Permaculture Design Course 2016

5 weekends in 2016:

April 30-May 1 (Perth); August 6-7 (Perth); September 17-18 (Ottawa); October 22-23 (Ottawa); November 5-6 (Ottawa)

Are you:

  • Seeking an engaging learning experience and practical knowledge to apply to your land, work, community and life?
  • Interested in growing food, taking care of the water and soil, sustaining your livelihood, building community, and deepening your relationship with Mother Earth?
  • Wanting real-life examples of what is possible in a cold climate, in rural, suburban and urban settings?


Be inspired.  Join us.

You might be wondering about:

What will I learn?

  • how to better meet my needs (eg. food, shelter, livelihood) in ways that are healthier for me, my family/community and for all of life around me
  • how to take care of the soil, water, plants and animals
  • how to observe a piece of land and make decisions about how to use the land based on what is needed and what is readily available (we call this “designing”)
  • how to apply these same ideas to a building, a business, an organisation or a community
  • how to be more effective with energy and materials, and adapt to changing conditions over time (we call this “resilience”)
  • how to practice and directly apply what I'm learning to my land, work and projects   


Course Topics

These are standard topics in a Permaculture Design Course (PDC):

  • principles and ethics
  • observation and patterns in nature
  • design process
  • scale of permanence
  • cold, tropical and dry climates
  • water, earthworks and keyline systems
  • food forests, edible and medicinal plants
  • animal systems
  • buildings and retrofits
  • soil and compost
  • how to start gardens
  • local economic systems
  • group design projects


We've added the following special topics to our PDC:

  • an Integral approach to Permaculture design
  • deep listening and nature connection
  • lessons we've learned from local Anishnabek (indigenous) people
  • mapping
  • solar angles at different latitudes
  • edible forest gardens for home and commercial scale
  • how to start seed-saving
  • homesteading and farming
  • sustainable finances for home and small businesses
  • capitalism and climate change
  • social permaculture and Transition Town initiatives
  • Nonviolent Communication and group facilitation
  • and much more!

Permaculture Site Tours

Learn from real people and real places that are practising permaculture!  Tour several permaculture sites with farmers, homesteaders and small businesses.

Agapé Gardens

A home-made, small-scale labour of love located in rural Perth, ON. Through our hand-grown, hand-crafted, nutrient-dense products we want to share our passion for individual and planetary health and well-being.  We have been homesteading for three years on a beautiful, seven-acre, permaculture-designed landscape. The work of our homestead is threefold: firstly, we serve as an educational platform for research and development in the fields of permaculture and self-sufficient living; secondly, we revive traditions of growing nutrient-dense foods on our homestead; thirdly, we create artizen products such as kale chips, flax crackers, and fermented soda (kombucha). Originally a devastated piece of land, by applying permaculture principles, we have designed a flourishing mini oasis. On this tour, learn about the water-harvesting design, which includes ponds, swales and extensive hugelkultur beds; as well as the chicken tractor, greenhouse, shadehouse and more!

Bonita & Sébastien's Garden - Edible & Medicinal Plant Tour

Learn about the many food and medicine plants in our garden that come back year after year.  Learn how we prepare them for food or medicine, and how we manage the plants.

  • over 100 species of perennial plants for food and medicine in our garden
  • tour of the garden and visit the plants
  • some highlights include: goji, nettles, fiddleheads, beetberry, daylilies, lambsquarters, hablitzia, Good King Henry for cooked greens; salads with dandelion, sedum, sorrel, 5 kinds of perennial alliums (onion family), mallows, garlic mustard, Lady's thumb, purslane, oxalis, plantain, curly dock, reseeding chard, kale, turnip and radishes; berries like currants, elderberries, wild strawberries and raspberries; cinnamon yam, sunchokes, daylilies and burdock for potato-like veggies; lemon balm, catnip, mint, bee balm, chamomile and ground ivy herbal teas; oregano, thyme and mullein tinctures; birch sap; black walnut nuts and more...

Check out our Life, Garden & Permaculture with Bonita & Sébastien video on youtube. Read about our 55+ Favourite Plants for Edible Forest Gardens in Ontario and Québec.

Ferme et Forêt 

Sean Butler and Genevieve LeGal-Leblanc started Ferme et Forêt in 2013 on a 150 acre farm near Wakefield, Quebec. They draw inspiration from permaculture and biodynamics to produce a wide array of organic products, including maple syrup, eggs, wildcrafted foods and fibres, forest grown shiitake and winecap mushrooms, asparagus, small fruit, orchard crops, honey, garlic, and baked goods. They think that farming is a prime leverage point for humans to not just survive, but to thrive. If we humans can change the way we do agriculture, making it regenerative rather than degenerative, we can actually feed ourselves and make this planet a more enjoyable and beautiful place for us and all of life to live. Their core guiding principles in this endeavor are: ecosystem regeneration; social capital; individual well-being; fair share; respect for all life. On this tour, visit their site and learn about the workings of their dynamic farm. Check out the Ferme et Forêt & Permaculture video on youtube. 

Nature Connections

Gardens of any size can help meet so many of our basic needs without sacrificing the beauty. Well designed gardens can help you eat local and organic; attract birds and other wildlife; improve soil, water, and air quality; and much more! Learn how to use the space you have more efficiently to meet more of your needs while improving the health of your family, your community, and the planet. Nature shouldn't be thought of as "out there" and separate from us. It is right here, in the city in your backyard or nearest park. It is growing in any neglected parking lot, and in the cracks of our sidewalks. We can touch the Earth and plant a seed on your balcony, in your backyard, or nearest community garden. On this tour, visit the home garden of Brittany and Alister, creators of "Nature Connections", at their small and intensive urban space filled with food and life, designed using permaculture principles. Check out the Nature Connections & Permaculture video on youtube.

Radical Homestead

Forged out of a desire to consume less and be more self-reliant, Radical Homestead founders Corrie and Ron decided to challenge themselves to learn a new skill every week. From kimchi to beekeeping, this experience transformed them – deepening their connection with the Earth, their food, and enhancing relationships with friends and family. They currently keep about 30 bee hives in two bee yards; their largest bee yard is right in the Ottawa Greenbelt at the Just Food Farm in Blackburn Hamlet. These bees have an abundance of flowering trees and shrubs to forage from as well as the delicious organic veggies from farm neighbours. Radical Homestead's offerings include beekeeping and fermentation workshops, honey, lip balms and a fermented foods CSA. On this tour, learn about the bees and bio-char (a natural and powerful soil amendment) with Ron. Check out the Radical Homestead & Permaculture video on youtube.

The Wild Garden

The Wild Garden provides community members with local, organic and sustainably harvested wild foods and herbs, grown and gathered with permaculture principles in mind. As an educator, owner Amber Westfall also fosters nature connection, and a greater intimacy and deeper understanding of the local landscape, in her students, while encouraging stewardship, co-creative relationships and regenerative care of the spaces we inhabit. Amber is a simple living, nature loving, weed eating, backyard medicine making, urban homesteader passionate about wild foods and healing plants. She loves sharing that passion with others through plant walks, workshops and teaching courses on herbalism. On this tour, visit her plot and apothecary at the Just Food farm. Check out The Wild Garden & Permaculture video on youtube.


This course includes some homework in between sessions to help integrate the learning in your everyday life.


For more info or to register:

Course Fee: $850, includes HST; does NOT include meals or accommodations.

The cost of the PDC includes the Introduction Course, as well as the tours in Perth and Ottawa.