Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course September 2014 at PRI Sunshine Coast

PRI Practical Permaculture Certificate

PRI Practical Permaculture Certificate

12 months

The outline below shows subjects dealt with during the year, but it is not limited to these subjects. As things are always evolving on a working Permaculture Farm, other subjects may make their way into the program during the year.

Teachers: Tom Kendall and sometimes more advanced students.


At the end of the certificate year, the participant should be able to run a Permaculture farm. He or she should be able to be employed by any PRI in the world and run the farm, or be able to set up their own Permaculture farm.

Research Project:
Subject of choice, related to Permaculture to be presented at the end of the year.
Must write 4 Permaculture related articles (1 every 3 months) for publication on

Animal Systems, feeding, care and production

    • Forage and other feed

    • Holistic management principles

    • Waste product management and use

    • Routines

    • Production: Milk

      • Cream separation

      • Cheese production

      • Yoghurt

Alternative energy systems

    • biogas

    • solar power

    • solar hot water

    • rocket stove

    • wood fired water heating processes

    • wood stoves

Compost toilets and humanure processing

    • Compost toilet cleaning

    • Processing humanure for compost

    • Health and safety


    • 18 day hot compost

    • 60 day compost

    • longer composting methods

    • sifting and compost use

Mulch cutting and application

    • How and where to get mulch

    • Uses for mulch

    • Application, amounts and thickness

    • When and where to mulch

Food forestry

    • Using biological resources to prepare the food forest area

    • Planting

    • Frequency of planting and movement of biological resources

    • Ratios of climax to support species

    • Chop and drop: principles, frequency and timing

    • Maintaining the food forest

Biological resources

    • What are biological resources and how are they used

    • Rotation of biological resources

    • Aims and management of biological resources

Nursery and garden

    • Establishing a nursery

    • Shade and hot houses

    • Watering and care

    • Potting mixes

    • Plants and when to plant out into garden

    • Pest control and management

    • Temperature management methods

    • Garden maintenance

Seeds, seedlings and propagation

    • Seed saving

    • Seed management

    • Planting times

    • Planting methods

    • Transplanting seedlings

    • Grafting and other propagation methods

    • Planting out into the garden

    • Watering and care

    • Composting and fertilising

Water Management and earthworks

    • Water Management design

    • Dams and swales

    • Design implementation in gardens, food forest and larger scale

    • Flow of water

    • Erosion control

    • Planting out after earthworks

Erosion prevention

    • Observation of water flow

    • Designing erosion prevention and control

    • Planting out for erosion prevention

    • Types of plants for erosion control

Diversity, soil improvement and guilds

    • Importance of diversity

    • Diversity for pest control and attracting other species

    • Improving the soil through composting and mulching

    • Plant guilds

    • Soil food web

Running the farm, people management and task allocation

    • Day to day running of a permaculture farm

    • Managing and training volunteers

    • Organising tasks and people

    • Recognising people’s talents and encouraging them

    • Managing problems or issues on the farm

    • Liaising between volunteers

    • Drawing up schedules for jobs

    • Allocating and re-allocating tasks with changing people on the farm

    • Conducting tours of the farm

Bio fertiliser

    • Biofertiliser – Eugenio Grass and Paul Taylor’s methods

    • Making biofertiliser

    • Brewing the brew

    • Spraying out and applications

Worm farms and soldier fly farms

    • Worm farms and soldier fly farms: set up and maintenance

    • Regular feeding

    • Worm compost and worm “juice”

    • Methods of use

Building, maintenance, repair and improvement

    • Maintenance and repair to existing structures

    • Designing solar passive, principles and methods

    • New structures, design and implementation

    • Using recycled, local or home made materials

    • Use of cement and concrete

    • Natural materials

    • Roofing and water catchment

    • Roofing and solar power

    • Fencing and other structures

    • Maintaining the property with minimal expense

Aquaculture and aquaponics

    • Aquaculture, growing flora and fauna in dams and ponds

    • Produce and plants

    • Fish and other water creatures

    • Small scale aquaponics

    • Cycling water and nutrients within aquaculture and aquaponics

Resource gathering and storage

    • Second hand materials for future or immediate use

    • Sourcing materials in the local area

    • Finding storage space, storage methods on minimal budget

    • Wood, rock, local materials and second hand

    • Bricks, recycled, home made, second hand

    • Other local materials and their use

Machine maintenance and repairs

    • Bush” mechanics

    • Finding out what is wrong with a machine

    • Oil change and other fluids that need replacing

    • Work space

    • Pulling machines apart to look for an issue

    • Putting machines back together the right way

    • Maintenance on machines

The right tools for the job

    • Using the right tool for the job

    • How to know what is the right tool

    • Returning tools after use

Tool maintenance and repair

    • Maintaining your tools

    • Tool repair

    • Oiling, sharpening and modifying

Produce, harvesting, preparing, storage and preserving

    • Harvesting produce from the garden

    • Preparation for storage

    • Freezing, drying, preserving

    • From garden to plate principles

    • Correct way of harvesting in the sub tropics

    • Stimulating continuing growth of annuals

    • Managing the harvest, knowing when to harvest what

Meat production

    • Slaughtering cows, goats, chickens, geese etc

    • Cuts, chops and processing of meats

    • Storage and use

    • Gutting, what to use and what not

    • Checking for parasites in organs

    • Uses of offal and bones

    • Uses of fat

Working dogs

    • Working, managing and controlling working dogs

    • Discipline and rewards