Prospect Rock Permaculture Design Course

2016 PDC

In 2015 we’ll be offering TWO Farm-Based

Permaculture Design Certification Courses

 June 20 – July 2, 2015           and           July 19- 31, 2015

This world-reknown course fills early!  Please clear your schedule and confirm your space now.

We are excited to announce that as the only Fully Accredited Permaculture Institute in Vermont

we have secured full scholarships for income eligible Vermont State residents.

Scholarship applicants should be in touch with as much notice as possible.

The 2014 summer course was a blast with students coming from across the country and with a wide variety of backgrounds and intended applications for permaculture design!    Stay tuned for photos, design work, and student comments- students’ final designs ranged from farms to apartments, communities, and businesses in a wide variety of ecological contexts.



Unlike all other Permaculture Design Certification courses- students work to create both collaborative and individual designs, allowing the opportunity to practice the design process twice, work with real-world clients and sites, as well as developing ideas for your ownsites, bioregions, and specific interests with professional guidance.   Students’ final individual design presentations are from a wide geographical and cultural diversity- ranging from 100+ acre farms, to vacant-lot community gardens, to natural building renovation, ‘renter’s permaculture’ apartment / urban strategies, and more!   The balance between collaborative and individual work, combined with the diverse students we attract make each design a highlight, and broaden our collective experience and practice.  This ‘two-design’ format, increasingly being used by other courses and other instructors, is Prospect Rock Permaculture‘s unique innovation to augment the requirements of an fully accredited and internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification Course.

Read below for more course details and the old flyers.  Click here for more information about the Registration Process.

River Valley Market: Eat Your Yard

  • Eat Your Yard: Learn how to garden like the forest and turn your yard into an edible paradise. In this workshop you will learn about site prep, species selection, and polyculture design to grow your own backyard food forest. For thousands of years people have been using these gardens to provide their own food, forage, fodder, fertilizer and medicine…. you can to. I will also be sharing some photos and stories from my recent project in Haiti, where we visited traditional haitian food forests, created a design for and established the first phase of a food forest and health center in the village of Bellabe.

Easy watering for container gardens

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Lets face it container gardening is a great, practical gardening technique with multiple functions. Not only is it good for renters and city dwellers who have limited space and no permission to garden from their landlords, it is an ideal technique when there may be lead contamination.  Considering that lead was legally used in paints up until the 1970’s, if your home was built before then chances are you have high levels of lead in your soil. To make matters worse the lead is typically concentrated right around the edges of your house where paint was scraped, this is often the best place to put your zone 1 kitchen and herb gardens. The good news is container gardens are a cost effective solution to potential lead contamination that is easy on the back to plant and easy to weed. One of the downsides of this technique is that they can dry out quicker than beds in the ground, needing to be watered more often.

I have found the traditional, low cost and low tech irrigation system, the olla,  to be a perfect solution for irrigating container gardens. The olla is an unglazed ceramic pot, that is buried in the bed, and filled with water. Because it is not glazed the water is able to slowly sink into the container. When the plant needs water, it uses capillary action and pulls the water out of the olla and into its root system.  Since the olla is buried in the container it sends water to the subsurface leaving the top layer of the soil dry, thus discouraging weeds and soil compaction which are two downsides to surface watering.

Most people think of ollas as a dry land permaculture technique. With the onset of climate change and global weirding, I find that these types of irrigation systems are ideal for temperate climates as we are seeing more and more drought conditions. You can easily make them at home and have a potter fire them. This would also make for a good potential cottage industry, as there are few places where these are commercially available.


simply fill the olla with water
simply fill the olla with water

This is a container garden I planted with an annual herb polyculture of lemon grass, parsley and basil. These are herbs that we cook with frequently, both for taste and digestive health. The container is located in zone 1, right out the back door on our patio, next to the kitchen. That way I can gather all the herbs for our breakfast without getting my slippers wet from dew, passing Bill Mollison’s fuzzy bunny slipper test.  I filled the container with a mixture of 3:1 ratio of topsoil to compost and inserted the olla. I next transplanted the herbs.


Plants will wick water out when then need it
Plants will wick water out when then need it

The container garden is also located next to our water catchment system, which collects rainwater off of the roof. My watering can is easy to fill with the water from the rainwater barrels. Now watering with the olla’s I only have to fill them up every couple weeks and it takes me only a few seconds. A great case for the permaculture principle of relative location.


container gardens next to water catchment
container gardens next to water catchment

Ellenville Permaculture Design Course

Beginning May 29th
Center for Bioregional Living Presents
Permaculture Design Certification
with Andrew Faust, Lisa DePiano, and Adriana Magaña
In Ellenville, NY 2 hours from NYC
Register Today!

Learn to use the patterns of nature to create empowering solutions for social and ecological change!

In-depth lectures, excellent field trips, and plenty of hands-on learning will cover ecological design, natural building, organic gardening & Biodynamics, green economies, herbology, fermentation, nutrition and much more.

All classes 10am – 5pm
May 29, 30, 31
June 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21
July 10, 11, 12

Tuition $1000 no meals or $1200 with incredible meals
Includes beautiful off-grid camping and incredible meals!

Register Today!

Cambridge Parking Day Permablitz #5

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This permablitz with the MIT media lab was a blast and was done in conjunction with Parking Day, an international day of action to visualize what else we can do with all the space that is taken up by the car. The rendering below was done by the talented Kim Smith with the actual photo of the finished product below.  The installation was done with the kids from the Wildflower Montessori school and the day wouldn’t have been complete without the wonderful music from Sasha and company and the free bike tune ups by the worker owned broadway bicycle. Keep an eye out for a more permanent installation from us this summer.

parking day rendering by Kim Smith
parking day rendering by Kim Smith
parking day parklet
parking day parklet

Wendell Food Forest Permablitz #6

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We are wrapping up for the 2014 season. All said and done we completed six permablitz’s this year. Three of which were for public projects, 2 at private residences and 1 at a co-housing community. This last one at the Wendell Town Offices was a blast. We had about 30 people show up on one of the more cold blustery October days. The project was managed on the Wendell end by a former student, Betsy. We broadforked and sheetmulched the area and dug some hugel-swales and planted the overstory of the forest garden including asian pears, and hazelnuts. Since the swales were located on a slope of  >30 percent we backed up the system with a woven wattle fence from onsite materials. While the roots are establishing this beautiful traditional woven wattle fence also doubles as check-dams in severe flooding events, preventing the loss of topsoil and erosion gullies.

Hugelkultur swales with a woven wattle fence
Hugelkultur swales with a woven wattle fence
side view of hugelkultur swales with woven wattle fence
side view of hugelkultur swales with woven wattle fence

Ecological Models of Economic Development

While permaculture design practices are typically applied to creating productive homes and agricultural land, permaculture design ethics and principles, when applied at the broader scales of community, regional, and urban planning, have a great impact on creating a human environment with ecological integrity. Starting with a clear understanding of the mistakes and challenges inherent in our present economy – including petroleum dependence and extreme weather — this course focuses on how to redirect our society and its infrastructure back into alignment with the earth’s natural cycles, one region at a time. Ideal for architects, regional and city planners, community organizers, land trusts, watershed groups and local food advocates, this course will provide participants with the vision and tools for coordinating and synthesizing efforts for improving regional economies and the quality of life for future generations.

Permablitz: Install an Edible Forest Garden at the Wendell Town Offices

Come make history as we plant one of the first Edible Forest Gardens on town hall property in the country! Three years in the making the Wendell Food Forest will provide food, store carbon and build soil for years to come.

We will cover: 
Laying out and digging swales on contour
Using permaculture principles and ethics in design
Establishment techniques for slopes
The benefits of creating and planting hugelkultur mounds

What to bring: 
Closed toed shoes

Free and Open to the Public

Please RSVP to this site!

Thank you,
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