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Permaculture: The practice of designing sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns.

Permaculture is being used in communities around the world with inspiring results. Pearlstone is a great place to learn Permaculture because you can understand how these principles and practices apply to different scales and goals.

Permaculture is an ethically and ecologically based design approach to creating sustainable human communities. Although rooted in agriculture, Permaculture design also touches on ecological restoration, community development, urban planning, energy systems, and architecture. First we study how the Earth works, then we design (make plans) to meet our needs and goals by working with the Earth rather than against it.

These certainly are uncertain times!  We’re aware of the challenges we face – climate change, isolation from each other and nature, inequity, and ecological decline. We feel the ache of these challenges in our lives.  We may feel unable to respond in a meaningful way.

Let’s slow down together and take some time to connect with each other, share solutions, and feel empowered.

You can live your life in alignment with your values at the same times as helping to heal our community and Earth.  We’ll study the Earth, learn how people across cultures and times have benefited from mimicking the Earth, and practice designing these benefits into our homes, schools, businesses and communities.

Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Saturday July 29 - Sunday August 13, 2023

Apply Now!

This is not a conference; it’s a pop-up community organized around learning and practicing regenerative land stewardship together.

What is Permaculture Design?

Permaculture is a practice of intentional living and design to meet human needs in ways that are ecologically suitable and regenerative. So, what does that mean? It means our ways of surviving, our technologies, our choices and our use of resources are guided by patterns and processes of the ecosystem we love and depend on. We mimic nature, which decreases problems and increases benefits. Our scope is both holistic and detailed. We value community and collaboration to guide us towards a just and equitable world.

Permaculture is an ethically and ecologically based design approach to creating sustainable human communities. Although rooted in agriculture, Permaculture design also touches on ecological restoration, community development, urban planning, energy systems, and architecture. First we study how the Earth works, then we design (make plans) to meet our needs and goals by working with the Earth rather than against it.

Permaculture offers solutions for the challenges of our time. Permaculture design is as useful in cities and suburbs as it is in rural and wilderness areas. Just as the challenges we face are pervasive, so to the opportunities for wise response and healing are abundant in each of our life paths and communities. This life-changing experience provides skills and knowledge to live in harmony with the Earth - including in times of adaptation and resiliency.

What are Permaculture Ethics?

Ethics are our guiding ethos. We use them as both a compass and as check points for our ideas and systems.

Earth Care: The planet is a living entity, our actions and designs are in harmony with the living Earth and seek to improve and balance by creating and sustaining healthy soil, clean water, and air.

People Care: Human needs are met in compassionate and simple ways that are biologically and culturally appropriate so that human communities and larger ecosystems will prosper. This applies to ourselves, our close community, and people on the other side of the planet.

Fair Share: All things on this planet are interconnected and all living entities within the system have what they need to thrive. We set wise restraints in meeting our own needs in times of abundance and share the surplus.

Transitional Ethic: Living a life and designing systems that align with these ethics take time. We will fail many times and that's part of the journey. Along the way, we'll cultivate the conditions our individual, cultural, and ecological wellbeing.

What are Permaculture Principles?

The Permaculture Principles are a checklist of decision-making criteria that we use when we are designing (planning) and evaluating. At first the may seem challenging. (Produce no waste?) As we study and practice together it is enlivening to see how using these principles to mimic nature creates simple, beautiful, unique solutions to achieving your goals and caring for the Earth at the same time.

1. Observe and Interact: By engaging with nature, we identify and locate elements of functional interconnection. We can design unique solutions to challenges and situations.

2. Catch and Store Energy: Develop systems that collect abundant resources so we can use those resources in times of scarcity.

3. Obtain a Yield: We must achieve useful yields rewards that sustain us throughout the lifespan of the design.

4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback: Recognize that there are limitations to all things and work with them rather than against them. Recognizing this will allow us to achieve balance in our designs and systems.

5. Use and Value Natures Gifts and Services: Make efficient use of resources. Even the most mundane and unlikely of behaviors and occurrences can be an asset.

6. Produce No Waste: Close the loop. In systems where there are excesses and byproducts turn those into resources. There is no such thing as “away” and all things can be used a and reused and turned into something else.

7. Design from Patterns to Details: We use patterns and rhythms of the natural world as inspiration and guides to our designs. We start by looking at the big picture before filling in the minute details.

8. Integrate Rather than Segregate: We foster growth and support when elements are placed in relationship with one another. Resiliency and strength come from these relationships.

9. Slow and Small Solutions: Sometimes a simple adjustment will have a big impact. Change is a process that happens over time and a single action can ripple out the altar dynamics in unpredictable ways.

10. Use and Value Diversity: Diversity increases resilience and reduces vulnerability.

11. Use Edges and Value Margins: These are spaces where diversity and productivity can flourish. These are spaces where meeting and interaction takes place.

12. Respond to Change with Creative Solutions: We inhabit dynamic living systems that flow and change in predictable and unpredictable ways. Often the problem is the solution.

Who is this course for?

We welcome environmental and sustainability professionals, educators, students, designers, farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, artists, activists and others to share their gifts and learn from each other through this inclusive community.

If contributing to ecological and cultural solutions is important in your home, business, or community, this intensive, dawn to dusk, information-loaded experience will empower you to achieve your goals.

How does the course flow?

Pearlstone's 180 acres of forest, meadows, streams, organic farm, educational gardens, and retreat center are a vibrant living classroom. We will start by covering the basic nuts & bolts of permaculture design (principles, process, methods, etc.). We will share examples of how thousands of people around the world use these tools to manifest their vision for a joyful and productive life in greater harmony with each other and this living earth.

Consider reviewing this Sample Schedule to get a sense of what you might be doing during the course on a given day.

What does the curriculum cover?

Through lecture, hands-on projects and design work, together you will learn:

  • Gardening, farming, and agroforestry
  • Soil and forest ecology
  • Regenerative water and energy systems
  • Wilderness skills
  • Integrating animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Plant propagation
  • Ecological waste management
  • Appropriate technology
  • Natural building
  • Social system design
  • Financial strategies
  • and much more.

How much is course tuition?

Tuition is $1,836. Early Bird Discount - save $100 by registering before April 4th! Black Indigenous, and Person of Color Tuition - $868 before April 4th, $918 after April 5th. Tuition includes delicious, mostly organic meals. Course materials including design supplies, project tools, and our Permaculture research library are provided. Participants stay onsite in our bunkhouse accommodations or bring tents for camping. Tuition also includes a copy of Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein. We'll send it to you ahead of the course so you can read up!

Need help persuading your boss?

Use this downloadable request letter you can personalize!

More questions?

Contact: Greg Strella, gstrella@pearlstonecenter.org or call 410-500-5382

Intro to Permaculture - Workshop | Jan 15, 2023 - 10:00 am to 12 pm

Learn about permaculture design's roots in indigenous cultures and practical ways to live in greater harmony with the Earth today.

Workshop Fee: $20 per person | $10 BIPOC participants
Register Here

Intro to Permaculture - Weekend | April 22 - 23

Join us from 9am Saturday April 22 to Noon Sunday April 23 for interactive learning through classroom sessions, touring permaculture at Pearlstone, and hands-on practice.

Weekend Fee: $40 per person | $20 BIPOC participants
Register Here

Some aspects of Pearlstone work are deeply driven by permaculture principals, while other aspects of the organization are simply influenced by this approach. As such, we can teach from the prospective of an institution, a business, a farm, or a home in ways that resonate in your life.
Here are a few examples, come see for yourself!