What is the Permaculture Design Certificate?
This document is awarded to those who attend all module sessions of the design course and who successfully complete a design project.
The certificate gives the holder the right to use the word “permaculture” in a business practice. It is a requirement to further training in permaculture design such as the two-year diploma program and Advanced Permaculture Design courses. The design course is the first step in becoming a professional permaculture practitioner whether in design consultancy, education, construction or other fields.
What if I have to miss a module?
You have a few options: You can make it up the next year with Plenty Permaculture; you can possibly make it up with another permaculture teaching organisation in the same year, APW and Waikato are the closest. To get a sense of what was covered, you can come watch any video footage of the day on the office computer and take notes but we’ll still need you to attend the day in the future.
What if the course has already started?
Although the year starts out in April with Permaculture Fundamentals and is designed to be done in order, you can actually start at any time. Whenever you decide to start, you’ll be supported by the team and given study materials to get you up to speed. Any module you have missed you can catch up in the next year’s program. The downside is that you will miss graduating with your group. The upside is you’ll meet two groups of people!
What does the Permaculture Design Course cover?
The gem that permaculture has to offer the world is it’s design process, covered in Module 2. It starts with observation of both the people involved and the landscape, moves through concept planning to detailed designs to intentful action, all along maintaining the careful use of resources and a respectful approach to life. You’ll have lots of opportunities to practice this process and it’ll be second nature to you by the year’s end.
The additional curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects. This course will not make you an expert in any of them. The course will introduce you to the relationships and synergies among the disciplines that permacultre connects. Then, after the course, you can go into whatever depth you desire in your area of interest.
Who should take this course?
Design professionals can add new qualifications to their CV’s. Their designs tend to use fewer resources, work more efficiently, and are easier to maintain.
Homeowners and gardeners learn to increase the value and productivity of their property and to create home and land environments that better support their own needs as well as nature’s.
Teachers can bring permacuture to their students in school garden design and integrate permaculture into their curriculum.
Real estate, construction and development professionals are better able to address the public’s growing concern for the environment and to reduce resource use and impacts.
Energy, water and waste-system workers will learn holistic management strategies for integrating their projects into the larger community.
Most participants find exposure to the year long permaculture course life-changing. They report seeing things in a new way and may form lasting, enjoyable and supportive relationships.
How is the course presented?
Plenty Permaculture offers the 72 hour international curriculum over 12 Saturdays.
The course is adapted to a wide range of learning styles and is presented via lecture, slide shows, video, group discussion, individual and group exercises, skills workshops and field trips. Classes run from 9am to 4:30 – 5pm. Each module will have at least one hands on practical skill session or a field trip to a permaculture property. One or two modules may require getting up early and carpooling to somewhere like Whakatane, extending the day to 7am-7pm.
Each module builds on the knowledge gained from earlier modules. We will revisit topics presented earlier from a broader perspective at each pass. This not only reinforces the subjects and makes learning easier, but it shows how each subject is related to the others. By the end of the course, this whole-systems approach will give you the regenerative tools to let you design or redesign your garden, your house, your livelihood, relationships and community. Click here for a printable course overview.
What is the time commitment?
The course starts in April and ends in March the next year. If your time is quite tight, you could consider doing the course over 2 years.
Each module, we give you about 3-5 hours worth of material to read/watch/listen to. If you don’t get to them all before the module, it’s no matter, you can get to them when you have time. However, we do find that the more you can expose yourself to the concepts and language of permaculture before the day, the deeper the conversation on the module day can go.
Although 20 hours is a minimum for the individual project, most people find they get into their project and stop keeping track of the hours. We just say “20 hours” to give you a sense of the scale, but really, it’s not about the hours, now is it?
What can I expect the work load to be?
Two weeks before each module, you will receive an email with links, podcasts, and articles. On average, you will want three hours to read, watch and listen to them all. The items will be listed in order of importance and impact, so you can make your way down the list as you find time. One of the benefits of a year long module course is there is the time to explore, repeat, ponder and let the deeper understandings envelope you anytime during the year and beyond.
Can I attend without earning a Certificate?
Casual attendance is welcome for those who do not want to earn a certificate. Each module stands on its own, while being related to the whole. As long as space is available, you are welcome to come along and learn from our expert presenters. You will receive the same reading material and links to view beforehand. See our fees page for costs. If you start by attending casually and then decide you want to join the year long program and earn your certificate, an additional fee of $100 will be required to cover design project mentorship fees.
From where does the course material come?
Our course, like all PDC courses world wide are based on Bill Mollison’s classic “Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual” It’s a great book, however many people find it dense and a bit hard to read. There are many more recent books, blogs and DVDs that are easier to follow based on Bill’s and David Holmgren’s pioneering permaculture ideas and solutions. We include the best and most engaging of these in your study materials on module days. We have different presenters for each module, experts in their fields. As we design the day with them, we ask for recommendations of books, articles and links. Often the presenters make their original power point presentations available after the module.
What is the design project?
It is your chance to apply what you have learned to a real life project. It encapsulates and summarizes what you have learned in the course, and is presented on the final module. It gives you a chance to work on a real design meaningful to you- your own property, your local park, a family property, an educational program at your school, for instance.
You may already have a specific project for which you want to design. If not, you’ll want to be thinking about possibilities for your project early on in the course. Many people do our course in order to create a great design for their own property. We are all in favour of that, however, we recommend that if you want to do that, you’ll need to do an extra step and demonstrate your ability to interview clients. If your first project has you as both the client and the designer, you miss out on this critical learning. The interview skills we go over thoroughly in Module 2.
We’ll ask you to present your possible project ideas for approval halfway through the program. Expect to spend a minimum of 20 hours on the project over the year. There is a 1-2 month gap over Christmas and January each year when most participants do the bulk of their projects.
FYI, you don’t have to design by yourself if you’d prefer to design with your partner or as part of a team. You’ll have 15-30 minutes to present your design on graduation day. If you are not comfortable presenting in front of a group, you may present your design to Neville and Catherine privately. Note – this is purely a project in designing, implementation is not required to earn your certificate.
Designs have been presented as power points, video, hand drawn on paper or plastic or transparency paper, models in wood, play dough, and other materials.
Fees and Internships
Fees cover the tuition for the 12 modules, access to our extensive permaculture library, and project tutorials. Fees do not cover petrol to field trips, project supplies, lunch or any books you may choose to purchase. If cost is a barrier to you please send us your CV and a list of your skills. We can then to explore how fees can be offset through other physical and intellectual contributions. We have found that 3 half and 1 full “scholarship” work well to support the year long course. Click here to find out more.
Classroom Facility, Breaks and Lunch
Our base classroom is a comfortable, passive solar design structure on our property in Whakamarama, surrounded by ten acres of gardens, pasture and woodland. We take a field trip on each module , some right up the road, some as far away as Whakatane or Papamoa.
We plan for two 20 minute tea breaks and 40 minutes for lunch. Many people choose to bring a plate to share and others a bagged lunch. A kitchen is available with tea, coffee, milk, a refridgerator, stove and oven.
Who are the tutors?
Please cruise our team page to find out more about our presenters. We prefer to work with permaculturalists and experts who live in the BOP and are available to be of help to you after the module is over. We look for people who are passionate about the subject, knowledgable and are engaging in front of a group.
What do participants say about the course?
“Today was well presented and I made lots of good contacts.”
“Amazing – the start of a new journey.”
“The course material was thorough and easy to understand.”
“Enlightening, exciting, informative.”
“What I liked most about the day was sharing lunch, class interactions, working in small groups and presenting our results to the rest of the group.”
“It was good that the presenters and hosts were passionate about their topics and their homes, and were willing to share their experiences, good and bad.”
“This was a very enjoyable day and a wonderful opportunity to share real life experiences with like-minded people who are putting Permaculture principles into practice. It was interesting to see and discuss the benefits of incorporating animals into their developing Permaculture type environments and how they fit into the flow of inputs and outputs within the Permaculture system. Also to discuss how to encourage beneficial insects and other organisms and discourage the uninvited ones! All the hosts were informative and personable hosts.”
“What worked about today was seeing people living the dream of self-sustainability and learning from the exposure.”