2021 Winter/Spring Weekend Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
When: February - May 2021
Time: 9 am - 5 pm (Sat & Sun, every other weekend)
Cost: $650 - Early Bird Discount Price for Registration on or before Jan 1, 2020
$750 - Full Price for Registration after
Jan 1, 2021
$400 - Online Attendance Only
Recommended Ages: 18+
**Important Information about Covid-19, Updated 10/28/20**
We are planning to run this course from February to May of 2021. When the course begins in mid-February, if in-person gatherings of this size are still considering too risky by the government or by us, we may have to cancel the course entirely. If that happens, anyone who put down a deposit for the course will have their deposit fully refunded.
If the course is not cancelled and we decide to go through with it, we want to be clear that we will be taking the health and safety of all our students very seriously! Unless the virus is under excellent control and/or there is a widespread distribution of a vaccine by the start of the course, we will be taking the following covid-19 precautions:
We will be requiring all students to wear a mask while in the classroom or while indoors, and masks will only be permitted to be removed if we are doing outdoor sessions in which everyone can be safely spaced far enough apart. Anyone who refuses to wear their mask properly will be asked to leave the course.
We will be asking that everyone maintains social distance as much as possible. But because the classroom area is limited in size to the point that seating everyone six feet apart will likely not be possible, wearing masks will be mandatory to ensure everyone's safety.
We usually have up to 20 students in this course but we are limiting the in-person course to only 12 students to make it easier to maintain social distance and limit the risk to everyone.
We usually have a potluck in the course, but because of the pandemic, we will be following CDC guidelines to not share any food for the course and ask that everyone brings their own lunch each day.
We will have hand sanitizer available at all times and will disinfect the classroom area each day.
Come join us for our fifth annual Winter/Spring permaculture design course! The permaculture design course, or PDC, is an intensive 72-hour internationally recognized permaculture certification. It's designed to give participants the inspiration and knowledge they need to make a positive change in the world, needed now more than ever. It will give you the skills necessary to design your home/yard/landscape into an ecologically-resilient edible system, and for some, it could be the first stepping stone to a permaculture career in design, education, consulting, or regenerative farming.
This course will be offered as a weekend course designed for local residents who don't have time to take an intensive (and expensive) two-week PDC. This course will be mostly classroom-based but will also include hands-on components. It will go through the basics of permaculture design relating to different climates, energy, natural building, the global climate, social systems, and more. The course curriculum includes:
how permaculture started and what it means
philosophies and ethics of permaculture
permaculture design principles and how to apply them
methods of design and how to apply design strategies
how to mimic natural systems to create better design
climatic factors and strategies, covering all major climates
trees, forests, and forest gardening
how to grow a wide range of easy to care for and disease-resistant fruits
water: conserving, collecting, reusing in your design
soil: learn the basics of soil chemistry and biology and how to work with the soil food web to build new soils and repair degraded land
earthworks: shaping the land to maximize the benefits of your natural resources
ecological sanitation systems: turning waste into a valuable resource
aquaculture and aquaponics
animal systems: the importance of animals in food systems and the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals
natural building: how to build beautiful, inexpensive, resilient structures using available natural resources
appropriate technology: home-scale biogas, solar cookers, rocket stoves, etc.
alternative systems: alternative economic systems, food sovereignty, community living
permaculture as a tool for sustainable development: using permaculture where it's needed most in underdeveloped countries lacking basic sanitation and infrastructure
The final part of the course will focus on co-creating a viable real-world design for a site that could include gardens, fruit trees, greywater systems, rainwater catchment, food forests, natural building projects, and more.
Course Format & Online Option
Classes will be held in person on Saturday and Sunday on alternating weekends from 9 am - 5 pm over a 12 week period at Hundred Fruit Farm in Buckingham, PA, for a total of six weekends with classes. The exact weekends the course will take place on will be announced later this fall. Students are expected to eat breakfast and dinner before and after class. Normally, lunches are done potluck style, but as a precaution due to the pandemic, we are asking everyone to bring their own lunch each day for this course. We will supply hot water, tea bags, and coffee but will be encouraging everyone to bring and use their own cups throughout the course.
This is the first year we are also offering an online format for the course. This will allow anyone who misses the in-person class to either attend the online classroom, where they can interact and ask questions in real time, or to watch the recording of the class at any time after the class is finished. We are also offering an online-only option for the course at the reduced tuition of $400. Students who decide to take the course in an online-only role will still have the ability to interact and ask questions in real-time in the online classroom, but will be unable to attend the classes in-person. This could be a great option for people who live too far away to attend in person, are immuno-compromised, or in the event that the in-person class is already full. At the end of the course, we will have a End of Class Party at the farm in which all current and former PDC students, including the online-only attendees, will be welcome to attend!
The cost of the course is $650 per person for early bird registrations before Jan 1, and $750 per person for registrations after Jan 1. The online-only course tuition is $400. We try to keep our course as one of the most affordable PDCs in the country. Most PDCs cost anywhere from $1000 to $2500. Why is ours cheaper? By designing this course for commuters and local residents, we don't need to factor in the cost of housing and meals into the course, which keeps costs down significantly. Even with the relatively lower cost of the course, if you are still struggling to afford the tuition, you can try fundraising your tuition with our friends at WeTheTrees, a permaculture crowdsourcing website created specifically for this purpose. We also offer discounts for groups of 3 or more students and tuition reimbursement for anybody who does an internship or apprenticeship with us.
Who is this course for?
This course is aimed at anyone who wants to live a more sustainable or regenerative lifestyle, bring more meaning into their lives, build a stronger community, and/or work towards an ecologically responsible future. This course is also ideal for backyard gardeners, homeowners, landscapers and landscape designers, teachers/educators, farmers, community organizers, nonprofit workers, orchardists, horticulturalists, students, etc. The curriculum of a PDC is designed to be introductory in nature, so there are no prerequisites needed to take it.
Adam serves as the lead instructor for the course, but several other professional permaculturists in the region will join the course as guest teachers for certain sessions. Guest instructors for previous courses have included Lindsay Napolitano and Johann Rinkens from Fields Without Fences; Dale Hendricks from Green Light Plants; Ben Weiss from Susquehanna Sustainable Enterprises; Robyn Mello from Edenspore; JC Hogan from Earthen Arts Ecological Design; Gregory Crawford from Surplus Permaculture; James Schleppenbach from Carversville Farm Foundation; and Michael Green. Guest teacher pictures and bios will be added below as they are confirmed for the course.
Adam is the main teacher and facilitator for the course, and divides his time between running Hundred Fruit Farm and doing professional permaculture designs for clients throughout the mid-Atlantic and internationally. Adam also helps manage the Panya Project, a permaculture educator center in Thailand, and previously served as the Permaculture Farm Manager and Teacher at The Island School in The Bahamas. Adam has a passion for regenerative farming that combines integrated animal systems with fruit and nut diversity. As a designer, he focuses on applying permaculture design to maximize agricultural productivity, increase ecological resilience, and to revitalize sterile suburban landscapes. Check out Adam's full bio here.
Recently relocating back to the Philly region that he calls home, Michael spends his weekdays continuing his work as an educator in the alternative school setting where he sees much potential to redesign the classroom, through a permaculture lense, to allow greater opportunities for experiential, community based learning. Michael is especially focused on social permaculture and is currently working to strengthen and develop networks of communities that will continue to enhance our interdependence and resiliency by creating spaces for connecting with and learning from one another.
Lindsay is an herbalist, writer, and educator living and working within the fields and forests of the Delaware River Watershed. She is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, under the auspices of which she cultivates and tends wild gardens and woodlands while growing and crafting plant medicine for her extended community. Combining a love of story, myth, metaphysics, and ecology, Lindsay weaves an inspired narrative throughout her teachings on the subjects of herbalism, permaculture, and agroecology. She is a practicing clinical herbalist and writes professionally on subjects including herbalism, permaculture, and environmental renewal. Her work emerges out of a deep curiosity and reverence for the healing power of plants to positively transform our internal and external ecologies.
Johann is an ecological designer and experienced agriculturalist consulting and advising on regenerative land management. He is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, and teaches extensively on the subjects of permaculture design and agroecology. His background in anthropology, agrarian land rights, and more than a decade of work in the field as an organic farmer, combine to inform his perspective on integrated, place based, and functional ecological design. Approaching landscapes from a restorative perspective, Johann is motivated by the inherent balance of natural systems, and an eagerness to continue to evolve his understanding to reflect that elegance of design.
Dale is a nurseryman, avid fruit explorer, biochar expert, and all-around jokester who's been growing and propagating plants professionally since 1975. He has been honored with the American Horticulture Society’s Individual Commercial award and the Perennial Plant Association’s Young Professional award. He has taught plant propagation at Longwood Gardens and lectures widely across the region. Dale is the operator and owner at Green Light Plants, under which he consults on sustainable and fecund landscapes and grows native, woodland, and permaculture plants renewably, organically and joyfully. Dale lives with his family, gardens and makes biochar whenever he can in Landenberg, PA.
What happens if I miss a class or a weekend? Can I still receive my certificate?
This is one of the questions we get asked the most. We understand that everyone lives busy lives and there are going to be times when you will have to miss a day or weekend. Any relevant notes or presentations from each class are uploaded into a google drive folder that everyone from the course will have access to. Additionally, this will be the first course where we plan on integrating an online classroom into the course. So all lectures will be filmed, streamed, and recorded for anyone who can't make it to class for whatever reason and then you can either attend the online classroom live or watch the recordings of the classes you missed at your leisure. Our policy is that to receive your design certificate, you must (A) take part in the final group design project, and (B) either attend or watch the recordings of all the sessions in the course. Anyone who fails to complete the course and fails to receive their certificate can re-take any future PDC course with us again at 50% cost to try again.
Do I have to commute?
This course is designed for people who live close enough that they can travel to and from class each day. That being said, every year we have students attending the course who live 2+ hours away. Some people who live a little further may find that it makes more sense for them to stay somewhere locally Friday and Saturday nights to cut down on travel time. We are happy to suggest nearby accommodation for students who wish to do this, but we do not yet have the facilities to host students ourselves on the farm. Please note that we now also offer an online-only option for the course, so if you don't live in the area, you could still attend the course in an online capacity.
How far is the farm from Philadelphia and NYC?
Depending on where you're coming from in Philly, our farm is about 50 minutes to 1 hour away. We are about 2 hours away from NYC. Most people who take the course are from Philadelphia, Philly suburbs, and Central NJ, but we have had students coming from as far as NYC, Delaware, and Central PA.
What ages are the students? Am I too old or too young to attend?
Our students are all adults (18+) of all ages. We have had students as young as 19 and students well in their 70s. It's a very welcoming environment for people of all ages.
I am a vegan and I'm not sure if I should take this course. Is this a vegan-friendly course?
We want to be very clear that we do raise some animals for meat on this farm, always on pasture and as ethically and humanely as possible. Animals are a major component of both indigenous cultures and permaculture systems around the world, and when done properly, animal systems enhance and support the agroecosystem in countless ways. So we want any vegan who takes the course to be fully aware that this is the case for us. That being said, we welcome vegans and vegetarians and people of all dietary choices and always maintain a very respectful atmosphere in the course for different dietary choices. Although we have had some people decide not to take our course because it conflicted with their vegan ethics, every vegan who has taken our course has had a great experience.
Do black lives matter?
You're goddamn right they do! We support Black Lives Matter. For the most part we keep discussions of politics outside the realm of this course except where it pertains to permaculture directly. But we believe there is nothing political about saying that black lives matter, because they do.
Is this a safe space for LGBT people?
Absolutely! We welcome all genders and sexual orientations and will not tolerate hate, racism, sexism, or discrimination of any kind at our farm or in the course.
How do I register?
To register, you will need to pay a 10% deposit to secure your place in the course, which can be done at the eventbrite page for the course. The remainder of the course tuition is paid in person when the course begins. Please also feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the course. Deposits are non-refundable unless the course is cancelled, in which case you will be fully refunded for any deposits made.