Permaculture design course
Building sustainable communities
Saturday 13 March – Sunday 6 June 2021
13 weekend days
This course can be delivered partly online and partly face-to-face depending on Government guidance on social distancing. The course is made up of lectures on key topics, facilitated design activities, practical activities, visits to permaculture projects and entrance to our event, Green Architecture Day. In the worst case scenario that social distancing measures prevent meeting face-to-face at the time of the course, most content will be delivered online with some visits postponed to a later date. In any case, the full course curriculum will be covered by the end of the course.
We are not taking bookings for this course yet. Please use the MAKE AN ENQUIRY button at the bottom of this page to be added to the waiting list.
This course looks at how we can design resilient, abundant human ‘ecosystems’; working collaboratively with one another to care for the planet, each other and ourselves.
Permaculture gives you a toolbox for designing your garden, home, work and community projects to look after the earth and people. This course builds on our Introduction to Permaculture course by developing your understanding and skills in permaculture design and is certified by the Permaculture Association of Britain.
Our Permaculture design course (Building sustainable communities) is a hands-on course where we learn both indoors and outdoors. It includes visits to:
- Permaculture, organic and forest gardens
- Community sustainability initiatives
- Community growing projects
- Green Architecture Day
Prior to attending our Permaculture design course (Building sustainable communities), you’ll need to have completed an introduction to permaculture course, either Brighton Permaculture Trust’s 2-day Introduction to Permaculture course or an equivalent course elsewhere. Please do not reserve a place unless you have attended or have booked a place on an introduction to permaculture course that runs before the start of the course. This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
The Mar – Jun 2021 course will be held on the following days:
Saturday 13 March, Saturday 27 March
Saturday 10 April, Saturday 17 April, Sunday 18 April
Saturday 8 May, Saturday 8 May, Saturday 15 May, Saturday 22 May
Saturday 5 June, Sunday 6 June
The course will include free entry to Green Architecture Day – 2021 date tbc.
Assuming we are able to meet face-to-face, most days will run from 10am to 5pm. We ask that you aim to arrive at 9.30-9.45am for a prompt start and allow 30 mins flexibility at the end. Venues will vary, so you need to leave time for travelling. Everyone is encouraged to organise lift-sharing arrangements.
If social distancing prevents us meeting in person there will be a half-day Zoom meeting on each of these dates with further online materials to look at each week.
Click here for details of local accommodation and to find out about Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture design is about creating practical ecological strategies for land, water, buildings, people and communities. It involves developing systems that are resilient and contribute to environmental, social and personal well-being, and is based on a philosophy of cooperation with nature.
The word permaculture is derived from permanent agriculture and permanent culture, but offers a perspective on all aspects of building a sustainable future, including changing your life for the better. Permaculture encourages us to use our individual skills, knowledge and interests, whilst drawing on science, traditional wisdom and our innate ability to observe and learn from the world around us. Whether your interest is gardening, farming, planning, building homes, community work, economic regeneration, business or green lifestyles, the application of permaculture principles empowers you to make a positive contribution towards a sustainable future.
Who is the course for?
The course is for anyone who is concerned with the environmental and social challenges around them and wants to develop positive solutions. Whereas some permaculture courses are intensive, this one is spread over several months to enable people to integrate permaculture design into many areas of their lives, including food growing, home renovation and livelihoods.
This is valuable for anyone wishing to add a permaculture perspective to their existing skills, and to community workers, teachers, architects, planners, landscapers, foresters, food growers, gardeners, designers, agriculturists and conservationists.
What the Permaculture design course covers
The course enables participants to integrate a self-reliant, pragmatic, ecological approach to work, life, gardens, homes and communities.
The sessions cover topics including:
- Ethics and principles of permaculture
- Design process and methodology
- Soil management and conservation
- Trees and woodland management
- Cultivated ecology: gardens and farms
- Effective group work and community living
- Real wealth, money and sustainable exchange
- Urban challenges and urban permaculture
- Energy conservation and renewable energy
On this course we create a participatory and diverse learning environment. The emphasis is on ‘action learning’, learning by doing and reflecting on our activities. We will be working individually, in small and large groups, engaging in talks with experts and doing our own practice designs. We will also be outside observing nature and doing practical activities. You are encouraged to further your learning through home study, which can include further reading, personal reflection, and application of what’s being learned in practice. Useful resources are highlighted throughout the course.
A key part of the course is an extended personal design project of your choice. This is an opportunity for you to apply permaculture to your own project and gain skills in using the design tools you have learned throughout the course. We will integrate sessions on this during the course, including providing support and feedback, and you will need to work on this outside course time. The personal design project is a requirement for successful completion of the course.
The course takes place in various locations in and around Brighton and Sussex in the south east of England.
We help facilitate lift sharing.
We are sorry that, due to nature of the venues and outdoor locations we visit, our course is not fully disability accessible. Please contact us if you have a disability that you think may affect your ability to attend so we can discuss how your needs might be accommodated.
The course is accredited by the Permaculture Association of Britain. To be awarded the certificate, you must attend at least 10 days of the course and complete the design project, including attending the final two days of the course. Please don’t register if you cannot meet these requirements.
Home study during and after the course
We sometimes expect people to carry out a little preparation for course days. This might be watching a video, collecting a soil sample, or doing some survey or observation activity. We set tasks that encourage thinking about your life and how the learning on the course applies to it. This is about integration with, rather than a separation from, the activities of everyday life. We also provide reading and links to online resources which are then discussed in group sessions.
What can the Permaculture design course lead on to?
Once you’ve gained the Permaculture Design Certificate you’ll be able to start using permaculture design in your life and work. You will be invited to join Brighton Permaculture Trust’s network of volunteers and encouraged to get involved in Brighton Permaculture Trust activities and those of other related networks. Students often start their own projects and invite course-mates to get involved in those. To further your learning or professional development you could go on to work towards a Diploma in Permaculture Design, a self-directed action learning process of at least two years.
You could also choose to become an apprentice permaculture teacher, or to take any of the wide range of more specialist permaculture courses now being offered throughout the UK and beyond for people with a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Course tutors and speakers
Bryn Thomas, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and designer. Passions include growing fruit, forest gardening, green building and organisational design.
Chloe Anthony, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and practitioner. Passions include forest gardens, living in community.
Mischa Hewitt, Eco buildings courses tutor, director of Low Carbon Trust, project manager Earthship Brighton project and sustainability consultant.
Stephan Gehrels, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and designer specialising in school and community growing projects. Eco schools project manager.
Tracy Hind, Permaculture tutor and OCN Assessor. Interests include working in groups and community development.
If you want to do some reading before the course, we recommend these books:
- Permaculture design – step by step, Aranya
- The Permaculture Way, Graham Bell
- Permaculture – a beginner’s guide, Graham Burnett
- Introduction to Permaculture or Permaculture One, Bill Mollison
- Permaculture In A Nutshell, Patrick Whitefield
Fees include tuition, certification and refreshments.
- £895 – Sponsored/organisation rate
- £895 – Individual income more than 25k/yr
- £745 – Individual income 18-25k/yr
- £595 – Individual income less than 18k/yr
- £356 – Individual, concessionary rate (only 6 places available: check your eligibility)*
* Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.
We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.
See the cancellations and refunds policy.
Booking the Permaculture design course
Advance booking is essential.
If you have completed the booking process but you haven’t received a confirmation email from us please contact us to check your booking has gone through.
If you are booking within two weeks of the event, or the event is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay by cheque or BACS. Instead, you will need to pay immediately using a credit/debit card or PayPal.
IMPORTANT: Please state where and when you did an Introduction to permaculture course on the booking form. We need this information, so please make sure you include it.
IMPORTANT: Payment for the course can be made in full, or a place can be secured by paying a 50% deposit. If a deposit is paid, the remainder is due by Friday 12 February 2021.
We are not currently taking bookings for this course. Please use the MAKE AN ENQUIRY button at the bottom of this page to be added to the waiting list.
"It was great to have a variety of teaching styles and approaches (diversity!). Having a number of tutors and observers there for each session meant there was a great deal of support and interaction available, which was given with a light touch."
"[The residential] was one of my favourite elements of the course. I felt that it came at the right time to bound more as a group. ...The residential fitted perfectly with the theme of community."
"Amazing, inspiring, really safe and trusted space."
"[I liked] the dynamic sessions, the diversity over the weekends, the variety of tutors, and most of all how they managed to make us all feel comfortable and at ease."
"What a great course! Thoroughly engaging & inspiring tuition along with loads of resources and a really fabulous group. Wish I had done the course years ago. Has opened up a world of possibilities."
"I was amazed by the amount of information covered. There were sessions where I experienced activity overload.... Absolutely value for money, such a full and varied and relevant content. Thank you to all the tutors for this wonderful course."
"I liked the diversity of tutors and locations. I especially enjoyed the outdoor sessions with Bryn and Stephan and of course the visit to my new hero, Ben Law."
"I have been able to apply what I have learnt on this course to improve my personal life and to inspire others around me. I now have a clearer vision of what I want for the future and how to get there."