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What are PEA PDCs all about?

If you’ve been wondering what is covered in a Permaculture Design Course, here’s a little overview of what to expect in our course.

Permaculture design courses trace their origins back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed the concept as a sustainable design system rooted in mimicking natural ecosystems. Bill Mollison developed a course of minimum 72 teaching hours, which has spread all over the world and is recognised as the entry course for anyone wanting to understand and apply permaculture. These courses offer a comprehensive overview of principles and techniques for creating ecologically sensible human habitats while minimising environmental impact.

David Holmgren and Bill Mollison; picture credit:

We cover topics such as energy and water management, soil conservation, ecological understanding, community resilience, and organic gardening. Permaculture design courses emphasize observation, thoughtful design, and the integration of diverse elements to create regenerative systems that support both human needs and ecological health. These principles can be used in many contexts, from urban rooftops to big rural farms. We aim to foster a deep understanding of sustainable living practices and a sense of stewardship for the Earth.

Over ten full teaching days, we dive into over 60 topics, ranging from observing and understanding natural patterns to building community. We dabble in appropriate technology and building design, choosing the right plants for the right reasons, animal management, improving our poor soils, mitigating climate, making the most out of the rainfall we get, and much more.

At PEA, we don’t see ourselves as the all-knowing experts preaching to you, but rather facilitators that draw on your pre-existing knowledge, helping you to put it into context, to build on it and make sure you have the confidence to apply it. Most lessons are interactive and you will learn through activities and discussions with other students more than through Powerpoints or lectures.

An important part of the course are the site visits to diverse permaculture properties. There is no one way a permaculture property looks, and you might see the ethics and principles applied in a food forest, a community garden, an agricultural enterprise and a small urban space.

Let’s not forget the food. We didn’t set out to do this, but for some reason, morning and afternoon teas have become one of the highlights of the course. Sharing local food, made freshly and with love, gluten-free and vegan, is one of our passions.

Reviews for our courses are raving and many of our students have started varied and interesting careers in the area of sustainability and permaculture. While you will rarely find 'permaculturist' in a job advertisement, a permaculture course can be a stepping stone in many different directions.

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