Further education, advanced training, training courses, they’re like sand on the sea! For all industries, in all sizes and for all ages. But how does a training course that implements idealistic projects with practical knowledge and a bear’s share of self-efficacy work? If we ask Lauritz Heinsch, the developer of the Humus-Festivals and ambassador of Flake, it all sounds very simple. The jack-of-all-trades likes to see himself as an artist who compares his ideas with sculptures. The basic body is formed by his heart projects like the Humus Festivals and the Flake, which he has created as full-time projects that he likes so much that he would never give them up. From
“Learning Path to the Wild Designer”. In his opinion, knowledge transfer is very exclusive and expensive, so that additional training is becoming more and more of a privilege. With his advanced training programme, he combines the enthusiasm and passion of his idealistic projects, in which he has not yet pursued any monetary goals, because this destroys the entire philosophy. Only to do a completely different job in order to finance the livelihood of
himself and his son, he would not remain true to himself, so that was out of the question for him. Thus the idea of the learning path was born. The contents of the modules of the learning path are innovative, natural and self-effective. Lauritz answers in our conversation which concrete goals the contents pursue.
You call the learning path “hands-on training” - what does that mean for you?
For me this means that this is a participatory further training, not a classical further training, where the participants only go to consume information. Because in theory or in practice there is usually little interaction with this type of education. I have done some advanced training myself, the 5-year permaculture design course, a 3-year wilderness education course and a carpentry apprenticeship. I found out that as a participant I often came to these seminars with strong expectations. After some observations, I noticed that people often attend seminars with the following attitudes: I pay a lot of money, then I also want to get something offered. I want to eat well and preferably be cooked. The information should be fed to me in
mouth-fitting snacks. I also liked that for quite a while. I partly needed that and I used the further training as a short vacation or as therapeutic hours. That was very pleasant to let oneself go in this environment with permaculture and wilderness education, where a lot is already about the heart. But then came the day when I realized that for me it would only be really exciting in a course when the participants showed more initiative and helped to shape more. That means they get more freedom of their own. I found out that it is more about taking on responsibility yourself and that makes the training hands-on. The approach is to integrate the learned directly into the everyday life of the course, the information flows from the mentor, not only to the participant, but the participant also gets more space to give out his own information. This results in a cycle of information that is nutritious for everyone.
With these ideas you have also faced up to your responsibility and have gone new ways with your offer. Right in the first line it says - “suitable for children” - further education with children in the luggage - how can I understand that?
It’s an invitation that we can jointly design an advanced training course suitable for children. I tried again and again to take my son to seminars myself, but it didn’t work. These seminars are simply not
made for people with children. Because there are also too few participants with children at such events, they are usually not considered. If organisers plan to allow children to come with them, it is usually not parents who plan this, but childless people.
How can seminars with children be organised?
It is best for children to design their own rooms. If there are registrations with children, we see to it that we can also do this with children. For the whole group it means an additional deceleration, in the form of production losses, because not so much input of theory can be conveyed in the group. But we can bring in more quality and we can bring in more everyday life and integration. What’s the point of doing 5 books in such a course if you end up taking only a few sections of knowledge with you? It is qualitatively much nicer to sit together by the fire, to eat and to have the feeling of community and to promote the exchange among each other. These moments are better remembered, and we cultivate a sense of connection that can be touched.
This approach makes it much more relaxed for families because the care services are not around the corner. The participants also learn how to finance themselves if they have no money but are totally enthusiastic about something. Or how are the donation runs in the learning path to be understood?
That is the idea behind it. There is a contribution of one’s own. This is also very important, I have noticed, I have also offered many courses money free. The money also has a clear message, which is nevertheless a great pity.
Don’t you think free training has the same value as paying for something?
I think that’s still in many people’s minds. My experience is that people don’t come when it’s free. I don’t have to go because I didn’t pay anything. Commitment is unfortunately still strongly linked to money.
We also observe that in the digital age, commitment has declined rapidly. It’s so easy and quick to unsubscribe with these digital tools. How do you see it?
I think commitment can be recreated through social relationships and the reference to each other. But that has to be built up first. Money is first of all a catalyst. Through the donation runs, an exclusiveness of the educational path is to be avoided, and yet we have costs that are incurred. We don’t want to underpay our mentors who teach during the training. Handouts for the participants are needed. We want to ensure that we cook good, organic food. There are material costs during the time and my job in the office also needs
financing. All in all, the costs are very high. If each participant had to finance the further training himself, the training would cost a minimum of 3,700 euros with a minimum number of 15 participants per capita. Unfortunately only a few people can afford that. I believe that if it is really important to someone, then you also talk about it with others, you speak from the heart and thus show full enthusiasm. We need money for that! It is something else if I asked instead of collecting donations: Hey we need food or does someone still have an old tent? So that we get the goods instead of the money. But I still see a long way to go before we can take this step. We have not yet arrived there socially. Money is a catalyst for this.
What exactly do you mean by the catalyst?
There are many people who would like to support, but who cannot support with goods or labour as they would like. However, these people have money and would like to support with money. The fundraising runs are the experiment. I have no idea what the outcome will be. But we are completely jointly responsible for collecting the money we need. If we do not collect these sums, we will have to think
together about how to deal with them. We can then consider whether we should omit a module, or whether we should put the module back in as a call for tenders so that it can be booked differently. We will then have to think about something together. The way we deal with the financing is then not to be understood in this way: The money isn’t there, you’re still organising your event, see to it that you can do it. This is also a core element of the training right from the start, to work out the financing together. From this the reference to money grows even more, than if each individual had said, here you have 3700 euros and they would have put us on the table.
The core element is self-effectively active for training with co-responsibility and collective intelligence to be. How is this approach lived in the training package?
There is the learning path and the teaching path within the training, these are two different things. The learning path is the 1st year of the further training, the participants are called the “learners”. The 2nd year, which can be made optional, that is the teaching path, there they are “apprentices”. Here there are again deepenings in knowledge transfer and wilderness education. The people who follow the teaching path are also very strong in the advisory role, for the new year of the learning path participants. They are then for example mentors or advisors concerning the fundraising runs. This means that we already have the integration with us, because through mentoring, teaching, you learn a lot more. I imagine the learning path to be like a trail that runs over 1000 kilometers through Germany. When you have walked this path, you see that it is free for the descendants. And Trail isn’t just any metaphor, it’s actually about cutting hedges free for the others, paving paths that are dangerous, providing them with enough drinking water along the path. So, they maintain this path. This is what is meant by the contents of the 2nd year of the “ teaching path “.
I come back from a long journey or come fresh from school or have dropped out of university. I am looking for new perspectives. How would you make this education appealing to me?
I’ve gotten away with convincing, but am trying to inspire. I think the best inspiration is to break down thresholds and communicate on the same level. It’s important to me that you get the same channel to each other. I don’t want to force training on anyone. The people who
have registered so far did so from an inner impulse. There will also be a lot of public relations work for the further training and then it will spread further. Perhaps one has already dealt with the topics and deals with them inwardly. When the time is ripe, one finds the way to one’s own learning path and perhaps this is then also the advanced training that I offer.
Which target group do you address with the advanced training?
There is an unofficial target group for the learning path. These are mainly people between 18 and 28 years of age, people who have just left school or who, as you said in your question, have just come back
from a trip and don’t know where they are going. Also single parents, people with time and openness for a certain restructuring and little money are addressed. I would also be happy if 50-60 year olds would register, I would take them in as mentors, because I think it is important to have older people as well as children with me.
There are terms in your tender that may not be familiar to everyone. What is Flake?
An analog multisharing platform in 3D. Flake embodies what I think permaculture understands by “fair share”. There are 3 ethical points in permaculture, namely: Earth Care = concern for the earth, People Care = concern for the people, Fair Share = fair sharing and for me the flake hits fully into this point. For me this is “sharing”. This is an art installation of simply put 12 black boards, on each of these boards are headlines, such as skills search / bid, things
search / bid, places, projects, events, carpooling opportunities, regional networking meetings, ideas, questions and so on. These are areas where people can interact on the basis of sharing. Someone is looking for: “I would love to learn 4 chords on the guitar” and someone else can. The Flake is an interface for needs and abilities and they can be represented transparently. Often we have to talk around the bush for so long to get such information, because we often don’t dare. We once had the experiment that we wrote our needs on our backs and in a few hours we were able to hang the notes because all our needs were satisfied. There was someone who wanted new shoelaces, someone who wanted a cheese sandwich or needed a new plaster. Because the people presented their needs in a transparent way and the others saw it
directly, the others could help directly because they saw it again. By making it transparent, the whole thing moves closer together and we relate to each other more quickly. We were at 17 festivals in 2017 and tried it out at every festival. What the Flake also offers is the crux of communication, because everyone first thinks about their needs and abilities. Many people still find this incredibly difficult. They think they can’t play guitar, although they play 2 songs, but they don’t admit that they can play guitar. You don’t say something like that about yourself. Although it’s an ability you can teach to others who can’t do anything at all. You often tend to put your light under the bushel because you think it’s worth nothing. We are all part of an extreme performance society in which we always
compare ourselves with each other. That’s what Flake’s content is all about, that we can, have and contribute something. We have to become aware of this and communicate it and put our cards on the table. My main realization in the year when I was on the road with Flake was that sharing depends on doing it voluntarily. There is no partial compulsion. It’s about giving from the heart if you want to. There are also things with me that I don’t want to share and I don’t have to share even then. What is important is that I communicate this clearly. One page on the Internet that we make available is the Flake.world, so that everyone can build a Flake themselves. Imitation allowed!
If the participants go through all the modules of the educational path, where can they start to work after 2 years of training?
As a final project of the learning path, the participants from the 1st year design their own Humus Festival. The size of the festival is freely selectable, whether in a small circle or for 60-120 persons. I provide the location and you can choose the rest yourself. This could develop into a completely new annual meeting. Otherwise a permaculture design course is included in the 1st training year, that is the 72 hour international course of the permaculture network. Once you have completed the course, you can begin your studies at the
Permaculture Academy in Berlin. After our 1st year you can continue your education in Permaculture. In the 2nd year, i.e. the educational path, a 1-year training in wilderness pedagogy is an integral part. With it one can continue at different wilderness schools in Germany with the wilderness pedagogy or bring oneself into forest kindergartens. With the certificate many further perspectives open up. Otherwise the time, which one spends together is incredibly instructive and important and affects the personality of each individual. In the time one grows alone and in the group and cares for nut/mother earth. We will consider these 3 ethic points from Dragon Dreaming.
I have noticed that there is only one woman in the mentors for the modules, the rest are men. How come?
Of the participants’ applications, it is actually half half and very heterogeneous. So far we have only Nala and Linda as mentors. I also see for myself that there are too few women among the mentors. The main male mentors are friends of mine. I have already worked with them. We will also invite mentors for 1-2 days or half a day, so I will take care to involve even more women.
The journey on the learning path leads through the whole of Germany. What awaits the participants at the various learning locations?
The learning locations belong to friends of mine, which is also important to me, because we do not make any contracts with the learning locations during the learning path. There is no monetary compensation. However, so-called compensatory periods are planned. By this we mean that if there is an assignment in one of these places that ideally corresponds to the content of our module, we will include this assignment. This could be, for example, a clay plaster wall or something similar. The less money we have to spend, the closer we get to the idea of the whole.
The special thing is that we will offer learning trips to the different learning places. Three of our mentors, Fred, Richard and Nala, will travel 1000 kilometres through Germany with two cold-blooded horses and a carriage from module to module. The idea is that the learners accompany the three by bicycle. Further ideas are already being developed, for example a pizza oven on a bicycle trailer with music and flute playing. The group would like to organise daily markets as a circus with craftsmen and master carvers at intermediate stops with friends.
What kind of heart’s desire do you fulfil with this project?
I try to combine the idealism of the Humus Festivals and Flake with the learning path, so that the projects can be fertilized, supported and strengthened together. My heart beats for this, because I couldn’t do anything completely different.
I have big dreams about my projects. Four Humus Festivals are already planned for 2019. The ideas are multiplying, the time is ripe, the positive feedback confirms this. I see that it is bearing fruit, that motivates me. I still don’t see a catch on my ideas and as long as I don’t discover a catch on them, I’m going on. I notice from the enthusiasm and passion of those who have already registered that what I am doing is right and then I can’t help myself.
Contact Lauritz Heinsch- Office for social humus development: www.sozialhumus.de
Editorial management: Christoph Lang, Nadja Hillgruber
Editorial design and implementation: Nadja Hillgruber, www.infothek-waldkinder.org
Picture credits: Photography © Philipp Schöpflin
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