Permaculture Courses

at Commonweal Garden feature top instructors in the field and hands-on training within a well developed, integrated permaculture design center.

Permaculture Courses offered by Regenerative Design Institute


Permaculture Design at the Regenerative Design Institute

The Four Seasons Permaculture Design Certification Course

This Permaculture Design Certification courses (PDC) offered at Commonweal Garden provide a unique exploration of sustainable, nature-based solutions. Participants meet once a month over the course of a year, allowing participants to intermix their studies and instruction with their own experiments with permaculture at home. Find out more.


The Curriculum

Our PDC curriculum is the culmination of more than 35 years of teaching permaculture design to students from all over the globe. We have learned that to be successful at implementing permaculture design, most students need more than the basic curriculum. Our 100+ hour courses are crafted to include the following elements to help launch students into a successful journey:

  • The classic permaculture curriculum, with founding principles and techniques developed by Bill Mollison and David Holgrem
  • A strong nature-connection component, including animal tracking and bird language, to deepen your awareness and intimacy with the rest of the natural world
  • A diverse range of hands-on activities with experienced instructors during the program in various aspects of the living classroom of the farm
  • Tools for cultivating our inner ecology to break through old patterns and barriers that hold us back from success
  • A globally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate upon completion of the course.

As you participate in the curriculum, reading, and “home play” assignments, you will learn how to observe and use the same principles that make ecological systems self-sustaining and apply them to integrated homes and gardens. In addition, you will learn how to apply these principles to energy systems and water supplies, healthy communities, meaningful and fulfilling work, ecological economies, and global political movements for change.

Throughout it all, you'll be engaged in learning and experiencing an empowering way of living in the world, surrounded and supported by like-minded people and instructors. Our goal is to make you a part of our farm community, incorporating our seasonal activities into your permaculture experience as time permits. Activities may include making an "A frame," laying out and digging a water harvesting contour swale, sheet mulching, spring and fall pruning, seed planting, plant propagation, bed preparation, compost pile making, water harvesting techniques, natural building, herbalism, beekeeping, and more.

While no two courses participate in exactly the same activities, each course includes classroom and/or hands-on activities in the following areas:

  • Permaculture principles and ethics
  • Reading the landscape
  • Pattern and pattern application
  • Water harvesting
  • Swale building
  • Zone and sector analysis
  • Climate and micro climate strategies
  • Mapping
  • Urban permaculture
  • Land access
  • Community building
  • Plant guilds
  • Soil Carbon Sequestration and Biochar
  • Food forests and agroforestry
  • The design process, principles, strategies, and techniques
  • Bird language and nature awareness
  • Soil building and sheet mulching
  • Pond management and ecology
  • Earthworks and natural building
  • Grey water systems
  • Bioremediation
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Forest management
  • Watershed management
  • Economy and Equity
  • Group work on a conceptual design project

An digital workbook with excellent resources and reading material that we ask you to read as part of the coursework. In addition, we have an ongoing list of recommended reading that includes everything from foundational manuals by Bill Mollison to magazine articles on new applications of solar power. The list is not required reading for the course, but available to you as a resource as you continue your permaculture explorations.

The Classroom for the 4 Seasons Course

Commonweal Garden is dynamic, living classroom that offers a multitude of learning opportunities through direct experience. Features of the farm include chickens, fruit orchards, year-round vegetables, bees, edible mushrooms, culinary and medicinal herbs, grains, grey water, and solar-heating systems, aquaculture, natural buildings, and more. Located in the Point Reyes National Seashore, the interchange between wildlife and farm life is immense. 

At Commonweal Garden, everything from the soil, to the gardens, to the composting systems, farm animals, natural buildings, and abundant wildlife, provides a rich surface area for learning practical skills. Students get to learn by doing, and benefit from observing and experiencing permaculture features that are already in place. 

Embodying Permaculture Retreat Series

To Register Please Click HERE.

The Embodying Permaculture course is an interactive experience that integrates body, heart, mind, and spirit with the values and principles of permaculture.

Through this course we will:

  • Embark on a creative journey of inner and outer ecology for personal and collective healing and transformation.

  • Cultivate a community based approach to earth-activist leadership, engaging in interactive games and exercises that explore each of the five senses.

  • Explore your integral relationship to the environment, community, and self through eco-psychology and embodied expressive arts, including: transformational theater, embodied movement, eco-poetics,  music creation, design mapping, story-weaving, guided visualization, and solutionary discussion.

Course Topics Include:

  • Organic Cooking, Food Sovereignty Discussion and Mindful Eating

  • Herbal Medicine Creation, tinctures, oils, salves, infusions and decoctions from herbs

  • Embodied practices: Pranassage (thai yoga partner massage), yoga, chi-gong

  • Compassionate Communication & Co-Counseling

  • Ecovillage, Farm and Garden Design Mapping with Village Building & City Repair

  • Work That Reconnects - practices from Joanna Macy

  • Heart Circle / Council, Sacred Intention Setting, Earth Alter Creation

  • Land Projects at Commonweal Garden

Jan 13-15 and Jan 20-21, 2017

To Register Please Click HERE.

January 13-15 First Program Weekend

Full 3 day Retreat: $250
Friday& Saturday only $150
Saturday & Sunday only $200
Saturday or Sunday only $100

Meal Plan: $10 per Meal (6 meals total)
Friday and Saturday: Dinner
Saturday and Sunday: Breakfast and Lunch

Overnight accomidations $15 per night camping or communal sleeping spaces avaiable

January 20-21

Full 3 day Retreat: $200
Saturday only $100

Meal Plan: $10 per Meal
Friday Dinner and Saturday: Breafast and Lunch

To Register click HERE

As this event is happening within the week there are no refunds availabe once you register.

For the January 20-21 event. Free Cancellation before Jan. 13th, no refunds are available after midnight Jan.12.




Friday, January 13th:  arrive at 3pm

Begin 3:30

3:30-4:30pm: Introduction, Guidelines, Intention Setting, Authentic Relating

4:30-5: Earth Altar Creation

5-6: Transformational Theater

6-6:20 *Break

6:30-7:30 Dinner with World Cafe

7:45- 8:45: Earth Activist Music and Closing Circle


Saturday, January 14th

Breakfast 8am-9am

9-10am: Visualization Meditation, Permaculture Principles with Improv Theater, & Change-Maker Groups Solutionary Counsel

10-11am: Land Walk & Land Project

11-12pm: EcoVillage Design Mapping Part 1

12-1:30pm: Organic Cooking Class and Lunch

1:30-2:30pm: Herbalism Workshop Part 1

2:30-3:30pm: The Work that Reconnects (Blindfolded Garden Walk)

3:30-4:30pm: Earth Activist Yoga

4:30-5:30pm: Partner Pranassage
5:30-6:30pm: Dinner with World Cafe

6:30-7:30pm: Intersection Repair Game

7:30-7:45pm: Break

7:45-9pm: Evening Passion Show


Sunday, January 15th

Breakfast 8am-9am

9-10am: Transformational Theater

10-11am: Eco-Poetics & Earth Activist Song-Weaving

11-12pm: EcoVillage Design Mapping Part 2

12-1:30pm: Organic Cooking Class and Lunch

1:30-2:30pm: Herbalism Workshop Part 2

2:30-3:30pm: The Work that Reconnects
(Invoking the Beings of the Three Times pg.172 in Coming Back to Life)

3:30-4:30pm: Solutionary Change-Maker Action Plans

4:30-5pm: Closing Ceremony



  • "One of the most transforming two weeks of my life. Beautiful land, people, and experience! I would do it again and again if I could."

    — Graduate