UWRF Design Certificate Course

Full Permaculture Design Certification Course
University of Wisconsin, River Falls (UWRF)                          Closed
Early Summer – – 8 Very Full Days – – June 7-14, 2012             Sorry, This one is full.
Hosted by:  St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development (SCISCD)
River Falls, Wisconsin – 30 miles East of Minneapolis, MN                         Additional Trainings in 2012

Quick Links: Training Curriculum (.pdf)
Picture Summary of Last Year’s Training
Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series
(Webinar page is only accessible to registered students) 


Graduates of Permaculture Design Certificate Course – UWRF 2011


Dr. Kelly Cain, Director of the SCISCD at UWRF, took one of our Permaculture Design Certification Course in 2010 when he attended with his daughter.  Afterwards, he asked if we would bring the same training up to his campus in River Falls.  This will be our second training at UWRF.  We had a great time last year and are looking forward to it again.  This year the course will be hosted in early summer rather than early spring.

An Emphasis on Small Scale Growing:
1. Using permaculture design to enhance small scale farming and suburban/urban food production.
2. Transforming back yards, city lots, roof tops and community commons areas into bountiful (& beautiful) gardens.
3. Making a farming business economically profitable, socially responsible and environmentally sound.
4. Minimizing work and reducing fossil fuel requirements for an energy lean future.
5. Fostering long term financial and food security for ourselves and surrounding communities.

As always, the full permaculture design course (PDC) curriculum will be covered to provide students with their permaculture certificate but some extra time will be spent on the above.

Hands-on Learning Experiences

Besides receiving the full PDC curriculum and participating in several permaculture design exercises, students at this training will gain hands-on experience in a variety of areas to help ground their understanding of permaculture concepts and principles.  Here are likely examples:

Learn how to Graft Trees, One to Another

Use an A-frame to mark Contours for Swales

Build and Fire-up a Rocket Stove

Dig a Swale or Rain Garden to Hold Rain

 Additional Details About the Course

Begin The Training Now with Pre-Course Studies
This permaculture course begins when you register for this course.  Within 1-2 days, students receive a welcome email that contains

Within a week following registration students will receive the course textbook via US Mail.

Course Textbook
Included with the price of Registration
'Earth User's Guide to Permaculture'
by Rosemary Morrow 

This gem of a text, shipped to students upon registration, is written by Rosemary Morrow, an Australian, that has taught permaculture around the world for decades.

The book is straightforward and loaded with illustrations and substance.  It covers theory and also focuses on the practical aspects of how to create and implement a permaculture design.

This book is a must read for the serious permaculturist and is a requirement for students of our design certification courses.

150-Question Study Guide
To complement the text we have created a study guide with 150-questions that will assist the student in anchoring the information contained in the book. If a student can answer these questions to themselves, they can be assured that they have grasped the foundations of the permaculture design certification course.

Purchase Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series
$195 Price Applies Fully Towards a Future Design Certificate Course!  

If one is seriously interested in learning about permaculture but cannot commit at this time to a certification course, the webinars and self-study features of our design courses can be enjoyed now.  Students will gain a solid foundation in permaculture from their own home. It includes 14-hours of recorded webinars, our PDC Course textbook, 150-Study Questions and links to over 3-dozen selected resources. 

And the full $195 for this webinar series applies toward any of our design certificate courses for a period of up to three years.

Click Here to Learn More

"I've LOVED these webinars.

Leigh WThank you so much for offering the webinar-only option.  I plan to take a certification class within the next couple of years, but these webinars allowed me to really bring together the self-study and in-the-dirt projects I've been working on.  THANKS!"

Leigh W. (North Carolina) http://larrapin.us/



Bill Wilson, Cofounder of
Midwest Permaculture

Milton Dixon of
Midwest Permaculture

Kelly Cain of UWRF
Dr. Kelly Cain, Director of
St. Croix ISCD


On-Site Portion of Course:

Daily Schedule
Certification requires that we cover the entire curriculum so students are expected to complete the pre-training webinars and readings and then come ready to work (and have fun) for the on-site portion of this training.

We will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 7th, and end at noon the following Thursday, June 14th. Each morning we’ll start promptly at 8:30 and end the day at either 6 or 9 p.m.  Please note the schedule below so that you can arrange to join us for the three evening sessions. There will be short breaks throughout the day with time off  for lunch and dinner.

Thursday, June 7 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, June 8 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 9 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.*
Sunday, June 10 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday, June 11 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.*
Tuesday, June 12 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 13 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.*
Thursday, June 14 8:30 a.m. – noon

* Dinner is provided when we go into the evenings.  Students are responsible for their own lunches each day.  Will you have things to share from your garden?

As we have shared, this training is an immersion into permaculture and carries a recognize certificate of completion. Many courses are two weeks long.  With the pre-training studies and the full (but fun) days, we can deliver this informative and inspiring training in 8 days.  We ask students to come ready to learn and however possible, to clear their week of other commitments.

Lunches are provided daily as are 3 dinners (on the evenings we go late).  Liquid refreshments will be available throughout the day.  There is a microwave available.

Accommodations & Travel
There will be dorm rooms available for rent on campus.  Options and prices are on the registration page reservations can be made when you register for the course.  If looking for accommodations off campus, students will make these arrangements on their own.  We will have a place for you on your pre-training website to attempt to coordinate some ride-sharing to minimize our collective carbon footprint.

Group and Personal Design Projects
For all PDC trainings, students work on one or more designs in small groups.  This is a requirement of certification.  The project selected will be determined by the instructors.

Personal Invitation: If one of the reasons you are taking this training is to learn the skills necessary to create a permaculture design for your own home or property, we invite you to bring information about your site to the training.  For example, bring a sketch of your property in fairly accurate proportions and/or an aerial view photo or map, a plant list of what is on your property now (does not have to be exhaustive – what are the dominant species – place them on the sketch), note the sunny and shady parts of the property and what direction is south.  You should also be as clear as you can be about what your current dreams or visions are for the property.  There will be some time in the latter part of the course where individual projects can be explored.

What to Pack & Other Details
About 4 weeks before the on-site training begins, students will receive more information concerning what to pack, when and where to arrive and other details.

Students who complete this design course will receive a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from Midwest Permaculture which  in the permaculture tradition, allows them to use the word ‘permaculture’ in the promotion of their work or business. Graduates may offer workshops, lectures and design services.  Click here for more on certification.

Description of our Full, Permaculture-Design-Certification Courses
If you landed on this page and happened to have missed the full course description, you might still be wondering what is actually covered in a certification course. If so, Click Here.


Course Fee $1,200
Early Registration Discount of $100 ($1,100) by April 7th
Student Price
(Must have valid student ID#) $900

Single room fee :  $199 (7 days)
Double room fee:  $136 (7 days)  

Price Includes ‘Foundations of Permaculture’ Webinar Series, 8-Days of Training, Some organically prepared meals, Loads of Resources, and the Networking Site.

Midwest Permaculture Logo Registration Process 

Option 1
Register On-Line. We take MasterCard, Visa and Discover.

Option 2
Becky to register over the phone at 815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216 with credit card or personal check(s).

Group Registrations – Save $100
2 or more may register as a group and receive an additional $100 discount each.  We’ve had friends, family members or couples register together and in the weeks before the course, ended up bringing in several more friends, each saving $100.  Call Becky for either more information or to set up a group (815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216).(Does not apply to students. They already have a $300 discount)

Low Risk Cancellation and Refund Policy
Should a student have to cancel their enrollment in the course up to 30-days before the on-site portion of the course begins, there is a full refund less $250.  Student retains access to webinars, keeps the course handouts and text book, and receives a full $195 credit towards any future Midwest Permaculture design certification course.

If a student cancels within the 30-day period before the course there will be a full refund less $350 and the student still receives a $195 credit towards our design courses. The credit is good for up to three years.

There are no refunds for cancellations or for withdrawals once the course begins. However, in certain circumstances, we may extend partial credit towards a future design course.

Continuing Support Following Graduation

Students who have completed a Midwest Permaculture design certification course (PDC) are then invited to become part of our growing network of graduates. There are three ways we work to support our graduates:

  • We have a separate website where all graduates can connect, share ideas and look for some assistance from each other.
  • We host occasional permaculture reunions for our graduates and their families.
  • Graduates may audit any future 72-hour certification courses at half price (provided space is available).

Our objective is to support our students for as long as they need it or want it, and to encourage them to support each other.


Already A Permaculture Design Course Graduate?
We offer a 33% discount to students who have already received their PDC Certification from another recognized course (from anywhere in the world) who wish to take one of our courses as a refresher. Please email for details.

Still Have Questions?
You are welcome to email Becky or call her at 815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216.

This was a Great Training Even Though it was still Winter!

Pictures from March 2011 PDC Course
University of Wisconsin — River Falls
Pictures and text by Bill Wilson

Our host, Kelly Cain PhD, sharing an overview of his work.

Even though it was early spring, we did some of our classroom work outside.

Off to explore a design project site – a community garden plot.


Assessing a Community Garden Site

Student with her pride and joy.


Visit to Kelly Cain’s energy efficient and sustainably built home.



Sara Cain and her father Kelly are both Midwest Permaculture PDC graduate students.
Sara is running a CSA this year for the first time.

Josh is the driving force behind the community garden project we
looked at early.  Grow-to-Share


Kelly’s puppy. (He’s only 8 months)

Worm bin project

Adding shredded newspaper and water on top of kitchen scraps.

Now for the worms


Hal (short sleeved, blue shirt, on right) showed us his diesel truck
that runs on french-fry grease.

I rode up to the training with Hal and the grease burned just like gasoline but
without the unpleasant odors associated with diesel fumes.

Phil Rutter of Badgersett Research Corp was a guest instructor.  He is one of the world
experts on hazelnuts and woody agriculture. .

Our friend and permaculture designer, Dan Halsey of
Southwoods Center for Permaculture Design, near Minneapolis, was a guest instructor as well.

As students enter the design phase of the course they started to do
research and break into small teams.

On the final morning, our students presented their
permaculture design projects.