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Permaculture Design Course

“Life Changer!” That is what we often hear from the folks that come through our 12 day, weekend based Permaculture Design Course. This high value course transforms people into ecological citizens and provides them with the tools to change the world regardless of where they are now or the field of work that they are in.  After this course, everyone is empowered to be a part of the solution and apply these principles in their daily lives, places of work, or businesses. Our graduates are the next generation of sustainability experts!

Permaculture design trains people to think beyond just being sustainable, but to develop practical, regenerative solutions to the world’s environmental problems.

To register for the Spring 2017 Course follow this link.

Permaculture Design can meet and exceed human needs by transforming gardens, businesses, farms,  and communities into fully functioning ecosystems. Receive hands-on experience on how to apply the principles of ecological design in your own home, farm, business, neighborhood, and city. Permaculture is an integrated ecological design system for creating sustainable human settlements. Far more than a set of gardening tips and techniques, Permaculture is about understanding and designing the connections between people, the earth, plants, energy, climate, water, transportation, shelter, animals, economics and much more.

This course is for:  Homeowners, renters, gardeners, farmers, ranchers, landscapers, architects, builders, developers, civic planners, educators, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, students … everyone who wishes to learn how to design and live in ecological abundance and apply the principles of holistic design to their respective fields.

Our course graduates leave this certificate program transformed and empowered!  Many of them now teach, design, install, and consult on projects throughout the world.  Our graduates have gone on to start backyard gardens, school gardens and waste reduction systems, community gardens and neighborhood education centers, permaculture demonstration sites, consulting businesses, landscape design and installation businesses, farms, CSAs, and many other green businesses.  They are changing the world and you can too!  This certificate course provides the tools, knowledge, inspiration, and framework to participate in developing positive environmental, social, and profitable solutions. If you are thinking about a career change or ways that you can incorporate regenerative practices into your existing job or business, the Permaculture Design Course can help guide you there.



Course topics:

  • Permaculture ethics
  • Permaculture design principles
  • Pattern understanding
  • Creating healthy soil
  • Plant selection, plant guilds & food forests
  • Regenerative food systems
  • Holistic management
  • Mapping
  • Climate and microclimates
  • Water harvesting
  • Appropriate technology
  • Natural building
  • Keyline design
  • Business development
  • Local food systems & community land access
  • Co-housing, eco-villages & City Repair
  • Design for peak oil & ecological collapse
  • Ecological economics

About the course: This 72 hour curriculum will cover Bill Mollison’s PERMACULTURE DESIGNERS MANUAL as well as supplemental material. The course consists of six (6) two (2)-day weekends held throughout San Diego County. The spread out weekend format is to accommodate local residents schedules to participate in this valuable learning experience taught by regional experts in Permaculture & Sustainability. Course experience will include classroom instruction, field trips, hands-on activities, required & suggested readings & completion of a permaculture design project. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will receive Permaculture Design Certification.

Course Information

Instruction on all course dates is from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Part 1 “Introduction to Permaculture Design” The first session lays the foundation for permaculture and regenerative design. This session will include Permaculture Ethics & Principles, Regenerative, Generative & Degenerative Systems, Natural Patterning, Climatic Pattern Understanding, Site Assessment, Forests & Energy, Permaculture Design Methodologies, and tours of local permaculture sites.

Part 2 “Growing Permaculture” In the middle sessions we will look at “Growing Permaculture” as we learn about water harvesting (rainwater and greywater), soil building, and using plants in a permaculture setting. Topics to include hands on rainwater harvesting, tours of functioning and legal greywater systems, compost and composting teas, sheet mulching, plant guilds, garden ecology, and food forestry. These days will be a very hands on with ample time spent outdoors getting our hands in the earth and applying the permaculture principles and ethics to create a sustainable orchard system.

Part 3 “Permaculture for the Farm, Neighborhood and Beyond” The final weekends build upon the earlier sessions as we learn to apply Permaculture on farms and ranches and into the city. Topics include Keyline Design, Agroforestry, Animal Husbandry, Appropriate Technology, Home Design, Hands on natural building, Eco-village, and co-cohousing design. We will apply permaculture on the community scale and learn about Resource Sharing Co-ops, Community Gardens and Land Access, The City Repair Project, Creating a Local/Regional Food Economy, Alternative Economics and Local Currencies, and Right Livelihood. Culminating the whole course will be student design presentations and the infamous permaculture costume contest and the talent / no talent show and potluck dinner!

To register for the Spring 2017 Course follow this link.

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Course Instructors


Josh Robinson holds a Master’s of Arts in Ecological Landscape Design. He is currently a lead designer for Ecology Artisans and the director of the San Diego Sustainable Living Institute. His gardens have won numerous awards including the “Water Wise Garden Award” and the “Greatest Landscape Makeover Award” from the City of Flagstaff, Arizona. Some gardens have also been featured in notable books including Toby Hemenway’s “Gaia’s Garden” and Art Ludwig’s “Create and Oasis with Greywater.” He also worked with the City of Flagstaff in creating the first citywide rainwater harvesting ordinance, which is only one of a handful of cities in the US to do so.

Josh has been teaching topics on sustainable living and permaculture since 2005 including courses for Northern Arizona University, Prescott College, Coconino Community College, and the Ecosa Institute. He has taught over 15 full PDC’s and his teaching style has been well received with consistently positive student feedback.

Brook Sarson is owner and founder of H2OME, San Diego’s first rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling installation business. Her mission is to create a local water supply and encourage conservation through appropriate landscaping and simple greywater and rainwater techniques. H2OME offers residents simple, low cost, context-appropriate solutions as a first step in resolving the larger water issues facing San Diego.

Yael Zaidman is an avid organic gardener and has traveled to many exotic places to observe and experience how food is grown.   In addition to being the Greenhouse Manager for the organic certified 140 acre Suzie’s Farm, she is a  Master Composter and Permaculture Designer.  Yael has extensive experience in aerated compost teas and plant propagation.  She finds no greater joy in life than to plant a seed, watch it grow, harvest, prepare and eat the fruits of her labor.

Christopher Marciello is the the lead designer and co-owner of Ecology Artisans, a permaculture design company in Southern California, focusing on design beautiful and resilient landscapes and farms throughout the region.  He has been actively designing and installing food forests, passive water harvesting earthworks, and greywater systems all the while sharing his love of the natural world.