Permaculture Design Certificate Course (Fall B)

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Program Includes:

72 hour Permaculture Design Course & Certificate


Three daily meals

Field Trips

Internet access

    Permaculture is a conscious integrated design system based on ecology and sustainability principles to create resource efficient and productive human environments and reduce our footprint on the earth.  Permaculture provides a framework for consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature that provide diversity, stability, and resilience.  These systems yield an abundance of shelter, water, energy, and food for the provision of local needs. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.

    Our course offers the standard 72-hour permaculture curriculum for certification recognized internationally by the permaculture movement with a special emphasis on forest gardening in the tropics.  Although we will be in a tropical setting, many of the techniques will transfer directly to any climate.

    Finca Tierra is a 9-acre permaculture site and has become an important center for education and community development. Infrastructural systems contain: natural buildings built with local materials ( bamboo, leaf thatch and onsite timber), terraced & medicinal plant gardens, a nursery, seed bank, developing fruit and nut orchards, food forests, native timber forestry, timber bamboo plantings, water-catchment, renewable energy systems, and composting and biological flush toilets.

In addition, you will learn about:

    Principles and Ethics of Permaculture Design

    Site analysis and design, from the tropics to temperate regions

    Landscape master planning and microclimate design

    Reading the landscape and pattern recognition

    Design for climate change

    Regenerative Land Management and Stewardship

    Water catchment, storage, filtration, and distribution

    Biologically based treatment of greywater and blackwater

    Using greywater in the landscape

    Natural building techniques and vernacular architecture

    Plant propagation and grafting

    Organic horticulture

    Medicinal plant propagation, usage and preparations

    Biointensive gardening and seed saving

    Soil rehabilitation and fertility strategies

    Orchard design and maintenance

    Renewable energies

    Local and Regenerative economics

    Urban and suburban permaculture strategies

    Ecovillage design and community building strategies

    Networking within the permaculture community and beyond

    Strategies to create an alternative nation

Course Outline:

    Courses are held Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is at 7, lunch at 12 and dinner at 6. We cover 12 chapters, approximately one chapter a day, of the standard permaculture curriculum for certification. Mornings are usually filled with practical applications and afternoons dedicated with course slide lectures. Sunday is free for rest or exploring the area. We promote visiting our paradise beaches, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling and diving, waterfalls, hiking, bird and animal watching, bicycling the area etc.

    The beginning of the second week includes a field trip to visit local highlights. First to the jungle, were the indigenous steward will teach us about natural medicine and traditional sustainable living*. There we overnight in hand built wooden cabins on the edge of a river. A campfire, swimming and indigenous wisdom and stories are usual activities. We also stop by a mature food forest and taste an amazing variety of unusual fruits and spices, and get a great view of Panama. To round it out we also tour a 300-acre eco-village using animal integration, with chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, horses and sheep;  natural building and community scale organic agriculture.

*We can't guarantee the trip to the indigenous land because of weather and other variables (rivers at high water stage, horrendous road conditions) but its never stopped us so far so be prepared for it!

Program Info: 

  - Please register early as the course can and does fill quickly - Course price does not include airfare - $400 USD non-refundable deposit required, Course fees are refundable up until one month before the course - Meals will include traditional cuisine and farm foods - Academic credits / partial or full grants are often available to undergraduate and graduate students (inquire with us for more information) - Program is taught in English.

$1,300 Tuition

$1,450 (Late registration fee (10% extra) for bookings made less than two weeks before course start date)


“I could listen to permaculture lecture all day but Ian adds enough practical hands on stuff to keep everyone engaged, great mix of lecture and practical. The course instructor was very knowledgeable and engaging not to mention passionate. Always made time for the students and answered any questions we had. The location of the farm is just far enough from town to get peace and quiet but it’s close to some of the better beaches.

— PDC Student, Mario, Mexico

“This place has changed the way I see the world and the way we choose to live with the land. What I have learned at Finca Tierra I can basically apply anywhere. I’m really excited to be coming back here soon. Ian and Ana are amazing, inspiring, engaging, and really passionate about sharing what they have learned through their experience of rebuilding the land and basically learning to be fully sustainable. You should come here if you want to be blown away! So beautiful.

— PDC Student, Gabriel, Louisiana, USA

“The best food we ate on our year trip. We have had such great memories from the Finca Tierra course and will be back once we get our farm and need a refresh.

— PDC Student, Andy, Australia

“Doing the PDC (Permaculture Design Course) at Finca Tierra was an experience of a lifetime! Ian’s breadth and depth of theoretical and practical knowledge, together with his passion and enthusiasm for permaculture leaves you inspired, and with a strong foundation for knowing how to live in harmony with Mother Earth. The biodiversity of flora and fauna on the farm was incredible! It was also really cool to be able to walk around the food forest and just pick something off of a tree or plant and snack on tropical and exotic fruits and veggies. On top of that, being able to experience applications of permaculture outside of the farm, at SEED (Society for Ecological Education and Development) and Finca Inti, was also really cool.

The warm, rustic hospitality is definitely something to note as well. Ana, Ruth (Ana’s sister), Ian, Linton (the farm manager) and Bruce (Ian and Ana’s dog) made our stay very homely, and we felt at ease as soon as we arrived. The food was something out of this world! Ruth and Ana’s ingenuity in the kitchen was exceptional, and with fresh ingredients from the farm; every meal was amazing! Three times a day we would plunge into a wholesome culinary journey over some really stimulating conversations.

Thank you for everything… you guys are awesome hosts! Pura vida!

— PDC Student, Bemnet, Ethiopia

Tags: permaculture

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Permaculture Design Certificate Course (Fall B)

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