Yarrow Ecovillage Permaculture Design Certificate

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Yarrow Ecovillage Permaculture Design Certificate

Gather together with a group of environmentally conscious and creative people to learn and grow with plants and animals while exploring gardens, farms and forests across the lower mainland. Together we will learn about how nature designs itself and how we can become sustainable designers ourselves. We will learn how to map and design our land and our lives, plan for emergencies, grow organic food in all four seasons and work to build a more sustainable future. By designing and consulting with an eye to energy efficiency and long term planning, we can save time, energy and money while living in alignment with our values and helping support other people to do so too.

Yarrow PDC 2017 web

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 Coastal First Peoples and much more.

The Permaculture Design Certification program is co-taught by a dynamic male – female teaching team (Delvin and Kym) who are well known in the Permaculture community.

This low cost, 12 month weekend course caters to the busyness of modern life while allowing you to observe changes throughout the seasons. Successful completion of this course (including 90% attendance) offers certificates through the graduate’s choice of the Permaculture Research Institute Australia (www.permaculturenews.org) or the Permaculture Institute USA (www.permaculture.org). Working toward certification is not a requirement. Students may attend the course without completing the material required to attain the certificates. Many take the course and do not seek the certificate or want to do any of the requirements, its a fun way to journey with like minded people in an experiential, outdoor adventure in education.

Short Promo Video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sM64plGgww

Thanks to Dana Wilson of Gaiacraft for the photos from past Permaculture Design Courses.

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 an edge when applying for jobs, grants or school programs

Dates and Times

Meeting once a season for four seasons. Missed classes can be done at no extra cost with other groups without time limit to complete. Classes run from 11 am – 5:30 pm.


August 22, 23 & 24


October 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th


January 16th, 17th, 18th & 19th


June 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


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 arranged to make up missed classes with the

instructors, at no extra cost)

Course Costs


$100 discount for VPG members

$100 discount for early bird registration

email delvin@cosm.org for more details


Instructor Bios

Delvin Solkinson is community gardener and plant poet dedicated to bringing creativity to the permaculture movement by creating free open source learning and teaching tools. He has completed a PDC, Diploma and Master’s Degree with Bill Mollison and has done advanced teacher trainings with Rosemary Morrow, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Patricia Michael, Robyn Francis, the Bullock Brothers, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, Larry Santoyo, Scott Pittman, Michael Becker, Robin Wheeler, Starhawk, Looby Macnamara, Robina McCurdy and Robin Clayfield. He is an accredited teacher through the Permaculture Research Institute (Australia), Permaculture Association (UK) and a Field Mentor through the Permaculture Institute. Recently he completed a PDC in Portland with Toby Hemenway, one in Greece with Rosemary Morrow and a second Diploma through the Permaculture Institute. Currently he is doing graduate work under the mentorship of Larry Santoyo and Looby Macnamara.

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 currently 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.


Thanks to Simon Haiduk for the photo. https://simonhaiduk.com

Student Comments

The instructors, Delvin and Kym, provide an excellent introduction to the ethics, principles, and techniques of Permaculture. The instruction is more than I could have hoped for.  Between the curriculum, and personal experiences of the instructors, the course offers a brilliant education and a profound experience.

– Steven Funk

I quite enjoyed the permaculture design course, I always looked forward to attending every class because there was something different to learn each time. It also nicely tied in well with the Gaia College studies. Having different locations is a brilliant way to immerse ourselves in the natural learning of ecological design. It was never boring! The lessons were engaging and very interactive, I quite miss it!

– Monique Constant

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:

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



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