2024 Winter/Spring Weekend
Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
When: Jan - Apr 2024
Time: 9 am - 5 pm
Recommended Ages: 18+
Come join us for our seventh annual 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
the ethics of permaculture and how it informs what we do in designs
permaculture design principles and how to apply them
design process: a detailed run-though of the design process used in permaculture, including 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
no-spray knowledge: learn which fruit trees and berries grow well here and which do not; 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 manage water in the landscape
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; how to design silvopasture systems and other regenerative integrated animal systems
natural building: learn different methods of 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
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. Participants will have the opportunity to have their site designed by other students in the class.
Classes will be held 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 seven weekends with classes, including one snow makeup weekend built into the course. The exact dates of each weekend should be announced by late summer 2023. Students are expected to eat breakfast and dinner before and after class. Lunches will be potluck style with each person bringing a dish and sharing with the group. Hundred Fruit Farm will also provide provide tea, coffee, and occasionally snacks for breaks.
The cost of the course is $950 per person. 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. Low on funds but have lots of spare time on your hands? We also offer PDC tuition reimbursement for anyone who completes an internship or apprenticeship program 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 will be the primary instructor and facilitator 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; Michael Green; Sara Wuerstle from Guilda Permaculture; and Jason Gerhardt from the Permaculture Institute. Guest teacher pictures and bios will be added below as they are confirmed for the course. Usually there are about four or five other guest teachers in every 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. Adam previously helped manage the Panya Project, a permaculture educator center in Thailand, and 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 creating permaculture systems that maximize agricultural productivity, increase ecological resilience, and revitalize degraded suburban landscapes. Check out Adam's full bio here.
As a teacher, Michael's passion is with all things education. Michael spends his weekdays continuing his work as an educator in the alternative school setting where he has been working to redesign the classroom, through a permaculture lens, 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.
With over 15 years of experience, Sara has developed a highly integrated understanding of regenerative systems at any scale. A Bucks County native and resident who has worked internationally with leading permaculture practitioners, including facilitating more than two dozen PDC courses and trainings worldwide. She spent 5 years as the lead designer for a Bay Area Permaculture design, installation and maintenance firm, where she fine-tuned her skills in flood, drought and wildfire mitigation. Most recently, she co-founded GUILDA Permaculture with Eunice Neves to tackle broader global challenges through collaboration with policy-makers, community groups and businesses.
Jason serves as Director of the Permaculture Institute Inc. and is sought out for his design and education approach that equips people to lead in their own communities. For nearly two decades, Jason has professionally applied ecological design in diverse environments from the hyper-arid US Southwest to underserved neighborhoods in North St. Louis to a refugee community in Central America. Jason’s portfolio includes higher education campus planning, regenerative agriculture site development, organizational strategizing, food justice initiatives, and extensive work with conservation organizations. Jason has taught thousands of students for Naropa University, University of Colorado, and the US EPA, among dozens of other institutions.
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. To receive your certificate, you must attend at least 75% of the sessions and take part in the final design projects and presentations. If a student is unable to be part of the final design presentations, we will work with that student to schedule an online design presentation via zoom. Anyone who drops out or fails to complete the course can re-take any future PDC course with us again at 50% cost.
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. Usually for winter/spring courses, airbnb is the best option, and for summer/fall courses, camping is usually much cheaper.
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 LGBTQ people?
Absolutely! We welcome all gender expressions 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 20% deposit to secure your place in the course, which can be done by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 you cancel at least 60 days before the course starts, or if the course is cancelled by us, in which case you will be fully refunded for any deposits made.
Please note that this course usually fills very quickly every year, sometimes in only a few weeks once we make the course live. So don't delay if you are thinking of signing up, because the course may be full by the time you get around the registering later.