2021 Permaculture Design Course

the 2021 Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture design is a wonderful process for solving all kinds of problems. Whether you are wanting to grow more of your own food, start a farm, contribute effectively with a community project, or start a design business of your own, this course can support you.

While we love the residential and weekend formats for the permaculture design course, through circumstance, we found a great way to present the standard 72-hour curriculum in an online format that works really well (maybe better?) than the in-person formats. We also recognize that online can mean more do-able for you. The course does have three in-person days that are important for course culture and success.

A PDC that works for you

Finding Balance

An important part of designing successful systems is constantly adapting to needs based upon feedback. While in-person permaculture design courses may resume later this year, online is here and here to stay. We all burned out on day-long zoom calls and workshops in 2020. We need to find a balance. In order to manage our 2021 lives more easily, it makes sense to revisit and improve a format for studying permaculture common until the early 2000’s–a divided course focusing first on permaculture fundamentals and secondly on design and implementation. By using this approach, we support small groups of students in supported self-study, facilitated exploration, and mentored experiences. This approach allows you to:

Join a course that works for you

Access and study core material (or review it) in a way that fits your life. Supports healthy bodies and minds by not asking you to sit still for hours

Creates Connection

Connects you to a community of practitioners in the region and around the globe. Creates connection and community with other students and with your teachers by focusing on your questions and learning.

Focuses on your learning by Doing

Allows you to start viewing and implementing permaculture in a way that supports your success and confidence as your skills grow--minimizing costly mistakes and helping you to move toward your goals more effectively.

Fundamentals; then the Practicum

How our approach works to cover the permaculture design course.

The permaculture design course is a course codified at the 1984 International Permaculture Convergence. It traditionally covers 72 hours of material. Our course, like many others bring in additional skills to smooth the implementation of permaculture. This year, we are returning to an older pattern of dividing the course into two parts: the fundamentals of permaculture and the practicum. 

Permaculture uses a variety of lenses from which to view ecological and cultural health. In the fundamentals section of the course, we lay the philosophical and theoretical foundation which can hold those multiple perspectives together and allow us to work effectively with nature. Then we use that foundation to build a framework from which to inhabit more fully the complexity of our world. Once that framework is in place, we can connect more easily to what is going on around us and understand how to make better choices. 

In the practicum section of the course, we will take all that we’ve learned about observing and understanding dynamic systems and put it into a practical design for your life. We will be working with design for the integrated ecosystem and gardens around you; your built environment; and your community. Here is where our study becomes a practical means to improve your quality of life and set you on the path to a life that is connected, nurturing, and resilient–a world where you and everything around you can thrive.  

The PDC certificate is awarded when the fundamentals and practicum are both completed. The certificate verifies that you’ve been introduced to the topics of the course, and that you are ready to begin apprenticing with a more experienced practitioner. 

Details of the Course

Dates: April-May OR July-August rolling admission for Fundamentals; September-October- Practicum

Practicum: Whether you live near or far, this class integrates practice as we go. If you are near one of the instructors, there are in-person days for this. If you are unable to travel, we will support mentoring and engagement.

Format: Video, reading, practice, small group work, discussion, reflection, and fun are all incorporated into this dynamic, participatory course. Each week, we will work with small groups to guide you through the material we’ve covered that week. 

Cost: Cost of the course: $750 for fundamentals; $500 for the practicum ($1,150 for both) our cost.

You can self-scholarship/sliding scale ($650-850 for fundamentals); ($400-600 for practicum); ($1,050-1,450 for both).

Deposit policy – $150 secures your place in the fundamentals; $100 secures your place in the practicum

Registration:  Please complete the contact below. We will send you a registration form and invoice you for a deposit. Once that is paid, your registration is set and we will connect you with your cohort of learners and your schedule of classes (unless otherwise arranged).

Content: This course does cover the 72-hour content including ecological, built, and social systems. We also include additional blocks on key skills we find critical in implementing permaculture into your life.

  • Soil building for ecological success and nutrition
  • Water management, supply, and care
  • Forest patterns, tree care, and plant communities
  • Designing for food production throughout the year
  • How to integrate animals into your system (and work with the ones already there)
  • Permaculture in different climates — and adaptation to climate changes
  • Natural patterns and emergent cultural patterns
  • Skills which connect us with nature deeply
  • Building structures and retrofits
  • Small building projects that make a difference in the system
  • Energy conservation and production systems
  • Regional and urban permaculture
  • Farm and rural permaculture
  • Home and community economics that transform lives
  • Decision-making and governance –with a special focus on sociocracy
  • Village life and how your neighborhood is a village in the making
  • Making a life with permaculture
  • Support and networks after the PDC



The Facilitators

This year, we are only offering the course through our collaboration at Three Waters Permaculture. Rhonda (Bloomington, IN) has worked with William Faith (Chicago, IL) and Milton Dixon (Ann Arbor, MI) since they met at the North American Permaculture Convergence in 2016. They went on to form the Great Lakes Permaculture Design Collaborative (GLPDC) which has now become Three Waters Permaculture. As a team they’ve offered the first PDC in the city of Chicago as well as advanced permaculture design courses, self-study intros and more. 

Have Questions?

I'm Ready to REgister!

Contact us and we will send you the registration form.