Permaculture Design Certificate Course

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What is the Permaculture Design Course?

Spring 2020 Course Dates:

May 2-3, 16-17
June 6-7, 13-14
July 11-12, 18-19
All Classes go from 9am-5pm

Course Overview

Our Permaculture Design Course follows Bill Mollison's 72 hour curriculum as outline in the "Permaculture Designers' Manual." Below are some of the topics you will find in the class

Permaculture Ethics

Earth Care, people share, and sharing the surplus form the basis and root of permaculture design

Permaculture Principles

The permaculture principles are the tools we use to aid in the design and creation of a multifunctional and productive spaces

Pattern Literacy

Understanding how nature functions and the patterns it uses for design aides in creating functional and abundant projects

Soil Food Web

Learn the basics of soil health, fertility, underground ecology, how to manage for these in gardens, farms, and other landscapes.

Plant Ecology and Food Forests

Overview of ecology, planting, food systems, and food forest design

Climate Understanding

Pattern understanding of both macro and microclimate factors. Learn the reason for seasons, precipitation, temperatures, and how to design for any place on earth

Water Harvesting

Water is the basis for all life. In this module we teach how to make the most of water including passive and active systems and greywater system design

Natural Building

What features work for buildings in all parts of the world. In this section, we teach about building with cob, strawbale, earthbags, adobe, and other traditional forms of building

Keyline Design

Keyline is a system of design for larger landscapes that ties together soil building, forestry, and water management, in a productive landscape

Appropriate Technology

In this module, we will go over small scale and community based solutions for heating, cooling, energy, water purification, transportation, cooking, and more

Community Design

Transforming space into place. This section teaches about resource cooperatives, place making, and other creative ways to work with the larger community.


How do we design for cities, villages, and small groups of people. In this module, we go over eco-villages, co-housing, and other cooperative living situations

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Our in person Permaculture Design Course is limited in size to keep the class intimate and catered to a high level of learning


“Life Changer!” That is what we often hear from the folks that come through our 12 day, weekend based Permaculture Design Course. This high value course transforms people into ecological citizens and provides them with the tools to change the world regardless of where they are now or the field of work that they are in.  After this course, everyone is empowered to be a part of the solution and apply these principles in their daily lives, places of work, or businesses. Our graduates are the next generation of sustainability experts!

Permaculture design trains people to think beyond just being sustainable, but to develop practical, regenerative solutions to the world’s environmental problems.

Do Not Miss This Opportunity!


Permaculture Design can meet and exceed human needs by transforming gardens, businesses, farms, and communities into fully functioning ecosystems. Receive hands-on experience on how to apply the principles of ecological design in your own home, farm, business, neighborhood, and city. Permaculture is an integrated ecological design system for creating sustainable human settlements. Far more than a set of gardening tips and techniques, Permaculture is about understanding and designing the connections between people, the earth, plants, energy, climate, water, transportation, shelter, animals, economics and much more.

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Who is this course for?

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Gardeners
  • Farmers
  • Ranchers
  • Landscapers
  • Architects
  • Builders
  • Developers
  • Civic planners
  • Educators
  • Environmentalists
  • Entrepreneurs
  • … Everyone who wishes to learn how to design and live in ecological abundance and apply the principles of holistic design to their respective fields.
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Course Participants

Our course graduates leave this certificate program transformed and empowered!

Many of them now teach, design, install, and consult on projects throughout the world. Our graduates have gone on to start backyard gardens, school gardens and waste reduction systems, community gardens and neighborhood education centers, permaculture demonstration sites, consulting businesses, landscape design and installation businesses, farms, CSAs, and many other green businesses.

They are changing the world and you can too! This certificate course provides the tools, knowledge, inspiration, and framework to participate in developing positive environmental, social, and profitable solutions. If you are thinking about a career change or ways that you can incorporate regenerative practices into your existing job or business, the Permaculture Design Course can help guide you there.

Learn More About Our Graduates

"The PDC course given by Josh Robinson and his associates at SDSLI is one of the most intellectually stimulating experiences I have ever had. As a magnet for like-minded people it was also a formidable opportunity to make new connections. The course syllabus covers principles and practices of such a range that it becomes a truly comprehensive introduction to permaculture. It quickly made me want to read the voluminous and ever-expanding literature on the subject, but as a stand-alone education Josh's course is invaluable. In retrospect it is hard to believe all that was done over these few weekends: classroom work, hands-on participation at 3 or 4 sites in the San Diego region, meeting local practitioners and businesses, all always very focused on the topic of the day. Not to mention the specific permaculture design project every student worked on for a presentation on graduation day. If this relaxed yet intense learning adventure doesn't give you the permaculture bug, I don't know what will!"

Manuel Engelhorn
2014 Graduate

"A quick search online for "permaculture" will return hundreds of sites, "pins", pictures and blogs. For a student awash in online sources, the SDSLI's Permaculture Design course provides a much needed personal framework to help students categorize, understand, and practice foundational concepts of permaculture. Josh provided us with an inspired introduction to permaculture that still guides the decisions we make on our property today."

Paul Stuart
2011 Graduate

"I want to personally thank you for the life-changing class and the opportunity that you gave me in being my mentor for this course as well as the PDC. I am so happy that they both worked out and you got me really really interested in Permaculture. I have been taking it into my daily life and am planning to start a business in the future using those principles. "

Tristan Elghoroury
2017 Graduate

"Taking my PDC with Josh Robinson was transformative. His years of hands-on experience and depth of knowledge made this an honest course; his teaching style is compassionate and relaxed, so all of the diverse students felt engaged. The cost of the class was a great value compared to others offered online (with no hands-on experience) or elsewhere. The course touched on a wide variety of permaculture techniques and avenues so that students could be inspired by what interested them most. For me it was the site evaluation class project, as well as the hope inspired by learning about easy soil building. The SDSLI's PDC course is a gold mine of information at a reasonable cost, and I have and will continue to highly recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue permaculture. Armed with the information from the course I turned my bare 1 1/2 acre property into a food forest, and in 2013 began Finch Frolic Garden Permaculture, an educational site. Through consultations, workshops, lectures, tours, a website and social media I have been able to inspire and guide thousands of people to be more gentle with the earth through permaculture techniques, and I wouldn't have been able to do that without the support and education I received from my PDC class."

Diane Kennedy
2011 Graduate

"Josh's PDC at SDSLI was a great balance between classroom work, learning concepts and techniques, and hands-on experiential work putting our learning into action. It's a course that will change your life in the best possible way as it did for me! Since taking the course, I see the world in a new more organized light consisting of patterns and systems and I decided to pursue permaculture professionally. After I took the course I even bought the course as a birthday present for my partner and I truly wish everybody could take it. I would even take it again, new doors keep opening of amazing possibilities. "

Chris Meador
2014 Graduate

Permaculture Course Countdown









Course Instructors

We have an amazing team of experts with decades of experience in permaculture related fields to share their knowledge and passion with you!

Class Location

Most classes are held at our permaculture farm lab at Terra Corazon in Valley Center located in North County San Diego. We also have a number of field trips to various locations throughout San Diego County.


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