Permaculture Design Course

What is Permaculture & Whole Systems Design?

Permaculture is an ethically based whole-systems design approach that uses concepts, principles, and methods derived from ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and other time-tested systems to create human settlements and institutions. It’s also been called “saving the planet while throwing a better party.” 

Our certificate course includes the internationally recognized 72-hour curriculum, augmented by an additional 38-hours of hands on practice and field trips. Plus, folks have the option to camp on site each weekend, and build community around the fire!

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates will be able to:

  • Assess the sustainability of current design systems and practices;

  • Define permaculture ethics and the principles of sustainability;

  • Employ natural patterns as a design tool in a wide variety of contexts;

  • Understand basic soil ecology and implement composting methods;

  • Design simple water harvesting systems, from home to broadacre scale;

  • Define and design “guilds” or constructed plant communities;

  • Understand local food issues and the importance of localization;

  • Translate ecological principles to a variety of social, economic, and educational settings;

  • Employ best practices for starting and sustaining intentional communities and Ecovillages;

  • Apply permaculture methods to educational curriculum design and the creation of school garden programs.

permaculture design

Dates & Topics 2018

  • April 14 & 15 – Introduction to Permaculture Design and Nature Awareness

  • May 5 & 6 – Restoring Watersheds & Soils

  • June 16 & 17 – Personal & Social Permaculture

  • July 7 & 8 – Home Scale Permaculture: Creating Natural Homes and Edible Landscapes

  • August 4 & 5 – Broad Scale Permaculture: Integrated Animal Husbandry and Forest Management

  • September 8 & 9 – Regenerative Community Development & Final Design Presentations

  • Class typically runs 9am – 5:30pm both days, with a lunch break
  • Here are the dates for our current program, and you can still sign up for an individual weekend using the PayPal link below:
    • Sept 30-Oct 1 – Introduction to Permaculture Design & Nature Awareness
    • Nov 11-12 – Restoring Watersheds & Soil
    • Dec 9-10 – Personal & Social Permaculture
    • Jan 13-14 – Home Scale Permaculture
    • Feb 10-11 – Broad Scale Permaculture
    • Mar 3-4 – Regenerative Community Development & Final Presentations



  • $1,250 – Full 6-Month Tuition

  • $1,150 – Early-Bird Discount – Register Before March 1st, 2018 and Save $100

  • $1,050 – Super Early-Bird Discount – Register Before February 15th, 2018 and Save $200

  • $950 – Partner / Spouse Discount – When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount

  • $950 – Teacher Discount – For K-12, College and University Teachers

  • $750 – Child Discount – When an adult registers for the full course, their child gets a discount

  • $300 – One Weekend Only

  • Please Inquire about Payment Plans, Low-income and Youth POC Discounts

Payment Options

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there readings, videos, and other materials to supplement our time together?

Yes. We provide a very comprehensive online course reader for free, and recommend you purchase the 2nd Edition of Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow.

What if I miss some classes? Can I make them up?

Yes. Once you enroll in our Permaculture course you are a lifetime member. You can make up material you missed during the next session, or even just come join us again for a refresher. Additionally, we often arrange with other California Permaculture teachers so that our students can make up courses with them, and vice versa. Isn’t the permaculture community great?

What time does class start and end?

Class meets Saturday and Sunday 9am-5:30pm with a lunch break. We typically have a potluck and Santa Cruz Permaculture Guild Meeting on Saturday night. On rare occasions the group may decide to begin earlier to catch a particular field trip and/or end earlier. We never end after 5:30pm.

How do I register?

Please use the PayPal link above. Registration includes access to all course sessions, online course reader and on-site camping. While a kitchen is provided, we do not provide food. There is a PayPal Handing Fee included in the price. You do not need a PayPal account to register. Clicking on the Pay Now button will take you to the PayPal site, and then once you make your payment please fill out the additional form to complete registration.

What is the refund policy?

Cancellations up to two weeks before the course begins will be refunded, excluding a $150 processing fee. No refunds are given after that date.