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Missoula Permaculture Design Course

Feb 15, 2013 @ 5:00 pm - Apr 28, 2013 @ 5:00 pm


PDC Poster




December 18 edition

Note: This is the first draft of the course schedule. It will undergo some revision as new information becomes available. Many more topics besides those listed here will come up.  Since permaculture is such an integrated systems approach the topics will not be so compartmentalized as this schedule looks. The inter-relationships between various topics means that many things will come up over and over again during the course. We recommend day-people call ahead if they want to attend certain parts of the curriculum as this schedule will change to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and participants’ inputs.

Weekend Schedule


5:00-6:00 pm. Dinner for those who wish.

6:30-8:30. Permaculture films or presentations followed by discussion.


Morning session 9:00-12:00

Lunch 12:00-1:00

Afternoon Session 1:00-5:00

Dinner period 5:00-6:30

Evening session 6:30-8:30


Morning session 9:00-12:00 am (Usually a field trip and/or hands-on).

Lunch 12:00-1:00

Afternoon Session 1:00-5:00

February 15-17. Weekend #1

February 15, Friday evening:

Permaculture Film Series #1. Open to the public.

Bill Mollison, Sepp Holzer, Amelia Hazelip, others. Followed by discussion.

February 16 – Saturday

Morning Session: Course introduction. Participants introductions.

Afternoon Session: Permaculture Ethics and Principles.

Evening session – Zone and Sector analysis and design.

February 17 – Sunday

Morning session: Walk around the local neighborhood to visit sites of interest.

Afternoon session: Humid and arid landscapes, landforms, microclimates, elevational planning.

March 1-3. Weekend #2

March 1 – Friday afternoon and evening: Western Montana Seed Swap.

One-hour presentation: Regional Seed and Food Self-Sufficiency: A Permaculture Perspective.”

March 2 – Saturday

Morning session: Water & permaculture.  Keyline System of Soil & Water Management.

Afternoon session: Collecting and storing water, rooftop catchment, rain gardens, tanks, swales, gabions, contour terraces, earthworks, grey water, irrigation.

Evening session: Ponds and aquaculture; a slide show. Aquaculture by Sepp Holzer video. Discussion.

March 3 – Sunday

Morning session: Ethnoecology, Native Food Webs, Invasive Plants and Restoration Ecology

Observation exercize.

Afternoon session: Permaculture methodology. Site analysis. Mapping. Design teams meet.

March 15-17. Weekend #3

March 15 – Friday evening:

4:15 – 5:15. Dinner for those who wish.

Permaculture Film Series #2. Open to the public.  Discussion follows.

March 16 – Saturday

Morning session: Soils, soil building, vermiculture, fungi, soil inoculants, composting, mulch, sheet mulch,

Afternoon session: Gardening methods,hugelkulturs, forest biomass, human waste. Greenhouses and season extenders.

Design teams meet.

Evening session:

March 17 – Sunday

Morning session: Gardening hands-on in a local neighborhood yard.

Afternoon session: Fruit and nut trees. Windbreaks & hedgerows. Plant establishment through the zones, propagation, seeding, tree planting, etc.

March 29-31. Weekend #4

During this weekend we plan on having several experienced livestock people join us.

March 29 – Friday afternoon 12:00 to 5:00. Spring Plant Swap (for the general public).

Friday evening: Integrating Animals into Urban and Rural Landscapes. Presentations and/or youtubes.

March 30 – Saturday

Morning session: Small livestock, chickens, etc

Afternoon session: Large livestock. Pasture management. Grazing/range management. Holistic Resource Management.

Design teams meet.

Evening session: Guest presenter(s).

March 31 – Sunday

Morning session: Field trip to be determined.

Afternoon session: Wild animals. Beekeeping. Integrated pest management.

April 12-14. Weekend #5

April 12 – Friday evening:

Permaculture Film Series #3. Open to the public.

Permaculture movie night with a focus on natural building. Cob Cottage Company and Ianto Evans, Argentina Bioconstruendo gathering. Discussion follows.

April 13 – Saturday

Morning session: Energy strategies. Solar, wind, hydropower, ethanol, biofuels, etc.

Afternoon session: Natural building. A permaculture approach to dwellings, building materials and retrofits.

Design teams meet.

Evening session: Permaculture and the built infrastructure, natural building, and energy systems.

April 14  – Sunday

Morning session: Field trip and/or a hands-on project.

Afternoon session: Urban Permaculture. Design for catastrophe. Emergency preparedness. Design for slums and refugee camps.

April 26-28. Weekend #6, Final weekend. 

April 26 – Friday evening:

Permaculture & the Invisible Structures: Community, Economics, Governance.

April 27 – Saturday

Morning session: Ecovillages, intentional communities, kin’s domains. Guest speakers, Sundog Ecovillage members.

Afternoon session: Permaculture in the tropics and subtropics.

Design teams meet.

Evening session: Perma-Culture Talent Show. Poetry, performances, music, skits, etc by participants.

April 28 – Sunday

Morning session: Design teams presentations.

Afternoon session: Design teams presentations.

Where do we go from here. Parting Remarks


Each person going for certification is to research and write a report for at least one plant or animal species. How it fits into permaculture systems, uses, ecological functions, growing conditions, traditional uses, etc. You will have a 3-minute presentation period to present your report to the group during the 2nd half of the course.


The design team projects start on the 2nd weekend. Each team will prepare a design with map, time-lines and species lists for their project.  Only those students who are taking the whole course will be on the design teams (there will be 4 to 5 people on a team). The teams will meet each weekend. Plus some team members can meet in between course weekends and people can do research at home between course weekends. Design presentations are on the last day of the course.

Some ideas for hands-on projects.

We won’t have that many sessions for hands-on plus what we can do will be somewhat at the mercy of the weather, but we should be able to fit some things in.

Sheet mulching


Plant propagation, grafting, hardwood cuttings, etc



Wildcrafting roots.

Making tinctures.

Raised beds, double-dug beds, square foot gardening.


Straw bale with plasters, fibercrete or straw/light clay.


Meals during the course. 

There are 4 meals per weekend x 6 weekends = 24 meals.

Dinner Friday, Saturday lunch and dinner. Sunday lunch only.

In 2012 the participants divided into 6 teams.  Each team did the food for one weekend. This way people only had to work in the kitchen for one weekend, although a few did pitch in extra.

We are doing meals cooperatively which reduces the cost for everyone.  Most of the food is donated by participants. Food they have grown or raised themselves, or obtained from friends or other reputable sources. The course budget will buy some food, especially for the first weekend.  At the first weekend, we will plan out the food scene.  One work trade person taking the course will focalize the meal planning during the course to provide continuity and oversight.  Each team decides menu ahead of time, looking at what foods that are available.  In 2012 we had two people taking the course who made kimchi, kambucha and other fermented foods for the course each weekend.


Feb 15, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
Apr 28, 2013 @ 5:00 pm


Missoula, 59801 United States


Michael Pilarski
[email protected]