Empower yourself with the tools, knowledge & support

to positively transform your land, your life and your livelihood. 

The Verge Permaculture Design Course

REGISTER NOW

Get instant access to course features…

HAVE QUESTIONS?

We are happy to chat…

FREE 60 PAGE NOTEPACK

Sample our PDC right here…

Whether you’re a multi-degreed, credentialed professional or an entrepreneurial graduate of the School of Life, we can guarantee this is like no course you’ve ever taken before.

With over 72 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction, the PDC is the international standard for permaculture certification. You’ll discover the principles and practices for designing and implementing a regenerative human habitat, for a fraction of the cost of a conventional environmental degree.

With its sheer depth and range of topics, the program’s appreciating value, its unique and pioneering structure, our three levels of engagement to fit your schedule, budget, and business vision – and, last but not least, our track record of graduates’ successful businesses – this course will give you new hope and a new vision, the technical and business foundations to build it on, and the community-building skills to support it.

If you’re looking for a springboard into a new business or career – one that can make the crucial difference for you, your community, and the planet in the hard times that are approaching – this is the course to take.

Don’t spend another day in frustration and outrage at the dire headlines. Sign up today and take your first step toward becoming a permaculture change agent.

ABOUT

Become a Permaculture Change Agent for Your Community in Just 2 Weeks in a Superior Permaculture Design Certificate Course Taught by Engineers for Visionary Professionals.

As engineers, we’re accustomed to taking a laser-focused approach to problems within complex human-made systems. And we know from experience that you could spend years of study, and a fortune in tuition, learning how to develop targeted technological solutions for our environmental challenges.

But experience has also taught us that those limited solutions won’t even begin to touch the full range of issues we face…and may even make them worse.

Why? Here’s the difference: The planet isn’t a machine…it’s a complex web of interdependent living systems, and far more than the sum of its parts.

So to solve the problems at their root, you need to understand how the system works as a whole:

  • how to observe and understand natural patterns and processes…
  • how to design and support sustainable, self-regenerating systems.…
  • how to intervene when something goes wrong…
  • how to create a household…a neighbourhood…a community…a local economy…and a culture that exists in harmony with the natural world.

And that’s when you can make really profound changes happen!

This is the holistic approach you’ll begin to learn in Verge’s Permaculture Design Course. For a tiny fraction of what it would cost to earn a conventional environmental degree elsewhere, you’ll discover the secrets that keep a healthy ecosystem and society thriving…and learn how you can use those secrets to create a successful, regenerative business, empower your community and “green” your world in ways you never imagined!

WHAT MAKES OUR PDC UNIQUE?

Real-World Experience

We’re established engineers and consultants, and we mean business! Our teaching style draws from our years of practice and is geared to ambitious, focused professionals and entrepreneurs.

Three Levels of Engagement to Fit Your Goals and Budget

You can select from Foundational, Premium, or Professional packages, with added benefits and training at each level. See the Packages tab for more info…

Bonus intro course

Our 3.5 hour video intro course (available immediately upon registration) means students arrive ready to hit the ground running, and we have more hands-on time in the classroom to practice and apply the most advanced concepts.

Check out the first 30 minutes of the course here:

Focus on design

With extra classroom time devoted to hands-on design application, our students leave with the confidence to launch their own permaculture projects and careers (plus infinite ideas for what those projects might be).

 

PDC roadmap

Beyond the info-dense web of concepts and techniques of the standardized PDC, we’ve also pioneered a simple, step-by-step design process that students can take-away and apply to just about any permaculture problem. Talk about getting a head start!

 

And so much more

See the tabs above to learn how our PDC stands apart from the crowd.

How Permaculture Changed My Life

In this newest blog series, we feature personal stories from past alumni about how how permaculture changed the direction of their outlooks and careers.

OUTLINE

Introducing The PDC

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.

Here’s just a quick spin through the core curriculum as Verge offers it…

Introduction to PermacultureThis section and the next lay the foundation with the core principles on which permaculture is based.

Starting with the mistakes that led to today’s world situation, we’ll look at…
  • How did we (humans) get here, and where are we going?
  • What are the problems – how can we state them in a manageable way, without overwhelm?
  • What are the myths of our current culture, and how do they prevent us from acting?
  • How do we reclaim our story so that we can have a positive impact on our immediate ecosystem, our bioregion, and the planet as a whole?

Concepts and Themes in Design You might call this portion How Does an Ecosystem Work?

Starting with the ecological building blocks that every permaculture design replicates, we’ll look at…
  • Naturally occurring patterns and natural laws, and how to replicate them in human-made designs (and dramatically increase crop yields in the process!).

  • Food webs and sustainable human diets, interdependency and natural connections between species, and the amazing, dynamic stability that’s built into a diverse ecosystem.

  • A new definition for the concept of yield.

  • A holistic understanding of all of the benefits and services a design should strive to provide (in nature, each element serves many functions, not just one!)

Methods of Design Now we start getting into the nitty-gritty tools and techniques for replicating natural, self-sustaining ecosystems!

We’ll talk about…
  • Observing a site and deducing its needs, your options, and your best strategies, from the land itself.

  • Developing a strategic approach to a project, including designing from patterns to details, analyzing the elements of a site and the needs and yields of its systems, and using slope and orientation.

  • Surveying landscapes for property design using both simple and sophisticated tools, designing by map overlays and interpreting seemingly random assortments of information.

  • Finding your microclimate and increasing productivity with intensive garden design strategies including: stacking of space, soil-building, mulch, nutrient cycling, pest control, green manures, worms, compost & companion planting.

  • Building in the human factor: determining work spaces, designating zones and sectors for types of use.

  • Creating a master pattern that incorporates a code of ethics for the relationship between humans and nature.

  • Incorporating guilds of interdependent plants and animals.

  • Establishing and maintaining a balanced, self-perpetuating system.

Pattern Understanding – Circles, spirals, waves, branches…we see certain patterns over and over again in nature and human designs, but why? What purposes do they serve, and which should be used in X situation?

We’ll talk about…
  • Key natural patterns, the purposes they serve, and how and where to apply them.

  • The importance of boundaries as a place of species mingling, challenge and growth, and how to put this to use.

  • The impact of these principles on the human level, in relationships, society, and the economy.

Climatic Factors – These days, when we hear about climate, the first word that probably comes to mind is “change” – but here we’ll be looking at more basic questions.

We’ll talk about…
  • Climate zones and weather patterns, and the workings of precipitation, wind, and radiation.

  • How to identify the impact of climate factors on the project landscape and across the region.

  • How to identify your micro-climate and extend your growing season….

Trees and Their Energy Transactions – You probably know about the roles that trees play as fuel, raw material, and carbon storage, but are you aware of the many other functions they serve in living forests?

We’ll talk about…
  • How they regulate and moderate ecosystems by complex interactions with wind, precipitation, and temperature.

  • How you can sustainably use, propagate, harvest and manage tree systems using such techniques such as coppicing, pollarding, grafting, guild planting, succession planning, and designing shelterbelts and orchards.

  • How to grow your own fuel and heat your own home without fossil fuels.

Water – While Earth is called “the watery planet,” humans have tended to mismanage our fresh water supply, threatening the availability of our most precious resource. Here you’ll learn about how humans have intervened in regional water systems, and how we can repair them.

We’ll talk about…
  • Using earthworks to capture, conserve and store water, and reducing the water we use in our sewage systems.

  • Purifying contaminated water the way nature does, without the use of toxic chemicals.

  • Principles of water harvesting and conservation, rainwater collection and storage.

  • Uses for greywater (using your wash-water to make plants grow better),

  • Constructed wetland design and other smart water-use ideas you might never think of.

  • Passive water hydration and infiltration.

  • Composting toilets.

Soils – Yes, that’s right – soils in the plural! We have so much to say here – where most people see soil as dirt, permaculturists see it as a living ecosystem in itself.

We’ll talk about…
  • The soil ecosystem – its structure and elements, the role of water, gases, mineral nutrients, and micro-organisms.

  • How to diagnose problems in difficult soils through bioindicators such as plant ailments.

  • How to solve plant ailments through treating the soil.

  • The hidden crisis of global soil erosion, and what we can do about it.

  • The relationship between soil and life on earth.

Earthworking and Earth Resources – One common remedy for runoff and erosion is earthworking: building berms and digging swales.

We’ll talk about…
  • Identifying the many types of earthworks that harvest and store water, and when to use each of them.

  • Planning the project, measuring the slope and pegging the contour, moving the earth, and planting afterward.

  • Using both ancient and modern technologies for surveying, design and implementation.

The Humid Tropics – To be a permaculturist is to be part of a global movement, so we’ll look at climatic conditions and best practices for regions worldwide.

We’ll talk about…
  • Reading weather patterns, creating and enhancing micro-climate, and using design strategies for all major global climatic zones.

  • Adapting permaculture practices such as earth shaping and integrated land management to tropical settings.

  • Creating a home and garden for tropical conditions.

  • Evolving a tropical polyculture.

  • Working with the special needs of grasslands, tropical coasts, and low islands and cays.

Dryland Strategies – As erosion steadily sweeps topsoil into the sea and desertification advances across steadily broader regions, dryland tactics will become increasingly necessary!

We’ll talk about…
  • The interactions of precipitation and temperature.

  • Types of deserts.

  • Plants that can succeed under varying desert conditions.

  • The desertification process.

  • How to harvest water in arid lands.

  • How various people are reversing desertification.

Humid Cool to Cold Climates – If you’re planning to practice in the Alberta area, this will be the regional segment for you.

We’ll talk about…
  • Characteristics and soils of cool to cold climates.

  • Special needs of cold-weather homes and home gardens.

  • Construction and uses of greenhouses (“glasshouses”).

  • Characteristics of grasslands and rangelands.

  • The role of wildfire

  • Ways of cycling nutrients and incorporating animals into your system using cool ideas like chicken tractors, pannage systems, pigeon lofts, dairy systems and bees!

Bonus! – This section is our particular area of expertise, as we’ve honed our craft as permaculturists in this ecosystem! And you’ll reap the benefit, with extensive added information from our tried-and-true toolbox.

We’ve added in-depth sections on…
  • Using simple tools to do a solar analysis for placement of gardens, greenhouse and buildings.

  • Designing passive solar greenhouses (Rob’s specialty) and houses.

  • Using appropriate building techniques for our climate.

  • Using low-tech renewable heating solutions, such as Rocket Mass Heaters and others.

  • Building your own solar infrastructure, from solar dehydrators to solar air heaters and water heaters.

  • Using the earth as a storage of cold and heat to minimize your heating and eliminate your cooling needs.

  • Saving thousands of dollars on energy bills with efficient home design, retrofit and renewable energy systems, and other innovative building tricks and tips.

  • Incorporating water-saving methods like passive water hydration and infiltration, rainwater collection, storage and composting toilets.

Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation – Long before we reach the end of the course, you’ll realize that permaculture offers a whole new guiding vision for human society…and agriculture is just one tiny facet of this vision.

We’ve added in-depth sections on…
  • Extended families, village development, and new approaches to political systems on the local, national and international levels.

  • Land trusts and ethical investments.

  • Right livelihood and working groups.

  • Effective aid, and the possibilities of the long-range future.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed?

We’re not surprised; this is a high-intensity course, designed to help you hit the ground running as a permaculture designer! But don’t worry – we’ve taken pioneering steps and added learning tools to help you put all the pieces into perspective and anchor in the information, as well as building in extra practice time for you to work on the concepts and processes.

Yes, just as in every PDC program, you’ll have the opportunity to get out in to the field – students get a tour of several thriving permaculture sites in the area, as well as the opportunity to implement a new site design. But while digging swales, harvesting rainwater, and building cob ovens and spiral herb gardens are all important permaculture practices, we think it’s a pretty safe bet that you can download our recommended videos and try these practices in your backyard, participate in a work day at your local community garden, or join us on any of our permablitz weekends to learn technique. We focus on the complex systems and concepts you can’t learn as easily on your own.

We want to ensure that you get the greatest possible value from your time with us by giving you the high-end design and consulting knowledge we’ve gleaned through our years of practice!

PACKAGES

Three Packages to Fit Your Needs, Goals, and Budget

Since we began teaching the PDC, our students have ranged from home gardeners to community organizers; from municipal planners to cattle rangers; from artisans to career-changing executives. And as we’ve worked on enhancing the program, we’ve realized – there is no one size fits all!

So we’ve tailored the benefits you receive with our PDC to fit your budget, your schedule, and your dreams:

What’s Included?

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 $2,063) 

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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. 

Note Package

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 $774)

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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 $1,477)

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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

WHY VERGE?

What Makes Us Unique?

As engineers and business owners, we combine the visionary principles of permaculture with a professional, scientifically-proven approach…and loads of hands-on experience! We’ve lived many of the practices and techniques that we teach, from rehydrating an eroded field and stream bed, to planting a food forest, to building a passive solar greenhouse, even to creating a greywater system in our home (and getting busted for it!).

You see, we have an absolute passion for living and sharing this world-healing, world-changing information. Our vision here at Verge is to spread the teaching and practice of permaculture throughout Alberta, to Canada, the U.S… and beyond.

And our #1 goal in offering this course is to teach you to become a successful permaculture designer, entrepreneur, and/or teacher! So we’ve tailored the course for entrepreneurs-in-the-making, who seek to go beyond sustainability into a regenerative, earth-healing business.

And Bill Mollison’s encyclopedic Designers’ Manual is just the beginning of the value we offer in our enhanced PDC:

  • We add relevant material from around the world...perspectives we’ve gained from visiting permaculture sites Down Under and doing volunteer work at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia; spending a six-month sabbatical integrating renewable technologies at a pioneering energy institution in Denmark; and traveling off the beaten track throughout Mexico to explore emerging sustainable agriculture practices.

  • We share our hands-on, DIY engineering experience with numerous eco-technologies…from primal to leading-edge…and show you how to learn from our mistakes and triumphs.

  • We offer the lessons learned from our personal experiments with living systems…remediating soil, water-harvesting, composting, growing food, and collecting and biologically treating wastewater.

  • We include our real-world business experience as practicing permaculture consultants…from the first steps of creating a regenerative startup, to networking and attracting clients, to weathering business mistakes and triumphs, even to turning local eco-disasters into teachable moments with permaculture solutions.

  • We offer advanced resources and training to help fast-track your permaculture career… Designed to give you the continuing education you need to incorporate design and business principles in a successful project or start-up, our Premium and Professional Development packages provide you with all of the standard PDC features (found in the Foundational package), plus additional courses and one-on-one training specifically focused on building your career and keeping your knowledge fresh and up-to-date.

When you add all of that to the standard PDC content, you have an extraordinary and unparalleled course! But we didn’t stop there. We’ve stepped ahead of the pack and developed key features, some of which are not offered by any other PDC, anywhere.

Six key features to a Verge PDC

  • Get started early and learn at your leisure.

    With class after class of students clamouring for more hands-on time to practice the advanced concepts and tools we offer, we were left with the question – how do we squeeze all this content into 2 weeks, and still have time to practice it? And after two wildly successful experiments in live-streaming content and recording webinars, we had the answer.

    So now, the Verge PDC course begins with six online video sessions that you can view and review at your leisure, from the moment you register!

    Imagine, walking into a classroom primed with the program’s first two units, Introduction to Permaculture and Concepts and Themes in Design. Imagine arriving with an understanding of the theoretical concepts, ready to apply them with the help of in-person coaching and hands-on practice. And that’s not all…

  • Place each piece of the PDC’s massive content in context with a clear roadmap.

    When you look at all of the topics covered by the PDC, the sheer breadth of information can be overwhelming! We remember the feeling during our own PDC training – “Egads, how are we ever going to put all of this to use in a meaningful fashion?” – and we’ve seen it in the dazed eyes of our students.

    Fact is, it’s hard to find a PDC graduate who hasn’t finished with a certificate in one hand, a lengthy reading list in the other, and absolutely no realistic idea of how to apply the information he or she has just gained. And that doesn’t work.

    So we have taken a pioneering step in our PDC program and created an organizing matrix that puts this dizzying breadth of content into a practical, immediately-usable perspective. Each unit of information is placed within this matrix…and once you have grasped the larger context, you will be able to fit later learning within it.

    This is the only PDC program to offer such a context, giving you the head start that every new PDC graduate needs!

  • Have more time to build and practice your permaculture design skills.

    So what are we going to do with the extra time you gain from this pioneering PDC setup? We’re investing it where it matters: adding time for hands-on practice in applying the core design concepts and processes. We’re setting up larger and richer design projects for you to hone your new skills, and offering interactive learning activities designed to get you started thinking like a permaculture practitioner.

  •  Ask questions, share resources, and network with classmates in a private online forum.

    Nearly every PDC graduate knows the bond that springs up among classmates. We’ve experienced it, witnessed it...and now we’re leveraging it before, during and after the on-site classes. From the day you receive your access to the pre-course material, you’ll also have access to an exclusive online forum, where you can chat about the course content, kibitz, share dreams, perspectives, and plans, network, ask questions and, collaborate. It’s the first step toward the lifelong connections you will form among the worldwide network of permaculturists!

  • Learn from recognized experts in the field.

    Naturally, Verge’s own home-grown crop of permaculture experts forms the nucleus of our faculty, with Rob Avis taking the lead instructor’s role and Michelle Avis as program coordinator. To support them in teaching the standardized PDC units, you’ll meet a series of practising permaculturists. Check out our Faculty tab for updated bios of additional instructors.

  • Select your level of engagement based on your budget, schedule, and business vision.

    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.

IS IT FOR YOU?

So you may be wondering – I’m not a farmer, I’m a (fill in the blank) with no experience in making a living by healing the earth.

 Lots of dreams, sure, but…. will this course really help me to put a foundation under them?

We think that PDC grad Julia Mitchell, from Toronto, gave the best response to your question when she wrote:

“Once you complete this course, you’ll realize how impactful permaculture is to the way you perceive your world. I was truly inspired by Rob and Michelle and am certain that permaculture will become a large part of my life. I would recommend this course to anyone willing to learn about how to take responsibility for their impact on this planet. The community we’ve built, skills we’ve learned and knowledge we’ve gained are invaluable – this course is an excellent investment.”

That’s the thing that takes all of our students by surprise – that shift from the mainstream perspective of a consumer – helpless and dependent on “the system” – to that of a permaculture producer, based in natural processes and community resilience. It’s a stunning, life-transforming shift!

And that’s what makes this course accessible to so many…especially if you’re looking to become a change-maker through public policy or private entrepreneurism. No experience with gardening, building, etc. is necessary – only an honest desire to learn! This course is for the generalist; we’ll teach you about the principles and how to apply them. And you’ll walk away with the inspiration and motivation for getting further training in the areas that interest you…and the essential tools for building a sustainable, right livelihood in those areas.

Truth is, the standard PDC course is designed to be a starting point! Because the desire to heal and protect the Earth is common to such a wide range of people, cherishing such a wide variety of viewpoints, you can give the course many different slants…all the way from Earth-based spirituality and direct action protest to corporate consulting.

So we’ll be honest – as mechanical engineers with corporate experience, we definitely fit on the business side of that spectrum. We’re looking to create a groundswell of permaculture designers, consultants, and teachers…not to mention people incorporating permaculture principles into their businesses at all levels and in all fields, from artists and architects to zookeepers!

So we think you’ll feel completely at home in this course if you’re…

  • an environmental advocate working in conservation, restoration, or activism…
  • …an attorney, judge or lawmaker interested in legislation for sustainability…
  • …a local organizer involved in community-building…
  • …a policy-maker at the municipal, provincial or federal level…
  • …an educator or academic administrator looking for ways to “green” your curriculum…
  • …a landscape designer planning to build your services and value to your clients…
  • …a midlife career-changer aiming to become a permaculture designer, consultant, or teacher…
  • …an eco-savvy entrepreneur looking to start or expand upon your own earth repair business…
  • …an architect, engineer or all-around techie looking for a regenerative way to apply your professional knowledge, skills and experience…
  • …a disillusioned desk jockey looking to save money, grow your own food, reduce your environmental impact, and build community…

Of course, it’s not just about what you do for a living! While our students come from a wide range of backgrounds, they share all sorts of common struggles and goals.

 You’ll Fit Right in if you’re…

  • …trying to co-create a living, green urban community where you live…
  • …looking for ways to turn compromised rangeland or hardscrabble pastures into lush, productive farmland…
  • …agitating for a recycling program in your community…
  • …shopping at farmers’ markets and independent local businesses instead of big-box franchises…
  • …chafing at every bill you pay to the electric or heating oil company while you visualize solar panels on your roof or a water-wheel in your backyard…
  • …thinking it’s crazy to irrigate your garden with processed municipal water…
  • …thinking “what a waste of land” while you mow your lawn for the umpteenth time…

Sharing our struggles and goals becomes the first step as our students build a cohesive community of classmates. You’ll find yourself digging deeper and discovering that you’re not alone as you share fears, questions, hopes, and even wild and crazy dreams…

  • …worrying about the tar sands, fracking, and dwindling water supplies, and wondering whether there’s any reason for hope…
  • …feeling like a misfit in this disposable, planned-obsolescence, consumer culture, and wondering what the alternative could be…
  • …wondering where the bees, butterflies and lightning bugs have gone, and if they’ll ever return…
  • ….planning to create a lush, abundant, sustainable family haven and wondering where to begin…
  • ….or dreaming of living in an off-grid strawbale house with a flock of chickens and a goat or two in the backyard!

In a throwaway culture filled with isolation and competition, permaculture represents a path to connection, communication, respect, and cooperation – with our families, our neighbours, our communities, plants and animals, and the planet.

We may not be hippies, but we think that’s downright subversive… and it’s a shift in perspective that empowers our students with hope for the future!

VALUE

EIGHT REASONS WHY THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST EDUCATIONAL VALUES YOU’LL FIND ANYWHERE…

Believe us, we understand – 2 weeks and $1899 is a hefty investment, especially in tough economic times! It’s easy to say, “This course will change your life” – but what does that mean, exactly?

So before we can ask you to commit your time and hard-earned dollars, naturally you need to know how you’ll benefit.

Just for starters:

1. This Certificate Opens Doors…

Our enhanced PDC program includes all the topics, theory, and practice you’ll need to launch a new career as a permaculture designer, teacher and/or entrepreneur. Not only that – it provides the foundation you’ll need to pursue full teacher registration and a Diploma of Permaculture Design with the Permaculture Institute.

2 .You Get A Dozen Courses for the Price of One (and another dozen if you sign up for the Premium or Professional Development packages!):

Our enhanced PDC program includes all the topics, theory, and practice you’ll need to launch a new career as a permaculture designer, teacher and/or entrepreneur. Not only that – it provides the foundation you’ll need to pursue full teacher registration and a Diploma of Permaculture Design with the Permaculture Institute.

If you were to seek out a degree program covering the information we include in these weekends, you’d need to take between 10-15 individual courses, and pay roughly 10 times as much. This program includes (just for starters):

Permaculture design, technique and practice taught by recognized experts in the field

Water conservation and harvesting

Organic gardening

Renewable energy

Integrative pest control

Project management

Soil restoration

Community-building

Food Forest design and maintenance

Alternative economic systems

And that’s barely scratching the surface! Some of the most important topics, such as Pattern Observation, simply aren’t taught outside of a PDC program. We assure you, you do get your money’s worth!

3. You’ll Practice What We Teach…

We’ve built in extra time for you to practice the tested and proven techniques and procedures that we use every day as permaculture designers and practitioners. Oh – and yes, you’ll have some high-energy, outdoor time learning with real permaculture sites. Hands-on components in the past have included design implementation, compost-making, and permaculture site tours, but vary from course to course.

Pssst… want even more personalized design training? Check out our Professional Development package, which includes additional one-on-once coaching / consulting.

4. If Our Teachers Charged by the Hour…

Let’s see….this course is over 72 hours of class time between lectures and practice. That works out to roughly $25/hour… about half the average college professor’s paycheck for teaching just one course! Truth be told, most of our students tell us we’re undercharging: they usually realize the full value of the program by the fourth day, if not earlier.

5. One Program, Many Ways to Save…

Students who take this program find themselves transforming from ordinary folks to committed and capable change agents. You’ll learn to identify the problems on a site and design effective, efficient and sustainable solutions to provide food, water, shelter, and energy…all at measurable, long-term cost savings. And you’ll find those savings far exceed your one-time course fee.

What do we mean? Well, Rob’s recent blogs outlining The Top 8 Basic Home Design Flaws and The Top 10 Bad Home Design Decisions are just two examples of how a trained permaculture eye can spot and avoid serious problems when purchasing property or building a house!

6. One Program, Many Ways to Earn…

Most importantly we have designed our course to produce new Designers and new Teachers…and that’s only the beginning of the career paths that open up! Just check out what these grads have done (and see our Meet Our Grads page for in-depth video & interview profiles of our change agents in the world!)

Verge grad Juli Gillies and her husband Jeff (also a PDC student) are demonstrating a wide array of permaculture homesteading techniques on their 5 acre parcel – an old junkyard near Rocky Mountain House, AB – which they have transformed in just a couple of years into a beautiful and productive garden, complete with food forest and up-cycled raised beds.

Shauna Teare left a commercial career and now blends her skills in business, marketing, and graphic arts with innovative upcycling, organic gardening and community networking to create a thriving permaculture homestead with her family.

Luke Kimmel started his career by founding a clothing company / artist collective / events company, also undertaking ventures in product distribution, business development, and music management… and is now cultivating sustainable human habitats and creating opportunities for meaningful work and community development with his company the Leaf Ninjas, and now with Regenerate Design.

Evonne Smulders is a proud grandmother, gardener, ceramic artist, small business owner and community leader, sitting on the sustainability committee in Black Diamond and working with the municipality to change legislation regarding grey water, rainwater harvesting, and more. Evonne and her husband Rob have founded the sustainability/re-skilling center, Sage Folk School, and organized the 2012 Western Canadian Permaculture Convergence.

 7. $140 + in Savings Up Front…

Fair warning – pack light for this course if you’re flying, and leave room in your luggage! A copy of the very hefty and very comprehensive course textbook, Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (a $140+ value) is included in your tuition, plus our very own 100+ page Verge PDC Notepack, and an extensive electronic resource list for future use. We know of very few PDC programs that offer this!

Not to mention, students who register for the Premium and Professional Development packages also take home their very own copies’ of Bill Mollison’s Introduction to Permaculture.

8. A Resource Library You Can Use Forever…

As a Verge PDC graduate, you’ll have permanent access to the digital copy of all our lecture slides and course material. We spent five years creating these materials, and are always working to improve them – and they’ve been tested and proven with audiences around the nation and around the world. They’re all free for you to use when you begin to create — and charge for– your own presentations and workshops. Talk about getting a running start on building your business!

And the best part? All of these benefits are available for everybody, at the most affordable of our PDC packages…

Except for a few tidbits here and there, we’ve barely even mentioned the benefits we’ve designed for consultants-in-the-making with our Premium and Professional Development packages…

 

So what are you waiting for? Join us, and join the fastest growing movement for positive change on the planet!

FACULTY

Naturally, Verge’s own home-grown crop of permaculture experts forms the nucleus of our faculty, with Rob Avis taking the lead instructor’s role and Michelle Avis as program coordinator. To support them in teaching the standardized PDC units, you’ll meet a series of practising permaculturists. Check out guest instructor bios below.

LEAD INSTRUCTORS

  • Michelle Avis
    Michelle Avis Owner / Co-Instructor / Engineer
  • Rob Avis Owner / Lead Instructor / Engineer

Learn more about Rob & Michelle.

GUEST INSTRUCTORS & FACILITATORS

  • Carmen Lamoureux
    Carmen Lamoureux

    Most recently Carmen ran the URBANFARM Permaculture Project, which provided beginner gardeners and emerging permaculturists with the knowledge, skills, resources and confidence to move toward a more sustainable, enriched and healthy lifestyle. The URBANFARM Permaculture Project’s goal is to promote the practice of permaculture in Calgary and beyond to help create vibrant, resilient and regenerative communities, with the motto of  “Empowerment Through Positive Action.”

  • Takota Coen

    Takota is the founder of Deep Roots Design and co-manger of Grass Roots Family Farm where, through his experience and love for the land, he works to empower others with the tools and resources to design and implement resilient living systems that are earth restorative.

FAQ

Most Commonly Asked Questions

When is your next PDC offered?

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.

What payment methods do you accept?

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.

Is this course eligible for tax credit? Do you issue tax receipts?

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.

Does the PDC course qualify for Educational Assistance Payments (i.e RESP withdrawl)?

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.

Do You Offer Scholarships?

Yes.

For more information about the Verge Permaculture Scholarship Fund, and how to apply, click here.

What is the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)?

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.

Is there a pre-requisite for the PDC?

No. All you need is the ability and desire to learn in a fast-paced classroom environment.

What are the price options or packages for your 2018 PDC courses? What’s included in each?

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.

What’s Included?

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) 

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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. 

Note Package

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)

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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)

FOUNDATIONAL
PREMIUM
PROFESSIONAL

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

Will I still receive my PDC certificate if I have to miss a class?

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.

Is there homework in your PDC? What is the time commitment outside of class?

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.

How Do I Send An Email Money Transfer?

*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:

          1. Recipients email address: michelle@vergepermaculture.ca .
          2. Payment Amount: the total amount of your invoice.
          3. Security Question: Please make the security question “Reg ID”
          4. 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)
          5. 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.

How Do I Get My Register With A Friend Discount?

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!

Can I upgrade at a later time? When is the last date I can upgrade my package?

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.

How long will I keep access to online materials included with the PDC packages?

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.

After I complete my upgrade, how long will it take to get / view the features and tangible products?

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.

If your upgrade includes a physical copy of The Salatin Semester, or the book, Introduction to Permaculture, we will do one of two things:

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).

Can You Accept Payment Plans for Your Permaculture Design Courses?

Yes. We can help you to set up a payment plan for the course of your choice.

Please note:

  • 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.

 

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Check out our comprehensive FAQ or get in touch.

LOCATIONS, DATES & REGISTRATION

$1,699.00 (CAD)
CALGARY, ALBERTA
September 20, 2018 08:00 am -
May 12, 2019 05:00 pm
$1,599.00 (CAD)
INVERMERE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
April 20, 2019 09:00 am -
May 4, 2019 12:00 pm

To register in our program, select the dates and location of your choice (in the carousel above) and follow the registration buttons there.

CAN’T MAKE THESE DATES OR LOCATIONS?

If you’d like to be notified of future Permaculture Design Course dates and locations, click here.

Our Students Say…

  • Rob and Michelle Avis lead an inspired, organized and informed two week adventure into a refreshingly positive view of sustainability. Rob shines as an instructor, delivering easily understood and detailed explanations of permaculture design principles and it’s practical tools. We left with an excellent understanding of subjects and ideas that were new to us.

    Valerie Andrews & Peter Piasecki, Ontario
    Valerie Andrews & Peter Piasecki, Ontario The Harvest Pantry
  • These two weeks of permaculture have been the most useful and constructive education I have experienced. The practical skills, hopeful perspective and focus on solutions feel empowering.  

    Sara Renner, Canmore, AB
    Sara Renner, Canmore, AB Owner of Paintbox Lodge and Olympic Medalist
  • This course is an invaluable for the amount of practical life-supporting skills, entrepreneur ideas and social empowerment shared. Permaculture is the logical way to restoring and regenerating our planet’s ecology. I hope to take some of these new skills, develop them through local practice and global study and eventually do aide work in a suffering country.  

    Brianna Lyon, Walnut California 
    Brianna Lyon, Walnut California  Califia Eco Design

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

VERGE ALUMNI ARE PUTTING THEIR PDC'S TO WORK ALL OVER THE WORLD!

 Explore our alumni profiles, videos, & interviews

0

Start typing and press Enter to search

Hope, Knowledge & A Plan...
Our next Permaculutre Design Course starts on Sept 20! 
Learn More! 
Close

Any Questions?
Free lectures, courses and interactive Q&A, every week. 

See Upcoming Schedule...
close-link
Click Me