trainees to be in residence with Elfin Permaculture. *


The fees for APT programs are as follows: [Registration Application: US $5.00 in North America; US$10 airmail outside North America.
Registration Fee: US $50.00.
Program Design Fee: Negotiable, depending on the needs of the trainee. Minimum: US $500. (Note: Following the program design process, it is expected that some students will determine that the program design itself will suffice for guidance. For these people, the formal APT program ends here unless certification is an overriding concern.)
APT Program: Negotiable, depending on the needs of the trainee.
Minimum: $2,500 per year.
Direct Costs: Direct costs incurred by the program design will be charged to the trainee. Unanticipated Costs: Costs not anticipated in the program design, including additional support, guidance or negotiation by Elfin Permaculture, will be paid by the trainee in advance of such work.
Payment Schedule: Payment is due before each step begins. Tuition for multiyear programs is payable before each training year begins.
Other Costs: Costs associated with residence, personal support, transportation, use of the design site and supervision by the owner or resident of the design site are the responsibility of the trainee. Implementation costs may be fully or partially the responsibility of the trainee, depending on arrangements with those responsible for the design site.
Income and barter: APT trainees can include income sharing or other income-producing projects into their program design. Elfin permaculture may barter a portion of tuition for work for Elfin and/or Yankee Permaculture to be done before payment is due. We accept up to 50% non-monetary payment for training programs.
Scholarships: Because of the individualized nature of instruction, Elfin Permaculture does not offer scholarships to its APT program. Trainees are encouraged to solicit scholarship support from other sources.


Elfin Permaculture goes anywhere to lead workshops and courses for advanced training of permaculture design course graduates. Details of such programs are negotiable. Fees will follow our standard schedule and costs are the responsibility of the host group. Elfin Permaculture will also make arrangements for prospective teachers and designers to work with us in an apprentice or mentor model. In this case, the apprentice exchanges work for supervised experience in actual teaching programs or paid designs. A tuition charge may also be involved, depending on circumstances. Apprentice arrangements are individualized. Usually, no certificate is issued to apprentices not part of a formal APT program. Generally we require that the apprentice organize each event. S/he will attend two or three such programs before being given a formal role. This allows time to study and understand our approach so that the apprentice's contribution will be compatible. We will work with no more than one person at a time in this connection. Online advanced training is possible through our online correspondence course. Permaculture Design Course certificate holders may participate with specially designed advanced status at the regular tuition rate. Support in the mundane aspects of the course, as well as advanced work, are required of advanced students. Advanced students who do not wish to support the routine work of the course can participate with specially designed advanced programs for double the discussion tuition and quadruple the design review tuition. Advanced teaching training can be arranged in the context of this course. Elfin Permaculture now also offers a residential program for APT, with components to train Permaculture Design Course instructors and Permaculture Corps of instructors capable of sensitively and effectively working in poor and exploited countries. For a complete list of Yankee Permaculture publications of interest to prospective permaculture designers and teachers, send US$ 1.00 and a SASE to the above address.


Last revised: 11/25/00

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