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Annual >Permaculture Design Course Online

Annual Permaculture Design Course Online

The following material pertains only to our online certificate course and related online programs. It in no way describes our conventional Permaculture Design Course, given in three weeks or more.

Permaculture Design Course Certification
PDC Content
PDC -- Design Report Requirement
Note on Design Report
PDC--Student Class Report
PDC--Other Contents
PDC--Format and Methods
Using Conventional Mail
Copyright Policy
PDC--Course Add-ons
PDC--Scholarship Funds
PDC--Late Registration
PDC--Certification Requirements
PDC--Advanced Work
PDC--Costs (with options)
Deposits and Refunds
Electronic Transfer of Funds
PDC--The Instrucors
Permaculture Design Report for DIY Home Designers (Non-Certificate)
Low Cost Options for Permaculture Training
Permaculture Clinic
Intern Opportunities
Reading List and Registration Info

      This course reflects about 20 years of our experience in teaching the Permaculture Design Course worldwide. Along the way, we adapted many of the details in this course incorporating what we learned from student groups. We strive for a version of the one-room school house in which students learn from students as well as from the teacher. This is consistent with the permaculture principle of fully utilizing all available resources that suit a given purpose.

      Students must complete all requirements and assignments in this course to receive Elfin Permaculture Design Course Certification as an entry-level permaculturist. Not everyone needs certification. You can take the course not for certification if you wish, however certification students have first priority if we are at the enrollment limit. If you do not wish certification, obviously you can adjust your participation to suit your personal needs and choices. Major certification requirements are listed below.

      Elfin Permaculture has adapted its three-week live permaculture design course to serve as a correspondence course with an email classroom. The program follows almost the same outline as our three week standard Permaculture Design Course, except we have added a module for "Design for Health". From time to time, we revise the course somewhat to keep pace with revisions in the live design course or to adapt to the special circumstances of interment communication. You may get a good idea of course content by ordering Yankee Permaculture Paper #24e from our regular order form. That is the email version of the course outline. The current price and handling charge are listed in the Yankee Permaculture Order Form. Paper 24e is sent free to all registered students and monitors of the online course.       For people with scheduling problems, or with a need to spread out payments, it is possible to enroll in one section at a time. The total cost is higher than prepaying for the entire course at one time. The best sequence is the one we have designed (below). However, any sequence that suits the student may be taken except that Section I of the course is required for enrolling in the design project.
Section 1: Introduction and Basic Principles
  1. World ecological problems and interrelationships.
  2. Principles of natural design.
  3. Permaculture design concepts.
  4. Classical landscapes.
  5. Patterning, edges, edge effects.
  6. The Permaculture Design Report
  7. Principles of transformation (Unique to Elfin Permaculture courses.)

Section 2: Appropriate Technologies in Permaculture Design (Special feature of Elfin Permaculture Courses)
  1. Energy--solar, wind, hydro, biomass, etc.
  2. Nutrient cycles--soil, microclimates, gardening methods, perennials, tree crops, food parks, composting toilets, livestock, "pest" management, food storage, seed saving, cultivated systems, forests, etc.
  3. Water--impoundments, aquaculture, conservation, etc.
  4. Buildings.
  5. Design for Health (NEW)

Section 3: Social permaculture. Design Report.
  1. Design for catastrophe.
  2. Urban permaculture.
  3. Bioregionalism.
  4. Alternative economics.
  5. Village development.
  6. Final design reports and critiques.
  7. Final evaluation.

      Each certificate student completes a design or contributes significantly to a team of students that submits a single design. Designs must be based on a real place to which the student has frequent access. We expect most students to design their own homes. There must be a strong possibility that a good design will be implemented by the site residents. We are not interested in theoretical exercise here. At a minimum, the permaculture design will address provision of food, water, energy, shelter, fiber, and income for the residents, protection and enrichment of the ecosystem, and practicable step by step recommendations for implementation over at least a three-year time frame. Designs must be practical, affordable by residents, safe, legal, and within the cultural constraints of the residents and community. The design is exceedingly site specific, and frequent access to the design site is necessary.
      Two acres, or about a hectare, are approximately the upper limit of what a student should attempt in a beginning design. These can be part of larger properties, in which case the ways in which they integrate with the larger property will be included in a design project.
      We encourage students who live near one another to work together on a single design. There is a tuition discount if they do. (See below.)
      Enrollment in or completion of Section I is required for the design project. Students may, of course, begin a design project at any time. However, we will not support the process until after completion of Section I where the design report requirements are taught.
      A student unable to complete his/her report within the 6 month course period may request permission to submit a report in Section I of the next course without late fees. (We may need to limit the number of carry-over designs.) Thereafter, the student must request permission reregister for the design report portion of the course. Exact terms for reregistered students are at the discussion of the instructor. Additional provisions are posted to registered students with the requirements for the design project in Section I of the course. Students must complete ALL OTHER REQUIREMENTS of their initial course to carry their design project to future courses. If a student fails to meet the extended deadline for completing approval of his/her design report, the student must re-enroll in the design practicum to continue.
      Graduates of this or another Elfin Permaculture certificate course may achieve ADVANCED CERTIFICATION by taking the design practicum for additional design projects, provided that these are submitted in Section I of a course. (This allows the students to see some design work and discussion before they start on their own designs.) Again, this must be arranged in advance with the instructor. We may make additional arrangements or requirements on a case by case basis.. Graduates of courses taught by other instructors should consult us if they wish to seek advanced certification in this way. We will limit the number of designs considered in Section I at the instructor's discretion.
      ALTERNATE ARRANGEMENTS for fulfilling the design requirement for certification are detailed in "PDC Costs" below.
      DEADLINES for proposing the design project, requesting permission to extend the design process, to submit design drafts, and for the final design report submission are posted at the beginning of each course. Deadlines for designs to be presented in the following course cycle are at set the discretion of the instructor.

      Included in the reading package is Yankee Permaculture Paper 27, Special Order Catalog. In addition to many resources of value in preparing certain permaculture design reports, #27 lists sample designs, both those by students and some by the instructor. We HIGHLY recommend that students purchase two or three of these design reports to act as models. We hope to have a book of designs available sometime in the future, but this has not yet been started. It is the student's responsibility to select designs most applicable to his/her project and study them. This is not required, but reports from students in previous online classes suggest that this may be essential to getting your design report approved. As part of the class, we do post an outline of one design and selected portions of design reports by way of examples. Sometimes we have design reports from students in the previous class to post in Section I or II.

      Each student will prepare a report of some sort to the class. We encourage each student to report on a subject that is his/her special interest or that reflects particular personal experience. For example, one student reported on how she raised two daughters carrying only a gallon of water per day to her teepee. It was a humbling lesson in water conservation. Another student reported on degradation of Long Island Sound, a problem he had fought for years as a grass-roots activist. Another, a retired herbal toxicologist, reported on the value and dangers of certain plants. Two purposes of this requirement are to validate that everyone has an important perspective to share and for other students to benefit from the special experience of each. For people who do not feel that written narrative is their strong point, they may submit tapes, artwork, databases, etc. However, a report must be of substance; entertainment alone is not enough. If a report is submitted in a form that cannot be accessed by simple email, the student submitting the report must send it to all students, monitors and instructors in a timely manner. If some participants in your particular course cannot access a specific item, e.g. a videotape, then another format is necessary.
      Students who do not wish certification may waive this requirement, though we will be happy if they too share their special knowledge and/or viewpoints with the class.

      At registration, students received the standard course schedule that includes the reading assignments. (On request, we will send a free copy to people who order the reading package but are not yet registered.) The schedule can vary. We may extend time for pressing reasons, so that two calendar weeks can be allowed for one week's material. We will not extend the course beyond 26 elapsed weeks under any circumstance. This gives us four weeks to use to extend discussions. If not used, they are helpful for completing final approval of design projects at the end of the course.       The instructor will, about weekly, transmit the "lecture notes" to supplement reading assignments as appropriate. We may also send by real mail disks and hard copy. We may also share details of other design projects or consultations in which we become involved if they fit with the topics under discussion. The instructor is plugged into a great deal of interment communication relating to permaculture. We routinely forward such communications to the class, obtaining copyright permission where appropriate.       The first online course coincided with our purchase of land for our permanent permaculture center. We will continue to share our design process with our classes until the design is formalized. This is a unique opportunity.

The course consists of a number of elements:
      As mentioned below, students may arrange for add-ons to increase the quality of their training and evaluation. Any student may at any time arrange a discussion with classmates, of course. Due to the work involved in course preparation, the instructor may or may not participate in such sessions at his discretion.
      The reading assignments handle the core of information in the course. We presently offer all of the texts in a discounted package. When we ship the reading package, we often include "extras," additional material that we decide is useful. The extras vary from class to class.
      Where he feels that the reading assignments need to be supplemented and/or interpreted, the instructor will send "lecture notes" for the upcoming week. At least once a week, he will download email from students and answer as required. Each topic will be on the course agenda for two weeks, one week when students respond with comments and questions to the week's materials and then when they and the instructor comment on the response. Therefore two subjects, a new topic and an old one, will be under consideration at once. This is necessary to complete the course in a manageable time. The schedule also includes review sessions, in which we can go back to material about which a student has a question, discuss designs, etc., so that no question or comment need go unexpressed.
      Each student may be assigned to a study group with several other students, depending on course size and other logistics. Students raise questions within their study groups and help one another. Where students form design teams, the design team will be the study group. Study groups enable unlimited discussion to go on without overloading the class process. Study groups can bring questions and issues before the entire class for further discussion, of course.
      Each student is responsible to email all classroom comments (as opposed to study group discussion) to the entire class + any monitors. (Monitors do not normally engage in class discussion.)
      If a student falls behind in reading, s/he should not participate in discussions on those topics. If a student misses a substantial portion of the course, s/he may be required to certify that s/he has completely caught up in order to receive the design certificate. The instructor may choose to require additional reports. If a student experiences serious difficulty in reading materials, s/he should notify the instructor even if the student has not finished the reading. Obviously there is no point in reading materials that are incomprehensible, and trying to do so might make eventual understanding more difficult.
      BECAUSE THE COURSE IS BASED ON EVERYONE READING THE SAME MATERIALS AT THE SAME TIME, IT IS IMPERATIVE TO ORDER READING MATERIALS PROMPTLY. This is particularly important for students outside North America, due to the shipping delays. We routinely ship by surface mail--air shipment will approximately double the cost of reading matter. We do try to transmit electronically some material where the student could not order material in advance (as in waiting for a grant, registering late, etc.) This requires a computer and email program capable of receiving and downloading large files. It is helpful if Macintosh owners have StuffIt utility for decompressing files. Because transmitting materials in this way can be time consuming, often requiring several attempts before success, we keep this service to a minimum. Moreover, electronic transmission of any reading materials is solely at our discretion and no one is "entitled" to it.
NOTE ON READINGS; The reading assignments for the course are quite heavy at times. If you do not think you can keep up with a heavy reading assignment, you can monitor the course or just read on your own. Either way, you can take the course after you have done enough reading to feel comfortable that you can complete the course reading assignments. If you order the entire reading package from us, and request a copy of the reading assignments with your order, we will send it to you at no additional charge. Otherwise, you may purchase the schedule of reading assignments for $US10.00 + P&H. Of course the reading schedule is free to registered students and monitors in the course in any case.

      The schedule provides special times to review materials. Students can nominate subjects for review up to a week before each session. Students should check with others in their study groups before bringing such questions to the whole class.
      Each posting by the instructor or any student will be confined to only one exact topic. In this way, everyone may organize "course notes" readily. A special email address will be reserved for the course and must be used. We try to label forwarded material for the section of the course to which it pertains. Use course email address ONLY for course business. Observing this rule is a requirement of the course. When the subject of a discussion thread changes, it is imperative to change the title of the post to reflect the content. Otherwise, valuable viewpoints and information may be misfiled or discarded.
      Students are required to provide feedback at specified intervals and at the completion of the course. In addition, feedback of any kind is always in order at any point in the course, the sooner the better.

      From time to time, it may be important to use conventional mail to supplement the email communications. Not every student can receive attachments or send and receive images. Students should check on the ability of classmates to receive the sorts of material that they are likely to send. If another student cannot receive material as you send it, you must have it ready in time to deliver by conventional mail at the same time that everyone else gets it as an email attachment. There is nothing sacred about using the interment for all communications. When it is convenient, we use it. If another method becomes more convenient, we use that.

      Everything sent during the course is copyrighted. In fact, everything written, drawn or otherwise created is copyrighted at the moment of creation. Students and monitors sign an agreement to honor copyright of all material received in connection with the course. This means that you do not distribute anything from the course to other people nor do you distribute the work of others to the class without permission before, during or after the course. In particular, it is not acceptable to forward material from newsgroup or email list discussions without consent of the AUTHOR. The name and email address of the author must be included, with a statement that the material is forwarded with permission. Upholding this policy 100 percent of the time is a requirement of certification and repeat violations will result transfer of a student to monitor status without rebate. We are serious about this.

      We recognize a limitation in evaluating designs for sites that we have not seen. While can recognize most or all problems in a written design, we may not see if you missed opportunities that the site offers. We encourage students to organize design intensive workshops for us to lead in their home area. Workshop participants design the site. Students get the added benefit of some of our extensive slide collection, and on-site work with the instructors. This is especially helpful for students who benefit from face-to-face contact the concreteness of on site work.
      To meet the design requirement with a 10-day workshop, students must post the design to one of our online courses. This usually requires some modification and upgrading of the design work, but should be far less work than a full design. The instructor usually will indicate the main tasks after the live workshop is concluded. The finished design should meet the same high standards as required for all designs in the course. Any number of students attending a specific workshop may receive practicum credit this way, polishing and finishing the design report as a team. A partial refund of the online course tuition is available to students who meet the design requirement through our live design intensive. Elfin Permaculture teaches worldwide.

      We offer one online course per year. The next course begins in September 10, 2000, subject to other demands on our time. We recommend early registration. If in doubt, you may wish to order the reading materials, which will help with your interest in permaculture even if you do not take the course. It is well to have them in hand as we commence readings immediately. (The first week reading assignments are heavy and you should have most done before the course starts.) You can use the course outline (Permaculture Paper 24E) as a self-study guide if you decide not to take the course.
      Students who register late may not comment on material that has been covered before they registered. Students may register at any time. See PDC--LATE REGISTRATION, below, for more details.
      This course is based on our three-week Elfin Permaculture Design Course that runs 20 days. By allowing a week for each day of the live course, plus some cushion room, we assure that the course finishes within 6 months. All course material should be received within 6 months from the course beginning date, including revision of designs. ALL assignments MUST be completed for certification. Extensions without extra tuition costs are available ONLY for the design practicum except in dire circumstances.

      Students who are unable to complete their design project in the six months' time limit may request permission to present their design in Section I (only) of the next course. This benefits the new students by orienting them to what we are working toward while they are still getting background information. There usually is no charge. If the design project goes beyond Section I of the following course, however, the student is required to pay the full course fee for each section until the project is complete, assuming that there is room for another student in the course. (See fees below.) In addition, the student pays for a new practicum fee. We will limit the amount of time a student takes to complete the practicum at our discretion. We want permaculture practitioners, not permanent students.
      Any graduate (certificate recipient) of this course may elect to monitor the course following the one that s/he attends at no charge. In consideration, the understanding that the instructor may ask the graduate to participate from time to time. Graduate participation is purely the option of the instructor We find that a second exposure to the course materials is profoundly beneficial to our course graduates.
      We are happy to work with course graduates in other ways to the limit of available time. For example, a graduate may organize a course for us to teach and participate as a trainee. In subsequent programs, the graduate takes over more and more of the teaching. (This is offered only to graduates of our own courses.) We are also willing to collaborate with graduates on design, again gradually stepping back from the process. Dan Hemenway of Elfin Permaculture is fully qualified to certify people with advanced diplomas in education, design, etc., on this basis. For additional models for advanced work, ask for information on our APT (Advanced Permaculture Training) program.

      Enrollment is limited to 20 students. This is only two-thirds of our limit in the live course. The smaller number ensures that we will be able to provide enough individual attention, particularly with design reports. (In the live course, we usually have only one report, done by the whole class.) There are no enrollment requirements other than completing payment of tuition and agreeing to honor copyrights. We especially recommend that persons under the age of 13 first take the course as monitors. (See below.) (We have had people in ages ranging from 13 to 78 as active participants of our live courses.) Each participant will complete a personal profile so we can get to know one another and so each student can be identified as a resource to the others.
      People take the Permaculture Design Course for a variety of reasons. Our certification requirements indicate that a person has met Elfin Permaculture standards as someone who might make permaculture a major focus of his/her life activities. We may have the most stringent standards for certification worldwide. We have programs for people who simply want to design their own place, and we have integrated them so that work done in one program supports a nother. Anyone can take this course on a "Not-for-certification" basis and customize his/her participation accordingly.

      The equivalent of one full-scholarship (or 2 half scholarships, etc.) is usually available in each course, if it fills. This is much lower than in "live" courses because it is harder to imagine that someone with computer access is disadvantaged and because each student in this course adds a much larger work load than in the live design course where more students can actually mean less work. Any scholarship student in this course must show that s/he will use the knowledge gained to help a large number of people in difficult circumstances. Scholarship students must truly be unable to pay. While we applaud people who choose a simple lifestyle, and we understand the difficulties of college students, we will not underwrite these choices with scholarships, except if other, qualifying circumstances also apply. We only grant scholarships to people genuinely unable to pay and who have not chosen that condition. We make exceptions on a case by case basis for people on a path of service, e.g. a spiritual person who has taken a vow of poverty and does works related to permaculture. In such cases, payment has been made in advance.
      All scholarships are based on the Maori koha principle. For more information on this, send a SASE to Elfin Permaculture or request our scholarship document by email.
      We strongly encourage students to seek scholarships from other sources. Of the chief instructors, Dan took the Permaculture Design Course on a scholarship from the Massachusetts Society for the Advancement of Agriculture and Cynthia attended as a representative of a land based group. (She gave them more than their money's worth and brought back the instructor as well as the instruction.)

      We maintain a fund for scholarship donations. If you need a US tax contribution, donate funds to Permaculture, PREP Project and 95 percent of the funds will be used for scholarships. If you do not need a US tax deduction, donate funds to Permaculture, PEP Project, and 100 percent of your contribution will be used for scholarships. Scholarships target, more or less in order of priority: indigenous peoples where displaced and/or oppressed, women (particularly single mothers) with little money, people in societies with little cash or US$ exchange (usually for a class there), suppressed minorities, teenagers. elderly people, and others unable to pay. We will accept targeted donations: e.g. single mothers, Native American youth, etc. All recipients will meet our requirements for need and potential for outreach. There is one scholarship fund for all our programs, both online and live. Most people who need scholarships do not have access to computers. Send contributions to the appropriate fund at Permaculture, P.O. Box 52, Sparr FL 32192-0052 USA. Please indicate if you require a receipt. Make checks payable to 'Permaculture' and the appropriate fund. If no fund is designated, we decide where the money will best serve others.

      To register, a student should complete the registration form and pay tuition. Early registration guarantees a place in the course. We will not increase enrollment beyond 20. In case of excess registration, early registrants generally have priority, except as noted above. However, we may also select students to achieve a balanced participation of women and men in the course. We find that such balance improves the quality of the one-room-schoolhouse aspect of the live course. You may request a registration form at

      Monitors may join the course at any stage, but the fee will be the same as for the entire course.
      Students may join the course at any stage, with the understanding that catching up is his/her responsibility. A student who pays for the entire course may have to take-over the current section. Missed sections will be picked up in the next course and are covered by the course fee already paid.
     It appears that late registration is a fact of life in the online course.
Late registrants have two problems. First they cannot discuss in class material that they have missed, although they can of course privately take questions to other (willing) students. Second, they are seriously behind in their reading and have great difficulty catching up. Again, until they have read assignments, they cannot discuss them. The first week's reading is particularly heavy as we expect students to start reading before the 26 week discussion period begins. Remember, it takes time for books to arrive. Only people who have the time for make-up reading should attempt to make up lost time. Instead, the student can take section(s) of the course missed over again for the package fee or else by registering for each section individually.
      When we register a person for the entire course, we start them immediately even if they "officially" begin in the next session. For example, if someone signs on in the middle of Section I, we begin them immediately, even though they will take Section I over the next time that it is offered. There is no advantage to making them wait under these circumstances.
      Reading materials are priced to be sent book-rate or book-rate-surface, depending on destination. Sending them priority (US) or Air Mail (foreign) could double the price. It is impossible to overstress the importance of ordering reading materials as soon as you are seriously considering the course. If you then decide to wait on the course, you can begin studying the reading materials anyway. Again, remember to ask for the assignment schedule if you order the discounted package.

      It is possible that the standards for our courses are most the rigorous worldwide. We offer other programs for people who do not need a professional permaculture training.
      Our certification requirements include:
  1. The student must submit a signed statement that s/he has completed all reading assignments.
  2. The student's completed design project must be approved by the instructor within the course interval.
  3. The student must complete his/her classroom report to the satisfaction of the instructor.
  4. Tuition must be paid in full.
  5. The student must complete the course.
  6. The student shall have completed both the course registration form and the trainee registration form completely and in typewritten form. The student shall complete the course registration form and deliver it to the instructor before beginning in the course. S/he must complete the trainee registration form and deliver it to the instructor before the course ends. To receive a certificate, the student must deliver the trainee registration form by the deadline specified during the course.
  7. Students must complete and report for discussion on two experiences in teaching or explaining permaculture during the course, once near the middle of the course and again near the end. Deadliness will be assigned.
  8. The student must have completed all assignments made during the course, individually or to the class as a whole.

  10. Disruptive or uncooperative behavior during the course or in business matters pertaining to the course can disqualify a student from certification. Extreme behavior, including flaming anyone in the context of the course, is cause for dismissal without refund. Passionate disagreement is not considered extreme unless it is disrespectful.
  11. Any evidence that a student has violated our common law and/or statutory copyright, or has distributed without appropriate permission in the context of this course material copyrighted by anyone, can result in immediate termination without refund. We will be very clear when we supply information in public domain or otherwise available to be shared. By law, every item of communication produced is copyrighted unless deliberately placed in public domain. We are aware that some people may disagree with our copyright policy. They can choose not to take this course or to set aside th eir disagreement in this case.

      Generally the evaluation of the student design report is the most important single consideration in certification. We consider a report acceptable if it represents the best effort than could be made under the circumstances of the course, and considering the prior experience of the design course student. All reports must be in a finished, professional form, however. The second most important consideration is the instructor's evaluation of the student's growth in abilities and during the course. Not everyone needs to be a designer. Additional criteria are posted during the course.
      Certification indicates that the student has received the minimum permaculture training to call him/herself a permaculturist. Advanced training is available in a variety of formats throughout the permaculture movement, including from Elfin Permaculture. Besides special advanced programs, we arrange advanced work for any qualified permaculture design course graduate within our regular programs. In this way, the other students get the benefit of an advanced associate and the advanced student has the convenience of being able to get custom training.
      If a student fails to meet achievement requirements for certification, we will offer to assign follow-up work so that the student can rectify the matter. Our goal is always to help people meet the standard we have set. In other words, if a good faith job was submitted on time, but is inadequate, we will support the student in making another try. If the second try does not make the grade, we will work out options with the student that may include supplemental reading fees. In live courses given since 1984, we have only had three students who failed to meet certification standards.

      Advanced work in teaching and design is possible in the context of this course. Tuition costs the same as for beginning students. People interested in advanced work must register with ample lead time so that we can work out the details of their program with them. Also, see comments above on using the design practicum for advanced designer certification. Students are always encouraged to try to work a bit beyond their entry level.

PDC--COSTS (With Options)
      Tuition for the entire course is $1,100. Early registration is discounted to $1000 if fully paid before the first week of classes. This breaks down $600 for the 6 months' program and $500 to evaluate the individual design report.

      The cost of the email course is designed to be comparable to or lower than attending our live course. Tuition for our live course is presently $800 per student with transportation to the site, room, and board the student's expense. Also, most students forgo at least three weeks' income. By comparison, we charge a minimum of $2,500 per student for a solitary correspondence course in which we work with the student one-on-one through the mail. By using an email classroom, we cut that cost by 60 percent to $1,000.

      All prices subject to revision. These are good at least through 01/01/01. So far, we have never raised the basic fees for this course.

      A deposit of $200 is required to hold a place in the course. Of this, $100 is non-refundable in any circumstance, except if for extraordinary reasons we fail to offer the course. After one week before the course begins, THERE WILL BE NO REFUNDS. This is because enrollment is limited. If you can find someone to take your place within the first three weeks of the course, you can make the substitution for an administrative fee of $25. If you cannot find someone, we may be able to refer you to people who wanted to take the course and may still be interested.
      If a student opts to pay for the course in sections, a deposit assures a place in each section. Expression of intent is not a deposit. This is only an issue if the course is at maximum enrollment and more people want to come in at the next segment.

      There is a service charge of $25 or whatever the bank charges (which ever is higher). The bank fee for this has gone up faster than we can keep track of it. If you want us to contact the bank and verify the deposit, e.g. to expedite a book shipment, double the service charge. Sometimes the bank notifies us by mail when it receives a transfer. Sometimes we find out only when we review the monthly deposit statement. In our view, this is a very poor means to expedite matters since it can be weeks before we are certain we have been paid.
      All service charges must be included in the original transfer.

      Dan Hemenway is the principal instructor and designer of the course. He received permaculture training from Bill Mollison, permaculture movement founder, in 1981. Dan previously developed systems similar to permaculture that he had taught disadvantaged teenagers from 1978-81. After three years teaching permaculture and sustainable horticulture to prison inmates (1981-1983), he founded what became The International Permaculture Solutions Journal (1983). From 1978-83 he was a leader in the Massachusetts food self-reliance movement. In 1983, Mollison named him one of three North Americans certified to teach the full Permaculture Design Course.       In 1984, Dan taught the first such course given in Mexico. Since then, he has conducted hundreds of permaculture programs worldwide, often introducing permaculture to new regions.       In 1983, he received the Conservation Award from Friends of Nature and in 1984, the Community Service Award from International Permaculture Institute, which awarded him five advanced diplomas the next year. In 1987 he founded the Permaculture Education Project and taught permaculture around the world. In 1991, Dan accepted an invitation to the Roots of the Future NGO conference in Paris, that contributed suggestions to the Earth Summit later held in Brazil. In 1996, Permaculture Foundation/Network Kenya, named him honorary chairman. And, in 1996, he was listed in the 1996-97 edition Who's Who in America.       Dan has also founded the Forest Ecosystem Rescue Network, published dozens of permaculture publications, authored many permaculture articles, served on boards of many related groups, and given talks, courses, and keynote addresses worldwide.       At present, he teaches a permaculture course on the interment, is developing his design for a new permaculture center, is studying chinampas by building some, and working collaborators in Africa.

      Cynthia Baxter Hemenway, CNM, is partner in Elfin Permaculture and Associate Editor of The International Permaculture Solutions Journal. A founding member and former director and officer of the Planetary Project Foundation (Kansas, USA), Cynthia is a Certified Nurse Midwife and holistic health practitioner with particular emphasis in working with women during the childbearing year. She has taught women's health and reproductive topics to undergraduate and advanced practice nursing students at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she also introduced a course in alternative therapies. As of May, 2000, Cynthia is focusing on health counseling, including alternative therapies, calling her practice Design for Health. She brings experience in leading workshops on health and spiritual matters to permaculture as well as the intention to expand the practice of permaculture in these areas. Because of the demands of her other work, Cynthia is available to co-lead workshops only on an occasional basis. She serves as Honorary Secretary, Permaculture Foundation - Net_Work - Kenya, Homa Bay, Kenya. Cynthia will support the course, participating when she can find time after her other professional responsibilities. She shares most of the current projects described for Dan. Cynthia monitors all course activity and may post comments from time to time. She is also backup instructor if Dan's ability to lead the course is interrupted for any reason. Cynthia has created and teaches the new module of the course, also called Design for Health.

      Willem Smuts, assistant instructor, is a South African who has taken every one of our online courses to date. He is working actively with Elfin Permaculture to develop cooperative programs between the two continents of Africa and North America. Willem has deep professional experience in geology, sound experience in working with indigenous people in Africa, and a robust sense of humor. Willem's role in the online course increases each year.

      Cassandra Hemenway Brush, Dan's daughter, has lifelong experience with the teachings of the principal instructor of this course and practical background at her own home in ultra-rural Northern Vermont. Serving as assistant instructor, Cassandra supplies the keen practical insights of a mother of two living with limited resources close to the land. She holds an advanced degree in journalism and, through her former work as a reporter in rural Vermont, knows well the social and material conditions of rural communities. Cassandra received her certificate training from her father, Dan, in Jacksonville, Florida, and completed advanced work as a permaculture intern there implementing the permaculture design for the course site in nearby Orange Park.

      In responses to our request for interest, we had two opposite concerns expressed. One group wanted a short course. The other wanted to do the course on an open schedule. Here are some alternative options:       View our reading list and course schedule and do self-directed study. We strongly recommend that you work with a capable permaculture designer before you design your own place.

      MONITOR the email course for $100. You will get all class email sent after you register and most group materials. Monitors usually may not participate in group discussions or ask questions of the group. However, we may open discussion to monitors at given points in the course where more opinions are needed. You are permitted one request to the group to see if any students are willing to discuss questions with you. If you ask a student a question (related to course material) s/he cannot answer, the next step is that student's study group. If the study group cannot answer it, then the question should be brought to the whole class including the instructor. In that way, we can find areas that may need further work without duplicating topics already successfully covered. If we have expensive materials to mail, monitors may be asked to cover those costs. Your monitor fee can be applied to tuition if you decide to take the very next course. (See above.)

      I have a flexible idea for a permaculture design clinic. It would resemble an interment mailing list with an admission fee. A person could bring a design problem to the group for discussion. These would be designs for their homes, designs that they are working on, etc. While this service is commonly provided by free discussion groups, the quality of the free assistance varies greatly. We need someone to organize this project.
      If you do not feel involving an experienced permaculturist is important, you can of course set up such a group on an invitational basis at any time. Now that we have graduated a several online classes, it should be a good way to get ideas and learn more about permaculture at no cost to set up and participate in such groups. If you are interested, contact us. You should first try some of the existing free mailing lists on the net to see if they meet your needs. We do not keep a list of these groups here. Try a web search.

      We have openings for two interns in our new center at Barking Frogs Permaculture Center near Sparr, Florida. We may accept more at a later date, if we have someone who can take primary responsibility for their supervision. We prefer people with some permaculture training, but reliability, honesty, and self-motivation are our main requirements. A couple would be particularly welcome.
      Internships involve a combination of office and implementation work. Interns may play a major role in the design process for our own permaculture center. They also work on some of the design implementation, for example construction of a network of chinampas.
      Interns automatically get scholarships to any email course going at the time of their internship. Otherwise, we provide no permaculture DESIGN training except for explanations as to why a particular job is done a particular way.
      Visit our Intern FAQs for more information on this topic.

View the READING LIST AND REGISTRATION FORM. Registrations must be sent with tuition by mail. We reserve the right to cancel a course if we receive less than 10 registrations.

WHAT DID WE MISS? We have tried to cover every issue that we could think of in this sheet. Please read it carefully. Then, if you still have questions, please ask them.


For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses, consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now permaculture training in an email classroom. Copyright, 1996-2000,
Dan & Cynthia Hemenway.
P.O. Box 52
Sparr FL 32192-0052 USA.
All rights reserved.

We don't have time to rush.