Project Description

Back to all courses

Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

The CERES PDC will equip you to design regenerative and productive landscapes, communities & households

This 100-hr course will commence in 2022 on the following date:

Saturday 13 August

from $1895 | 100 hours

Book now

Permaculture is a design science, philosophy & lifestyle that merges natural principles with human management systems. The aim of Permaculture is to design regenerative and productive landscapes, communities & households.

Created from a combination of traditional wisdom, modern science & technology and a detailed understanding of natural processes, Permaculture provides practical solutions to current unsustainable living standards, empowering people with the tools to create a better world and to generate lifestyles which minimise our impact on the environment.

Permaculture Design is grounded in the ethics and principles which can be used to establish, design, manage and improve all efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a regenerative future.

The CERES PDC is a predominantly classroom-based, theoretical course with site visits. This is not intended to be a hands-on, practical or gardening course. The PDC is an ecologically-inspired design course that also integrates socio-political & environmental systems.

The PDC is intended to produce trainee Permaculture designers, ready to apply their Permaculture knowledge in their own lives and to continue self-directed learning into their individual areas of interest to improve their design skills. The extensive course material covers the whole design course curriculum within the context of urban & regional landscapes of cool temperate south-eastern Australia.

The course pivots around a 3 hr, weekly class/presentation, with additional weekend classes, site visits and tours. Some sessions will be delivered online. The course also requires students to complete a Permaculture Design project in groups to demonstrate their learning throughout the course. This 100+ hour course is delivered by a range of experienced, passionate, professional Permaculture teachers and practitioners from urban and regional areas. Also included will be a guest presentation by David Holmgren, co-founder of Permaculture, focussing on Future Scenarios and Retrosuburbia.

The PDC will comprise a combination of week-day evenings 6.30pm – 9.30pm and some additional individual weekend days (either a Saturday or Sunday from 9.30am – 4.30pm). The week-day sessions will be a combination of in-person and online sessions and participants will be notified of the type of session at the start of the course.

Weekend site visits are also included (subject to Covid restrictions).

The PDC is a commitment.

In addition to the weekly sessions, expect approximately 4-6hrs per week of project work throughout the duration of the course. The design project and exercises are not graded, but are an essential part of learning Permaculture design, so their completion enables the student to receive their Permaculture Design Course completion certificate.

To gain the most of the PDC, students are encouraged to read further materials before and after each class topic. Reading materials and online learning resources are provided and students are encouraged to be self-directed learners in using the PDC as a launching pad into topics covered. Recommend 2-3 hours per week of additional reading & research.

Each course will have an individual schedule, which will be provided prior to the commencement of the course.

Compulsory requirements to complete the course and obtain a Permaculture Design Course certificate:

  • Students are required to attend 90% of the course content, and must complete the core subjects of Permaculture Ethics, Principles and all design subjects;
  • Students are required to complete Group Design Project and Design Exercises;
  • The PDC facilitator will use discretion to make the final decision;
  • Students who miss critical sessions are welcome to sit-in on future classes to catch up.

Course outcomes:

  • An appreciation of the fundamentals of permaculture and the historical context in which it was developed.
  • Ability to incorporate ecological and energy literacy/understanding in the design process
  • An ability to read patterns in landscapes and understand how they influence design choices
  • An understanding of the design processes and the conceptual design tools used in permaculture, as background for later application topics.
  • An ability to design food production and other agricultural systems in appropriate landscapes
  • An understanding of how communities function and how permaculture concepts can be used to build functional communities.
  • An understanding of how trading functions and how permaculture concepts can be used to build more equitable economic systems.
  • Understanding of how settlements can be designed to meet human needs on a sustainable basis
  • An understanding of how buildings can be designed to meet human needs on a sustainable basis.
  • An appreciation of the technologies that are available to assist in building sustainable lifestyles – renewable energies and conservation of non-renewable resources.
  • Confidence in one’s ability to make a difference at the individual level.

The course schedule for PDC commencing  13 August 2022 is available Here.

Joel Meadows is an environmental educator, energy auditor, building designer, sustainable transport consultant, illustrator, maker of things of steel and wood, grower, cooker and preserver of food, avid gardener and musician. Joel has studied Sculpture, Blacksmithing, Renewable Energy Technology and Permaculture, he has worked for private, government and not for profit organisations and runs the Green Hand Institute, offering permaculture education and product development from new forms of rocket stove to innovative beehives, from human-powered machines to biochar makers. Joel illustrated the second edition of David Holmgren’s ‘Principles’ book and ‘The Rocket Powered Oven’ e-book with Tim Barker.

Joel lives with his family on the fringe of Castlemaine – Central Victoria, in their owner built and designed passive solar straw-bale home, where he continually works on his permaculture business, property and ideas. When not in the shed Joel can often be found in the garden, growing food, building hot compost piles, tending to the chooks or scything around the orchard trees. Joel is an avid bike rider and repairer, likes playing and making guitars, building furniture, blacksmithing and leather

Ian Lillington first studied permaculture in England in 1985 and then, while on a contract in Melbourne, met and worked with David Holmgren at CERES in 1989. Back in the UK in 1990 , he decided to do a PDC [a 14 day residential with Graham Bell and Nancy Woodhead]. In 1991 he attended advanced training with Bill Mollison, and edited Graham’s ‘Permaculture Way’ book and Patrick Whitefield’s ‘Permaculture In a Nutshell’. Since then Ian has been a contributor to Australian and UK permaculture journals. From 1992 until now Ian has taught PDCs in Australia, at CERES and 20 PDCs in his home town of Castlemaine; and with David Holmgren and Su Dennett in Hepburn Springs, and at the Food Forest, Gawler. He was also was a guest on early PDCs at CERES around 1994.

In the early 2000s’ Ian wrote The Holistic Life – a book that is an intro to permaculture. In 2015-19 he was involved in the Green Education movement in Hong Kong, and at the Green School Bali, teaching a PDC there and teaching in Shanghai. Ian and his partner Marita designed and built a straw bale, energy-efficient home in central Victoria where they live a permaculture-inspired lifestyle, eating from their garden every day and creating a sanctuary for the bees and birds and lizards.

Beck Lowe worked closely with David Holmgren on RetroSuburbia as chief editor, researcher and project manager. Since publication, she has also taken on the role of education coordinator and has run workshops and developed resources to help households make positive changes. She is an enthusiastic and experienced permaculture educator and has been involved in permaculture training at all levels for more than 15 years. She has practical permaculture experience in private and community spaces in inner city, urban and rural areas.

Kat Lavers is a passionate gardener, permaculture designer and facilitator. She has taught permaculture in Australia and with nomadic herders and aid agency staff in Mongolia. In her former role at Cultivating Community she used a bobcat and 500000 compost worms to compost café food waste in the City of Yarra. She currently coordinates the My Smart Garden program for Hobsons Bay City Council and offers freelance permaculture and gardening coaching and classes. Her award-winning house and garden, ‘The Plummery’, is a 1/14th of an acre urban permaculture system that produces almost all the veggies, herbs, fruit and eggs consumed (more than 350kg in 2016), as well as recycling all organic waste on-site and harvesting the majority of power and water used by the household. There is also a retrofitted light earth studio made from onsite clay and scavenged materials. Kat is a volunteer coordinator of Permablitz Melbourne.

Monique Miller is a conservation and land management professional, Permaculture teacher, workshop facilitator and avid gardener. Monique came to Permaculture via a Philosophy/Arts degree and a year spent overseas. To Monique, Permaculture is the toolbox with which we can tackle the issues of a late-capitalist world. Monique completed her first PDC in Portugal (2012) and second at CERES in 2016. Since, she has been building veggies gardens, growing food at home, getting on Gardening Australia, attending 3 International Permaculture Convergences, learning more about applying Permaculture to life design, teaching edible weeds & fermentation workshops at CERES and facilitated the PDC from 2017-2019. She is passionate about harnessing the energy of & guiding new PDC graduates, social permaculture, and self-study. You can follow Monique at Monique Eve Miller on Instagram & Facebook.

Lisa Reid is an educator, facilitator, environmental engineer and kitchen garden specialist who is committed to embedding permaculture into all aspects of her life. She facilitates CERES Permaculture Design Course (PDC), is passionate about creating a permaculture community and has been instrumental in growing the CERES PDC Alumni which fosters connection and skills and knowledge sharing.

Lisa is active in her community sharing the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. In her spare time, you can find Lisa leading the kitchen garden of the local primary school, an evolving space which has been designed using permaculture principles. You might also find her tending to her productive garden, chickens and guinea pigs.

CERES reserves the right to cancel workshops and courses due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the workshop/course you will be entitled to a 100% refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.

If you decide to withdraw 7 or more days prior to the workshop/course date CERES will retain a 10% administration fee.

If you decide to withdraw less than 7 days prior to the workshop/course date CERES will retain 100% of your workshop/course fee.

Should CERES have to cancel the workshop/course due to Government changes relating to the COVD-19 response, we will let you know as soon as possible. Affected participants will be sent a notification that includes details on how to re-book another date or workshop/course. While cancellations on our part remain refundable within the specified time period, we do hope you will consider bearing with us in these precarious and trying times, and consider the rescheduled date where possible.



Aug | from $55 |