Full Course description
This fully certified Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course dives deep into how to use permaculture to create rich beneficial relationships between people, communities and their surroundings, including how to grow food, build houses and create economies, while also regenerating nature.
Special emphasis will be put in creating a temporary community for the duration of the course, where we use social permaculture tools, especially sociocracy to make sure everyone’s needs are met, so we can all enjoy living together in a joyful, supportive learning environment. Optionally people can learn about macrobiotic philosophy and cooking, which is very aligned with permaculture.
One day courses for those who can’t do the whole course
- Sat 2nd July: Introduction to sociocracy
- Sun 3rd July: Introduction into the basics of permaculture
- Sat 9th July: Introduction to forest gardening
- Sun 10th July: Introduction to Social permaculture (Community projects & livelihoods)
What is social and vegan permaculture?
Permaculture is a design system for creating abundance in all aspects of our lives. Permaculture teaches us how to build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, take care of waste and much more.
The word ‘permaculture’ historically comes from ‘permanent agriculture’ and has evolved into ‘permanent culture’ – it is about living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can live in harmony with nature while sustaining human activities for many generations to come.
Permaculture is a rigorous and systematic set of tools, ecological principles and methodologies, underpinned by ethics, which help us to design and create this culture of permanence. A culture that allows us to design how we cater for all our needs and the needs of the planet and all its creatures, without exploiting or depriving other humans or creatures of their needs.
The ultimate goal is to create systems that create abundance for all humans, creatures and mother earth, without exploitation of humans, animals or earth’s non renewable resources.
With the design principles of permaculture we can design our inner tranquillity, create integrated and supportive communities, build or retrofit houses to be more energy efficient, create ethical businesses and livelihoods, as well as rich abundant low maintenance food growing spaces.
What is sociocracy?
Sociocracy is a whole system governance and decision making method which is based on and encourages equivalence, transparency, and effectiveness in an organisation. It encourages collaborative innovation, minimises lengthy governance meetings, and helps everyone participate in shaping the decisions that affect them.
During the PDC we will put sociocracy into practice on a daily basis. The first full day of the course, we establish what every person wants from the course, from which we derive a common vision. We then create a mission and aim on how to achieve our vision. We then embed a feedback mechanism to check if we are meeting these aims, so we can keep adjusting our collaboration every day.
Sociocracy ensures everyone’s voice is heard and all our individual and collective needs are met. It is simple to use and can easily be used by or together with children. One of the largest organisations that use sociocracy is “Childrens parliament” in India with around 10.000 members. It is an organisation of orphans. Several families uses it as a way of integrating the children in decision making.
PDC Course Syllabus
Once we have established that everyone can safely express themselves, without conflict, and thus found our inner balance and the balance within our newly forged community, we move into exploring the traditional permaculture syllabus, including environmentally friendly food growing; soil generation; water management; house building; alternate economics and livelihood, etc.
Once we have explored the theory of permaculture ethics, principles and its approach to challenges, we will move on to in-depth design work and practicals (hands-on work), which solidifies the theory.
The emphasis remains on learning the patterns and concepts that are applied in permaculture, so you can apply this to all aspects of your life after the course has finished. Hence the practicals will be a way to reinforce the theory and design work that we cover.
Smaller children will study the same subjects as the adults and learn to design through playing and doing practical tasks. Older children will learn through a combination of playing and more in-depth training and theory. Teenagers may choose to be together with the older children or be in the same classrooms as the adults, depending on their maturity.
Where and when appropriate we will visit nearby intentional communities and projects that integrate permaculture in their design (subject to consent by the students).
The syllabus will cover the following areas
- Principles of Natural Systems
- Sustainable Design Methodologies
- Patterns in Nature
- Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes
- Water Harvesting Techniques
- Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements
- Grey Water Recycling
- Natural Building Design Strategies
- Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency
- Energy Conservation Technologies
- Urban Environment Permaculture
- Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control
- Community Activism
- Invisible Structures: People, Community, Economics, EcoVillages
- Sociocracy; Optionally Dragon dreaming and or Six thinking hats
- Community Supported Agriculture
- At the end of the class, students engage in a group design project.
The syllabus will not cover animal husbandry as Rakesh is vegan and doesn’t teach what he doesn’t know.
Rakesh Rootsman Rak – An experienced Permaculture design teacher, forest garden specialist, yoga teacher, homeopath and reggae DJ. Rakesh has been designing and teaching permaculture to individuals and communities since 2009, and has taught hundreds of permaculture, forest gardening, eco village design and related courses. His design portfolio ranges from farm scale forest garden and permaculture designs to many urban community food growing gardens, private farms and back gardens as well as designing collaborative businesses, urban water retention systems and even computer software and documentation systems.
Rakesh is also passionate about sharing his journey of self empowerment (learning how to make all the things you need for yourself rather than relying on the system to provide for you), this includes eco architecture (low impact housing); capturing and storing energy (electricity, heat, lighting, etc); fuel efficient heating systems (rocket heaters and stoves); water capture, purification and recycling systems, natural beekeeping and so on.
He is one of the founders of the Children in Permaculture project and Youth in Permaculture project, as well as the Roots n Permaculture learning community, which is a network of people who have studied with Rakesh and who want to continue to learn from each other for free. So be prepared to go off on inspirational tangents occasionally.
Gitte Hansen – primary school teacher with music and visual arts as line subjects. Subsequently Danish as line subject. Dramaturgical basic education and several decades of experience with amateur theater and playwriting. The last 5 years she’s been a caring clown for elderly with dementia. She fell in love with permaculture last year and as the very inspired being she is, she puts all her creative powers and pedagogical skills into designing and preparing activities that will teach permaculture to children.
Kristiane Ravn Frost – Has worked with supporting people and plants in their growth since the eighties. Her primary inspirations has been Macrobiotics and the One straw revolution of Masanabu Fukuoka. In 2017 she did her first PDC and discovered that permaculture design just was another way of expressing the same essens: Well-being and abundance are a natural consequence of living according to the laws of nature.
More teachers to come
The venue belongs to the aspiring ecovillage, Avnø Oasis, which is in the process of growing 3 legs: A co-housing community, regenerative enterprises and Avnø Højskole, who’s focus is on health, lifeskills, sustainability & regenerative enterprises. The next door neighbour is Avnø Naturcenter and the whole area is protected. A phenomenal environment to learn about design and practice sustainable living. Read more about the venue here.
The course structure
The first evening we will get to know each other and group the children according to age, experience and interest. There will be 14 full days of teaching (normally only 10 or 12) and two full days for doing other activities. The group or the venue may organise permaculture relevant activities on the 2 days for other activities and in the evenings. It may be co-creations across different age groups, special creations for or from certain age groups, complementary subjects, movies, practical work or what each particular group is inspired about.
Food organisation and cost
To create a deeper sense of community, throughout the course we will create teams who will help cook all the meals. We will create a system, which allows each of us to express our dietary needs and what we are able/willing to pay for food. The tried and tested self organising method will ensure that meals are fulfilling for everyone and that the food quality aligns with the needs and values of the group.
Practically this means we will ask you to either bring enough food ingredients to cover your food needs for the duration of the course or bring a mix of food and cash. (Information: Avnø højskole usually spends around 60 DKK/person/day on food, which means that the total shouldn’t need to be more than DKK 1000 for 15 days). The cash and produce you bring will go into a pot, which will be used to buy food as and when required. The pot will be managed by a sociocratically elected group of participants. Avnø højskole has a shop, where basic foods and snacks may be bought at the same prices as in other shops. Avnø højskole offers a 10% discount on all items bought during the course. Avnø højskole is able to order boxes of fresh organic vegetables from the nearby shops at a discount. The food that is brought and bought will be pooled together and collaboratively cooked in teams.
Aligned with the vision of the project, Avnø Højskole supports a healthy and stimulant free life as stimulants work in the opposite direction of the guiding principle. The bulk of the food at Avnø consists of organic whole grains, beans, seeds & local vegetables, complemented with smaller amounts of fruits, nuts, seaweeds, (optionally fish & eggs), herbal teas and grain coffee, all prepared using macrobiotic principles. Personal use of sugar, coffee, alcohol, food additives and other mild stimulants is of course at each other’s own discretion. As Avnø Oasis prefers a community culture free of stimulants, meat or dairy products, they kindly ask that you don’t bring these items for the common pot. Don’t worry, there are already many participants (including Rakesh), who are very skilled at making incredibly delicious and nutritious plant based meals. Slower sweeteners, such as fruit juice, raisins, rice syrup and alike make wonderful desserts and snacks. If there is an interest in learning more about balanced meals and food for the microbiome, Kristiane is willing to teach a couple of evening classes.
Avnø Oasis kitchen would like to keep their smiley, so we expect you to comply with the hygiejne rules of a commercial kitchen – You don’t need to know them, just to follow the instructions you get.
This method has proven to be very successful, as it promotes collaborative decision making and collaborative working. It also allows people to contribute in a way that suits their budget. Participants from previous courses have appreciated this method.
The cost for the tuition is based on gift-economy, where participants are invited to contribute what they can afford and are willing to pay. The cost of putting on the course means we need to raise an average of 3500dkk (€470) per adult for tuition and 2500 per child. However we invite you to propose how much you would like to contribute somewhere in the range of 2000 dkk (€270) to 5000 dkk (€670). We encourage those of you, who can contribute more to do so, which should allow us to cover our costs. If there is a shortfall in the final sum (which by experience is unlikely), we will request the shortfall to be covered anonymously via a magic hat process. This process is part of the permaculture ethos, which allows people to pay according to their capacity, while meeting the needs of the hosts, teachers, etc.
- Ideal contribution per adult: DKK 3500 (€470)
- Minimum contribution per adult: DKK 2000 (€270)
- Maximum contribution per adult: DKK 5000 (€670)
- Ideal contribution per kid: DKK 2500
- Minimum contribution per kid: DKK: 1000
- Maximum contribution per kid: DKK 4000
Payment methods for tuition fee
- Bank transfer to a Euro bank account
- Bank transfer to a UK bank account in Pounds or Danish Kroner
- Paypal (Euro, Pounds or USD)
Accommodation and Facilities
There is an auditorium, several classrooms and group rooms, dining room, a commercial kitchen and bathrooms available for the course. For sleeping there are a total of 73 fully furnished rooms with private bathrooms, duvets and pillows available. Some of the rooms are occupied by residents and volunteers, which forms an intentional community. Some are for students and guests. There are rooms with views and rooms without. Single rooms, double rooms, and triple rooms for those, who’d rather have a cheap form of accommodation than comfort.
Arrival: Juli 1 between 4 and 6pm
Last teaching session ends July 17 at 4pm
The cost of accommodation & facilities, depends on where you sleep. It covers utilities and maintenance, accommodation of instructors, use of all common areas, including kitchen, classrooms, time spent on promotion of the course, cleaning of rooms and facilities before you arrive, and various materials used during the course.
- DKK 2250 per person with 3 people in a shared room, people sleeping at home, in vans, cars or tents
- DKK 3000 per person if two people are sharing a room
- DKK 3750 for one person in a room
Kids who need their own bed or share a double bed with a parent pay the same as grown-ups. Kids who share a single bed with a parent are 1/2 price.
Feel free to leave the morning of July 18 if that works better for your travel plans.
Cost for one day courses
- DKK 200-300/day per adult for accommodation and facilities depending on kind of room. Kids who need their own bed or share a double bed with a parent pay the same as grown-ups. Kids who share a single bed with a parent are 1/2 price. Donations are welcome 🙂
- Donation to cover food: 60-100 dkk/day per adult and teenagers. 1/3 for kids under 5 and ½ for kids between 6 and 12.
- Donation for tuition: 200-500 dkk/day for adults. 1-300 for kids.
Site visits and other costs
There will be a list of potential sites we can visit. Some will be free, some will have a cost. In any case transportation to the site will have to be covered. Just like we do with food, we will use sociocratic decisionmaking to decide which sites are optimal for this course and how to cover the costs. Participating in site visits are optional. Last year’s expenses per person was around DKK 250.
All adult classes will be in English however there will be Danish translation if needed. As part of our community culture, we will create a process, which ensures that words or sentences you do not understand, will be addressed immediately. Also the review of each day may be done in Danish in small groups, so there is a chance to catch up if there is something you misunderstood. Kids classes will be taught in Danish with translation to English where needed.
To help prepare for the workshop, you are encouraged to use this list of permaculture, forest gardening, sociocracy and plant names that have been translated into many languages
This course adheres to the Permaculture Association Britain’s accreditation criteria for Permaculture Design Courses (PDC’s). However due to the rising cost of the certification and in order to make the course affordable we consulted with the Permaculture Association Britain (PAB) and concluded to give the participant the choice of being accredited via the Permaculture association Britain (€20 for the certificate and additional administration) or by the Roots n Permaculture Collective School (for free). The Roots n Permaculture Collective School certificate affords you the same privilege as the certificate from PAB, meaning with this certificate you can still teach intro courses (after at least 1 year or putting permaculture into action) and can also apply to do your diploma (with any association anywhere in the world). The only difference between the two is that the PAB certificate helps to pay the learning coordinator of PAB to develop and maintain their high standard curriculum.
To register for this course, please
- Fill in this form
- Choose your accommodation below – Once you’ve paid for accommodation your place on the course is secured.
If you have any difficulty or have any questions please feel free to contact us
Course and Content, please contact Rakesh:
Accommodation, directions, etc
Avnø Højskole +45 45571500
Mobile: Kristiane Ravn Frost +45 28604859