A community-based Online Permaculture Design Course that empowers you to enact change in your life and communities.

24-week online course

2023 dates coming soon!

What is this course?

In this 24-week Online Permaculture Design Course, Quail Springs offers you the tools to create meaningful change in yourself and your communities through permaculture design, a system of design for sustainable human settlement based on observation of the natural world and land-based ways of knowing. Guided by the three core permaculture ethics - people care, earth care, and fair share (redistribution of surplus) - this course empowers us to design our lives to create the lasting change that our world needs. We've expanded the duration of this course to 24 weeks to make it less of an intensive and more accessible to participants with busy schedules.

Why this course?

Constant exposure to stories of environmental and social crises can leave us feeling immobilized and unsure of how we can effect positive change in our world. Many of us are left feeling as if our actions towards positive change aren’t enough under the weight of these ongoing crises. This course focuses on providing you with the scalable tools to mobilize for change - whether it’s in your home garden, your neighborhood, or your region.

This Online Permaculture Design Course takes students through an integrated curriculum that is self-aware, actionable, and community-based. This course is a 72-hour curriculum that culminates in a Permaculture Design Certification upon completion of the course and design project.

" The course content and community that was created exceeded my expectations and I’m sad it’s come to an end, but I’m excited for what the future brings. "
Former online PDC Participant

Why Quail Springs?

Quail Springs has been teaching in-person Permaculture Design Courses for over a decade. More than 1,000 students have gained their Permaculture Design Certification with us and have gone on to do change-making work in their communities and in their own lives.

Our teaching staff are farmers, activists, builders, and thinkers who not only teach, but also advocate at a regional level for policy change from agriculture to building codes. Quail Springs’ teaching staff includes both instructors who are residents at Quail Springs’ site, and instructors who live elsewhere and have contributed their expertise to this Online Permaculture Design Course.

" I do not think that I would have had the same experience had I taken the PDC somewhere else. The instructors, their knowledge, and the information was exceptional. "
Nyakio Kaniu-Lake
Former PDC Participant

Together. Online.

It is with excitement that we bring this Online Permaculture Design Course to the web, and invite you to join us for the experience. Quail Springs is committed to community-building as a core value of this course even when we are sharing space virtually. This course centers on connecting and uplifting the world's greatest resource: you.

Registration Information

  • Enrollment Opens: February 15, 2021
  • Sliding Scale Cost: $700 – $1000 — What is Sliding Scale?
  • Alternative pricing options available for BIPOC, and need-based scholarship opportunities available. Contact us here with any questions.
  • This course will be capped to keep the course connective, and we expect it fill up fast! Mark your calendars, or guarantee your spot by pre-registering below to get exclusive access to early enrollment.

Preview of the course curriculum

WEEKS 1 – 7

Introduction to Permaculture

  • What is Permaculture?
  • Permaculture Ethics and Principles 
  • Why Permaculture
  • A Canopy View 
  • Patterns in Nature 
  • Pattern Application in Design
  • Permaculture Processes in Design 
  • Design Methods 
  • Design Case Studies
  • The Permaculture Design Process and Project
  • Permaculture & Science

Climate and Climate Characteristics

  • Introduction to Climate and Climate Characteristics


  • Water in the Landscape
  • Water Ethics
  • Rainwater Harvesting for Home and Growing Systems


  • Earthworks for Rainwater Harvesting and Resilience
  • Earthworks in the Field

WEEKS 8 – 15


  • Living Soils
  • Living Soils Slide Deck
  • Compost

Cultivated Ecologies

  • Gardening 101
  • In the Quail Springs Garden: How-To’s Bundle
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Energy Transactions of Trees & Forests
  • Food Forests
  • In the QS Food Forests
  • Pruning Trees
  • Rooftop Farming
  • Introduction to Broadscale Landscape Design
  • Agroforestry
  • Bonus: Seed Saving as Culture Keeping
  • Bonus: Introduction to Fungi for Food, Medicine, and Ecological Services


  • Integrated Animal Systems
  • Introduction to Quail Springs Animal Systems
  • Introduction to Beekeeping 

What About Waste?

  • Greywater Systems
  • What about Human Waste?
  • Waste & Bioremediation

WEEKS 16 – 24

The Built Environment 

  • Appropriate Technology at Quail Springs
  • The Built Environment
  • Passive Heating & Cooling Site Example
  • Natural Building Methods and Materials
  • Housing Advocacy and Building Code
  • Designing for Catastrophe: Fire Resilience in Our Built Environment
  • Building Adobes and Rocket Stove: Natural Building Practicum
  • Naturally Built Structures at Quail Springs

Conscious Social Design 

  • Introduction to Conscious Social Design
  • Elements of Community Design
  • Regenerative Economics
  • Permaculture Network & Projects to Watch

Final Live Sessions

Design Project Submission


It is part of our mission to actively dismantle the social and ecological imbalances forced upon communities of color. Therefor we are offering a sliding-scale pricing model to provide accessibility to those who need it, as well as providing the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ to those who can afford to sponsor those in need.
Learn more about our equitable pricing model


Scholarships and self-determined sliding scale cost options available on a case by case basis. BIPOC and historically underrepresented students will be prioritized. Contact us here to inquire.


for those who can afford to pay the standard tuition cost.



for those who can afford to partially sponsor another person's tuition.


for those who can afford to fully sponsor another person's tuition.


reserved for participants with lower relative wealth.


Frequently Asked Questions

Meet Your Instructors.

Abudu Nininger - Online Permaculture Design Course
Abudu Nininger
Project Spotlight: Akwaaba Urban Food Forest in LA
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Brad Lancaster - Online Permaculture Design Course
Brad Lancaster
Project Spotlight: 1/8 acre urban permaculture site in Tucson
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Brenton Kelly - Online Permaculture Design Course
Brenton Kelly
Teaching: Water Ethics, Water On The Landscape, Earthworks, Living Soils, Compost, Beekeeping
Read More
Daniel Parra Hensel - Online Permaculture Design Course
Daniel Parra Hensel
Teaching: Permaculture Design, Permaculture Foundations
Read More
Danielle Stevenson - Online Permaculture Design Course
Danielle Stevenson
Teaching: Growing Your Own Mushrooms, Waste & Bioremediation
Read More
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