What is a 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 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’s based on the foundational ethics and principles of permaculture. It then starts with observation of both the people involved and the landscape. It 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 course will introduce you to the broad synergies between: Design, climate, water, landscape, soils, trees & plants, garden design, structures, renewable energy, resiliency and social permaculture. However, it will not make you an expert in any of these disciplines. Along the way and after the course, you are primed to go into whatever depth you desire in your area of interest.
Who is this course for?
The course is for adults interested in living a more intentionally designed lifestyle including new property owners whether in the country or city, renters who want to be empowered now or might one day own, life stylers, gardeners, landscapers, teachers and community leaders.
Design professionals can add new qualifications to their CV’s.
Home owners 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.
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 with a more detailed 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 about time commitment and work load?
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.
Two weeks before each module, we give you about 3-5 hours worth of links, podcasts, and articles. They are listed in terms of importance for the day, so 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. And one of the benefits of a year long module course is there is the time to explore, repeat, ponder and let the deeper understandings take hold of you during the year and beyond.
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 are the dates for the 2018-19 Course?
The modules days are always a Saturday. We try to avoid major holidays, schedule at the beginning or end of school holidays and avoid new and full moons which tend to have more wet weather. Here are the dates:
2018: 21 April, 26 May, 16 June, 14 July, 25 Aug, 15 Sep, 13 Oct, 10 Nov, 8 Dec 2019: 26 Jan, 23 Feb, 30 March
What are the remaining dates for the 2017-18 Course?
2017: 25 November 2018: 27 January, 24 February, 24 March
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 full day in the future.
What if the course has already started?
Although the year starts out in April with Foundation of Permaculture and is designed to be done in order, you can actually start at any time if space allows. 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!
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, there may be an additional $100 fee to cover design project mentorship fees.
From where does the course material come?
Permaculture Design Certificate courses (PDC) vary by country and by region. This is because permaculture is a general theory that is designed to be adapted to local environments. The Plenty Permaculture PDC course is weighted for the BOP climate /soils. Our course, like many 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 local presenters for each module, experts in their fields.
Plenty Permaculture Certification
Catherine Dunton-McLeod has earned her PINZ Affiliated Teacher status from New Zealand’s national association, Permaculture in New Zealand, PiNZ.
Find out more about rest of the tutors on our tutor page.
What is the design project?
It is your chance to apply what you have learned to a real life project. It encapsulates what you have learned in the course, and is presented on the final module day. 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’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.
You don’t have to design your first by yourself. You are welcome to design with your partner or as part of a team. You’ll have 15-20 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, inspiring study materials, useful reference links, handouts for each module, access to our extensive permaculture library, mentorship for your design project, a certificate suitable for displaying, membership to an active PP graduates Facebook page, and the chance to make lasting, and supportive relationships with other permaculturalists in your region.
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 offer 4 internships each year. We also offer one full scholarship for a young person 18-25. 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, Tauranga, surrounded by ten acres of gardens, pasture and woodland. We take many field trips, 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. Most 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 tutors 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?
“Amazing – the start of a new journey.”
“The course material was thorough and easy to understand.”
“Enlightening, exciting, informative.”
“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.”
“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.”