Frequently Asked Questions
Are you looking for consultation on acreage design, pre-property-purchase consult, coaching services, or guest teaching / speaking?
Are you a registered student with questions such as login, cancellation policy, switching courses, missing classes, etc?
For all other questions….
Find answers to your question quickly by using the categories below
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
At the bottom of every email we send you, there is an option to update your email preferences OR to completely unsubscribe from receiving our emails.
Please note that if you opt to completely unsubscribe you will also not receive any emails about the products, programs or courses you may have purchased or be enrolled in.
No. All you need is the ability and desire to learn in a fast-paced classroom environment.
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.
The full system requirements for the webinars, including operating system requirements, supported tablet /mobile devices, supported browsers, and bandwidth requirements can be found here. (Note that you only need to meet the requirements for “Webinar Attendees” – no camera is required).
Don’t have high speed internet? You can also call in via phone, but note that toll rates may apply.
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.
For the Guided & Guaranteed program we will take a maximum of 20 property-units.
Send an email directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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?
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
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.
We’ve invested a substantial amount of dollars and hours into the development of the Contour Map Generator and the Adaptive Habitat Self-Study Program and other associated tools.
Help us to continue to support this free program and free tools by making a donation:
Alternatively, give us a 5-star review on either of these platforms:
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…
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 password reset page.
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.
If you’d like customized support, The Adaptive Habitat Guided and Guaranteed Program is a 10-12 week online program that runs ~2 times per year. It is designed to guide you and hand-hold you through the design of your property in a group setting with an engineer and a farmer on your team. We guarantee your results and offer a money-back guarantee as well as an unlimited return policy. Read more here.
We do not provide complimentary technical support for using Google Earth Pro in this free Self-Study program. If you are struggling with importing your map or following the instructions here, take some time to review these Google Earth Outreach Tutorials and/or the Google Earth User Guide. These following videos (available on YouTube) are also quite good:
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.
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.
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 paying together simply select “Quantity = 2” during the checkout process and your discount will be automatically applied.
If you are registering separately, contact us (info@vergepermaculture) with your name & the name of your friend who will be registering to get discount codes to use during the checkout process.
Also note that you are welcome to register in different PDC packages (Foundational or Premium). 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!
Our consulting firm is Adaptive Habitat. Our website summarizes the types of consulting services we provide.
Complimentary Client Intake Meeting
For project-driven consulting, we have found that the very best way to quickly & effectively assess your project and our ability to help is to connect for 20 – 30 minutes over the phone. We call this a client intake meeting.
During this no-fee and no-obligation meeting Rob will discuss your project with you, determine fit, and then recommend options for proceeding as well as provide a high-level idea of what it might cost and what value we can provide should we get involved. You can schedule your complimentary client intake meeting here.
Note also that if you only have a few quick questions, Rob can usually answer them during these initial consultancy calls.
Rob is also available for virtual consultancy on an hour by hour basis. If your project is small and/or you are looking for high-level technical advice, you can book a one hour virtual consultancy here.
View the booking page for his up-to-date hourly consulting fee. Payment is due upon booking. If you are unsure about our hourly consulting and want to first discuss whether we can help, you are welcome to start with a Complimentary Client Intake Meeting.
If you are looking to update the information that we have on file for you (including your email address) – input your current email below & we’ll send what we have & instructions on how to make any updates / changes!
Our Permaculture Design Course follows Bill Mollison’s textbook, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, and a copy of this textbook is included in the Premium package tuition.
It is true that a lot of Bill’s examples in his textbook are from the tropics and sub tropic climatic zones, as he is from Australia.
What differentiates us is our emphasis on the process of design. We feel strongly that the process is what drives good design. Process is climate indifferent.
The specific techniques that you might employ in the tropics may differ from the techniques used in a cold climate. In addition the specific plants you may use would also be different. But the fundamental principles and processes are the same.
Lastly, our course has a slight focus on temperate climate given that is the climate here in Canada and the climate that a majority of our students are working in. However, we have students who have taken our Permaculture Design Course and are working in climates around the world.
The Adaptive Habitat Contour Map Generator is a subscription and includes a download button.
Once you’ve drawn your map, you are able to export a KLM file for import into a tool such as Google Earth Pro.
The version found at contourmapgenerator.com is simply a preview version. No map is available for download.
All of the webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Student Dashboard for unlimited and unexpiring viewing.
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.
The original contourmapgenerator.com was released in December 2018 and KML maps were made freely downloadable and available to the public.
Despite the overwhelming positive feedback and response we received, the reality is that the costs to maintain such a tool quickly escalated as the popularity of the tool grew exponentially.
In mid-October 2019 we transitioned to two versions of the tool:
- Contourmapgenerator.com remains completely free to the public to generate and preview contour maps anywhere in the world, but no download button is available.
- The Adaptive Habitat Contour Map Generator for Google Earth Pro is a minimally-priced subscription and includes unlimited KML file downloads.
We don’t do a lot of urban landscape consulting, unless you are looking at full site planning and associated infrastructure, such as including the design of house and/or greenhouse and looking to include elements such as power generation, water systems and food systems. To learn more, and/or discuss your project you can book a Good Fit conversation with us here.
Not also that many of our alumni are offering professional permaculture design services (and other related-services), and many of them have been profiled in our Alumni series, which you can find here. You can filter the profiles by the “Consulting” or the “Design & Installation” tags.
We also suggest that you crowd-source a recommendation on the Verge Permaculture & Friends Facebook Page.
When you enrol in an online course or program on our website, we automatically create a user account for you on the vergepermaculture.ca website based on the email you provide upon enrolment.
If, for some reason, you do not receive the user account email that is generated by our system you can easily regenerate / resend the user account email by visiting the password reset page and inputting your email.
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.
Simple instructions for importing the KML file into Google Earth Pro are included in the Adaptive Habitat Self-Study Program, which you can enrol for (separately) here (- it’s free!).
Google Earth Pro is quite intuitive and easy to learn. Note that Google Earth Pro (for desktop) is different than Google Earth (for web), as it provides additional capabilities such as GIS data import capability. You’ll want to learn at least some of the basic functionality of this program. If you are generally comfortable with software you are likely pick it up by simply starting to play around in the program. If you need a little more support, these Google Earth Outreach Tutorials are very good, and the Google Earth User Guide is another comprehensive resource.
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!
*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: email@example.com .
- 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.
Many of our students develop businesses or projects leveraging their permaculture training. We think the best way to get an idea of the wide range of possibilities is to peruse the 50+ alumni interviews, profiles and blogs, found here.
First, make sure you “whitelist” emails from vergepermaculture.ca
Please take less than 2 minutes to follow the steps below to make sure you receive our emails:
1. Please “whitelist” this address and any other email addresses that end in @vergepermaculture.ca. To find out how to whitelist an email address, just Google “how to whitelist” and your email provider (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.).
2. In addition, you might choose to prioritize emails you receive from @vergepermaculture.ca so that they get directly to your primary inbox. You can do this by either “starring” or “marking as important” the first few emails you receive from us.
3. If you have Gmail or any other email provider that filters emails into inbox, promotions, social, etc., be sure to “drag” any of our emails to your primary inbox. See detailed instructions for doing this below!
Gmail Tabs – How To Deliver In The Primary Inbox
If you’re using Gmail Tabs in your inbox, nearly all Verge Permaculture emails will typically arrive in the Promotions tab by default.
You can adjust Gmail Tabs settings to deliver an email to the primary tab in 2 easy steps.
Two Steps to Deliver in Gmail’s Primary Tab:
Click on our email > drag and drop the email to the Primary Tab:
Click Yes when offered the option to “always deliver firstname.lastname@example.org” to Primary.
You can view our cancellation policy here.
Yes, we have payments plans for our Permaculture Design Courses.
The payment plans is set up as an automatic charge against your credit card (usually 3 – 6 equal payments) spread out over one month intervals. There is an administrative surcharge of $100 for all payment plans.
- 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!
You can pay online with your credit card.
If you’d prefer to pay using another methods (we accept cash, cheque, email money transfer or credit card over the phone), get in touch & we’ll generate an invoice and instructions for paying using other methods.
Your spot is not saved in the course until payment is received.
We can also accept payment plans for some of 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.
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.
Note that the Premium and Professional Development options include a copy of the textbook, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. Students in the Foundational package can purchase a copy direct from us or procure their own copy from another source.
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.
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)
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, Bill Mollison
The definitive permaculture textbook (600 pages). More info.
| Not included.
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.
The Salatin Semester
A complete homestudy course of Polyface-style diversified farming ($350 Value). More info.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Value of $2,373)
We are completely redesigning our Professional Development Package and as such, it is NOT AVAILABLE IN 2019/2020.
If you are looking for advanced permaculture design training, we highly recommend that you combine our Permaculture Design Course with our Adaptive Habitat Land Design Program.
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.
We do not currently have an online Permaculture Design Course, although we have tentative plans to offer a hybrid model (60% online, 40% in-person), more details will be available in 2020. See out PDC page for course schedules.
If you are looking for an online Permaculture Design Course, we highly recommend Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Course 2.0. In 2008, Rob spent six months working and studying with Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna farm, in Australia. Geoff is both an inspiration and a mentor to us.
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.
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.
Many of our students travel some distance to attend our courses. Although travel, food and accommodation expenses are not covered in our course tuition, we do a few things to help you keep your expenses down.
Once registered, you will receive access to the PDC Student Forum. On the forum page you can connect with classmates to coordinate carpooling and shared accommodation rental. We also provide access to a local billet list that we maintain. This list contains contact information for alumni and friends who are keen to host our permaculture design students. Each billet sets their own terms (there may be a small financial or volunteer commitment), and some are quite happy to let you couch surf or camp at no cost. Note that there are a limited number of billets, and the sooner you register in the course and arrange your accommodation, the better your chances of getting the best option for you!
Also, many students have also successfully connected with the local permaculture community, and found a billet, through the Verge Permaculture Students and Friends Facebook Group.
Lastly, once registered, we also provide detailed suggestions for camping, hostels, budget hotels and more.
We schedule Open Yard events approximately one time per month in each May, June, July, August and September. These workshop / tours are the best way to visit our urban permaculture demonstration property, located in the heart of Calgary. To find out the current schedule, click here.
We also offer a limited number of private tours. Contact us for information, rates and availability.
We have several other recommendations for finding other tour opportunities:
- Post your request on the Verge Permaculture & Friends Facebook Page.
- Check out our Alumni profiles – many of them are running great permaculture businesses and projects and may offer tours
- Check out Willing Workers on Organic Farms or search the WOOF website using the word “permaculture”. Although the website is designed for volunteers, many of the projects that accept volunteers also provide tours.
- Another great way to search for permaculture projects (and tour opportunities) is to check out the Permaculture Global Website.
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.
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:
We don’t have a formal volunteer or internship program. What we do have is an informal email list. If you live in Calgary, and want to be notified of volunteer opportunities as they come up, please sign up using the form below.
We have several other recommendations for finding volunteer opportunities:
- Post your request on the Verge Permaculture & Friends Facebook Page.
- Check out our Alumni profiles – many of them are running great permaculture businesses and projects and may be looking for volunteers.
- For longer term volunteer opportunities, check out Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Barb Hazenveld is a local permaculture instructor who takes longer term volunteers, or search the WOOF website for volunteer opportunities around the world using the word “permaculture”.
- Another great way to search for permaculture projects (and volunteer opportunities) is to check out the Permaculture Global Website.