Four Seasons Permaculture Design Course

Continuing the globally-recognized Permaculture Design Course taught in the Commonweal Garden participants will apply the principals of self-sustaining ecological systems to integrated homes and gardens, sustainable energy and water systems, healthy communities and economies, and a conscious inner landscape.

The Four Seasons Permaculture Design Course is the fruit of many years of experience teaching permaculture design to students from all around the world.  The rich, multilayered curriculum has evolved to support students in successfully implementing permaculture design principles in their work and lives.

Our PDC curriculum includes the following elements:  The classic permaculture curriculum, with founding principles and techniques developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

  • A diverse range of hands-on activities with experienced instructors in the living classroom of the Commonweal Garden.

  • A strong nature-connection component, including animal tracking and bird language, to deepen awareness and intimacy with the natural world.

  • Tools for cultivating an “inner ecology” to break through old limiting patterns and barriers to success.

  • An introduction to Social Permaculture, in which ecological and permacultural principles are applied to social systems toward a more sustainable and whole society.

  • Interwoven consciousness of the healing sourced from a reciprocal relationship with the Earth and leveraged toward personal, community and planetary healing.

While no two courses participate in exactly the same activities, each course includes classroom and/or hands on activities in the following areas:

  • Permaculture principles and ethics

  • Reading the landscape

  • Pattern and pattern application

  • Water harvesting

  • Swale building

  • Zone and sector analysis

  • Climate and micro climate strategies

  • Mapping

  • Urban permaculture

  • Land access

  • Community building

  • Plant guilds

  • Soil Carbon Sequestration and Biochar

  • The design process, principles, strategies, and techniques

  • Bird language and nature awareness

  • Soil building and sheet mulching

  • Pond management and ecology

  • Earthworks and natural building

  • Grey water systems

  • Bioremediation

  • Renewable energy systems

  • Forest management

  • Watershed management

  • Economy and Equity

  • Group work on a conceptual design project

  • Food forests and agroforestry

Throughout it all, you'll be engaged in learning and experiencing an enlivening way of living in the world, supported by like-minded people and instructors. You'll be integrated into the seasonal rhythm of tending the Garden, preparing beds and compost piles, planting seeds and propagating plants. You may build an "A-frame", and layout and dig a water-harvesting contour swale. You'll tend the medicinal food forest, pruning and grafting and learning about the medicinal uses of the plants you encounter. You will be supported in making permaculture and ecological principles real in your life.

The course takes place one Saturday each month, from October through September, with two weekends including an overnight. 

2020/2021: Postponed due to COVID. Please email if you are interested in participating and we will reach out when the dates are finalized.

*Please note that this event takes place on wood-chipped paths, with port-o-potties that have a step.

Alongside Four Seasons we also offer a Permaculture for Kids Program. The Garden holds children in such a beautiful way, and this program will be taught be an experienced early childhood educator trained in teaching Permaculture to children. Enrollment is open to children aged four through eleven (those over twelve are invited to join the main class). For more information please contact us at

Instructors: Spencer Nielsen and guests

Permaculture for Kids Program Instructor: Megan Szrom & Doug Miller-Fleig

Upcoming Events

Community Medicine Circle:

Bitter/Sweet: Healthy Blood

Sugar Balance 

September 23rd, 6:30-7:30 pm

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c/o Natura
PO Box 316
Bolinas, CA