Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture Design Course

The 2-week intensive Permaculture Design Course at Djanbung Gardens is held in a beautiful 25 year old living, working Permaculture farm, where the concepts taught are practiced. Robyn Francis is a Permaculture Pioneer, deeply committed to furthering permaculture education in Australia and overseas, joining pioneering projects in India, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Cuba, Europe and Iceland. During the PDC you will gain the knowledge to design your property, create abundance, build resilient community and bring practical sustainability in to your personal life, community and profession. Examples are drawn from urban, rural and bioregional design from all the major climatic zones, including temperate, sub-tropic, tropic and arid landscapes. A team of experienced PC teachers including John Button, who instigated the reafforestation of the sacred mountain of Arunachala, in India; Annaliese Hordern, Janelle Schafer and Angela Skehan join Robyn for this course. The team brings a breadth of diversity and experience in people care, organic farming, disaster management, strategies for pest and disease control, food forests and much more. The course is fully catered, some accommodation is available on-site and camping is available for the duration of the course. Join us for this August PDC. We are grateful for the help we receive from many enthusiastic participants and interns. This PDC is offered to Permaculture Australia members for a special 10% discount.



A full HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT course taught by Educator, BRIAN WEHLBURG of Inside Outside Management.

– Improve your profitability with sound Decision Making and Holistic Financial Planning
– Learn to use animals as tools to create positive change
– Improve soil health and biodiversity
– Learn to monitor the ecological health of your land.
Holistic Management provides a solid foundation for Regenerative Agriculture.



Limit of 12 participants only
For those that want the ultimate permaculture course experience, work abroad or pursue a profession or passion to live the ultimate sustainable lifestyle.

About our Permaculture Design Certificate Course
The Permaculture Design Certificate Course or PDC is the ultimate permaculture course experience. Covering the Permaculture Designers Manual it brings together ancient and modern wisdoms, science, the arts and many practical design principles and techniques for living a totally sustainable lifestyle.

The Trainers: Permaculture Sydney Institute engages only highly experienced and professional trainers for our courses. All are practicing permaculturalists deriving an income from permaculture.

Course fees including all tuition, notes, morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch is exceptional value at: $1,695

PSI is committed to LETS trading, and half the course fee can be traded against LETS currency for one place in this course. Please contact Penny to arrange. Ph:(02) 4568 2036
Discounts of 5% of the course fee apply to pensioners and the unwaged.
The course fee includes all tuition, notes, morning tea, afternoon tea and lunches. It does not however include accommodation costs or meals for the days off during the 14 day period
A complete breakdown of accommodation options and pricing from camping to 4 star luxury can be found here.
Quality and Commitment
A Permaculture Design Certificate completed with the Permaculture Sydney Institute is more than just an education process, it is a high quality all encompassing experience.

Our PDC will;

Build on the Permaculture Sydney Institute Introduction to Permaculture Course. So whilst it’s not necessary to have completed the Introduction to Permaculture, when you do the two together you have a richer course experience, the intro provides the basic framework which allows you to really absorb the more detailed material and gain a much richer deeper from your PDC.
Ensure the Designers Manual is fully covered as the main curriculum
Provides an abundance of extra resources and topics to support the main curriculum and provide variable perspectives of the main topics
Provide a range of experienced quality trainers to cover topics of the Permaculture Design Certificate in which they have specialist expertise and knowledge (drawing on the strengths of trainers)
Include theory and practical sessions and provide a range of delivery styles and methods throughout the course including small group work, one to one work, lecture style sessions and whole group discussions
Take participants through the whole design process from interviewing the client, formulating the brief, gathering data for the site, developing a design and finally presenting the design
Includes specialist and specific design exercises as well as total design exercises
Are skills based and self or peer group assessed against a checklist of essential designers skills and knowledge
This is why our courses are a bit longer than others – so we can ensure we make it the best possible experience for you. PSI honors the two-week intensive Permaculture Design Certificate course format traditionally designed by Bill Mollison. We believe our format produces the best possible outcomes and learning experience for participants as it was designed to do.

Permaculture Sydney Institute aims to provide the participants with both the skills and the confidence to start “doing it” themselves. We guarantee participants will be able to go home and do what they have learned in the course. Permaculture Sydney Institute is committed to quality education, quality outcomes and quality of life for each participant. Follow up contact and support for graduates is also provided after the course.

Registration and full payment to confirm your place in the course or workshop must be received min 7 days before the course commences. Please click here to read the full Terms and Conditions. Students cannot join the course without paying the full fees in advance.

PDC Winter 2021 > Protracted 14 day Permaculture Design Course over 3 months

PDC Winter 2021 > Protracted 14 day Permaculture Design Course over 3 months

14 day Protracted PDC – 2021
A Limestone Permaculture Design Certificate course offers real time examples of a successful design process and transitioning sustainable living systems on a successful working permaculture principled homestead!
This is the backdrop for your PDC learning experience…!
Our course emulates Bill Mollison’s – PDC curriculum along with Morrow / Holmgren teachings and backed by our own experiences of over 18years in both Suburban & Rural settings.
We cover a wide variety of landscapes and climates & include the application of Permaculture Principles to food production, water harvesting, home design, construction, energy conservation & generation, income from homestead and practical strategies from tried & tested Permaculture Solutions.
It is an expectation that you will finish the course with a property ‘Concept’ design of your very own to get you started on your Permaculture Journey!!
Course registration here >
Course details here >
About Limestone Permaculture >
Limestone Permaculture Facebook >



A full HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT course taught by Educator, BRIAN WEHLBURG of Inside Outside Management.

– Improve your profitability with sound Decision Making and Holistic Financial Planning
– Learn to use animals as tools to create positive change
– Improve soil health and biodiversity
– Learn to monitor the ecological health of your land.
Holistic Management provides a solid foundation for Regenerative Agriculture.

Four 2-day sessions, 4-12 weeks apart
Session dates

Session 1 May 4-5
Session 2 June 1-2
Session 3 July 27-28
Session 4 August 24-25

Samford Edible Garden Trail – May 2021

Samford Edible Garden Trail – May 2021

“My garden is an evolving work where I am constantly experimenting and creating. I love sharing what I have learnt and I am always willing to help others create their own garden as a space which is as regenerative for the gardener as it is for the plants they grow. I’m looking forward to the Samford Edible Garden Trail and hope my experience and passion inspires others to give gardening a go.” Jenny Kato, PA member and Samford Edible Garden Trail Committee

In 2020,  a group of four Samford Mums had an idea to approach some of the gardeners in Samford Valley who we knew had amazing private backyard edible gardens – and ask them if they would open up their garden to the public for one day. We hoped they would share their inside knowledge about growing food in our area, and in the process inspire more of us to give it a go.  However, 2020 lockdowns put a hold on our plans. Rather than be deterred from our vision, we grabbed our phones, and in an appropriately socially distanced way, we visited each of the gardens ourselves – and filmed it.

We posted the videos up online on our Facebook and YouTube sites. We were blown away by the support we received, and we had viewers from all around Australia and even abroad following the Trail. With a resurgence of popularity in cultivating gardens to grow food by people of all ages, people were buying seeds and wanting to plant gardens and yet many were stuck on where to start! Fast forward to May 2021, we are still filming and posting our virtual tours online, AND are getting ready to open the doors to nine inspiring edible gardens for the inaugural Open Day on May 16 2021. 

“Over the years I’ve become passionate about how we can reduce food miles by growing more food ourselves.  I wanted to inspire other people to try growing food and the idea of visiting a local garden to see what grows well in the area, just seemed like the best way to do it.  I put a message out to see if anybody else thought it was a good idea too, suddenly we had a committee, and now the inaugural Samford Edible Garden Trail Open Day!”  Susanne Engelhard, Co-organiser 

These are just some of the things you will see in the Gardens on the Open Day on May 16th:

  • a suburban back and front yard fully converted into raised garden beds
  • a stunning permaculture garden blending perennial vegetables, fruits, and flowering plants
  • a ten year old subtropical food forest built on what was some of the poorest soil in the region
  • a tradie’s garden complete with mini swale vegetable garden and orchard built on a slope
  • a tree changer couple’s cottage garden, complete with vegies, orchard, a herbal tea garden and of course… chickens
  • clever landscaping to capture water run off into swales of dwarf bananas
  • a sustainable house and garden, with 220 trees,  80 bush tucker trees, and an aquaponics system you won’t believe
  • plus two of our local farmers showcasing their small scale diversified organic farming methods. 

How can I attend?

Ticket sales for the Event on Sunday May 16th, running from 9am-3pm can be found here. The event is an amazing opportunity to sample the delights that can be found in the beautiful Samford Valley, only 40 minutes drive from the Brisbane CBD in the stunning Moreton Bay Shire.   There will be offers for ticket holders, cooking demonstrations, a craft and local produce market. Tickets are limited, so don’t miss out! 

More information:

The Samford Edible Garden Trail is a not-for-profit, and (the Trail) was started in 2020 by Susanne Engelhard and her small volunteer team of local residents local to the beautiful Samford Valley and surrounds. Connect with the Samford Edible Garden Trail Facebook page, our Instagram Account, or our YouTube channel to join in the fun, learn more about growing your own food, and let’s all grow together!

Visit our website

For media opportunities please Nicole Armit on Ph 0452 221 762 or email

Urban Agriculture Forum

Urban Agriculture Forum

The Urban Agriculture Forum (UAF) is a bi-annual event that is held on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, in Melbourne. The 3rd National UAF will be held on Thursday April 22nd, Friday April 23rd and Saturday April 24th, 2021.

The forum attracts over 200 policy makers, practitioners, innovators and institutions in the urban agriculture sector. You’re invited to join us as we explore the growing urban agriculture movement in Australia and beyond and the positive impacts it has on our community’s health and wellbeing.

UAF 2021 will be another monumental experience. The agenda will feature a number of innovative Australian and International urban agricultural practices including groundbreaking new research in the field.

The confirmed international keynote speaker, Chris Blythe from Social Farms and Gardens, will delve into the subject of Care Farming and Gardening in the UK.

Urban Agriculture Month
2021 will see the first inaugural National Urban Agriculture month spring into action. The month long celebration will feature garden tours, events and workshops highlighting the movement in Australia, with a number of key partners already on board. We will update with more information closer to the date – if you would like to express your interest or learn more about the month, please contact us.

Online mycology courses

Online mycology courses

This online course will cover the fundamentals of mycology, identifying and cultivating fungi, human uses for fungi and land managment with fungi. The course will be available in modules for people who only want to take part of the course; everyone who attends any part of the course will have access to the pathways in mycology module. Classes will be live and recorded for people to re-watch later. There are limited placers and these prices are a one-time offer as it is the first time we are running the course. Discounted practical sessions in identification, cultivation and lab techniques will also be available depending on interest and COVID safety.

We are running the course together with our partner organisation MYCOmmunity Applied Mycology ( which is a community group that does awareness-raising, training and research around fungi.

Mycology 101 – 12 hours, 6 weeks

This course covers the fundamental aspects of mycology

Fundamentals of biology including cell structure and introduction to genetics and evolution
Fungal diversity and different types of fungi
How to identify fungi
How fungi interact with other organisms and roles of fungi in the ecosystem
Biosecurity including field hygiene and managing invasive species
Guest speaker

Human uses for fungi and growing fungi – 8 hours, 4 weeks

This course will cover human uses for fungi including

Mushroom cultivation
Growing mushrooms at home and setting up your own lab
Safe and ethical foraging
Fungi in brewing
Fungi in medicine
Fungi in culture and history
Emerging industries such as myco-materials

Fungal conservation, land-management and citizen science – 8 hours, 4 weeks

This is a more advanced course focussing on fungi in the environment and how you can contribute as a citizen scientist

Endangered fungi and fungal conservation
How citizen scientists can contribute to fungal conservation
How to survey fungi for scientific purposes
Re-introducing fungi to the environment
Biosecurity and invasive species management
Fungi in land management and agriculture
Using DNA technology
DIY science and setting up your own lab

Pathways into mycology – 6 hours, 2 weeks

This course includes a 2 hour online session and a 4 hour field trip. It includes:

Further education pathways
Getting jobs in land management and agriculture
Starting your own business
Getting involved in voluntary groups
Field trip to Fed Uni horticulture department
Edible mushrooms foray

Change the story to grow a solutions-focused culture: Lis Bastian

Change the story to grow a solutions-focused culture: Lis Bastian

As we face what seem like insurmountable challenges, or what design theorist Horst Rittel
described as ‘wicked problems’, it’s easy to sink into despair and anxiety about the future.
Naomi Klein has said, ‘we’re f#*ked if we believe we’re f#*ked’. I’ve been so grateful to
Rowe Morrow for introducing me to permaculture in 2006 – the year my twin boys turned five
and I sank into despair about the future.”

This months guest post is written by PA professional member Lis Bastian in the Blue Mountains. Lis is involved a range of different projects including The Big Fix, Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute and the Blackheath Community Garden. She was also recently awarded a Community Service Award at the Australasian Permaculture Convergence for exemplary service to permaculture. Read more about her story below.

“Fifteen years later, the solutions-focused system design thinking approach of permaculture has enabled me to get a handle on tackling wicked problems and helped me focus on hope, not despair. Two of the three permaculture ethics are about People care and Fair share, so my main focus has been on the cultural change side of ‘perma – culture’. This has been a natural fit as permaculture designing has merged with the arts and cultural development work I’ve been doing for the last 40 years.

I do this via a charity I founded called The Big Fix, which incorporates the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute. Our mission is to ‘change the story to grow a collaborative solutions-focused culture’.

The Big Fix has six areas of focus for redesigning our culture. They address how we
collaborate, tell our stories, learn, work, connect and care for the living systems which
support us.

  • Facilitate Collaboration. Tackle wicked problems like climate change & biodiversity
    loss by avoiding social monocultures and growing cross-sector collaborations and alliances
  • Change the Culture by Changing the Story. Recognize that our artists and storytellers are our nitrogen-fixing species to accelerate succession. Work with them to bring back media ownership to communities and for hyperlocal and bioregional solutions media to feed up into global solutions media – a bottom up approach.
  • Encourage Pluriversal Learning. Create community-owned and operated intergenerational and cross-cultural learning and research opportunities that meet the needs of young people and our communities.
  • Create New Economies. Provide training and support the development of social enterprises that put the needs of all living things ahead of profit.
  • Grow the Health of our Communities. Provide public spaces and regular events that focus on what we all have in common – helping us to meet our needs for food security, social connection, creativity, physical activity and time outdoors reconnecting to the natural (versus online) world.
  • Involve Everyone in Redesigning our Systems through an Ecological Lens. Ensure ‘fair share’, social equity, inclusiveness and accessibility by expanding opportunities for free and adaptive permaculture design training, knowledge sharing and participation in community decision making.

On a practical level, we’ve implemented the above six areas by:

  • Working with local cross-sector Alliances
  • Producing The Big Fix Media – Australia’s first solutions media service
  • Trialling Australia’s first Pluriversity
  • Providing social enterprise design, development and mentoring as a new thread in permaculture training
  • Coordinating Blackheath Community Farm and Landcare
  • The Permaculture Garden and Micro-forest for Headspace, Katoomba; and
  • A new micro-farm being planned for the Lithgow PCYC
  • Providing free permaculture for young people in a range of settings through the Blue Mountains Pluriversity and its Permaculture Institute.

I trained and worked as an art teacher at a number of schools in Sydney and then, thirty-four years ago, left my job as an Education Officer at the Art Gallery of NSW to take up the role of curator at Orange Regional Gallery. I was a keen whitewater canoeist who escaped the city nearly every weekend to spend time in the bush. My former partner and I had the dream of buying a farm and leaving the city permanently. The job in Orange helped that dream become a reality. We purchased 80 acres and I began gardening and experimenting with cooking the seasonal food I grew myself. This eventually led to me opening one of Australia’s first bookshop cafes and becoming a food writer for a local paper.
After 3 ½ years I left the Gallery, expanded my work as an exhibiting artist and writer, ran the Bookshop Café, taught Art at TAFE, and became the Regional Arts Promotion Officer for Arts OutWest – a regional cultural development organisation servicing 17 Local Government areas in Central NSW. This involved arts reporting for Prime TV, ABC Radio and a number of other commercial radio programs and newspapers. I eventually closed the Café, became CEO of Arts OutWest, started a magazine called ArtSpeak, launched the Central West Writers’ Centre and ran the Banjo Paterson Festival in Orange.

Just after our twin boys turned one, we moved to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. We opened a gallery called Stop Laughing This Is Serious, which specialised in the best of Australia’s cartooning and illustration. At this stage a number of people who frequented the gallery, persuaded me of the seriousness of climate change. I subsequently applied to train as a climate ambassador with Al Gore, who’d produced ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. It changed the whole direction of my life. I went on to give over 120 presentations about climate change around Australia and worked with our local community to start a Climate Action Group in Blackheath.

In my search for solutions to the climate crisis I heard about permaculture and enrolled in a PDC with Rowe Morrow. She subsequently invited me to start teaching with her and we set up the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute in 2007. I was attracted to permaculture because it was about redesigning systems and looking at everything we do through an ecological lens. I loved the focus on People care and Fair share (as well as Earth care), and the concept of the problem being the solution. At the same time I was working closely with Catherine Fitzpatrick, an inspiring climate
strategist from Greenpeace (who went on to work for Greenpeace in China). She kept reminding me that our current situation is so urgent that individual action alone will never produce the change we need in time to avert catastrophic climate change. We need political change as well.

Our Climate Action Group began exploring how we could build fair share and resilience into our local community. Our projects included starting a community market with a Kids Toy Swap Table (run by kids), and a local produce co-op with our own seed company: Crazy Climate Seeds (if they could grow in Blackheath they could grow anywhere). We did bulk buys of solar panels and hazelnut trees, selling over 400 of each and creating a distributed hazelnut orchard through the Blue Mountains; and my husband and I produced a booklet: 101 Cool and Green Things to do in Blackheath, financed by the Blackheath Chamber of Commerce and Blue Mountains City Council.


I became one of Australia’s first Climate Adaptation Officers at Centroc (the Central West Regional Organisation of Councils). After being briefed by the Department of Agriculture and others about future climate predictions for Central NSW, I wrote a speculative fiction story about living in Central NSW in 20 years’ time, imagining we’d ‘permacultured’ the region. I then worked my way back from the story to identify the steps that needed to be taken to get there. These steps became the basis of a 103-page Regional Resilience Strategy Options Paper for Central NSW. It was very well received by all the Mayors and General Managers because it took a practical win/win approach to meeting their communities’ needs.


The most important observation I made during this time was that there was a huge gap between what the media said government believed, and what local governments were actually doing to address climate change – which was a lot! I realised that the reason we weren’t making the progress we should be making, was that mainstream, top-down, for-profit media was controlling the story. I realised that the problem needed to be the solution, so I moved on to take on the challenge of redesigning the way media could operate in our world.

Our Blackheath Climate Action Group morphed into the charity The Big Fix. Our mission became to ‘change the story to grow a collaborative, solutions-focused culture’. We started The Big Fix Solutions Media in 2007 (Australia’s first Solutions Media service), sharing solutions stories from every sector around the world. We wanted to inspire people to action, to keep hope alive, to grow collaboration and to accelerate change by sharing knowledge and thereby reducing the need to reinvent the wheel.

In 2017, Muhamad Yunus identified that the eight richest people in the world owned as much as four billion of the world’s poorest. They also controlled most of the world’s media. To regenerate our social desert, hyperlocal storytellers can give us the nutrients we need to grow bigger and stronger – they can ‘fix nitrogen’ and inspire collaboration between the many grassroots movements to create a mycelial network. This then can generate a healthier and more biodiverse forest from the bottom up.


In 2016, informed by the knowledge and experience I’d gained working in all sectors, I began to work full time on The Big Fix. I started a ‘Youth Café’ weekly drop-in space for young people in Blackheath and we ran a campaign against single-use plastic that resulted in Blackheath becoming the first town in the world where all the businesses agreed to phase out plastic straws. This became the lead story of our first Solutions Magazine which was distributed to every household in the upper Blue Mountains. We partnered with the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre to ensure
their voice, and the voice of the community, continued to be heard, despite funding cuts. We now also run a monthly hyperlocal print news service for Blackheath which is funded by a different individual, community group, organisation or business every month.

In 2017 we started Blackheath Community Farm to create a public space to grow community and food, and to build a bank of locally acclimatised seed. We meet every Sunday and whoever works at the Farm takes a share of the produce. We’ve also created a Landcare group to regenerate the Zone V bushland around the Farm. In 2018 we launched the Blue Mountains Pluriversity, providing community-owned and generated learning opportunities for young people to meet their needs and the needs of their communities. We began teaching a new type of PDC – free Permaculture and Social Enterprise Design Courses in which young people worked on designing and implementing land-based projects
as well as designing and implementing social enterprises that could provide them with an income as well as meeting the needs of their communities.

We’ve just finished a free course at Headspace in Katoomba which resulted in the design and construction of a Permaculture Garden at the site. It’s providing a safe outdoor, nature based gathering and event space for young people where Headspace practitioners can provide ‘incidental counselling’. It features a micro-forest of nearly 200 natives that emerged after the fires at Mount Tomah (these were donated to us by the Botanic Garden). The wider community rallied around and donated the other materials needed to help young people build this space in the heart of the CBD.

In 2019, Western Sydney University invited us to be part of a community consultation to help reimagine Lithgow to enact the Sustainable Development Goals in a regional city. The WSU campus in Lithgow will now become Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra (Wiradjuri for ‘Workmanship Together, Side by Side’) – The Lithgow Transformation Hub. To support a ‘just transition’ in Lithgow we launched a solutions storytelling site called The Lithgow Sprint, in honour of Marjorie Jackson the Olympic runner who lived in Lithgow. Our goal is to change the story for Lithgow quickly. In April 2021, the Pluriversity will teach the first course on the campus – a free Permaculture and Social Enterprise Design Course. We’ll work with young people to design and build a micro-farm around the PCYC in Lithgow and mentor them to design social enterprises.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt over the last 40 years is that the best way to influence opinion and encourage change is not to nag and pressure, but to throw the best party so that people want to join you!