Permaculture Design Certificate Course - Fundamentals of Permaculture - Fall 2009 Weekend course

Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Fundamentals of Permaculture


Presented by the Conscious Design Collective, with support from the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm


Join us for a dynamic internationally recognized certificate course on the principles and practice of Permaculture Design.  We will guide you to finding practical applications of sustainable design in urban and rural contexts through dynamic media presentations, guest lecturers from UBC and the greater community, and applied hands-on sessions.


Permaculture is a holistic method of design leading to establishing a “permanent culture” guided by grounded ethics, principles and design practises.  It considers the whole system at multiple levels of scale through the intelligent integration of social, economic, land, water, plants, and shelter sub-systems.  Using Permaculture can lead to the design and implementation of self-sustaining, regenerative human systems that “do good” for both human kind AND the Earth.


Total Cost: $1245 + $5 registration fee (tax included)

Non refundable deposit (due at registration): $200.  The remainder of the balance is due on the first day of the course.  


Note that registration is limited and our programs sell out quickly, thus apply early to avoid disappointment.  If the course fills, please email (see contact below) to be placed on the waiting list with your phone and email contact.  The waiting list will be built on a first come (email), first serve basis.


Maximum number of participants: 15. Minimum number of participants: 10.

Dates:  Saturdays Sept 12th through Nov 21st in Vancouver AND  Sept 19th and 20th on Saltspring Island. See schedule below for more details.

Contact details:  Please direct all questions to James Richardson at:


Learning topics:

-         Permaculture philosophy and design methodology

-         Observational and analysis skills to read the needs and opportunities of a landscape

-         Recognize natural patterns and cycles and their use in settlements

-         Water systems including ponds, swales, keyline systems, water catchment

-         Soil building, amendments, erosion control, and planning for productive harvest

-         Animals in urban and rural environments

-         Food-scaping – perennial and annual edible landscaping

-         Integrated Pest management

-         Perennial food forests, guilds & agroforestry

-         Appropriate technologies, natural building (cob, earthen plaster), designing for energy conservation.

-         Small and large scale site design (room, home, village, region)

-         The environment and economics

-         Drafting and Communicating design with landscape graphics (hand and computer assisted design)

-         Community consultation and charette design processes

-         Horticultural techniques (propagation, grafting, efficient weeding and planting)

-         Personal and community sufficiency

-         And much more…


Learning Environment:

We teach using Experiential Education, or learning by doing and active reflection. The intergenerational nature of the course enables an exceptional learning experience that can be structured around YOUR learning goals.  The course will also be supported by a series of media rich presentations, online dialogue, and readings to dig deeper into the art, science and culture of sustainability.



- 18 or older

-  Prepared to work outdoors in challenging conditions

- No prior biological or design knowledge is required.  This course will be designed to appropriately challenge participants to meet their learning goals.  Progress is based on your own learning style and discovery guides will support you in this process.


Past Participants

Natural builders, gardeners, farmers, landscape architects, architects, high school graduates, planners, engineers, and friends of the Earth.  This is a course for ALL folk.


Possible application of this course in YOUR life:

Upon completion of the course, you should be confident in:

-         Designing elements of your home that support your living system and a healthy community.

-         Making design recommendations for community or backyard gardens and communicating these in a professional way.

-         Planning and managing an efficient and profitable market garden.

-         Effectively managing food, shelter, energy and transport systems in your life.


We hope to re-energize you with a set of tools and attitudes that will help you design for a sustainable future.


Discovery Guide:

James Richardson, UBC Farm, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Lead Discovery Guide & Course Director)

James Richardson is currently engaged in a Masters of Advance Studies of Landscape Architecture at UBC exploring urban form and sustainable food systems.  He has co-taught Permaculture workshops at OUR Ecovillage, B.C., Lost Valley Education Centre, OR, University of Northern British Columbia and University of Victoria.  James brings an experiential flare to his teachings, following a teaching career in Canada, New  Zealand, and the United States, and teacher training at Queen’s University in Outdoor and Experiential Education.  James has studied Permaculture, natural building, biodynamic farming and community and brings to UBC Farm a deep understanding of the art and science of sustainability.


Special Guests:


Sarah Belanger, UBC Farm (Seed saving and orchard systems)

Sarah is the coordinator for the UBC Farm “Sowing Seeds for the Future Apprenticeship in Organic Agriculture.” She completed her PDC through the Linnea Farm apprenticeship program on Cortes Island in 2004.  Sarah is passionate about healthy food systems, communities and individuals, and established the UBC Farm Heritage Orchard in 2006.


 Holgar Laerad (Native Plants & Medicinal Herbs)

Having recently come over to the mainland from ALM Farm on Vancouver Island, Holgar has a wealth of knowledge on native plants, medicinal herbs, and natural building.  For the past 20 years Holger has been learning and practicing various aspects of sustainable living. Currently he teaches and works independently on diverse subjects including bread ovens and baking, building with stone, clay, and wood, and herbal beer making.


Jan Steinman, EcoReality ( , Saltspring Island  (Appropriate technologies)

Jan Steinman, co-founder of EcoReality on Salstspring Island and featured in Escape from Suburbia has run Permaculture courses on Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island. He has vast untapped strengths as a compassionate and extremely-well organized teacher of appropriate technologies, and community systems and processes.  Jan completed his Permaculture teacher training with Cascadia Permaculture in Oregon.


Michael Nickels, Seven-Ravens Farm (, Saltspring Island (Agro-forestry)

Michael, the founder of Seven Ravens Farm, operates an eco-forestry farm, tree nursery and seed sanctuary.  Over the years, Michael has offered his skill to many by way of consulting. His ability to assess the problems, see solutions and opportunities at many sites, takes him around Canada and the world to work with individuals, organizations and communities to enhance their environments by restoring degraded land, teaching water harvesting techniques, forest installations and providing food security.


Jordan Maynard, Southlands Farms (Urban Strategies.)

Jordan is the manager of Southlands Farms, an urban farming project seeking to advance the presence of chickens in the city following Vancouver’s imminent acceptance of backyard chickens.  He brings some key insights into ways that an urban farmer can make it in the big city.


In addition, we will host other guest professors, teachers, elders and friends from the University of British Columbia, the Musqueam Nation and the greater Vancouver community.



Preliminary Schedule*:




Sat. Sept. 12th  

9:00am -5:00pm

UBC Farm centre.


Ethics, principles, and philosophy of Permaculture.  Essential design strategies.

Fri Sept. 18th (evening ferry), Sat. Sept. 19th, Sunday Sept. 20th

Saltspring Island (*Note: all ferry costs, accommodation (camping) and 6 meals are covered @ EcoReality)

Appropriate technologies;

Earth works and water systems; Agroforestry, rural applications. 

Sat. Sept. 26th

9am – 5pm


UBC Farm centre

Seed saving, agriculture techniques, natural building and community systems.


Sat. Oct. 3rd

9am – 5pm

UBC Farm centre

Plant physiology, native plants, food preservation (canning, smoking, beer-making), systems theory.

Sat. Oct. 10th

9am – 5pm

UBC Farm and Southlands farms.

Orchard systems, grafting and pruning, urban applications (small scale) & chickens in the city.

Sat. Oct. 17th

9am – 5pm

East Vancouver community gardens

Urban applications (large scale), Green roofs and facades, and client interviews and community consultation.

Sat. Oct. 24th

9am – 5pm

McMillan Building, UBC

Sustainable soil management, mapping and site assessment.

Sat. Oct. 31st  

9am – 5pm

McMillan Building, UBC

Behavioural approach to planting design, landscape graphics and media.  Drafting and design communication.

Sat. Nov. 7th

9am – 5pm

McMillan Building, UBC

Patterns and patterning, micro and macro system design.

Crop rotations, agriculture planning, etc.

Sat. Nov. 14th

9am – 5pm

McMillan Building, UBC

Permaculture and sustainability around the world.  Design in temperate, tropical and other climates.

Sat. Nov. 21st  

9am – 5pm

McMillan Building, UBC

Community presentations and closing ceremonies. 

* Schedule is tentative and is subject to change. 


What to bring:  Writing materials and good outdoor clothing.  We kindly ask you bring a potluck lunch item to share for the launch date and will organize meals for the remainder of the course at this date.  A more detailed materials list and course outline will be sent your way following your registration.


Recommended texts:  Introduction to Permaculture.  By Bill Mollison, Reny Mia Slay, Andrew Jeeves.  Illustrated by Andrew Jeeves Published by Tagari Publications, 1997 ISBN 0908228082, 9780908228089.


I look forward to drawing, creating, building, consulting, dancing, weeding, growing, planting, eating and living, laughing and learning with you all soon!

Name Sales End Price Fee
Permaculture Design Certificate Course - Fundamentals of Permaculture (Deposit) Ended $200 $5

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