Permaculture Women's Guild presents
Online Permaculture Design Course, with advanced certificate in Social Systems Design.
More than 40 Women from 13 countries have collaborated to craft an accessible, comprehensive online course for a global community of mothers, sisters, healers, activists, gardeners, problem solvers, and eco-feminists.
Community. Connection. Meaningful work. Take a life-transforming journey with us.
Because permaculture isn’t just about gardening.
It’s about designing with nature by observing her functions, patterns and the interdependence of systems.
It's about building spaces and communities, not just to sustain growth and abundance, but to regenerate as well.
It's about growing, harnessing, protecting, and cultivating to create environments that thrive.
It's about manifesting functional, symbiotic relationships that provide a mutual benefit to all parts of the system.
And it's about love. Earth love, people love, self love.
Permaculture is about finding your niche, growing your passion, and sharing the abundance, together and as individuals, for the betterment of ourselves and the planet.
Do you want to create an ecological and regenerative home, life, and community?
- Are you looking for practical, accessible solutions to the ecological and social problems in your community?
- Are you eager to connect with and be inspired by others creating change and building a better future?
- Maybe you're already practicing permaculture in your garden, but you want to learn more about how to integrate the tools and techniques into other aspects of your life?
What you will do in this course
Don't feel like reading this whole page? Watch this video to find out what exactly will happen to you when you take this permaculture design course.
Empower yourself as a designer with tools and techniques:
Build your permaculture toolbox, starting with the foundations:
Step-by-step whole-system design process that works on any scale.
Eco-building, appropriate technology, and alternative economies.
Climates, microclimates, solar design, and season extension.
Design for resilience, chaos, and catastrophe.
Land access, urban strategies, and ecovillages.
Organic gardening, plant guilds, and food forests.
Graywater, rain catchment and conservation.
Zones, sectors, and other analysis tools.
Soil building, compost and vermiculture.
Then, once we've had our fun with Earth Care, we'll look at the other two ethics: People Care and Parity/Fair Shares/Future Care:
- Basic community organizing and egalitarian group process.
- Theoretical applications and practical approaches to decolonization and culture change.
- Boundaries, relationships, wellness, and self-care: applying permaculture to the inner landscape.
- Teaching permaculture to multiple learning styles.
- Building your permaculture business idea.
- Working with children and youth.
And so much more...
At the end, you complete a design project, under the supervision of one of our expert faculty mentors, and then you present your project to the community and voila! You become a rigorously-trained permaculture designer with the support of a 40-woman faculty, a 200-person student community, and an extended global network, all cheering you on as you find your niche on the permaculture path.
Two courses disguised as one:
For your hard work and engagement in this academically rigorous and creatively challenging course, you'll earn two certificates:
- A Permaculture Design Course certificate
- an Advanced Permaculture: Social Systems Design certificate.
Get the classic 72-hour permaculture design curriculum, taught by expert teachers with decades of hands-on experience.
An additional 40+ hours of training, design work, and hands-on experimentation in social, emotional, personal, and cultural applications of ecological principles and stewardship philosophies.
Learn the skills you need to not only design landscapes and create closed-loop homestead systems, but also to manifest personal, cultural and ecological abundance. And get a double certificate when you finish.
Also included with your tuition:
- 3 hours of private tutoring with one of our amazing female faculty members.
- Every module includes required and optional hands-on activities for you to do offline, in your home and community, as a means of putting the learning into practice.
- 24-hr access to our faculty-student forum, which includes all 40 teachers, actively helping you design your project and earn your certificate.
- Downloadable worksheets and templates plus hundreds of links and recommendations for resources by and for women in permaculture.
Even veteran permies will benefit from our course because we offer 40+ of your respected colleagues, with more than 400 years of collective experience, each presenting in-depth and never-before-published videos and written content about her specific body of expertise.
Do any of these sound familiar?
“I’m a working mother. Attending a two-week residential course would be impossible (and costly) for me and my family.”
"I have a hunch permaculture could be used for social justice and decolonization, but it seems like it’s mostly for people who own property."
“What's up with the boy's club? Why are most of the well-known figures in permaculture men? I want to hear from more women!”
“I've been doing permaculture for years but I want to explore how the techniques can be applied to personal growth, community organizing, and long-term culture change.”
"I took a PDC already, but the teacher didn't have the experience I was looking for and I didn't really learn that much."
5 reasons you should take this course:
1. Extra emphasis on social and emotional permaculture provides a one-of-a-kind education in advanced stewardship, community organizing, and using permaculture to elevate social, emotional, and cultural abundance. You still get top-notch expert instruction on landscape design, but with us you also learn how to gain access to land and work with your community.
2. Go at your own pace, online format means you have time for ongoing hands-on experimentation, and gives what you have learned a chance to percolate in your mind.
3. The teaching team offers the unparalelled strength of more than 400 years combined experience.
4. The cost is a fraction of what you’d pay for an on-site residential course, and with us, you don’t even need to find childcare or to take time off work!
5. Help build and support other Permaculture Women’s Guild programs. A portion of your tuition helps us offer internships and collaborations, free intro courses, our upcoming online teacher training, and Permaculture Women Magazine (on Medium!)
The mission of the Permaculture Women’s Guild is to elevate the voices and wisdom of women in permaculture, thus all of our educators are women. However, anyone is welcome and encouraged to enroll in the PDC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I learn how to design my own property?
Yes, if you want to! Or you can focus your design project on a community project, shared common space, or rental. It’s totally up to you.
Do I need to be a homeowner to study permaculture?
Being a homeowner is not at all a prerequisite! If you don’t own property, you will get as much (or perhaps more) out of this course as a homeowner would.
Will I learn how to grow my own food?
Yes, though only 9 of our 37 classes teach specific skills related to agriculture. It is important to understand that gardening is only a small part of permaculture, and that the whole-system designer’s mind we want to help you to cultivate will empower you to generate your food supply anywhere, using the resources you can find nearby.
Will I engage in community activism?
Because permaculture isn’t just about landscape design, this course requires you include some elements of social justice in your design project. But, you are welcome to create and interpret that in whatever way makes sense for you, and if activism feels scary for you, know that there are so many ways to change the world! Don't worry! We're a kind, non-judgmental lot here!
Why does a Permaculture Certificate matter, and why should I get it through this course?
Great question. And a complicated one.
In the United States, qualifying requirements for permaculture instructors are virtually non-existent. This means that all too often, overconfident, under-qualified teachers compose curricula without in-depth working knowledge, let alone expertise.
You may go in wanting to learn about how to provoke fundamental, lasting change in your home communities and larger ecological bioregions and come out with some gardening knowledge. If you learn how to sculpt the land to catch water, but never address how to synergize with the neighbor whose adjoining land now responds differently, you’re not really learning permaculture.
In Australia and the UK, the requirements are more rigorous and standardized, yet still there is a wide continuum of content quality and instructor expertise that varies from course to course.
The Permaculture Women’s Guild PDC comes with embedded accountability. Over 40 working permaculture mentors---many of whom are published authors and hold advanced degrees in related fields---have collaborated on the curriculum. The content has been collaboratively vetted to ensure it exceeds the “standard” requirements of the most respected permaculture design certifications worldwide. When you show your certificate to a potential client, employer, or mentor, they will be able to easily verify the credentials of everyone you studied with.
It is our goal to raise the bar for online permaculture design certification and mentorship.
How exactly does the course work? Do we have to show up for class at a certain time? How are you going to manage a large group of students with access to 40 teachers all over the world and in different time zones?
This is a self-directed, independent study course. We aren't conducting live classes and you don’t have to stick to any schedule.
You will read the material, watch videos, write answers to questions, do the exercises and hands-on homework in your own time and space, and build your portfolio as it goes along.
Meanwhile, the student forum has all the students and all the teachers, and it works like any other facebook group: you drop in, ask questions, check back later for answers, make comments on other people's questions, etc. The fact that we have students and teachers in so many time zones means we'll have great discussions going on in our forum 24 hours a day!
Then, when you've done all of the classes, your faculty mentor spends three hours going back through it all with you (via Skype or the video-chat of your choosing). When she approves your design, she signs and issues your certificate.
Do the students have discussions?
Yep! As much as you want. You will have access to our private students-only discussion forum, as well as several related groups that are full of lively, brilliant peers.
Are the teachers available to answer questions?
Yes! Our entire faculty is available in the student discussion forum, and you are welcome and encouraged to ask lots of questions there! Your tuition also includes three hours of private consultation with your faculty mentor. During this time, she will help you complete your design portfolio and answer your lingering questions.
Three hours with my Faculty Mentor doesn’t seem like enough. What if I want more time with my faculty mentor?
You are welcome to hire any of the teachers on an hourly basis to work with you more closely through the course. If you struggle with a certain area, or just have a particular interest, feel free to reach out to that teacher and ask to schedule a consultation. Most of us offer discounted rates to students, and some of us will even do trades!
That being said, we have designed the course so that you can definitely do it by yourself. If you focus, work hard, and make use of the resources we’ll offer as you move through, then three hours will be plenty of time with your mentor.
How will I document my work?
You will assemble your personal Design Course Portfolio as you go through the course, in a private, customized template on Google drive.
Can I get college credit?
Yes, if your school allows you to do independent study for credit, we can hook you up! Our curriculum supervisor and course administrator, Heather Jo Flores, has an MFA degree and can sign off on academic documents as needed. The course content adds up to about 3 credits, though if you use the course as a basis for an extended inquiry, and engage in the suggested additional hands-on activities in every class, you could easily build an entire year of full-time graduate-level study around our curricula.
How long do I have to complete the course?
If you want a permaculture design course certificate, you must complete your course and present your Design Course Portfolio to your staff mentor within 1 year of your enrollment date. You will have lifetime access to the materials, including all future updates.
This course seems great, but I already took a PDC. Do you offer a discount for folks who already have a certificate?
No, we don't offer a discount for people who have already taken a course, since our course is so much more comprehensive than normal courses--and 30% longer! Plus, normal courses don't generally give you 3 hours of 1:1 with the teacher, focused on your own personal design. So that alone is worth the cost of tuition.
What if I start the course but change my mind? Can I get my money back?
Yes of course! We offer a 7-day money-back guarantee. Try the first few classes, if you don’t like the course, you get a full refund.
Why is the price in Euros? Can I pay in USD or some other currency? What’s the conversion?
Permaculture Women’s Guild is based in Spain. You can pay your tuition in any currency and Paypal does the conversion for you automatically at check-out. Conversion rates vary by the hour. Type in “currency converter” in google to see today’s rate.
I still have a question, how can I contact you?
We're happy to answer any questions you might have. Send an email to email@example.com.
Want the details?
Here's a play-by-play of all 37 classes (we call them "modules") with teacher bios and descriptions of what you will learn:
Introduction to Permaculture
taught by a Faculty Panel
What is permaculture? Why is it important? What does permaculture offer our current ecological, agricultural, financial, cultural and emotional situation? Join us as we discuss its origin, tools, and philosophy, and discover why choosing to become a permaculture designer is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! We will investigate your personal reasons for becoming a permaculture designer and explore the many ways permaculture can be used.
This module is taught by a faculty panel:
Heather Jo Flores is the author of Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, and the founder of the original Food Not Lawns collective in Eugene, Oregon in 1999. She’s been teaching permaculture since 2001, and brings more than two decades of hands-on agriculture and community activism to the table. She is also the director of the Permaculture Women’s Guild and the organizer of this course. Learn more about Heather’s work with permaculture and her online training programs for feminist women writers at www.heatherjoflores.com
Jessi Bloom is a best-selling author, award-winning ecological landscape designer, and speaker. She owns N.W. Bloom EcoLogical Landscapes, based near Seattle, which is known as an innovator and leader in the field of permaculture, sustainable landscape design, construction and land management. Her work has been recognized by government agencies and industry organizations, and makes headlines in national media. She lives near Seattle with her two sons on their permaculture homestead, which is full of functional gardens and rescue animals.
Marit Parker, Pippa Buchanan, and Kelda Lorax are also on the teaching panel for this module. Find their bios and pics in the Social Justice and Decolonization, Design for Resilience: Chaos and Catastrophe, and Animals, Birds, and Bees modules, below.
Regenerative Foundations: Permaculture Ethics & Principles
with Rachel Lyn Rumson
That is the perennial question in the permaculture worldview. This class will lay the conceptual foundation for your permaculture design work. Ethics and principles in permaculture provide structures that support the choices we will make. They provide a sense of what information is needed at different steps in the process, and what ecological systems we can integrate into our design.
Rachel Lyn Rumson practices participatory action research and permaculture. She uses these lenses and processes as a facilitator to create unique and engaging educational programs and events. She helps people find their learning-edges and leverage points, lending to change capacity and leadership of her clients. An energetic facilitator, generous team-leader and project manager, Rachel Lyn activates the groups she works with. She arranges elements of processes, places and people and maximizes the talents of everyone. She is strategic in the way she balances improvisation and planning. Her recent creative and collaborative projects include community-scale and participatory permaculture design education with the Center for an Ecology-based Economy, cooperative training curriculum development and facilitation with Cooperative Development Institute and her own pet project, a leadership development program cooperative leaders called Cooperative Design Lab. Before and during her first PDC she was active in Occupy Movement, supporting the community weaving of the tent city in Portland Maine, and larger movement, collaborating on street theater, performance protests and marches.
Design for Invisible Structures & the Inner Landscape
with Aline Van Moerbeke
Why is it that so many permaculture projects don’t stand the test of time? It’s almost never because of the visible techniques and systems not functioning well. More often than not, problems in a permaculture project are caused by social, financial or legal issues that weren’t addressed in the design stage. In this module we will have a look at how these “invisible structures” influence you as a person, and consequently, how they impact the web of relationships that our society, as a system, is based upon.
Aline is a Flemish (Belgian) lady residing on the Spanish island of Mallorca, a Certified Permaculture Facilitator and a long-run Permaculture Diploma student (Life Long Learning!). Having come from the world of tourism and real estate, she is particularly interested in the Invisible Structures that influence us humans, amongst which the different leadership styles of diverse groups, financial economics and behaviour economics most capture her imagination. Following the Permaculture Principle: “The Problem is the Solution”, she hopes to find clues there to the Sustainability riddle. She combines the coordination of the volunteers of the "Circles of Permaculture"-project and other tasks in the Permacultura Mediterránea association with her “normal” job as a guide for hiking and ecotourism groups, as designed in her "Right Livelihood". In the spirit of the Permaculture Principle that honours diversity, she also studies to be a therapist in natural medicine, nutrition and Californian Massage and she takes pleasure in putting people in touch, making connections always.
Patterns, Biomimicry, & Cultural Emergence
with Maddy Harland and Looby Macnamara
This module aims to deepen our understanding of patterns and biomimicry in order to provide useful tools for permaculture design. It also introduces Cultural Emergence, a toolkit for positive change towards a regenerative future. As part of developing our pattern of consciousness, you are invited to try some pattern disruption to bring the possibility of change into our lives.
Looby Macnamara is author of People and Permaculture, 7 Ways to Think Differently, and Strands of Infinity. She lives on Applewood Permaculture Centre, 20 acre smallholding in North Herefordshire, UK, which is a permaculture training and demonstration site.
Maddy Harland is editor and co-founder of Permaculture magazine, an international quarterly in print, digital and online at permaculture.co.uk and Permanent Publications, an award winning publishing company. She is the author of Fertile Edges: Regenerating Land, Culture and Hope.
Introduction to Design: Theory and Practice
with Jennifer English Morgan and Jessica Peterson
This module provides an introduction to design as a field, and also the GOBRADIME design process you'll use to develop your personal design project in this course. Explore what it means to be a designer, compare different design models, and learn about emergent and holistic principles, tools, and techniques.
Jennifer English Morgan serves as a healer, facilitator, designer, project manager, and life coach. Jennifer holds multiple certificates and degrees in fields relevant to integrative eco-social design. Her most recent career highlights have been facilitating the 2015 and 2017 International Permaculture Convergences, co-facilitating the team developing the International Permaculture Co-Lab, and getting several articles published in the Permaculture Design Magazine. Jennifer helped create Gaia University and was actively involved in opening the doors in 2006. Inside the University, Jennifer performed for over a decade as an Advisor and Teacher and as the Director of Advisory, Mentor and Associate Services. She also functioned as the facilitator of the Online Orientation, as project manager for the development of a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and Gaia Radio, a student-led webinar series, and she developed and offered the 120-hr Advisor, Mentor and Life Coach Training. Jennifer built and manages Solar Springs Permaculture Farm.
Jessica Peterson holds an MA in socio-economics and is owner of two ecological businesses, Inside Edge Strategies and Design, and Wild Willow Wellness. She lives, farms, and works in Montana. She’s restoring 40 acres of North Woods and installing pond systems and a food forest in Wisconsin. She raises organic meat rabbits, chickens, and grows herbs for her CS-(A)pothecary. She co-designed the first public edible forest garden park in Montana, the 6th Ward Garden Park. Jessica’s learned from, been mentored by, and taught with practitioners Sepp Holzer, Dave Jacke, Penny Livingston-Starke, Michael Pilarski, Mark Shepard, Elinor Ostrom, and Rosemary Gladstar.
with Tara Rae
This is an introductory module into ecology, ecosystems, energy and nutrient flow. We’ll cover the factors that shape the physical and biological environments of microorganisms, plants, and animals, and how organisms influence the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients within ecosystems. You will learn how to read the biotic and abiotic components of the landscape and how to shape a permaculture design from it.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Tara Rae currently garden-farms on the Front Range of Colorado. She began studying Permaculture in 2003, receiving her first certificate in 2010, and a Permaculture Teachers Certificate in 2012. Since, she has received numerous Advanced Permaculture Design Certificates and co-teaches the Boulder Through-the-Seasons PDC. Over the last 20 years, Tara Rae has worked in varying fields of biology, agronomy, and environmental science including laboratories, nature centers, farms, and jungles. She is a Certified Ecologist working as an environmental scientist in the consulting world as well as taking on a couple permaculture design clients every year. She can be found at her website Tara Rae Designs.
Climates, Biogeography, Microclimates
with Klaudia van Gool
As permaculture designers we need to understand the climate in our region and our specific site, so that we can work with the climate optimally, by choosing the right plants, building materials and designs, etc. This module will give you an understanding of climate and microclimate and what you need to know as a designer for optimum results. Learn about climate in general, the factors that lead to different climates and the different climate zones. We will cover the modification of climate by humans. In particular we will cover local/microclimates and how they can be modified.
Klaudia draws on over 20 years experience and study to express her lifelong passion for the environment through facilitating people care and social design programs across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. She’s an Environmental Scientist, Consultant, Parent, Mentor, Coach, Permaculture Teacher and Designer and student of healthy intact cultures and indigenous wisdom. Using her many practical and ceremonial skills, her work focuses across land-based, community and inner sustainability in order to fully activate the human potential in service of life, culture repair and rebuilding the village.
The Home System
with Crystal Stevens
The goals for this module are to give you the tools necessary to see your home and site as a whole permaculture system that has ever evolving and interrelating sub-systems and components. You'll learn about zone and sector analysis, and why these are such important parts of a permaculture design process.
Crystal Stevens is an Author, an Artist/Art Teacher, a Folk Herbalist, a Regenerative Farmer, and a Permaculturist. Crystal is the author of Grow Create Inspire and Worms at Work, published by New Society Publishers. Crystal speaks at conferences and Mother Earth News Fairs across the U.S.. She has been teaching a Resilient Living workshop series for over a decade. She is the Garden Manager at EarthDance Organic Farm School in Ferguson, MO, where her husband, Eric Stevens, is the Farm Manager. They have two children and live along the rolling hills of the Mississippi River near St. Louis. Visit them at www.growcreateinspire.com, on social media @growcreateinspire and @earthdancefarms
Re-Imagining Economic Systems
with Lucie Bardos
In this module, you will learn why the discussion of economic systems is important within a permaculture design certificate course and start to apply permaculture thinking to economics. We will discuss what it means to participate in economic exchange and you will be given some tools and examples of ways this can be done through the wisdom of permaculture ethics and principles. We will explore case studies of community currencies and the degrowth movement in the hopes that these will inspire you to bring more abundance into your life and the lives of those around you.
Lucie Bardos is a permaculture facilitator, community project coordinator and artist who lives on unceded Syilx Territory in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. She has been studying and practicing permaculture both in North America and Europe since 2011 and has several certifications in permaculture, natural building, degrowth, and education. Currently, she runs Permaculture Kelowna as a teacher and facilitator and aims to foster a strong and dynamic permaculture presence in her community. Her MSc in critical sustainability studies lead her to developing a keen interest in exploring the social dimensions of permaculture, such as the concept of ‘social sustainability’, alternative economic practices and social justice. Lucie also works in the nonprofit sector, developing local food-based skills training programs for vulnerable folks in her community, and produces paintings, music and poetry to supplement her income. She is beyond thrilled to be a member of an amazing group of women teaching permaculture together.
Student Design Project Phase 1: Goals and Observation
with Jennifer Albanese
This module will set you on the path towards creating your first permaculture design. Using the information from previous modules, you will start gathering the information needed: goals from the people involved in the project, and observations from land itself.
Jennifer Albanese and her husband, Cliff Davis, co-own Spiral Ridge Permaculture, a family run education company and a design and consulting studio. They also own Pig & Leaf Farm, selling organically grown produce and craft pork. Jennifer took her permaculture design course in 2007 from the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and Ecovillage Training Center, but has been practicing permaculture since 2001, and first began organic gardening in 1999. She is currently resides on a 50 acre off grid farm, in a naturally built home, in middle TN.
with Amy Stross
Water is the most essential element to life on earth. Water is the great connector of all things, and it is where all ecological designs begin. In this module, you will learn how to take care of this precious resource not only in the landscape, but in your personal life as well.
Amy Stross is a permaculture gardener, writer, educator, and author of The Suburban Micro-Farm, with a varied background in home-scale food production. As a professional gardener and permaculture designer, she specializes in ecologically regenerative and productive landscapes. Her own (former) 0.10-acre micro-farm was a thriving example, including berry bushes, fruit trees, herbs, flowers, and vegetable gardens. Amy’s current adventure is transforming a 3-acre property into a micro-farm with her husband and mischievous farm cat. She reaches hundreds of thousands of people with her adventures and expertise in small-scale permaculture gardening on her popular website, TenthAcreFarm.com.
Working with the land to meet our needs is a major part of permaculture. In this module we will discuss different techniques and applications of earthworks, the practice of re-shaping the land to make it more productive and interconnected. There are many schools of thought as to how we can do that, however some can be very destructive so it is important to consider our impact on any improvements we want to make. This module will highlight earthworks as it applies to your designs and developing your sites, however big or small they may be.
This module is taught by a faculty panel that includes Heather Jo Flores (Intro module & course organizer), Marit Parker (Social Justice and Decolonization module), Tao Orion (Plants, Trees, and Cultivated Ecologies module), Diana Sette (Design Phase 3 module), Amy Stross (Water module), Loretta Buckner (Permaculture Pedagogy module), Jennifer Albanese (Design Phase 1 module), and Jessi Bloom (Intro module).
with Lichen June
Learn about the history of our relationship with soils, the soil biota interaction with plants, the succession of plant growth, and the succession of soil life that supports different kinds of plants within an ecosystem. Explore weeds as paramedics, soil structure and function, easy soil assessment, pH effect on nutrient availability to plants, soil amendments, many compost recipes, and refractometers for measuring nutrient density in food and the effectiveness of compost.
Lichen June is a writer, speaker, educator and stuntwoman. Raised on a dairy goat farm by a naturalist mother and gardening father, Lichen was given a profound sense of ethics and relationship with the natural world. As an activist Lichen has been producing educational events and doing publicity on environmental issues for over 20 years. Teaching communication and ethics since 2008, and permaculture since 2013, Lichen studied permaculture with Geoff Lawton and Toby Hemenway, and received her certificate from PRI Australia. Lichen is the Executive Director of the NW Permaculture Institute, and co-founder of Elephant Head Educational Designs, creators of regenerative learning materials.
Plants, Forests, and Cultivated Ecologies
with Tao Orion
This module focuses on how plants of all types grow, from annual vegetables to perennial forests. You will learn how to plan and implement annual and perennial gardens for abundant harvests. This module will also discuss the importance of trees and forests, and provide a basic synopsis of their regenerative management.
Tao Orion is the author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration. She teaches permaculture design at Oregon State University and at Aprovecho, a 40-acre nonprofit sustainable-living educational organization. Tao consults on holistic farm, forest, and restoration planning through Resilience Permaculture Design, LLC. She holds a degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture from UC Santa Cruz, and grows organic fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and animals on her southern Willamette Valley homestead, Viriditas Farm.
Aquaculture and Season Extension: Making your own Microclimates
Aquaculture can be simple, and it can be complex. However it is done, aquaculture should be sustainable. Water is a critical system for all life, and one that permaculture should make an integral part of the design. There are many techniques to capture water from key lines to water features, catchment and ponds. When we think towards designing for sustainability, off-grid, and disaster preparedness this system will be important on my levels. However, the water system should be the appropriate scale to fit into your design.
Season extension can also be simple or complex. The ways to extend your season (early or late) will come in the form of row cover, cloche, or greenhouses. Again the scale must fit the particular design and ideally be sustainable. Season extension allows for more yield, and a more diverse seasonal diet. Part of decolonizing the diet is to eat according to the season, a sort of pre-adaptation to food access. It is important to move away from processed foods and sugar and start eating whole foods grown right outside of your door!
This module taught by a faculty panel:
Marjory House has been gardening and farming in the Willamette valley of Oregon for over twenty years. She currently owns and operates a seven acre farm with over 450 apple trees, and over an acre of vegetables grown for restaurants, farmers markets and Serro biodynamic seed company. She has maintained a fruit tree pruning business for fifteen years and a biodynamic consulting business for the last seven years. She can be reached through her website www.gobiodynamic.com
Other teachers in this module include Tao Orion (Plants, Forests, and Cultivated Ecologies), Marit Parker (Social Justice and Decolonization), and Heather Jo Flores.
Animals, Birds, and Bees
with Kelda Lorax
Whether it’s livestock or pollinators, humans and their gardens are not complete without animals. We’ll have an overview of best management strategies for livestock management of all sizes, and how essential their services are even if some of us abstain from eating any part of them. We’ll also explore why wildlife are often beneficial (and sometimes not!) and how we can change the balance of ecology in our gardens so it is most resilient.
Kelda Lorax began studying permaculture as a teenager in the 90's, graduated from Evergreen State College with a B.A. and focus on Sustainable Communities, had a 2-year internship at the Bullock's Permaculture Homestead, helped launch the Seattle Permaculture Guild, then the Tacoma Permaculture group, has co-taught and led several Permaculture Design Courses, and served on the board of the Northwest Permaculture Convergence. Wherever she has lived she cultivates numerous gardens, for self-reliance, sell or trade, or educational reasons. Kelda's passion is for learning about and creating models of healthy human-ecosystem relations, while acknowledging and working to end the many injustices that have disrupted our collective relationship with the land. Her current work, including Stardust Market Garden, is umbrella’d under Divine Earth Gardening Project. She serves as a Town Trustee for the city of Fairland, OK, runs the Fairland Farmers Market with her husband, and is on the board for L.E.A.D. Agency, which does environmental justice work. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holistic Seed Stewardship
with Rowen White
Seed is a precious common heritage, and an essential component to the future sustainability of our food. Our ancestors have faithfully passed us this incredible gift of life over countless generations. Join us as we talk about the creative ways of re-integrating seed stewardship back into our local community food systems, and how we can deepen our understanding of the nourishing cycles of life. Locally adapted seeds are at the foundation of any durable and resilient permaculture food system.
Rowen White is a Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for seed sovereignty. She is the educational director and founder of the Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed cooperative focusing on local seed production and education, based in Nevada City CA. Rowen is the current National Program Coordinator and advisor for the Indigenous Seed Keeper Network. She teaches creative seed training immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs.
Student Design Project Phase 2: Boundaries and Resources
with Saskia Esslinger
In this module, you will identify boundaries and resources in your design project, make a base map of your site with overlays showing the information you have gathered in a visual way. You will build upon the goals and observations you made in Phase one, and will deepen your engagement with the site you have chosen for your design project.
Saskia Esslinger is a certified permaculture designer, teacher, and regenerative entrepreneur. She believes that growing food is a key element in a sustainable lifestyle and trains people to teach gardening in their own community through her website teachgardening.com. Saskia recently returned to her roots in Alaska after traveling over land and sea for two years with her husband and two sons.
The Built Environment
People often look to the garden when thinking of permaculture, but so much of the environmental impact we make is through the design of the buildings in which we live and work. This module looks at the dynamics of incorporating permaculture ethics and principles into the creation and redesign of structures, buildings, and outdoor living areas. We'll focus on passive solar design, multi-function design and earthen building techniques, retrofitting, and using local and recycled resources.
This module is taught by a faculty panel:
Earth Feathur (Tinece Holman-Payne) is the Founder of Volunteer In Your Community Inc founded in 2008 and Healing Springs Farmacy founded in 2014 . Currently she practices as Holistic Wellness Coach Reiki Master, and Natural Living Consultant.
Pippa Buchanan (Designing for Resilience: Chaos and Catastrophe) and Hannah Thorogood (Design Phase 4) also teach sections of this module.
Waste and Permaculture: There is No Such Thing as Waste
with Mandy Merklein
Understanding, redefining, and addressing waste is at the heart of permaculture design and integral to your final design project. Waste can reveal design flaws, and provides an opportunity to better assess and create more efficient resource cycles. Waste can also be transformed into an opportunity resource. In this module we will explore strategies to address waste and ways to redesign systems, in our lives and in a world, where nothing need be seen, or treated, as waste.
Mandy Merklein studied permaculture in 1982 for her thesis in environmental studies at Well Collage. She has worked as a field biologist and environmental consultant in the Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, South Pacific, South America and Europe. She currently lives in Mallorca, Spain. Mandy received her PDC from Darren Doherty, and her teaching certification from Rosemary Morrow. She is a founding and active member of Permacultura Mediterranea (PermaMed.org), Youth in Permaculture, Gaia Youth, Community and Ecology Resources, and Escola Kumar, a permaculture education demonstration site, where she lives, practices, and shares permaculture with her family, friends and students.
with Kareen Erbe
This module will define appropriate technology while giving you various examples. It will teach you how to best apply these technologies in the context of a permaculture design and give you tools to identify when, in what context, and at what scale certain technologies should be used.
Kareen Erbe is the owner of Broken Ground, a permaculture business in Bozeman, Montana, USA, that teaches people how to grow their own food and become more self-reliant. She has taught hundreds of students through her workshops, both live and online, and offers consultations and permaculture design services. She and her family live on a ¾ acre suburban homestead with large kitchen gardens, a food forest of fruit trees and berry bushes, a greenhouse, a pond, beehives as well as chickens and ducks. Kareen is a regular contributor to Rocky Mountain Gardening Magazine and can be reached through her website brokengroundpermaculture.com. She also has an online course platform at brokenground.teachable.com.
with Cynthia Espinosa Marrero
Learn the importance of scale, the challenges of rural regeneration and how to design income from acres. This module will give students an opportunity to research, learn and get inspired to design their own big land permaculture project, and will also demonstrate important design considerations in projects of different scale.
Cynthia Espinosa Marrero is a food systems scholar and activist, helping diverse communities grow and learn more about food systems. Her passion was seeded with her family and neighbors in Yabucoa,P.R. where she grew up. Now in Holyoke, MA, she participates in activities related to food, gardening, environmentalism and community building. Her ultimate goal as a humanistic educator is to give opportunities to underrepresented groups to find their inner power, voice, and skills to build a socially just food system. She has a B.A. Degree in Sustainable Food Management from UMass Amherst and a M.S. in Environmental Studies focusing in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England.
Designing for Resilience: Chaos and Catastrophe
with Pippa Buchanan
Permaculture’s ethics and principles can help you design a system that is resilient at a general level. By drawing on your sector analysis and considering hazards such as fires, storms or floods, you can develop risk assessments for your site and household. These will help you to strengthen your system design by considering potential extremes and emergencies.
Pippa Buchanan (MSc SA) is an Australian resilience and sustainability educator and urban permaculturist who established the Permaculture and Disaster Risk Reduction working group in 2017. Her focus is facilitating social learning to assist individuals, communities and organisations to develop ecologically sound futures and adapt to climate change impacts. She draws on permaculture design, systems thinking, informal education theories, future scenario development and facilitation approaches such as Art of Hosting in her work. Pippa is fascinated by transformational processes, whether they be the evolution of new social forms, fermented foods or the transformation of yarn into knitted items.
Student Design Project Phase 3: Analysis & Design
with Diana Sette
This module will help you to take the next steps in developing your personal design project for this course. You'll learn how to sort and analyzing the acquired data, in order to set priorities and create designs that reflect deeper principles, ethics and design goals.
Diana Sette is a visionary leader with a diverse range of experience from designing home ecologies to leading expansive community-oriented permaculture projects. Diana is Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture as well as a Certified Permaculture Teacher and Designer. She is the co-founder of an intentional community in Cleveland, OH, works as an educator, a green infrastructure consultant, and is a published writer covering ecological design and the intersection of art and politics. She is a practicing interspecies communicator, artist, musician, poet and speaker who enjoys sharing the magic of the plant and animal world with others.
with Becky Ellis
The permaculture movement began as a re-imagining of agrarian landscapes but it has exciting emancipatory potential in re-imagining how cities might become places in which humans and nature co-create and co-operate. Urban permaculture allows us to create ecologically regenerative spaces in our individual lives and in collective spaces. As we will explore, social and economic permaculture become especially important in urban permaculture design.
Becky Ellis is a permaculture educator and community activist in London, Ontario, Canada. Becky is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Western University. Her research project is focused on the relationship between people and urban bees. Becky maintains the blog Permaculture for the People and regularly gives workshops and presentations about urban permaculture, community gardening, and gentle beekeeping. She embraces the challenge of bringing permaculture (and honeybees!) to the suburbs.
with Ridhi D’Cruz
In this module, I meld anthropological theory, applied social justice and permaculture design methodology to explore and transmute the intricate workings of injustice. We often think about permaculture as the noble practice of regenerative land management. But as I’ve walked this path, I have also realised that collaborating with land is a source of deep healing for people that is differently accessible to people. For healthy human and ecological communities then, we must look at the barriers of access to land and creative solutions to equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.
Ridhi D’Cruz is one of three co-Executive Directors of City Repair, a Portland, Oregon based nonprofit working on community development, permaculture and urban design. As an intercontinental cross-pollinator, sociocultural anthropologist, and permaculture educator who has been living in Portland since 2010, Ridhi participates, facilitates, and supports various initiatives in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Placemaking, Capacity Building, Houseless Advocacy, Native American Allyship, Cultural Sustainability, and Social Permaculture. She is also a passionate herbalist, urban wildcrafter, natural building and participatory technology enthusiast, animal lover, and urban permaculture homesteader. You can reach her at email@example.com
Social Justice & Decolonization
with Marit Parker
In this module we will be considering some practical and personal implications of taking those "other two" permaculture ethics, People Care and Fair Shares/Future Care/Parity, more seriously in our design work, and giving them equal consideration alongside Earth Care. Through stories and activities we can look at things from different perspectives, and perhaps see ourselves from different perspectives too. By determining how and where we are in a more privileged position than some, we can help to ensure that our dreams, our good intentions and our designs don’t result in negative consequences or injustice for others.
Marit Parker, from mid Wales, has been learning about permaculture for over 25 years, and applying it not just to farming but also in her work tackling inequalities and social exclusion. This has included enabling adults with learning disabilities to make short films, founding and running an accessible gardening project and supporting families and young people facing homelessness. She has been part of the co-ordinating group for Paramaethu Cymru / Permaculture Wales since 2011 where she has worked to ensure it’s a bilingual organisation that places equal emphasis on all three ethics and recognises Wales’ struggle for social and environmental justice.
Egalitarian Group Processes
with Hannah Hemmelgarn
Learn how compassionate communication and organization can break down walls of hierarchy in many contexts. This work begins with the cultivation of compassion for ourselves, and spirals outward in recognition of the people systems within ecosystems. From inner work to outer work, we will apply this compassion as we explore a diversity of practices that have been employed to facilitate participatory group processes for conflict resolution, idea-generation, and decision-making.
Hannah Hemmelgarn is an experiential educator and homesteader in Columbia, MO where she works for the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry and the Wild Folk Learning Community. After completing a degree in anthropology and sociology, she explored intentional community farm life. A permaculture design course, an herbalism apprenticeship and a bicycle clown collective later, Hannah honed her observation skills as a naturalist educator on the north shore of Gitche Gumee. Currently, she is focused on collaborating with agricultural educators and landowners, facilitating horizontal knowledge exchange and compassionate communication for a more just and sustainable shared landscape.
Ecovillage and Neighborhood Design
with Natalie Topa
Whether you live in an apartment or in a suburb, you live within a system. At any scale, you can organize with fellow citizens and local leadership to improve and retrofit existing neighborhoods or plan ecovillages, co-housing and intentional communities. There are many ways to go about this and there are lots of things to think about. In this module, we explore some major themes in designing or evolving your community, village, neighborhood or cul-de-sac.
Natalie Topa is an Urban and Regional Planner by training. She moved to East Africa in 2005 to work on post-war town planning and reconstruction in South Sudan. Since then, Natalie has been involved in community development through different sectors all over the world, including public transit, good governance, gender equity, and regenerative food systems. She now works with communities in East Africa and the Middle East affected by climate and weather extremes, displacement, and conflict. Natalie trains women, farmers and communities in permaculture and resilience design, and has a passion for ecosystem restoration, particularly in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of East Africa.
Working with Children and Youth
with Penny Krebiehl
Your permaculture education is a resource! One which can move outward from your interior language, and into the exterior world(s) that surround you. This module focuses on what we can and must share and teach children and youth about developing an ecological identity through a regenerative education that we co-create through a permaculture design process. Of equal importance, it is about what they share and teach us older people, who with all our good intentions and education and experience, may be further away from our connection to nature and forgetful of being a creative, capable creature!
Penny Krebiehl’s work is focused through Northern Michigan Permaculture, O’k Art & Design and the educational non-profit, Little Artshram. Penny is a life-long Michigan garden-farmer, woods-wanderer, and arts educator. She has been educating and consulting as a Certified Permaculture Designer since 2005, and is a graphic-recorder for courses and presentations.
Student Design Project Phase 4: Implementation & Maintenance
with Hannah Thorogood
You are about to delve into the world of making your dreams come true… How we turn our design plans into actuality. Moving on with the design projects, plans for making them happen (Implementation) and keeping them going (Maintenance / Monitoring / Management).
Hannah Thorogood is a permaculture farmer, designer & teacher. Running her own farm (The Inkpot) selling award winning produce direct to customers. Hannah has 15 years of permaculture design experience on a wide range of applications. She has the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, co-designed the British Diploma system and is a Senior Tutor. Hannah is passionate about empowering others, has taught Permaculture Teacher Training courses for over a decade, trains diploma tutors and runs an intern scheme. She is also dedicated to the next generation, bringing her young daughters up on her own, as equal decision makers on the farm.
Design Your Regenerative Right Livelihood
with Karryn Olson-Ramanujan
A PDC is transformative because it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for our lives and work. However, too often, after a PDC, folks require a long time to figure out their calling and how to earn a living with it. This module will outline some of the main obstacles on your path and speed up your “Pathfinding”... because the world needs you and the solutions only you can provide!
In over 20 years in permaculture, Karryn Olson-Ramanujan has co-founded a permaculture institute, served as a lead teacher, organized regionally and nationally, started her own design business, and has written extensively about women’s leadership in permaculture—while raising her small family in an Ecovillage in Upstate NY. Tired of seeing women doing great work in permaculture and too often not thriving, Karryn dove into learning how we can use the tools of entrepreneurship to fast-track regenerative solutions to urgent problems. At regenepreneurs.com, she supports women to design “Abundance Models” and co-create a regenerative future for all.
Community and Client Relationships
with Charlie Gray
This module helps you to find your community, define your role within it, and to apply the ethics and principles of permaculture to working in community. Building the right relationships and choosing the right structures to allow them to be beneficial supports us in our aims of creating right livelihoods and sharing our skills, talents and knowledge with the permaculture community and the world. We will also share resources for building a positive culture and avoiding and resolving conflict.
Charlie is a linguist, ethnobotanist and teacher and has spent 8 years applying her learnings around food systems and permaculture to a variety of community projects and community businesses. She worked as an ecologist locally, set up community growing spaces in a variety of establishments and founded a networking organization promoting and increasing local food. She co-founded the LAND permaculture centre, Horton Community Farm, where she runs horticultural therapy, forest schools and volunteer sessions growing food. She is also a co-founder of a community cafe and food hub. She is finalizing her diploma and is apprenticing on the Leeds PDC.
Working with Volunteers and Effective Mentoring
with Sarah Wu
In a permaculture project, people are a key component, how we activate and engage those people is critical to the efficacy and success of the project. From years of working with volunteers and mentoring people of various backgrounds and ages, Sarah has learned many lessons in what it takes to create a healthy program where each participant mutually benefits from the experience.
Sarah Wu is the current Director and Educational Curator of the Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design & Botanical Studies, an 85-acre permaculture farm and education center located on the Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. She leads Permaculture Design Courses, trainings and workshops in herbal medicine, tropical Deep Ecology, field-to-the-plate holistic nutrition and is preparing to launch a one of a kind Permaculture for the Herbalist’s Path, merging the two broad multidisciplinary studies offering students and practitioners and holistic perspective on the relationship between human and environmental health. Sarah is a clinical herbalist of 17 years, practicing planetary eclectic herbalism with a foundation in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Wise Woman Reclaiming philosophy, focusing on food-based healing and local ethnobotanical traditions. She is a passionate mentor, educator and facilitator who loves to get people inspired and excited by the interconnectedness of the natural rhythms with modern lifestyle. Sarah is also the co-founder of Medicines from the Edge: a Tropical Herbal Convergence and co-producer of Envision Festival, where she organizes the Educational Experiences and the Village Witches: Traditional and alternative healing modalities, herbal elixir bar, herbal free medical clinic, sacred spaces and healing sanctuary.
The Pedagogy of Permaculture
“WHAT THE HECK IS PEDAGOGY, and how is it going to help me grow stuff?” Pedagogy is the science of designing learning experiences and teaching based on the understanding of how people best learn. As such, a Permaculture Pedagogy might be defined as the art and science of being a good teacher guided by permaculture ethics, principles and approaches. Common permaculture pedagogical approaches such as working with multiple learning styles, informal education techniques and using outdoor teaching space can be used to teach many subjects. Teaching permaculture courses is one way in which permaculture pedagogy is applied, yet many of the same skills and approaches are used in design projects, activism, community development, parenting and the workplace.
This module is taught by a faculty panel:
Loretta Buckner has devoted much of her adult life to the study of ecosystems, in particular those which involve human development. Her early learning experiences were heavily flavored by the subsistence farming of her paternal family, and the higher education leanings on the maternal side. Her discovery of permaculture in the mid-2000’s, while researching grey water systems led her down a rabbit hole from which she has yet to emerge. Her current ecosystem remains on the Gulf coast of Florida, where she continues to create community gardens, teaches kids (in schools and survival camps), and sails, when her boat is floating.
Other teachers in this module include Heather Jo Flores, Marit Parker, and Pippa Buchanan.
Social Permaculture: The Art of Hosting
with Silvia Di Blasio
Social permaculture includes how we “host” ourselves and others, how we face challenges, make decisions and govern ourselves in non-hierarchical, non-oppressive ways. It shares the systems’ view of life that is central to permaculture design and includes ever evolving practices, methodologies and ways of thinking that will stretch your edges and expand your sense of connection, compassion and belonging.
Silvia Di Blasio is a permaculture practitioner, teacher and consultant and life and career coach. Silvia specializes in inner and social permaculture and is also a passionate practitioner, instructor and advocate for food sovereignty and disaster preparedness/planning as a starting point for building individual and community resilience. Silvia lives in Canada, where she works with immigrants and refugees, collaborates with the education and events of a local ecovillage, writes, blogs, facilitates workshops and co-coordinates the social media and communications piece for the Work that Reconnects Network. Silvia is also part of the local Art of Hosting and Art of Mentoring networks.
Student Design Project Phase 5: Evaluation, Celebration & Integration
with Jessica Peterson and Jennifer English Morgan
A full design cycle ends with an evaluation, celebration and final integration, and begins again with setting our fresh intentions to carry the project, relationships and our learnings forward. As part of the wrap-up we will assess our tracking of the design process and take note of how we filtered our design through Permaculture ethics, our personal goals, and the needs of our clients (if applicable). We will also consider the bigger picture of intra/interpersonal work, social systems designs and our role as a world change agent.
(Jennifer and Jessica also teach the Introduction to Design module together.)
Learn permaculture with us.
Because permaculture isn't just about gardening, and it definitely isn't just about taking a design course.
Study with us and you will find yourself connected to loving global family that walks the talk, shares the surplus, and works together towards a thriving, abundant landscape (AND inner landscape!) that we can all be proud to pass on to the next generation.