It is a curriculum which honors nature and natural systems. It is fundamental as biomimicry but takes one to easy applications and 'how to do it'. The knowledge is thrilling. Possibilities abound. It feels like coming home. - Permaculture Student Maggie Seeley
Lead instructor, Scott Pittman has taught permaculture since 1985 in over 18 countries on four continents. He worked with the people of different cultures and backgrounds, from indigenous tribes in South America to corporate teams in Ecuatorial Guinea. Over the years he trained thousands of students, counting now at least 5 generations of instructors that received training from him. Scott is known for his foundational work in establishing permaculture movement in the US Southwest, for which he received a Community Achievement Award from the Permaculture Institute of Australia.
Our permaculture programs attract people of all ages and walks of life from different locales and professional backgrounds. This class has truly transformed the lives and enhanced the careers of thousands of participants around the world. Most students find the course life-changing, and form strong personal bonds with each other. Some students have made Permaculture design a career, while others choose to incorporate the principles in their own discipline. Read more student work here.
Through learning outdoors, lecture, video, guest speakers, field trips and hands-on work opportunities, students learn the basics of nature-based design. Classes are held in an informal classroom setting, maintaining a connection with the outdoor environment at all times.
The class ends with the (infamous) talent show. Though it may cause a temporary anxiety, the talent show has proven to be the best stress release strategy, especially after the intense learning experience. From the ridiculous to the sublime... poets, dancers, musicians, mimes!
Our permaculture courses are taugth by a stellar group of instructors and practitioners in the areas of permaculture, land arts, natural building, renewable energies and water harvesting, with Scott Pittman as the lead instructor. Read more about our Teaching Team
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What is Permaculture
‘THOUGH THE PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD ARE INCREASINGLY MORE COMPLEX, THE SOLUTIONS REMAIN EMBARRASSINGLY SIMPLE....’
- Bill Mollison, co-founder of the world-wide permaculture movement
Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of our lives. Permaculture teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, take care of waste and much more.
The philosophy within permaculture is one of working with rather than against nature, and of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than premature and thoughtless action. Permaculture design techniques encourage land use which integrates principles of ecology and applies lessons from nature. It teaches us to create settings and construct ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and the resilience of natural ecosystems. In the spirit of sustainability, it also teaches us to allow natural and designed ecosystems to demonstrate their own evolutions.
What is Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)?
Permaculture Design Course was developed by Bill Mollison to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format (see course syllabus and course outline below) to assure that the integrity of certification process is upheld. Permaculture Institute is among many other organizations that offer PDC. For a list of PDC offered by the Permaculture Institute, go here
At the Permaculture Institute we offer classes that follow the original certification course developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Our courses meets all requirements for certification. Participants that attend all sessions of this class and complete the final design project will receive Certificate of Permaculture Design.
- Principles of Natural Systems
- Sustainable Design Methodologies
- Patterns in Nature, Culture and Society
- Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes
- Large Scale Land Restoration Techniques
- Water Harvesting Techniques
- Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements
- Grey Water Recycling
- Natural Building Strategies
- Cultivated & Productive Ecologies
- Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency
- Energy Conservation Technologies
- Appropriate Technologies and Renewable Energies
- Urban Environment Permaculture
- Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control
- Land Arts and Community Activism
- Invisible Structures: EcoVillages & Credit Unions
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Strategies for an Alternative Nation
- At the end of the class, students engage in a group design project.
READING MATERIALS - for PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATE COURSES
Permaculture Design Course Outline - file size 2MB - this is not a Reader, but is class outline (detailed topic listing)
Spiral Seed Permaculture - A Beginner’s Guide excerpts from Graham Burnett’s booklet
Is Humanity Fatally Succesfull? by William E. Rees
Designing for Permaculture Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Forests in Permaculture Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Permaculture in Arid Landscapes Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Permaculture in Humid Landscapes Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Permaculture on Islands Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Permaculture Techniques Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
Water in Permaculture Pamphlet - by Bill Mollison
1491 March 2002 article, Atlantic Monthly by Charles Mann
Rainwater Harvesting Traditions in the Desert Southwest, by Joel Glanzberg, August 1994, Permaculture Drylands Journal
Water Harvesting Principles by Brad Lancaster
Water Harvesting Calculations for NM, AZ & TX landscapes by Brad Lancaster
Getting Clear on Greywater by Oasis Design
Greywater Site Assessment by Oasis Design
Improvements To Graywater Laws by Oasis Design
Collection Plumbing for Graywater by Oasis Design
A Study on Mineral Depletion of the foods available to us as a nation over the period of 1940 to 1991 - by R.A. McCance and E.M. Widdowson
Tree Crops read first chapter of this book by J. Russell Smith
Our Home Flowering Tree (9Mb) by Roxanne Swentzel, with permission
Is Humanity Fatally Successful
Natural Building Reading List
Natural Building Resource List
The Long Emergency - 2005 article by James Howard Kunstler
Lots of Life in One Place (The Solomon Islands) by Dr. Frances Harwood
A Culture Gets Creative - interview with Sarah van Gelder and Paul Ray, YES Magazine
RECOMMENDED READING - Articles - for your enrichment and introduction to applied permaculture
Permaculture Drylands Magazine - assorted articles on permaculture in practice
RECOMMENDED READING - BOOKS - for your enrichment and introduction to permaculture
Note: books listed below are NOT required for our class; however these are books that will guide your learning of practice of permaculture.
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay, available at Seeds of Change bookstore
Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
Rainwater Harvesting in Drylands and Beyond, Volume One & Volume Two by Brad Lancaster
RECOMMENDED READING - WEBSITE LINKS
Spiral Seed Permaculture England