Philly PDC 2017

Susquehanna Permaculture & The Philadelphia Orchard Project present:
An Urban Permaculture Design Course atIMG_0518


5400 Lindbergh Blvd,
Philadelphia, PA 19143

Email to register…

Download the full course Details Packet here!


May 20th & 21st, June 17th & 18th, July 22nd & 23rd, August 19th & 20th, September 30th & October 1st, October 28th & 29th (Students must attend either 10/28 or 10/29, but do not have to attend both).

Classes run 10am-5:30pm with a 45-minute lunch break. Students must provide their own lunch.

Course Content: This class covers the basic concepts of the permaculture design system, demonstrated through techniques for sustainable living in densely populated areas. Students will acquire a tool-kit for living in the urban and suburban environment in a way that is both self-reliant and supportive of their community and nature. The curriculum will emphasize skills that contribute to local, community-based resilience and abundance.

Topics to be covered during the course include:

  • History & concepts of permaculture
  • Deep ecology
  • Systems analysis
  • Species identification
  • Reading the landscape
  • Social & spiritual ecology
  • Building grass-roots social movements
  • Environmental activism
  • Sensory awareness & observation techniques
  • Climate patterns
  • Home-scale sustainability
  • Design & presentation skills
  • Permaculture entrepreneurship

Already a PDC grad? Audit this class for only $250!!058-IMG_4939

If you have already taken a permaculture certification course, but would like to brush up on your skills & knowledge, gain a new perspective on permaculture, or just be around some fellow “Permies,” then you are welcome to audit this class for just $250! Auditors will are not required to complete homework assignments and will not be given an in-class time slot to present a final design. Nonetheless, this is a great learning opportunity. To register, email and indicate that you’d like to attend. There will be a 5-person limit for auditors, so a $100 deposit will be required in advance.

Teachers: This course will be taught by Wilson Alvarez, Robyn Mello, & Benjamin Weiss, along with 7-10 guest teachers.

Wilson Alvarez is a certified permaculture designer, an inventor, gardener, skilled tracker, 558299_10101084633243163_994965895_nbowyer, nature-awareness instructor, and poet from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For the past twelve years he has studied and taught classes and workshops on bio-intensive agriculture, regenerative technology, foraging, hunting, trapping and tracking, and wilderness survival. Wilson has created “Rebel Garden Tools,” a line of incredibly innovative hand tools for small farms, as well as other inventions such as the “Folk Mug,” a handle that turns a mason jar into a travel mug, and “The Multi,” a multi-tool wallet. He also founded Folklore Ferments, a small company specializing in the brewing of kombucha. Wilson has a Kamana II certification through Jon Young’s Wilderness Awareness School, received his PDC online via Permaculture Visions, and studied applied archaeology at Prescott College with Steve Watts.

Robyn Mello is currently Orchard Director for The Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP). She Robyn Melloreceived her Permaculture Design Certification from Melissa Miles of The Permanent Future Institute in 2014. Much of Robyn’s permaculture education and experience has been self-taught through hands-on volunteering with POP, helping to start a dozen community gardens with a grassroots vacant lot gardening organization she founded called Philly Food Forests, working as Gardens Manager & Nature Educator for Historic Fair Hill in North Philadelphia, organizing the Occupy Vacant Lots campaign with Occupy Philly activists interested in gardening and community organizing, starting a small organic farm in Upper Bucks County while living off-the-grid in a tiny house, and working as an Environmental Justice Researcher with The Delaware Environmental Institute. Robyn also writes and performs original Earth-Worship music with The Radicans, and performs solo music and sells herbal medicines under the name of Edenspore. She lives in the Norris Square neighborhood of North Philadelphia.

Benjamin Weiss is A certified permaculture designer and teacher, a father, activist, 10338325_10102352819098543_5541339237638422603_nherbalist, gardener, musician, and writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, now living in Philadelphia. Ben studied natural building and permaculture at The Farm Ecovillage Training Center, received a permaculture teacher certification from CRMPI, studied urban agriculture at Growing Power, and has studied herbalism with Sarah Preston of Radiance, shamanic dreaming techniques with Adhi Moonien Two-Owls, and earth-based Jewish spirituality with the P’nai Or community of Philadelphia. Ben has facilitated PDCs and many other classes and workshops, has designed and managed three organic farms, has foraged professionally, and continues to develop the Rewilding Design System with Wilson Alvarez. He is the director of Susquehanna Permaculture and manages Susquehanna Apothecary, a supplier of herbal medicines. Ben was also the administrator and a long-time volunteer for the Lancaster Coalition for Peace & Justice, and has helped to organize many other initiatives and actions related to racial and environmental justice.

Teaching Apprenticeship Opportunities

Susquehanna Permaculture is able to take on two teaching apprentices for the duration of this course. If you are interested, you must have already graduated from a PDC, have some experience working on permaculture-related projects, and have some experience teaching classes or workshops. This is a free position! Teaching apprentices will be expected to 2012 Ngozi Let's Get Dirty! Permaculture Design Classattend the entire class, to be in regular contact with lead teachers between classes, and to attend several staff meetings or conference calls throughout the class. Teaching apprentices will be asked to lead several modules of the curriculum. Apprentices will also be held to the same standard of professionalism (with regards to relating to students, being respectful, helpful, and prompt) that the paid staff are held to. To apply for this position, email and indicate your interest. Please submit a simple resume detailing the requirements stated above, and a paragraph-long statement explaining your interest, and how your presence in this class will benefit both your community, and the community that will form in our classroom.


This is one of the cheapest permaculture courses offered anywhere in North America!

Here’s how it works:

The tuition per student is based on the number of students in the class.

Minimum class size: 15 students                       Maximum class size: 30 students

Number of Students Tuition per Student
15 $910
20 $683
25 $546
30 $455

Of course we work hard to promote our classes, but it’s also up to the students to recruit others to sign up so that everyone’s tuition can be lower. This also encourages our students to take the class with people they know, and to make connections with other participants before the class begins, which builds the kind of supportive community that embodies permaculture and is essential for the class.

The tution rates will drop even lower if we have auditors sign up, and receive some donations from sponsors. Here’s what the tuition will be if we have 5 auditors:

Number of Students Tuition per Student
15 $827
20 $620
25 $496
30 $413

And here’s what tuition rates will be if we have 5 auditors and hit our goal of a $500 sponsorship:

Number of Students Tuition per Student
15 $793
20 $595
25 $476
30 $397

Registration Deposits: We have a set budget for this class, and if we do not meet the budget we cannot offer the class. When you register, you are expected to be able to pay the full rate. We’ll post regular updates on the status of how many people have registered and where the tuition is at.

To register, each student must make a $400 deposit. You will not be technically registered P1060052until we receive your deposit. Any remaining tuition is due on the day of the first class (or will be refunded if the final rate is below $400). This deposit will also be refunded if we do not meet our budgetary requirements and have to cancel the course. Otherwise tuition fees & deposits will only be refunded in serious emergencies!

Discounts for Bartram’s & Philadelphia Orchard Project Members: We’re offering a $25 discount on tuition rates for members of both of these organizations. To receive your discount, email Bartram’s at or POP at

To register:

  1. Email
  2. Give us your name & phone number (in case of emergency cancellations).
  3. Let us know:
  • If you’re willing to fund a scholarship for another student by paying the full (or a higher) tuition rate regardless of how cheap the final rate is…
  • If you have any special needs
  • If you are interested in a scholarship.

Download the full course Details Packet here!