PDC at Fern Hollow Farm

Permaculture Design Certificate Course
Co-Sponsored & Hosted at Fern Hollow Farm – Somerset, OH
October 16th – 25th, 2020 (10-day Onsite Training)
Canceled due to Covid-19 – Please check back for 2021 dates. 

More here below on these talented teachers.

New Location
Experienced Teaching Team
Wonderful Value

This is the first course we are co-sponsoring with graduates of our Midwest Permaculture Teacher Training. The wonderful thing about this course is that Erik and Olivia Peterson now have their own permaculture homestead (Fern Hollow Farm) which they have been developing for 6 years. Not only is the farm ready to host a PDC course, so are they as teachers.

Classroom (and residence of Olivia and Erik) at Fern Hollow Farm

Another teacher graduate of ours, permaculturist Sharon Bagatell, has already taught with Erik and Olive and together the three of them make a powerful teaching team with years of combined experience in permaculture.

Midwest Permaculture is delighted to co-sponsor this Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with these three passionate teachers and are confident that all taking it will have a wonderful experience while garnering the amazing information contained within the full PDC.

And permaculture is so much more than studying about how to design one’s own home habitat.  In this training Sharon, Olivia and Erik will look at social and economic Permaculture practices as well, all the way up to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. 

Because the course is being hosted on a developing site, while also giving students the option to bring and prepare their own meals while camping, the overhead is lower and so is the price of this course — $300-$400 lower than our established PDC course price. 

New to Permaculture?

What is Permaculture?

“Permaculture design is exemplified when there is a convergence of common sense, indigenous wisdom and appropriate technology. It is grounded in a respectful approach to others, to all of life, and to future  generations–dedicated to leaving the planet in better condition than we found it.” – Bill Wilson

Click here to learn more about what permaculture is.

What is the Permaculture Design Course?

This training contains the classic 72-hour training created by Bill Mollison (the founder of permaculture). It is a deep introduction to permaculture and how to use it for design purposes. The course provides a clear understanding on how we as humans can minimize, even possibly reverse, Global-Climate Change and heal much of the damage to our planet, while also creating greater abundance & security for all. Click here to read more. 

About the PDC Certificate

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) certificate is awarded to students who complete the 72-hour curriculum in permaculture design as created by Bill Mollison. All graduates of this training will receive a join Midwest Permaculture and Fox Hollow Farm registered certificate. For a history and greater details about the certificate, click here.

About Midwest Permaculture

Midwest Permaculture has been delivering high quality PDC courses since 2007. This course will the 89th we have hosted, taught or sponsored. We remain inspired by the content of the PDC course and strive to make each course better than the last. Click here to read more about Bill & Becky Wilson and Midwest Permaculture. 

Outdoor evening space and forest classroom

About Fern Hollow Farm
By Erik Peterson
Fern Hollow is an all natural, permaculture farm providing ethically grown and affordable healthy foods. We strive to help build community resiliency in the Appalachian region by facilitating interactive learning and therapeutic opportunities.

Fern Hollow Farm is a 10-acre living laboratory for an array of Permaculture practices, and centers on community engagement through hands on demonstration and education.

Click on a the Basemap above to View Full Resolution

Planning began in 2014, and we broke ground by planting our first trees in the Spring of 2015. Since then we have facilitated dozens of workshops and events, ranging from beekeeping and the raising and use of herbs, to DIY solar and biogas energy. We’ve even hosted a small music festival.

We are excited to be offering our first Permaculture Design Course in collaboration with Midwest Permaculture, right here on our little slice of these rolling Appalachian foothills. We look forward to taking an in-depth dive into all things Permaculture with you! 

This video captures the essence of what Fern Hollow Farm is about. Check it out to get a taste of what you’ll experience during the PDC.

What Will you Find at Fern Hollow Farm?

  • A 30’ yurt classroom
  • Off grid energy, water and living
  • Hands on natural building projects
  • Earthworks for holding water
  • High tunnels and annual garden
  • A passive solar shower
  • Hugelkultur mounds
  • Agroforestry practices in our “forest classroom”
  • Mushroom logs
  • Our perennial forest garden
  • Long term timber planning
  • Integrated livestock management
  • Beekeeping
  • Medicinal herb growing and harvesting 
  • Community building (social permaculture)
  • Transitional strategies for sustainable right livelihood 
  • And much more…

View above video for a quick picture summary of their yurt building project.


Additional Course Information

PDC Training Fee
(Optional meal plan available for those who would rather not prepare their own meals.)

What the registration fee includes:
     – Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series
     – Pre-training, On-training and Post-training Educational Materials
     – Exposure to the Full PDC Course Curriculum over 10 days
     – Lots of Hands-on and Up-close Exposure to Permaculture Methods
     – Actual Permaculture-Design Experience
     – Experienced, Capable and Personable Teaching Team
     – Signed and Numbered PDC Certificate of Completion – Recognized Worldwide
     – Camping Space with Amenities

Optional Add-Ons
Private Room – $150
Full Meal Plan – $275
You will need to contact Erik and Olivia directly to reserve a room or the meal plan at Info@fernhollow.org or call/text (740) 591-7585.

Online Registration – Click Here
     1. Call Becky at 815-256-2215

     2. Email:  Becky@MidwestPermaculture.com

Midwest Permaculture PDC Course students on a site-walk tour

If breaking up your payment is an important factor to your ability to participate a $350 deposit will secure your seat until the training begins when full payment will be due.

Low Risk Cancellation and Refund Policy
We know  that unexpected things happen or come up. Therefore, should a student need to cancel their enrollment in this training there is a full refund less $250 if thirty days out, or less $350 if within 30 days of start.  

There are no refunds for cancellations or withdrawals once the course begins. However, we do look at each situation individually and if we can, we will extend a partial or full credit toward a future training.

Questions? Need to talk this through a bit?
Feel free to email or call Becky. (Becky@MidwestPermaculture.com  —  815-256-2215)

Start/Stop Times - Daily Schedule


Registration will open on Friday, October 16th at 4 pm, and we will provide dinner for all from 6-7 followed by a screening of the film “Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective”.

Class will end on Sunday, October 25th around 2-3 pm. Please note: This is a 10-day course instead of Midwest Permaculture’s usual 8-day course. 

A PDC requires a minimum of 72 hours of class time. Our PDC will have around 80 hours of total exposure to the Permaculture curriculum on site, including field trips and hands on activities. 

Daily classes begin at 8:15 am and go until noon, when we will have a lunch break. Class will resume from 1:15 until 5:15 pm when we will break for dinner for 2 hours before returning to finish out the day from 7:15-9 pm. There will be ample time for snacks and breaks between meals so we all stay fresh.


Optional Meal Plan for just $275

Most all of our food will be organic, and locally and ethically sourced. Vegetarian and omnivorous options will be provided as well as snacks, tea, hot water and coffee, etc. Our all inclusive meal plan is an additional $275 to tuition, which covers all 20 meals. We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests if given ample notice. Please let us know of any allergens as well. 

We will have an outdoor kitchen area set up for cooking meals for those who choose to pack their own food in. Fridge space will be reserved for the cooking team, so pack ice and a cooler if so desired.

Contact Erik and Olivia directly to purchase this meal plan at Info@fernhollow.org or call/text (740) 591-7585.


Camping or Lodging

There is plenty of free camping space as part of your $995 tuition for the course. With the composting toilets and solar shower your hygiene needs will be met in an environmentally sound way. You can prepare your own meals right next to your tent or there will able be a common area for meal sharing with various cooking options. If you wish to keep some food items cold, students can coordinate ice-runs into the nearby town. 

Lodging Options on Site
If you prefer to be under roof, there are a limited number of rooms available right on site with full amenities (5), two of which have their own bathroom. The hosts are next door neighbors and family members, and the rooms run $150 each per-person per-room for the course duration, or $200 per couple.  Coffee, tea and water are available with these rooms but no kitchen privileges as we will need this space for meal prep. For meals you can use the common area that will be set up for meal prep or sign up for the meal package.  Contact Olive and Erik to reserve a room. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Contact Erik and Olivia directly to reserve a room at Info@fernhollow.org or call/text (740) 591-7585.

Motel Options Nearby
There is very little in the way of lodging immediately nearby but there are plenty of hotels in Lancaster and Logan, about 30 minutes away. 

As a reminder, there will be outdoor, passive solar showers, moldering/composting toilets, and port-a-Johns available for all of our campers. 


What to Bring

If camping, be prepared for rain or shine. October tends to provide perfect nights for sleeping outside with just a bit of chill, and beautiful sunny days. You will likely not be spending much time in your tent aside from sleeping, as we have long days of class. 

Please also plan to bring: Simple sketching and drafting supplies (IF you’d like to hand draw your final designs). Laptop computer (not a tablet unless it is robust) with PowerPoint or Google Slides ready to go. Key reference books: If you have a few titles that you love and use (plants, wildlife, buildings, property design, etc.) feel free to bring them. They could come in handy for design work.  The internet will be available via mobile hotspots. Comfortable, casual clothing that is seasonally appropriate. Light work gloves, work boots, sun hat, light rain gear (our schedule is flexible so we will not be trudging in the rain). Your favorite mug with lid (if you have one) for coffee-tea-water during class. 

Optional: Olivia will be offering optional yoga sessions throughout the 10-day course. She has ten mats available for those who may not have their own, but if you have your own, feel free to bring it to help assure there’s enough mats to go around. 


Location - How to Get Here

Our address is 5809 twp rd., 143 NW, Somerset, Ohio, 43783. We are only about 15 minutes S of I-70 through Zanesville. Once you enter the driveway, come down to the bottom of the hill and park in the marked area, then walk on in! We are about an hour away from the Columbus airport and can arrange for transportation if necessary. Please try to carpool with fellow travelers if possible. There is a place on our course networking site to communicate with each other for this after you register. 


More About Instructors
Sharon Bagatell

Sharon Bagatell has been studying and practicing permaculture for the past twenty years in both temperate and tropical climates. Building on her extensive background as an environmental educator, she received a design certificate while living at Earthaven Ecovillage, a teaching certificate through Midwest Permaculture in Illinois, an advanced design certificate in Designing for Climate Resilience through Oregon State University, and a Home Horticulture Certification also through Oregon State.

This is the home that Sharon and her partner built at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Sharon lived at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage for 10 years where she and her partner built a timberframe straw-bale home with a gardenable roof.  Natural building is in her bones and was one of the teachers of their Natural Building Workshops.

Sharon is presently living in Durham, North Carolina, and is passionately involved in citizen advocacy on climate change. She is the author of a permaculture curriculum for children and a step-by-step permaculture manual for low-literacy Malawian farmers.

Sharron and Bill Wilson teaching a swale digging workshop at a PDC course they taught in 2016 at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Missouri

Olivia Miller Peterson

Olivia Miller Peterson has been studying and working within the sustainability and Permaculture field for 9 years. She earned a degree in Environment, Economics, Development and Sustainability and during her studies contributed to thesis work on deforestation, climate change policy, and the Permaculture movement. After completing her PDC in Athens, Ohio, Olivia and her future husband Erik moved off-grid and began designing Fern Hollow Farm, their own 10-acre Permaculture oasis.

Olivia at her Midwest Permaculture Teacher Training 2016

She completed her Permaculture Teacher Training with Midwest Permaculture and returned to Ohio State to complete a Masters in Social Work specializing in Mental Health and Community & Social Justice and enjoys bringing this “people care” lens to her Permaculture design work and teaching. Olivia also works as a therapist in the community specializing in horticulture and nature-based therapy, somatic psychotherapy, and trauma. Permaculture is Olivia’s life work – she is passionate about designing and facilitating intimate connection between people and nature in the hope that we might value each other and this beautiful Earth we all inhabit.

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson first encountered Permaculture in 2012 while working at Community Food Initiatives, a 501 (c)3 non-profit focusing on regional food security through community and school gardens, and farmers’ market programs. Erik received his PDC at Solid Ground Farm in Athens, Ohio in Spring of 2014, where he also met Olivia, then went on to earn his Permaculture Teachers Training through Midwest Permaculture (MWP) in the summer of 2015.

Erik at his Midwest Permaculture Teacher Training 2015

After further training in natural building at Cal-Earth (California Institute of Earth Art & Architecture), Master Gardener certification, and Pattern Literacy (with Toby Hemenway), Erik accepted an offer to become a Teaching Apprentice with Bill and Becky Wilson of MWP.

Erik has co-taught 15 Permaculture Design Courses with MWP across the US and Canada over the last 3 years, and has facilitated and taught in 3 PDC courses independently. Erik also teaches the Permaculture curriculum locally at Hocking College. Erik splits his time between the educational and social Permaculture centered farm he and his partner Olivia Miller Peterson co-founded in 2015, Fern Hollow Farm, LLC (www.fernhollow.org), and Erik’s business by the same name, which focuses on Permaculture and native plant design and installations, rainwater systems, earthworks, masonry, building and more.

Additional Photos of Fern Hollow Farm

30′ Yurt Classroom 

Erik and Olive following the erection of the yurt frame.

Inside the yurt today.


Yoga Deck

Bring your yoga mat for optional early morning yoga sessions with Olivia in the forest garden area. Erik might even offer a few Qi-Gong and Tai-Chi sessions.

What a permaculture love story! Olivia and Erik met at a Permaculture Design Certificate course in Ohio in 2014. Four years later they were married and on their own land (Fern Hollow Farm) surrounded by family, friends and neighbors. You will meet some of these wonderful people as well.

Please feel free to call or email Becky at Midwest Permaculture should you have any lingering questions.

This is going to be a wonderful course.
We hope you can make it!