Author: Brian K

PDC Course Overview

What Does a PDC Curriculum Cover?

The curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects. The first four weekends are stand-alone being a broad overview of design principles, strategies and techniques. The 5 day campout will focus on their practical application. Together the two weeks constitute the 72+ Hour Design Permaculture Certification Course as designed by Permaculture co-founder, Bill Mollison. Students who complete the two-week curriculum earn the internationally recognized Permaculture Design Consultant Certification. To date, thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have been certified through this course, and now comprise a global network of educators and ecological activists. They go out into the world and; influence major corporations, become individuals creating new business alternatives, and groups of committed people working together to change the way we view and design our landscapes and communities.

View the rough course schedule here. The order of topics in a course may change due to the presence of guest instructors, and emphasis on certain subjects may shift due to the needs and focus of the participants, such as urban or rural residents, city planners, farmers, and so on. This course will not make you an expert in any of the individual subjects covered, although in many cases we go into considerable depth. The point of the course is to introduce you to the relationships and synergies among the disciplines that permaculture connects. In a sense, permaculture creates an ecology made up of the many tools and concepts used to design sustainable communities. You will learn what these tools are and how to decide which to use, and when. The course will show you how these subjects connect leaving you with a whole systems design strategy to work with.

Permaculture Design Process camp out week:

Building on the foundations presented in the first four weekends, knowledge and skills will be expanded and tied together. Leading to a final real life design exercise, mapping and placing elements within a holistic design.

  • Including: Natural Building
  • Solar Design
  • Water management
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Climatic considerations
  • Eco-Village
  • Community Structures
  • Urban Design
  • Aquaculture
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Alternative Governance

Design groups will present to the class for critique and comment. Optional on-site Camping with lunch and dinner during the last five days at Inspiration Farm. This will provide opportunities to immerse in the design process and partake in after hour activities.

Local Lodging can be arranged for this time. Let us know if you need help making arrangements.

Who Would Benefit From Attending This Course?

This course teaches you to observe at various levels — cycles in nature, movements in history, practices across cultures, patterns in social behavior and increase one’s awareness to learn how to interact harmoniously with nature to achieve your goals. The Permaculture Design Course will help jump start one’s learning curve on all these fronts. 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. Design professionals can add new qualifications to their resumes and offer improved services to their clients. Their designs tend to use fewer resources, work more efficiently, and are easier to maintain. Most participants find the course life-changing, and they form powerful new viewpoints and enhanced social networks.

  • – 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.

The Permaculture Design Course is one of the few educational systems in the world of its size that allows so much freedom to students and teachers alike. The course material and presentation is structured to address different learning styles. Each topic expands and deepens our understanding of the previous topics, so the knowledge and understanding of the student is gradually built up. The permaculture design course teaches whole-systems thinking. Systems thinking focuses on the relationships among the parts, the features that emerge from these relationships.

Design Exercises help bring this into application and make corrections. Just as the course material is vast in its size and scope, the course presentation extends beyond the classroom teaching, design exercises and audio-visual sessions. Permaculture flows over to the meals shared, nature walks/garden visits, learning new practical skills and checking theoretical learning with experiments.

What does a Permaculture Design Certificate enable you to do?

With this certificate a graduate may confidently use the word ‘permaculture’ in the promotion of their work or business world wide. During the course the students are made aware of various ethically profitable business opportunities that exist in today’s changing world scenario. This might include:

  • Use the term Permaculture in your business
  • Permaculture design consulting
  • Landscaping and implementation of design
  • Teaching and facilitating groups.
  • Working with aid organizations
  • Managing a farm or other garden projects, large or small
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PDC Schedule

Overview Schedule for the Whole Systems Design Intensive,

Schedule subject to change! This is an example schedule showing the scope of topics we will cover. A final schedule will be posted as we get closer to the course.

Day 1: Foundations of Permaculture Course overview and logistics; permaculture defined; observation skills; ethics and the basis of ecological design; permaculture principles, indicators of sustainability, and how to use them.

Day 2: Design for Pattern Literacy Designing from patterns to details; natural patterns as a design tool; the permaculture design process; methods of design; the Zone and Sector System.

Day 3: Thinking Like a Watershed The water cycle; Catching and storage water; designing tanks, cisterns, and other water storages. Roof-top water catchments

Day 4: The Path to Water Wisdom Ponds, swales, and key line design; water in the permaculture landscape; grey water and blackwater system design; aquaculture.

Day 5: Soil: The Living Skin of the Earth Soil structure and composition; soil ecology and nutrient flow; creating healthy soil; analyzing your soil; compost, nutrient teas, and mulches; cover crops and green manures; strategies for your own soil conditions.

Images From past courses

Day 6: A Revolution Disguised as Gardening How ecosystems work; the home garden; plants of many functions; polycultures; integrating animals and insects into the garden; pest management; wildlife habitat

Day 7: Food Forests, Guilds, and Ecosystems Trees and their many roles; designing plant communities; the orchard; food forest design; hedgerows, windbreaks, and shelter belts; Biomimicry. Design Teams.

Day 8: The Built Environment The functions of shelter; methods of green and natural building; designing shelter for climate and culture; living roofs; site selection; designing for disaster.

Day 9: Energy and Tools for Working Wisely Population, energy use, and Peak Oil; renewable energy strategies; appropriate technologies for heating and cooling, transportation, cooking, and construction.

Day 10: Thinking Globally: Permaculture for Different Climates and Densities Tropical, Dry land, and Temperate strategy review. Designing for urban, suburban, or rural situations.

Day 11: Green Economics, Right Livelihood and Community Building Money, finance, and local currency networks; permaculture in education; green business guilds and networks; building social capital. Community dynamics; intentional communities, eco-villages, and group decision-making processes.

Day 12: Putting it Together: The Design Project Presentations Group design project presentations; Where to from here? Finding your ecological niche.

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Testimonials

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What Past Students Have to Say

“Workshop was beyond my wildest expectations! Loved it!” Mary, L.


“I appreciate getting to know you, appreciate you sharing your wealth of permaculture & scything knowledge and look forward to future connections.” Gary, B.


“I just wanted to say thanks again for a really great workshop at your farm. The format worked very well, loved all the hands on. Please extend thanks to all the instructors they did a great job.” Mat, P.


“I feel this class has met my expectations and can see it exceeding them as it continues. I really look forward to the upcoming modules and guest instructors.” Steve, W.


"The best class I have ever taken by far." -Cody J., describing PDC at inspiration Farm Summer 2015 as senior project at Western Washington University


“Thanks for all your effort in putting the Permaculture Design Certification course together.  It was an exceptional learning experience.  I marvel at how much you guys know and how enthusiastically the material was presented.   Your guest presenters were  outstanding and gave the course a welcomed perspective.  I believe the hands-on experience such as making a thermophilic compost pile, constructing a cob rocket stove, planting a food forest, harvesting rye grain and kale seed, were invaluable to the course’s effectiveness.   Brian’s home-made machines, ( e.g.  the bucket grain thresher, the solar dehydrator, etc.) are a continuing challenge to all of us to be creative.    Overall, the presentation reflected your deep respect for natural processes and dedication to making a positive contribution to our world.   I’d recommend the course to anyone interested in permaculture or just wanting to learn about lifestyle possibilities available to us all.”  Kevin


“I spent 6 blessed-fantastic-very full days at Inspiration Farm exploring and learning about permaculture… studying: energy systems, design principles, nature’s patterns, ecosystems, climates, nitrogen & carbon cycles, biodynamics, the wild world of mushrooms, topography, base map creation, forest ecology, guilds, earthworks, soil building, water/rain & grey water systems, composting systems, sacred geometry and sooooo much more with a great bunch of fun, playful, wise & passionate human-beings. Tons of gratitude and thanks to Brian Kerkvliet, Bruce Horowitz, Dave Boehnlein, Paul Kearsley, Larry Dobson, all at Inspiration Farm and the many pioneers that keep this fire burning!” Stephanie


"Attended permaculture workshop and it was the perfect mixture of lecture and hands on experience. Beautiful and productive landscaping. I learned a lot!" Marnie W.


“Permaculture, a design system that reconciles human communities with the ecological imperatives of a living planet.” Ben H.


“I think Brian is a permaculture genius. He has taught me so much. This is an incredible place and it keeps getting better all the time.” Larry D.


“I Can’t recommend Brian enough. A real wizard when it comes to intelligent, sustainable design and he is the gold standard for water management!” Terri K.

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PDC Instructors


Brian Kerkvliet of Inspiration Farm

Brian has a wide breadth of practical knowledge on how to partner with natural systems to bring forth stability and abundance. He has been using biodynamic and Permaculture practices at inspiration Farm since 1997 and has taught permaculture at WWU and other PDC venues and events. Having completed three Permaculture Design Certifications, he consults, installs projects and teaches workshops. Inspiration Farm is a showcase for many aspects of designing a living resilient system that provides for most of the food fiber and medicine needed to live a happy healthy life while restoring the ecosystem. His enthusiasm to share this with a wider audience shows in all that he does.


Paul Kearsley & Jane Campbell

from Queen Mtn. Homestead

A young designer with a passion for art and nature, Paul has worked on both institutional- and residential-scale masterplanning with Terra Phoenix Design & Exos Design. He has also led presentations and workshops with high schools, colleges and community groups.

While working independently and in collaboration with fellow designers, Paul is interested in the development of educational tools and functioning models of sustainability. He has a B.S. in industrial design and is a LEED accredited professional.

PENNY LIVINGSTON-STARK from the Regenerative Design Institute will be joining us in July!

Penny Livingston-Stark is internationally recognized as a prominent permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker. She holds a MS in Eco-Social Regeneration and 3 Diplomas in Permaculture Design. Penny has been studying the Hermetic Tradition of alchemy and herbal medicine making in Europe and the United States for 4 years.Penny has sat on the board of the Permaculture Institute of North America as well as the Building Appeals Board for the County of Marin, after being unanimously approved by the Marin County Supervisors. She was also a founding board member for the Redwood Empire Chapter of the US Green Building Council. She has studied, taught with, hosted and learned directly Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren the co-founders of Permaculture and the developers of the Permaculture Design Certification Course curriculum.

Doug Bullock from the Bullock's Permaculture Homestead will be joining us in June!

Since 1981, Douglas Bullock has lived at their Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island. Douglas has facilitated or participated in Permaculture projects and classes at their site and sites around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Hawai'i, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain, Poland, California and Washington.

A true "jack of all trades," Douglas Bullock has been a permaculture designer, implementer, and educator for over 30 years. He has consulted on numerous properties and helped hundreds of people learn the permaculture skills necessary to design their land themselves.

Douglas' home on Orcas Island, WA, the Bullock's Permaculture Homestead, is widely regarded as one of the most mature, well-functioning permaculture systems in North America. It serves as an excellent example of Douglas and his family's design and implementation skills.

Douglas is an experienced horticulturist, a practiced reader of landscapes, and an 'outside the box' thinker.

Having traveled extensively collecting and studying agricultural systems, he is familiar with a wide range of climate strategies and crops. His specialties include permaculture design, tree crops, nursery practices, creating small and large-scale wetland environments, and implementing appropriate technologies. Douglas has also written articles and pamphlets on permaculture featured in the Permaculture Activist and in the International Permaculture Journal.


Additional special guest presenters being announced shortly!

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