2020 Winter/Spring Weekend Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
When: February 15 - May 10, 2020
Time: 9 am - 5 pm
Cost: $585 - Early Bird Discount Price for Registration on or before Jan 1, 2020
$675 - Full Price for Registration after
Jan 1, 2020
Recommended Ages: 18+
*UPDATE 1/1/20* Unfortunately the course filled in record time this year, and there are no more spots available. Stay tuned for our next Winter/Spring 2021 PDC course. There's also a small chance we might hold another course this Summer/Fall if there's enough interest, so if you would be interested in a course at that time, please contact us and let us know!
Come join us for our 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. Participants will have the opportunity to design their own site or a site affiliated with a project they are involved in as part of this final design project.
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 six weekends with classes. The course will take place on the following weekends: Feb 15 - 16, Feb 29 - Mar 1, Mar 14 - 15, Mar 28 - 29, April 11 - 12, April 25 - 26, and May 9. 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 snacks for breaks.
The cost of the course is $585 per person for early bird registrations before Jan 1, and $675 per person for registrations after Jan 1. 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 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; 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. So for any classes you do miss, it's your responsibility to go over any of the material in the google drive folder and generally do what you can to make sure you have an understanding of the topics you missed. Our policy is that to receive your design certificate, you must (A) take part in the final group design project, and (B) not miss more than four days of classes. If you do miss more than four days of classes or don't participate in the final design, you can't receive your certificate, but you are still welcome to attend the rest of the course and take part in all course activities. Additionally, 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. Some people who live a little further may find that it makes more sense for them to stay somewhere locally 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.
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 of all ages. We have had students as young as 19 and students 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 many permaculture systems around the world, in which they can enhance and support the agroecosystem. 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.
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. 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.