9 In-Person Permaculture Courses: Become a Pro!

Permaculture isn’t just a method; it’s a lifestyle, intricately weaving people with the rhythm of the land. If you’ve landed here, you’re probably searching for more than just digital insights. While online resources are abundant, there’s something special about hands-on learning, feeling the pulse of the earth, and connecting with like-minded enthusiasts face-to-face.

To guide your journey, we’ve ventured across eco-communities, gathered feedback, and visited sustainable strongholds to curate a list of nine standout in-person courses. Eager to step into a world of sustainable living and ecological design? Let’s dig in!

1. Permaculture Design Certificate Course by Wild Abundance

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Wild Abundance is a transformative experience set in the thriving 28-year-old Earthaven Ecovillage. Students don’t just learn; they immerse themselves in a real-world permaculture environment.

pdc course at wild abundance
Image credit: Wild Abundance

This course stands out, not only for its hands-on approach but also for its instructors, all of whom integrate permaculture seamlessly into their lives, offering invaluable insights. Over 14 days, the course goes beyond traditional learning, with Earthaven serving as a live example of sustainable infrastructure, governance, and socio-economic practices.

Shared mealtimes foster deep connections among participants, making the experience even richer. Following the Permaculture Institute of North America’s (PINA) curriculum, the course also introduces region-specific considerations and emphasizes community applications.

For those considering staying at Earthaven, on-site accommodation is recommended to maximize the learning and bonding experience, with camping included in the tuition and indoor options available for an extra fee. Note: Earthaven has a no-pet policy.

  • Location: Earthaven Ecovillage, near Asheville, NC
  • Course Duration: 14 days
  • Cost: $1,650 – $3,300

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

2. Regenerative Land Management Diploma Program by Earth Activist Training

The Regenerative Land Management (RLM) program, presented by Earth Activist Training, is a holistic and intensive multi-year advanced permaculture diploma. Focused on equipping students with regenerative skills, RLM is perfect for those aiming to heal the earth, construct urban gardens, or champion sustainable farmland initiatives, ensuring not just an environmental contribution but also a sustainable livelihood.

Distinctive features of the RLM diploma include:

  1. Course Structure: Combines five core online courses with a singular in-person Restoration Intensive, supplemented by tailored applied learning projects.
  2. Focused Guidance: Each student is paired with a dedicated Field Advisor, ensuring personalized mentoring throughout the journey.
  3. Collaborative Learning: Students become part of a supportive cohort, fostering community, sharing resources, and reinforcing solidarity.
  4. Practical Application: Emphasis on real-world projects ensures students create three in-depth land management plans.
  5. Accreditation: Graduates are awarded the Regenerative Land Management diploma, accredited by the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA).

The program’s immersive nature spreads over a minimum of 2 years, although many choose a 3 to 4-year pace. The “Five axes of learning” methodology guarantees comprehensive coverage, from coursework and mentorship to peer support and hands-on experience, resulting in three detailed designs and a robust portfolio.

  • Location: Both Virtual and at Cazadero, California.
  • Course Duration: 2 years
  • Cost: $2545/year for the first 2 years and $800/ year after year 2.

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

3. Permaculture Design Course by Midwest Permaculture

Permaculture Design Course by Midwest Permaculture is a 72-hour online or on-site course that teaches the core curriculum of permaculture design principles and practices.

The course covers topics such as water harvesting, soil building, food production, natural building, renewable energy, social justice, and more.

The course also includes guest lectures, videos, quizzes, and a final design project. The course is suitable for anyone who wants to learn how to design and implement sustainable and regenerative systems for themselves and their communities.

The course details are as follows:

  • Location: Stelle, IL, and other locations around the Midwest
  • Duration: 72-Hours online and 8 Days on site
  • Cost: $1595 inclusive of meals and camping (8 days).

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

4. Permaculture Design Certificate Course by Zaytuna Farm

The 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course by Zaytuna Farm allows you to be the change you want to see in the world. Based on Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Designers’ Manual, it provides skills and solid knowledge in Permaculture design as a science that can create abundant ecosystems sustainably in the backyard, a small farm or on a larger broad acre landscape.

Tents at zaytuna farm
Image credit: Zaytuna

The course teaches you how to design sustainable living systems for a wide variety of landscapes and climates. It includes the application of Permaculture principles to food production, home design, construction, energy conservation and generation, and explores alternative economic structures and legal strategies supporting permaculture solutions.

You will be taught by world-class teachers including Geoff Lawton. You will not find a better teacher than Geoff and he is supported by highly active and engaging staff, most of which live and teach alongside Geoff and Nadia at Zaytuna Farm.

Zaytuna Farm is Geoff and Nadia’s home. Permaculture is their life. They are farmers, teachers, and designers who actively pursue positive change in this world within their everyday lives and they are willing and able to share that with you for a more resilient future.

  • Location: 20km outside of Lismore in New South Wales, Australia.
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Cost: $3000. Save $200 if you pay for the course 21 days in advance.

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

5. Permaculture Design Course by danyadara

Step into Suryalila’s immersive three-week accredited permaculture design program, perfectly marrying garden-based hands-on learning with essential classroom discussions. Here, modern concepts like syntropic farming and agroforestry are brought to life, ensuring participants are well-equipped for the evolving landscape of sustainable agriculture.

But Suryalila offers more than just permaculture wisdom:

  • Yoga and Meditation: Daily sessions, expertly curated, ranging from dynamic Vinyasa flows to tranquil Restorative poses, all set in Suryalila’s serene yoga spaces.
  • Cultural Exploration: Dive into the local region with excursions like scenic hikes on preserved Roman roads or trips to the El Bosque River. You’ll also visit grassroots regenerative projects making a tangible impact in the community.
  • Nutritional Delights: Relish three daily organic vegetarian buffets, showcasing fresh and seasonal produce, much of which is sourced directly from the garden. A variety of fruits and beverages are continually available for attendees.
  • Community and Support: Suryalila isn’t just a learning hub; it’s a family. Here, participants are enveloped in a global community that champions creativity, positivity, and mutual respect.

Amidst this nurturing environment, students not only gain permaculture expertise but also experience holistic rejuvenation, courtesy of Suryalila’s multifaceted offerings.

  • Location: Andalusia, Spain
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Cost: From €1680

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

6. Permaculture Design Certificate Course by Finca Tierra

Discover the art of sustainable living at Finca Tierra, a tropical food forest oasis that promises not just knowledge, but a comprehensive experience. As you embark on their 72-hour international standard permaculture certificate course, delve deep into ecological design’s intricacies, with a spotlight on perennial woody polyculture food systems.

finca tierra permaculture course

Key features of Finca Tierra’s course include:

  • Practical Emphasis: While many courses stay rooted in theory, Finca Tierra ensures students grasp real-world scenarios within its vibrant food forest. A significant portion is allocated to hands-on learning, ensuring skills are not just acquired but mastered.
  • Universally Applicable Techniques: Learn strategies and methods that are adaptable across diverse climates, empowering you with truly global expertise.
  • Unique Learning Environment: Experience daily interactions with mature systems, allowing for genuine understanding. Stay in eco-friendly accommodations and savor meals directly harvested from their farm and neighboring organic cultivators.
  • Balanced Curriculum: Your days are meticulously planned – mornings are reserved for on-field practical work, while afternoons transition into insightful lectures.
  • Comprehensive Certification: Upon concluding the course, students are awarded the Permaculture Design Certificate, acknowledging their proficiency.

This course isn’t merely about acquiring knowledge; it’s about preparing visionaries who can design, implement, and manage sustainable ecosystems, with an emphasis on hands-on experience and practical skills.

  • Location: Costa Rica
  • Duration: 72 hours.
  • Cost: From $1850

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

7. Permaculture Design Certificate by Findorn Foundation

At the heart of Findhorn PDC lies the essence of community-driven permaculture. This two-week certification journey adheres to Bill Mollison’s robust curriculum, but what sets it apart is its unique partnership with a registered Scotland Centre – the enchanting barrel house, a testament to sustainable architecture fashioned from a repurposed whisky barrel.

Course Highlights:

  • Unique Venue: Learn within the embrace of an eco-home like no other, surrounded by a lush permaculture garden, a testament to human ingenuity and nature’s bounty.
  • Dynamic Curriculum: Beyond the core 72-hour program, attendees benefit from evening sessions and insights from guest speakers, enhancing the course’s depth.
  • Multifaceted Learning: Findhorn PDC’s pedagogical blend ensures engagement of the heart, mind, and hands. Expect a mix of theory, hands-on practical work, group tasks, enlightening site tours, interactive games, and moments for reflection.
  • Living Lab: Within Findhorn, participants are not just learners but observers. Witness permaculture principles unfold in real-time, gaining insights into how they shape systems and influence the evolution of a living ecosystem.

Guided by Craig Gibson and Maria Cooper, this course invites you to not just study permaculture but to immerse in its transformative powers, especially when driven by a sense of community.

  • Location: Cluny Hill, United Kingdom
  • Duration: 2 weeks (72 hours minimum)
  • Cost: From €1,600

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

8. Permaculture Design Certificate Course by Crystal Waters Co-operative

The PDC Permaculture Course at Crystal Waters stands as a beacon of excellence, boasting presenters with significant expertise in areas like Sustainable Agriculture, Organics, and Design Principles. Esteemed educators such as Robin Clayfield and Annaliese Hordern, accompanied by a curated selection of guest experts, facilitate this educational journey.

Crystal Waters, established over 35 years ago, exemplifies permaculture design in action. Spanning 640 acres at the Mary River’s genesis, it provides a haven for over 250 residents across 83 unique properties, set against a backdrop rich in flora and fauna. The Village Green enlivens the community spirit, hosting events and markets that foster connection and collaboration.

For those attending, the Ecopark camping site ensures a tranquil stay, positioning them close to the heart of the learning. The curriculum offers students the privilege of visiting local permaculture-adopted properties, enriching their knowledge with real-life anecdotes from land stewards.

Throughout the two-week course, participants are introduced to the foundational tenets of permaculture, tracing back to its roots established by pioneers Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Their groundbreaking principles and techniques serve as the guiding framework for this transformative course.

  • Location: Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, Australia
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $2350

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

9. Permaculture Design Certification Course at UBC farm

The internationally recognized Permaculture Design course presented by the Conscious Design Collective and supported by the UBC Farm offers participants an intricate understanding of sustainable design principles suitable for both urban and rural environments.

Participants will engage with a number of topics, from understanding the very ethos of permaculture to mastering the intricacies of water systems, soil enhancement, and productive harvest planning.

There’s a comprehensive exploration into incorporating animals into varied settings, the arts of edible landscaping, and the science behind integrated pest control. The course extends its reach into energy-efficient designs for communities and homes, ensuring a balance between the environment and economics.

Moreover, drafting techniques, both manual and digital, are paired with the nuances of community consultations and participatory design processes. Advanced horticultural practices, strategies for resilience, the beauty of sacred space design, and the wonders of medicinal plants and foraging are also woven into the curriculum.

With an emphasis on Experiential Education, the course ensures participants are actively involved, fostering an environment where learning is deeply reflective and tailored to individual goals. The program’s comprehensive and intensive nature promises a challenging yet immensely rewarding journey for all attendees.

  • Location: University of British Columbia Farm in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Duration: 15 days spanning 3-4 months
  • Cost: From $900

For more info on dates and booking check their website.

Final Word

The value of in-person courses remains unparalleled. The direct interaction, the tangible experience, and the organic networking opportunities are facets of learning that virtual platforms can’t replicate. Although there is value in online permaculture courses, by participating face-to-face, you not only gain knowledge but also build relationships and observe nuances that can often be missed online. While online courses offer convenience, there’s an undeniable magic in being physically present, where every sense is engaged in the learning process. For those considering taking an in-person course, remember that the journey is as enriching as the knowledge itself. It’s an investment in your personal and professional growth. Embrace the opportunity, connect with peers, ask questions, and relish the shared experience. After all, learning isn’t just about absorbing information—it’s about building community, understanding different perspectives, and forging bonds that last a lifetime. So, take that step, invest in yourself, and trust that the experiences gained in person will resonate and enrich your life in ways you hadn’t anticipated.