Permaculture Design Certificate Course, February-May 2022

Registration Closed FOR 2023

Next in-person PDC will be at OUR Ecovillage

Live in Person Permaculture Design Course

Earth Activist Training’s Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) is our longest running and most requested course– we’ve been teaching it for 20 years. This is our foundational permaculture course where your learning about resilient land management and climate adaptation begins.

We are so excited to welcome you home to Earth Activist Training!


Permaculture is a system of ecological design that takes nature as our model, so we can meet human needs while regenerating the world around us


In this PDC, we will explore an internationally recognized permaculture curriculum with a grounding in spirit and a focus on organizing and activism. Learn how to work with nature to heal land and water as we create real abundance and advocate for social justice. Each day begins with ritual and personal resilience tools. Mornings focus on theory, information, and examples of regenerative design. In the afternoon we put theory into practice with hands on activities. Evenings are interactive times to go deeper into social permaculture and global issues.


  • Location: Black Mountain Retreat Center, Cazadero, California
  • Dates: January 7 – 21 (2 weeks).
  • A certificate  will be awarded upon successful completion of this course
  • Covid vaccination is highly recommended: testing and masking may be required, depending on current guidelines.

    Typical Daily Schedule

    7:30-9:00 Breakfast
    9-9:30—Morning circle
    9:30-12:30—Morning session: Classroom instruction
    2:00-4:30—Afternoon session:
    7:30—9:30 Evening session


    • We offer sliding scale tuition and payment plans to make our courses as accessible as possible 
    • Abundant Tuition: $3,200
    • Standard Tuition: $2,900
    • Resilient Tuition: $2,600
    • Work Trade Tuition $1,500 (limited spaces)
    • Alumni Tuition: $1,500 to retake this course if you have already taken it before
    • All amounts are in US dollars
    • Discounts, Payment Plans and Diversity Scholarships available? Yes! Keep reading below 


    We follow all current, local health and CDC guidelines regarding vaccination, testing and masking. Due to the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19 we ask that all participants abide by the conditions set by teachers and staff. Currently, there are no requirements for masks or vaccines.


    We are here for you. Please reach out at:


    Explore resilient, living solutions to climate change

    and the strategies and tools to put them in place.

    Artist’s Credit: Jessica Perlstein, designed for Starhawk’s book, The Fifth Sacred Thing. ..

    Do you yearn for solutions to climate meltdown? This course is for you! 


    Are you concerned about the environment and want practical solutions?  Are you an activist, organizer, policy maker, advocate?

    Are you a farmer, homesteader, land manager, gardener, or want to be?  Whether you have many acres, a suburban backyard or an urban balcony, learn how to generate abundance where you are.

    Are you worried about fire, flood, drought, and the impacts of natural disasters?  Learn how to design resilient systems that can mitigate some of the effects of climate-caused disasters.

    Are you a teacher, parent, educator, caregiver, mental health professional wanting to bring nature education into your work?

    Are you a young person looking for a livelihood where you can make a difference?  Or at turning point in your life, wondering what the next phase should be?

    We firmly believe that everyone can benefit from learning how to apply  the tools and insights of permaculture toward the broad goal of earth regeneration. Permaculture has solutions not just for landscapes and agricultural systems, but also for social design, public policy, and survival strategies for these challenging times.


    • This two week intensive is an immersive permaculture experience.
    • Spend two weeks in a stunningly beautiful natural environment, eating great food and learning a lot!
    • Expect to work hard, but also to have lots of fun, meet great people on a similar journey to yours, and create lasting friendships.
    • While our hands-on projects involve physical work, we plan them to accommodate many levels of physical ability.  We welcome many sorts of diversity, including age and physical capacity.  (Contact if you have questions.)
    • Each day combines earth centered spiritual practice, classroom theory, practical hands on experience, and time to integrate, socialize and relax.
    • The two weeks culminate with the creation of an integrated permaculture design.
    • Upon completion of the course, participants will be invited to join Earth Activists Training’s private community and gain access to a wealth of online resources.
    • Expect to have your assumptions challenged, your horizons broadened, and your connection to nature deepened.


    In this course, you will learn how to design human systems that mimic natural systems using renewable resources. We will cover principles and practices that teach how to read the landscape, heal soil,  cleanse and harvest water, drought-proof land, make compost and biochar, sequester carbon, bioremediate toxins, manage forests, design and create food forests, and apply these principles to human systems.


    Hands-on projects that you will practice during your learning journey include:

    • Site mapping,
    • Water harvesting ,
    • Graywater and roof catchment,
    • Creating compost,
    • Sheet mulching,
    • Seed starting and plant propagation,
    • Natural building  (cob, straw-clay, and/or plastering),
    • Creation of a collaborative design project. 


    Please reach out to our Student Support Team at:



    Grounding in spirit and a focus on organizing and activism

    Exploring solutions for climate change– and the strategies and organizing tools to implement them

    Creating strength and abundance through biomimicry– human systems that learn from natural systems

    Learning principles and practices for how to read the landscape, build healthy soil, clean water, and design integrated and sustainable food systems


    Social Permaculture = RESILIENCE 

    Social permaculture is the Earth Activist Training specialty. It teaches us how to organize our human communities, resolve conflicts, make decisions, work together effectively, and support one another to renew hope and spirit.

    While we teach both online and in-person courses in aspects of social permaculture, it is woven into everything we do.  As Starhawk often says, “The vegetables are the easy part–it’s people that are always the biggest challenge!”  If we can improve the way we interact with one another, we can make all of our efforts more effective.


    We are:

      • Young people looking for a career oriented around sustainability
      • People in mid-life looking for a new direction for existing or new work
      • Established professionals wanting to broaden and deepen their knowledge of sustainable alternatives
      • Retirees wanting new fields to explore
      • Teachers, environmental educators, and youth workers
      • Anyone involved in gardening, especially school gardens and community gardens
      • Architects and landscape designers
      • People involved with intentional communities, co-housing and ecovillages, or those who want to start or join one
      • Gardeners, farmers, ranchers, and land stewards of all kinds
      • Green business entrepreneurs who want to have a broader understanding of the possibilities
      • Artists, musicians, poets, writers and dancers, and anyone who collaborates creatively
      • Community organizers and activists from many movements, including environmental justice, food justice, global justice, anti-oppression, human rights workers, and others
      • Dreamers, visionaries, and more

    International Certification


    Graduates of Earth Activist Training’s courses are recognized for their excellence by the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) .   Permaculture Design Course graduates are acknowledged by and registered with PINA .

    Graduation Requirements: 

    • Participation in all classes
    • Complete a final design project

      Earth Activist Training Certification: 

      Earth Activist Training courses are unique among permaculture classes. Our courses go beyond the standard internationally recognized 72 hr curriculum. We also offer additional teachings in social permaculture and earth activism, all grounded in spirit.

    What is a Permaculture Design Certificate

    A Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) is awarded for completion of an internationally recognized 72 hr. design course.
    Earth Activist Training’s PDC builds on the basic curriculum with our social, spiritual and activist focus.
    Our Certificate is acknowledged by the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA)


    Permaculture curriculum

    Graduating students will have completed 72-hours of approved Permaculture Design Certificate curriculum in the following areas


    • Observation
    • Reading the landscape
    • Site analysis
    • Zones and Sectors
    • Mapping
    • Design tools and processes
    • Collaborative design projects
    • Broadacre permaculture
    • Urban permaculture
    • Permaculture for gatherings, mobilizations, and disasters 


    • Creating healthy water cycles in living systems
    • Water harvesting
    • Swales, ponds, and earthworks
    • Keyline systems
    • Erosion control
    • Rain catchment for roofs
    • Greywater and blackwater systems


    • Soil structure
    • Soil biology
    • Soil building
    • Compost
    • Sheet mulch
    • Compost teas and ferments
    • Mushrooms
    • Bioremediation and mycoremediation (mushrooms & fungi)
    • Biochar


    • Plant needs
    • Plant guilds and polycultures
    • Cover crops
    • Agroforestry
    • Food forests
    • Plant propagation
    • Tree care: pruning and planting, choosing varieties
    • Sustainable forestry


    • Animals in our systems
    • Raising and feeding “microherds”—healthy soil microbial communities
    • Beneficial insects
    • Bees
    • Worms
    • Humane treatment of animals
    • Poultry
    • Livestock for the homestead
    • Holistic management grazing systems
    • Role of predators
    • Wildlife habitat
    • Alternatives for vegans


    • Climate change and strategies for adaption and mitigation
    • Microclimates
    • Windbreaks
    • Drylands
    • Tropics
    • Wetlands
    • Cold climates


    • Alternative and renewable energy: evaluating and designing systems
    • Active and passive solar
    • Wind
    • Microhydro
    • Alternative fuels and biogas

    Natural Building:

    • Insulation and thermal mass
    • Sustainable forest products
    • Cob, straw bale, light straw-clay
    • Plasters

    Social permaculture:

    • Personal regeneration and self-care
    • Site design to support social aims
    • Urban redesign
    • Group dynamics
    • Communication tools
    • Governance structures for collaborative groups
    • Ecovillages and community design
    • Meeting processes
    • Meeting facilitation
    • Alternative economics

    Organizing and activism:

    • Strategic organizing
    • Pro-active and pre-figurative movements
    • Campaign planning and organizing
    • Power mapping
    • Organizing in diverse communities


    • Connecting to the spirit in Nature
    • Creating ritual and ceremony
    • Grounding and centering
    • Sensing and shifting energy
    • Drumming, dancing, singing and meditation
    • Daily rituals



    • Our goal is to increase accessibility for our trainings
    • We offer two payment options:
      1. One-time sliding scale payment
      2.  Six-part payment plan
    • If you select the payment plan, you will pay an initial deposit of $700 and six monthly installments of $367 ($2,902 total). Our Student Support Team will assist you in setting up this process

    Every Abundant Tuition helps support a Diversity Scholarship.


    A limited amount of work trade is avaialble at a $1500 tuition.
    Work traders are generally expected to come several days early and/or stay late. The work involves preparing materials and sites for hands-on projects and other land-based work. Some work is also expected during the course, which might include kitchen help, breakfast prep, organizing tools and materials or other activities.


    • Groups of 2-5 people – Discount of $500 off each Standard tuition ($2,400 total for each person)
    • Cohort of 6-10 people – Discount of $600 off each Standard ($2,300 per person)
    • For group discount contact


      • Earth Activist Training is committed to increasing the diversity of global permaculture and regenerative land movements
      • We recognize the history of these lands called the United States and Canada and seek to do what we can to rectify the deep injustices and systems of inequity that formed and continue to shape society today

        Supported by your donations, a select number of pay-what-you-can Diversity Scholarships are available for Indigenous People and People of Color working in environmental and social justice.
      • These scholarships are pay-what-you-can with the recommended value of 50% of standard tuition ($1450), but any amount will be accepted and appreciated.  They are available as our funds allow.

      We are always here to help:


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