Permaculture Design Course – Fall 2015 ← Spiral Ridge Permaculture

Permaculture Design Course – Fall 2015

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Date(s) - Sep/Fri/2015 - Sep/Tue/2015


Spiral Ridge Permaculture


Tags 2015 Permaculture Course, Alabama, children's permaculture, community building, Hands-on permaculture, homestead, Kentucky, Nashville, nashville Permaculture, pdc, permaculture, Permaculture certificate, Permaculture course, permaculture courses, regenerative agriculture, southeast permaculture, Tennessee, tennessee permaculture, whole farm design

Permaculture Design Course - Fall 2015

   2015 Fall Permaculture Design Certificate Course  – Farm and Homestead Design

September 18-29, 2015

 Earn your Permaculture Design Certification during this 12 day course that integrates real-world design, and homestead skill building.  

Hands-on permaculture design courseProblems abound.  This is clear.  Agriculture systems are causing more harm than good;  stripping the earth of topsoil, creating pollution and declaring war on ecology.  There is a lack of unity among people and this impedes our ability to regenerate land and heal our communities.  Resources become more scarce, while overconsumption is the norm.  Many people feel isolated, disconnected and unhealthy.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the bad news, to feel like nothing you do can change the current trajectory of the world.

We used to feel helpless too, but not any more.  We have discovered that there are solutions.You can contribute to this positive change and the time is now.


We need to change our inner landscapes.  The culture of our minds.  We need vision. We need a positive, solution focused mindset.   We need to be inspired and we need to take action.  We need to regenerate and heal our landscapes, our personal lives, our relationship with nature and our culture & communities.  We need resiliency training.  We need to learn how to connect with nature so we may learn how to mimic it in the design of our present and future.  That’s what this course is all about.

Permaculture is a whole systems Permaculture Course students visiting another approach that uses the intelligence of ecology to create regenerative human communities.  Harmoniously woven into the environment, these systems have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.   Permaculture is based in the ethics of people care, earth care and a fair distribution of resources.  These core ethics transcend cultural, political and religious divisions and act as a unifying force.  People all over the world are putting permaculture into practice with amazing results.  Even small changes in your own backyard can make a the permaculture garden with PDC students

 Will you join us?

For 12 days you will be learning the tools, guiding principles, and strategies that create lush productive landscapes, reduce your energy use, and create more stability and security for you and your loved ones.  You will create a village, and find community with a group of caring individuals sharing the knowledge and enthusiasm that come from joining forces and focusing on solutions.  All levels are welcome.  Whether you are new to these ideas and wondering where this path will take you or if you have been in an a related field and need new inspiration.

Now is the time to take action to benefit ourselves and future generations.  Yes, the earth is beset with problems, YOU ARE THE SOLUTION!


Course topics include....

Permaculture Principles & Ethics How to Read the Landscape Patterns & Pattern Application, Water Harvesting Swale Building Rainwater Catchment Zone and Sector Analysis Climate and Micro Climate Mapping Land Access Community Building Plant Guilds Food Forests & Agroforestry The Ecological Design Process, Principles, Strategies and Techniques Soil building Synergistic Gardening Pond Management & Ecology Earthworks Natural Building Grey Water Systems Bio-remediation Renewable Energy Systems Forest Management Watershed Management Growing Mushrooms Animal Systems The Business of Permaculture Ferment and Human Nutrition Homesteading Skills Farm Practices Propagation Techniques Natural Building  Appropriate Technology Holistic Management Keyline Design®  Pattern Languages Landscape Design Graphics Urban Permaculture and More

Key Benefits of Taking the Course

Generate an inspired vision for your landscape.

Increase the yields and resilience of your backyard, homestead or farm.

Learn to create and implement a design from site analysis to completion.

Discover the secrets for rapid creation of healthy, and biologically active topsoil.

Plan for whole landscape water harvesting for your property.

Learn to improve efficiency and synergy between elements in your landscape.

Reduce costs and dependency on outside energy inputs, increase profits, and enhance livelihoods while improving your quality of life.

Create resilience and security for your family and your local community.  

Contribute to the regeneration of land, water, and air quality to improve the health and wellbeing of the environment and it’s inhabitants.  

Think in whole systems, rather than in parts, to understand and enhance the relationships between those parts.  Whole systems thinking is a methodology that leads to successful problem solving because it mimics the behavior of natural systems.



Our program contains the core 72 hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course curriculum, but we are ready to give you even more value.  Spiral Ridge’s PDC is right for you if… 

  • You would like to take part in lectures, slide shows, site tours, exercises, games, facilitated group discussions and more.
  • You want to experience incorporating permaculture practices into your daily life.
  • You want to see permaculture in action on a small farm/homestead scale in a temperate climate.
  • You need hands-on skill building classes with practical exercises and implementations.
  • You would like to learn from professional designers, farmers, homesteaders & community organizers that are actively putting the design process to work, not just teaching about it.  We live and work in the systems we create, constantly receiving insights and feedback to deepen our understanding of natural and designed systems.
  • You want a high quality learning experience, grounded in the practical application of design and knowledge that comes from the experience of years of practice in all climatic zones.
  • You would like to learn and use the Ecological Design Process.  Many Permaculture Design Courses do not teach the Ecological Design Process.  This professional process will give you a step by step approach to applying the principles of permaculture.  Knowing this process will give you greater confidence to move forward with a design.  You will create holistic goals, read the landscape and use the scale of permanence to organize data and develop a design to meet those goals.
  • You want to work in teams to experience the design process from beginning to end, presenting to the rest of the class at the conclusion of this course.
  • You would benefit from a class entitled, Graphic Tools for Permaculture Design Drawings.  Plan graphic methods for representing: landform and topography, rock, water, vegetation, structures, roads and pathways, etc.
  • You want plenty of time for questions, discussions, and individualized attention from the instructors to dive deeper into a topic or discuss personal projects you are working on (bring maps of a current project, if you can).
  • You want to know how to design in any climate and in any circumstance, yet give added focus to temperate climate permaculture.
  • You want teaching catered to all levels of experience.  Beginning students will find the course gives them a comprehensive understanding of permaculture and how to apply it and the inspiration and resources to take it further, while advanced permaculture students and certificate holders come away with a more in-depth understanding of the ecological design process, advanced strategies, and more.
  • You would enjoy a curriculum that is designed as an ecosystem, in and of, itself.  We incorporate the scale of permanence to organize class schedules.  The 8 Shields model dictates our daily rhythms.  We integrate different learning modalities to appeal to the different types of learners.
  • You want design practice throughout the whole course, rather than just at the end, to build skills and confidence as well as learn to cooperate in teams.
  • You prefer integrated approach, including other complimentary disciplines such as Holistic Management, whole farm planning, Keyline and Broadscale Design.
  • You feel people connection and community building is important – we have social gatherings in the evenings with story and music.
  • You want an intensive course.  This PDC is a full immersion for 12 days.  We have found that shorter PDC’s leave the students short-changed.  We like to take our time covering the material, with plenty of time for hand-on activities, group process and design, community building and fun.
  • You want the option of continued support after the course.  Cliff offers phone mentoring and consultation services for projects and professional development.
  • You love good, healthy food!  Fully catered high quality meals, so you may focus on your time on course activities.
  • You would like the option of camping for free at the Ecohostel, in our neighbor community, The Farm. Alternatively, you would like low-cost housing options nearby.
  • You like free stuff!  A complimentary Spiral Ridge Permaculture T-shirt is given to you at graduation.
  • You would appreciate discounts on future courses and the possibility of earning credit or cash by referring others to our future PDC’s.[/stextbox]

“First let me say just how much I still appreciate the learning experience y’all gave me. I’m still glowing over a month later! Before I attended the course, I already knew permaculture was my passion. But your course inspired me and motivated me even more.” – Jason Hurd

Permaculture Design Course Certificate Instructors include:

cliff & Jen bioLead instructors, Cliff Davis and Jennifer Albanese, co-own Spiral Ridge Permaculture, a family run education company specializing in permaculture, regenerative farming and nature connection.  Their full-scale design firm, Edible Habitats, offers consultation, master planning and implementation, in the same specialities, including Keyline® design & plow services.  Jen and Cliff also run Southeast Organic Supply, a developing organic farm & garden supply company.  They developed these businesses out of their passion to; address cultural and ecological issues that demand real and lasting solutions, encourage more people to homestead and help save family farms, by making them more ecological and productive.  They have over 26 years of combined experience studying and applying permaculture in temperate, tropical/subtropical and dry land climates and have taught hundreds of students permaculture and homesteading skills.

Spiral Ridge Permaculture Teacher Cliff DavisCliff  has vast experience in the fields of permaculture, food forestry, organics, appropriate technology, natural building, deep nature connection and regenerative agriculture, that allow him to offer an integrative approach to land and culture repair.  He empowers others to take a hands-on approach to design in his regular and advanced course offerings. His humor, straight-forward style and determination to make positive change, make him an engaging instructor, consultant and designer.   He has taught over 40 courses, and has taken over 20 professional development courses. As a professional designer, he has worked for farms, intentional communities, school campuses and homesteaders.  Cliff is the main instructor and curriculum developer for this course. He received his permaculture certificate in 2004 from the International Institute of Ecological Agriculture and his teacher training certificate from Dave Jacke. He later went on to co-teach the teacher training course, with Jacke.  Cliff has been featured twice on The Permaculture Voices Podcast, The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann, Agricultural Insights podcast, Agro-Innovations podcast, and the C-Realm podcast and has been a speaker at many sustainability/farming events and conferences.  Experience matters.  For a detailed look at his experience, training & mentors as well as a list of courses that he has taught, check out his full resume.Spiral Ridge Permaculture Teacher Jennifer Albanese

Jennifer has been an organic gardening student and practitioner for over 14 years.  She has a special interest in soil regeneration and re-mineralization to create ecosystem health and nutrient dense food.  She runs a small nursery and market garden on an off-grid homestead in Tennessee with Cliff and her family.  She has a passion for local in-season, nose-to-tail cooking, ferments and traditional foods.  Jennifer worked as a midwife’s apprentice, birth mentor/doula and course organizer, for The Farm Midwifery Center, for many years before running Spiral Ridge full-time.  She home schools three children, and mentors others in nature connection, permaculture and gardening at The Farm School.  She has written articles for Permaculture News, B-Real magazine, Hand Picked Nation and as a guest blogger for other websites.  Jennifer received her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2007 from the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and Ecovillage Training Center.

Jeremy Lekich Spiral Ridge Permaculture InstructorJeremy Lekich is the creator and owner of the successful edible landscaping business, Nashville Foodscapes. He was first introduced to Permaculture during his time at Warren Wilson, where maintained a diverse and mature Permaculture foodscape in front of the “Eco-dorm”.  Jeremy went on to intern at Ashevillage Institute, an urban permaculture laboratory and community, as well as Les Cloutets, a Permaculture guided sheep farm in southern France. For the past five years, he has taught countless classes ranging from permaculture to waltzing to rhythm guitar. This past year, he co-founded a new company called Compost Nashville, offering food waste solutions for urban areas. Jeremy loves to share his passion, whichSpiral Ridge Permaculture Instructor Matt English strives to make regenerative design ‘culturally appropriate’ and integrate entrepreneurship into Permacutlure.  

Matthew English  is a Permaculture designer, primitive skills enthusiast, and artisan. Matthew practices heritage crafts from around the world, including Bamboo craft, pole lathe wood turning, green woodworking, and  blacksmithing.  He is also a skilled natural builder and homesteader.


Andy Sahn, Spiral Ridge Permaculture Instructor Andy Sahnhas devoted his life to the field of sustainable development in construction, agriculture, and ecological design. Beginning in Israel at Ecovillage Kibbutz Lotan, Andy received a premier education in sustainable agriculture, natural building, ecological design & social justice, and earned his Permaculture Design Certificate.
Inspired and reborn with a new sense of awareness, he continued on traveling across the U.S. learning & developing his skills. In 2011, Andy apprenticed at the North American School of Natural Buildiing, in Coquille, OR,  where he studied with builder, philosopher, inventor, Ianto Evans. He then went on to work with many other natural builders and has taught workshops in Austin, Tx, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Mexico. Andy’s passion to educate people about the ease of building with earth and the wealth of other local, minimally processed materials, has helped empower many others interested starting in their own projects.  He is the owner/creator of Earthen Home Designs in Nashville.

Lizzie Wright is a forest ecologist and a farmer. She holds a master’s degree in ForeLizzie Wright Spiral Ridge Instructorstry and a graduate certificate in Conservation Biology from the University of Missouri. She has field ecology experience in Costa Rica and the British Virgin Islands, but finds herself most comfortable in the oak/ hickory forests and woodlands of the midsouth and midwest. She has a knack for botany and a love for insects and their ecology. Eleven years of teaching experience, a passion for science, and enthusiasm for life make her teaching style dynamic. She currently holds a position as the Outreach Specialist for the Oak Woodlands and Forests Fire Consortium, an organization that promotes the dissemination and exchange of the science behind prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is a tool that is commonly used in forest management. Additionally, she and her husband, Jesse, have just started their own farm business, Sugar Camp Farm in Bon Aqua, TN, where they will have a small veggie CSA, pastured meats and will employ the skills they learned in their Permaculture Design Course at Spiral Ridge in 2014.

Joey Thomas Spiral Ridge InstructorJoey Thomas aka “Joe Dirt” was raised on a hippie commune with 1800 acres in beautiful southern middle Tennessee. Six years ago after taking a carbon farming course with Darren J. Doherty and Joel Salatin, in his community, he fell in love with soil. What had started out as a small hobby quickly became a lifestyle. Joey has created a thermophilic composting system and compost tea operation to apply to his community land (and fortunately, the Spiral Ridge Homestead). With a few failures and many successes, he now believes he can build soil for future generations through his system.

Troy Hinke While attending Maharishi University of MaSpiral Ridge Instructor Troy Hinkenagement in Fairfield, Iowa, Troy took an intensive month-long Soil Food Web class taught by Dr. Elaine Ingham and realized a passion for compost and compost teas that expanded his love of plants and nature. This led him to apprentice with Dr. Ingham, at the Rodale Institute, to hone his skills at identifying soil microorganisms using a microscope. Rodale asked him to come on board and work with Dr. Ingham on a two-year grant, performing research with compost, compost teas, and using biology to improve soil fertility on both large and small scales. Projects included compost tea applications on 500 acres of a local farmer’s corn crop, working with perennial understory cover crops, and a side by side demonstration of aquaponics and “tea”ponics, in which compost tea was added to the water as the only source of fertilization.  Troy and his partner started and co-managed an organic farm for Deanna Naddy of Highland Realm. Here he helped to run a 10-family CSA and maintain 2800 blueberry bushes. Troy currently holds the position of Soil Specialist at Gardens of Babylon, an organic landscaping company in Nashville, Tennessee. He has taught classes on the Soil Food Web in Japan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. He obtained his Permaculture Design Certificate at Maharishi University of Management in 2010.

You will leave this course with a certificate, but, more importantly you will be inspired, full of knowledge & resources, and more confident & skilled as you take your next steps toward creating the life you want.

“For anyone thinking about going to a course at Spiral Ridge, DO IT! I just took my PDC there and it was by far the experience and education of a lifetime. Cliff, Jenn, and the rest of the crew are the salt of the earth and true practitioners of all angles of this craft. Trust me…. DO IT… you will not regret it…” – Matt Fleener

To hear even more reviews of our courses, check out our testimonials page and read this article by a former student on Permaculture News.   This course is held at Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead.  Rustic camping is available on our homestead.  Other housing options are available nearby.  We will be providing three nutrient dense, high quality meals per day and snacks.   For more details about camping, housing options and food, please read  our page of Frequently Asked Questions.  It also explains our cancellation/refund policy.  

Three-Tiered Pricing

Save $300 with Super Early Bird Registration –  available until May 31, 2015 – $1350
Save $150 with Early Bird Registration – available until August 18, 2015 Extended to August 31 – $1500
Regular Tuition – September 1 until the course begins – $1650

We know that this is a big investment of both time and money.  We travelled for years (with children) spending most of our money on courses, working for next to nothing on farms just to learn and get skills, reading everything we could get our hands on, and experimenting on our own land holdings (and even making some costly mistakes).  We have used that acquired knowledge, direct experience and learn-from-your-mistakes-feedback and condensed it into a powerful, intensive course, designed to give you incredible value and answer the questions you have.  This is an investment in your self, your community, your personal projects and perhaps your career, that will more than pay for itself in the years to come.

Sign up now. We limit class size to give you more personal attention and time for questions and discussions.  Couples receive a $50 discount each.  Group rates are available for 3 or more signing up together…so tell your friends and contact us for rates!

If you want to stay at Spiral Ridge longer than the 10 days, please check out our internship program.  The PDC is included along with other courses, plus additional skill building time on the homestead and personal mentorship.

Also check out our full list of events for 2015.  More to come!

Please read the directions below carefully.  Also review our cancellation policy here.

  • Minimum $300 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot and lock in your price.
  • Final payments can be made via personal check or money order sent to the address below, or we can send you a Paypal invoice for the balance.
  • Super-Early bird balances are due August 18.
  • Early-bird and regular tuition balances can be paid on arrival but MUST be cash, money order or certified checks.  No personal checks, when you arrive, will be accepted.

Use the form below and pay via PayPal, or by sending a check or money order to:

Spiral Ridge Permaculture

444 Walker Rd.

Summertown, TN 38483

If you have any questions at all, shoot us an email at


Bookings are closed for this event.