Permaculture Design Course

September 11 - September 22, 2019

Optional: October 5th Presentation Day



A place-based permaculture design course that empowers students to integrate what they learn into their lives and landscapes.

What makes this class special is the assimilation of permaculture principles and design strategies into the South’s rich cultural and ecological elements. Students will receive their Permaculture Certification at the end of the course. Near Asheville, NC.

permaculture homestead diagram with greenhouse and chickens

Learn permaculture design through lectures, site visits, hand-on activities, and plenty of design time.

If you want to dive even deeper into permaculture and Earth-based living, check out our Permaculture Design Certificate Immersion too. It’s spread out over 9 months (1 long-weekend/month), instead of an intensive 12 days.

permaculture design course students

What To Expect:

This class is appropriate for those interested in pursuing a career in permaculture design, as well as those who want to learn how to apply Earth-inspired philosophies in their own lives. All students will cultivate a deep engagement with the natural and human systems of which they are an integral part. You’ll learn how to compost and grow organic food and the basics of gardening, homesteading, living off the grid and urban homesteading.

You will learn to integrate a whole-systems approach to your life and landscapes:

Our whole systems approach in . This class empowers students to become effective ecological designers, using the tools and knowledge needed to integrate permaculture into every landscape. We follow the PINA curriculum, adding more time to aspects that we find especially compelling and putting some extra emphasis on design for the South. You’ll learn the permaculture principles and how they can be applied in designing a sustainable landscape. We’ll cover:

  • Principles of ecology
  • Introduction to forest guilds
  • Reading the land and observing patterns
  • Plant identification
  • Climates, biogeography, microclimates
  • Understanding zone and sectors
  • Mapping
  • Plant succession
  • Holistic forestry and orcharding
  • Urban farm tour
  • Conservation, waste and recycling strategies
  • Human nutrition
  • Social ecology and invisible structures
  • Client relations and interviews
  • Economics

Shiitake logs with edible mushrooms

Permaculture Design Certification Course presentation with map

Receiving your Permaculture Design Certification:

Students who complete the course (and submit thoughtful designs and presentations) will receive their Permaculture Design Certification. Please note that in order to advertise your design skills, you should invest significant time and experience into applying permaculture into real-world landscapes above and beyond this permaculture class.

The PDC will take place at Wild Abundance (located 20 minutes north of Asheville in Barnardsville, NC) and at the Ruby Roost in Madison County, NC. One homestead is nestled in community, and the other is a multi-generational homestead; both are fantastic examples of permaculture in action. Please note that both sites include camping and meal options.

This Permaculture Design Course will revolutionize how you view and relate to the Earth and your everyday life

If the 12-day intensive isn’t accessible to your schedule, check out our Permaculture Design Certificate Immersion. It’s spread out over 9 months (1 long-weekend/month).

“Taking the Permaculture Design Course opened my mind drastically. The knowledge I gained will benefit my family, community, and myself tremendously. I am forever grateful to Natalie and Laura. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


Rosie Soto


Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie is the founder and director of the Wild Abundance.  She’s passionate about teaching and sharing skills that are essential for living harmoniously within the natural systems of the earth. She and her family live at the Wild Abundance homestead campus in the Southern Appalachians. Natalie spends her time harvesting in the wild, building, gardening, ...

Laura Ruby

Laura earned her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2002 from Crystal Waters EcoVillage in Australia. Since then, she has been implementing permaculture systems on her own urban property in downtown Boulder, CO, and for her clients in the area. She recently moved to Western North Carolina and is designing and implementing a 56-acre Permaculture education center ...

Becky Beyer

Becky started her crazy love affair with all things homesteading while growing up on a farm in central New Jersey. After getting her B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont, she moved to Asheville, NC, to explore all the amazing work being done in this beautiful bioregion. She teaches spoon carvin ...

Ben Falk

Ben Falk lives permaculture every day at his Vermont homestead, a testing-ground for ideas and projects that he shares with the wider world through teaching, consulting, and writing. He founded Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. He’s the author ...

Cailen Campbell

After dropping out of college in 1994, Cailen completed a permaculture design course and year-long natural building and permaculture apprenticeship at the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, TN, followed by a year-long apprenticeship with Eustace Conway at the Turtle Island Preserve, where he learned a diversity of skills related to early American ...

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens as well as a contributor for Drawdown. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied ...

Local Accommodations

While many locals prefer to commute to Wild Abundance and the Ruby Roost from Asheville, students from the area and out of town are welcome pitch a tent in one of our flat camping spots in the woods or in a field located on our seven-acre property. We suggest bringing a warm sleeping bag and bedding. We have a fully functioning outdoor kitchen on site for student use.

If you prefer something more conducive to creature comforts, we suggest browsing Airbnb (there are a few within walking distance of the school) or checking out a local motel within a 10-15 minute drive to Wild Abundance.

Comfort Inn in Mars Hill, NC

Registration Info

We strive to make our classes accessible to those who wish to learn. Please pay on the sliding scale what you can afford, given your income.

September 11 – 22, 2019

  • Early-Early Bird Price: January 1 – June 3, 2019: $979 without catered meals/$1,297 with catered meals
  • Early Bird Price: June 4 – August 8, 2019: $1,079 without catered meals/$1,379 with catered meals
  • Regular Bird Price: August 9 – September 11, 2019: $1,149 without catered meals/$1,449 with catered meals

The following are included in the price of the course: instruction, optional camping, and facility use (kitchen, bathroom).

To register, please complete the online registration by clicking on the “Register Now” button and then make your payment. Registration will be processed upon receipt of payment.

Expect to receive a confirmation email within one week of sending payment. Additional emails will cover logistical details as the date approaches.

Click here to see our policy on refunds, payment plans and work-trade opportunities.

Also, feel free to read our Frequently Asked Questions.