What is a Permaculture Design Course?
“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
(Bill Mollison – Founder of Permaculture)
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. 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 1970s.
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.
What will you learn on a 72-Hour Permaculture Design Course?
The 10-day course 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, rooftop garden, building hanging planters with bamboo or plastic pipes
- A‐frame construction.
- Swale and/or terrace design.
- Site Mapping.
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! This is known as your Permaculture ‘Master Plan’.
The PDC certificate will provide you with enough knowledge to be able to practise as a Permaculture practitioner.
Where can you take a Permaculture Design Course in Asia?
The following organisations have Permaculture courses running regularly. Check out their websites for more info:
- The Panya Project
- Pun Pun Center for Self Reliance
- Mindfulness Project
- Rak Tamachat (We recently visited Rak Tamachat to review their 72-Hour Permaculture Design Course and Natural Building Course. You can read our daily diaries of the course here.
- Sadhana Forest
- Mindful Farm
- Aranya Agricultural Alternatives
- Itinerant Permaculture – Rico Zook (Read more about Rico here!)
- Woven Earth
- Green Warrior Permaculture
- JIWA DAMAI
- The Green School
- The Kul Kul Farm
- The SAE LAO Project
- Green Gecko
- ABCs and Rice