PDC at Fern Hollow Farm

Permaculture Design Certificate Course
Outdoor PDC at Fern Hollow Farm – Somerset, OH
Days Added for Extra Hands-on, Up-close, Experiences
August 12-22, 2021   –  Fees and Registration
Enrollment Closed – Have Fun Everyone!

More here on these talented teachers.

Ideal Permaculture 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 have their own permaculture homestead which they have been developing for 7 years. It is the #1 HipCamp site in Ohio. So, not only is the farm ready to host a PDC course, so are they as teachers.

Another teacher graduate of ours, permaculturist Sharon Bagatell, who is already a seasoned teacher and has taught with Erik and Olive before. Together they make a powerful teaching team with years of combined experience and insights.

Midwest Permaculture is delighted to co-sponsor this Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course and are confident that all taking it will have a wonderful experience while garnering the essential information contained within the PDC course curriculum.

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 explore out options as humans as we begin to adapt to climate change and explore various mitigation strategies. 

Erik and Olivia hosting farm guests from an urban community-garden project.

What is an ‘Outdoor Training’?
For lectures requiring a digital projector there is the yurt, and in the event of rain there will be extra room in the greenhouses for immediate shelter, but otherwise, most of the training is hosted out of doors in different locations around the farm. There is no climate control such as heat or air conditioning and students might appreciate having their own, non-toxic, insect repellant as well. 

Added Days as Special Bonus
What might be missed in the creature comforts of an indoor PDC will be more than made up for by the many excellent permaculture applications there are to see and touch at Fern Hollow Permaculture Farm. It is Olivia, Sharon and Erik that requested there be a few extra days added to this course to give students plenty of time to explore the many features of this wonderful site. We are keeping the price of the course at our standard MWP price of $1,500 but the added days are a special bonus and gift of the teachers.

How we will Deal with Covid at this Training (as of 7/16/21)
We understand that, though the overall numbers are down, we are still in a global pandemic.

As such we feel it best to communicate with you how that impacts your time here for your PDC. Our intention is to spend as much time as possible outside teaching content with hands on, tangible examples of Permaculture theory and practice. Nonetheless, during your time at our farm you will be sharing space with classmates for meals, activities, and doing group work.

Some elements of the course will be delivered inside of our yurt, or in case of rain, we will also have a high tunnel set up as a learning space. In all of this, there is some inherent risk that should be acknowledged in signing up for and attending this training during this time.

To compensate for this risk, we are asking all participants to be fully vaccinated and/or receive a negative Covid test two days before we all come together. Additionally, if you are not feeling well or are showing any Covid-related symptoms we ask that you please do not attend and we will refund your course fee minus $350 which can be fully applied to any future course hosted by Midwest Permaculture.

Under these conditions, and considering that we will be outside for most of our time together, face masks will be optional during the course.

We understand this is a delicate issue for many, and honor your personal health decisions with the utmost respect for your choices and medical privacy, but in order that we can gather safely and in good conscious, we ask this in good faith. If there are any additional questions or concerns related to Covid, please do not hesitate to contact us or Becky.

What Will you Find at Fern Hollow Farm?

        • A 30’ yurt classroom
        • Off grid energy, water and living
        • Hands on natural building projects including Cal-Earth’s Super Adobe
        • Earthworks for holding water
        • High tunnels and annual garden
        • A passive hot-water 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 
        • And more…

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.


Additional Course Information

Price of PDC: $1500

Registration Now Closed.

Group Pricing: $300 off additional registrations
Families/Couples/Friends Discount
If you have those who are close to you, who are also interested in permaculture, we offer a reasonable discount of $300 for the second and all subsequent people coming as a group. It is just too difficult to explain to others all that one learns at a PDC course. It is always so much better if people take this training together. You will be seeing the world through new eyes following this PDC and it makes a world of difference if everyone is seeing and understanding the same things.
Group registration is by phone only and we will need the name and email address of each person registering.
Call Becky at 815-216-4124‬

Maximum enrollment for safety during Covid: 20 students

What the registration fee includes:
     – Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series
     – Exposure to the Full PDC Course Curriculum
     – All meals and snacks for entire 11 days
     – Lots of Hands-on and Up-close Exposure to Permaculture Techniques & Methods
     – Actual Permaculture-Design Experience
     – Post-training Educational Materials Posted on Course Dedicated Website
     – Experienced, Capable and Personable Teaching Team
     – Signed and Numbered Midwest Permaculture PDC Certificate
     – Camping Space with Amenities

Optional Add-Ons
Private Room – $150

You will need to contact Erik and Olivia directly to reserve a room at or call/text (740) 591-7585.

Opt-out on Meals Option – Less $250
We know some people have very specific diets or just wish to make their own meals. This is just fine and $250 will be deducted from the price of registration.
More about the meals below. Please Read.
They will be growing much of the food right there!

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 more, 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. (  —  815-216-4124‬)

Start/Stop Times - Daily Schedule


Arrive anytime after 4 pm on Thursday, Aug. 12th to set up your camping space and we will provide dinner for all from 6:00-7:00 followed by a screening of the film “Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective”. The full teaching schedule begins the following morning at 8:15.

Class will end on Sunday, August 22nd between 2-3 pm. 

A PDC requires a minimum of 72 hours of instruction time. This PDC will far surpass this with the delivery of the curriculum, 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 breaks during the instruction periods with access to snacks so we all stay fresh.


About the Meals

Most all of our food will be organic, much of it raised right on the farm, and ethically sourced. Vegetarian and omnivorous options will be provided. Snacks, tea, hot water and coffee available throughout the day. We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests if given ample notice. Please let us know of any allergens as well. 

For those on the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ meal plan we will have an outdoor kitchen area set up for cooking or you can prepare your own meals right next to your tent . Fridge space will be reserved for the cooking team, so pack ice and a cooler if you need to keep some of your food items cool. Students can coordinate ice-runs into the nearby town. 

We honor and understand anyone who feels that they can save some money by providing their own food, but do consider the added benefit of being able to relax and either rest or visit with other students during meal breaks instead of prepping food. It might be worth the added expense if you can afford it. Just think’n…

Contact Erik and Olivia directly if you have questions about the food: or call/text (740) 591-7585.


Camping or Lodging

There is plenty of free camping space as part of the course tuition. With the composting toilets and solar shower your hygiene needs will be met in an environmentally sound way. 

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. If you are providing your own food you can use the common area that will be set up for meal prep.  Contact Olive and Erik to reserve a room. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis:  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 11-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 several years, and has facilitated and taught in 3 PDC courses independently. Erik has also taught 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!