2019 Permaculture Design Course PDC for Scientists, Engineers, and Educators


2/3rds of our PDC students for the last 3 years have attended both the PDC and the ATC. We are doing that again this year.

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This Permaculture Design Course

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A proper Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has a well defined syllabus. Most PDCs are crafted for beginners - and a lot of professionals get bored. Our PDC assumes that the student is desring a course with a bit more substance and grit. This PDC is designed for scientists, engineers, educators or people with a lot of current knowledge of permaculture. Alan Booker, an engineer himself, has developed a format that caters to these people. Alan’s course will cover everything a PDC normally covers, but is packed with information that can help advanced or expert students take their knowledge to the next level.

The focus of this PDC is on the technical aspects of permaculture and on professional landscape designing for clients. You will be surrounded by like-minded people, and together you will not only learn the framework to survive in a rapidly changing world, but to thrive. You will also develop the skills to heal damaged landscapes while providing for your own needs.

In this course you are designing from the get go. Every new piece of information, every new concept, is delivered in sequence so that it is immediately relevant and applicable. Your design unfolds in step with the days subjects. This helps the learning to really take root in your mind. Learn how to make really good effective decisions. We can't emphasize how important this is if you want to make effective long-lasting change in your life.

Every student will work through the entire design project individually, but always with the support of their design group and the instructors. Students will have multiple chances to present their design ideas and get feedback throughout the course of the first 13 days, building to the final design project presentations on the last day. During these final presentations, each student will present their own design project to the group as if they were presenting to a professional client.

This course is designed to help you really start thinking like a designer. Even if you have a lot of practical experience is various aspects of homesteading already, the Homesteaders PDC will move you past simply thinking in terms of isolated systems and into designing integrated, whole landscapes.

Here are feedback from previous students of Alan's courses.

  • "A very professional and high-end course making many connections and drawing from many different fields of study... Very comprehensive and, quite frankly, mind-blowing."
  • "Alan Booker is a tremendous instructor, able to deliver a huge amount of technical information in an enjoyable, engaging, and understandable format."
  • "The technical knowledge and design mindset demonstrated in this PDC was well structured to be compatible with my formal engineering training. The course provided me with multiple ideas for projects that will be effective on my property, rather than me going forward on my own and fumbling around in the dark."
  • "My life has been at a crossroads for a time, but now my path is clear. I now have the confidence to move forward and make a better life for myself and my family."

Immediately after the PDC, most students will be attending the Appropriate Technology Course(July 1st-12th , 2019).


Questions about this course and the atc can be asked in this thread on permies.com

Register Now!

Permaculture Design Course Instructors

Alan Booker - 2019 PDC Instructor

alan booker 2018 pdc

Alan graduated from Auburn University in Electrical Engineering with a focus on computer architecture and neural networks. He currently has over 25 years of experience as a systems engineer and systems architect working in digital telecommunications and large-scale computer systems.

As he gained experience in the industry throughout the 1990’s, Alan began to understand the long-term problems being created by modern design practices. In researching possible solutions, he became interested in Permaculture due to its holistic design approach and track record of creating workable solutions in a wide range of climates and ecosystems around the world.

In addition to teaching the PDC, Alan also provides consulting and workshops on earthworks, soil remediation, composting, forest gardening, holistic management of pastureland, keyline design, aquaculture and aquaponics, off-grid energy systems, and natural building systems.

Alan is the founder and lead instructor of the Eldenbridge Institute, which provides education and research in support of regenerative communities.

Alan's full bio can be found at the Eldenbridge Institute's website.

Paul Wheaton - 2019 PDC Guest Instructor

paul wheaton 2018 PDC

Paul Wheaton, the bad boy of Permaculture, was proclaimed by Geoff Lawton in 2012 the Duke of Permaculture. He is the creator of two on-line communities. One is about Permaculture, permies.com, and one is about software engineering, CodeRanch.com.

He is a powerful advocate of Sepp Holzer’s techniques, which a recent study showed to have the ability to feed 21 billion people without the use of petroleum or irrigation. He also promotes the use of hugelkultur, which sequesters carbon and eliminates the need for irrigation, and polycultures, which reduces the need for pest control and improves the health of plants. He wrote several articles about lawn care, raising chickens, cast iron, and diatomaceous earth. Paul regularly uploads permaculture videos and permaculture podcasts.

  • Better Wood Heat: DIY Rocket Mass Heater Videos pdc site
  • Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 permaculture
  • World Domination Gardening PDC fodder
  • Permaculture Keynote - S. California Permaculture Convergence
  • Permaculture Playing Cards for evenings at PDC
  • Permaculture videos permaculture people Toby Hemenway teaches permaculture design courses
  • energy conservation PDC
  • Sepp Holzer permaculture technique homesteaders pdc
  • hugelkultur design PDC
  • Sepp Holzer Paul Wheaton permaculture
  • paul wheaton ted talk permaculture heat designs
  • Paul Wheaton Permaculture Voices - Building a Better World One Permaculture Brick at a Time

Permaculture Design Course Content

Daily Schedule

7:00am: Breakfast
8:00am: Morning Gathering, Questions from Previous Day
8:15am: Session one
9:45am: Break
10:15am: Session two
11:45pm: Lunch
1:00pm: Session three
2:30pm: Break
3:00pm: Session four
4:30pm: Design Project Session
5:15pm: Break
6:00pm: Dinner
7:00pm: Optional Evening Presentation or Project Work Time

The 48-class sequence of 90-minute main sessions covers all of the base material required to complete the 72-hour lecture requirement for a full Permaculture Design Certification course.

Course Schedule

This is the official schedule. It is possible that a few details might change.

Day 0: Check In (Saturday, June 15)

Check-In: 9:00am - 7:00pm MST
Get Settled In: Find your camp site and setup.
Tour of the Lab: starts promptly at 9:30am
Tour of Base Camp: after lunch starting at 1:30pm
Sleep: Try to get plenty of rest. We start early and you have a full day jam-packed with information tomorrow.

Day 1: Introduction and Overview (Sunday, June 16)

Session 1: Introduction and Overview
Session 2: Ethics in Design
Session 3: Design Concepts 1
Session 4: Design Concepts 2
Design Session: Design Project Overview
Evening Session: Group Design Charrette

Day 2: Methods of Design (Monday, June 17)

Session 1: Methods of Design Part 1
Session 2: Methods of Design Part 2
Session 3: Methods of Design Part 3
Session 4: Methods of Design Part 4
Design Session: Design Property Tour

Day 3: Understanding Pattern (Tuesday, June 18)

Session 1: Pattern Understanding Part 1
Session 2: Pattern Understanding Part 2
Session 3: Pattern Understanding Part 3
Session 4: Pattern Understanding Part 4
Design Session: How to Conduct a Client Interview
Evening Session: Group Design Workshop

Day 4: Climate and Trees (Wednesday, June 19)

Session 1: Climate Factors Part 1
Session 2: Climate Factors Part 2
Session 3: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 1
Session 4: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 2
Design Session: The Client Interview
Evening Session: Introduction to Ecology

Day 5: Water and Soil (Thursday, June 20)

Session 1: Water Part 1
Session 2: Water Part 2
Session 3: Soils Part 1
Session 4: Soils Part 2
Design Session: Software Design Tools
Evening Session: Soil Analysis with the Microscope

Day 6: Soils, Compost, Crops and Seeds (Friday, June 21)

Session 1: Soils Part 3
Session 2: Compost & Aerated Compost Tea
Session 3: Annnual Crop Gardening
Session 4: Seeds & Seed Saving

Day 7: Break (Saturday, June 22)

No required sessions. Instructors will be available during the afternoon to help with design projects.
Optional Bonus Evening Session: Herbal Medicince

Day 8: Earthworks (Sunday, June 23)

Session 1: Earthworks Part 1
Session 2: Earthworks Part 2
Session 3: Earthworks Part 3
Session 4: Earthworks Part 4
Design Session: Gathering Climate & Land-form Data
Evening Session: Conservation and Circular Design

Day 9: Humid Tropics & Drylands (Monday, June 24)

Session 1: Humid Tropics Part 1
Session 2: Humid Tropics Part 2
Session 3: Dryland Strategies Part 1
Session 4: Dryland Strategies Part 2
Design Session: Building a Base Map
Evening Session: Movie Night

Day 10: Temperate Climates & Pasture Systems (Tuesday, June 25)

Session 1: Temperate Climates Part 1
Session 2: Temperate Climates Part 2
Session 3: Pasture Systems & Rotational Grazing
Session 4: Food Forests and Perennial Production Systems
Design Session: Sector & Zone Analysis, Designing Water & Access
Evening Session: Learning the Plants of Your Biome

Day 11: Appropriate Technology (Wednesday, June 26)

Session 1: Working with Energy Flows
Session 2: Natural Building Methods
Session 3: The Permaculture Kitchen
Session 4: Sanitation & Health
Design Session: Siting Mainframe Forestry, Buildings, and Permanent Fencing
Evening Session: Question & Answer Night - Alan Booker and Paul Wheaton

Day 12: Aquaculture and Animals (Thursday, June 27)

Session 1: Aquaculture
Session 2: Animal Systems Part 1
Session 3: Animal Systems Part 2
Session 4: Food Storage & Seasonal Eating
Design Session: The In-fill Mosaic and Aquaculture
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time

Day 13: Structures, Community and Economy (Friday, June 28)

Session 1: Designing Invisible Structures
Session 2: Legal Structures & Community Organization
Session 3: Economics & Money Systems
Session 4: Village Development & Human Scale
Design Session: Preparing for the Design Presentation
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time

Day 14: Design Project Presentations (Saturday, June 29)

Morning Session: Design Project Workshop
Afternoon Session: Student Presentations of Design Projects
Evening Session: Student Talent Night


There will be a tour of Wheaton Labs on Saturday June 15th, the day before the Permaculture Design Course starts. The tour starts promptly at 9:30 am, to tour the lab first. Then there is a break for lunch, and the base camp tour starts promptly at 1:30 pm .. The tours will include:

wheaton labs


For questions about the tour, look at this thread

The Appropriate Technology Course

July 1st - 12th 2019

The Appropriate Technology course takes the permaculture principles to the next level by applying some crafty science and engineering to basic life essentials like hot water and water catchment. With this course, you'll cover a wide range of topics and get real life experience building the systems you'll need to live comfortably and sustainably

Find out more about this course here

Permaculture Design Course Registration

Note: 80% refunds up to two weeks before the event starts. If you are not comfortable with being recorded, please do not attend. Tobacco free and drug free site.

Permaculture Design Course only is $1650 per student

(there are currently still spots open)

Appropriate Technology Course only is $1650 per student

(there are currently still spots open)

both 2019 courses are $2600 per student

(there are currently still spots open)

Or via bitcoin: 177pNU2a9iCpUXQwXX9EbtA2UwZpgeqcMT

Lots more details, FAQ, discussion, etc. on permies for the PDC and here for the ATC

Permaculture Design Course Location

These courses will be taught at Wheaton Labs, a learning facility located west of the Rocky Mountains, in the Missoula area of Montana.

Established in 2013 by the founder of permies.com and richsoil.com, Paul Wheaton, the expansive property features a spectacular sampling of natural buildings, eleven rocket mass heaters, eight rocket cook stoves, hugelkultur garden beds, earth berms, showers heated by compost, a variety of solar power systems, sustainable horticultural practices, and a broad collection of projects and experiments intended to shape the future of permaculture.

Wheaton labs is actually two pieces of land: “base camp” which has a few buildings on it already, and “the laboratory,” which started as bare timber land. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and expansive coniferous forests, and nearly a thousand acres of federal Bureau of Land Management land. Wheaton labs is truly surrounded by beauty!

This “farmer laboratory” fosters innovations and experiments such as wofatis, poopers, hugelkultur, polyculture food systems integrated with holistic management-style animal systems, a different style of community, aquaculture, and earthworks for privacy, water retention and frost protection. The ultimate goal is the least toxins possible.

Note: For the security of our residents and staff, the exact location of Wheaton Labs is only revealed to paying customers. You will receive detailed location information and directions upon receipt of payment.

For Those That Fly to the Event

If you need a ride from Missoula, we can arrange for somebody to pick you up.

  • Between 8 am and 9 pm: $15 per ride
  • Outside of those hours: $35 per ride
  • Please be ready to pay driver in cash

For those that may not be able to fly with sleeping bags and tents, there are a limited quantity available to rent for a small fee; and of course, you can always rent the Tipi, Wofati, or other structures for your stay to lighten your luggage.

A few people have shipped a box of this sort of thing here. And a couple of those have left tents and sleeping bags for future people attending these events.


Everybody must be okay with being photographed or filmed; and people are encouraged to take video and photos of the course. Details here.

Permaculture Design Course Accommodation

Tent camping is included with the courses.

We have a few formal tent pads with a sand bottom, to give you a soft, level surface for setup. First come, first served. Some people last year came a week early. ( I believe we would like people not to come week early unless there talk to us first)

Once you are registered, we will give you information on local hotels, lodges, campgrounds, etc. - we have had several people that prefer that sort of thing.

We have had some people arrive with a van or truck to stay in - that's fine. Some people want to bring a camper - please coordinate with the registrar about that - there is no fee, but we need to put you in an appropriate spot. We don't allow plugins or the use of a generator. Solar panels are okay.

You are welcome to harvest some of the food we have growing here, just be respectful, and leave some foods behind to reproduce.

Slumber Party at Cooper Cabin!

Cooper Cabin is also known as "Wofati 0.8". The structure is not quite done yet, but people have been living in it since August of 2014. This spacious structure has plenty of room for large groups.

We will be allowing up to twelve people to throw a sleeping bag down on the floor of Cooper Cabin for a small fee. This requires a seperate registration.

A step up from camping - rent one of these

Course instructors will be occupying most of the structures we have, but there are a few structures with bunks still available. (We will try to update this page to reflect availability)

The Love Shack

The Red Cabin

The Tipi with Rocket Mass Heater

You probably won't need to fire up the rocket mass heater, but you could if you wanted to. This is the tipi and rocket mass heater that was part of the great rocket mass heater experiment in the winter of 2013/2014. Most people want to stay in it during the winter to fully appreciate the function of a rocket mass heater.

You can learn more about the tipi with the rocket mass heater here.

Permaculture Design Course Food

Meals are not included. BUT attendees will be invited to join Paul at his table. If you have any special dietary needs/desires, you might want to bring your own food and make use of our rocket cook stoves, ovens, solar ovens and other interesting contraptions for cooking.

Watch 2017 PDC and ATC

We filmed all of the previous 2017 permaculture design course and the appropriate technology course. All 177 hours of video is now available HERE!

The students and staff took a lot of photos and video of the 2017 PDC. Take a look HERE!