Permaculture Design Certificate Course, February-May 2022

Early bird Discount 15% Off Until November 30th, 2023!

Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Live In-Person Permaculture Design Course

Earth Activist Training’s (EAT) 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 you’re 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.

Course Information

  • Location: Black Mountain Retreat Center, Cazadero, California

  • Dates: January 6 – 20 (2 weeks)

  • Lodging: A bed in shared mixed gender dorm is included in tuition, private and semi private spaces are available for an additioanl fee.

  • Catering: Is included in tuition, we provide organic vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, and may offer gluten-free options. 

  • Certification: A PINA recognized certificate will be awarded upon successful completion of this course.


  • 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 $2,000 (limited spaces)
  • Alumni Tuition: $2,000 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.

Typical Daily Schedule

This schedule is subject to change depending on the needs of the class, we ask that you stay flexible and we will create a flow that we hope accomodates the group.

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


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 may request testing upon arrival. 


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, or 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.

We teach both online and in-person courses in aspects of social permaculture, and 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
    • 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

 What is special about an Earth Activist Training Permaculture Design Certificate?

Earth Activist Training (EAT) approaches permaculture with a dedication to social justice and a grounding in spirit. An EAT Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) covers the standard content outlined in the internationally-recognized 72 hour curriculum, then adds sessions on social permaculture, power & privilege, tools for activists, community organizing, conflict mediation and ritual arts.


Earth Activist Training cources are acknowledged for their excellence by the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) .  Permaculture Design Course graduates are registered with PINA as PINA certified graduates.

Graduation Requirements: 

Students must attend all classes, and complete weekly assignments and a final design project.


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

Funding Your Education

Payment Plans

Our goal is to increase accessibility for our trainings by offering a six-part payment plan.

If you select the payment plan:

  • You will pay an initial deposit of $700
  • Then six monthly installments of $367 ($2,902 total).
  • Our Student Support Team will assist you in setting up this process.

Sliding Scale Tuition

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
  • Alumni Tuition: $2,000 (EAT Alumni who have taken this course before
  • All amounts are in US dollars

Every Abundant Tuition helps support a Diversity Scholarship.

Bring a Friend & Group Discounts

  • Bring a friend (2-5 people) – $500 off Standard Tuition ($2,400 total per person)
  • Groups of 6 or more people – $600 off each Standard Tuition ($2,300 total per person)
  • For a group discount, contact

Work Trade

A limited number of work trade spaces are available. Work traders pay a reduced tuition of $2000, and are involved in a range of tasks before, during, and after the course.
Work traders are generally expected to come several days early for the course. The work involves preparing materials and project sites for the course. Work traders are also expected to work during the course. This may include help in the kitchen, cleaning, organizing tools and materials for class, or other activities.


  • 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 towards 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.

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