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Greater Boston Permaculture Guild Message Board › Permaculture Design Course to be held in Western Mass

Permaculture Design Course to be held in Western Mass

Mia G.
user 12118090
Boston, MA
Post #: 2
July 2011 through November 2011

This course is designed for busy people who want to take a PDC but can’t get away for a 9-day course. This certified 72-hour Permaculture Design Course (PDC) taught by Terra-Genesis’s Mary Johnson will incorporate field trips to local farms, cultural events and guest appearances from other local teachers (tba). Mary has been teaching and working internationally for many years and brings strong practical experience to her permaculture design perspective that is grounded in farm business planning and holistic management. Read more about her environmental consulting business and permaculture adventures as well as see pictures of her farmstead in Ashfield at http://wrcinashfield....­

The official dates for the 2011 course are:

Class 1: July 29 – July 31,
Class 2: September 2-5 (Labor Day weekend),
Class 3: October 7-10 (Columbus Day weekend),
Class 4: November 11-13 (Veteran’s Day weekend),
We ask that you arrive at the site on the Friday of each course session, prior to 5 PM, as we will be very busy with preparations in the days leading up to the sessions. If you would like to extend your stay to enjoy the recreation opportunities, especially on the long weekends, please let us know in advance. We are happy to have you extend your stay.
This full 72-hour certified Permaculture Design Course will be broken down into 4 weekend sessions, and will be held at a rural residence located in the foothills of the Berkshires where you will be surrounded by abundant opportunities for nature immersion and recreation. The site was once part of a 200 acre New England dairy farm and is now ready to be transformed by your permaculture designs and numerous hands-on practical skill building sessions. The natural beauty and powerful spirit of the site will form the basis of this experiential course. This site is ripe with learning opportunities, with a backdrop of amazing sunrises, and gorgeous vistas great for inspiration, spiritual renewal and creative nature design.

Located within easy reach and accessible by public transportation, it is an easy commuting distance from New York City (3.5 hour drive), Boston (2 hour drive), and Washington D.C. (1.5 hour flight). It is an ideal place to retreat from the stressful human built city environment, to renew and revive yourself and help you remember your true path.

The course will consist of a broad range of topics applicable to life anywhere on this planet, yet will be tailored to the needs of the students present as well as the location at hand.

Participants will help to co-create the design of multi-species food forests, permaculture-style gardens that integrate food, wildlife habitat, flowers and medicinal herbs, as well as livestock, natural buildings, aquaculture and aqua-ponic gardens. The site has several hand-dug wells and a natural mountain top bog that will inspire us as we design water catchments and irrigation systems that will help familiarize you with aspects of Australian keyline design, French swales and earthen dams.

The course will be conducted in the internationally accepted manner. The 72 hours of course work required to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate, will be covered over the 4 sessions, mixing hands-on activities with plenty of in classroom studies and take home reading, journaling, and self-directed research and video assignments. There will be plenty of self-study resources that will meet the needs of the most voracious learner. All students are required to be present for the full 72 hours of instruction if they wish to receive the certificate. Others may participate on a day by day basis.

Permaculture courses are fairly standardized as far as content. We will cover every major topic in Bill Mollisons’ Permaculture: a Designers Manual.

1. Philosophies and Ethics underlying permaculture.

2. Basic permaculture principals.

3. Patterns in Nature and how to use that in design.

4. Methods of design. How to go from a damaged piece of land to designing a restoration plan.

5. Climactic factors. We will cover all the major climates and how to work with them.

6. Trees, forests and why we want to mimic their systems.

7. Water: catchment, usage, importance, and conservation.

8. Soil, minerals, microorganisms, building new soil and preventing erosion.

9. Earthworks: how to shape the land to help it achieve the goals we are aiming for. We will also cover how this can aid with preparing for climate change impacts like increasing droughts and floods

10. Aquaculture

11. Natural Building

12. Alternative systems: community living and other ways of choosing to live differently that works well for people and the planet.

Each of these categories has subcategories and each teacher also has their own additions and certain topics that are stressed over others so no two courses will be exactly the same.

Costs: The 4 session PDC course (72 hours):

In order to make our programs as accessible as possible while still covering our costs we have a four tier fee structure. Please pay the highest amount that you can, so that we may offer lower fees to others.

Supporter: $2000
Regular: $1500
Lower Income: $1000
Registered Volunteer (must recieve prior written approval, email us first): $500
These prices include all meals and a place to stay for the duration of the course. Ashfield residents and CISA members qualify for a 50% discount

We ask all registrants to make a deposit of US$300 by July 30th to secure your spot. 10% discount if you register by July 15.

Scholarships and Worktrade: Limited work/trade* opportunities are available.

*If you work for a non-profit, volunteer with low income communities, or are on a reduced income and believe that permaculture could help you or your organization achieve its goals, please don’t be shy about contacting us about a discounted rate or work/trade opportunity. Interns are also accepted on a case-by-case basis for short or long term assignments.

For those who can’t commit up front to the full 72-hour course and all 4 sessions, a day by day option is also available (if spaces are available) and costs $350 per weekend.

Please contact us directly at to get payment mailing address if you want to pay by check, or to inquire about any special arrangements.

Payments can also be made by credit card through PayPal. Sign-in to your PayPal account­ and use the “send money” tab. Use as the email address to send the payment to, and enter the amount (ex. $300 for your deposit). You will get a receipt from PayPal once the transaction is complete.
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