Permaculture Design Certification Course

September 20 - September 29, 2019

This permaculture design course near Asheville, NC, will empower students to integrate permaculture 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.

permaculture homestead diagram with greenhouse and chickens

Study permaculture with Laura Ruby and Natalie Bogwalker, along with guest teachers like Luke Cannon, Ben Portwood, Tony Troia, Cailen Campbell, and more…

Compost pile for permaculture homestead

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 human lives and landscapes:

Our whole systems approach in this Permaculture Design Course will dramatically revolutionize how you view and relate to Earth and your everyday life. 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

Permaculture garden
Shiitake logs with edible mushrooms

Permaculture Design Certification Course presentation with map

Receiving your Permaculture 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.

Permaculture looks to the wisdom of nature’s patterns and cycles to design our gardens, buildings, communities, businesses… principles to integrate into the greater world at large.

“I feel so inspired to shape my own life using these principles. [The PDC] has given me confidence, ideas, and tremendous insight. It’s an experience that has really helped me grow as a person.” – (Permaculture Design Course student 2014)


Natalie Bogwalker

Founder and Director of Wild Abundance; Instructor for Hide Tanning, Permaculture & Gardening, Homesteading, Foraging & Medicine Making, Carpentry & Natural Building, Rewilding, and Women’s Empowerment 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 ...

Laura Ruby

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening 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 ...

Becky Beyer

Instructor for Rewilding, Women’s Empowerment, and Foraging & Herbal Medicine 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 ...

Ben Falk

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening 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 ...

Cailen Campbell

Instructor for Homesteading and Permaculture & Gardening 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 ...

Eric Toensmeier

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening 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 ...

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