Permaculture Design Course 2019-11-07T10:54:29+00:00

Permaculture Design Course

PDC #28 Starts Wednesday 5th February 2020 – bookings now open. Download schedule here.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a design science, philosophy & lifestyle that merges natural principles with human management systems. The aim of Permaculture is to design regenerative and productive landscapes, communities & households. Created from a combination of traditional wisdom, modern science & technology and a detailed understanding of natural processes, Permaculture provides practical solutions to current unsustainable living standards, empowering people with the tools to create a better world and to generate lifestyles which minimise our impact on the environment. Permaculture Design is based on ethics and principles which can be used to establish, design, manage and improve all efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a regenerative future.

CERES Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

The CERES PDC is a classroom-based, theoretical course. This is not intended to be a hands-on, practical or gardening course. Primarily, this is a design course that is contextualised within socio-political & environmental systems.

The PDC is intended to produce graduate Permaculture designers, ready to apply their Permaculture knowledge in their own lives and to continue self-directed learning into their individual areas of interest.

The extensive course material covers the whole design course curriculum within the context of urban & regional landscapes of cool temperate south-eastern Australia. The course pivots around a 3 hr, weekly class/presentation, with additional weekend classes, site visits and tours including two catered weekends away. The course also requires students to complete an individual project and a groups Permaculture Design project to demonstrate their learning throughout the course.

This 100+ hour course is delivered by a range of passionate, professional Permaculture teachers and practitioners from urban and regional areas.

Part payment plans are available, please contact Luisa to discuss

CERES PDC graduates may be able to gain credits towards components of accredited Permaculture qualifications subject to a relevant RTOs’ RPL policies and procedures. You are encouraged to speak directly to RTOs to clarify this.


Book Online Now
Kat Lavers

Kat Lavers is a passionate gardener, permaculture designer and facilitator. She has taught permaculture in Australia and with nomadic herders and aid agency staff in Mongolia. In her former role at Cultivating Community she used a bobcat and 500000 compost worms to compost café food waste in the City of Yarra. She currently coordinates the My Smart Garden program for Hobsons Bay City Council and offers freelance permaculture and gardening coaching and classes. Her award-winning house and garden, ‘The Plummery’, is a 1/14th of an acre urban permaculture system that produces almost all the vegies, herbs, fruit and eggs consumed (more than 350kg in 2016), as well as recycling all organic waste on site and harvesting the majority of power and water used by the household. There is also a retrofitted light earth studio made from onsite clay and scavenged materials. Kat is a volunteer coordinator of Permablitz Melbourne.

Joel Meadows

Joel Meadows is an energy auditor, sustainable transport consultant, environmental educator, designer and maker in steel and wood, cooker of food, avid gardener and musician. Joel has worked for private, government and not for profit organisations and runs his own business – the Green Hand Institute. Joel lives with his family in Castlemaine – Central Victoria, where he is working on a permaculture house and property.

Donna Livermore
Donna Livermore is an educator, biologist, permaculture & gardening teacher and community activator. She is passionate about living a life of good health, sustainable abundance and with a strong connection to the environment and local community. Donna has an on-going commitment to school education through her work in sustainability and biodiversity education.With chickens, worms and a productive food garden in the front yard of her tiny suburban block, Donna is reimagining what it means to live a good life in the city and shares this with others in her local community and through her Instagram page A Good Life in the City.
David Holmgren
David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. Since then he has developed three properties, consulted and supervised in urban and rural projects and presented lectures, workshops and courses at a wide variety of events and venues in Australia and around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity of subjects and issues but always illuminating another aspect of permaculture thinking.
At home (Melliodora in Hepburn, Central Victoria), David is the vegetable gardener, silviculturalist and builder. Within the international and growing permaculture movement, David is respected for his commitment to presenting permaculture ideas through practical projects and teaching by personal example, that a sustainable lifestyle is a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependent consumerism.
As well as constant involvement in the practical side of permaculture, David is passionate about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability, the focus of his seminal book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.
Graeme George
Graeme lives on a 5 ha property near Healesville in the Yarra Valley where he runs a small market garden and heritage fruit orchard in a bushland setting. He has a background in conservation biology and the captive breeding of endangered wildlife, has been teaching Permaculture Design and Applied Permaculture courses since 1994 and is compiler of Permaculture Melbourne’s “Syllabus for Permaculture Design in Cool Temperate South Eastern Australia”. He served on Permaculture Melbourne’s Committee of Management for many years, was a founder of the Yarra Valley Permaculture Group and is currently Coordinator for the Yarra Valley Group’s weekly Organic Farmers Market at Healesville.
He developed and for several years taught Permaculture by Distance Education as a second year subject for Charles Sturt University’s degree in Ecological Agriculture based at Orange. He has been a Seed Saver for many years, and is also a member of Birds Australia, the Australian Mammal Society and the American Society of Mammalogists. His publications on the evolution, zoogeography and conservation of New Guinea’s marsupials earned him a Master of Applied Science degree in 1994. Graeme has a passionate interest in the application of Permaculture concepts to land use patterns.
Ben Habib
Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Ben is an internationally published scholar and blogger with research and teaching interests including the political economy of North Korea’s nuclear program, East Asian security, international politics of climate change. He also teaches on global environmental politics, Australian politics and contemporary China.
Ben is a board member of OASES Graduate School in Melbourne and is an Asia Literacy Ambassador for the Asia Education Foundation. He has worked previously for Flinders University, the University of South Australia, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China. In June 2014, Ben completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at CERES Community Environment Park in Melbourne and is now a contributing facilitator within the CERES.
Monique Miller
Monique is a bushland management contractor; Permaculture, edible weeds & fermentation workshop facilitator and avid gardener. Monique came to Permaculture via a Philosophy/Arts degree and a year spent overseas. To Monique, Permaculture is the toolbox with which we can tackle the issues of a late-capitalist world. Monique completed her first PDC in Portugal (2012) and second at CERES in 2016. Since, she been built veggies gardens, growing food at home, designing human-scale & mind spaces based on Permaculture principles, been a market gardener, taught workshops at CERES and facilitated the PDC since 2017. She is passionate about harnessing the energy of & guiding new PDC graduates, social permaculture, and permaculture-inspired life design. You can follow Monique at Monique Eve Miller on Instagram & Facebook.
Peta Christensen
Peta Christensen has worked in the areas of urban agriculture and community food projects for the past 20 years. In the early 2000s Peta was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore community gardens and markets in low income communities which took her to the USA, Canada, Brazil, Denmark and Cuba. Peta and her family are part of a small community in Fish Creek where they are trying to make their grander permaculture dreams come true.
Ian Lillington
Author, sustainability activist and is a leader of the international team ‘Permaculture’s Next Big Step’. Based in Castlemaine, Victoria, in the SE of Australia, Ian is developing his own food forest and is involved in the local permaculture/transition town project called ‘Growing Abundance’. Ian is author of an introduction to permaculture – “The Holistic Life – a Beginners’ Guide to Permaculture”, and is editor of many of David Holmgren’s books, especially ‘Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability’. He’s also featured in the anthology – “Permaculture Pioneers” and wrote the chapter on Permaculture in the “Encyclopedia of Sustainability” Ian participated in the recent International Conference in London, and co-organsied the Australian Permaculture Conference in Tasmania in March 2015. Ian has worked at CERES in Melbourne, for the National Centre for Sustainability, and also with the environment shop and “Greener Houses”, a project that promotes eco-retrofits of suburban houses in Melbourne. In the mid 1990’s, Ian designed and managed the building of a solar/eco home from rammed earth and recycled materials in South Australia, and a similar project in 2008 with a house made from regular brick veneer. Ian and his partner Marita build energy efficient homes and eco-renovate older houses by adding insulation, solar panels, rainwater tanks and orchards. Ian is passionate about agroforestry and natural building, and when asked what his favourite topic to teach in a PDC, was, he outlined the importance of social permaculture and his passion of applying permaculture’s ethics and principles to every aspect of life.

PDC #28 Starts Wednesday 5th February 2020. Bookings now open.

PDC 28 Schedule
Book Online Now


  • What is Permaculture: Ethics, Principles & history
  • The Ecological basis of Permaculture: Global Climate, Weather & Ecology
  • Patterns in the Landscape: Major patterns of Geology, Flora, Water & Land use
  • Permaculture Design Methodology: Permaculture design process and practice
  • Land use and Nature Stewardship: Soil, cropping, water use and animals in Permaculture systems
  • Social applications: Permaculture design in the broader contexts of communities.
  • Finance & Economics, Land tenure & economic reform: Permaculture design in the broader contexts of Economies, business & settlements
  • Permaculture in built environments and technologies: Appropriate technology & building techniques for a energy-descent future.
  • Implementing Permaculture: Business strategies, personal strategies and practicing Permaculture beyond the PDC.

Study load:

The PDC is a commitment.

Approx. 4-6hrs per week of project work

Approx. 2-3hrs per week of reading time


This course includes study beyond the class hours. Students are required to complete two projects (one individual and one group) that are requirements to pass the course. Approximately 4-6 hours per week should be allocated to these projects throughout the duration of the course. The projects are not graded but are an essential part of learning Permaculture design.

Self-directed learning:

To gain the most out of the PDC, students are encouraged to read further materials before and after each class topic. Reading materials and online learning resources are provided and students are encouraged to be self-directed learners in using the PDC as a launching pad into topics covered. Recommend 2-3 hours per week of additional reading & research.

Dates, times:

There are three PDCs each year at CERES.

Currently these PDCs run:

  • Early February-Late May
  • Late April-Early August
  • Early August-Late November

The course will include two full weekends away to Permaculture sites in Victoria.

Course Start Dates & Length: PDC #28 starts Wednesday 5th February 2020. 17 evenings 6.30 – 9.30pm 10 weekend days 9.30am – 5pm

Compulsory requirements to pass the course and obtain a Permaculture Design Course certification:

-Students are required to attend 90% of the course content and must complete the core subjects of Permaculture Principles & Ethics and all design subjects

-Students are required to complete both projects during the course

The PDC facilitator will use discretion to make the final decision over any pass/fail decisions.

Course outcomes:

  • An appreciation of the fundamentals of permaculture and the historical context in which it was developed.
  • Ability to incorporate ecological and energy literacy/understanding in the design process
  • An ability to read patterns in landscapes and understand how they influence design choices
  • An understanding of the design processes and the conceptual design tools used in permaculture, as background for later application topics.
  • An ability to design food production and other agricultural systems in appropriate landscapes
  • An understanding of how communities function and how permaculture concepts can be used to build functional communities.
  • An understanding of how trading functions and how permaculture concepts can be used to build more equitable systems.
  • Understanding of how settlements can be designed to meet human needs on a sustainable basis
  • An understanding of how buildings can be designed to meet human needs on a sustainable basis.
  • An appreciation of the technologies that are available to assist in building sustainable lifestyles – renewable energies and conservation of non-renewable resources.
  • Confidence in one’s ability to make a difference at the individual level.

Participants who complete the course will earn a CERES Permaculture Design Course certificate  CERES PDC graduates may be able to gain credits towards components of accredited Permaculture qualifications subject to a relevant RTOs’ RPL policies and procedures. You are encouraged to speak directly to RTOs to clarify this.

Participants will be provided with access to an online portal with resources as well as a resource folder and permaculture principles booklet. There is an expectation of attendance to all sessions for completion of the certificate. Where classes are missed they can be made up in another course stream.

Be prepared for classroom work and work in the field. Excursions will be in the course schedule and participants will need to be dressed in outdoor gear to protect against the weather.

PDC #28 Starts Wednesday 5th February 2020. Bookings now open. Course schedule available here.

Book Online

CERES PDC #28 starts Wednesday 5th February 2020 – bookings now open. Course schedule available for download here.

Book now at CERES Reception – 9389 0100 or online – 

Book Online Now

Course Length:
15 Wednesday  evenings 6.30 – 9.30pm
Some Saturdays and Sundays 9.30am – 5pm

CERES Community Environment Park

Full fee $1950 | CERES member/concession $1825

Payment info:
Payment in full is required upon enrolment to secure a place on the course. Please contact us on 9389 0100 should you not have access to a credit card as payment can be made by cash, eftpos or cheque via reception.  Should you be keen to attend and warrant consideration for a payment plan, please contact Luisa below.

Class size:
Limited to 24 students.

PDC 28 Schedule

Give Luisa Cardamone a call
9389 0124
Send her an email