Permaculture design course (building sustainable communities)
This course looks at how we can design resilient, abundant human 'ecosystems'; working collaboratively with one another to care for the planet each other and ourselves
January - June 2014 (provisional)
Dates to be confirmed
(Click here if you would like to be notified about future runs of this course/event.)
Building sustainable communities is a hands-on course; we learn both indoors and outdoors. Includes visits to:
• Ben Law’s working woodland
• 'green' buildings like One Brighton
• Cuckmere Haven and Cobnor Point
• permaculture and organic gardens
• a forest garden
• community projects in the Brighton & Hove area
Tutors include Alex Penn, Bryn Thomas, Daniel Holloway, Hedvig Murray and Jen Beaufoy, with guest speakers to include Ben Law and Pippa Johns.
Prior to attending Permaculture design course: building sustainable communities, it is necessary to have completed an introduction to permaculture course, either Brighton Permaculture Trust's 2-day Introduction to Permaculture Course or a equivalent course elsewhere. Please do not reserve a place on our Permaculture design course unless you have attended or are booked a place on an introduction to permaculture course that runs before this. This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture design is about creating practical ecological strategies for land, water, buildings, people and communities. It involves developing systems that are resilient and contribute to environmental, social and personal well-being, and is based on a philosophy of cooperation with nature.
The word "permaculture" is derived from permanent agriculture and permanent culture, but offers a perspective on all aspects of building a sustainable future, including changing your life for the better. Permaculture encourages us to use our individual skills, knowledge and interests, whilst drawing on science, traditional wisdom and our innate ability to observe and learn from the world around us. Whether your interest is gardening, farming, planning, building homes, community work, economic regeneration, business or green lifestyles, the application of permaculture principles empowers you to make a positive contribution towards a sustainable future.
Who is the course for?
The Permaculture Design Course is for people who are concerned with the environmental and social challenges around them, and want to develop positive solutions. Whereas some courses are intensive, this one is spread out over a number of months to allow people to integrate permaculture design into many areas of their lives, including their food growing, home renovation and livelihoods. Having then completed the course, you are awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate, which allows you to include permaculture design in your work.
What the Permaculture design course covers
The course enables participants to integrate a self-reliant, pragmatic, ecological approach to work, life, gardens, homes and communities. It is valuable for anyone wishing to add a Permaculture perspective to their existing skills, and to community workers, teachers, architects, planners, landscapers, foresters, agriculturists and conservationists.
The sessions cover topics including:
• Ethics and principles of Permaculture
• Design process and methodology
• Soil structure, ecology and conservation
• Trees and woodland management
• Cultivated ecology: gardens and farms
• Community development and organisation
• Building effective learning groups
• Real wealth, money and sustainable exchange
• Urban challenges and urban permaculture, including transport
• Energy conservation and renewable energy
It is a participatory and diverse course. We get out and about, as well as using group work, discussion, observation, guided walks, practical activities, lectures, videos, and slides as learning methods during course sessions. An emphasis is put on Action Learning throughout and participants are encouraged to further their learning through home study, which can include further reading, personal reflection, and application of what's being learned in practice. Participants come to understand how they learn and the group members support each other during the course
You will get to work on a major design activity in a group with support and feedback from the tutor team – an opportunity for you to apply and integrate the things you have learned throughout the course.
Useful resources are highlighted throughout the course and handouts provided with many sessions (included in the course fee). During the course you will be offered the opportunity to order permaculture-related books at a discount, as well as low-cost membership of the Permaculture Association (or an extension to your existing membership, if you're already a member).
The course follows the 72-hour international Permaculture Design Course syllabus and so qualifies participants for the Permaculture Design Course completion certificate awarded by the Permaculture Association (Britain). This has to be gained before you can use the word 'permaculture' in part of your work as a professional or with the public, such as being a gardener, a teacher, a designer, giving talks about permaculture, etc.
To be awarded the certificate you must attend a minimum of 11 days of the course and complete the design workshop (the final weekend of the course). Please do not register if you cannot meet this requirement. We also strongly prefer that you do not plan to miss the initial residential weekend or the final weekend.
The course is also accredited by the Open College Network Yorkshire and Humberside Region, through the National Open College Network. This is part of a national adult and lifelong learning programme, run by several Permaculture Design Course providers in collaboration with the Permaculture Association. Read more...
Home study during and after the course
Without the OCN accreditation, we would expect people to carry out an average of less than 2 hours of work between weekend sessions. We set tasks that encourage thinking about your life and how the learning on the course applies to it. This is about integration with rather than a separation from the activities of everyday life.
The optional OCN accreditation requires the additional work of pulling the learning described above into a portfolio as evidence. Much if not all of the evidence you will need to provide is gathered as part of the home study and design activities during the course. Many participants find that completing the portfolio is a satisfying and multifunction activity that embeds learning, but takes additional time to present the information. We strongly recommend this is done in an ongoing way, although some people do most of it at the end of the course. The time it takes participants to do this varies considerably. It could be done in as little as 10 hours by someone experienced at doing such things, but some people report spending a week's work on it! Many of the portfolios we receive are beautiful and contain a lot more work than is required. The important thing to focus on is providing the evidence required, especially to avoid work that is not needed.
What can the Permaculture Design course lead on to?
Once you have gained the Permaculture Design Certificate you are able to start using permaculture design in your life and work. You will be invited to join Brighton Permaculture Trust's network of volunteers and encouraged to get involved in the Trust's activities and those of other related networks. Students often start their own projects and invite course-mates to get involved in those. To further your learning or professional development, you could go on to work towards a Diploma in Permaculture Design, a self-directed action learning process of at least two years. You could also choose to become an apprentice permaculture teacher and apply to Brighton Permaculture Trust's Trainee Teacher Scheme, or to take any of the wide range of more specialist permaculture courses now being offered throughout the UK and beyond for people with a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Course tutors and speakers include
Alex Penn, Permaculturist with expertise in natural ecosystems.
Ben Law, Dip Perm Des. As featured on Channel 4’s Grand designs programme. Woodsman, green wood builder, teacher and author.
Bryn Thomas, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture trainer and designer. Passions include growing fruit, forest gardening, green building and organisational design.
Daniel Holloway, designer & maker of sustainable systems, mechanical and ecological with permaculture as an underlying influence.
Hedvig Murray, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture trainer and designer. Passionate about growing food in urban areas, community gardens and non-land applications.
Jen Beaufoy, permaculture teacher and designer, horticulturalist and environmental education tutor.
Pippa Johns, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture teacher, gardener and design consultant.
Most course sessions will be held at Stanmer Park just outside Brighton. Click here for directions to our meeting point at Stanmer Park. Other venues will include locations in and around Brighton and Sussex.
We facilitate lift sharing to travel to the more remote locations and for visits.
Click here for details of local accommodation and to find out about Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.
These books are recommended but it is not necessary for those attending to buy or read them.
Permaculture In A Nutshell, Patrick Whitefield
Permaculture - A Beginner’s Guide, Graham Burnett
The Permaculture Way, Graham Bell
Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison
The Earthcare Manual, Patrick Whitefield
Fees include OCN accreditation, tuition and refreshments.
£840 - Sponsored/organisation rate
£840 - Individual income more than 25k/yr
£700 - Individual income 18-25k/yr
£560 - Individual income less than 18k/yr
£420 - Individual, concessionary rate
Seven places have been allocated at the concessionary rate, which is available to people in receipt of a state pension, means-tested benefits (including housing benefit, council tax benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, Working Tax Credit (income does not exceed £16,190) and/or Child Tax Credit), and full-time students. Please bring evidence of this to the course.
We endeavour to make our courses/events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of our courses/events and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.
See the cancellations and refunds policy.
Booking the Permaculture design course
Please read this section carefully.
Advance booking is essential. This course usually books up within a few days.
IMPORTANT: Payment can be made in full, or a place can be secured by paying a 50% deposit.
When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven't received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.
You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the 'Pay later' box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked.
If you tick the pay later box, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.
If you are booking within two weeks of the course, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal. This will also be the only option available if the course is nearly fully booked.
IMPORTANT: When filling out your booking form, please state WHERE and WHEN you did the Introduction to permaculture course in the "Any other information or questions for us?" box at the bottom of the page. The tutors require this information, so please make sure you include it; otherwise, we will need to contact you.
Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:
Booking link coming soon!
If places are available, you will automatically be taken to the booking form.
For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us.