Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture is a holistic interpretation of humans’ integration with their ecosystems.

It is also a design science used to optimize the health of individuals, communities, our watersheds and all the varied species that live and share in the ecology. The value of permaculture is the holistic perspective in relationship to all the life forms involved in working with the land. The corporate relationship to agriculture has birthed a monoculture that is unsustainable and diminishes natural resources. Permaculture brings the awareness of interconnection and developed methods of enhancing effectiveness within the context of many things working together.

According to Bill Mollison, “Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”

The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions. Permaculture is a global movement that is providing solutions to many of the world’s social, economic and ecological problems.

Sunrise Ranch is a teaching and demonstration site for permaculture principles. Get involved today by learning from local permaculture groups and workshops. Each one of us has the power to bring healing and harmony back to the land! For more information, contact BoulderPDC@gmail.com.


Permaculture Design Course 2-week Intensive

Course Content

In this course, you will learn about regenerative design studies, full-loop waste systems, food-forest design and implementation, community-scale fruit and vegetable production, plant propagation, greenhouse operations, home- and community-scale composting, fractal-patterning application, water harvesting, pasture management, rotational grazing strategies and implementation, home-scale permaculture, food preservation and storage, social permaculture, and much more. We use the permaculture curriculum originally established by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. To see an example of the course syllabus, click here: Sample PDC Agenda.



Tara Rae Kent currently garden-farms on the Front Range of Colorado. She was born and raised in Wisconsin. Tara Rae began studying permaculture in 2003, receiving her first certificate in 2010 and a Permaculture Teachers Certificate in 2012. Since then, she has received numerous Advanced Permaculture Design Certificates (2013-2017). She teaches around the State of Colorado offering various permaculture and urban farming classes. She has managed several greenhouses, as well as organic and permaculture farms with experience across three climate zones. Over the past 20 years, Tara Rae has worked in varying fields of biology, agronomy and environmental science, including laboratories, nature centers, farms, deserts and jungles. She holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in ecology, is a certified ecologist, and works as an environmental scientist as well as taking on a couple permaculture design clients every year. Her passion for sustainable living has led her to volunteer for the Sustain Arvada Advisory Board to City Council, making recommendations for sustainable community development and vitality. Besides permaculture, her interests include herbalism, sewing, traveling, camping, photography and music. She can be found at her website, Tara Rae Designs.

Amy Scanes-Wolfe is native to South Africa but called Longmont home for most of her childhood. She left to study cultural anthropology at Middlebury College and returned after eight years on the East Coast. In the interim, Amy interned on and eventually co-managed two organic farms, helped found an urban ecovillage, worked as a docent at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and developed an ongoing interest in permaculture. She finally took the Boulder PDC in 2018. Amy currently works at Harlequin’s Gardens and runs Left Hand Landscaping, a micro-farming and landscaping business based in Niwot. She is committed to exploring food systems appropriate for our high, dry steppe environment and is an avid student of local ecology and history.

Patrick Padden, a graduate of Colorado State University, studied natural systems-building design in Namibia and urban food-forest implementation in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2007. Patrick received his design certificate from the International Permaculture Design Course in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2009 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Integrative Eco-Social Design with Gaia University. After five seasons of producing naturally grown food for 80-plus people at Sunrise Ranch, Patrick is currently a practicing permaculturalist, consultant, public speaker and educator. Visit his website at paddenpermaculture.com or e-mail: ppadden@emnet.org.

Avery Ellis is an Ecological Designer with a whole-systems approach to life. Avery was raised in New Jersey, the Garden State, by a master gardener. He has always felt a kinship with nature and the natural processes. He spent the past decade pursuing his passion for sustainability with experiences ranging from permaculture design to natural building practices, solar installation to biodynamic farming, ecological waste treatment to communication dynamics, and he loves to share his knowledge with the world. He holds a master’s degree in Ecological Design and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He studied permaculture in India in 2006, and in the Rocky Mountains he has been learning and practicing permaculture since 2010. He has earned several Advanced Permaculture Design Certificates (2012-2014) and obtained his Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate in 2012. Integrating these skills into diverse businesses, he now focuses on designing ecosystems that serve humanity by mimicking natural processes. As an eco-entrepreneur, his business endeavors include: Colorado Greywater, Integrated Aquaponics, Backyard Revolutions, and Common Earth, in which he brings science and craftsmanship together in his designs and installations.


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