Since 2013, we’ve taught permaculture skills across a variety of course formats, for students at all different levels of experience.

From our two-week intensive Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) to our popular Intro to Permaculture course, we taught more than 2,000 students while running face-to-face classes.

These in-person courses were held at various locations around Australia, including Alexandria Park Community Centre, Govinda Valley Retreat, The Farm Byron Bay, Jamberoo Valley Farm, 107 Projects and our very own Milkwood Farm.

Now, we teach skills for living like it matters via our online Permaculture Living course – held worldwide!

Past courses

Intro to Permaculture course

Intro to Permaculture

This intensive weekend course showed students how to apply proactive, sustainable design techniques to their immediate environment – whether a small apartment, a quarter-acre block, or a rural property.

Topics included permaculture principles, energy cycling, nutrient cycling, animal systems, veggie growing systems, and how to retrofit your existing habitat to become a haven of organic food and low-energy living. We used examples of existing permaculture systems, projects and designs to show you how you can use permaculture design to create positive change.

This course was taught by Milkwood’s Nick Ritar.

Permaculture Design Certificate

Permaculture Design Certificate

The Milkwood Permaculture Design Certificate was steadfastly dedicated to turning students into better holistic designers.

Topics included (but were by no means limited to!): the origins of the permaculture concept, designing human habitats, creating an accurate base map of any site, site analysis and assessment, building functional connections between elements of design to reduce labour and eliminate pollution, designing for different climatic conditions, designing water, animals, aquaculture and aquaponics into landscapes, building the structure, fertility and biological diversity of your soils, and so much more.

You can also check out previous student designs and Permaculture Futures stories.


Advanced Permaculture Design

This course was aimed at students who had completed a Milkwood Permaculture Design Course (PDC) and were ready to extend their knowledge and skills to a professional level.

Topics included: Setting a holistic framework, the basics of getting started as a professional designer, what to charge, and how to charge it, preparing for effective site visits, the on-site design process, the studio design phase (from sketch/ideas to completion, learning and using design software), implementing the design for a great result and permaculture business structures.

Taught by Dan Palmer, co-director of Very Edible Gardens, an urban Melbourne permaculture design service, and co-founder of the permablitz movement.

Advanced Permaculture Principles

Advanced Permaculture Principles

This advanced course immersed students in the theory of permaculture principles at a higher level, beyond what is usually taught at an Intro to Permaculture or Permaculture Design Certificate course.

This course was taught by permaculture co-originator David Holmgren. The two-day course utilised David’s vast experience and knowledge of natural systems and permaculture theory to skill up students with new planning tools for design projects.

Permaculture Teacher Training

Permaculture Teacher Training

This intensive 7-day residential course covered many essential and practical aspects of permaculture teaching that can then be applied to PDC teaching, community permaculture education, permaculture school garden teaching, and many other forms of knowledge transfer.

It looked at teaching methods, principles of adult learning, teaching tools, references and models, as well as what makes a good teacher, assessments, visual tools, desired outcomes and teaching people with special needs.

This course was taught by Hannah Moloney, Brendan Morse, Nick Ritar and Rosemary Morrow.

Student reviews

“Milkwood’s PDC increased my knowledge base and awareness of the earth’s ecological system, and taught me how to think in a way that places me within that system rather than apart from it. I loved both the theoretical and practical lessons. I have a new way to approach my environment, be it my backyard or my workplace. And mostly I was constantly in awe and admiration of the teachers.”

— Nicole Sleeman
Permaculture Design Certificate participant

“The teachers that led the course … have an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience. What an honour to learn from them. I feel like I have the understanding and information to communicate with people in my life about how permaculture can build on and improve our lives – perhaps save the world.”

Tim Tunstall
Permaculture Design Certificate participant

“Intro to Permaculture with Milkwood was an extremely powerful weekend. Our species is in dire times, and this experience reassured me that we as humans do have everything we need to create the future we so desperately seek. The key challenge – it is us who must change first. Milkwood provides knowledge, skills and, most importantly, the community to enable those changes to take place.”

Kieran Christopherson
Introduction to Permaculture course participant

“I was amazed at how Nick’s passion did not wane over the 2-day course, that the information was delivered in such a palatable way, and that the whole operation was so slick and impressive.”

Lou Ridsdale
Introduction to Permaculture course participant

How you can learn Permaculture Design with us now

We have loads of permaculture how-tos and articles freely available in our online archive of useful things. You might also like to check out our self-paced Permaculture Living online course.