An immersive approach to learning permaculture.

This permaculture design course (PDC) engages the mind, body, and heart. Students get to see permaculture in action at the 29-year-old community-scale permaculture demonstration site and ecovillage where the class takes place. Throughout the program we get our hands dirty and engage all of our senses; it’s about learning by doing. 

Every one of the instructors incorporates permaculture into their landscapes, businesses, and day-to-day lives. You’ll learn from their successes and failures, as they share candidly about diverse experiences applying permaculture principles to real-life situations.

Earthhaven students holding hands in circle during permaculture design class

This PDC is focused on community-scale applications of permaculture.

This 14-day Permaculture design Course is grounded in the integrated life of Earthaven Ecovillage — an ideal experimental classroom in the mountains of Western North Carolina. In addition to the core PDC curricula, this special course will include a unique layer of how to approach bringing permaculture alive in your community. We’ll be engaging with ancient and new practices of cooperation, mutual aid and community-scale work, including the lenses of racial, gender and economic equity.

As a longstanding off-grid ecovillage on 330 acres of land, Earthaven is a potent learning playground for this focus on permaculture applied at the community level. You’ll get to see permaculture in action through land stewardship and agroecological practices, buildings, energy and water systems, and other shared infrastructure. What’s more, you’ll get a view into Earthaven’s self-governance, participatory economic culture, and conflict transformation practices.

A permaculture design class is gathered in the council hall at Earthaven Ecovillage

Earn your Permaculture Design Certificate while nurturing connection

As we learn together, we’ll also have time for connection and reflection. Each day, students and instructors will partake in meals together, which gives us a chance to deepen our relationships outside of “class time.” This permaculture design course is as much about embarking on a journey of togetherness as it is about learning “hard skills.” In fact, the majority of our students tell us that the bonds they form and experiences they share are some of the most precious fruits of their PDC experiences.

Permaculture Design students smiling and laughing with notebooks out during a PDC class in an outdoor classroom tent

Learn to integrate a whole-systems approach to your life and landscapes

What our students say

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a:

  • Way to cooperate with the living world, instead of trying to dominate it. 
  • Transition strategy for re-growing diverse biocultural lifeways.
  • Design system for creating regenerative human habitats.

Indigenous and other Earth-based peoples have practiced this approach for generations, without calling it that; they are the original permaculturists.

In fact, the field of permaculture is simply one modern set of tools, vocabulary, and techniques for remembering this original relationship between humans and the greater-than-human world. It can be thought of as a transition strategy for regrowing diverse biocultural ways of life around the planet, based on the unique peoples, histories, and ecosystems in each place.
Permaculture instructor teaches in garden during design class
To learn the principles and practices of permaculture can be likened to jazz training. In which case, a musician learns scales, time signatures and theory not as an end, but as a bone-deep rewiring that can then allow more rich and integrated improvisation. 

As permaculturists, the patterns and intelligences we see in the living world are our “scales.” We dive into studying them so that we can create similarly elegant relationships when we design living landscapes, human communities, organizations and our lives.

Students exploring water systems during permaculture design course

Permaculture includes a diversity of tools and techniques

Permaculture is an interdisciplinary approach to ecological design. That means it involves lots of different tools and techniques; from mapping and measuring, to watching the movement of water, to gardening, botany, building, and even human communication. It’s a way of looking at, understanding and engaging with living systems that takes into account both the big picture and the minute details. 

Natalie shows the ripening paw paw fruits on a tree in the edible permaculture food forest at wild abundance

The goal is to help us make smart choices about how to design and interact with the environment around and within us. In practice, permaculture involves identifying the interrelationships of living systems and engaging specific tools and techniques to guide what we do with respect for those systems.
A PDC class riding on a tractor-pulled trailer is getting a tour of the permaculture landscaping and farm fields at Earthaven Ecovillage.

What you’ll learn in this Permaculture Design Course:

This class will teach you to become an effective ecological designer in relationship with landscapes and communities. You’ll learn tools and skills to integrate permaculture ethics, principles, and whole-systems thinking into any situation. We follow the Permaculture Institute of North America’s (PINA) 72-hour curriculum, which is based on permaculture founder Bill Mollison’s model. To this we’ve added more time covering aspects that we find especially compelling (and useful), including design considerations for the Southeastern US bioregion and interactive, hands-on learning, all with a focus on community-scale application of permaculture in our day-to-day lives.
A male student smiles up from his permaculture design project drawings for a PDC class

Foundational Permaculture Ethics

There are 3 foundational ethics that, together with the principles, form the underlying structure of permaculture design. These are central to the value systems of many Indigenous human cultures around the world and throughout time. They are:

  • Earth Care: Considering the impact of our actions on the planet and other-than-human beings. Choosing actions that respect balance, synergy, and health, in order to participate in the ecology of all life in a mutually beneficial way.

Luke Learningdeer, guest instructor at a PDC, takes students through the forest for tree identification and discussion of working to support the local ecosystems with permaculture

  • People Care: Asserting that the health and wellbeing of our fellow humans is important, and has a huge impact on the sustainability of any culture. Designing systems that take into account human resources, and that support all people’s ability to meet their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  • Fair Share: Embracing the interconnectedness of planet earth and her creatures. Acknowledging that true sustainability cannot be for a small group of people or in a limited place, but must take into account the experiences of all beings, human and non-human.
A PDC class sits around a fire griddling corn tortillas under a beautiful yellow covering
We dive deeply into the three ethics at every step of this permaculture journey. Like all permaculture design courses, we explore the principles of ecology, along with numerous tools and techniques to work with soil, water, plants, buildings, energy, and animals. We also don’t shy away from the complex issues of equity, social location, privilege, and exploitation. These issues are centered within our curricula and considered throughout the course.
A turtle makes it's way across a forest floor

Permaculture Principles

We’ll be working with 20 permaculture principles, each of them derived from many common aspects of Earth-based, Indigenous cultures of the past and present. They are all qualities and behaviors that can be observed in the wild world. Throughout our work, this set of principles guides us as we try to participate in the beauty and elegance of the Earth, while also meeting our human needs.
Instructor Brandon Greenstein takes a PDC class on a tour of the roads and earthworks he's directed at Earthaven Ecovillage

These 20 principles are:

  • Observe and interact
  • Catch and store energy
  • Obtain a yield
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
  • Use & value renewable resources and services
  • Produce no waste
  • Observe and replicate natural patterns
  • Design from patterns to details
  • Integrate rather than segregate
  • Use small and slow solutions
  • Use and value diversity
  • Use edges and value the marginal
  • Creatively use and respond to change
  • Redundancy
  • Multiple Functions
  • Sector and zone planning
  • Relative location
  • Integrate rather than segregate
  • Stack and pack
  • Consider succession

A PDC students inspects a permaculture guild in the terraced gardens outside of an off-grid sustainable home built at Earthaven Ecovillage

What makes our PDC special is that in this course, you’ll get to observe every principle being implemented in different contexts and situations. Earthaven Ecovillage, in the woodlands of the ancient Appalachian mountains with the streams, vital forests, garden plots, agricultural fields, orchards and naturally built infrastructure will serve as our container, mentor, and classroom for this work to unfold within. 

You’ll get to see the principles at play in wild landscapes, and throughout the course, you’ll see how permaculturists work with these principles to design and build functional, sustainable systems. These principles of permaculture aren’t just something you learn about, they’ll get into your mind and body as a new framework to engage with the world.

A PDC class being shown a rabbitry enclosure within a homesite's permaculture system at Earthaven Ecovillage

Core Curriculum Topics

With the principles and ethics guiding us and weaving everything together, we’ll dive into the ideas, skills, and tools that will allow you to apply permaculture into your life. These are the nitty-gritty subjects that form your toolbox as you move into the design process. What’s awesome is that we teach most of them outside at a site where you can see them in action—even our lecture-time will be in comfortable outdoor spaces and eco-conscious buildings if it’s not in the gardens, forests, farms, or creeks.
Outdoor classes often take place under the shade of tents in the central common space at Earthaven Ecovillage
  • Principles of ecology and the local ecosystem
  • Introduction to agroforestry guilds
  • Reading the land and observing patterns
  • Plant identification and succession
  • Climates, biogeography, microclimates
  • Gardening and soil science
  • Holistic forestry and orcharding
  • Conservation and renewable energy
  • Waste, recycling and bioremediation
  • Social ecology and invisible structures
  • Economics and budgeting
  • Home, ecovillage, and neighborhood design
  • The built environment
  • Water systems, conservation and catchment
  • Earthworks and broad-scale landscape design
  • Incorporating animals
  • Appropriate technology
  • Designing for catastrophe
  • Access to land
George Brabant, a Guest Instructor, talks about soil health to a PDC class touring his permaculture landscape

Permaculture Design Process

In small groups, students will complete permaculture designs over the course of the PDC. This is how all of the myriad tools and topics become synthesized into an actionable plan for engaging with a place. We’ll have a selection of different design projects with different goals and scales, to allow you to engage with a group and a project that feels relevant and exciting in your life. Throughout the course we’ll teach you all the nitty-gritty steps of design, along with the bigger-picture aspects of creating a permaculture plan.
A PDC student works on a group design in preparation for final presentations

Subjects and skills we’ll cover:

  • Understanding zones and sectors
  • Mapping
  • Powerful tools for site analysis
  • Client interviews and relations
  • Goal setting
  • Needs and yields analysis, flow charts, budgeting
  • Invisible structures and social permaculture
  • Living design process

A student speaks in front of his group's permaculture design drawings during a presentation at the end of the course

Bonus Material unique to this collaboration between Wild Abundance and Earthaven Ecovillage

Our course goes above and beyond the 72 hours of required material. In fact, this year’s program will be run by a dream-team of organizations and individuals that have been living permaculture for decades. Many of the projects, systems, and techniques of permaculture have been applied over the past 28 years in this village setting. You’ll get to see and explore what’s worked, witness unique innovations, and also learn from lived experiences that not all trendy permaculture ideas pan out as smoothly and easily as many claim. The School of Integrated Living is Earthaven’s educational organization, and will be your liaison throughout your time at Earthaven.
Zev Friedman showing PDC students the most useful and common hand tools for permaculture installation
Within the container of Earthaven, your lead teachers, Zev Friedman and Chloe Lieberman, will bring their passion for mutual aid, cooperative economics, homestead-scale food cultivation and the social and emotional human dynamics that are required to put permaculture into action. These topics bridge the gap between permaculture ideals and real world application for personal and community transformation. Through his work founding and directing Cooperate WNC, Zev continually explores how mutual aid and the application of ecological design can be effective on a bioregional scale here in Western North Carolina.

Chloe Leiberman, co-instructor, letting ducks out of a coop into a free-range run on a permaculture homestead

This Permaculture Design Course delves deeply into the following and more:

  • Cooperatives and mutual aid organizing
  • Collective and participatory economics
  • Edible perennials for the Southeast and beyond
  • Growing food on various scales
  • Wild foods and plant ID in the magical Appalachian mountains
  • Farming the forest
  • Food as medicine
  • Biocultural foodways and approaches to developing cultural topsoil

A special variety of corn is passed around and discussed while students cook and eat tortillas over an open fire and learn about nixtamalization and Milpa farming practices

Delve deeply into plants for permaculture

Part of why this class is so special is because it takes place amongst a permaculture oasis here in the Southeast. Throughout Earthaven’s 330 acres, you will get to touch, smell, and sometimes taste dozens of plants that lend themselves beautifully to permaculture landscapes. These include wild edibles and medicinals, common cultivated crops, both annual and perennial, along with unusual cultivars and rare varieties. 

Revolutionize how you view and relate to the Earth and your everyday life through this permaculture design course.

An unusual variety of berry ripening on a bush, seen on a tour of a permaculture landscape at Earthaven

Course Structure: This is a Residential Intensive

Permaculture is a vast area of study. A whole lot of information and skills are packed into the permaculture design course curriculum. Each day of learning is very full, including morning, afternoon and evening sessions. We incorporate breaks into the flow of the class, but keep in mind that it’s an intensive. You’ll be living, breathing, and probably dreaming of permaculture during the course. As one student put it, “I really really loved this course so much and never could have guessed that we would cover so much in so little time!”
The schedule of a Permaculture Design Certificate course is posted daily on a blackboard in the center of campus at Earthaven Ecovillage

Staying at Earthaven is strongly encouraged

Although lodging at Earthaven is optional, we strongly recommend it. That’s because students who stay in the ecovillage have consistently experienced more ease, depth of connection, and profound learning than those who choose to commute. Although it’s possible for commuters to have a rich experience in the course, the additional travel time makes for longer days and less time together or practicing self-care. It also means less time on the land and enjoying the living world that the course is grounded in. 

Exterior shot of the village terraces at Earthaven ecovillage

Several accommodation options are available at Earthaven Ecovillage. Camping is included in the PDC tuition. Private and shared indoor accommodations on campus are available at an additional modest charge. Upon registration, you’ll receive details about various lodging options.  Please note: dogs and other pets are not permitted onsite. 
Camping amongst the trees in tents at Earthhaven

Participating in shared meals is required

As a PDC village, students and instructors will partake in their meals together, which is often a time to deepen in relationships and learning outside of “class time.” If you’re needing quiet or rest, you’ll be welcome to maintain space during mealtimes, too.

Delicious, omnivorous meals are prepared by talented culinary artists from the Earthaven community. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available. As much food as possible is sourced from Earthaven and its surrounding farms and gardens. Our meals are created with seasonal, local, fresh, wildcrafted, humanely-raised, and organic ingredients. Cost of the PDC Meal Plan is $620 for the full program.

Please Note: After registering with Wild Abundance for the course, students will get a link to purchase the meal plan through Earthaven’s School of Integrated living. Registration is not confirmed until your meal plan is purchased.

Students and teachers fill their plates with fresh organic food during a lunch at a PDC

Educators who speak from experience and embrace mentorship

We’re lucky to live in a hotbed of ecological farmers, seasoned communitarians, and modern-day back-to-the-landers. Folks at Earthaven and the surrounding area have been putting permaculture into practice for decades. This means we’ve got access to a stellar array of teachers to cover the many diverse aspects of permaculture design and implementation.
Sam, a guest instructor, gestures to a PDC class to follow him up through a grape arbor leading to the rest of his edible landscaping

Who is this Permaculture Design Course for?

This intensive course is appropriate for everyone interested in applying Earth-inspired philosophies to their lives and communities, and also for those pursuing a career in permaculture design. All students will cultivate a deep engagement with the ecological and human systems of which they are an integral part. 

Our students have come from many walks of life. For example, we’ve taught gardeners, builders, teachers, landscape designers and architects, nurses, coaches, college students, engineers, parents, writers, herbalists, lawyers and more. Permaculture principles can be applied to diverse places and situations. Indeed, the special focus of this PDC is bringing a permaculture approach into our functional lives and communities. This course is accessible and relevant to everyone who wants to live their life more in-tune with living patterns and cycles. And it’s especially relevant for those who want to be agents of positive change and healing in this beautiful, vulnerable world.

A class photo of about 30 students in the Permaculture Design Certificate Program

Permaculture Design Certification

Once you’ve completed the course and submitted and presented your final design, you will earn your Permaculture Design Certificate. This recognizes all the work that you’ve put in, and all the skills that you’ve learned and demonstrated throughout the course. It’s a jumping-off point to your unique integration of permaculture into your life, whether you plan to design for a living, want to work on your own land, or hope to engage these concepts on a community scale. If you do plan to make a career out of permaculture, we advise that you first invest a significant amount of time applying your skills with real-world landscapes before you advertise your design skills. The permaculture design certificate marks the beginning of the road for a professional permaculture designer.
Becky Boisvert, an instructor, hands a printed permaculture design certificate to a graduate of the PDC program hosted at Earthaven and put on by Wild Abundance and SOIL

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the Wild Abundance Permaculture Design Course (PDC) special?

This 14-day intensive offers over 90 hours of instruction and integrated, hands-on learning experiences. That’s 18 more instruction-hours than the 72-hour standard PDC curriculum, which is typically only 10 days. This longer immersion allows more time for hands-on projects, tours, special topics, conversations with instructors, and additional experience in the permaculture design process.

In this PDC you will have the opportunity to deepen your leadership in the communities and endeavors you are part of, so you can find your niche in addressing the complex bio-cultural challenges we are facing at every scale at this time. Permaculture design principles train us to design any kind of system—land use, business, personal relationships or organizational endeavors— which mimic ecosystem dynamics and generate measurable ecological regeneration while taking care of people and empowering marginalized communities.

What is each day’s schedule like?

The permaculture design course is an intensive! Class blocks include bathroom and stretch breaks. The following schedule is tentative, with changes on days when there are field trips or special guest lectures. However, each day will be very full throughout the course. We will have one day off in the middle of the course, exact day TBD. 

Tentative Schedule

Sunday, June 16

1:00 Arrive. Check in to Accommodations and PDC

2:30 Welcome Circle & Orientation

4:00 Tour of Earthaven

6:30 Dinner

7:45-9:30 Opening Circle

Daily Flow for Full Program Days

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Morning Circle

9:30 Morning Sessions

12:30 Lunch/Rest

2:00 Afternoon Sessions

5:30 Rest/Integration Time

6:30 Dinner

7:45-9:00 Evening Activities

Saturday, June 29

7:30 Breakfast

8:30 Morning Circle

9:00 Morning Session

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Closing Circle

4:00 Program Close

Is taking a permaculture course worth it?

Yes! Taking a permaculture course is an immersive experience of connection with your fellow students, instructors, and the living world. In it, you’ll learn tools and techniques for systems thinking, mapping, relating with the landscape, understanding plant guilds, and much more. No matter what you do or where you live, the information and new perspectives you learn in a permaculture course will prove useful and enriching. Permaculture isn’t just about gardening or landscaping, it’s about seeing the world as a dynamic, interconnected community of beings and empowering yourself to collaborate in a way that helps everyone thrive. 

Why take an in-person, rather than an online PDC?

An in-person PDC provides you with real-world, hands-on experience. You’ll get to see permaculture in action, at a community scale, where folks have been at it for nearly three decades. You’ll also be able to apply what you learn as you go, getting a feel for how things work as you learn about them. What’s more, you get to make personal connections with instructors and fellow students, experiencing the social elements of community building that are so crucial to implementing permaculture on a societal level. 

Permaculture is a blend of theory and practice. Online PDCs and permaculture courses can be full of wonderful information, but they don’t provide an opportunity to practice what you learn with real-time, on the ground support. Graduates from our PDC who’ve gone on to take online permaculture courses have found online learning to be a wonderful complement to—but by no means a suitable replacement for—an in-person course. Similarly, we’ve had students take our PDC after completing an online course, and they’ve found great value in the hands-on aspects and the community building, plus the content review. 

Is permaculture mostly about gardening?

Permaculture is about way more than gardening. In fact, it’s not even a particular way of gardening. It can include various agricultural techniques like French Biointensive, Korean Natural Farming, or Biodynamics. Permaculture is actually a way of seeing and working with systems. All place-based peoples and cultures practice, and practiced “permaculture,” without calling it that. Permaculture as we know it today is simply one set of tools, vocabulary, and practices for engaging with life in a way that honors the wisdom of the greater-than-human world. Some permaculture projects don’t involve growing food at all, although many do. Other areas in which permaculture can be applied (beyond the garden) include the design and construction of buildings, power systems, landscape-scale layout, perennial plants and orchards, interpersonal and community dynamics, decision making, business structure, and social movements.

I live in a different climate/FDA zone than Asheville. Will the content be applicable where I live?

Yes! The content of the PDC will be applicable to any location. The foundational principles and approaches to design translate easily from place to place. Some specific information about plants may not be applicable where you live, but you’ll leave with tools for researching plants that suit your climate. We’ve had students from Zones 5 – 9. Each of them have been able to apply what they learned in the PDC to their home environments.

How much land do you need for permaculture to work?

Permaculture principles can be applied to any place or community, even urban settings. Some of the material-world techniques of permaculture, like swales and berms, are more appropriate for medium to large sized yards or acreage; however, much of what you’ll learn will be applicable on any scale.

What can I do with a Permaculture Design Certificate?

A permaculture design certificate signifies that you’ve completed the requirements of at least 72 hours of instruction, including the topics laid out by permaculture founder Bill Mollison. Earning this certificate shows that you’ve put in the time and commitment to learning permaculture design from reputable teachers. A Permaculture Design Certificate is not a license and won’t automatically open any doors for you professionally. However, clients and employers alike will recognize its value, as permaculture is becoming more and more well known. Since permaculture can apply to a wide range of activities, there are many ways to use your certificate. Some examples include landscape design; development of your own project/property; consulting with schools, businesses or individuals; designing for schools, businesses or individuals; incorporating permaculture into educational curricula; doing permaculture-oriented social projects’ and incorporating permaculture principles into the work that you already do.

How to become a permaculture designer?

Taking a permaculture design course is the first step to becoming a permaculture designer. From there, you can work with your own place, or that of friends or neighbors to hone your designing skills. It’s wise to see your designs through to implementation, especially as you’re just starting. If there are permaculture designers already working in your area, mentorship is another great option on the path toward that profession. Once you feel confident in your skills, you can incorporate permaculture design into what you already do, or begin a new career as a permaculture designer.

I don't own land or have my own garden. Will a PDC still be useful to me?

Yes! Permaculture can be applied to all kinds of situations. You don’t need to own your own land or have a garden in order to use what you learn. Since the special focus of this PDC is on community-scale implementation of permaculture principles, some of what we cover will be more applicable to human communities than land projects. Many of our graduates have gone on to work with community or school gardens or to develop businesses that utilize their skills with other people’s properties or projects through design and consulting. In fact, it can be advantageous to complete a PDC before starting a garden or land project, so you can know what you’re looking for and make a solid plan before you begin. For more on how permaculture can set a good foundation for a new land project, check out How to Live off the Land: A Permaculture Guide. Additionally, since permaculture can be applied to so many situations and projects, what you learn will be useful in many other areas of your life, beyond land-based living and growing food.


Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Zev Friedman

Zev grew up in a patch of kudzu in Sylva, NC, embraced by the wild Appalachian landscape and layers of ecological and human communities here. He specializes in hands-on, in-depth education in permaculture and earthskills and has been doing residential and community-based professional design and installation throughout Western North Carolina since 2007. Almost a decade ...

Chloe Lieberman

Chloe (she/her) is the co-instructor the the Online Gardening School. She also writes for Wild Abundance’s blog, newsletter, and website. In addition, jumps in to help out with management and strategy as the co-visionary for the business as a whole. These roles give her a welcome outlet for the knowledge and excitement she perpetually cultivates ...

Becky Boisvert

An inveterate adventurer, Becky (she/her) has grown to see life itself as the adventure. That life is made richer in community at Earthaven where Becky, her daughter Willow, and her co-parent Sanne moved in 2018. Becky loves taking lofty creative visions and bringing them to life—whether her own or others’. In her first career as an educator, ...

Brandon Greenstein

Brandon (he/they) is the Online Growers School Consulting Director and Sustainability Coach, providing support services to farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, and those seeking sustainability solutions. His background is in Renewable Systems, Earthworks, Energy, Water, Homesteading, Permaculture, and specifically providing consulting, design, and technical services for the creation of low impact, energy conserving, and integrated systems. Brandon ...

Chris Farmer

When Chris (he/him) was 20 years old, he realized that he had never eaten a single thing that he knew where it came from. At 22, he helped start an organic vegetable farm outside of Olympia, WA. Journeying home to the Carolinas to be closer to family, he moved to Earthaven Ecovillage. Since his arrival ...

Justin Holt

Justin Holt (he/him) has worked in agroecological design, education, and production for over 12 years, with a particular tap-rooted commitment to tree crops. He is co-founder and worker-owner of the Nutty Buddy Collective and Asheville Nuttery, and co-founder of Kudzu Culture. He also teaches foraging and works as a freelance permaculture designer and consultant.

Sam D

Sam (he/him) is a therapist, poet, and small-time farmer who lives, works, and is regularly brought to his knees in Earthaven Ecovillage in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
George Brabant

George Brabant

George Brabant (he/him) and his wife have been creating a permaculture designed food forest in Asheville NC for a little over a decade now. At Phat Ninja Foodforest, they grow the majority of their food on a 1/2 acre located in the city of Asheville, NC. The entire property is planted in a series of ...
Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie (she/her) is the visionary behind Wild Abundance, as well as the founder, director, and a primary instructor for many classes. She also dreams up new classes, is a big part of curriculum development, manages the campus, designs buildings, and takes beautiful photos for the website. Natalie is passionate about teaching and sharing skills to ...

Germaine Jenkins

Germaine Jenkins (she/they) is the co-founder of Fresh Future Farm Inc. which operates a nonprofit farm and grocery store that grows the quality of life their neighbors deserve in North Charleston, SC.  Ms. Jenkins is a nationally-recognized, visionary leader in the urban agriculture space and passionate advocate for food justice. Born in Hartsville, SC and ...

Luke Cannon

More than a botanist, Luke (he/him) is a long-time pursuer and teacher of the magic and medicine of plants. His passion to study and understand the beautiful ecological intricacies of the natural world have led him throughout the Americas and across the globe. An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Monique Mazza

Monique Mazza, founder of Elements Naturopathic Medicine, is a unique Naturopathic Physician who embodies her teachings by living a sustainable off-grid lifestyle at Earthaven Ecovillage since 2016. After a decade of clinical practice in a busy city, she grew tired of telling people how to be healthy and wanted to show them instead. Her home ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Shawn Jadrnicek

Shawn Jadrnicek has nourished his interest in agriculture through his work as a farmer, nurseryman, extension agent, arborist, landscaper, manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm and manager of Wild Hope Farm. From his earliest experiments with no-till farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to his highly functional bio-integrated designs in the Southeast, ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Elizabeth Díaz

Elizabeth Díaz (she/her) has been getting her hands dirty in Western North Carolina since 2004. After graduating from Warren Wilson College in 2006 with a made-up degree in “Social and Activist Theater,” she soon began pursuing a life more deeply connected to food and other basic human needs. In April 2010, she began a love ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Chloe Vieira

Chloe Vieira is a proud trans woman, a wife and parent of two incredible children, and a community member, hearth tender, farmer and ritualist at Earthaven Ecovillage. She is also a musician, a storyteller, an educator, a builder, an integrative ecosocial designer, and a holistic life coach specializing in gender exploration and transformation as a ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Delia Jovel

Delia Jovel (she/her) was born and raised in El Salvador and has always been passionate about the social justice movement. In 2014 she came to North Carolina and started working supporting Hispanic communities in the Henderson and Buncombe area. In 2020, she started ABUNDANCIA, a culturally appropriate food distribution and TIERRA FERTIL COOP, a Hispanic-owned ...
Zev Friedman smiles and laughs after playing a handmade flute

Jennifer Verprauskus

Jennifer (she/her) is a Licensed Landscape Architect, Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a Permaculture Design Certificate Holder. She teaches classes at the North Carolina Arboretum and has taught at conferences across the country. Jennifer has been passionately involved in landscaping and environmental work as long as she can remember. She studied landscape architecture at the ...

This class is held outside of Asheville, NC, at Earthaven Ecovillage

Earthaven is a beautiful and unique 330-acre permaculture-based intentional community near Old Fort, NC. This location offers a unique living classroom where students directly engage with regenerative food systems, eco-infrastructure, and the intimate experience of community living. 

Many of the principles of permaculture are on display in the forests, gardens, fields, and infrastructure at Earthaven. It’s an amazing place to learn about both the techniques and technologies of more sustainable living, along with the human dynamics and systems required when cultivating long-term communities.

Please note: our campuses are all unconventional, with rustic amenities and uneven ground. Read more about Planning your trip and about our campuses. You’ll receive detailed directions on how to get here upon registration. 

Accommodations and Facilities

Several accommodation options are available at Earthaven Ecovillage and in the surrounding area. Options include camping in the campground with your own tent and bedding, private and shared indoor accommodations on-campus, or a variety of off-site options. Camping is included in the cost of tuition.The campground offers drinking water, an outdoor shower, outhouse with a composting toilet, and hand washing station. When you register for the PDC, you’ll receive more detailed info on accommodations in your welcome letter.

Costs of different accommodations

Camping at Earthaven is included in the registration cost of the PDC. Participants will also be invited to rent shared or private rooms in the Ecovillage, if they desire more creature comforts. In-village shared or private indoor accommodations run between $25-$35/person/night. Of course, there are also many AirBnB and other rentals available nearby for a range of prices. 

Getting a place or renting a car with a group of fellow students and carpooling are great ways to make connections and reduce costs! We share contact info for each class so you can get in touch and make plans together. Everyone has a chance to keep their info private if they choose.

Transportation info and costs

Once you arrive at Earthaven, you won’t need a car during the program. During your day off, you may want to run an errand or go out to dinner with fellow students, and if this happens, it’s highly likely that another student with a car will be happy to give you a lift.

SOIL (School of Integrated Living, our co-organizer of this Earthaven-based program) offers airport shuttle rides from the Asheville Airport for $80 each way. These need to be arranged in advance. If you’d rather rent a car, those run anywhere from $45-$200/day. There is no public transportation in the rural Earthaven area.

Pricing for Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Regular Pricing: $1,650 – $3,300

Please pay what you can afford.  The median price is suggested to help cover the full cost of hosting this class. Please select the low end of the sliding scale if you are low income. If your household income is over $115,000/year, please select the maximum fee. Please place yourself in this range where you deem appropriate, based on your income.