Permaculture Design Course


Updated May 23rd, 2018.

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”

(Bill Mollison – Founder of Permaculture)

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) is based on the teachings of Bill Mollison, who, along with David Holmgren, pioneered the Permaculture movement in the 197os. The word Permaculture derives from two words: ‘permanence’ and ‘agriculture’, which together mean to create a sustainable and regenerative environment that will last for generations. Instead of working against nature, Permaculture utilises and copies the patterns observed in natural eco-systems to design the most efficient and sustainable social and agricultural systems. Within these systems, there is little waste and no damage to the natural environment, which includes all of the people, animals and plants in it! In Permaculture, humans are not seen as separate to the environment, but are very much a part of it.

As Mollison said when asked how he would explain Permaculture to a child, ” it is an attempt to build a good place to live.” A concept which seems so simple, yet somehow, looking at how many people live in poverty around the world, we are getting so wrong these days.

The movement came about as an alternative to destructive and damaging forms of modern farming that cause starvation, disease and death to so many people and creatures who have been unlucky to be born on the wrong side of the world. Permaculture is not only about growing your own food, but creating efficient social systems and empowering yourself with knowledge and gaining freedom from financial burdens and restrictive political and cultural systems that exist in today’s society.

Permaculture Design Course with teacher Rico Zook in Goa, India, 2015.

Contents of a 72-Hour Permaculture Design Course

The course is is based on three ethics outlined in Mollison’s first book, Permaculture One:

  • Earth care – protection of the living soil.
  • People care – looking after self, family and the wider community.
  • Fair share – sharing what we don’t need with others.

The course is a mixture of theory taught in the classroom and hands on practical learning which will consist of traditional lectures, guest presentations, group discussions, games, exercises, photo shows, and movies. As well as designing landscapes, there will be a lot of discussion about ‘invisible structures’ of society, those social, cultural, political, and economic structures that shape much of our world today

During the course you will get involved in a hands-on project, such as:

Greywater system construction, sheet mulching, compost pile building, spiral garden construction, solar hot water construction, seed ball making, harvesting Indigenous Micro‐Organisms (IMOs), i.e. local EMs, making bio‐preparations, natural organic pesticides and fertilisers, building a worm box, building a floating garden, roof top garden, building hanging planters with bamboo or plastic pipes, A‐frame construction, swale and/or terrace design and site mapping.

PDC students hard at work, making a grey water mulch pit in Arambol, Goa.

During the latter part of the course, in groups, the students will complete a real life design project of their own which is related to the site, and present their project to the rest of the group. This is where all of the knowledge that you have absorbed on the course is put into action and you see how much you have learnt!

The PDC certificate will provide you with enough knowledge to be able to practise as a Permaculture practitioner.

PDC Presentation of design project.

Where can you take a Permaculture Course in Asia?

The following organisations have Permaculture courses running regularly. There are also organisations where you can volunteer. Check out their websites for more info:


  • Auroville
  • Sadhana Forest
  • Mindful Farm
  • Aranya Agricultural Alternatives


  • Woven Earth


  • Green Warrior Permaculture


  • Murujan


  • The Green School
  • IDEP
  • The Kul Kul Farm


  • The SAE LAO Project


  • The Panya Project
  • Pun Pun Center for Self Reliance
  • Mindfulness Project
  • Rak Tamachat


  • Ockenden
  • Green Gecko
  • ABCs and Rice

Rico Zook and Itinerant Permaculture

At the moment, we’re working with leading Permaculture designer, consultant and educator, Rico Zook, from the Itinerant Permaculture, who has over 20 years experience working in different climates and with different cultures all over the world. When he isn’t in his home base of Darjeeling in northern India, Rico travels for most of the year, teaching PDCs and offering workshops to individuals, NGOs, farmers villages and local organisations as well as being one of the main creators of the International Permaculture Convergence. He has also worked with many indigenous cultures to help them to preserve important traditions, whist using modern technology to adapt to the rapidly globalising world.

With degrees in Environmental Studies, Biology and Philosophy, as well as being a founding member of Permaculture Design International (PDI), Rico has been involved in a variety of projects, from being land manager for the Lama Foundation, a spiritual community and retreat centre North of Taos, New Mexico, to conducting trainings for Khmer farmers in Cambodia, to building a university, a healing centre, a children’s camp, and a wetlands construction for wildlife in South India!

If you’re interested in taking a Permaculture Design Course with Rico Zook and absorbing some of his deep knowledge about Permaculture, you can find him at the following courses:

Check out his website for updates to his schedule: I-PERMACULTURE.

Rico’s Next Permaculture Design Courses:

  • 2nd March – 19th March – 2nd Annual Jungle Dance PDC, Arambol, Goa, India.

  • 27th May-11th June 2017 – Mid-Atlantic PDC, Cricket Cove Farm, Virginia, USA.

  • Late September 2017 – Advanced Permaculture Design and Nature Connectedness, Mas Pujou, Olot, Spain, with Kate Curtis and Roman Eisenkobl.

  • 7th to 14th October 2017 – Permaculture Teacher Training with Jude Hobbs and Rico Zook, La Loma Viva, Granada, Spain.

  • 24th to 31st October 2017 – International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) Permaculture Teacher Training with Jude Hobbs, Robyn Francis and Rico Zook, Hyderabad, India.

  • 3rd to 22nd November 2017 – Pre-IPC PDC with Robyn Francis, Rico Zook, Govinda Sharma, Clea Chandmal, Jude Hobbs, and others in Hyderabad, India. (*This is a completely new expanded format PDC!)

  • 25th & 26thNovember 2017 – International Permaculture Conference, Hyderabad, India.

  • 27th November to 1st December – International Permaculture Convergence, outside of Hyderabad, India.

  • 12th to 29th December – 15th Annual PDC, Mineral Springs, Darjeeling, India.

  • 3rd to 19th January – 3rd Annual Jungle Dance PDC, Arambol, Goa, India.

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