PDC Information Session

Whatcom Permaculture PDC info Session Recap

Are you interested in learning more about permaculture and the ways you can get involved with the Whatcom Permaculture community? Dive into the world of permaculture design and see what the Whatcom Permaculture Design course offers.

This Information session offers

  • Hear about the basics of permaculture and its benefits.
  • Learn about our upcoming events, including workshops, volunteer opportunities, and community meet-ups.
  • Discover the details about our Permaculture Design Course (PDC) and how to apply for a scholarship before the April 1st deadline.
  • Hear from some past students reflections
  • Ask questions and get personalized advice on how to start your permaculture journey.

We look forward to exploring the potential of living regeneratively together with you!

Ways to Get Involved with Whatcom Permaculture

Engaging with Whatcom Permaculture is a rewarding experience that contributes to both personal growth and community development. Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Attend Introductory Workshops:

    • Sign up for workshops to learn about permaculture principles and techniques.
    • Workshops are hands-on and often include site visits to local projects.
  2. Volunteer:

  3. Enroll in a Permaculture Design Course (PDC):
    • Completing a PDC is a critical step for anyone serious about practicing permaculture.
    • These courses cover theory, principles, design processes, and practical applications.
  4. Join Local Community Groups:
    • Find and join local permaculture or gardening groups to share knowledge and resources.
    • Community groups often hold regular meetings, garden tours, and seed swaps.
  5. Participate in Community Projects:
    • Engage with existing permaculture projects or start a new one in your neighborhood.
    • Projects may include community gardens, food forests, and sustainable living initiatives.
  6. Practice at Home:

    • Apply permaculture principles in your own backyard or balcony garden.
    • Design your living space for sustainability, efficiency, and harmony with nature.
  7. Stay Informed:

    • Read books, watch documentaries, and stay updated with the latest in permaculture innovation.
    • Consider subscribing to our newsletter and blogs focused on permaculture.

To get started, check out the Whatcom Permaculture and Inspiration Farm’s websites for resources, upcoming events, and contact information. Reach out with your interests, and we can guide you to the best way to contribute to the local permaculture movement.

Join Whatcom Permaculture!

Stay in the loop and Join 61 others, in Whatcom County interested in Permaculture.

We will not share your info. with anyone. Only used to inform you of permaculture related events in Whatcom county. You may unsubscribe at any time.

2024 Spring Permaculture Events

Spring Events and Workshops

There are a lot of exciting events this year. Meet ups, Plant and Seed swaps and some excellent classes. Hopefully you see something that interests you or a friend.

Permaculture Meet-Up at Inspiration Farm February 23 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

A Free gathering time for People interested in Permaculture from Whatcom county to come together and discuss ideas. Come bring your idea to share! Please RSVP here.

The Whatcom Permaculture events bring together like-minded individuals who are interested in sustainability, agriculture, and community building. It’s a chance to meet others with similar interests, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects.

From permaculture meet-ups to grafting workshops, there are a wealth of learning experiences available. Events like the grafting workshop offer hands-on experience that goes beyond theoretical knowledge. The International Permaculture Day event not only celebrates the global impact of permaculture but also facilitates people from various backgrounds come together to share their unique approaches and experiences.

For those looking to start or get involved in permaculture projects, these events are a perfect place to find potential collaborators or mentors. Networking can lead to new opportunities and initiatives. Seeing permaculture principles in action and hearing from those who have successfully implemented them can serve as a powerful source of inspiration and creativity.

Overall, the excitement surrounding the Whatcom Permaculture events stems from the dynamic combination of education, practical application, and community development centered around a sustainable and ecologically mindful way of living.

Please share widely! SEE THE FULL LIST HERE


Salish Seed Swap 2024 February 24 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Salish Seed Swap and Several venders of local plant, speciality seeds and plant related products will be Selling their unique offerings. Read more

Salish Seed Swap 2024

PDC Zoom Information Session

Join us for an Information Packed Zoom Circle. February 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

A space to share an overview of what a PDC is and how we have organized one here in whatcom county. We will answer your questions about what a Permaculture Design Certificate course is all about.

  • Why is the Whatcom Hands on PDC unique
  • What you can hope to get out of it
  • How it can influence your life and career for the better
  • How it can help build a better relationship with yourself, your food, community and the environment.

We look forward to sharing with you during this session. Please RSVP here. We will send you a Zoom link.


Permaculture Meet-up at Queen Mountain Homestead March 29 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

 Queen Mountain Homestead (QHM) is an 8-acre intergenerational family home and educational demonstration site nestled on the western flank of Bellingham’s Queen Mountain.  In the spring of 2016, after a decade+ of designing, building and maintaining permaculture landscapes across Washington (and internationally), we became the designer-stewards of our forever home. Please RSVP here


Grafting and Plant Propagation

March 10 th 11am – 2:00 pm

Learn to Create your own Fruit Nursery Stock. Fruit Tree Grafting and Plant Propagation from Cuttings Read more

Grafting and Plant Propagation

Scythes the Cutting Edge!

Scythes the Cutting Edge! April 28th 10am – 3pm

Sell the Weed Eater and use a Scythe! Maintain your body, not your machines. Learn the sharper points of this elegant tool. Thought to be old school, but better blades and an ergonomic set up makes them one of the most efficient tools out there. Learn what makes a good scythe, how to select a scythe for your needs and … Read more


International Permaculture Day Tour & Plant Swap May 4th, 2-5pm – Free! –

We will celebrate International Permaculture Day May 4th 2024! A day to showcase permaculture around the world.  Throughout the year we have a variety of permaculture Events, Tours and Workshops at Inspiration farm. This year we will have a tour and Plant Swap for International Permaculture Day on Saturday May 4th, 2-5pm.  An opportunity to experience permaculture and meet its practitioners. Visitors can see … Read more

International Permaculture Day Tour & Plant Swap

WE HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US!

Permaculture Design Course F.A.Q.s


Permaculture is a global social movement centered around the grassroots training of a system of holistic ecological design. It aims to improve the lives of all people while conserving and regenerating ecosystems everywhere. The design system makes use of locational values, ecosystem models, and patterns in nature. It draws on traditional knowledge and modern science. Permaculture is also a personal practice of applying permaculture ethics and principles to one’s life, while exploring and sharing empirical findings about the natural and human worlds.” 

~Permaculture Institute of North America, FAQ’s

Permaculture design is rooted in 3 core ethics (Care of the Earth; Care of People; and,  Fair Share), which guide the application of ~12 design principles (see permacultureprinciples.com for examples).  Permaculture ethics and principles can be used as tools for creatively thinking about any real life situation.

Permaculture practitioners observe at various levels , such as cycles in nature, cultural norms and practices, and patterns of social behavior, both personal and interpersonal. These observation skills are key in finding ways to transition toward regenerative systems.  Permaculture uses ecological principles to design sustainable human communities that are harmoniously woven into the environment, aiming to have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.  

Permaculture focuses on designing systems that can adapt and thrive in changing conditions. Permaculture design principles enable the creation of self-sustaining systems that require less input over time and are more resistant to external shocks. Permaculture emphasizes the importance of biodiversity and the interconnectedness of all living beings. It aims to teach techniques for designing productive, regenerative, and sustainable food systems. By gaining the skills to grow your own food and manage resources effectively, you can contribute to food sovereignty and reduce your reliance on industrial food production.

A Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) is a comprehensive educational program that covers the principles and techniques of Permaculture Design. A typical PDC involves at least 72-hours of class time. Upon completing the curriculum, participants are awarded Permaculture Design Certificates. For more information on PDC’s writ large, check out Permaculture Institute of North America’s FAQs about PDCs. 

It is common for PDCs to include a combination of classroom lectures, hands-on activities, design exercises, and group discussions. The certificate obtained after completing a PDC is recognized internationally as a standard in permaculture education. It can be valuable for individuals pursuing careers or projects related to sustainable agriculture, landscape design, community development, and ecological restoration. The PDC certification represents a solid foundation of knowledge and practical skills in permaculture design, empowering individuals to apply these principles in various settings.

There are many compelling on-line and destination PDC’s offered these days. So why take the Whatcom PDC? We believe that permaculture thinking and skills are best learned in-person and in contact with the plants and landscapes participants will work with after the course. Ideally, the PDC is not a one off experience, but a foundational step in building supportive relationships with people and places.

Here’s some of what’s special about Whatcom PDC:

– place-based bioregional education

– multiple educational sites at varying scales and stages of development

– multiple instructors with unique experiences, insights and styles

– a two month time lapse for observing slight seasonal change on the sites.  

– a diversity of instructional styles for a diversity of learning styles, including sensory learning (ex. smelling healthy compost; seeing nutrient dense leaf color; hearing a functional motor; tasting successful ferments; or touching silty soil)

– hands-on skill practice

– relationships you can keep up after the course is over

The Whatcom Permaculture Design Course provides an opportunity to join a like-minded community of individuals passionate about sustainability and permaculture. You can connect with fellow participants, share knowledge, and collaborate on future projects. By taking the 2024 Whatcom PDC, participants not only learn new tools and skills; they begin building a more resilient future with their classmates in the community.

This multi-site course will take place on the ancestral lands of the Lhaq’temish and Nooksack peoples, who have lived and stewarded this land since time immemorial.

Queen Mountain Homestead is an 8-acre intergenerational family home; biodiversity bank; therapeutic space; and demonstration site nestled on the western flank of Bellingham's Queen Mountain.  Our team of family and friends has been stewarding here since 2016. Over the last 8 years, we have practiced phased implementation of gardens and fruit and nut orchards; operated a silvoculture system with American Guinea Hogs and chickens; managed beautiful native forests; and grown and expanded a strong community of family and friends.  Increasingly, we grow a significant portion of our own food (as well as for sale) and are expanding our living inventory of useful plants. Queen Mountain Homestead not only offers tangible examples for rural homesteading, but also showcases techniques appropriate for urban and suburban settings rooted in our decades of experience designing, building and maintaining landscapes.

Inspiration Farm is located 6 miles North of Bellingham in Whatcom County. It has been a prime showcase of permaculture in action for over 20 years. The 9 acre farm was founded by Brian and Alexandra in 1994 when they started raising their two daughters and stewarded the land. They host tours and workshops in hope to Inspire others. Inspiration Farm highlights the roles of animals in the landscape, Water integrated earthworks, perennial food forest guilds, seed saving and appropriate technology. More information can be found on Inspiration Farm's website

These sites will be the primary hosts throughout the course. Visits to additional local sites may be woven into the developing schedule.

Everyone! Permaculture provides tools and skills for whole system thinking applicable to a diversity of lifestyles and professions. Past students have included:

  • Homesteaders
  • Architects
  • City planners
  • Software engineers
  • Regenerative landscapers
  • Earth repair enthusiasts
  • School teachers
  • Community organizers
  • Gardeners!
  • And, more! All are welcome! 

Design professionals can add new qualifications to their resumes and offer improved services to their clients. Homeowners, gardeners, and farmers learn to increase the value and productivity of their property and to create home and land environments that better support their own needs as well as nature’s. Real estate, construction, and development professionals are able to better address the public’s growing concern for the environment and to reduce resource use and impacts.  Educators learn to integrate permaculture design into their curriculum in ways that have been proven to raise student performance.  Planners and public officials find holistic solutions to land-use and resource issues, and will identify and solve bottlenecks and impediments to implementing their programs. Energy, water, and waste-systems workers will learn holistic management strategies for integrating their projects into the larger community.

Certification is an important step for the following:

  • teach classes on permaculture be they short workshops, presentations or permaculture design courses
  • running a business that uses Permaculture as a stated guiding force, or,
  • working as a Permaculture consultant or designer 

While a PDC certificate is a necessary step for those hoping to use Permaculture design professionally, there are many other values for PDC students.  These include the shifts in thoughts and feelings that occur through engaging  with whole systems design thinking,  the sense of camaraderie that the PDC learning community imbues and many fun and practical tricks for integrating your values with your lifestyle.

There will be some homework, reading, video viewing and other exercises suggested to be completed  between class times. These will augment the course material. As the saying goes you are likely to get out of the course what you put into it. So it goes for these assignments. They are optional but highly recommended. The amount of time may vary between 1-5 hours per week.

Throughout the course we will be offering foundational online presentations covering additional concepts and content. These will be hosted on Zoom and offer more depth for those who are interested. They will be recorded to provide an asynchronous option for those who can’t make the timing work with their schedules. The goal of this format is to prioritize our in-person time for hands-on and interactive learning.

Students who miss a day(s), are encouraged to read available handouts and catch up with other students to learn what they learned. At times there will be midweek opportunities to do hands-on activities related to the course work which may supplement missed class time. There is no penalty for missing day(s). We do appreciate knowing in advance when participants have scheduled absent days. This helps us plan our hands on projects in particular.

At selected times, both Queen Mountain Homestead and Inspiration Farm will be open for bonus hands-on learning in between the scheduled course weekends. In other words, we will be maintaining our sites between class times and would love to continue building community with participants while taking care of real homestead business! Stay tuned.

Scholarships are a way for us to ensure that this course is available to all who want to learn Permaculture skills with us, especially those who bear the brunt of systemic forms of disenfranchisement and marginalization.

If you need financial help let us know and we will send you an application. Applications are due April 1st, Don't delay, no kidding

If you are able to pay more, it goes to support those who need it.

Work trading is another way in which we try to make this course possible for those in need of a cost reduction. “Work traders” work alongside facilitators before, during, and after class time in exchange for reduced tuition; they help operate the course through tasks like, set-up and clean-up of the classroom, facilities and preparing for hands-on projects. 

These positions have been filled

One of the tried and true takeaways for PDC participants is the impression left by living, albeit temporarily, in a permaculture community and interacting with landscape at the edges of the day.  Camping maximizes your time in good conversation and experience with your inspired cohort. If you want to camp, but camping gear is a barrier to participation, please let us know so we can troubleshoot with you.

What to bring on the course days: 

  • A Backpack, or day bag 
  • Clothing you can work in, ie.get dirty, such as work pants, gloves, crusty outdoor jacket, etc. Avoid wearing clothes you don’t want to get dirty.
  • Sun protection, ie. sunscreen, sun hat and/or sunglasses; and/or, rain gear, i.e. boots, jacket
  • A notebook and/or camera for taking notes.
  • A small sitting pad and/or blanket for keeping warm.
  • Favorite handy tool, ie. pocket knife, multi-tool, pruners, Hori Hori, Kama, or serrated sickle
  • Your own cup, plate/bowl and utensils
  • Please feel free to bring your favorite tea or other treats to share.

A more complete list will be sent out once you are confirmed for the course.

Due to the presence of livestock and other farm animal dynamics, we ask that you make arrangements to leave your pets behind. 

A refund will be issued, minus a $100 administrative fee, up to 60 days before the course start date.

After 60 days, a full refund will be given if you fill your spot.

If you do not fill your spot, a 50% refund will be given up to 30 days prior to the course start date.

No refunds will be granted after 30 days prior to the course start date.

Personal hardships, like family emergencies, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to cancel class with full refund given minus transaction fees. 

Refunds will also be granted in the event of canceled class time due to extreme weather, such as unsafe smoke particle levels.

For additional questions, please contact us.

Permaculture Course Update

As we move closer to the start of our Whatcom Hands On Permaculture Design Course, We wanted to share an update of how things are progressing. At this point the course is half full, with a half a dozen or so interested and thinking about it.

We would like to offer an incentive for people to sign up.

  • We are extending the early bird price of $1600 till May 1st, $200 off the regular price
  • Sign up a friend and get $100 off of your tuition.
  • Sign up as a couple and get a $200 discount

We are really looking forward to getting into the nuts and bolts of the class schedule. If we have not reached minimum enrollment by May 5th, we will strategically pivot to a slightly different format.  We would still continue to offer some of the course content, but as stand-alone workshops conducted throughout the Spring and Summer. 

Upcoming Events

Here are a few upcoming events if you are interested in meeting us or visiting a site prior to the course.  These are also great opportunities to meet other people in our area interested in Permaculture.  They are also a great chance to invite your friends who may be exploring some of these ideas ; )

Saturday, April 23rd-  9 – 2pm Whatcom Farm Expo Exhibition Free! Put on by the Whatcom Conservation District. Come visit us at this trade convention for our local Agricultural Community.  More information at their Website, Eventbrite, and Facebook event, pages.

Friday, April 29 –  4 – 6pm Permaculture Meet-up at Inspiration Farm: Free! Come meet and chat with our local Permaculture Community.  We can share ideas, plants, books or tools. 

Sunday, May 1st – 2 – 5pm  International Permaculture DayFree! We are hosting a Plant sale/swap as well as a site tour.  Bring plants to share or a little bit of cash for purchasing and join us.

Saturday, May 14 – 10 – 4pm Food Forest & Permaculture Guild Plants $40 Workshop at Inspiration Farm.

Permaculture course weekends you can attend separately!

We will be offering certain modules of the course as a stand-alone workshops for people who are interested in specific topics but may not be able to commit to an entire course.  The cost will be $200 per weekend.  Please share these opportunities with anybody you know who may be interested.  Thanks. 

Weekend #1  May 21st and 22nd $200

The first weekend will cover the Foundations of Permaculture overview and logistics of the whole course. This will be an introduction to the foundations of permaculture. If you decide you are interested in taking the whole course you may roll this fee into the total cost of the course.

The first two information packed days we will cover permaculture defined; observation skills; ethics and the basis of ecological design; permaculture principles. We will include a comprehensive site tour with observation skill exercises while looking at indicators of sustainability, and how to use them. We will address whole systems thinking and how to look at fast track succession as it applies to design strategies.


Weekend #2  June 4th and 5th $200

The second weekend we will look at Designing within a Pattern Literacy Context. We will also be joined by the renowned permaculture designer and practitioner Doug Bullock. As we look at topography, geology, climate and microclimates Designing from patterns to details using natural patterns as a design tool. Looking at the overview of the permaculture design process and methods of design using the Zone and Sector System.

Day two we will go into the Roles of Trees and Plants. How do these elements relate to developing a stable system. Polyculture plants and their many functions. Methods for propagation, care and the yields they offer back to the system.  Strategic design of plant communities for the orchard food forest system including; hedgerows, windbreaks, shelter belts and the home garden.


Weekend #3  June 18th and 19th $200

This third weekend will focus on  Soil and Water. On Saturday, we will explore the complex, living, breathing edge between the earth and the sky.  By exploring the dynamic Soil Food Web, we will learn about both the geological and ecological relationships which best facilitate plant growth.  Sunday will explore Water Systems and provide a practical and accessible approach to this most critical infrastructure.  We will look at Residential Irrigation systems that connect the garden to the home.  We will also explore Domestic Plumbing systems such as the kitchen sink, toilet and grey water irrigation.  We’ll learn how to troubleshoot simple problems that homeowners and renters may encounter in everyday life.


Weekend #4  July 9th and 10th $200

This Fourth weekend will focus on  Social Relations and Practical Tools. We will also be joined by the renowned permaculture designer Penny Livingston.  On Saturday we will explore awesome Community Projects happening within the scope of Permaculture Design.  We will also investigate social relationships between ourselves, each other and our larger consumer culture as well as how to design in the Human Landscape.  On Sunday, we will learn How to Use and Care for Tools.  Both hand tools and power tools are an essential part of any land-based work.  We will cover the basic tool kit, trade-specific kits, power tools, safety and maintenance.

Spring Guild Walk, 2021

We love Spring and all the smells, colors and aliveness it brings.

In an effort to share this with all of you I will do a series of live video session as well as post some of my observations here for you to enjoy and ponder.

Despite the whole COVID event that is playing out, nature is abundant, resilient and relentless in her determination to move forward.

Whatcom PDC Covid-19 Update

Greetings Resilient Whatcom PDC 2020 Students and Friends our Hands-on PDC has been postponed, However…

At this juncture we are excited to offer you several new choices to get your Permaculture Design Certificate.

1) If you would like to get your PDC certification now via an online course we offer you the opportunity to enroll at Oregon State University world class PDC. They have offered to open this up to our students at a discount as a result of Covid-19 affecting many face to face courses. 

OSU offers the full course content taught by two of our top Cascadia colleagues, Marisha Auerbach and Andrew Millison, along with many guest experts. This class has been offered by OSU for the past 8 years and is PINA certified. They will partner with us so that we can act as your local mentors helping guide you through the 10 week self paced course. Our students will receive weekly support and guidance from Brian and Bruce!

To find more information and to enroll in OSU’s online PDC program, the link is here.

When you register for the OSU PDC please make sure to use the promo code BKPerm and you will receive a 5% discount. About $45 off the regular price. We will start our group by May 1 so please register before then and let us know.

If you decide to do the OSU course we could plan to do an optional hands-on workshop in the future. This would flush out your competency in permaculture design skills. There would be an addition cost.

We hope to offer this Hands-On, in-person PDC course in the future so that you may get the full experience. The dates are obviously yet to be determined. Stay posted for more on this.
If you would like a refund of your course tuition we are happy to offer you a refund. 

We hope to be able to provide some free content and information that will give some tools and things you can do right now as well as information to get your gardens and nursery production going in order to create some resilience for the near future. Sign up to receive notifications for events here.

We can also offer some virtual consultations and mentorships while still practicing physical distancing.

Thank you for bearing with this process. We hope you find a path that works for you at this time. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask.

Wishing you all health, insight and resilience during this time of reflection and interconnection.

Turning Problems into Solutions?

Here is Geoff talking about it “Engaging in permaculture design feels natural to everyone because it’s based on nature itself.”

We will be teaching the system of Permaculture design here in the Pacific Northwest this Spring. As the global systems become more unstable, We invite you to join us on this amazing resilient journey!

Permaculture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permacu…) integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts and at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics and community development.

Regenerative Agriculture: A Solution to Climate Change

Regenerative agricultural practices have enormous potential in stabilizing the climate. What will it take to implement these practices across the board?

Brian Kerkvliet – Transitional Farm Planning for Ecology – Global Earth Repair Conference 2019

Jun 20, 2019 Global Earth Repair Conference. As a co-steward of Inspiration Farm for the past 25 + years, Brian Kerkvliet has a wide breadth of practical knowledge on how to partner with natural systems to bring forth stability and abundance.

Why get a Permaculture Certificate?

People sometimes ask us “why do I need to get a PDC? I can just learn it from books and Youtube”

Some of the many reasons why you may want to get your PDC are:

  • You want the complete picture of permaculture
  • To get the full Permaculture experience with like minded people.
  • You want the hands on experiences and design practices
  • You like the accreditation and validation a certificate gives
  • You like the cohesiveness that a PDC immersion class offers

The reasons you need to get a PDC is to be legitimate using the word Permaculture in your professional practice.

  • If you want to teach classes on permaculture
  • If you want to run a business using Permaculture as a guiding force
  • If you aspire to teach a full PDC at some point
  • If you want to be a Permaculture consultant or designer for others

We LOVE the thought that some of our students will go on to become teachers. Whether it is short workshops or presentations or involved in full permaculture design courses.

Geoff Lawton answers some of theses questions.

Learn About Carbon

Here is a well done simple little video explaining one of the largest issues left out of the climate change debate. Learning Permaculture has all the tools necessary to help fix this issue on every content. This video is based on the writing of Charles Eisenstein. Visit Charles’ Website for more related content: https://www.charleseisenstein.org/

Narrated by Charles Eisenstein