Social, Vegan, Permaculture Design Course – PDC 2022

Social, Vegan, Permaculture Design Course – PDC 2022

kr.3.750 kr.

This course dives deep into how we can 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. Everybody who completes the course receives a PDC certificate. 

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.

We will also have several one day courses for people who cannot make the full course

  1. Sun 20th March: One day introduction to sociocracy
  2. Mon 21st March: One day introduction into the basics of permaculture
  3. Sat 26th March: One day introduction to forest gardening
  4. Sun 27th March: One day introduction to Social permaculture (starting community projects & creating livelihoods)

Arrival: between 4 and 6pm
Last teaching session ends at 4pm

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, it can be applied to creating integrated and supportive communities, building or retrofitting houses to be more energy efficient, creating ethical businesses and livelihoods, as well as creating 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.

PDC Course Syllabus

The course will from day one put into practice social permaculture. We will learn sociocracy to create a community and practically explore how we ensure everyone’s needs are met, and how everyone can safely express themselves, without conflict. Having found our inner balance and the balance within our newly forged community, we then move into exploring the traditional permaculture syllabus, including environmentally friendly food growing; soil generation; water management; house building; alternate economics and livelihood, etc.

Having explored the theory of permaculture ethics, principles and approach to challenges, we will then 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.

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. 


Lead Instructor

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.

Read testimonials and feedback from previous courses

The venue

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. There will be 13 full days of teaching (normally only 12) and two full days, where you are off. On the free days and evenings, the group or the venue may organise permaculture relevant activities such as complementary subjects, movies, practical work or what this 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. 

Training cost

The cost for the training 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 DKK 3500 (€470) per person for tuition. However we invite you to propose how much you would like to contribute somewhere in the range of DKK 2000 (€270) to DKK 5000 (€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 DKK 3500 (€470)
  • Minimum contribution DKK 2000 (€270)
  • Maximum contribution DKK 5000 (€670)

Accommodation and Facilities

There is an auditorium, several classrooms and group rooms, dining room, a commercial kitchen and bathrooms available for the course. We have a total of 73 bedrooms 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. 

The cost of accommodation & facilities, depends on where you sleep 

  • DKK 2250 per person if 3 or more share a room, if people sleep at home, in vans, cars or tents 
  • DKK 3000 per person if two people are sharing a room
  • DKK 3750 if a person has a room for themself

Besides the cost of utilities and maintenance, this covers 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. 

Cost for one day courses

  • DKK 2-300 to cover the cost of Avnø højskole for facilities & a room to sleep. Donations beyond costs are welcome 🙂 
  • Donation towards food: DKK 60-100/ day
  • Donation for tuition: DKK 200-500 /day. 

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 need to be covered. Just like we do with food, we will use the sociocratic decision making method 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. 

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)


All 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.

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:
  • Facebook:
  • Email:
Accommodation, directions, etc 
  • Avnø Højskole +45 45571500
  • Facebook:
  • Email:
  • Mobile: Kristiane Ravn Frost +45 28604859
Type of room

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Type of course

Full PDC, Sun 20th March: One day introduction to sociocracy, Mon 21st March: One day introduction into the basics of permaculture, Sat 26th March: One day introduction to forest gardening, Sun 27th March: One day introduction to Social permaculture (starting community projects & creating livelihoods)