Online Permaculture Design Course
FEATURING 133 HOURs OF VIDEO! From our Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
Don’t Let Permaculture Overwhelm You.
Learn from the Experts with our Permaculture Design Course
With so much information about Permaculture available today along with many PDC Online Courses, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Now, with our Permaculture Design and Appropriate Technology course, you can benefit from 133 hours of expert instruction from permaculture leaders from around the globe to learn about Permaculture Design Online.
You’ll get the SAME EXACT lessons from the in-person courses, but without the cost or time commitment.
177 hours of premium permaculture education, condensed down to 133 hours, in this PDC online course
Just how much content is contained within 133 hours? This exclusive PDC Online Course video series provides you with all the lessons from two 14-day courses offered at Wheaton Labs: Permaculture Design and Appropriate Technology.
Join in on the discussion and ask other students and our staff questions on the Permies forums.
Need help? Most questions are best asked and answered in the forums. This helps everybody.
Here is a QUICK look at a bunch of video from the PDC Online Course mashed together in a minute.
The Benefits of a Comprehensive Online Permaculture Course
Without the Commitments
- 1It’s not always possible to take two weeks or a month out of life for an immersive education experience. Why should your interest in learning about sustainability suffer?
- 2With this exclusive access to premiere permaculture courses, you get all the benefits of expert instruction, but with the flexibility of watching the lessons of this Online Permaculture Course on your own timeframe.
- 3With our PDC Online Course, watch only what you’re interested in or rewind each lesson until you have it memorized; the choice is up to you.
What You’ll Learn From This Online Permaculture Course:
These lessons in our Online PDC Course are designed to give you a comprehensive overview of Permaculture Design and Technology while remaining practical enough for you to experiment with right away.
Permaculture Design Course
Move beyond the basics of thinking in isolated systems and learn how to design integrated landscapes instead!
This course is formatted to teach you the practicalities of permaculture from day one. Even if you already have decades of homesteading experience, this course will show you how to think like a designer.
PDC Outline - Everything Covered During the Course (click to expand)
Day 1 Session 1 - Welcome and Introduction to Course
The event opens with an introduction from each of the students and event instructors, followed by a discussion about what permaculture is.
Day 1 Session 2 - Introduction to Permaculture
Jumping right into things, this section is a introduction of permaculture terminology and the start of learning about the permaculture design process.
Day 1 Session 3 - History & Context of Permaculture
This session focuses on the student interviews and Tim discusses the results along with the observations about the PDC location.
Day 1 Session 4 - Design Framework & Ethics
The discussion about the site continues and students make observations about what jobs need to be accomplished on site.
Day 2 Session 1 - Permaculture Design Process
Day 2 starts with a review of day one, by Paul followed by general discussion. Then the group gets out some paper and begin to do some analysis and take some first steps.
Day 2 Session 2 - Design Process: Ecosystems; Holistic Perspective
Soil and the lay of the land are the focus of this session. The tools of the trade are introduced and demonstrated.
Day 2 Session 3 - Design Principles: Connections, Diversity
This session is about compost. Tim and Ernie hold some discussion time with the class about compost.
Day 2 Session 4 - Site Survey with Levels
Whether it's a laser level or an A-frame level, you need to know how to ensure you're installing your earthworks properly. This session is all about being on the level.
Day 2 Session 5 - Ernie and Erica - Fire Science!
Ernie gives his introduction along with a detailed introduction to fire, followed by demonstrations and discussion.
Day 3 Session 1 - Make Connections
Paul goes over the previous day's accomplishments and then we jump right into the design process beginning with a base map of the location.
Day 3 Session 2 - Design Principles
A talk about the use of principles during the design process.
Day 3 Session 3 - Accelerate Succession
Making many connections between elements is how permaculture succeeds in cycling nutrients, storing energy and accelerating succession of the land.
Day 3 Session 4 - Design Principles
The group goes through a connection exercise then talk about climate, land forms, precipitation, radiation and wind.
Day 3 Session 5 - Ram Pump
A discussion and introduction to ram pumps
Day 4 Session 1 - Managing Holistically
Paul and Tim review day 3 then start the "You Are Dead" exercise.
Day 4 Session 2 - 7 Testing Questions
This section focuses on quality of life, forms of production, resource bases and a discussion about what's happening in the course so far.
Day 4 Session 3 - Holistic Decision Making
This discussion is an introduction to seven test guidelines for general holistic decision making
Day 4 Session 4 - Client Interviews
The students are given their maps and info for their student projects.
Day 5 Session 1 - Climate Zones
Paul discusses humanure and then the students go out to their sites to begin the observation and data collection process for beginning their designs.
Day 5 Session 2 - Road Kill
This section begins with Cliff discussing how the plots are laid out and finishes with the processing of a roadkill deer.
Day 5 Session 3 - Reading Landscape
The students discuss timelines and have discussions about the process. This is followed by talks about climate, land form, wind, precipitation, legal and social climates.
Day 5 Session 4 - Architectural and Landscape Drawing
The map drawing process begins and the students get deep into their paper, data and tools.
Day 6 Session 1 - Water and Access
Paul talks about going without shampoo, human psychology, community and food. Zach is introduced and then he talks to the students about how he'll be guiding this portion of the course.
Day 6 Session 2 - Water and Access
The class begins a review of cases Zach has worked on with discussion focused on items in the designs.
Day 6 Session 3 - Water and Access
Zach begins by talking about exercise then the groups present what they are doing and the designs are tested.
Day 6 Session 4 - Water and Access
Zach talk about an intuitive manifestation with nature and the start of project "Equator Mindo" leading to a discussion about foundations.
Day 6 Session 5 - Element Ecology
Day 8 Session 1 - Trees
Paul talk about ponds then the discussion goes on to energy, trees and wind, with comments by Tim along the way.
Day 8 Session 2 - Tree Strategies
The groups assess and observe an area finding little details that can improve their plans and designs.
Day 8 Session 3 - Student Designs
This section is about soil, microbial life, chemistry, plant nutrition and deficiencies. Included are discussions about many other aspects of soil.
Day 8 Session 5 - Helen Atthowe
Looking at the Woodleaf forest garden, ecosystem strategies and long term soil fertility, followed by Q and A.
Day 9 Session 1 - Soil Strategies
Paul talk about infrastructure and the work from the previous day then the class discusses soil organic matter, living mulches and cover crops with comments from Helen and Ernie.
Day 9 Session 2 - Crops
The class learns about mulch, the nitrogen cycle and then do some comparisons of different farms as case studies.
Day 9 Session 3 - Student Designs
Helen talks about her property, growing vegetables and things to think about while looking at a site. The class takes a walk to observe different plants, structures and soils.
Day 9 Session 5 - Jacqueline Freeman
Who am I on this land? That's a great question. Then the class talks about animals, wild and domestic, along with more talk about weeds and soils.
Day 10 Session 1 - Animal Ecology
This session focuses on the relationship between animals and their human caretakers.
Day 10 Session 2 - Animal Ecology
Continuing the discussion about animals, including fencing, purchasing and culling them.
Day 10 Session 3
Bees are an integral part of an ecosystem. This session is an in depth introduction to bees.
Day 10 Session 4
This is an introduction to butchering rabbits, with demonstrations of the entire process.
Day 10 Session 5
Paul talks about expectations for presentations and then a lot of random Q and A, before moving on to talk about chickens in depth.
Day 11 Session 1
Paul talks about the days tasks, appropriate technology, purpose and means. Tim does a wrap up of things so far.
Day 11 Session 2
The students talk about their interests and discussion about many topics ensues. Building design basics, mechanical movement, uses for solar power and water purification are all discussed.
Day 11 Session 3
In this section the class learns about composting toilets, grey water, tiny houses and building strategies.
Day 11 Session 5
The talk in this section is all about chickens including strategies for feed, fencing, cats, winter needs and then a Q and A. The discussion then goes on to many other homestead animals such as pigs, horses, fish and shrimp.
Day 12 Session 1
After the days intro from Paul, the class begins to learn about bioregions and communities.
Day 12 Session 2
This session is about intentional communities with topics such as legal strategies, ethics, trust and a list of good books on the topic.
Day 12 Session 3
Want to make big money doing permaculture? Case studies and reviews of many permaculture practitioners are explored in this session.
Day 12 Session 5
The business side of permaculture includes residual incomes, passive income, grants, nonprofits, contractors employees.
Day 13 Session 1 and Session 2
Paul introduces Tom then the class learns about then play many different games including memory, crazy flower and slap the flower. Then they go on a walk and learn about identifying plants.
Day 13 Session 3
The class is introduced to Green University then talk about living homes, fire and heating, finding land and learning about food plants and animals.
Day 14 Session 1
Paul talk about the course and announces the talent show and Tim gives an introduction to the Appropriate Technology Course.
Day 14 Session 4
The class participants present their work and the whole group discusses and makes notes.
Day 14 Session 5
Tim introduces the talent show and the students are presented with their certificates after their performance. Tim finishes up the show with a song.
Appropriate Technologies Course
This low-tech skills course will help you take your newfound permaculture skills to the next level by incorporating them with science and engineering principles. You will learn the thought process and practical steps for building systems that help you live both sustainably and comfortably.
ATC Outline - Everything Covered During the Course (click to expand)
Day 1 Sessions 1 - 2
Intro & orientation; intro to energy; solar dehydrator design.
Day 1 Sessions 3 - 4
Solar dehydrator design; rocket hot water; project list; sawdust stove.
Day 2 Sessions 1 - 2
Planning & designing process; hotbox design & build; welding.
Day 2 Session 3
Using barrels & propane tanks; solar cookers.
Day 2 Session 4
Rocket water heater design & build.
Day 3 Sessions 1 - 2
Solar cookers; dehydrator build.
Day 3 Sessions 3 - 4
Dehydrator build; making charcoal; rocket hot water build.
Day 4 Sessions 1 - 2
Rocket stove talk with Erica Wisner.
Day 4 Sessions 3 - 4
Rocket hot water build.
Day 4 Session 5
Q&A with Rob Avis (Verge Permaculture).
Day 5 Sessions 1 - 2
Preparing site for Johnson air well.
Day 5 Sessions 3 - 4
Solar dehydrator; hotbox; rocket water heater.
Day 7 Session 1
Water biofilters; composting toilet systems.
Day 7 Session 2
Composting Toilet Systems.
Day 7 Sessions 3 - 4
Solar dehydrator; rocket water heater.
Day 8 Sessions 1 - 2
Composting toilets; dehydrator; water heater; hotbox.
Day 8 Sessions 3 - 4
Day 8 Extra Session
Johnson air well.
Day 9 Sessions 1 - 2
Solar dehydrator; rocket water heater; hotbox.
Day 9 Sessions 3 - 4
Small-scale photovoltaics; energy conservation & innovation (water, wind, waves).
Day 10 Sessions 1 - 2
Day 10 Sessions 3 - 4
Small-scale photovoltaics; energy conservation & innovation (water, wind, waves).
Day 11 Sessions 1 - 2
Water biofilter; solar dehydrator; water heater; barrel oven.
Day 11 Sessions 3 - 4
Water heater - theory; rocket stoves with Erica; dehydrator build.
Day 12 Sessions 1 - 2
Johnson air well; barrel oven; water heater; charring with glass; dehydrator.
Day 12 Sessions 3 - 4
Water biofilter; barrel oven; clean up.
Easy Bake Coffin
Hay Box Cooker
Rocket Water Heater
Johnson-Style Air Well
Jumpstart Your Launch into Permaculture with Over 95% Savings
Attending both 14-day courses at Wheaton Labs is an unforgettable experience,
but it will cost you close to $2,500.
In contrast, these video courses will provide you with the same expert instruction and educational content for just a fraction of the price.
Choose Your Video Pack!
Online Permaculture Design Course
PDC and ATC all-in-one.
Appropriate Technology Course
Meet Your Instructors
Our Permaculture Design and Appropriate Technologies courses bring together some of the biggest names in the industry.
Through their variety of backgrounds and personal expertise, you will get a comprehensive education in the principles and practicalities of sustainable living.
Primary Instructor for our Permaculture Design Course
The primary instructor for teaching Permaculture Design Online will be Tim. Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic, and now spends his time between Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes the US) as a semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living. He currently teaches Appropriate Technology for the Koanga Institute in New Zealand and Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in Melbourne, to name a few.
He has previously been farm manager for the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, power station operator/mechanic, adventure guide and professional turtle wrestler. His rocket stove and char making powered hot water systems, ovens and cookers reflect his passion for elegant simple and durable combustion technologies. Other projects include gravity powered water pumps, solar thermal cookers and dryers, pedal powered washing machines, cargo bikes, hovercraft, wooden boats and aquaponics, to name a few. When he is not tinkering he can be found on Macleay Island off the coast of Queensland Australia, where he and his family live and are currently in the process of building a rammed earth house (with maybe a little sailing thrown in).
He is particularly well known for his safe and effective rocket hot water heating system. He brings practical, hands on experience with some truly fascinating projects to the table.
Guest Instructors for our PDC Online Course
Thomas J. Elpel
Paul Wheaton, the bad boy of Permaculture, was proclaimed by Geoff Lawton in 2012 the Duke of Permaculture. He is the creator of two on-line communities. One is about Permaculture, permies.com, and one is about software engineering, CodeRanch.com.
He is a powerful advocate of Sepp Holzer’s techniques, which a recent study showed to have the ability to feed 21 billion people without the use of petroleum or irrigation. He also promotes the use of hugelkultur, polycultures, free heat and hosts an organic master gardener program. He wrote several articles about lawn care, raising chickens, cast iron, and diatomaceous earth. Paul regularly uploads permaculture videos and permaculture podcasts.
Thomas is an author, natural builder, educator, and conservationist. He has authored multiple books: Foraging the Mountain West, Botany in a Day, Shanleya's Quest and numerous others about plant identification, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He has multiple videos: Building a Slipform Stone House from the Bottom Up, How to Make a Grass Rope, Build Your own Masonry Fireplace - Masonry Heater - Masonry Stove, and many more. Thomas regularly teaches classes on plant identification, primitive skills and natural building. He is founder/director of Green University, LLC in Pony, Montana.
Helen has an MS in Horticulture and Agricultural Ecology from Rutgers University; worked at Rutgers in tree fruit IPM; studied natural farming with Masanobu Fukoka; interned at The Land Institute in Kansas; taught a Master Gardener course in Montana for 15 years while she was Missoula County extension agent; owned and operated Biodesign organic vegetable farm in Montana (1993-2010); consulted for a 2000 acre organic vegetable farm (2011); helped run her husband's Woodleaf Farm organic orchard in northern California 2012-2015; worked for Oregon State University Horticulture Department; and is now farming a 211 acre farm in eastern Oregon with her husband, where they have a mixed fruit and hazelnut orchard, small grain and dry bean production, vegetable gardens, high tunnels, and greenhouse.
Ernie is a botanist, educator, writer, researcher, rocket mass heater innovator, natural builder, and boat aficionado. He served in the merchant marine, Navy, and fisheries, and has tremendous experience with hydraulic and hot water systems. His family's sea time stretches back "since Noah was a babe," all over the 2/3 of our planet from which quitters can't walk home. Ernie is semi-retired due to a disabling injury, but still makes time for the occasional workshop or fascinating prototype project. He co-authored multiple books with his wife, Erica, and he is featured in many videos, documentaries and podcasts. Ernie is a wealth of knowledge; there are not many topics on which he does not have an opinion.
Erica is a science and art educator, curriculum developer, writer, illustrator, researcher, and rocket mass heater innovator. She loves making things from scratch - anything from blueberry scones to the oven itself. Erica is a skilled educator and project coordinator, with over 20 years of experience building teamwork and leading hands-on learning. Her and Ernie have taught numerous workshops on natural building and rocket mass heaters. Erica has written multiple books on rocket mass heaters, fire making, and survival shelters. She is featured in many videos, documentaries, and podcasts on rocket mass heaters.
Jacqueline is a biodynamic farmer, author, and natural beekeeper. She is known for her gentle and understanding ways with bees. She appears in the honeybee documentary, Queen of the Sun and was hired by the USDA to work with rural farmers and beekeepers in the Dominican Republic, using historic methods of respectful beekeeping. She lives on a farm in Washington state with her husband, Joseph, where they have orchards, gardens, two big greenhouses, a small forest, rich pastures and plenty of flowering bee forage. Jacqueline also has lots of experience raising livestock: cows, goats, chickens for laying and broilers, turkeys, and horses. She has two websites: SpiritBee.com and friendlyhaven.com.
Zach is a Protégé of legendary Austrian farmer, Sepp Holzer and the first person to earn Holzer Practitioner Certification outside of the Krameterhof training program. Blending a unique combination of systems thinking, empathy, and awareness, Zach uses an action-oriented process to improve human relationships with earth. Enhancing ecosystems and harvesting natural productivity over time is the ultimate goal - with high initial input, high yield systems that will last until the next ice age.
Zach currently has projects in 11 nations on 4 continents, spanning a wide range of climates, contexts, land-forms and ecosystems. Having experience with a wide range of techniques and systems (from natural building, to greenhouses, to carpentry, to watershed restoration), Zach also graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Ecology. He has two websites elementalecosystems.com and holzerpermaculture.us
Davin is an architect, artist, and entrepreneur. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and has 16 years of drafting experience. Davin has established two community gardens in Georgetown, Texas and he is the first to map Wheaton Labs. Davin practices architecture as a one-man firm and will soon be a small restaurant chain partner. He is the future illustrator of Paul's book on "Wofatis".
About Wheaton Labs
Taught within the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the Permaculture Design and Appropriate Technology courses take place at Wheaton Labs, an eco-friendly learning facility in the Missoula area of Montana.
These PDCs (Permaculture Design Courses) take place over two consecutive two-week sessions throughout the year, regularly providing a life-changing experience for all involved. Many students find these courses to be the most intense learning experience of their lives and an incredible way to bond with others who are passionate about permaculture and sustainability.