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Our purpose is to supply information that enables people everywhere to provide for their own & their communities' needs for food, energy, shelter, & a decent life without exploitation or pollution & from the smallest practical area of land.
You can learn to restore degraded landscapes; shelter & feed displaced, hungry people & wildlife; & convert energy-wasteful infrastructures to thriving ecological systems that meet your needs with excess to share... the Permaculture Design Course!

What is Permaculture?
Elements of the Curriculum
Design Course Syllabus

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Permaculture Courses and workshops taught by Peter Bane, Keith Johnson, Rhonda Baird and associates.

Instructors: Peter Bane (Dipl. Perm. Des. & publisher Permaculture Activist), Keith Johnson (Dipl. Perm. Des. & Patterns for Abundance), Rhonda Baird, and guests. Midwestern natives, Peter, and Keith have between them facilitated over sixty permaculture courses and led groups from four to over a hundred students and between them have graduated more than 2300 design students. They have gardening, building, design, and teaching experience in all regions of the United States.

There has never been a better time than right now to learn the principles and practice of permaculture design. Heal a planet, build a life -- be the change you wish to see.

Shagbark and Heartwood, in conjunction with Indiana University's Collins Living Learning Center are pleased to announce:

Learning From Nature: Permaculture, May 31st - June 14th, 2015

Two weeks of camping, course-work, and camaraderie, featuring great meals prepared on site using fresh, local and organic foods at the Lazy Black Bear in the heart of the Hoosier National Forest. Enrollment is limited to 25 IU students and 10 participants from the larger community.

All others apply directly to Shagbark (contact information below); an application form will be sent on request.

Participants will be camping or bunking in cabins for the 2 week course (camping equipment provided for IU students; contact Shagbark for additional lodging options). Composting toilets and solar showers are provided. The course fee covers instruction and course materials, all meals, and camping. An additional fee is charged for cabins.

Students who successfully complete the course will receive certification in Permaculture, which which prepares them for an apprenticeship in the art and science of Permaculture design.

Contact Information

IU Students must complete an application and be accepted to register for this course: Professor David Haberman, Department of Religious Studies, Sycamore Hall 215 < > 812.855.8895

for all others: Andy Mahler, Shagbark, 3875 S County Rd 50 W, Paoli, IN 47454, 812.723.2430

Peter Bane, Dipl. Perm. Des., Publisher, Permaculture Activist magazine, author of The Permaculture Handbook
Keith Johnson,Dipl. Perm. Des., Permaculture Teacher/Designer/Consultant
Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Instructor and founder of the Bloomington Permaculture Guild
David Haberman, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University

Fees for IU students: Course fee information for IU students, is available by contacting Professor David Haberman, Department of Religious Studies, Sycamore Hall 215< > 812.855.8895

For all others: Fee: $1395 until Mar 31/ $1495 after April1 includes facilities, all meals, camping, course materials, instruction, and round trip transportation from Bloomington. Work trade and barter options available Contact Shagbark for more information.

Accommodations: Camping facilities (including solar showers and composting toilets) and hearty local, seasonal, and organic fare are included in your registration fee. Other accommodations on site are available for an additional fee;

The Lazy Black Bear is a rustic and eclectic guest lodge and farm located at the end of a dead end road, nestled in the gently rolling hills of the Hoosier National Forest four miles south of Paoli, Indiana.

NOTE: The Lazy Black Bear is a fragrance free zone. Please bring only unscented soaps, detergents, shampoos, and body care products and leave perfumes and fragrances at home.

Shagbark is an Indiana not-for-profit corporation which operates the Lazy Black Bear as a center for renewal,reunion, and education. Shagbark also hosts Possum Ridge, an orphan possum rehabilitation center.

Heartwood is a cooperative network of grassroots groups, individuals, and local businesses working to protect and sustain healthy forests and vital human communities in the nation's heartland, from the Appalachian Mountains to the river valleys of the Great Plains, and from the Great Lakes to the Deep South.

Field Equipment and Clothing
What to Bring: Bring your own towels, sleeping and tenting gear, work clothes, toiletries (unscented), special foods, musical instruments, notebooks and writing materials, water bottle, flashlight and batteries, and rain gear. Because Indiana weather is highly variable, be prepared for different kinds of weather, from warm sunny days to rainstorms and cooler nights. The best solution is to bring layers. Here are some suggestions - happy packing!

Field Clothing:
Sturdy hiking boots (preferably waterproof), Work Clothes, Warm weather gear (shorts, T-shirts, sunglasses), Sweatshirt and long pants, Comfortable footwear (running shoes, Tevas, etc,), Sun hat or visor/sunglasses, Rain slicker or windbreaker, Swimsuit

Other Field Equipment:
Day pack (large enough for notebook, sweatshirt, etc.), Sunglasses/sunblock, Tweezers, Toiletries (unscented), Personal first aid kit, Medications, Water bottle, Notebook, pens, pencils, Flashlight

Optional Equipment Which You May Find Useful:
Binoculars, Bandanna, Pen knife, Compass, Camera, film, batteries, Spare prescription sunglasses or contact lenses, Long distance phone card, Musical instruments, Laptop

The Purpose of the Course

 In a world of diminishing resources and increasing stresses on natural and social systems we must rapidly implement strategies to restore degraded landscapes, shelter and feed displaced and hungry people, and convert our energy-wasteful infrastructure to holistic and ecological systems that meet their own needs and the needs of those who manage them. This course lays the foundation for understanding the workings of natural systems and for designing human environments that produce food, shelter, and energy. It also provides participants with models of community development and extension by which they can create networks of support for themselves and empower others to do the same.

"To my mind the very act of enrolling for a permaculture design course is one of the most political acts most people ever engage in. Since I have certified over 3,000 people I feel that I have helped create a small village of active, engaged and aware folks who now have the tools to change the reality around them - and many of them are very busy doing just that.

The very act of reading "Permaculture - A Design Manual" is extremely radical and political as the information and realizations sink in of the ultimate outcome of following the permaculture path. The beauty of permaculture has always meant, to me, that I can travel all over the world, in some of the most brutal dictatorships, espousing a revolutionary system of design and I am considered harmless by the powers that be. That is an incredible advantage in a world that has become increasingly polarized by the paranoia of rampant capitalism and lack of ethical guidance.

Within the ethical guideposts of permaculture are contained all the political guidance one could need."

Scott Pittman, Permaculture Institute, NM

What is Permaculture?

"Permanent agriculture" or "permanent culture," a term coined by Australians David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in the 1970s, describes a design system for creating human settlements that function in harmony with nature. Incorporating traditional knowledge, modern science, and the ecological patterns of the living world, permaculture design is applicable to farms, gardens, organizations, housing developments, towns and villages, or city neighborhoods.

Since 1978, tens of thousands of individuals on all continents have learned and taught to others the principles of energy flow and materials cycling, and the simple appropriate technologies of self-reliant living: gardening, shelter, water and waste management, aquaculture, forestry, and how to organize supportive local economies. The aim of this grassroots international movement is to liberate people everywhere to provide for their own and their communities' needs for food, energy, shelter, and a decent life without exploitation or pollution and from the smallest practical area of land.

Please read David's introductory PDF, The Essence of Permaculture.

What Kinds of People Take Permaculture Courses?
Thousands of people from all over the planet!

(Photo by Keith Johnson: Students & teachers at Permaculture Design Course, VA)

Gardeners, farmers, homeowners and prospective buyers of land  and homes will benefit from the energy-saving and productive insights of permaculture, while students and professionals in the fields of ecology, agronomy, resource management, architecture, and planning will find their work enlivened by the holistic and interdisciplinary perspective of the course. Community development and aid workers, real estate brokers, municipal officials, and religious leaders will find practical and creative applications for permaculture design in their respective fields of endeavor.

  • Renters & Homeowners: Learn simple steps to improve your home ecosystem and your immediate surroundings while saving money, resources, and building a healthy habitat for family, friends and neighbors.
  • Planners & Managers: Learn how to integrate sustainable design methodologies into the planning process using a multi-disciplinary approach for the well-being of the whole community.
  • Municipal, State & Federal Employees: Improve public service & work efficiency and community benefits via creative land, water, and air resource management techniques.
  • Building Design & Construction Professionals: Learn about current practical systems of natural building, as well as how to integrate land-use design into the built environment.
  • Landscape Architects, Designers & Gardeners: Learn principles and techniques of sustainable landscaping, with an emphasis on functional, edible,  and economic plants, the creation of microclimates for extended growing seasons, and rainwater harvesting.
  • Social Workers: Acquire tools for empowerment and new dimensions in place-based professional practice applicable to micro through macro change processes.
  • Non-profit & Community Leaders: Integrate ecological design, professional networking, and social marketing approaches to advance your mission and programs.
  • Entrepreneurs: Explore how ecological models can be used to design, develop, implement, and manage a sustainable business venture.
  • Students & Educators: Integrate ecological systems design and social/environmental change practices into your academic studies.
  • Clergy: Add a whole systems perspective to your ecological  / green ministry.

Elements of the Curriculum

  • Evidence of the Need for Change and the Ethics of Sustainability
  • Principles of Permaculture
  • Observation and Landscape Analysis
  • Pattern & Design
  • Ecosystems: the Models of Nature
  • The Gaian System: Climate and Biogeography
  • Forests, Trees & Tree Care
  • Water Harvesting, Management, and Conservation
  • Building Soil Fertility
  • Creating the Home System
  • The Third Skin: Natural Building Design
  • Waste Recycling and Treatment
  • Aquaculture and Animals
  • Agroforestry and Forest Gardening
  • Useful Plants and Planting Strategies
  • Feeding Yourself from Home
  • Garden Design & Establishment
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Tools & Appropriate Technologies
  • Patterns of Settlement
  • Cooperative Economics, Money & Financial Systems
  • Mapping and Design Exercises
  • A Home in the City
  • Villages and Neighborhoods, The Hope and the Results
  • Elements of Practical Design
  • Team Design Projects
  • Broadscale Landscape and Systems Design

Participants from over 100 countries in all regions of the world and from all walks of life have called the permaculture design course "life-changing, transformative, and enormously affirming." In the lively company of a diverse group of engaged and motivated women and men with a common interest in the future of humanity, learning is rapid, multidimensional, and long-lasting.

Permaculture Design Work and Certification

Upon completing this course participants will receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship in Permaculture Design from the College of Graduates of Permaculture and will be entitled to use the term Permaculture in their professional work. Generally, students are encouraged to apprentice with other designers for two years. Prospective teachers should aim to gain experience  through a permaculture teacher training course and practice teaching with others for a comparable period. This course presents 72 hours of the standard certificate curriculum.
The Instructors: Midwestern natives Peter Bane, Dipl. Perm. Des., and Keith Johnson have between them facilitated over 50 permaculture courses and led groups from four to over a hundred students. They have gardening, building, design, and teaching experience in all regions of the Americas. Both instructors live in Bloomington, Indiana.

Cost of thePermaculture Course averages about $800 to $1400 with some charging more for extended duration. The weekend series format usually costs less because food and lodging needs are greatly reduced.

Permaculture Design Course Syllabus

Fundamentals (Section One)

Ethics, Principles, and Design, The Key Permaculture Overview (1 day):

Evidence of systemic ecological and cultural crisis; derivation and evolution of ethics; spirals of degradation and the etiology of health; energy and entropy; the Permaculture innovation and synthesis; roots of permaculture knowledge; principles of energy efficient design, language and terms; exercise in observation of landscape; the nature of pattern in form, orders in natural phenomena; application of pattern to design; design process, purpose and methods.

Natural Systems (2 days):

Principles of ecology; energy flux and materials cycling; conservation and diversity; guilds; cooperation; niches; forests as organism; climate, global weather patterns, and biogeography; forest impact on climate and the hydrologic cycle; functions of the tree; landscape analysis; the nature, sources, and value of freshwater; water's duties in the landscape; water movement, storage, and purification; water in the domestic system. The soil community; oxygen/ethylene cycling and nutrient availability; soil biota regimes, mycorrhizal associations; carbon/nitrogen and other nutrient relationships; tropical and temperate soil conditions; building soil; physical properties of soils and soil testing; climate near the ground; factors in microclimatic design; windbreaks; moisture and humidity effects; modifying sunlight and capturing solar gain; thermal zones and frost pockets; limiting factors in living systems; exercise building swales, ponds, trellises, and/or brush fences; use of leveling devices.

The Domestic System (1/2 day):

Design of the home system; zone and sector analysis; placement of elements for beneficial function; the domestic economy; staging of development in small permaculture systems; building design, materials, methods, and examples; conservation of energy; building as organism; nutrient cycling in the domestic system; biological treatment methods for human and animal waste: compost, constructed wetlands, biogas; urine as fertilizer.

Elements of Cultivated Ecologies (2 days):

Energy advantages of aquaculture; designing aquatic systems; water quality and species composition; animals as energy translators; their utility and efficient management; self-forage systems; intensive grazing; silvopasture; agroforestry systems; forest gardening and farming; alley cropping, coppice-with-standards; ; orchards as floristic communities; principles of pruning and tree health; useful plants and planting strategies; guild assemblies; plant identification, plant families, nomenclature; wildcrafting; establishment of nurseries and intensive small systems; economics and rolling permaculture. Self reliance and food security; the year-round harvest; methods of food storage and adaptation to climate; garden design, establishment, and methods; exercise in sheet mulch bed preparation; short design exercise in creativity; tools and their energy implications; choosing appropriate technologies; favorite tools.

Community Design, Common Resources, and Larger Human Systems (1-1/2 days):

Patterns of human settlement; city and regional design; orders of magnitude; the village as building block of human community; building cooperative networks, organizations, and communities; resource inventories; business incubators; principles of economic design; how money works; the problems with present financial systems: interest, corporations, taxes, planning; community-based financial systems; the use of maps; simple methods of mapping; the integral urban house; resources in cities; appropriate scale for conviviality, economy, and security; components of village life; new village development; designing for human cooperation and interaction. Resources for further work; the permaculture movement; continuing education; how to organize locally; making a living; future visions and participant evaluations.

Design Practicum (Section Two)

The Elements of Practical Design - 2 days

Review of Ethics and Principles; pattern languages; site analysis exercise; mapping & field surveying exercise; introduction to client interview, cost & budgeting, earning a living.

Team Design Projects - 3 1/2 days

Small group projects for real clients son or near the course venue; mentored, hands-on design work involving application of all presented skills; site observation and analysis, mapping, client interview, conceptual design, mind mapping, and presentation.

Presentation - 1/2 day

Introduction of presentation skills; several opportunities for planned and impromptu presentation to the whole class; formal presentation in group of the team design with sketches, maps, speech, and other modes of work.

Broadscale Landscape and Systems Design - 2 days

Urban and Village systems; farm landscapes; design for wildlife; restoration and earthworks; economic design including financial systems; land access, regional strategies.

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