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Advanced Permaculture Design Process Course

March 30, 2020 @ 9:00 am - April 3, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

This workshop is a deep exploration of permaculture design process as a living unfolding reality.

In the fourth iteration of a unique collaboration, David Holmgren and Dan Palmer further explore, deepen and share their understandings of sound permaculture design process.

Not only has much of the content of this workshop emerged in recent years, it will continue to develop during the workshop itself. This means that attendees are participants in a live conversation, where David and Dan hope to meet people where they are and support their journey forward with permaculture design.

You can read a detailed report Dan wrote about the first (2017) iteration of this workshop here.

Image: Sonja Leigh

“I can’t wait to share these ideas and tangible approaches with my partner, permaculture colleagues and students. I know that this enhancement of my existing human design capabilities will greatly support my ability to design my home site, educational organisation and ongoing projects. I think this course unearths design abilities that all people have” (Pippa Buchanan)

As co-originator of permaculture, David Holmgren has been working with permaculture design process for forty years. In this workshop David shares his long history learning, practicing, and teaching permaculture design along with how his understandings are continuing to evolve today. Much of what David shares in this workshop you will not find anywhere else.

“A beautiful way to dive deeper into our own living design processes as humans and investigate all the possibilities of how we can create in the world. An abundance of resources to support people at their level” (Past participant).

Dan Palmer helped found Permablitz, Very Edible Gardens, Making Permaculture Stronger, Holistic Decision Making, and Living Design Process. Actively and continuously involved in permaculture design projects for the last twelve years, Dan is deeply passionate about the evolution of design processes that support the full expression of permaculture’s potential.

Illustration: Brenna Quinlan

“I have done few things in my life that have been more worthwhile. The design process was something I never knew was so universal” (Ryan)

Alongside high-level design process frameworks and how permaculture ethics and principles apply directly to design process, this workshop covers:

  • Reading people (Dan)
  • Reading landscape (David)
  • Distilling and synthesising observations (both)
  • Designing and implementing as things that best unfold together over time (both)
  • The evolution of design and implementation over years and decades (both)

Lecture-based and interactive classroom sessions will be complemented with time outside reading landscape walk and in-depth design-process-based tours of Melliodora and the Mayberry Woodend project.

Participants will have the opportunity to share their own design projects with the group for discussion and feedback.

“This course gave me a deeper understanding of permaculture and design processes, in and beyond permaculture. It provided candid insight into both David and Dan’s jounryes and an inspiring tour of Melliodora. I have made amazing connection with like-minded people. Best course ever!” (Past participant).

Here is the timetable from 2018 (Though details will change the overall pattern will likely remain similar).


Session One (8:45am-10:30am) – Introductions, housekeeping, course context and program

Session Two (11am-12:30pm) – History of Design Frameworks

Session Three & Four (1:30pm – 5pm) – Ethics and Principles / Dave’s journey with permaculture design

Session Five (7-9pm) – RetroSuburbia’s Work-Life quadrant


Morning prac: TBC

Session One (8:45am-10:30am) – Check in & recap, Dan’s journey with permaculture design, focusing in on design process

Session Two (11am-12:30pm) – Reading people and holistic decision making

Session Three & four (1:30pm – 5pm) – Reading Landscape

Session five (7-9pm) – Dave and Dan share stories and personal reflections on reading people and landscape


Morning prac – TBC

Session One (8:45am-10:30am) – Distilling, evaluating, synthesising observations

Session Two (11am-12:30pm) – Moving toward concept design / patterning / overall strategy

Session Three & four (1:30pm – 5pm) – Melliodora walk and case study

Evening meal and then fire at Pear Tree


Session One (8:45am-9:45am) – TBC

Morning tea and Session Two, Three & four (10:30am – 5pm) – Mayberry Woodend field trip

Image: Sonja Leigh

“This course was a shining example of though-provoking inspiration in an environment that was inclusive and safe. The humility and wisdom of the facilitators has touched my heart and mind” (Debbie).

The course venue is yet to be confirmed but it will be somewhere in the picturesque hamlet of Hepburn, which is close to Melliodora, the premier permaculture demonstration site of David Holmgren and Su Dennett.

Melliodora is not central to the course content but is accessible to the students over the four days for additional learning and inspiration.

Please note this is an advanced course and it is strongly advised that all students have completed a PDC.

The course fee is still TBC.

Numbers are limited to 30. Bookings, when they open, are essential.

Please email us to register your interest for this course.


March 30, 2020 @ 9:00 am
April 3, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
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Holmgren Design