PDC – Bending Oak Permaculture Farm

Onsite – Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course
Hosted at Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, Youngstown, OH
June 17-24, 2023 (Early Reg. Discount ends April 17th)
Sept. 16-24, 2023 (Early Reg. Discount ends July. 16th)
(Limit 18 Students/Course)
Pricing and Registration

-Midwest Permaculture is guiding the design and implementation of this project
-Learn permaculture at a site in the early stages of development

“Wrapping up our first day of class, I’m walking back to my cabin humbled and honored to be amongst likeminded folks, on what feels like almost sacred land. Even the introduction to the tree the farm was named after felt intimate and privileged. I’m amazed at the sense of camaraderie felt with everyone here after just one day, and I’m even more convinced there is NO culture like permaculture!” 
Ashlee – 33 – Residential Construction Contractor

This PDC Course consists of our Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series  plus 8-very-full days on site

Taking Your PDC at Bending Oak Permaculture Farm
We began designing this site with our client, Bending Oak Farm, over 8 years ago in an effort to take this 25-acre site that had been clear-cut with much of its topsoil removed by the previous owner, into a site that includes bounty, beauty and ecological regeneration. We are having a great time developing Bending Oak and will enjoy sharing all of our lessons and progress with you at this PDC course.

This area was a mosquito-infested swamp created when the previous owner clear-cut the property in 2008. The pond and shipping-container barn are part of the early design stages of this permaculture reclamation project.
Bending Oak’s Vision:
Bending Oak Farm is an educational farm committed to a mission of showing people what is possible when looking to create a more sustainable world. Through classes, workshops, school tours, community programs and hands on experiences, we look to demonstrate attainable practices to better the lives of all people as we move to a sustainable culture.

Learn First Hand how we Designed and implemented:

Growing Harvestable Veggies while Building the Orchard TopsoilShipping-Container Barn

Pond  Design and Construction

4000 Gallon Rainwater Cistern with First Flush System

You Will Also Learn About:
– Fruit and Nut Orchard Design and Planting
– How to Build Three Inches of Topsoil In Three Years
– Double-deer Fencing
– Equipment and Tools Needed to Build a Permaculture Site
– Small Bridge and Pergola Design/Build
– Understandable and Clean Composting Toilet System
– Root Cellar Basics
– Creating and Maintaining Paths and Driveways
– How to Create Your Own Permaculture Design
…and much more.

Here is the Conceptual Design Layout for the full 25 acres.

“I gave this course an overall rating of 5 stars.  If I could go higher I would, you exceeded my expectation by a huge amount. Seeing is believing at Bending Oak.”

“This course should be a requirement to living on the planet. The container barn, the pond and even the super clean composting toilets were all so well conceived and implemented.”

“This was such a wonderful experience. I can’t imagine a better use of my time and money.  I’m leaving with clear ideas of how to implement permaculture into my life and inspired to do so.”

“I really enjoyed what Bill and his team brought to this course. Their vulnerability, honesty, experience, knowledge and integrity inspired us all week. Each day was an adventure in what is really possible.”

A Message from Bill…

Bill Wilson – Lead Teacher and Designer for Midwest Permaculture

When Bending Oak approached us 9-years ago to assist in the development of it’s property, none of us foresaw how our passion for this project would grow.

Taking a couple of key lessons from the Permaculture Designer’s Manual, we decided to observe the property over time while simultaneously implementing some slow and steady solutions.

To be clear, we did not have all the answers before we started. We still don’t. But we advance confidently taking one step at a time, applying permaculture systems thinking and techniques, and learning much as we progress.

For all who attend this training we will share with you our step-by-step process including our design details.

Taking a PDC course at Bending Oak makes for an excellent training experience for teachers and students and I am very much looking forward to each one. I hope to see you there.

Bill Wilson

You may be wondering…
 “What will I be learning from this Permaculture Design Course?”
Click Below.

About the World Recognized Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course
How We Deliver this Amazing Course Material   (Regardless of the location)
Download our Curriculum Outline (.pdf)
Graduation Day in the Rain! – Bending Oak PDC 2018

Additional Details About the Course

Start and End Time
Start: Saturday, – 1:00pm
End:   Saturday, – Noon

Check-in and Registration is from 9:30-12:30 in the morning.  Course starts promptly at 1:00 p.m. A light lunch will be offered around noon.
Once the course starts we will be full-on for the entire week so arrive on the early side, get setup  and relax a bit before this permaculture adventure begins.   (More details regarding being at the course will be sent to registered students 3-4 weeks before the training dates.)

Daily Schedule
7:15  –     Breakfast

8:15  –     Class
12:15 –     Lunch Break
2:00  –     Class
5:00  –     Dinner Break
7:00  –     Class 
9:00  –     End

As you can see, these are very-full days.  But because we break up the class-time with videos, exercises, discussions and more, students enjoy going into the evenings without feeling fatigued.

“Bill, I was concerned coming in that I would not be able to learn anything by the evening sessions.  Not so.  With the long meal breaks and the way that you and your team kept the material so interesting, I was fully engaged all day. Great job.  I didn’t want the week to end.”
Rebecca – 48 – Social Worker

Open Camping and Meals Included
The price of registration includes plenty of free camping space in common grassy areas and the provision of all your meals beginning with lunch on the first Saturday. Our host prepares our meals with many organic and locally sourced foods and always has a vegetarian option. Are you vegan or gluten-free?  Just let us know when you register and they will gladly accommodate your diet.

Open Camping Area – Free of Charge

– Optional –
Private Camping Spots and Cabins for Rent

For an additional fee you can rent a more private camping site tucked into the woods, or one of Bending Oak’s cabins. Note: There are just 2 small and 2 large cabins (4 total). Register early if you wish for a cabin. There are plenty of wooded sites to reserve (16 of those) and you can also find multiple motels close by (a 10-minute drive).
Private Wooded Campsite – Add $157.50

We have multiple tent-site openings in the woods that are more private. Amenities for the private sites include:

            • Fire ring (Firewood available for purchase)
            • access to composting outhouses as well as the shower house

Small Cabins (2 Available) – Adds $366.50

These 8×10 camping cabins have a maximum capacity of 2 adults. They are not heated or cooled, but are insulated for modest comfort in hot or cold conditions. The cabins are off-grid, but are powered by battery packs charged by our solar panels at the barn. Amenities for the small cabins include:

            • 1 bed upstairs in loft, one downstairs (Bring your own bedding)
            • Fire ring in rear of cabin (Firewood available for purchase)
            • Battery for minimal power needs (cabin lighting, outlets for device charging, CPAP machine and other minimal electrical needs)
            • Small amount of shelving for clothes and other personal items.

Large Cabins (2 Available) – Adds $628.50

These 12’×16′ cabins can hold up to 4 people. They are not heated or cooled, but are insulated for modest comfort in hot or cold conditions. As with the small cabins, they are off-grid, but are powered by battery packs charged by our solar panels at the barn. Amenities for large cabins include:

            • Private shower and composting toilet
            • Double bed on the main floor and two single mattresses in the lofts (Bring your own bedding)
            • Fire ring in rear of cabin (Firewood available for purchase)
            • Battery for minimal power needs (cabin lighting, outlets for device charging, CPAP machine and other minimal electrical needs)
            • Small amount of shelving for clothes and other personal items.

About Registering for the Course with a Cabin or Private Wooded Campsite
For an individual, the online registration process is pretty clear and easy to follow. Go ahead and register by following the links below.  If however, if you are registering as a couple or as a group of 2 or more, and plan on sharing the accommodations, it’s probably best to give Becky a call at 815-216-4124 or email her at . She can explain things more clearly and book your discounted registrations and lodging options.

On-site Accommodations for Everyone
All students will have access to our shower house (2 showers and 2 ‘super-clean’ composting toilets), our common fire pit near the classroom, the gazebo by the pond, and electricity and wi-fi in the barn.

Our shower house is equipped with our ‘super-clean’ composting toilets (a new system we have developed combining elements from various other systems) and plenty of hot and cold running water supplied from our rainwater harvesting system. All of the grey-water is bio-filtered on site.

“Oh my gosh, I thought I would be grossed out by the composting toilet but not so at all. It was easy to use, odor free for all practical purposes and makes so much sense. I loved it.”
Katie B. – Recent PDC Graduate

Super Clean Composting Toilet
‘Super-Clean’ Composting Toilet

Shower House

Classroom Space
Classes will be held in the large open area of the shipping container barn where there is almost always a nice breeze (no air conditioning).  If you have a favorite lawn or folding chair you are invited to bring it.

We have plenty of chairs but if you have a favorite folding chair, feel free to bring it.

A Solar-Energy ‘Lite’ Course
Since we will be running everything off of our 1.6KW solar panel system we will all have to be mindful of how much electricity we are consuming. When the sun is high and bright we will have plenty of energy. By evening however, we will need to conserve a bit.  As a back up, we have a gasoline-powered electric generator if/when it becomes necessary.

Group and Personal Design Projects
For all PDC trainings, students work on several design projects usually in small groups. Participating in a final design project is a requirement of certification. The projects selected will be determined by the instructors but student’s preferences are strongly considered.

Bring Your Own Design Project: 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, business, farm or property, we invite you to bring information about your site to the training. If you have them, bring a sketch of your property in fairly accurate proportions and/or an aerial view photo or map with property lines.  We can look this information up online as well.  Also bring 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 these 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. No big surprises here. Just the usual stuff.

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.

“This was unequivocally the best educational experience of my life. You made permaculture completely understandable and I am so inspired to implement this work. This training has tied it all together for me. Thank You.”
Kate M. – College Student

“Thanks so much for all your work!! I was so inspired by the course. I’ve already integrated permaculture into a community project I’m working on. After 25 years of landscaping, I needed this boost of BLISS!”
Catherine R. – Professional Landscape Architect

Permaculturally Designed Pond and Shipping-Container Barn

You Can Begin The Training Now with the Pre-Course Studies 

This permaculture course actually begins with registration when you receive a welcome email with links to our Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series which includes:
– 14 hours of prerecord training sessions
– links to over 3-dozen selected articles and resources
– 150 question study guide
The new 3-hour ‘Site Data & Digital Design Workshop’ (recordings)
– Foundational Text: The Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture
(The text is snail-mailed and should arrive within a week following your registration.)


Fees and Registration

Early Registration Discount!

On-Site PDC at Bending Oak June 17-24, 2023


*If two or more wish to register as a group, please call Becky at 815-216-4124

Back to the course page

Food * 

Additional information


Common Area Campsites, Individual Wooded Campsites (+$157.50), Small Cabin (+$366.50), Large Cabin (+$628.50)

Early Registration Discount!

On-Site PDC at Bending Oak Sept. 16-23, 2023


*If two or more wish to register as a group, please call Becky at 815-216-4124

Back to the course page

Food * 

Additional information


Common Area Campsites, Individual Wooded Campsites (+$157.50), Small Cabin (+$366.50), Large Cabin (+$628.50)

There is also a $300 discount available for one’s spouse, partner, friend or other family member. Register directly with Becky for this option.
Phone: 815-216-4124
Feel free to contact Becky with any questions or to register.
Phone or Email her at:

Our recent PDC Course Graduates at Bending Oak
We hope you can join us this year!

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 host occasional permaculture reunions for our graduates and their families.
    • Graduates may audit any future 72-hour certification courses at half price.

    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 earned their PDC Certification from another recognized teacher (from anywhere in the world) who wish to take one of our courses as a refresher. Please call or email us for details.

    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. You do however retain access to the Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series ($195 value), keep the course handouts and text-book, and receive a full $195 credit toward 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 $400 and the student still receives a $195 credit toward a future design course. 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 or full credit towards a future design course.

    Still Have Questions?
    You are welcome to email Becky () or call her at 815-216-4124‬.