Permaculture Course


This 10 days Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course will open your heart and your mind to a new world by connecting human beings and nature together as one. The course plan, which is based on Bill Mollison’s book “Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual”, will give you an introduction to permaculture as a science that can give the opportunity to live a sustainable life. It will prepare you with the skills and techniques to apply permaculture designs in different settings and at different scales.

Course description

What is “permaculture?” In the 1970’s Bill Mollison and David Holmgren from Australia coined the word “permaculture” as a way to capture sustainable ecological designs that were aimed at “permanent + ag-riculture.” The term has since grown far beyond Australia and also beyond agriculture. Today, we can think of permaculture as “permanent + culture.”

Permaculture is a series of human design principles based on ecology. There are many lessons we can learn from natural systems and permaculture is an application of those principles to our human designs of landscape, food, living spaces and social struc-tures. Permaculture is also a practical response to resource scarcity and climate change.

In a world with a growing human population and decreasing natural resources (like fossil fuels, clean water, fresh fish etc.), permaculture design offers some practical suggestions for a sustainable lifestyle. The core ethics of permaculture are: Caring for the Earth, Caring for People, and Reinvesting in the Future (abbreviated Earth Care, People Care & Fair Share.)

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course brings together the people, land, resources and environment, by learning how to live all together in a sustainable and beneficial way for all. You will learn the ethics, principles and practices of permaculture designs and you will apply these to a practical setting. The ideal of permaculture is to look for more solutions than the “traditional ones” and can be applied in all climates, places and in any scale.

You will learn about agriculture, natural building, water harvesting, alternative energy, natural forests, waste management, animal systems, community development, designing your own real-world projects with an eye towards repairing, restoring and regenerating human ecosystems.

By the end of the course you will join the thousands of people who are a part of the permaculture community and who inspire the world to live a healthy and sustainable life by putting their knowledge into practice as teachers, designers, farmers or examples of an alternative option of life within their communities.

The place

The Permaculture Design Certificate will be held at Richmond Vale Academy Diving and Hiking Center (RVA), a school and community that encourage, teach and inspire sustainable living. On site, you will find the forest garden, a vegetable garden, chicken and pig farm, horses and a beautiful beach. The majority of the course will take place here.

RVA is a 3-complex building surrounded by beautiful green landscape. All the buildings and the Academy are being run by the community, the teachers and the students. We try to live in a sustainable way by producing as much as we can and anything we cannot produce, we try to buy as locally as possible.

At RVA you will find not only many examples of permaculture, but also community and sustainable living, and how a group of people with shared ideas can accomplish much more by being together. Here you will be able to find a garden that follows the permaculture guidance, full of vegetables such as a variety of lettuce, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes among many others.

At RVA, we also have the fruit forest where we also follow the Permaculture philosophy, and here, you will be able to find avocado, guava, passion fruit, starfruit and much more.

Course Outline

A typical day will consist of some lecture time, field observations, practical application, working on your own design, group discussions, and time for personal reflection. We will have movies and lectures in the evenings. The topics we cover during the 10 days will follow Mollison’s outline and cover topics like:

  • Principles and concepts of permaculture – The Design process
  • Understanding patterns
  • Climate
  • Vegetation and Ecology
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Practical application in different settings and scales

We will also address some of the recent developments in permaculture and focus on permaculture as a way to address climate change and social structures. At the end of the program, successful participants will qualify for an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate.

Your Teachers

Luke Punnett: He lives off the grid with his wife and two children in St. Vincent. He is the founder of Chatoyer Gardens, Permaculture design farm, which supplies organic produce to clients weekly through a Community Supported Agriculture initiative. He is a beekeeper, a Permaculture teacher and consultant. He has consulted on organic gardens, notably designing and implementing the first Food Forest of its kind in Mustique. He has done Permaculture design consultancy, taught workshops in Barbados and teaches at RVA. Luke received his PDC in 2007 in Trinidad and he has a BA in business.
Leon-C. Malan, PhD: Leon is a certified permaculture design instructor. He is a professor in environmental studies at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, USA where he teaches permaculture, food systems and sustainable agriculture.

Leon is an expert in template climate and Luke in the tropical climate. This mix gives our course a unique experience to know the experience of both climates