Bill Mollison Permaculture’s Co-Founder

What is the Permaculture Design Certificate?

About the 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

Permaculture is a worldwide grassroots movement organized on principle, ethics, and the honor system.   It is one of the few educational systems in the world of its size that allows so much freedom to students and teachers alike.

Certification has been a part of design course completion since the early days of permaculture (the 1980s). For example, bill Mollison would train people and then give them a ‘certificate of completion’ to demonstrate that they had been exposed to his basic curriculum.

At that time, he encouraged graduates of his training to go forth and immerse themselves into the fundamental application of permaculture design and, if and when they felt called and ready to teach, to go ahead and do so, even if they wished to eventually offer their own Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses and hand out their own certificates. As a result, several generations of students became teachers of the PDC. Unfortunately, some of those who picked up the teaching torch were not very good teachers and/or failed to present all of the essential information contained within the design course curriculum. As a result, Mollison started receiving complaints about the poor quality of some of “his” courses.

Realizing that specific standards should probably be established for permaculture teachers, he eventually began a screening process and set up a registry so that future students had some assurance concerning the quality of teaching. However, within a couple of years he discovered that some unethical teachers would get on his registry only to end up teaching whatever and however they wished. To Bill’s credit he closed the registry to allow permaculture to grow organically. This quote by Mollison clearly reflects his fundamental feelings about top-down institutions vs. a grass-roots approach. 

“Finally, with hundreds of itinerant teachers turning up anywhere, the system is beyond restraint.
Safe at last, and in a geometric growth rate – we have won! Permaculture is permanently ungovernable.”

“I visualize an open society where anyone who wants to teach advertises the fact, the fees, and the duration of the course; also their degree of abstraction.
Teachers live well or poorly, on the loyalty of their students.
There are no salaried teachers.”

Travels in Dreams by Bill Mollison (from 1996)

Fortunately, most teachers in the permaculture world are guided strongly by the ethics permaculture was birthed from so are dedicate to providing a quality training.

Also, the content of the PDC is quite brilliant in and of itself so regardless of the quality of teaching, the odds are, most PDC trainings fall within the good-to-great range. 

We suggest that one does their homework to assess the quality and experience of the teachers and then follows their own intuition and judgment as to which course is best for themselves.