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Spring Whatcom Permaculture Events

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Here is a short listing of events that will be happening before the PDC this year in May. If you want to visit or talk about the course come find us at one of these events.

🌿 Permaculture & Beyond Workshop FREE!

Permaculture and Beyond: Transform Your Life, Job, Landscapes, Planet and Consciousness! Thursday, Feb 20 4:30-6:30pm Fairhaven Auditorium

Learn the foundations of Permaculture and explore real-life examples of this powerful universally applicable holistic design system that regeneratively works with nature to provide for human and ecosystem needs and services. Free parking in the Fairhaven lot, it's marked 12A and is easy to find on maps.

🌿 Whatcom Permaculture Meet up Feb 28th

A Free gathering time for People interested in Permaculture from Whatcom county to come together and discuss ideas. Location to be determined


🌿 Great Grafting Gathering Sat. March 21st  $20

Create your own Fruit Nursery Stock. Fruit Tree Grafting and Propagation from Cuttings. Pruning season is upon us! Remember to save scion wood for the Grafting Gathering! Bring Apple, Pear, Plum varieties from your neighborhood. Share and graft to start new trees!

🌿 Permaculture intro Class at Coop March 26


🌿 Whatcom PC Meet up March 27th

A Free gathering time for People interested in Permaculture from Whatcom county to come together and discuss ideas. Location to be determined.


🌿 Fairhaven Neighbors' Plant and Tree Sale March 28th 9am-2pm

Stock up on hardy perennials and trees for early spring planting. Come find us and talk permaculture and pick up some plants.


🌿 Scythes the Cutting Edge  Sat. April 11th $40

Sell the weed eater and use a scythe! Maintain your body, not your machines. Learn the sharper points of this elegant tool.


🌿 Everson Plant Sale April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m

Everson garden club plant sale at the elementary school


🌿 Food Forest & Permaculture Guild Plants Sun. April 26th $40

Plant a garden, eat for a year, plant a Food Forest Guild, eat for decades! This hands on workshop shares design elements necessary for a perennial food forest.


🌿 Hands-On! Permaculture Design Certificate Course 2020

Learn the skills to work with nature to create integrated Permaculture systems of abundance and productivity! Food, Soil, Shelter, Energy, Water and a lot more: Design strategies and methods for truly sustainable, regenerative human integration with our biosphere. DATES: MAY 2-3; 16-17; 30-31; JUNE 13-14; and 22–26.

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PDC 2020, Chuckanut Center!

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Second Weekend of the PDC 2020: May 16th & 17th

About the Chuckanut Center

At the Chuckanut Center we seek to connect those who wish to learn how to grow more resilient through food security, household independence and community resourcefulness. We do this through offering community garden spaces, teaching gardening, cooking and preserving classes, sharing skills and offering opportunities to meet and learn from others.

The Chuckanut Center is an aspiring permaculture education center located on 1.8 acres in Fairhaven that specializes in urban homesteading skills. For the past three years, we have held classes, house concerts, and community gatherings on the property. Through our gardens and our determined cohort of volunteers, we have been able to teach classes on everything from cultivating the soil to growing food and how to preserve it. Outside of our fenced garden area is an area that is yearning to be turned into a food forest. We have apples, plums, pears, and just need a little imagination to really spark our orchard into a a demonstration of abundance through permaculture design. As this is a city-owned property, there will not be any camping onsite. However, it is possible to camp nearby at Larrabee State Park. If a large enough group would like to camp, we can arrange a campsite for the night and shuttle participants as needed.

What the Chuckanut Center has to offer the PDC and Students

We are a small band of volunteer community members working together to build a community resource for all to share. Our backgrounds and interests are varied, but we all believe in this place, the importance of a more self-reliant community and the future of Chuckanut Center to become a valued and treasured asset to the city of Bellingham and beyond.

The Chuckanut Center has the potential to serve as Whatcom County's permaculture education center given it's advantageous location, history of community gardens, and class potential with the house. During the PDC, the Chuckanut Center will serve as demonstration grounds for what permaculture education can look like in the Pacific Northwest. This means many opportunities for guilds, small demonstration plots, and innovative social design within a site. We look forward to the course offering an opportunity for participants to learn about the importance of energy flows through a site, including the flow of human energy, which we are well-positioned to demonstrate.

Contact Information:

Meg All, Board Secretary - 360-961-1516 chuckanutcenter@gmail.com https://chuckanutcenter.org

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At Outback Farm – WWU

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First weekend of the PDC 2020 - May 2nd & 3rd

The Outback is a 5-acre organic farm on the Western Washington University campus. Started in 1972, the Outback is a place of experimentation, learning, reflection, advocacy, and agriculture. We feature permaculture practices and teachings and are home to community gardens, chickens, production rows, a teaching apiary, vernal pools and a delineated wetland. Our students are engaged in ecosystem restoration, community building, and food justice - acknowledging the importance of food systems for empowerment, resilience, and health. 

What will this site offer the PDC course and its students

The Outback is a beautiful place to fully engage with permaculture against the backdrop of a long history of learning and experimenting built into the farm. This PDC course starts at the Outback because it provides opportunities for all the hands-on basics, from composting to mushroom cultivation to path design, while enjoying lush native habitat and sheltered classroom areas. We offer PDC students the chance to experience a truly community-based food and farming system and the power (and challenges) of shared governance. We are engaged in addressing food insecurity and issues of justice on campus and beyond, including the permaculture ethics in all we do. 

Contact information for the Outback site

Visit their Website

Contact information:

Terri Kempton, Outback Farm Manager, kemptot@wwu.edu, 360-650-3779

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Scholarship Program

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We are working on ways to offer more scholarships to enthusiastic students who can't afford to pay the full amount for this life changing experience.

As nice as it would be to offer this comprehensive course for free that is just not possible. There are a lot of costs associated with putting on an event of this magnitude and countless hours of preparation. Not to mention fair compensation for all the professional instructors who have years of experience to share in a prepared concise manner.

We would like to invite you to support this important local offering by donating to a scholarship fund so that more deserving underserved students can attend. We are also showing students how they can crowd fund their tuition using a proven service called "We The Trees"

By educating local people in the ethical design strategies that Permaculture has to offer we will help build our bioregion into a healthy, resilient and thriving community.

We are working on ways for you to give to this cause as a tax free donation. Contact us below for more details.

Are you are interested in applying for a scholarship or work trade position?

Just use the contact form below to let us know your interest and we will send you the application.

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PDC 2020 Posters are Ready!

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We are so excited that the new posters are finished. Paul Kersley put them together with his wonderful illustrations and sense of design they came together great!

We will have some printed posters available for local people to put up in addition to the collectable hand bills. Let us know if you have a place to put them up and we will get you some. If you need a stash of hand bill to hand out to interested groups of people we can get that to you too. We also have the posters and hand bills available for folks to download. You can use them to send out to your social networks or share with friends who may be interested in this incredible opportunity to take a local PDC with world class instructors.


Download a print formatted PDF of the Poster and Hand Bills to print and post in your area.

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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! A final schedule will be presented 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.

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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PDC Instructors

Penny Livingston-Stark of Regenerative Design Institute

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.


Brian Kerkvliet of Inspiration Farm

I have been interested in gardening and appropriate technology since I was a kid. Inspired by my grandpa Jerry who ran an integrated farm on South Whidbey island. 
Inspiration Farm is an 11 acre homestead styled farm since 1994. Integrating Biodynamic and Permaculture practices in relation to annual & perennial food systems, animal husbandry, appropriate technology, land/water nutrient management. Our vision at Inspiration Farm is to co-create an environment to experiment and learn methods of creative, regenerative, resilient abundance.


Paul Kearsley from Tera Phoenix Design

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.

With additional special guest presenters being announced shortly!

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