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Diving Into Permaculture Design.



2023 Course Schedule

The PDC starting in November 2023 is hosted over the course of 4 months.

Course Weekly Hours:

  • Sundays: 2pm – 5pm (PT) | 3pm – 6pm (MT) | 5pm – 8pm (ET)
  • Tuesdays: 2pm – 5pm (PT) | 3pm – 6pm (MT) | 5pm – 8pm (ET)
  • Thursdays: 2pm – 5pm (PT) | 3pm – 6pm (MT) | 5pm – 8pm (ET)
Module High-Level Topics Covered
Module 1:

Tuesday, November 14

Thursday, November 16

Sunday, November 19

Tuesday, November 21


Welcome, Myth, Permaculture Principles
Module 2:

Sunday, November 26

Tuesday, November 28

Thursday, November 30


Mapping, Methods of Design, Pattern
Module 3:

Sunday, December 3

Tuesday, December 5

Thursday, December 7


Climate, Microclimate, Rainwater
Module 4:

Sunday, December 10

Tuesday, December 12

Thursday, December 14


Water, Composting Toilets, Wastewater
Module 5:

Sunday, December 17

Tuesday, December 19

Thursday, December 21


Soil, Compost
Module 6:

Sunday, January 7

Tuesday, January 9

Thursday, January 11


Trees and Their Energy Transactions, Forest Gardening
Module 7:

Sunday, January 14

Tuesday, January 16

Thursday, January 18


Group project, Agroforestry, Keyline, Permaculture Gardening
Module 8:

Sunday, January 21

Tuesday, January 23

Thursday, January 25


Design Case Studies, Aquaculture, Livestock
Module 9:

Sunday, January 28

Tuesday, January 30

Thursday, February 1


Structures and Energy, Values and Vision, Community Design and Planning
Module 10:

Sunday, February 4

Tuesday, February 6

Thursday, February 8


Alternative Strategies, Design Project Overview, Permie Party
Office Hours:

Saturday, December 16

Saturday, January 27

Various times throughout February & March of 2024


Drop in office hours and additional group time with your design mentor for Q&A and direct feedback / support with your final project (Pro Package students only)
March 11, 2024 at 11:59 pm MT  

Final Projects Due

Have Questions?

Please feel free to book a “Ask Me Anything” conversation with Jen, our Permaculture Design Course Coordinator using the booking link here.

Take your first, foundational step into life as a permaculturist.

The path to becoming a permaculturist is anything but clear. Our live, online design course gives you the structure and support you need to make sense of it all and partner with nature to build a more hopeful tomorrow.

Verge’s Permaculture Design Course Teaching Team 

  • Carmen Lamoureux
    Carmen Lamoureux Lead Instructor

    The lead instructor for the Verge PDC, Carmen has had a varied career, working for the Alberta government in the fields of sustainable resource management, forestry and privately in silviculture, soils and horticulture. As founder and owner of Calgary’s URBAN FARM SCHOOL, as well as the Urban Farm Permaculture Project, she is dedicated to helping emerging gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts gain the freedom, confidence and skills they need to live more abundant, sustainable and resilient lives. Having grown food organically for over 4 decades, Carmen gets excited about helping others cultivate great food, and in turn, great selves.  (Verge PDC Grad 2013)

  • Rob Avis
    Rob Avis Lead Instructor / Engineer

    After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design Rob, along with his wife and business partner Michelle, began Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. In the last decade, he has helped more than 3000 students and hundreds of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.

  • Jen Nobel
    Jen Nobel PDC Coordinator / Design Mentor

    Initially an architectural graduate, Jen first heard of permaculture on a trip to Sierra Leone with Earthship Biotecture in 2011, but wasn’t formally introduced to it until she took a few introductory workshops with Jardins sans Frontières in Montreal. Everything seemed new yet was so basic; permaculture struck such a chord with Jen that she felt like her brain was being rewired. After taking Verge’s Professional Development PDC with 1-on-1 mentoring, Jen moved away from architecture and interior design to launch Northbound Bloom where she designs edible and naturalized landscapes and acreages (Verge PDC Grad 2017).

With Special Guests

  • Mitch Rawlyk
    Mitch Rawlyk R&D Lead / Design Mentor

    Mitch comes to us with a BSc. in physical geography with a concentration in Earth Systems from the University of Victoria (BC, Canada), and an MSc. in physical geography (applied meteorology) from the University of Otago in New Zealand where he researched the utilization of machine learning for frost prediction in complex terrain, and the controlling meteorological variables of frost events.

    Mitch helps out with the Essential Rainwater Harvesting Course, Passive Solar Greenhouse Course, is the product manager of Contour Map Generator, teaches the climate & mapping section of our Online Permaculture Design Course, and leading the event planning for our summits & conferences.

    In his spare time you can catch him working on the endless amounts projects at Moose’s Groovy Grove, reading, developing frost forecasting models (amongst other data science projects), running around or cycling, dipping in some cold water, going for walks with his and Madi’s growing family of animals, or working on his latest funky sauerkraut recipe (Verge PDC Grad 2021)

  • Michelle Avis
    Michelle Avis

    Rob and Michelle left the oil and gas industry in 2008 to launch Verge Permaculture and Adaptive Habitat. Leveraging 20 years of combined experience in engineering, project management, ecological design, and sustainable technologies, Rob and Michelle recently left their urban home in Calgary and are currently developing their dream homestead in Central Alberta.

  • Mark Krawczyk
    Mark Krawczyk Guest Instructor / Design Mentor

    Mark Krawczyk is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower with a background in permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry. He co-owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC, teaching, designing, and consulting for farmers, homeowners, and homesteaders.  Since 2008, Mark has taught over 30 Permaculture Design Courses and been a specialist guest instructor in dozens more.  He holds Diplomas in Permaculture Design and Education from the Permaculture Institute of North America.  He and his wife also co-manage Valley Clayplain Forest Farm – 52 acres of field and forest in New Haven, Vermont, USA.

  • Dan Chiras
    Dan Chiras Guest Instructor

    Dan Chiras is a long-time practitioner of self-sufficiency and sustainability. He lives on a 60-acre, solar- and wind-powered farm where he and his wife have dedicated their lives to living by the principles and practices of Permaculture. Dan has published 40 books and hundreds of articles that cover a wide range of topics focused largely on self-sufficiency and sustainability. Dan’s most popular books are The Solar House, The Natural House, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, Power from the Sun, and Solar Electricity Basics. His most recent titles are The Chinese Greenhouse and Grow Beets in Your Bedroom, a guide on indoor LED gardening.

  • Alain D’Aoust
    Alain D’Aoust Verge Academy Director

    Alain has spent the last decade working on local food projects, delivering school garden programs and developing community-based permaculture in the Seaway Valley of Eastern Ontario.

    He and his family have since settled on a new rural homestead where they have designed and built a simple home and are developing their 10-acre parcel using the Building Your Permaculture Property process.

    When he isn’t farming or collaborating on projects, he can usually be found in the kitchen preparing nutrient dense meals or paddling down a river somewhere. 

  • Becky Doherty
    Becky Doherty Guest Instructor / Design Mentor

    Becky is the co-owner of Stone Post Farms in Wildwood, Alberta where they farm ethically, to produce nutrient dense food using ethical and regenerative farming practices that are both economically viable and sustainable for future generations.

    Becky comes from southeastern B.C., where she was raised in a small rural community and was heavily involved in the family trail riding business. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in geography and GIS. She has a diverse work portfolio including experience in precision agriculture, soil surveying, sampling and reclamation, rural municipal, wellsite and pipeline survey and drafting, and pipeline risk assessment. She currently works full time as a resource analyst doing modeling and analytics in the natural resource analyst, primarily in the forestry industry.

  • Paul Izak
    Paul Izak Paul Izak Music

    Paul Izak was born and raised on the Hawaiian Islands and currently lives it up on the Island of Oahu.  Paul has been discovering his own voice and unique sound as a singer/songwriter since 2004.  During 2005-2013, Paul was the lead singer/harmonica/percussion player for local Hawaiian reggae band Pressure Drop, winners of the Mai Tai Rumble in 2010. Paul’s full length albums include, Peaceful Words (2010), Seeds of Love (2011), Everlasting Light (2013), Campfire Anthems (2013), Back to the Roots (2017).

    His love for music continues to grow, just like his garden. Representing a healthy and simplistic life, Paul is a believer in honoring yourself as an individual so that you may better contribute to your community through healthy sustainable practices. This is the message you get through Paul’s music, as he practices what he preaches.

PLUS, Design Mentors and Support team that help us pull this off!

  • Lindsay Brandon
    Lindsay Brandon Design Mentor

    Lindsay Brandon is a permaculture designer and farmer located in southern Alberta.  She is co-founder of Conjunction Gardens and owner of Food Forest Canada.  At Conjunction her and her partner farm 2 acres vegetable garden and are currently doing research and development with hemp fibre and grain.

    After her studies with Verge Permaculture, he career in food forest design was instantly catapulted working with Food Forest Abundance out of the USA where she currently manages a team of designers and designs food forests all over the US and Canada. She is currently studying soil microbiology to have a greater understanding of the foundation of where life begins and how we can amend and harmonize our relationship to the earth and ultimately ourselves.

  • Jessica Robertson Design Mentor

    Jessica Robertson is Owner, Designer, and Head Grunt at Wild Craft Permaculture and a Lead Designer at United Designers International. 

    Jessica has designed holistic permaculture systems for spaces from 200 sq. ft. to 200-acres and works on residential, commercial and public projects. She is often involved in the implementation of these designs and enjoys sharing her knowledge with clients as they work alongside each other. She brings a background in biology, education, silviculture and urban planning to her work. She enjoys playing outside bare foot with her three children in whatever wild spaces they can find around London, Ontario. (Verge PDC Grad 2010)

Find full bios of our core teaching team on our About Page.


What payment methods do you accept?

You can pay online with your credit card.

If you’d prefer to pay using another method select that option during checkout and you’ll receive instructions on how to do so. Note that we can accept cash, bank-certified cheques, email money transfer (Canadians only) or credit card over the phone.

Your spot is not saved in the course until payment is received.

We can also accept payment plans for some of our courses. The payment plan option will be displayed at checkout if that is the case.

*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 is approved. If you are registering with short notice before an event, we recommend that you pay online using a credit card so that your registration is processed and approved automatically by our system.

Is the PDC 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 have also been some students told by their promoter that we do not qualify.

Do you offer Scholarships for your PDCs?


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

Would you like to make a donation to our scholarship fund? 100% of donated amounts are directly handed out in the form of tuition reduction to deserving students. Learn more at the link above.

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 have temporary online access to during class as a part of your course package.

Offered in a 12 week online 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.

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 time committment should a PDC student be ready to commit?

Our Permaculture Design Certificate includes a 5-hour Introduction to Permaculture video course (The Permaculture Primer) that all students are expected to watch prior to the first class. It is accessible to students the moment they register.

Time commitments vary depending on which PDC format you’re registering for. Our Spring PDC is stretched over 7 months where online classes happen only 1 long weekend per month. During that long weekend, class time commitment is around 15 hours (5 classes of 3 hours each). During the rest of the month you are able to complete optional assignments and review any content at your leisure – 4 hours throughout the rest of the month should be more than enough to complete assignments.

During our Fall PDC format there are 3, three-hour online class sessions per week. Including optional weekly assignments, dedicating 10 hours a week to the PDC in this format will ensure success, but even dedicating 6 hours a week will keep you up to speed throughout the 11-12 weeks of the course.

In each one of our PDC classes in both Spring and Fall formats, 2 hours are dedicated to lectures from the instructors and 1 hour is dedicated to Q&A from students. We recommend that you attend live (see the course schedule for dates and times), but you can also watch the recordings if you happen to miss a session (see the FAQ about catching up on missed sessions here). The Q&A portion of each session is optional.

Both the spring and fall courses finish with 1 month of Office Hours and final project work. During this time, there are no lectures but students have access to their Design Mentor for support with their final design project. Students must complete and submit a Final Design Project before the final due date in order to be awarded a certificate in Permaculture Design. For more questions about the Final Design Project go here.

How Do I Send An Email Money Transfer?

We can accept Email Money Transfers from Canadian Bank accounts.

*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 is 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: .
          2. Payment Amount: the total amount of your invoice.
          3. Message: Include your name, the course name and if different, the name of the course registrant.

No password is required for your EMT.

If you need more detailed instructions for completing an email money transfer, go to

Can You Accept Payment Plans for Your Permaculture Design Courses?

Yes, we have payments plans for our Permaculture Design Courses.

The payment plans are set up as an automatic charge against your credit card (usually 3 – 6 equal payments) spread out over one month intervals. There is a non-refundable administrative surcharge of $100 for all payment plans.

During checkout, look for the following in order to enable a payment plan option:

What can I do with a PDC? How will this training help me?

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.

I would like to take your Permaculture Design Course, but plan on working in the Tropics. Is your course climate-specific to Canada?

Our Permaculture Design Course follows Bill Mollison’s textbook, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. A physical copy of this textbook is not included in the OPDC but is highly recommended, though you will have temporary online access to a digital copy.

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 focus on temperate and cold 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.

What is your refund policy for the Online PDC?

For courses paid up-front in full:

If you need to cancel your PDC, Masterclass, or other Live course registration for any reason:

  1. Up to 10 days following the 1st class: we will refund your course fee but will deduct an administrative fee of $150 (plus applicable taxes), however, you will lose access to all course materials and recordings. Tuition for the PDC On-demand course is not refundable.
  2. More than 10 days following the 1st class: We cannot provide a refund.

For payment plans:

You can cancel your payment plan anytime (but you will lose access to all course materials and recordings). Payments made towards plans are not refundable.

How important is it to attend the live webinars? What if I miss a session (or multiple sessions)?

The live webinars are definitely going to be a way for students to interact in real-time with the teaching team, and with each other. We highly recommend that you attend if you can.

However, we understand that it may not be possible for you to attend all webinars. And you may have conflicts (or time zone considerations) that prevent you from attending any of them.

As such, we will be recording and uploading all webinars to the student dashboard (please give us ~24 hours). We will timestamp the webinars so that they are easy to navigate and you’ll have access to these recordings indefinitely. We will also provide audio-only files for all webinars.

Our teaching assistants will be monitoring all questions submitted through the student dashboard. They will record your questions and summarize them for our instructors to cover in the live sessions. Getting your questions answered is a huge priority for us. You can help us stay organized by keeping your questions relevant to the topic and posting them under the correct lesson / webinar.

We are confident that even if you can’t catch the live sessions you will still get significant value from our program and you will still feel a part of the live aspect of the course. There is a caveat though – we ask that you keep up with the content and get your questions to us in a timely fashion at we are only monitoring comments until the course ends.

How long will I have access to the content from the Online PDC?

In our Foundational PDC level, you will receive 1 year access to class recordings. Whereas in our Pro PDC level you will have lifetime access to course recordings.

What if I can’t complete the design project before the end of the course? Can I submit at a later date?

Completion of the design project is a requirement to receive your Permaculture Designer’s Certificate. Our Teaching Team has set aside several months at the end of the course to review and provide feedback on student projects as part of your course tuition.

If you do not submit your project before the submission deadline we will not be reviewing your final project. Unfortunately, with so many students taking our live courses it becomes too difficult to keep track of everyone’s projects and to coordinate with those individuals who submitted late all those weeks or months after the project was due.

Can I share the online content / course with a family member?

We’ve had lots of folks ask us: “Can I share this course with my partner / spouse?”… (or with someone else in your household).

When you register in our online PDC (or other online programs), we create one user account linked to your name and email address. This user account gives you access to our student dashboard and the ability to interact with the course content. We track your progress through the lessons. You can post comments and interact with our teachers and other students both in the lessons pages and in any live webinars.

And although we ask that you do not share your password and username with anyone (that’s just smart, and good practice in general), the reality is that we have no control over who is sitting beside you while you are participating behind your computer screen. And really, we actually really do want you to share this information with your spouse / partner, your children and the other stakeholders involved in making your project happen! How else are you going to get everyone onboard?

Having said that – we think that there are a few very good reasons that each person might want to have their own unique registration in the course:

  • We will issue only one Permaculture Design Certificate, in the name of the user who enrolled in the course. Same goes with any other online programs that come with certificates of completion.
  • Your unique user account is your own personality and way to engage in the course material, and with the instructors, and with other students in the course. Sharing your user account in this way is similar to sharing your Facebook Account. So, ask yourself: Do you want your own profile?
  • Our learning management system will track your progress throughout the course material (what you’ve watched, what you haven’t) as well record your results on Knowledge Checks (i.e. quizzes). This is a very useful tool to track your own individual completion and progress through the course.

Please also be aware that you can only log into the Student Dashboard from one IP address at a time. That means that if you login from home (and don’t log out) and you try and then login from another location you will be unable to do so. This will also cause problems for you if you share your login credentials with someone.

Is this course third party accredited or certified?

Rob Avis is a Diplomate in Education from the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) and PINA recognizes and endorses Verge Permaculture’s courses and curriculum.

What are Office Hours?

The Pro level of our PDC include access to live Office Hours with our Design Mentors. These are offered throughout the course as well as at the end of the course, before projects are due. This invaluable time offers the opportunity for students to ask questions directly related to their context and personal projects and receive constructive feedback and support from their design mentor in real-time. Typically, students receive 10 minutes of 1-on-1 time with their design mentor during the designated office hour. Multiple office hours are available if students wish to attend more than one during the course.


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