Permaculture education

When you first enter the world of permaculture, you might not know where to start. Over the years the international permaculture community has developed different types of educational courses, both formal and informal. 


There are three standardized course formats available: introduction to permaculture (short intro course), permaculture design certificate (PDC, also sometimes called permaculture design course), and the diploma in applied permaculture design (the diploma).

Please be advised that due to a lack of Finnish speaking diploma holders in Finland, PDCs in Finland are usually taught in English, and even these are extremely rare at the moment. You can check with other European permaculture associations for availability on their PDC courses. You can also check the EuPN website

The Finnish Permaculture Association is working together with other permaculture associations to enable students to go on their courses for free. In order to participate in such a program a student must be a member of the association. 

The Finnish Permaculture Association and individual members are also working on bringing more PDCs to Finland. 

Introduction to permaculture

The introduction to permaculture course is usually a two day course that follows more or less a standardized curriculum. It gives the opportunity to learn about the history of permaculture, ethics and principles, design, tools and often case studies. It’s a first taste into permaculture and often comes with some “hands on” practice. The flavour of teaching differs from teacher to teacher. Check our event calendar to find courses. 

Since there is no prerequisite on the education of the teacher, intro courses can be taught by anyone. 

Most of the intro courses in Finland are taught in Finnish. 

Permaculture design course (PDC)

During permaculture events there is often the question “Who has a PDC?”. A PDC is an internationally standardized course that runs for 72 hours over a time period of about 10 days, and is the next step after the introduction course. The basis for the PDC is Bill Mollison’s book “Permaculture – A Designer’s Manual”. The UK Permaculture Association has published a core curriculum that gives teachers guidance and students an overview of what they will learn. 

There is currently no core curriculum available for a PDC in Finnish that has been authorized by the Finnish Permaculture Association. 

For teaching a PDC, the teacher must hold a diploma in applied permaculture design.

Diploma in applied permaculture design (the diploma)

The diploma is the next step after the PDC and is a self-directed learning course. A prerequisite for a diploma is a PDC. The diploma consists of various designs that will showcase your development and knowledge as a permaculture designer. For how many designs a diploma consists of depends on the issuing institute. While one institute demands 10, others offer more flexibility, while others demand one big site design. The 10 designs are becoming more and more a standard across the world though. Your designs become part of your professional portfolio once you graduate. 

A diploma can be obtained from most of the permaculture associations in Europe that have diploma holders. Many students use the UK Permaculture Association’s diploma path, which is the furthest developed diploma path available in Europe and includes many tutors. 

Since 2019 the Finnish Permaculture Association is part of the Nordic Institute of Permaculture (NIP). The NIP’s members are Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Together with the permaculture associations from those countries we grant diplomas to apprentices and manage their diploma paths. 

Teaching Permaculture Teachers (TPT)

This course is based on the work of Rosemary Morrow – a long time teacher and refugee worker. The course is for those wanting to teach permaculture and provides tools and methods for teaching. 

Specialized courses / workshops

In Finland there are many specialized courses available:

  • Forest gardening
  • Bee keeping
  • Natural building
  • Biogas
  • etc

Since many of the specialized courses held in Finland are taught by teachers from abroad, the course language is usually English.

Study circles

A study circle is a good method to learn about permaculture. Study circles come in different set ups, some of them are open for new participants and others are not. 

Below is a list of study circles that are affiliated with the Finnish Permaculture Association. 

If you want your study circle listed here please follow the rules below by sending a mail or writing at Slack:

  • let us know details of the circle and who runs it
  • is it open or closed for new participants
  • where to find information about the circle
  • send a small article every six months about the topics that were discussed and how many people took part


A LAND center, short for Learning and Network Demonstration, is a place to experience permaculture. You can visit and see how permaculture is implemented. It gives inspiration and opens up possibilities to learn about permaculture and to network with other permaculture enthusiasts. 

LAND centers in Finland are accredited by the Finnish Permaculture Association.

Read about LAND centers at our dedicated LAND center page