Frequently Asked Questions
Are you looking for consultation on Acreage design, Pre-property-purchase consult, or coaching services?
Do you have specific questions about gardening, farming, permaculture practice, or regenerative business development?
Are you a registered student with questions such as login, switching courses, missing classes, etc?
Do you have specific questions about our Permaculture Design Course?
Do you want to invite Rob to speak or hire the Verge team to teach a course?
Are you looking for general info about the various courses and programs we offer?
Find answers to your question quickly by using the categories below
You can enter keywords in the Search field at the top of our site, or search our Blog using the categories and tags in the right sidebar. If you find a page or blog entry on your topic of interest, post a comment or question in the Comments field at the bottom. We’re pretty good at responding there, and your question will help others!
Our PDC includes a 5 hour Introduction to Permaculture video course that all students are expected to watch prior to the first class. It is accessible to students as shown as they register.
Students will be given small activities or homework throughout the course as well as readings and videos to watch. There will be time in class for certain assignments, however, to get the most out of the course, expect to spend a few hours a week learning on your own and preparing for the final project.
As this is an adult education course, homework will not be graded – you get what you put in. Completion of the final design project is required to earn the certificate.
Accessing our E-courses and associated online material is easy. If you’ve played a video on your computer from Youtube or Vimeo before, then you’ve got all you need participate!
BUT TO BE MORE SPECIFIC, WE RECOMMEND:
- A desktop or laptop computer
- An up-to-date internet browser (Internet Explorer 8.0 or above, Firefox 2.0 or above, or Safari 3.0, or Chrome 4.0 or above)
- A broadband internet connection (for a reliable viewing experience at medium quality we recommend a downstream connection speed of at least 400-700 Kbps. You can test your connection speed here)
IF YOUR COURSE INCLUDES LIVE WEBINARS:
We use an online platform called Zoom for our live webinars. It is similar to Skype, but simpler. All you need to join (from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android) is to click on a url that we will provide to you on the Student Dashboard.
Don’t have high speed internet? You can also call in via phone, but note that toll rates may apply.
All courses and events offered by Verge are listed under our Courses & Events page. If you wish to be notified when a new course is announced, we encourage you to sign up for our mailing list. Finally, our Facebook page and Students & Friends of Verge page are also great places to hear about current events and opportunities of interest to permaculture enthusiasts.
We offer farm design, acreage design, micro and broad acre water-harvesting, shelterbelt/agroforestry system design, pre-purchase property assessments, and green infrastructure design. For more information, see our Consulting Page.
We are not able to provide refunds for online courses. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have read the guidelines for the course and have what they need to participate before registering.
We generally offer 3 PDCs per year – with 2 intensives in the spring/summer (take place over 13 straight days) and 1 in the fall (takes place over 3 long weekends). All current PDCs open for registration can be found on the PDC Listing Page. The best way to find out about new PDC announcements is by signing up for our mailing list.
This six minute video provides a comprehensive overview of how to access your Student Dashboard and associated course materials:
The Student Dashboard
Once you are logged into the site, the WELCOME STUDENT! menu item will appear. Hover over the WELCOME STUDENT! menu item and navigate to the STUDENT DASHBOARD (or simply visit the url: https://vergepermaculture.ca/student-dashboard/.
From there, scroll down and select the tab called ONLINE COURSES & MATERIAL to view any online courses or online material associated with in-person courses, as applicable.
If you are a Permaculture Design Student, and you are looking for course slides, courses resources and other features, head to the item called EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PDC (START HERE).
Hit the expand arrow and you’ll see the item PDC- COURSE RESOURCES & FEATURES ACCESS. Click there.
Now you’ll see the a table outlining all the features and resources included in each of our Foundational, Premium and Professional Development packages. Links and/or instructions for delivery are included for every item.
For instance, the access link for the Digital Resource Library, which includes a digital copy of the slides, handouts and 30+ additional resources, is shown below:
Simply click the register button in the top right corner of the course page (whether you’re planning to pay online or not). From there you will be prompted to enter your name and contact info, followed by the option to pay online with your credit card, or download an invoice to pay by alternate means (cash, cheque or email money transfer).
Once your payment is received and registration is completed, you will receive an email confirmation, and we will continue to use the same email address to contact you with additional course information. Please note, a spot will not be reserved for you in a course until payment is received.
Send an email directly to Rob (@vergepermaculture.ca) with “INVITATION TO SPEAK” in the subject, and include answers to as many of the following questions as possible:
- What’s your name and what organization are you representing?
- Is there a title or website for your event?
- When and where is the event taking place (date, city, and nearest airport)?
- What would you like Rob to speak about?
- How long is the time slot that you have in mind?
- What is the expected attendance and seating capacity of the room?
If you register for our Foundational or Premium PDC packages, you can still upgrade at a later time. However, we do ask that you complete the upgrade within ten days of completing your permaculture design course.
You can view our cancellation policy here.
In less than 10 years, Rob Avis left Calgary’s oil fields and retooled his engineering career to help clients and students design integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land. He’s now leading the next wave of permaculture education, teaching businesses, innovators and professionals how to combine technology with earth science and eco-entrepreneurism.
His past speaking engagements include:
- Airdrie Horticultural Society
- Calgary Horticultural Society
- Calgary Economic Development
- Nanton Horticultural Society
- Pathways 2 Sustainability Conference 2011
- Green Calgary
- Permaculture Research Institute Saskatchewan
- Saint Mary’s University College
- Riverside Community Group
- University of Calgary Ecological Design Department
- ReThink Red Deer
- Craik EcoSolar Fair
- City of Calgary
- Urban Systems
- Mount Royal University “Under Western Skies” Conference
- Master Gardener Program, Calgary Zoo
- Organic Connections Conference, Regina
- Groundswell Network Society, Invermere
- Permaculture Voices Conference, San Diego, 2014
- Global Earth Summit, 2014
- AMEC E&I
- and more…
All online materials (i.e. videos, recordings and associated resources) are available indefinitely (our lifetime or yours).
If your package includes a one-time program (such as Permaculture Pro, which is included in the PD program), we ask that you complete the program within one year of completion of your PDC.
Once payment is received, we ask that you give us one business day to add the online / digital feature(s) to your Student Dashboard page.
1- If the course is upcoming, we will deliver those items to you at the course
2 – If the course is already completed, we will put those items in the mail asap (postage is complimentary).
For in-person courses, we do allow changes to registration, however, due to the administrative time required, registration changes are subject to a 10% administrative fee. See our cancellation policy for more details.
Registration switches are not permitted for online courses.
Our past guest teaching engagements include:
- Olds College, Olds, AB
- Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat, AB
- Southern Alberta Permaculture, Lethbridge, AB
- ESAGE (Edmontonians Supporting a Green Economy), Edmonton, AB
- Riverdale Community Group, Edmonton, AB
- Permaculture Research Institute Saskachewan, Saskatoon, SK
- Green Calgary, Calgary, AB
- Nanton Horticultural Society, Nanton, AB
- Mountain Waters Retreat Centre, Nelson BC
- Okanagan Centre for the Environment, Penticton BC
- Element Eco Design, Vernon BC
- Grand Prairie Regional College, Grand Prairie, AB
You will have unlimited access to the course for 30 days from your date of registration.
Yes, when a course is full, we maintain an active waitlist. To be placed on the wait list, follow the same process as you would to register. (Click the button in the top right corner of the course page and fill out the form.) We will contact you if and when a spot becomes available.
Here’s a few of the most popular courses that we have taught for third party organizations:
Fundamentals of Permaculture Design (3 hr and 6hr workshops)
A condensed version of the Introduction to Permaculture delivered in either a 3hr or 6 hr version. This course takes students through the design of a typically urban lot using the main permaculture design tools, principles and philosophies. This is hands on design based course which has received rave reviews! Click here for more details and to see what other people have said about it in the past!
12-Hour Introduction To Permaculture Design
A two day (12 hour) course covering the first 4 chapters of The Permaculture Design Manual by Bill Mollison. This course provides an immense amount of information on the philosophy, design and principles of permaculture. This is a great course for people that are serious about getting started in permaculture but have not found the time to take the full 72 Hour Design Course. Click here for more details on the course.
3-Day Greywater Design
One day of grey-water theory and best practices and 2 days of hands on experiential learning installing a greywater system.
3-Day Rainwater Harvesting Design
1 day of rainwater harvesting theory and 2 days of hands on system implementation.
Yes. The course is split into 15 sections, and each section has a separate comments section where students can post questions and comments. We will do our best to respond to your questions on weekdays, within 72 hours.
You can pay online with your credit card, or choose to download an invoice and pay with another method (we accept cash, cheque, email money transfer or credit card over the phone). Your spot is not saved in the course until full payment is received.
We can also accept payment plans for our Permaculture Design Courses. More info.
*Please note that registrations paid by email money transfer are processed manually. Because we are not in the office everyday, be prepared to wait 24 hours during weekdays before your registration being approved. If you are registering with short notice before an event, we recommend that you pay online using a credit card.
To Login Or Create An Account
To login, hover over the login menu item and select LOGIN if you already have an account, or REGISTER if you need to create one:
Lost your password?
If you’ve lost your password, visit the login page and select “Lost your password?”
All of the course materials are on our website (not on Facebook), and via the webinar hosting platform. Facebook is simply an additional resource to connect to other students if that is something that would be helpful for you, but it is not by any means mandatory for the class. Some past students have chosen to set up anonymous Facebook accounts simply for connecting with other students during the course.
We are not considered a designated educational institution (i.e. university or college) that qualifies for the purposes of the education tax credit claimed on the tax return. Therefore, our course cannot be claimed under tuition fees on your tax return and we cannot issue T2202A slips.
If you are working in a small business and would like to write off the course because it relates to your business, then yes, you may use our proof of enrolment / course receipt when filing your taxes.
When you register in an E-Course or webinar, you will be prompted to create a login account on our site and will receive an email confirmation with a direct link to our Student Dashboard page.
Alternatively, simply visit the url: https://vergepermaculture.ca/student-dashboard/.
Note that you will be prompted to Login to the website in order to view any material you have access to.
All of the webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Student Dashboard for unlimited and unexpiring viewing.
A registered education savings plan (RESP) is a contract between an individual (the subscriber) and a person or organization (the promoter). Under the contract, the subscriber names one or more beneficiaries (the future student(s)) and agrees to make contributions for them, and the promoter agrees to pay educational assistance payments (EAPs) to the beneficiaries. For more information about RESPs visit the CRA website.
Our Permaculture Design Course can meet the requirements of “specified educational program” for the purpose of Educational Assistance Payments, as described on the CRA website. Note that a specified educational program is a program at post-secondary school level that lasts at least three consecutive weeks, and that requires a student to spend no less than 12 hours per-month on courses in the program.
However, before assuming that your promoter will provide Educational Assistance Payments we highly recommend that you contact them to find out if they have any additional requirements above those stated on the CRA website. The reason for this is that although we have had numerous students successful in requesting EAPs from the holder of their plan (i.e. the promoter), there has also been some students told by their promoter that we do not qualify.
- Take a class! Click on the Courses & Events tab for a list of what we currently offer. You can also sign up for our mailing list for email updates about our upcoming offerings. Our Facebook page and Students & Friends of Verge page are also great places to hear about current events and opportunities of interest to permaculture enthusiasts.
- Gain hands-on experience and meet other permaculture enthusiasts by volunteering for a Permablitz! (Search online for permablitzes in your area).
- If you’re in the Calgary area, check out the Calgary Permaculture Guild website for events and volunteer opportunities.
- Read a book! There are soo many!
Absolutely yes! A very big component of this webinar series is to give participants the opportunity to get their specific questions answered by Rob, or by our special guests.
All participants will have access to a chat window during the live call where questions can be posed.
We recommend contacting Puzzle Permaculture for curriculum-based permaculture programs. Started by our PDC alumni, Chrissy Begus and Sara Haney, now the local experts in the realm of creative and interactive kids’ permaculture programming.
If, after the first phone call, you are not fully convinced of the value that this program can provide to you, your project and/or your business, we will offer you a full refund.
The PDC is a tested and proven standardized curriculum offered by permaculture institutes and educational centers around the world. Developed by visionary author/educator/naturalist Bill Mollison, it includes all of the topics in his pioneering work, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual…which you will receive as a part of your course package.
Offered in either an intensive 13-day or 3 long-weekend format, our Permaculture Design Certificate, or PDC, is a course for people who want to make permaculture a way of life or create a livelihood doing earth repair. We’ve gone above and beyond the requirements of the standard 72 hour curriculum by incorporating our own expertise from sustainable design projects around the world, additional products and resources, and teaching our own special step-by-step design process. Our course is certified with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.
Our Facebook page and Students & Friends of Verge page are great places to share and connect with others interested in community, DIY projects, and permaculture. We invite folks to connect with each other on our pages, and are especially thrilled when it involves inspiring and positive stories, ideas or information.
If you would like us to post something for you, please email us at email@example.com and include:
- a pre-written post for us to copy and paste onto Facebook (max. 100 words)… Please write the post from the perspective of Verge eg. “Check it out! We came across this awesome opportunity….”,
- Include the web address and/or an image or poster in jpg format.
We will schedule your post if we deem it relevant to our audience, and, of course, time-permitting.
After running this program and working with a community of practitioners that called this program “the best money I’ve spent on a business development hands down” we’re putting our money where our mouth is.
If after two weeks (one principle podcast, one principle Q & A and one Open Season Q & A) if you feel like this program isn’t going to bring you to where you want to be… we’ll offer a 100% money back guarantee.
No. All you need is the ability and desire to learn in a fast-paced classroom environment.
*Please note that registrations paid by EMT are processed manually. Because we are not in the office everyday, be prepared to wait 24 hours during weekdays before your registration being approved. If you are registering with short notice before an event, we recommend that you pay online using a credit card.
To send an email money transfer you need access to online banking through a participating financial institution (BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotia Bank, or TD Canada Trust, among others).
Step by Step Instructions:
1. Login to your online banking.
2. Locate Interac Email Money Transfer, usually found in the Transfer/Payments menu.
3. Fill in the Interac Email Money Transfer information as follows:
- Recipients email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Payment Amount: the total amount of your invoice.
- Security Question: Please make the security question “Reg ID”
- Security Answer:The password should be the last 6 digits of the Registration ID found at the top corner of the invoice (you can download an invoice when completing your registration)
- Message: Include your name, the course name and if different, the name of the course registrant.
f you need more detailed instructions for completing an email money transfer, go to http://www.interac.ca/index.php/en/interac-etransfer/etransfer-faq .Please keep this invoice.
Alternatively, you can call us (1-403-770-9789) and leave the answer to the security question. For security reasons, please do not email the answer.
Instead of a one-time, upfront payment of $2,400 CAD for this program, we can also accept a three-part payment plan of $880 per month.
The first payment is due to hold your spot in the program, and the subsequent payments will be automatically charged to your credit card on the same date over the following two months.
So for instance, if you register on January 3rd, a $880 fee will be charged to your credit card on January 3rd, February 3rd and March 3rd respectively.
If applicable, taxes are in addition to the numbers quoted above.
To pay via payment plan for RBM Level 1, complete your order here.
When you register for a PDC, you can choose from one of three packages: Foundational, Premium or Professional Development. Regardless of the package, everyone is registered for the same PDC class and receives the Foundational features included with the course, but with the Premium and Professional Development options you get added benefits to help launch your personal permaculture projects or career. The prices and a list of what’s included can be found under the Tuition tab of the particular course page, and is also included below.
Whether you’re looking to practice permaculture in your own backyard, or whether you’re envisioning a regional consultancy, this program is set up to suit your vision. With three levels of engagement, we can prepare you for the simplest makeover of your backyard or community commons, all the way up to your most ambitious business plan. See the tables below for what is included in each of our packages.
STANDARD FEATURES (Value of $2,065)
Permaculture Design Certificate Course
72 hours in class instruction
Permaculture Primer Interactive: Online Course
3.5 hour online video course + 40 page note pack. More info.
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, Bill Mollison
The definitive permaculture textbook (600 pages). More info.
Our own 100 page notepack supplement. More info.
Digital Resource Library
Digital copy of all slides, handouts and 30+ additional resources
Permaculture Magazine North America
A coupon code to receive 50% of a digital subscription. More info.
ADDITIONAL COURSES & PRODUCTS (Value of $1,155)
The Salatin Semester
A complete homestudy course in Polyface-style diversified farming. Produced by Verge Permaculture & Acres USA (value of $350). More info.
Introduction to Passive Solar Greenhouse Design
Online video course + 52 page DIY manual. More info.
Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison
160 page soft cover book. More info.
Urban Farm Bike Trailer Plans, Verge & Green City Acres
Plans, a parts list and photos. More info.
Full PDC Course Lectures On Video
Unlimited access to a recorded version of class lectures. More info.
Growing Good Business Series
Over 2.5 hours of interviews with successful permaculture entrepreneurs. More info.
Water Harvesting 101 with Brad Lancaster & Craig Sponholtz
Exclusive interview with water harvesting experts. More info.
Beyond Gaia’s Garden with Toby Hemenway
Exclusive interview with Toby Hemenway. More info.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Value of $2,373)
Permaculutre Pro Webinar Series
Two months of technical coaching webinars with Rob Avis and special guests. (value of $480). More info.
Unlimited Refresher Course
Come back anytime to retake your PDC
Bonus: How to Grow Your Green, Local & Holistic Business & The Niching Nest
2.5 hour video e-course + transcripts (value of $140 USD). More info.
The Student Dashboard is your one-stop shop to access all materials associated with any online courses or in-person courses that you registered in.
- The Online Courses tab contains a listing of any online material that you have access to
- The In-Person Courses & Events tab is a listing of all courses & events you have attended or are scheduled to attend
- The Get Social tab contains a link to the Students & Friends Facebook page, as well as a link to the private Permaculture Design Course student forum (accessible to PDC students only)
- The FAQ tab contains a list of frequently asked questions
We will take a maximum of 20 participants.
A student may miss up to, but no more than 2 full days of the PDC course, and still receive their course certificate. Students in the Professional Development package are eligible for unlimited refresher courses, and may attend later PDC classes to make up for missed time.
Registering with a friend for the same Permaculture Design Course? Great news – we will give you our early bird pricing no matter when you choose to register. If you are registering after the early bird pricing expiry date, you’ll have to email us (info@vergepermaculture) with your name & the name of your friend who will be registering to get discount codes. You’ll both have to register individually and can use the discount codes at checkout.
Also note that you are welcome to register in different PDC packages (Foundational, Premium or PD). We will also retroactively give you a discount should you pay regular price, then convince a friend to join you in the course. Just get in touch with us!
Yes. We can help you to set up a payment plan for the course of your choice.
- Payment plans are set up as automatic charges against your credit card (usually 3 – 4 equal payments).
- For 13 day intensive programs (such as our Invermere location) we require payment in full before the course start date.
- For 8 month programs (such as our Calgary location), we can design a payment plan spread out over the duration of the course.
If you’d like to set up a payment plan, complete your registration online and select Invoice/Downloadable pdf as your payment method. Contact our office during regular hours to discuss options and complete the payment plan set-up.