Rivercliff Inspiration

2023 Permaculture Design Certification Course

by IdeallyEco

Hands on Permaculture Design Certification Course

Format: Lecture, Guest-Speakers, Hands-on, Experience Activities

Permaculture & Biodynamic Farming

9 Day Immersion on 347 acres

Rivercliff Farm | Weaverville, NC

Western North Carolina


Choose any one of the following 3 periods below.

April 24, 2023 @ 9 AM - May 2 @ 6 PM

May 8, 2023 @ 9 AM - May 16 @ 6 PM

May 22, 2023 @ 9 AM - May 30 @ 6 PM

Early Bird Pricing: Register before April 15th and save

Cost: $1,499 $1299

Permaculture Overview


Permaculture stands for permanent agriculture, or more simply, permanent culture. The term was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s. Permaculture is an ecological design science that combines ancient indigenous knowledge with modern technology.

It is a way to design communities, buildings, gardens and life based on patterns in nature. Its foundation is the three ethics of care of people, care of earth, and share the surplus.

Permaculture guides us to live and design systems in a way that regenerate, rather than destroy, nature and our connection with each other.

What is a PDC?

A permaculture design course is a 72 hour + training that teaches you how to engage with human and ecological communities in harmonious and ethical ways, trains you to see the world from an entirely new angle, and equips you with knowledge and skills to make positive changes in the world.

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has been taught globally to hundreds of thousands of people. It was developed by Bill Mollison to teach the principles and foundations of ecological design to benefit the planet and society. It is a way to design communities, buildings, gardens and life based on patterns in nature. Its foundation is the three ethics of care of people, care of earth, and share the surplus.

With recognition of collapsing socio-ecological systems, the PDC is an immersion in an ethical and ecological mind/skill-set to create positive change.

Permaculture guides us to live and design systems in a way that regenerate, rather than destroy, nature and our connection with each other. Our PDC prepares the student on the path of regenerative, ecological design and living. It covers the foundations of permaculture ethics, principles, and design methods.


Rivercliff Farm

10 minutes north of Weaverville, NC

347 acres of certified Wildlife Habitat with a perfect mix of wooded slopes, grasslands, water catchment, hoop houses, and greenhouses for a mix of food forest design, herb & annual vegetable cultivation

  • Learn to grow at the edge: Our location for this 3 season PDC has all features for any scenario you will find on land your are stewarding
  • Greenhouse production: Learn not just how to foster seedlings, but how to stack production models and make the best use of light and space
  • Caterpillar Tunnels: Incorporate light management into your growing experience
  • Raw material: many are used to having to source raw material for mushroom logs, sawdust, straw, woodchips, etc. Learn the cycles of efficiently using raw materials on the land for a closed loop.
  • Living fences and perimeters: Build natural predator deterents with living borders and repellent herbs. This much land faces all changes of food cultivation. You will be exposed to all potential solutions and how to structure the natural latticework to do the heavy lifting for you.

  • Quick Microgreens to 5 year Orchards: Work in harmony with all cycles of growth from 7 days to 7 years. This farm cranked out racks and racks of living microgreens to Asheville and will also employ true long term food forest abundance.

Topics Covered

  • Companion Planting & Guilds
  • Proper Composting
  • DIY Fertilizer
  • Microclimates
  • Food Forests
  • Forest Gardening
  • Ecology & Ecosystems
  • Natural Succession
  • Soil Samples
  • Vermiculture
  • Mapping & Zoning
  • Invisible Structures
  • Bioremediation
  • Urban permaculture
  • Sociall Permaculture
  • Garden Design
  • Growing in small spaces
  • Building Natural Ponds
  • Slopes & Contours
  • Swales and Keyline systems
  • Patterns of Nature
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Earthworks
  • Earthships
  • Ecovillages
  • Natural Buildings
  • Tiny Houses
  • Off-Grid Living
  • Waste Treatment
  • Water Treatment
  • Aquaculture
  • Hugelkultur
  • Backyard permaculture

Course Overview & Core Curriculum

Format: Lecture, Hand-on, Experience Activities


This PDC is taught by IdeallyEco Sustainable Landscapes. Joe Bass is not only an educator, but is boots on the ground, making phone calls, organizing supplies, designing and installing every day. You are not only learning the theory of permaculture, you will learn how to make this a rewarding career.

Learn the skills to work with nature to create integrated Permaculture systems of abundance! Food, Soil, Shelter, Energy, Water, and a lot more: Design strategies and methods for truly sustainable, regenerative human integration with those natural systems and our ecosystem.

Program designed for: Students, landscapers, homesteaders, farmers, gardeners, or those seeking to be certified in Permaculture Design useful in a wide range of professions.

  • 1. Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles
  • 2. Pattern Recognition
  • 3. Climate Factors & Weather
  • 4. Water Management
  • 5. Grey Water
  • 6. Soil, Trees, Earthworks, Bioremediation
  • 7. Surveying & Mapping
  • 8. Reading the Landscape

Course Overview & Core Curriculum

The Principles of Permaculture: 48 core hrs + 24 experience hrs | 72 Hrs total

Your Own Design

Unique Opportunity: Very few places sit on acres of raw land. Our farm is infrastructure rich but features acres of raw land. You will receive your own parcel of land to practice the skill the Permaculturalist: The Design. You will be provided a map of the farm,learn how to make a design by hand, and discover the various software if you are more technologically inclined.

You will preset your design on the final day!

Day 1

2 core principles: 7 hrs

Welcome & Class format

1. Observe & interact

2. Catch and store energy

Day 2

2 core principles: 7 hrs

3. Obtain a yield

4. Apply self-regulation & accept feedback

Day 3

Guest Speaker: Mike Hoag

Practical: Bio Char + Explore Regional Resources

Learn how to become a carbon farmer via pyrolysis.

Day 4

2 core principles: 7 hrs

5. Use & value renewable resources

6. Produce no waste

Day 5

2 core principles: 7 hrs

7. Design from patterns to details

8. Integrate - do not segregate

Day 6

Guest Speaker: Mike Hoag

Practical: Cobb Oven + Field Trip

A cornerstone of resilient living. We will cook farm grown pizza for a day based on hands-on

Day 7

2 core principles: 7 hrs

9. Use small & slow solutions

10. Use & value diversity

Day 8

2 core principles: 7 hrs

11. Use edges & value the margin

12. Creatively use & respond to change

Day 9

Practical: Mushroom Log Innoculation

Group Design presentations + Farewell

Mushroom logs and group design presentations followed by Certificate ceremony

Your hosts:

Lead: Joseph Bass, IdeallyEco

Joseph Bass has been regenerating Appalachian landscapes for 30 years as the head designer and installer for IdeallyEco. Joe received his PDC under Michael Hoag of the Transformative Adventures.

A masterful eco designer that is at home in the mountains and working in collaboration with the land, Joe is thrilled to offer his encyclopedic knowledge of ancient wisdom, foraging, medicinals, and contemporary food cultivation practices to the Southern Appalachians.

Guest Speakers

Michael Hoag

Michael Hoag has had an adventurous 20+ year career in the army of community-scale change-makers who are transforming the world. He manages Lillie House Permaculture, an urban homestead and community Transformation business, and directs , TransformativeAdventures.org a coop for supporting others building careers in community-level change.

He will be joining us remotely during one of the Practice Experience Days below.

Key Practical Experiences

DIY experiences sprinked throughout lecture so you come away confident

Carbon farm: Bio-Char

Learn pyrolysis: the fastest way to charge soil and add rich organic matter on demand from available resources.

Mushroom Logs

Innoculation of medical mushrooms and everything that plays a role in hands-off abundnace

Mud Oven Construction

A cornerstone of primitive living. We will cook farm grown pizza as part of the immersion


Participants will want to be close by to Weaverville/Alexande/Alexander NC for their session due to the immersive nature of this PDC experience.

If you are coming from outside the region, many overnight options are available

There is a bathroom, well water (and filtered medical-grade electrolyzed water), and a kitchette on site. See below for sleeping options

  • Asheville, NC region is an AirBnB or VRBO hotbed and plenty of spots are within 10 minutes
  • There is a single 30 AMP for one person to bring a camper RV (let us know this after purchase)
  • There is a single camper not on electric/water available for someone to rent per night or whole session
  • Nearly unlimited primitive tent camping on site in 50 acres close to the kitchennete and restrooms (can even stay right behind the greenhouse and catch the sunset/sunrise. See pictures below

Questions before registering not answered in the FAQ?

Click to contact and then fill out the form at the bottom of the page.


I've never gardened before. Is this for me?

We welcome beginners. You will be learning all the ethics and principles you ever need and learning application methods the entire time. This will provide you with a foundation and community for you to specialize in any area of cultivation that calls to you!

Western NC is abundant with PDCs. What makes this PDC different?

Western NC is indeed abundant with Permaculture educators and design courses (probably more per capita than any other pocket in the states.) However, not all of these courses are application and career specific. Our PDC will not only teach you the theory, but will also provide a plethora of local resources and give you the confidence to immediately start building food forests in your community, making designs, and launching your own business in transformative agriculture.

I live in an urban area - is this relevant?

Absolutely! Learning how to grow food forests in urban areas is even more critical than rural! Just a short drive away is the center of Asheville, NC with pockets of community gardens in each neighborhood. You will learn the skills and principles that will allow you to feed communities and be innovative regardless of geography. Permaculture is all about usinig what you have.

What will I learn to grow?

Everything from annual vegetables (less emphasized) to food forests with guilds of fruit trees, perennials, cover crops. Our 3 Experience days will also teach you how make your own resources so you can create a food forest where you would least expect one (green the deserts style).

Who do I get certified under?

Your PDC will be from the Integrated Path Permaculture Institute

Do I need tools?

A pair of gloves and your go to hand tools would be great! We'll have the heavy lifters.

What qualifications do your instructors have?

Our instructors have decades of design experience between them and are workshop coordinators, lecturers, authors, and installers for companies with global reach. Read more about them HERE.

Are meals provided?

Lunch is provided on each class day.

Can I stay over?

See the Lodging section above. We have a single 30 AMP hookup for a bring your own RV/campter, acres of primitive tent camping spots, and a kitchenette/bathroom in the classroom area.

Is your farm handicap accessible?

There are no stairs or thresholds at the farm that would be a hindrance during the class. That said, the lecture/greenhouse area and most of the area we will be focusing around is on a sloped hill with an ungrated driveway that can get quite slick up to the greenhouse.

Is there a payment plan?

We are not able to offer payment plans for this season. CSA sytle & scholarships are in the works for next season.

Do you give refunds?

We do not provide refunds due to such a limited classroom environment needed for immersive hands-on learning in an acute tiime frame.

Ready to Get Certified?

Earning your PDC solidifies your commitment to being part of the solution toward regenerating our ecology and creating more abundant communities.

Each Session is limited to 15 participants

Choose Your Immersion Session below

Early Bird Pricing. Order before April 15th and save

Apr 24 - May 2

72 hrs Core Curriculum

3 Days Practical Experience

3 Guest Speakers

Field Trips + WNC Resources

347 Acres of Potential




May 8 - 16

72 hrs Core Curriculum

3 Days Practical Experience

3 Guest Speakers

Field Trips + WNC Resources

347 Acres of Potential



May 22 - 30

72 hrs Core Curriculum

3 Days Practical Experience

3 Guest Speakers

Field Trips + WNC Resources

347 Acres of Potential



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