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PermaCulture Design Course
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The Four Directions PermaCulture Supports the Gift of Sustainability through Rio Salado Permaculture Guild.
5% of the Proceeds from the FDPC PDC will go to this "Pay it Forward" Non-Profit Organization.

Permaculture Design Course

About the PDC

Why Take this Course

Course Details

Teacher Bios


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About The Permaculture Design Course



Permaculture is a way of thinking as well as a system of organizing intelligent ecological and ethical design. It does not focus on the elements of sustainability in themselves, for example the details of organic living, eco-building, appropriate technology, community building, green finance, or rainwater harvesting, but on the beneficial relationships between these elements. Further focusing on how they are put together to make them as energy efficient and sustaining as possible for people, the planet and our ecosystem.

Permaculture (Permanent Culture) enhances our observation and understanding of natural patterns and universal principles. It teaches us to contemplate nature and natural systems and then to apply these ecological truisms to our own living environments. (Definition partially excerpted from the Permaculture UK magazine editorial by Maddy Harland).

Don says, “Permaculture is not gardening, is not composting, is not chickens, is not rainwater harvesting, is not solar, is not intentional community, is not recycling… It is all of these together. It is all these in beneficial relationships, in the right location. This is permaculture! This is sustainable! You may have attended a class on one or more of these aspects of Permaculture, but are now wondering, 'Where.., how.., why.., and when?' I can help you in this process.”

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Why Take this Class?

I started this Permaculture Design Course in 2006 through the Phoenix Permaculture Guild and offered it twice a year, in Spring and Fall. The course is for everyone who is serious in learning how to create a more sustainable life in all areas: food production, energy use, transportation, housing/shelter, water use, community building and so much more. Your view of sustainability will be broadened and deepened, stretching your idea of what is possible. This course is suitable for every level of knowledge. From seasoned gardeners, students, landscapers, architects, trades people, homemakers, and all levels and ages in between.

Your experience will go beyond the classroom as you develop your design project, and community, along the way. Four primary home sites will be hosts for each of the weekend classes in addition to arranged tours. Each topic and weekend is organized to build upon each other so that by the end of the course you will have all you need to create an integrated permaculture design. Some classes are intense, others relaxed, but all will be rewarding. Just ask a previous student: Testimonials!

For questions regarding the course, scholarships, and class openings please email the course provider and primary Teacher - Don Titmus at

Want to know more about the teachers? Teacher Bios!

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Course Details

Fall 2014 Dates:

- September 6th & 7th

- September 27th & 28th

- October 18th & 19th

- November 8th & 9th

- November 22nd (Presentation Day)

Time: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm each day

Cost and Registration Deadline

Total cost: $750

Register before August 9th to receive the $100 Early Bird Discount.
A $100 non-refundable deposit reserves your spot. There are 15 spots available.
Full balance is due on or before September 6th, 2014.

Couples Discount rate - $1200 [made before the Discount deadline]

[A couple is defined as a Spouse/Partner or Parent/Child (of appropriate maturity for an adult education environment)]

*Note: Once the course begins, registration is closed.

***Payment Plan Special*** by request as needed

Early Bird Discount deposit paid by August 9th: $100
1st Weekend September 6th: payment of $200
2nd Weekend September 27th: payment of $200
3rd Weekend October 18th: payment of $150 ($250 if you missed the Early Bird Discount)
[Payments in money order, cash, or check]

I must have your personal word that you "promise" to complete the course and not bail out part way through - you and I are obligated to the teachers, hosts, tours and everything that makes this course happen.

Students Will Be Required To Complete:

• 72 hours of in-class instruction

• Course enhancing homework (easy stuff)

• 12 hours of hands-on instruction

Any classes (or portions) missed due to extenuating circumstances will have to be made up.

Required Reading Materials:

-Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison. ISBN 0-908228-08-2

*Needed for class homework and study.

Other recommended books that will enhance your permaculture experience:

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 1): Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life And Landscape
by Brad Lancaster

Earth-Friendly Desert Gardening
by Cathy Cromell, Jo Miller, and Lucy K. Bradley

Permaculture Design: A Step-by-Step Guide
by Aranya

Course Topics Include:

- Permaculture Ethics and Principles

- Patterns in Nature - Patterns that Connect

- Sector Analysis, Site Assessment, and Mapping

- Design Practicum

- Water Harvesting and Dryland Strategies

- Zones, [Micro] climates and Guilds

- Chickens and Bees - Animals in Permaculture

- Organic Gardening, Soils, and Composting

- Forest Systems

- Alternative Energy and Alternative Cooking

- Zone 00 - Body, Mind, Spirit

- Zone 0 - Green Building [day-long tour]

- Alternative Money Systems

- Children in Permaculture

- Eco Village Design and Community

- Transition Movement

Refund Policy

Money paid (less non-refundable deposits) is refundable if:
A) You cannot start the course for reasons beyond your control.
B) Up to and right after the "Intro to Permaculture Design Course" presentation on the morning of the first day.

Couple's Cancellation Policy: Should only one person of the couple wish to cancel, then the Couple's Discount rate would be void. The remaining person must pay full fees based on when the deposit was paid.

A total refund of all payments and deposit is only given if you cancel before the Discount Deadline of 02/14/2014.

Any inability to continue the course after attending the first morning qualifier means your money will be held until the next course. You may continue the course and graduate the FDPC PDC at that time.


Amount: Half the full rate ($375)

The cost of the PDC is cut in half for those in need and have a great desire to attend the course, but lack the financial means. Two scholarships are available to two worthy applicants. The recipient(s) shall "pay-it-forward" with 36 hours of volunteer service to approved local organizations. The Design Certificate shall be awarded upon completion of these hours.

*Note: scholarships can only be awarded when the class has met a minimum number to make it work for all involved.


Students can arrange a sponsorship by themselves or through the FDPC. A sponsorship is when another organization or individual pays the student's tuition fee for the Permaculture Design Course.

The FDPC gives two sponsorships per session, for one Teen and one Native American.

*Note this course is.........

   A) An introduction course in Permaculture
   B) Suitable for all though some topics may be challenging for some, but not others and visa-versa.
   C) This course does not delve deep into any particular subject. It is an overview. You get the opportunity to dig deeper later for yourself in the areas that you wish.
   D) Potentially a life changing event

What About Certification and Academic Accreditation?

Update 2014:  There is no single established national or international entity that certifies or accredits a student, teacher, or course.  A national accreditation process is currently being worked out, but is not in place at this time.

Tom Ward has written an essay about the evolution of the Design Courses.  Midwest Permaculture also provides information. Please read these pages (click on their names) to learn more of the history of permaculture education.

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