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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013


with MICHAEL PILARSKI, August 3-16, 2013

Event date: 8/2/2013 - 8/16/2013 Export event

Event Location: Tonasket



Okanogan Valley, north-central Washington. An opportunity to take a pdc with the Inland Northwest’s leading permaculture teacher.

Early-bird price of $1,000 extended until July 7.


Probably no better investment at today’s point in history. Learn how to grow food in climate extremes. Learn how to work with nature to create bio-diverse, fully functioning ecosystems that are biologically and economically productive. Permaculture has solutions!


Plant walks, design teams, field trips, hands-on, and internet resources are all part of the agenda for the course. 


Lots to see at the course venue.  Including a 6-year old permaculture forest garden that Michael Pilarski installed in 2008.

Check out the youtubes of Michael Pilarski at the course venue.


I have spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest and am very familiar with both the wet maritime and the semi-arid interior Northwest bioregions.  Right now I am trying to fill my August 3-16 course in the Okanogan valley of North-central Washington. This is an opportunity to take a pdc from an instructor with deep knowledge of the Northwest biomes and land at a site where there are lots of permaculture plantings to look at and work in. The 200-acre site has been under development since 1972 and I started putting in plantings there six years ago. You can taste the productivity during the course. And the course is a reasonable fee of $1,000. Most pdcs are more expensive.


We are keeping the early bird price of $1,000 until July 7 (the poster says June 1). Please help us fill this course.  Are you interested?  Who do you know who may be interested? Please email friends, list-serves or like the event on Facebook.


If you have any questions about the course content you can call me (Michael Pilarski) at 406-741-5809.


If you have questions about payment, registration, worktrade or facilities call Joseph Willging  at 360-913-2242.


PS. Joseph is looking for an intern at the Okanogan permaculture farm where the course is being held.  Would anyone be interested in taking the course and staying on as an intern?



The Balance Between Universality and Uniqueness

Some thoughts by Michael Pilarski


There are many similarities between pdcs and most all of them tout that they are delivering the Bill Mollison curriculum. The ones that offer certification in particular take pains to keep a lot of the original curriculum.  In truth, every single permaculture design course in unique, even by the same instructor because the students change. The majority of pdcs are structured to focus on the climate zone and culture in which the course is held.  For instance, when I teach a course in Missoula, Montana, the course has a focus on the inland northwest climates, landforms, soils and biomes and Montanan society. We also look specifically at the ethnobotany and life ways of the interior Salish and other tribes from the region. I have taught four courses in the Hawaiian Islands and they focus on subtropical climates, soils, landforms and the biomes of Hawaii and Hawaiian ethnobotany.


PDCs cater to the climate and culture that the participants are from. That said, a permaculture course worth its salt will be useful for people working in any climate or culture on earth.  In other words, pdcs were set up to have universality.  The plants may change, the soils might be different, each culture is different but the permaculture ethics, principles and methodology are universal in their application.  That is what a pdc teaches first and foremost.


The curriculum developed early on by Bill Mollison has remained the standard for pdcs today. The first pdc was held in 1980 in Australia.  When I took my first course in 1982 (with Bill Mollison and Andrew Jeeves) the standard pdc curriculum was already developed and has changed little over the years. The standard course curriculum addresses all the major climate zones and parts of the world. Tropical, subtropical, warm temperate and cold temperate. Strategies, plants, animals, housing styles, and techniques for each major climate zone.  This is impressive. Some pdcs still aim to do this, particularly international pdcs.


That said, it is a difficult thing to deliver and few teachers can really do it justice like Bill Mollison could.  Most pdcs include a few sessions on other climate zones, but for the most part pdcs world round focus on the climate zone and the culture(s) the participants come from. This is a good thing. Permaculture is very much about diversity, decentralization and localization.


You can view the standard course curriculum online at Scott Pittman’s Permaculture Institute USA website. Go to  and click on Permaculture Design Certificate Course Handbook. I adapt the standard curriculum for my course curriculum to make it place-based, but I always consult the standard curriculum to make sure I don’t leave any topics out.


I recommend that people do some research before deciding where to take their first pdc and with what instructor(s). Most likely you will want to take a pdc in the climate zone you live in, locally adapted so to speak.  Closer is better than farther in most cases, but some people travel quite a distance to take a pdc with a particular instructor(s). For some people cost is a factor in their choice.  For people who have the time and the money, I would recommend taking a number of pdcs with different teachers and even in different climates.  I have now gone through 36 full pdcs and sat in (or guest taught at) many more, mostly in the US and Canada. Nepal, Belize and the Hawaiian Islands have been my subtropical pdcs.  I learn lots at each new pdc and I am always learning and evolving between pdcs. This means my courses evolve as well.  This will be a certified pdc, certified by the respected Cascadia Permaculture Institute.



Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski
Permaculture - Wildcrafting - Medicinal Herbs & Seeds


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