Course Name: Permaculture Design Course (PDC) – 12 day residential course (Certificate delivered at successful completion)

What is it about?

The Permaculture Design Course is an internationally recognized, 72-­hour course resulting in a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC). Credit for this course is now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world.

The course provides an introduction to Permaculture design as set forth by the movement’s founder, Bill Mollison in 1978. The word ‘Permaculture’ is a contraction of “Permanent Agriculture” and also of “Permanent Culture”. The aim of Permaculture is to create systems that are ecologically sound, economically viable and self sustaining.

The premise of Permaculture is based on observation of natural systems, the wisdom found in traditional farming practices, entwined with modern technological and scientific know-how to create a conscious design and a cultivated ecology. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox that covers agriculture, water harvesting, renewable energy, natural building, agroforestry, waste management, animal systems, appropriate technology, economics and community development.

Who is it for?

Permaculture offers a solution based approach to conscious design. It alters how one lives their life, their relationship with Mother Earth and all her life-forms. Therefore, this course is for anyone who would like to live an ecologically balanced life and contribute towards a sustainable future.

We encourage participants from all walks of life, professions and countries, as more varied the batch, the richer the take-away. The PDC is a great way to meet and learn from a variety of individuals thus creating a community around people with similar interests. Students who attend PDC usually end up keeping in touch, building strong bonds where they support, encourage and celebrate each other.

The PDC is conducted in English. Translation of tough/vernacular words are tackled with the help of students and the instructors. In case a local expert (farmer, healer) is invited for a session, translators are made available.

“15 days ago, I felt like a stranger to the soil and land but now there is more than just acquaintanceship, there is love! I am so glad that through this course, I’ve been able to connect and get a deeper understanding of the earth. I wish to start a farm soon.” – Ramya, Strategy Consultant, Hyderabad

What will the course cover?

The Permaculture Design Course is a detail oriented, enriching course that is a blend of practicals and theory. It will cover the following topics:

1. Introduction to applied Permaculture

  • Definition of Permaculture and history around the world and in India
  • Permaculture principles and need for the ethics in today’s context
  • Applied Permaculture in Indian context

2. Pattern understanding and broad site design

  • Patterns in nature and in Permaculture design
  • Landform variables, topography introduction
  • Site survey and identification of resources
  • System thinking and elements of Permaculture design

    • Indian seasons: Kharif and Rabi Monsoon patterns
    • Other climatic influences in area: drought proofing and climate change resilience
    • Creating micro-climates


    • Soil types and Fertility analysis
    • Increase soil fertility: composting, mulching, and other methods
    • Erosion control


    • Water cycle and other sources
    • Survey tools, Water harvesting structures and earthworks
    • Water management, drip systems, and other management sources
    • Grey and black water recycling system

    Waste management
    Design basics

    • Mapping to scale and base map drawing
    • Sectors and zone planning

3. Farm infrastructures and farm home garden

  • Fence and fence planting
  • House on farm
  • Cattle shed and chicken house
  • Energy sources and storage: bore well, solar pump structures, biogas, solar panel
  • Compost toilet, rocket stove and pot fridge
  • Dryland gardens and garden layout: different types of raised beds: circles, key-holes

4. Orchards, farm forestry and food crops

  • Agro-forestry and forest gardening: guilds, living fences, windbreaks, fire control, biomass trees, medicinal trees
  • Organic food production: grain and other crops (cereals, pulses, oil, vegetables, others)
  • Seed conservation, seed preservation and nursery work
  • Soil preparation, cropping patterns and companion planting
  • Ecological pest management, beneficial insects and pollinators
  • Storage of crops and management of post harvest

5. Animal husbandry and systems

  • Indian cattle and their care, poultry, goat and sheep integration on farm
  • Bees, their uses, and integration on farm
  • Pasture and food needs for animals and basic animal care

6. Community interaction and strategies

  • Urban and rural inter links
  • Marketing and connections to customers

To know more about when the next Permaculture Design Course is going to be conducted, click here.

Who will conduct the course?

Narsanna Koppula is India’s most renowned permaculture practitioner. Trained by Bill Mollison and Robyn Francis in the 1980s, Narsanna has worked tirelessly for the last three decades to bring ecological and sustainable agricultural to thousands of farmers across India.

His permaculture begins with helping farmers develop water catchment systems that allow them to be self-sufficient with their water (Jala Swaraj). He teaches them to diversify their crops and to leave no ground fallow and to develop a self-sufficient farm. This allows for the formation of Mahatma Gandhi’s final goal of a self-sustainable community (Gram Swaraj).

Guest teachers are often invited to share their expertise and experience in specific areas of Permaculture, thus diversifying the learning source. The PDC students are also encouraged to take sessions on subjects (pertinent to Permaculture) that they are confident in.

Where will the course be conducted?

The course will be conducted in one of the following farms:

Polam Farm – Situated by the Singur reservoir near Andole village in Sangareddy district of Telangana, two former students of Narsanna, highly inspired, decided to become the custodians of this 96-acre farm and apply what they’ve learnt. This young farm (2 years old) is being developed under the guidance of their teacher to make it a regenerative, eco-friendly and sustainable place and also to prepare it to welcome 500+ participants for the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence in November 2017.

Aranya Farm – The ideal learning ground for Permaculture, this 10-acre farm sits near Zaheerabad and has been developed by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives’ founders to become a model. It is an oasis of green and an excellent example of rainfed agriculture in the dry lands. Indigenous perennials keep the farm supplied with tropical fruits 365 days a year. Aranya is the perfect location to learn about Indian Permaculture, water harvesting, plant identification and uses. It is a warm, welcoming, constantly evolving place with one motto: (almost) everything should come from the system and remain as long as possible within the system.

Get in touch with us to know more about the Permaculture Design Course @ aranyahyd [at] gmail [dot] com
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“Despite growing for 3 years on my roof top, I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge which this course was able to bridge. I am more confident about creating abundance via microclimate and managing rain water on my and my friends’s roof tops and balconies.” – Deepa, Sustainability life coach, Delhi

“The content of the course and the way it was presented was definitely a big motivation. The entire experience of learning by doing was very enriching and holistic. I look forward to applying these learnings on my farm.” – Sampada, Content developer and teacher trainer, Pune

“This was a very different but very good course. The practicals were very helpful and unique compared to other permaculture design courses. I will apply this learning first in my backyard and then in my future farm.” – Clare, Student, Australia