Permaculture Design Certificate Curriculum

The Transformative Adventures Curriculum for the PDC is compatible and true to the original Mollisonian PRI curriculum, but includes a practicum component that prepares the students with pug-and-play turn-key business models they can use to start up their own local regenerative enterprises. This includes two components, the Classroom component and a practicum or lab, the Landscape Transformation Program.

PDC Module Curriculum:

Introduction to Permaculture:

Ethics and Principles, a comparative approach.

Concepts and Themes in Design

Methods of Design

Pattern Understanding

Climatic Factors and Design

Trees and Their Energy Transactions

Water in the Landscape


Eathworks and Earth Resources


Social Permaculture and Strategies for an Alternative Global Nation

EXTRAS in Social Permaculture, Financial Permaculture, and Regenerative Enterprise

Detailed Curriculum:

Day 1: Introduction to Permaculture

• Human past, present and future Permaculture design philosophy. Holistic thinking. • Key problems: Soil erosion, Deforestation, Pollution, Carbon, Climate and Consumption

• Ethics of Permaculture – Earth care, People care, Return of surplus

Comparing the “3rd ethic,” different perspecitves.)

• Definitions of Permaculture. Sustainability outcomes. History of Permaculture.

• Permanent culture. Urban Permaculture. Permaculture and City repair.

• Permaculture aid work. The Peraculture Master Plan.

• Permaculture in society.

• Permaculture as an holistic design

Example of a Permaculture System: Exploring and Analyzing Lillie House Design. 

Day 2: Concepts & Themes in Design (Approx. 4hrs ) • Sustainable systems • Hierarchy of soil creation in natural systems • Permaculture is primarily a design for a sustainable, human-controlled support systems. • The Prime Directive of Permaculture: Nature is the “super-client” • Principles of natural systems and design. Elements -needs and products • Guiding principles of permaculture design • The web of life and net of functional relationships of designed ecosystems. • Entropy extension • Energy capture within • Categories of resources and their management • Diversity -Yield • Mollison and Holmgren Principles 

Chapter 3: Methods of Design (3 hrs) • Design emphasizes patterning of landscape, function, and species assemblies. • Approaches to design • Analysis of elements • Maps • Sector planning • Observational, Experiential • Zones, Sectors • Slope, Orientation • Putting it together- Listing possibilities • Selection of random assemblies-Connecting components in a system 

Day 3 Chapter 4: Pattern Understanding (4hrs) • Seeing pattern as valuable connections • Growth patterns and explosive patterns • Scale of orders of size • Edge events and pressure between media • Recognizing pattern

Chapter 5: Climate Factors 3hrs 35mins • Climate and classic landscape profiles • Climate Differences Temperate Tropical, Dry-lands, • Continental effect, Maritime effect, Rain shadow • Orographic effects • Climate analogues • Classic landscape profiles • Major landscapes Humid and Arid • Minor landscapes Volcanic, islands high and low, coasts, Flatlands, wetlands, estuaries • Ecosystems as climate moderators 

Day 4 Chapter 6: Trees and their Energy Transactions 1 hr • Wind, Rain • Types of forest • Role of fungi • Legumes as support species EXAMPLE OF ENERGY TRANSACTION ANALYSIS

Chapter 7: Water 3hrs • Water harvesting earthworks • Rechargeable water and non-rechargeable water • The duties of water in landscape design • Swales, Gabions, Limonias, Dams • Types of dams • Capturing water from hard surfaces 

Day 5: Chapter 8: Soils 4hrs  • Collapsing soil fertility, difficult soils • Understanding soil erosion as number one global problem • Understanding where and why soils are conserved or increased • Understanding pH acid/alkaline analysis and interpret the consequence • Role of Weeds as repair mechanisms • Compost and the decomposition cycle of humus creation • The function of the hair roots of plants feeding on minerals and structuring soil starch exchange.

 Chapter 9: Earthworking and Earth Resources 3hrs • Earthworks and earth resources • Terra-forming • Landscape restitution • Machines used in earthworks • Planning earthworks • Soil tests • Surveying and site pegging • Planting after earthworks • Slope measurements • Levels and leveling • A design for water harvesting earthworks 

Day 6 Chapter 10: Climate Design 4 hours • Climate comparisons -house design • Energy use • Aspect -Heating /Cooling • Waste systems • Garden design • Food Forest comparisons across climates • Main crop comparisons • Seasonal timing • Mulch and forage production • Small animals • Comparisons in zone 3 • Comparisons in farm forestry 

Chapter 11: Aquaculture 1 hr 35mins • Chain of life in water design • Selection of species • Self-foraging systems for fish • Pond sizes • Aquaponics

Day 7 Chapter 12: “The Strategies of an Alternate Global Nation 4 hours • Invisible structures • Establishing permaculture community groups • Bioregional resilience • Necessary legal structures • Formal and informal financial strategies. Trade • Village systems Community land development • Establishing not for proit Permaculture Institutes & Mollisonian “Invisible Structures”

Day 8: Social Permaculture and Design Discussion and Review 8 hours  • Review and case studies of social Permaculture structures around the world • Building effective social Polycultures • Financial Permaculture and Regenerative Enterprise  • 

Design Symposium and Public Presentation 



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