Permaculture Intensive Schedule

The "Permaculture Flower" - created by Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren

The "Permaculture Flower" - created by Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren


Intensive Schedule

Segment 1

Saturday, September 24th - 4 sessions

  • Session I - 9am to 10:30am - "What is Permaculture?" - FREE session open to the public - What's happening in the world? In this class we will discuss where we are as a culture, the situation we are in, what permaculture is and perhaps most importantly what permaculture is not. Come be inspired to learn more and to network with your local sustainability teachers and community.
  • Session II - 11am to 12:30 pm - Principles and Ethics of Design - This class is focused on the core of permaculture. The principles and ethics of design are what every practitioner of permaculture, student and teacher alike, constantly return to. Without them there could be no permaculture. Here we begin our journey.
  • Session III - 2:30pm - 4pm - Rural Water - Where there is water there is life. It is this simple. We as a world-wide culture have to learn to take better care of our water, especially in a desert. Learn how to use rural water and rainfall the permaculture way to implement to make the greatest impact on your land. Here we will discuss various methods of harvesting and "re-patterning" water. This will include a discussion on earthworks (mindful and intentional reshaping of land), slope, aspect, swales, how to find contour and net and pan systems of water harvesting.
  • Session IV - 4:30pm - 6pm - Greywater - In this class we study how nature uses water and then how to incorporate these principles into filtration systems for natural residential water purification and food production.

Sunday, September 25th - 4 sessions

  • Session I - 9am - 10:30am - Hands on - Water Filtration - In this session we will take the theory learned in the previous two sessions and apply them to a project on the property. There is a pond which has a pump that circulates the water. We are going to reroute this water through a designed water filtration bed which we will build in class. Please bring clothes and gloves for working in! 
  • Session II - 11am - 12:30pm - Composting - The most important starting point for every property is to close the food cycle loop and create healthy compost and fertilizer. It is very commonly done yet rarely done right. In this class we will create a compost pile in order to learn the correct way. We will also discuss various methods of composting as well as the importance of vermicomposting (composting using worms). This is a very important session for home gardeners.
  • Session III - 2:30 - 4pm - Field Trip to Tijeras Creek Restoration Site! - Special Guest instructor Jim Brooks - Join well-known local sustainability leader and teacher on a permaculture tour of the Tijeras Creek Restoration Site. Jim has been working this site for many years and has lovingly transformed it from a toxic landscape to the beautiful oasis it is today. In this segment we will focus on the real-life application and acknowledgement of permaculture principles at work. ** Please note: this class and following class are at the Tijeras Creek Restoration Site
  • Session IV - 4:30 - 6pm - Field Trip to Tijeras Creek Restoration Site! - Special Guest Instructor Jim Brooks - Continuation of the above themes involving hands on exercises to learn how to implement the methods Jim has learned and used. ** Please note this class and previous class are at the Tijeras Creek Restoration Site.

Segment 2

Friday, September 30th - 4 sessions

  • Session I - 9am - 10:30am - Zones of Design - The layout of a sustainable and efficient garden, home, land or farm. Here we will discuss the importance of design but also HOW we design the layout of a property. This encourages healthy interaction of the elements
  • Session II - 11am - 12:30pm - Sectors - The energies that influence the property and how to work with them. In this session Richard will show us how to identify the various sectors of environmental energy on a property and how to incorporate that into the design and intention of a property or landscape.
  • Session III - 2:30pm - 4pm - Broadscale Site Design - The "master plan" of every property. In this class we will be tying the previous two classes together into a comprehensive map and overview of the property
  • Session IV - 4:30pm - 6pm - Food Forestry - One of permaculture's most unique and fun elements!! This is also extremely applicable and functional in the desert environment. Here we will study the tremendous importance of perennial polycultures vs. the more common annual monoculture approach. Perennial tree-based systems are much more productive and sustainable than current approaches to growing food. Learn how to design, think and grow food like a forest.

Saturday, October 1st - 3 sessions

  • Session I - 9am to 10:30am - Special Guest teacher Michael Reed - "Pattern Recognition" - In this very important class we will learn about the permaculture way of using and acknowledging the power of patterns in our ecosystems. Michael is a true sustainability elder with a wealth of experience. Be sure not to miss this and the next class. (see Michael's bio at the bottom of the page)
  • Session II - 11am to 12:30pm - Special Guest teacher Michael Reed - "Building Soil" - Soil is the most important element we must learn to take care, let alone stop destroying. Join guest teacher Michael Reed to learn practical ways to build and improve the soil on your property. (see Michael's bio below)
  • Session III - 2:30pm - 4pm - Functional Analysis - Learning how to interweave elements for maximum productivity and efficiency. All of your elements, be it a house, garden, sidewalk, animals, trees, etc., will interact. The question is, did you PLAN on the interaction or is it merely happening? Learn how to plan for this interaction with the utmost intent and purpose.

Sunday, October 2nd - 3 sessions

  • Session I - 9am to 10:30am - Windbreaks - Wind can make or break (literally) a property or design. Learn the importance of windbreaks and how to correctly wield them for maximum impact. 
  • Session II - 11am - 12:30pm - Design Session I - Ready, set, design!! This class and the following class are easily the most important classes. This is because of the extreme importance of slowing down and putting our ideas and intents for a project or property onto paper. Most errors are made on a property because too little (or none at all as is often the case) time was given to this important step. Best of all, is you get to go through this process 1) under the guidance of an experienced permaculture designer and 2) in small groups where you get to work and share ideas with team members to produce the best design possible. The design project will be the property where this intensive is being held. 
  • Session III - 2:30pm - 4pm - Design Session II - See above.



Richard G. Powell - Richard G. Powell is an experienced certified permaculture designer and teacher.  He has taught many permaculture certification courses, both in the United States and abroad. He has studied bamboo architecture in Colombia, South America, Cob/Earthen Architecture in Kentucky, USA and organic horticulture in Germany. While living in Germany he interned for an international environmental and humanitarian organization called Salem International. During his time in Orlando he partnered with the City of Orlando to build community gardens and also ran a permaculture/community project known as "the Homestead". At this time he founded Orlando Permaculture (, a non-profit devoted to spreading the knowledge of permaculture to the Orlando community. He has traveled to over 20 countries visiting permaculture sites small and large to continually expand his knowledge. One of his specialties is greywater design for which is often sought out. He lovingly shares his passion for the Earth, community and the space where these intersect with all of his students.


James Brooks

James Brooks, founder and president of Soilutions Inc., and principal of Adaptive Terrain Systems, has provided consultation, design and installation services for soil and water conservation for over 27 years. Widely respected in New Mexico as an erosion control expert, he has designed and installed storm water, erosion control and landscape systems at private, commercial, and governmental sites throughout the state. As an organics recycling expert, he has developed innovative applications for compost and mulch products in the arid Southwest. Trained as a permaculture designer and certified as a permaculture instructor, James uses permaculture principles as a guide to the preservation of natural resources, and the creation of healthy terrain systems.

He currently co-chairs the New Mexico Organic Recycling Organization and is former chair of the Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District. He has been an active member of the International Erosion Control Association since 1992 and is trained in Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans, Erosion & Sediment Control for Construction Sites, and Slope Protection. He is a staff instructor for the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED Compost Facility Operators Certification Course and has provided both workshops and professional consultation to the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) Workshop, and the Composted Mulch Specification Achievement Workshop.


Michael Reed - 

Michael Reed is an environmental philosopher and certified permaculture designer and instructor. As a farmer, he is dedicated to the development of truly sustainable agriculture, including growing and introducing to the public native, heirloom, forgotten, and regionally adapted edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants and animals. As an educator, he demonstrates how the individual systems interact and function together in the creation of healthy and resilient agroecosystems. For the past five years he has taught a 12-part, permaculture-based study of the garden arts titled The Mother of All Backyard Gardening Courses, which everyone simply calls the Mother Course. He is also a primary instructor in a two-year seed-saving certification course developed jointly with Cuatro Puertas called The Whole of Seed.