72h Permaculture Design Course in the Italian Piedmont
Permaculture (from permanent agriculture) is a design method based on the principles of natural ecosystems that helps to create ecologically, socially and economically stable systems. Originally developed in the 70s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a method of sustainable agriculture, the ethical and design principles of permaculture nowadays also find use in a variety of areas of life from architecture to community governance, finance and entire economic systems. At its basis, it provides an ethical framework and design principles derived from the observation of natural ecosystems.
The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) is an internationally recognized 72-hour course that will equip you with the basic understanding of how to use permaculture ethics and principles to design largely self-regulating landscapes and human settlements that mimic nature’s patterns and relationships. It will provide information and ideas how you can learn from observing the natural ecosystems and yourself become a designer for sustainable and regenerative systems on your balcony, in your garden, your school, your company, town or community.
You will also gain hands-on applied Permaculture skills while you immerse yourself in the wild nature at our consolidating educational and research center Monviso Institute (MVI), located at 1450m asl in the beautiful Po Valley of the Piedmont, Italy. This region is the birthplace of Slow Food, and both the MVI Campus as well as the surrounding community of Ostana offer a unique learning and experimentation field with diverse community-led initiatives and a spectacular biodiversity and wilderness to explore.
By attending this PDC you will gain first hand experiences of both opportunities and challenges that arise from developing and maintaining a resilient site and land-based resource system. On this two-week journey, you will share the joy of learning and co-creating with like-minded people. You will embrace a variety of tangible and intangible skills to empower yourself and your surrounding to grow healthy foods, live a more sustainable lifestyle and regenerate ecosystems. Together, we will apply the theoretical learning during daily practical sessions outdoors and a specific design project at the MVI Campus at the end of the course.
In taking this course, you will gain the confidence and basic abilities for Permaculture design approaches primarily suited for landscapes and urban environments, but also for intentional communities, organizational structures and many other fields. Upon completion of this course you will receive the PDC certificate by the Permaculture Academy Germany, which can also be your first step in the diploma pathway of becoming a professional Permaculture designer.
Introduction and basics:
- Ethics, history and context of Permaculture
- Domains of Permaculture design
- Landscape reading and observation techniques
- Permaculture design principles
- Design process and design tools
- Low-tech mapping techniques
- Designing with topography
- Tools for site analysis
- Water retention and regeneration
- Working with microclimates
- Energy flows
- Building with natural materials
- Growing mushrooms
- Permaculture gardening
- Plant propagation
- Urban gardening
- Agroforestry and edible forest gardens
- Soil building and soil regeneration
- Edible and medicinal wild plants
- Growing hemp as a construction, fiber and nutrition plant
Social and economic Permaculture:
- Pattern Theory
- Social Permaculture tools
- Introduction to complexity theory
- Community supported agriculture (CSA)
- Indigenous wisdom and deep nature connection
- Slow Food
- Community building
- Regional development
- Introduction to Sociocracy
This course is suited for:
- Project developers
- Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective
- (Landscape-) Architects
- Small land holders and farmers
- Ecologists and Restoration Workers
- Urban Gardeners
- NGO-members and Social Workers
- Members of community organizations
- People in urban and regional development
- Environmental educators and school teachers
- People looking for nature connection
Accommodation has to be organized individually, but we are happy to help you finding the option that best suits your needs. There are several options for accommodation in dormitory or single, double or triple rooms in walking distance to the MVI Campus as well as limited spaces for camping and camper-vans on the campus.
Food: We provide 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meals are biological, diverse, fresh, healthy, homemade and vegetarian. Locally hunted meat is served as a rare but conscious option once a week for BBQ. Ingredients are either grown at the MVI or purchased from the local organic Azienda Agricola ‘L’orto di Ostana’, with its fields right above the MVI Campus, or from local organic producers in the valley. We buy regional whenever possible to stimulate the territories’ food economy and put great attention to nourish everybody with high quality foods during this course – also the ones suffering from allergies!
Activities: On the break day you can join a climbing course for beginners offered by the MVI team (rental equipment available), take a bath in the various mountain river basins, explore the spectacular hike along five pristine mountain lakes at the foothill of the Monte Viso (part of UNESCO Biosfera Riserva Monviso), explore the Rio Martino Cave in the neighboring Crissolo, or visit the birth place of Slow Food and enjoy the Italian culinary culture in Cuneo. Or simply just rest, join a local yoga session and enjoy the Piemontese sun whilst leaning against the warm stonewalls of a typical mountain cottage. It is the perfect place with various possibilities for outdoor sports enthusiasts and culinary lovers that will let you combine a unique learning experience with an energizing holiday hideaway.