Calgary : Gaiacraft Permaculture Design Course


“Permaculture gives people a place to be a part of the solution”

– Rosemary Morrow

We are happy to announce Gaiacraft’s new Permaculture Design Certification Program taught by Kym Chi.   This low cost, ultra flexible course caters to the busyness of modern life. If you miss a class you can jump in on the the same module in a different class at no extra cost and there is no time limit to complete the certification.  Courses are offered yearly in Calgary and there are also multiple courses being offered monthly in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.

The program has been developed to include pedagogical teachings of the Permaculture elders woven with a creative new school teaching methods.  An exciting teaching tool kit is used that transforms lectures into games and together we travel to many different permaculture farms, gardens and forest locations while sharing in a uniquely creative learning journey. The 4 season course focus project is a map and design for where you live or an area of your choice.

Join us from September 2016 to June, 2017 for our next 4 Season Permaculture Design Certificate Course!

Gather together once a season with a conscious and creative ring of learners to meet with plants and animals, travel to gardens, farms and forests to learn about how nature designs itself and how we can become sustainable designers ourselves. Together we will learn how to map and design our land and our lives, plan for emergency, grow organic food in all four seasons and work to build a more regenerative future.

The certification granted upon completion of the course will empower participants as permaculture designers, consultants and beginner teachers able to use the word permaculture legally in their practice, business or project. This sustainability education eco-training certificate is a practical path for greening your life, resume and portfolio.

Join this adventure in learning as it journeys to eco-locations like  ContainR, Community Wise, Urban Permaculture Farm, Blank Page Studio, Senses of the Soul, off grid Permaculture farms, and the properties of students who want to host.

Course Topics include:

design methods * patterns in nature * soils and composting * water * trees * animals * design for cool ,* tropical and arid climates * social permaculture * native food and medicine plants of the First Peoples and much much more.

There are worksheets, permaculture design gaming tools, an online social networking and educational support platform, as well as many gardens as our living classroom.

The class caters anyone who wants to learn permaculture in a creative way but cannot afford the cost or intensive time commitment of other courses including lower-income families, students, youth and people for who are called permaculture but have been struggling to find a course that fits their life.

Permaculture Photos from Dana Wilson



September 23 – 26, 2016

December 2-5, 2016


March 3, 4, 6, 2017

June 2-5, 2017

Investment: $777

payment plans accepted

All proceeds go towards basic course costs and paying for Kym’s permaculture education.

Kym Chi is a dedicated advocate of earth stewardship, people care and regenerative action for future resiliency. Deeply inspired by nature, art and experiential education, her main efforts are as a creative facilitator, artist, gardener, healer and community builder.  To date; Kym has received 3 certificates in Permaculture Design, completed multiple teacher trainings and taken a variety of advanced trainings.  She continues to take courses and is in the finalities of completing a Diploma in Education through the Permaculture Institute. Through her stewardship of a deepened connection with the natural environment, Kym wishes to inspire creative self expression that enriches lives, creating healthy and abundant habitats and communities. With a focus on Social Permaculture,  Kym also works for One Straw Society, a non profit focusing on food sovereignty and community resiliency on the Sunshine Coast.



Program Content 

Session 1: Pretro

Group introductions

Course orientation & requirements

Group goals and guidelines

Communication (NVC and conflict resolution)

Learning styles & multiple intelligences

Learning Goals:

Set a course culture of safety, respect and organization

Create a positive & effective learning environment

Encourage active listening in groups

Value different ways of communicating and have confidence in utilizing tools of conflict resolution

Orient participants to course content

Session 2:  Foundations of Permaculture


History of Permaculture



Learning Goals:

Know the Permaculture ethics and the Transition ethic and how to apply them to conscious decision making

Learn the basis of how the Permaculture movement began, how it has grown, some of its progeny’s and how the lineage links to this course.

Gain a strong understanding of nature’s principles and how they are at the foundation of design decisions and application

Provide awareness of the world’s problems and the current situation

Shift from a place of problems to positive solution based thinking.

Feel confident in defining Permaculture clearly to others

Session 3:  Design Methods

Needs, Functions and Outputs




Learning Goals:

Understand how to do a needs & yields analysis

Gain a base understanding of closed loop systems

Observe a site, document and recognize available resources and design constraints based on analysis.

Identify energies or influences that effect a design site

Be able to create a base map including zones & sector analysis for a site

Know the basic elements included in mapping a site

Session 4: Pattern Literacy

Physical patterns, emergent patterns, fractal patterns

Functions of patterns

Patterns in time

Behavioural patterns

Application of patterns in design


Learning Goals:

Pattern recognition in nature and technology

Learn the functions of patterns in nature and how to apply that knowledge to effective design

Gain Pattern literacy and understand how to replace dysfunctional patterns with functional ones.

Know the functions of and feel confident designing guilds

Recognize that pattern literacy is fundamental in becoming good designers

Session 5: Soil

Soil biology

Soil classification and testing


Soil remediation


Soil indicators

Learning Goals:

Have a base understanding of the components of healthy soil and know the value of building soil.

Know different ways to test soil

Recognize different plant indicators and what they tell about soil health.

Understand a multitude of different ways to remediate and build soil.

Apply different composting techniques in appropriate situations.

Identify key plants that bring nutrient to the soil.

Session 6:  Trees

Ecological function of trees in relation to earth, water, air and energy


Forest gardens/ food forests

Plant/ tree identification

Design for trees

Learning Goals:

Understand the ecological functions of trees and recognize them as a keystone species in the ecosystem

Learn the stages of succession and how to intervene at appropriate times to speed up the succession process, creating abundant, thriving systems sooner

Know the layers in a forest garden and different plants for each layer that grow locally

Identify local plants and see the difference in characteristics between different species

Be able to integrate trees adequately and appropriately in design

Sesssion 7: Animals

Design for wild and domestic animals

Animal care

Integrated pest management

Learning Goals:

Recognize the intrinsic characteristics, functions and outputs of animals

How to meet the needs of animals on site

Learn techniques for integrating animal systems

Understand effective and healthy ways to handle pests

Know how to safely and ethically live with wildlife

Session 8: Water, Aquaculture & Earthworks

Water facts

Water conservation

Water strategies & techniques

Waste water treatment

Water harvesting & storage



Learning Goals:

Understand how global water issues can affect us on a local level.

Learn how to do a water audit.

Recognize multiple ways in which to conserve water.

Feel confident in applying strategies and techniques to capture, store, treat and release water safely and appropriately.

Know how to calculate roof water catchment amounts.

Session 9:  Climate

Climatic factors


Slope and aspect

12 climatic zones

Learning Goals:

Understand climate on a global scale and how we may design to moderate climatic factors

Recognize different microclimates and identify how to use them to benefit a system or how to modify them for maximum efficiency

Learn the characteristics of different climates to be able to identify effective climatic techniques

Session 10:  Cool Climate

Cool climate characteristics

Cool climate design challenges and strategies

Cool climate design elements and techniques

Learning Goals:

Be able to identify characteristics of cool climate and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.

Session 11: Tropics

Tropical climate characteristics

Tropical climate design challenges and strategies

Tropical climate design elements and techniques

Learning Goals:

Be able to identify characteristics of wet, wet dry and monsoon tropics and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.

Session 12: Drylands

Dryland climate characteristics

Dryland climate design challenges and strategies

Dryland climate design elements and techniques

Learning Goals:

Be able to identify characteristics of drylands and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.

Session 13:  Social Permaculture

Client interview & designer checklist

Community building (group processes and asset mapping)

Governance (sociocracy and consensus decision making)

Land access

Right livelihood

Legal structures


Learning Goals:   

Gain confidence in the consultation and design process for clients.

Be able to map assets and resources and identify community needs.

Understand different models of decision making and how to apply them.

Feel comfortable engaging in community and using tools to provide for healthy group dynamics and efficient process.

Recognize opportunities for land access locally.

Learn ethical and effective business models and legal structures that support local economy

Know ways to relocalize and create resilient communities.

Session 14:  OS Permaculture


Permaculture economics (LET’s, Barter and trade, complimentary currency)

Education (accessibility, open source, alternative education)

Urban renewal strategies and design (place-making, curb cuts, green streets, roof top gardens, boulevard gardening

Learning Goals:

Able to identify risks and mitigate using Permaculture design tools and techniques

Know the steps in building a resiliency preparedness plan and engaging local community in the process

Know the basis of how the economic system works

Learn a variety of different economic strategies and the value of utilizing multiple currencies and tools for resilience

See access to education as a basic right and understand benefits of open source

Feel confident in utilizing place-making tools, techniques and Permaculture strategies in urban environments

Session 15:  Graduation

Next steps (setting up a permaculture practice, further education, community involvement, goal sharing)

Mapping and design presentations

Talent show


Learning Goals:

Think about niches in permaculture and practice effective goal setting

Gain experience presenting to groups and receiving feedback

Understand how to help others share their gifts

Optional hands on activities throughout the course:

Design Charrettes

Earthworks demonstration

Integrative games

Compost building

Soil analysis

Plant & tree identification


Medicine Making


Additional Topics:

Medicinal plants & preparations

Plant Identification


Non-violent communication


Completion Requirements 

We don’t require those taking the course to participate in the certification requirements.

Those wanting the certification will complete:

Individual map and design

Questions/ Written work

Course Journal

100% attendance  (students can arrange to make up missed classes with the

instructors, at no extra cost)

Graduating and Jobs

Having a Permaculture Design Certificate from a recognized training institute will empower participants as permaculture designers, consultants and beginner teachers able to use the word permaculture legally in their practice, business or project. This sustainability education eco-training certificate is a practical path for greening your life, resume and portfolio. You will have a green edge when applying for jobs, grants or school programs


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