Introduction to Permaculture and Ecological Systems


This course introduces students to the framework of permaculture practice by examining key thinkers and surveying a variety of analytical approaches. Included within this basic learning framework is a focus on water, soil and energy in the agroecosystem.

PERM101a Introduction to Permaculture

This course introduces students to the processes, principles, and ethics of permaculture design. We review key examples of permaculture projects and practices at the local and international level. Students engage in classroom learning, discussions, farm and forest tours, and experiential exercises.

PERM101b Water Systems

Water fuels all life on earth, from the smallest bacteria to the atmospheric rivers and ocean currents that give us our climate. This course balances the ‘big picture’ – the role water plays in driving ecosystem function – with hands-on farm and garden-scale strategies for ecological water management. With a focus on appropriate technology, we explore topics including rainfall patterns, the hydrological cycle, urban water systems, greywater systems, broad acre water systems, and keyline water management.

PERM101c Soils

Soil has been referred to as the “final frontier” on planet Earth – there are still many mysteries surrounding this complex system on which we depend for our very survival. We do know that healthy soils are essential to resilient food and medicine systems. There are millions of organisms that we have yet to discover, complex interactions we have only begun to understand, and myriad processes that keep a thriving network of nematodes, bacteria, worms, fungi and other organisms healthy. This course approaches soil as a living, complex, adaptive system. Topics include: soil chemistry, structure, evaluation, remediation, and management. This course focuses on opportunities for in-class learning and discussion, as well as outdoor, hands-on, experiential learning.

PERM101d Energy Systems

This course offers an intensive overview of sustainable and resilient energy systems, ranging from the household to project scale, and from regional to global contexts. Principles and theory are supported by hands-on technology-at-scale experiments. The course takes students through the preliminary steps of a permaculture project energy systems design process, with a focus on the importance of low-energy design and energy efficiency. Topics progress from initial site assessment and planning, through to project delivery for domestic-scale renewable energy systems.

Prerequisites: – –    Credits: 9    Hours: 133

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