Permaculture Design Certificate Course
Fundamentals of Ecological Design
April 3 – 17, 2016
* Check in is on Sunday at 2pm, followed by a brief orientation and dinner. The course starts on Monday at 8am. All course work ends on the second Saturday. Check out is on Sunday at 11 am, following breakfast
72 hour Permaculture Design Course & Certificate
Lodging – Farm stay lodging (Private bamboo cabins and shared bamboo bunkhouse)
Three daily meals
Permaculture is a conscious integrated design system based on ecology and sustainability principles to create resource efficient and productive human environments and reduce our footprint on the earth. Permaculture provides a framework for consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature that provide diversity, stability, and resilience. These systems yield an abundance of shelter, water, energy, and food for the provision of local needs. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.
Our course offers the standard 72-hour permaculture curriculum for certification recognized internationally by the permaculture movement with a special emphasis on forest gardening in the tropics. Although we will be in a tropical setting, many of the techniques will transfer directly to any climate.
Finca Tierra is a 9-acre permaculture site and has become an important center for education and community development. Infrastructural systems contain: natural buildings built with local materials ( bamboo, leaf thatch and onsite timber), terraced & medicinal plant gardens, a nursery, seed bank, developing fruit and nut orchards, food forests, native timber forestry, timber bamboo plantings, water-catchment, renewable energy systems, and composting and biological flush toilets.
IN ADDITION, YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT:
tPrinciples and Ethics of Permaculture Design
tSite analysis and design, from the tropics to temperate regions
tLandscape master planning and microclimate design
tReading the landscape and pattern recognition
tDesign for climate change
tRegenerative Land Management and Stewardship
tWater catchment, storage, filtration, and distribution
tBiologically based treatment of greywater and blackwater
tUsing greywater in the landscape
tNatural building techniques and vernacular architecture
tPlant propagation and grafting
tMedicinal plant propagation, usage and preparations
tBiointensive gardening and seed saving
tSoil rehabilitation and fertility strategies
tOrchard design and maintenance
tLocal and Regenerative economics
tUrban and suburban permaculture strategies
tEcovillage design and community building strategies
tNetworking within the permaculture community and beyond
tstrategies to create an alternative nation
Courses are held Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is at 7, lunch at 12 and dinner at 6. We cover 12 chapters, approximately one chapter a day, of the standard permaculture curriculum for certification. Mornings are usually filled with practical applications and afternoons dedicated with course slide lectures. Sunday is free for rest or exploring the area. We promote visiting our paradise beaches, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling and diving, waterfalls, hiking, bird and animal watching, bicycling the area etc.
The beginning of the second week includes a field trip to visit local highlights. First to the jungle, were the indigenous steward will teach us about natural medicine and traditional sustainable living*. There we overnight in hand built wooden cabins on the edge of a river. A campfire, swimming and indigenous wisdom and stories are usual activities. We also stop by a mature food forest and taste an amazing variety of unusual fruits and spices, and get a great view of Panama. To round it out we also tour a 300-acre eco-village using animal integration, with chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, horses and sheep; natural building and community scale organic agriculture.
*We can’t guarantee the trip to the indigenous land because of weather and other variables (rivers at high water stage, horrendous road conditions) but its never stopped us so far so be prepared for it!
– Please register early as the course can and does fill quickly – Course price does not include airfare – $400 USD non-refundable deposit required, Course fees are refundable up until one month before the course – Meals will include traditional cuisine and farm foods – Academic credits / partial or full grants are often available to undergraduate and graduate students (inquire with us for more information) – Program is taught in English.
$1,450 (Late registration fee (10% extra) for bookings made less than two weeks before course start date)
We recommend you bring
tTall Socks (above half calf, like futbol/soccer socks)
tLightweight working pants and shirts
tFlashlight or headlamp (for off farm uses)
tNotebook and pen
tGardening work gloves
tBeach Towel (you are supplied with towels for showering on farm)
tA device to read PDF files (we have a large digital library)
This is a tropical humid forest and it can rain at any time. Temperatures range from 32° to 24° (C) 90° to 75° (F)
Be prepared for the following conditions hot, humid, rainy and muddy. Bring plenty of socks .
Solar lamps are provided for on farm use.
Umbrellas are essential, rain jackets in tropical weather can become hot and humid and are not recommend for on farm use.
During times of extreme rain things can mold, especially leather, but potentially anything so don’t bring anything that you cant live without.
Optional items to consider
tRain coat (for travel)
tSnorkel mask and fins
tiPod, Mp3 players, speakers
Or buy from available supplies at Finca Tierra
tRubber boots $14
tNatural bug repellent
“I could listen to permaculture lecture all day but Ian adds enough practical hands on stuff to keep everyone engaged, great mix of lecture and practical. The course instructor was very knowledgeable and engaging not to mention passionate. Always made time for the students and answered any questions we had. The location of the farm is just far enough from town to get peace and quiet but it’s close to some of the better beaches.
— PDC Student, Mario, Mexico
“This place has changed the way I see the world and the way we choose to live with the land. What I have learned at Finca Tierra I can basically apply anywhere. I’m really excited to be coming back here soon. Ian and Ana are amazing, inspiring, engaging, and really passionate about sharing what they have learned through their experience of rebuilding the land and basically learning to be fully sustainable. You should come here if you want to be blown away! So beautiful.
— PDC Student, Gabriel, Louisiana, USA
“The best food we ate on our year trip. We have had such great memories from the Finca Tierra course and will be back once we get our farm and need a refresh.
— PDC Student, Andy, Australia
“Doing the PDC (Permaculture Design Course) at Finca Tierra was an experience of a lifetime! Ian’s breadth and depth of theoretical and practical knowledge, together with his passion and enthusiasm for permaculture leaves you inspired, and with a strong foundation for knowing how to live in harmony with Mother Earth. The biodiversity of flora and fauna on the farm was incredible! It was also really cool to be able to walk around the food forest and just pick something off of a tree or plant and snack on tropical and exotic fruits and veggies. On top of that, being able to experience applications of permaculture outside of the farm, at SEED (Society for Ecological Education and Development) and Finca Inti, was also really cool.
The warm, rustic hospitality is definitely something to note as well. Ana, Ruth (Ana’s sister), Ian, Linton (the farm manager) and Bruce (Ian and Ana’s dog) made our stay very homely, and we felt at ease as soon as we arrived. The food was something out of this world! Ruth and Ana’s ingenuity in the kitchen was exceptional, and with fresh ingredients from the farm; every meal was amazing! Three times a day we would plunge into a wholesome culinary journey over some really stimulating conversations.
Thank you for everything… you guys are awesome hosts! Pura vida!
— PDC Student, Bemnet, Ethiopia