Go to Top

whole-life skills for a radically different future

Permaculture Design Certification Course

June 12-30, 2017

at Earthaven Ecovillage | near Asheville, North Carolina

Follow this event page for updates. facebook

SOIL and Earthaven Ecovillage are proud to host this place-based learning journey.

Permaculture Design Certification Course at Earthaven Ecovillage

Permaculture Design Curriculum

The Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course at Earthaven Ecovillage provides a unique exploration of regenerative, nature-based design, grounded in a 22-year-old, community-scale permaculture demonstration site.

This 18-day intensive course offers 120 hours of instruction and integrated, hands-on learning experiences. The course provides 48 more instruction hours than does the standard 72-hour PDC curriculum, which typically lasts 12–14 days. This longer immersion allows more time for hands-on projects, tours, special topics, conversations with instructors, and additional experience in the permaculture design process.

In this PDC course, you will deepen your leadership skills and find your niche in addressing the complex biocultural challenges of the modern age. You'll learn permaculture design principles for any kind of system—land use, business, personal relationships, or organizational endeavors—that mimic ecosystem dynamics and generate measurable ecological regeneration while caring for people and empowering marginalized communities.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Permaculture history, ethics, and design principles
  • Observation practices and natural awareness
  • Ecological patterns in design
  • Global and local ecological issues and human responses
  • Hands-on projects with bioregional techniques and species
  • Water in the landscape: ponds, earthworks, and rainwater catchment
  • Soil ecology, biochar, climate resiliency, and disaster response
  • Agroforestry, forest gardening, and diverse orchards
  • Perennial agriculture, polyculture gardening, successional farming, and guilds
  • Mushrooms and mycoremediation
  • Wastewater systems and composting
  • Integrated animal systems and the landscape
  • Renewable energy and appropriate technology
  • Eco-building design and natural building techniques
  • Ecovillage systems design and urban permaculture strategies
  • Eco-social design, cooperatives, decision making, and collaboration
  • Money, financial systems, and project budgeting
  • Cooperative and human-scale economics
  • Decolonizing permaculture and activating change from within
  • Presentation and design mapping
  • Student design projects

Who is this course for?

SOIL's PDC course is open to people of all ages and stages. PDC graduates include activists, policy-makers, landowners, philanthropists, land-use professionals, government agency staff, village builders, religious leaders, students, and social justice advocates. SOIL encourages applications from women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and other diverse perspectives to cultivate an environment of equality, authenticity and unity.

Bring your Team. We encourage community leaders interested in spearheading a community permaculture design process to attend with 2–4 other community members. This high-level intensive course will strengthen your capacity to lead your community and re-envision local human systems that mimic natural patterns.


The PDC course is led by an experienced team of instructors with over 100 years of collective experience.

Lead Instructors include Patricia Allison, Zev Friedman, and Courtney Brooke Allen.

Guest Instructors include Chuck Marsh, Chris Farmer, Shawn Swartz, Andy Bosley, and others.



Founded in 1994, Earthaven Ecovillage is located on 329 acres in culturally rich, biologically diverse Western North Carolina, about 50 minutes southeast of Asheville and 30 minutes southeast of Black Mountain. Surrounded by like-minded, ecologically oriented neighbors, Earthaven is home to 80+ residents, including students and visitors. The community is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.

“Earthaven is where the human community is bonding with the Earth in a manner capable of healing the devastation of the past and inspiring a new grandeur for the future. At Earthaven, even for a brief while, we experience what it is to return to ourselves.”

- Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth.


Tuition includes catered organic meals for 18 days (54 meals total). Our cooks prepare mostly omnivorous meals that provide simple, unprocessed, home-grown deep nourishment. As much food as possible is sourced from Earthaven and its surrounding organic farms and gardens, with some ingredients sourced from local grocery stores. Grains, beans, and nuts are often pre-soaked; vegetables are served raw, fermented, and cooked; soup stocks are made from the bones of our livestock; fats are high-quality animal fats (butter, lard, and tallow), coconut oil, and olive oil (with no trans fats, synthetic oils, or processed vegetable oils); and sweeteners (raw sugar, molasses, honey, and maple syrup) are used minimally.

This meal plan is gluten free. Vegetarian and vegan meals are available upon request. Please contact us about accommodating any other dietary needs.

Accommodations and Amenities


Participants will camp in the Earthaven campground. Most campground sites are for two-person tents; some can accommodate larger tents. Several RV spots (no hookups) are also available.  The campground offers clean drinking water, a tarp-covered kitchen with propane burners for cooking and heating water, and an outhouse with composting toilet and hand-washing station. A flush toilet is available in the Council Hall nearby. (Other private or dormitory housing may be available; contact SOIL for further details.)

Earthaven Ecovillage is off-grid and therefore not supplied by public utilities. However, electricity is available from solar panels and two small hydropower stations. There is minimal internet access and no cell phone reception, although landline phones are available for short phone calls or emergencies. Living at Earthaven offers a balance between comfort and adventure.


Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. SOIL expects to fill this course.

Tuition is $1,800. This cost includes food for the entire program, camping, field trips, instruction, certification, and all materials. Indoor lodging is available for an additional cost; please contact us for more information. Transportation is not included.

How to secure your space

APPLY: Fill out the registration form. Please give yourself plenty of time to complete the application, because it cannot be saved until submitted.




ACCEPTANCE: You will receive a registration confirmation within one week. Payment is required within one week after acceptance to reserve your space.

PAYMENT: Tuition can be paid by check, money order, PayPal, or credit card.

Send your check or money order payable to the following:

School of Integrated Living
11 Full Circle Trail
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Use PayPal or pay by credit card below.

Crowdfunding and Fundraising: Check out our Crowdfunding and Fundraising page for creative ways to engage your community and launch a "Community Supported Education" campaign. This approach can help support your investment in yourself, your community, the planet, and future generations.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel, you may transfer your place in the program to someone of your choosing (who will need to register online), or you can donate your place to someone who would not otherwise have been able to participate.

  • If you have paid tuition in full, 50% is refundable until April 21, 2017.
  • If you have partially paid tuition with a payment plan, 30% is refundable until April 21, 2017.
  • After April 21, 2017, there will be NO tuition refunds.
  • Indoor lodging fees are 100% refundable, minus a $100 office fee.

If SOIL cancels the PDC course for any reason, 100% of your tuition will be refunded.

Contact Gabriel at connect@schoolofintegratedliving.org with registration questions.

Check out Helpers Mentoring Society

Salvatore Gencarelle, a friend and colleague of SOIL, recently launched an educational organization called Helpers Mentoring Society. His courses focus on cultural ceremony and draw from nearly two decades of immersion in the wisdom of indigenous cultures across the globe.

Learn More