My Action Learning Pathway

My Action Learning Pathway

Theme: Bracer – Katie Gateley


Earth Care – investigating how I can be a better caretaker of our land and resources.

People Care – investigating how I can better look after myself and my family during this process. Can I nuture my brain as well as my soul?

Fair Share – investigating how I can better share skills and knowledge and time.

Design Process – Looby’s Design Web

I chose this framework as it suited the ping-pong way my thoughts bounce around when considering how to tackle a project that is based on the mind and soul rather than the mud and soil.


Tools used – PNI, Honey & Mumford learning styles, Questioning others

What am I like?

Self reflection is something I don’t often do. I feel we are conditioned to listen to our inner critic and find it easy to find our faults and negative patterns. As a society we sometimes find it difficult to focus on our positive traits. In a brave moment, I asked my friends and acquaintances what they thought of me. The feedback was humbling.

I am …

I also carried out a PNI analysis on myself.

How do I learn?

I know that I absorb more information by doing, rather than reading. The information is better retained. I also find verbalising my findings makes them more solid and tangible. As I get older, I find that I remember less, and have to read the same thing over and over, and frequently refer back to texts. I looked at Honey and Mumfords learning styles and discovered that my learning style fits that of a Pragmatist, with elements of activist.

Pragmatists are keen on trying out ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work in practice. They positively search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to experiment with applications. They are the sort of people who return from courses brimming with new ideas that they want to try out in practice. They like to get on with things and act quickly and confidently on ideas that attract them. They tend to be impatient with ruminating and open-ended discussions. They are essentially practical, down to earth people who like making practical decisions and solving problems. They respond to problems and opportunities ‘as a challenge’. Their philosophy is “There is always a better way” and “If it works it’s good”.

Activists involve themselves fully and without bias in new experiences. They enjoy the here and now, and are happy to be dominated by immediate experiences. They are open-minded, not sceptical, and this tends to make them enthusiastic about anything new. Their philosophy is: “I’ll try anything once”. They tend to act first and consider the consequences afterwards. Their days are filled with activity. They tackle problems by brainstorming. As soon as the excitement from one activity has died down they are busy looking for the next. They tend to thrive on the challenge of new experiences but are bored with implementation and longer term consolidation. They are gregarious people constantly involving themselves with others but, in doing so, they seek to centre all activities around themselves.

What is my environment like?


How did I get here?

Growing up, I was always out on the moors, building dens, walking or cycling. Both my parents had an interest in the natural world, and holidays were usually camping or caravaning in the countryside, and more walking and exploring – I still am completely engrossed if I find a decent rock pool. This upbringing instilled in me an interest in the natural world and our place in the world – thanks Mum & Dad! I fully intend to instill this understanding (and questioning of our world) in my children.

I spent several years after formal education working in various office based role; designing web based training interfaces, being a secretary; consulting work but although I enjoyed working with people, the office based environment was stifling.

In 2000, we bought Mount Pleasant Farm. I spent several years pondering the best way of caring for our 4 acres.

I read about Permaculture, and it seemed to make sense – so in 2017 I signed up for a 2 week, immersive PDC at Ragmans’s Lane Farm in Gloucestershire with Caroline Aitken & Matt Dunwell – and as well as learning a lot, I met some truly wonderful and inspirational people.

But Permaculture learning is like a bag of sweets… you always want more!

Why am I doing this?

This is the big question! Why? I could just read, and engross myself in projects without having to gain a diploma. For me, I think I need validation that “I am doing it right”. I need the structure, guidance and push that undertaking a diploma offers. It validates my need to sit in a chair to read a book – I don’t feel guilty about reading if it is “studying”.

Most of all I want the knowledge I learn to be come embedded into my everyday living, to enable me to better express and share this knowledge to others so that they in turn can start their Permaculture journeys.

“You start with your nose, then your hands, your back door, your doorstep” – you get all that right, then everything is right. If all that’s wrong, nothing can ever be right.”

Bill Mollison 1991


Tools Used – 6 Thinking Hats & Flow diagram

Where do I want to go?

I plan to use the diploma journey to explore how our land and our lifestyle can become less wasteful, more positive and thrive. I will develop my understanding so I can confidently impart my knowledge to others and eventually teach. I want to explore further how Permaculture tools can be applied to different scenarios, I firmly believe that theses tools can be used to build resiliance in people as well as the land. And lastly I will step out of my bubble and engage with people.

When will I get to the end?

There is no end to learning, this will continue as long as I have my faculties. However, the Diploma journey has to come to an end. I plan to have a massive accreditation party in 2023 – whose coming?

How am I going to get there?

Some of the 10 designs are born from my vision for our land, others from a desire to become less isolated and others are an exploration into how the principles can be used in different ways. I have categorised the projects using Holmgrens Permaculture Flower; the seven domains of permaculture action.

I will start the jorney with projects that are close to home and then start to spread my wings.

The Projects…

  1. Learning Pathway
  2. Emergency Home school plan
  3. The Veg Plot
  4. Mount Pleasant Farm – revisited
  5. The Birds and Bees
  6. 12 Principles; 12 Months
  7. Andy’s Retirement Plan
  8. Using the farm as a place to learn
  9. Community Seed Library
  10. Developing myself as a Permaculture Teacher
  11. Engaging with Teenagers – How can Permaculture help with resilience and making decisions
  12. Community Orchard
  13. The ? room
  14. Profanayoga?



What have I done on this journey?


What has changed?


Did that really just happen?

Thanks & Love

Who has inspired or helped me?

My Parents for letting me poke things with sticks and generally be a bit feral.

My chidren and husband – for putting up with my ramblings

Matt Dunwell and Caroline Aitken, for their enthusiasm and teaching

My Guild – Steve, Amanda, Claude & Liz

Northern School Permaculture Team

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