Permaculture Design Certificate




Gather with a group of environmentally conscious and creative people to learn and grow with plants and animals while exploring gardens, farms and forests across the Lower Mainland. Together we will learn how nature designs itself and how we can become sustainable designers ourselves. We will learn how to map and design our land and our lives, plan for emergencies, grow organic food in all four seasons and work to build a more sustainable future. By designing and consulting with an eye to energy efficiency and long term planning, we can save time, energy and money while living in alignment with our values and helping support other people to do so too.

This low-cost, 15 month, weekend program is ultra-flexible and caters to the busyness of modern life while allowing you to observe changes throughout the seasons. If you miss a class, you can jump in on the same module in a different class at no extra cost and there is no time limit to complete the certification.

Successful completion of this course offers certificates through the graduate’s choice of the Permaculture Research Institute Australia ( or the Permaculture Institute USA ( or the Permaculture Association UK (

The Permaculture Design Certification program is co-taught by Delvin and Kym, a dynamic male/female teaching team who are well known in the permaculture community.

Some classes take place off site. These locations are on bus routes in Greater Vancouver. A list of sites will be available from the instructor.

Additional expenses for the required books (web editions available):

  • Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual (hardcover) by Bill Mollison = $150
  • Gaia’s Garden (2nd edition) by Toby Hemenway = $30
  • Earth Users Guide to Permaculture (2nd edition hardcover) by Rosemary Morrow = $30


Students should meet all the following prerequisites before registering:

  • Proficiency in English


Students who are not working toward certification do not have to complete any graduation requirements.

Students working toward certification will be assessed on the following requirements:

  • Individual map and design
  • Questions/written work
  • Course journal
  • 100% attendance (there may be an opportunity to make up a missed class — this must be arranged directly with the instructor)


Having a Permaculture Design Certificate from a recognized training institute will empower participants as permaculture designers, consultants and beginner teachers able to use the word permaculture legally in their practice, business or project. This sustainability education eco-training certificate is a practical path for greening your life, resume and portfolio. You will have an edge when applying for jobs, grants or school programs.


See the attached file for the course schedule and curriculum planned for the Fall 2018 course.

  • Design methods
  • Patterns in nature
  • Soils and composting
  • Water
  • Trees
  • Animals
  • Design for cool, tropical and arid climates
  • Social permaculture
  • Native food and medicine plants of the Coastal First Peoples



  • Group introductions
  • Course orientation and requirements
  • Group goals and guidelines
  • Communication (NVC and conflict resolution)
  • Learning styles and multiple intelligences
Learning Goals:

  • Set a course culture of safety, respect and organization
  • Create a positive & effective learning environment
  • Encourage active listening in groups
  • Value different ways of communicating and have confidence in utilizing tools of conflict resolution
  • Orient participants to course content



  • Definitions
  • History of Permaculture
  • Ethics
  • Principles
Learning Goals:

  • Know the Permaculture ethics and the Transition ethic and how to apply them to conscious decision making
  • Learn the basis of how the Permaculture movement began, how it has grown, some of its progenies and how the lineage links to this course
  • Gain a strong understanding of nature’s principles and how they are at the foundation of design decisions and application
  • Provide awareness of the world’s problems and the current situation
  • Shift from a place of problems to positive solution based thinking
  • Feel confident in defining Permaculture clearly to others



  • Needs, Functions and Outputs
  • Zones
  • Sectors
  • Mapping
Learning Goals:

  • Understand how to do a needs & yields analysis
  • Gain a base understanding of closed loop systems
  • Observe a site, document and recognize available resources and design constraints based on analysis
  • Identify energies or influences that effect a design site
  • Be able to create a base map including zones & sector analysis for a site
  • Know the basic elements included in mapping a site



  • Physical patterns, emergent patterns, fractal patterns
  • Functions of patterns
  • Patterns in time
  • Behavioural patterns
  • Application of patterns in design
  • Guilds
Learning Goals:

  • Pattern recognition in nature and technology
  • Learn the functions of patterns in nature and how to apply that knowledge to effective design
  • Gain Pattern literacy and understand how to replace dysfunctional patterns with functional ones
  • Know the functions of and feel confident designing guilds
  • Recognize that pattern literacy is fundamental in becoming good designers



  • Soil biology
  • Soil classification and testing
  • Biodynamics
  • Soil remediation
  • Composting
  • Soil indicators
Learning Goals:

  • Have a base understanding of the components of healthy soil and know the value of building soil
  • Know different ways to test soil
  • Recognize different plant indicators and what they tell about soil health
  • Understand a multitude of different ways to remediate and build soil
  • Apply different composting techniques in appropriate situations
  • Identify key plants that bring nutrient to the soil



  • Ecological function of trees in relation to earth, water, air and energy
  • Succession
  • Forest gardens/ food forests
  • Plant/ tree identification
  • Design for trees
Learning Goals:

  • Understand the ecological functions of trees and recognize them as a keystone species in the ecosystem
  • Learn the stages of succession and how to intervene at appropriate times to speed up the succession process, creating abundant, thriving systems sooner
  • Know the layers in a forest garden and different plants for each layer that grow locally
  • Identify local plants and see the difference in characteristics between different species
  • Be able to integrate trees adequately and appropriately in design



  • Design for wild and domestic animals
  • Animal care
  • Integrated pest management
Learning Goals:

  • Recognize the intrinsic characteristics, functions and outputs of animals
  • How to meet the needs of animals on site
  • Learn techniques for integrating animal systems
  • Understand effective and healthy ways to handle pests
  • Know how to safely and ethically live with wildlife


Learning Goals:

  • Water facts
  • Water conservation
  • Water strategies & techniques
  • Waste water treatment
  • Water harvesting & storage
  • Earthworks
  • Aquaculture
Learning Goals:

  • Understand how global water issues can affect us on a local level
  • Learn how to do a water audit
  • Recognize multiple ways in which to conserve water
  • Feel confident in applying strategies and techniques to capture, store, treat and release water safely and appropriately
  • Know how to calculate roof water catchment amounts



  • Climatic factors
  • Microclimate
  • Slope and aspect
  • 12 climatic zones
Learning Goals:

  • Understand climate on a global scale and how we may design to moderate climatic factors
  • Recognize different microclimates and identify how to use them to benefit a system or how to modify them for maximum efficiency
  • Learn the characteristics of different climates to be able to identify effective climatic techniques



  • Cool climate characteristics
  • Cool climate design challenges and strategies
  • Cool climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:

  • Be able to identify characteristics of cool climate and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community



  • Tropical climate characteristics
  • Tropical climate design challenges and strategies
  • Tropical climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:

  • Be able to identify characteristics of wet, wet dry and monsoon tropics and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community



  • Dryland climate characteristics
  • Dryland climate design challenges and strategies
  • Dryland climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:

  • Be able to identify characteristics of drylands and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community



  • Client interview & designer checklist
  • Community building (group processes and asset mapping)
  • Governance (sociocracy and consensus decision making)
  • Land access
  • Right livelihood
  • Legal structures
  • Bioregionalism
Learning Goals:

  • Gain confidence in the consultation and design process for clients
  • Be able to map assets and resources and identify community needs
  • Understand different models of decision making and how to apply them
  • Feel comfortable engaging in community and using tools to provide for healthy group dynamics and efficient process
  • Recognize opportunities for land access locally
  • Learn ethical and effective business models and legal structures that support local economy
  • Know ways to relocalize and create resilient communities



  • Resiliency
  • Permaculture economics (LET’s, barter and trade, complimentary currency)
  • Education (accessibility, open source, alternative education)
  • Urban renewal strategies and design (place-making, curb cuts, green streets, roof top gardens, boulevard gardening
Learning Goals:

  • Able to identify risks and mitigate using Permaculture design tools and techniques
  • Know the steps in building a resiliency preparedness plan and engaging local community in the process
  • Know the basis of how the economic system works
  • Learn a variety of different economic strategies and the value of utilizing multiple currencies and tools for resilience
  • See access to education as a basic right and understand benefits of open source
  • Feel confident in utilizing place-making tools, techniques and Permaculture strategies in urban environments



  • Next steps (setting up a permaculture practice, further education, community involvement, goal sharing)
  • Mapping and design presentations
  • Talent show
  • Certificates
Learning Goals:

  • Think about niches in permaculture and practice effective goal setting
  • Gain experience presenting to groups and receiving feedback
  • Understand how to help others share their gifts
  • Optional hands on activities:
    – Design Charrettes
    – Earthworks demonstration
    – Integrative games
    – Compost building
    – Soil analysis
    – Plant & tree identification
    – Surveying
    – Medicine Making
    – Homesteading
  • Additional Topics:
    – Medicinal plants & preparations
    – Plant Identification
    – Fermentation
    – Non-violent communication
    – Placemaking


Delvin Solkinson

Delvin is a community gardener and plant poet dedicated to bringing creativity to the permaculture movement by creating free open source learning and teaching tools. He has completed a PDC, Diploma and Master’s Degree with Bill Mollison and done advanced teacher trainings with Rosemary Morrow, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Patricia Michael, Robyn Francis, the Bullock brothers, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, Larry Santoyo, Scott Pittman, Michael Becker, Robin Wheeler, Starhawk, Looby Macnamara, Robina McCurdy and Robin Clayfield. He is an accredited teacher through the Permaculture Research Institute and a Field Mentor through the Permaculture Institute. Recently he completed a PDC in Portland with Toby Hemenway, one in Greece with Rosemary Morrow and a second Diploma through the Permaculture Institute. Currently he is doing graduate work under the mentorship of Larry Santoyo and Looby Macnamara. Find out more about Delvin at

Kym Chi

Kym is a dedicated advocate of earth stewardship, people care and regenerative action for future resiliency. Deeply inspired by nature, art and experiential education, her main efforts are as a creative facilitator, artist, gardener, healer and community builder. To date, Kym has received three certificates in Permaculture Design, completed multiple teacher trainings and taken a variety of advanced trainings. She continues to take courses and is currently completing a Diploma in Education through the Permaculture Institute. With a focus on Social Permaculture, she also works for One Straw Society, a non-profit focusing on food sovereignty and community resiliency on the Sunshine Coast.


The instructors, Delvin and Kym, provide an excellent introduction to the ethics, principles, and techniques of Permaculture. The instruction is more than I could have hoped for. Between the curriculum, and personal experiences of the instructors, the course offers a brilliant education and a profound experience.Steven Funk
I quite enjoyed the permaculture design course, I always looked forward to attending every class because there was something different to learn each time. It also nicely tied in well with the Gaia College studies. Having different locations is a brilliant way to immerse ourselves in the natural learning of ecological design. It was never boring! The lessons were engaging and very interactive, I quite miss it!Monique Constant
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