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 Design Certificate Course 2024

Re-Skilling for a Regenerative Culture

June – July – August

Whatcom Permaculture Design Course Overview:

Over 4 weekends and 1 immersive week, we will explore the foundations of regenerative culture.

Course content will include:

  • Permaculture ethics and design principles
  • Observation and critical thinking
  • Reading the landscape techniques
  • Pattern recognition
  • Basic Earth Science (soils, climate, hydrology)
  • Water management (earthworks, grey water)
  • Perennial plants, trees and guilds
  • Bioremediation
  • Herbalism and plant allies
  • Personal and interpersonal skills
  • Structures and construction
  • Surveying and mapping
  • Solar design and appropriate technology
  • System resilience and disaster preparedness
  • Community structures and alternative governance
  • and, more tidbits along the way.

4 Weekends and 5 Days

Keep scrolling for pricing, format, and more details.


Course Format:

The course will be a mix of in-person weekend sessions, a week-long intensive, and some on-line presentations, plus optional mid-week extracurricular work sessions for those hungry for more.

We will learn through lectures, small and large group discussions, reflection/observation exercises and lots of hands-on skills practice. We will also provide suggested reading material, videos and zoom sessions to be viewed on your own time as primers for our in person sessions. Expect some homework toward the end of the course.

The first three weekend sessions will be hosted at Queen Mountain Homestead. Course time will run from Saturday mornings to Sunday evenings. Overnight camping is available onsite and encouraged. Saturday evening we will share potluck feasts (significant others welcome). Bring your own lunches and Sunday morning breakfast . An outdoor kitchenette will be available for simple food prep. Coffee, tea and water will be provided throughout.

Student Design Sessions: July 21st

This is scheduled time for students to gather with their design teams to socialize and dig into their capstone design projects.

Inspiration Farm : July 13th & 14th ; July 29th – Aug. 2nd (5 day Intensive )

We will dive deeper into content during the week-long campout, while giving you an immersive taste of Permaculture living at Inspiration Farm.  In addition to more hands-on practice, you will work with a team of fellow students on a capstone design project. Your team will present your project to the whole learning community at the end of the week. The final day will also include: a certification and closing ceremony; a celebratory feast (loved ones welcome); and, a talent show of epic proportions.

Fresh meals will be prepared on-site by a local chef for lunch and dinner all week. Breakfast will be DIY with seasonal ingredients provided by us. Coffee, tea, water and fruit will be available throughout. Let us know your dietary restrictions on your registration form. We are happy to accommodate.


The Whatcom PDC Core Team:


Queen Mountain Homestead

  • Paul Kearsley – lead instructor
  • Jane Campbell – lead instructor
  • Elizabeth Chace – social PC & hands-on
  • Ryan Chace – hands-on & site support

Inspiration Farm

  • Brian Kerkvliet – lead instructor
  • Alexandra King – admin, finances, hands on site support
Check out the Instructors page for bios and guest instructor updates

We acknowledge that Whatcom (Xwotʼqom) County is the ancestral and current home of the Lhaq’temish & Nooksack people.  As the descendants of displaced settlers, we acknowledge how much we have to relearn about place-based living. Actively, we seek ways to honor and uplift how the Lhaq’temish & Nooksack nations live out resilience, resist displacement and embody regenerative culture. We acknowledge that the permaculture movement was in part built on the appropriation of indigenous knowledge.  We take it as our ongoing responsibility to watch for and address this harmful pattern. We believe that, despite this history, permaculture can be used as a tool for healing the deep wounds of disconnection inflicted by colonialism on indigenous and settler communities, and, the more-than-human world we share.


PDC Course Pricing

Secure your spot with a $500 deposit

Course fee: $2,000

Benefactor price: $2,200 (extra payment helps provide scholarships to other students; enquire for more info)

Payments cover all course materials, camping, field trips and a week of amazing local meals.

Some Partial Scholarships are available, for more details fill this application out.

Donations to the Scholarship fund are welcome. Help those who need it.

Click the register button to fill out the form and the click to pay



Let us know below if you have any thoughts or questions. Or if you want get on the list for future courses.


$1,700.00 March 1st early bird

Inspiration Farm

617 E Laurel Rd
Bellingham, WA 98226 United States
+ Google Map
360-319-2029
View Venue Website

Designing within a Pattern Literacy Context

June 4, 2022 @ 8:00 am June 5, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

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.

Tickets

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Brian Kerkvliet

360-319-2029

View Organizer Website

Inspiration Farm

617 E Laurel Rd
Bellingham, WA 98226 United States
+ Google Map
360-319-2029
View Venue Website

Foundations of Permaculture

May 21, 2022 @ 8:00 am May 22, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

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. 

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 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.

Tickets

The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking “Get Tickets” will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Tickets are no longer available
$200.00 Weekend price

Brian Kerkvliet

360-319-2029

View Organizer Website

Inspiration Farm

617 E Laurel Rd
Bellingham, WA 98226 United States
+ Google Map
360-319-2029
View Venue Website

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.

Upcoming Permaculture Events 2022

As we enter the new year, we are excited to offer paths towards abundant solutions.

We have been quietly hibernating during the past few years of Covid but feel it is time to reboot and get this information out to people who need it. With all the issues facing us at this time we feel we compelled to share solutions that help people learn positive ways to move forward in their own life.

Collectively we are facing so many challenges; from supply chain issues, drought, flood, fires, inflation, healthcare crisis, to ecosystem degradation and social collapse. There are tools in the Permaculture tool box that can solve all these issues.

We would like to invite you to take check out the offerings for this year, and look forward to sharing solutions to the problems of our time.


“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,

the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”

― Bill Mollison founder of Permaculture


Hands on Permaculture Design Certificate Course Event! May through July, Learn the skills to work with nature to create integrated Permaculture systems of abundance and productivity! Early bird price ends soon. Find out more »

Permaculture Tour and Meet-Up Feb 25 Inspiration farm, Free!

A Free gathering time for People interested in Permaculture from Whatcom county to come together and discuss ideas. Agenda– Tour, talk, swap plants seeds, books. After the tour we invite you to stay for an informal discussion. How can we move…
Find out more »

Circle of Permes

Great Grafting / Propagation Gathering March 12th, $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! You can learn how to collect scion wood here. Bring Apple, Pear, Plum…
Find out more »


Practical Permaculture Immersion Weekend March 19th & 20th, $150

A fun filled Permaculture Immersion Weekend. We will illustrate practical ways to design an integrated living system that that partners with nature and is self regulating, abundant and resilient. Whether you are on an urban lot or a farm homestead,… Find out more »


Scythes the Cutting Edge! April  9th, $40

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. Find out more »


PERMACULTURE DAY TOUR & PLANT SALE / SWAP May 1st, Free!

We will celebrate International Permaculture Day May 1st 2022!

A day to showcase permaculture around the world.  An opportunity to experience permaculture and meet its practitioners. Visitors can see first hand an established permaculture system and ask questions. See how…
Find out more »


Food Forest & Permaculture Guild Plants May 14, $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. Learn about fruit and nut trees as well as supper food berries… Find out more »


Permaculture Design Certificate Course, May through July, $1500

Hands on Event! Learn the skills to work with nature to create integrated Permaculture systems of abundance and productivity! Find out more »

4 weekends and a five day camp out.

  • Weekends May 21,22, June 4,5 & 18,19, July 9,10
  • Camp out design session July 18,19,20,21,22 –
  • 13 days total, Daily Time: 9am – 6pm

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.

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.

PDC Course Overview

What Does a PDC Curriculum Cover?

The variety of subjects covered by a PDC are diverse! The first four weekends are a broad overview of design principles, strategies and techniques. The 5 day campout will dive deeper into practical applications and community building. All together, the Whatcom PDC constitutes the 72+ Hour Permaculture Design Certification Course as originally 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 are certified through PDCs, and comprising a global network of educators and ecological activists. PDC grades around the world have brought permaculture design thinking into the full gambit of modern careers and living environments. They represent 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, ect. 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 in the systems that make up everyday life. In a sense, permaculture creates an ecology made up of the many tools and concepts used to design sustainable communities. You will learn about tools and how to use them, and when. The PDC will continually demonstrate connections between you subjects leaving you with a whole systems design strategy. In a sense, permaculture creates an ecology made up of the many tools and concepts used to design sustainable communities.

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.

  • 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.

Let us know if you would like help arranging local off-site lodging if camping is not a viable option for you.

Who Would Benefit From Attending This Course?

This course teaches you to observe at various levels  such as cycles in nature, movements in history, practices across cultures, and patterns in social behavior. It also increase one’s awareness to learn how to interact harmoniously with nature to achieve your goals. The Permaculture Design Course jump starts the learning curve on all these fronts. Permaculture uses ecological principles to design sustainable human communities that are harmoniously woven into the environment, with 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. 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
  • 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.

  • Regenerative Earth Apprenticeship Program 2024

    Apply Permaculture principles to real life Earth Care!  Three month apprenticeship, June 15- Sept 15, 2023, living, working and learning on a permaculture farm in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Curricula … Continue reading “Regenerative Earth Apprenticeship Program 2024”

  • 2024 Spring Permaculture Events

    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.

  • Permaculture Design Course F.A.Q.s

    For additional questions, please contact us.

  • Upcoming events for 2023

    EVENTS AT INSPIRATION FARM 2023 Hi Everyone! Just wanted to take a moment to let you all know some of what we have planned for this year. Other events may pop up to fill in some gaps but here are the events we have on the books at this point.

  • 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.

Whatcom’s Hands-On P.D.C. 2022

May 21, 2022 @ 8:00 am July 22, 2022 @ 6:00 pm


EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE BELLINGHAM’s PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATION COURSE for 2022! 

THE COURSE IS HOSTED AT QUEEN MOUNTAIN HOMESTEAD, AND A WEEK CAMP INTENSIVE AT ONE OF WHATCOM’S PREMIER PERMACULTURE SITES ‘INSPIRATION FARM’.

DATES FOR THE COURSE ARE:

4 weekends, May – July and a 5 day Design Intensive Camp in July.

4 Weekends – May 21,22, June 4,5 & 18,19 July 9,10

Camp out Design Intensive – July 18,19,20,21,22

13 days total, 9am – 6pm Daily


PERMACULTURE COURSE OUTLINE:

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 that natural systems and our ecosystem.

Curriculum Includes: Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles, Pattern Recognition, Climate Factors and Weather, Water Management, Grey water, Soil, Trees, Earthworks, Bioremediation, Surveying and Mapping, Reading the Landscape. Class format includes lectures, discussions, hands-on activities and videos.

Permaculture Design Process camp out week:

Building on the foundation presented the first weekend sessions, 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: Shelter Building, Solar Design, Climatic considerations, Community Structures, Urban Design, Animal Husbandry, Alternative Governance.

Design groups will present to the class for critique and comment. Optional on-site Camping with some meals will be available the last five days at Inspiration Farm. This will provide opportunities to immerse in the design process and partake in after hour activities. Amazing meals will be provided for the week long design intensive camp out. Prepared using locally sourced organic ingredients.

Locations: Local Bellingham permaculture models Queen Mountain Homestead and Inspiration Farm, one of the premier Northwest permaculture and biodynamic farms.

Audience tailored for: Students, landscapers, architects, developers, homesteaders, community planers, farmers, gardeners, or those seeking to be certified in Permaculture Design useful in a wide range of professions.

Instructed by:

Brian Kerkvliet from Inspiration Farm

Paul Kearsley from Tera Phoenix Design

Update!

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


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

More outstanding guest presenters still to be announced




We will be Covid Safe.

Practicing all state protocols and guidelines for gatherings of our size.

This may be adjusted as situations change.



What Does PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATION (PDC) Curriculum Cover?

The curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects. The weekends are stand-alone with the first 4 sessions being a broad overview of design principles and strategies and the last week focusing on their practical application. The two weeks constitute the 72-Hour Design Permaculture Certification Course as designed by Permaculture co-founder, Bill Mollison. Participants who complete the full 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 who influence major corporations, individuals creating new business alternatives, and groups of committed people working together to change the way we view and design into our landscapes.

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.



Pricing

Extended Early Bird price, Sign up before May 1st. just $1600!

Cost: Full price $1800, after May 1st

Includes all materials, Camping, field trips and some amazing local meals.

A few partial scholarships are availablecontact us for more details.

Cancellation Policy

A refund will be issued less $100 administrative fee up to 60 days before course. After 60 days a full refund will be given if you fill your spot. If you do not fill your spot, 50% refund up to 30 days, no refunds after 30 days before course. Hardships like family emergencies, etc. will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to cancel class with full refund given less transaction fees.

Permaculture Design Course 2022

Choose deposit or full price from the drop down menu above.
To Pay BY Check: Please make payable to Inspiration Farm and mail, or drop it by 619 E Laurel Rd Bellingham Wa. 98226. This saves us from having to pay the transaction fee, thank you!