Continuing Education

Pacific Rim College is pleased to offer some of the most unique continuing education programs in natural health available anywhere. Below is a list of multi-week courses, most of which are offered several times yearly. If you are interested in shorter duration educational opportunities and events, please visit our Workshops page.

To initiate registration for any course, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. The registration period for a course is limited to a window near to the course start, but the registration form can be submitted at anytime and will be processed in order of receipt. The Registrar will then contact you to confirm available enrolment space and complete the registration process.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Registrar at 250.483.2119 or

Multi-Week Courses – 2020

Introduction to Permaculture (PERM101a)

This 4-day, information-packed workshop provides a detailed introduction to Permaculture Design. This course introduces students to the process, ethics, and principles of permaculture design. We will review key examples of various permaculture projects and practices from around the world as well as here in BC. Students will engage in classroom learning, discussions, farm and off-farm tours, as well as experiential exercises, to help facilitate the learning process. Upon completion of this course the student will have reliably demonstrated the ability to: define permaculture, know the principles and ethics that guide the permaculture design process, and observe and begin to understand patterns in nature.


Instructor: Hannah Roessler
Length: 28 hours/2 credits
Dates: Monday, February 10; Tuesday, February 11; Monday, February 24; Tuesday, Monday 25, 2020 (all days 9:00am–5:00pm)
Location: Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road)
Tuition: $450 transcript credit; $300 no credit

Botany and Plant ID (FMS101a)

Plant identification and botanical skills are essential for anyone interested in permaculture or ecosystem restoration. This course surveys local ecology, plant structure, vocabulary, plant identification using technical keys, and other important diagnostic features of plant families common to the Pacific Northwest. The course includes lectures, laboratory exercises, field trips, and applied projects.


Instructor: Kristen Miskelly
Length: 35 hours/2.5 credits
Dates: Wednesday, February 12; Wednesday, February 19; Wednesday, March 4; Wednesday, March 11; Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (all days 9:00am–5:00pm)
Location: variable – Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd), Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), plus field trips (Capital Region area)
Tuition: $562.50 transcript credit; $375 no credit

Permaculture: Water Systems (PERM101b)

Water fuels all life on earth, from the smallest bacteria to the atmospheric rivers and ocean currents that give us our climate. This introductory 5-day class will balance the ‘big-picture’ of water’s role in driving ecosystem function with hands-on farm and garden-scale strategies for ecological water management.

Students will leave the class with an understanding of the way in which water functions and cycles within the larger ecosystem; the practical challenges involved in rainwater harvesting and their solutions across different scales (urban/rural); how to set up a simple drip irrigation system; and the most practical ways to be efficient with water resources.


Instructor: Tayler Krawcyzk
Length: 35 hours/2.25 credits
Dates: Wednesday, April 8; Wednesday, April 22; Monday, April 27; Wednesday, May 20; Tuesday, June 2, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: variable – Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd), Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), plus field trips (Capital Region area)
Tuition: $506.25 transcript credit; $337.50 no credit

Permaculture: Perennial Plants (FMS101b)

Within Permaculture design, a major expression of the discipline is growing perennial food systems – for the home garden up to the broad acre. Growing food in a variety of locations is essential to creating resilient communities. Plants that return each year grow deep and wide roots, allowing them to access water and minerals that annual plants cannot. Perennial edibles (such as fruits, nuts, and perennial vegetables) are higher in nutrients than annual produce, and they also add aesthetic beauty to any landscape.

Perennial Plant Systems is an immersive experience into the perennial food garden. We will work within the layers of the food forest, learning how create the right conditions for abundant perennial food production. Students will gain hands-on experience with perennial plant propagation; propagating plants from seed, division, and cuttings; grafting; selecting the right variety of edibles for various climates; create micro-climates in the garden to stretch zones; fruit tree care; harvest techniques; and maintenance. This is an exciting class that gets into the details of applying permaculture design to landscapes.


Instructor: Solara Goldwynn
Length: 49 hours/3.25 credits
Dates: Tuesday, February 18; Monday, March 9; Tuesday, March 10; Wednesday, September 30; Wednesday, October 14; Wednesday, October 28; Tuesday, November 3, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: variable – Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd), Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), plus field trips (Capital Region area)
Tuition: $731.25 transcript credit; $487.50 no credit

Permaculture: Annual Plants (FMS101c)

This course explores how to utilize annual plants in intensive small scale systems, bringing in to consideration pest management, soil health, harvesting logistics, yield and nutrient density. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of common annual plants for both home-scale and market growing, and will be provided theoretical and hands-on learning of the cultural requirements of a range of edible annual vegetables and herbs.

The course takes a seed-to-seed approach, integrating best practices in seed saving into crop rotation, and considers the role of quality regional seed in annual vegetable production for both self sufficiency and climate change adaptation. Throughout the course, students will have opportunities to develop hands-on skills in site-specific crop planning, succession and rotation, propagation, maintenance, and harvesting techniques, with an emphasis on planning for yield and quality. Field trips to local farms will allow for observing the course learning objectives in various systems.


Instructor: Solara Goldwynn
Length: 49 hours/3.25 credits
Dates: Tuesday, March 3; Tuesday, April 7; Tuesday, April 21; Tuesday, May 12; Tuesday, May 19; Wednesday, June 3; Wednesday, October 21, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: variable – Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd), Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), plus field trips (Capital Region area)
Tuition: $731.25 transcript credit; $487.50 no credit

Permaculture: Energy Systems (PERM101d)

This course offers an intensive learning experience centered on sustainable and resilient energy systems, from the household and project scale to the regional and global context. We will cover the basics of power, heat, fuel, waste, and water systems.

By the end of this course students will be able to describe and discuss different existing and emerging energy technologies; identify the pros and cons of different scales of energy systems, as well as identify the potential reductions in energy consumption through community scale infrastructure, appropriate technology and Arcology; identify passive and active energy systems and how to utilize them in a permaculture setting; and be able to assess, plan, source materials for, and potentially install basic energy systems for power, heat, fuel, water, and other permaculture and farm-based activities.


Instructor: Bryce Ehrecke
Length: 35 hours/2.25 credits
Dates: Monday, November 2; Wednesday, November 4; Monday, November 9; Monday, November 16; Monday, November 23, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: variable – Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd), Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), plus field trips (Capital Region area)
Tuition: $506.25 transcript credit; $337.50 no credit

Tending the Wild (FMS201a)

This course focuses on identifying local food, medicine, and material plants found in the Pacific Northwest. We will spend time in various landscapes (farm, forest and shoreline) and explore certain plants and aspects of their habitat, health, usage, and role. Students will participate in plant walks, processing of plant materials, as well as several days helping out on an ecological restoration project. While the goal is for students to learn about various plant species that grow well in the PNW, there will be a concentrated focus on ethical harvesting considerations and practices, as well as invasive species or introduced species removal and/or usage. Specific harvesting practices and regulations for BC will also be covered.

At the end of this course, students will have had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of plants found in the field, forest and city, exploring both urban and rural ethnoecologies; the skills to identify and process several important species of food, medicine, and fiber plants; the opportunity to discuss and explore the ethics behind harvesting sustainably; and the experience of participating in an ecological restoration project.


Instructor: Hannah Roessler
Length: 49 hours/3.25 credits
Dates: Monday, March 2; Monday, March 16; Monday, March 23; Monday, March 30; Monday, April 6; Monday, September 28; Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: various sites in the Capital Region
Tuition: $731.25 transcript credit; $487.50 no credit

Herbal Production and Processing (FMS201b)

This course focuses on practical and philosophical knowledge of plant-based medicines. We will discuss the role of herbs in natural and cultivated ecological systems and understand how medicines originating from an ecological approach improve human health. Students will experience the formation of a deeper relationship with plants as allies and a thorough understanding of how humans and plants relate in the healing process.

We will begin with basic herbal concepts, including how medicinal plants work; and go on to hands-on learning of medicinal plant cultivation, harvesting, and medicine making. Hands-on class time will include tending to and harvesting various medicinal species, making various types of medicinal preparations, and experiencing many plants within organoleptic observation of herbal medicines.

Specific medicinal plants will be covered, including: their ecological role, cultivation and harvesting considerations, preparing plant materials for processing, appropriate and effective medicinal preparations, and applications of each medicine to human health conditions. Other topics covered include considerations for at-risk species, regulatory issues for the Canadian marketplace, herbal first aid, and safety considerations for using herbal medicines.


Instructor: Lindsay Hounslow
Length: 77 hours/5.25 credits
Dates: Wednesday, February 26; Wednesday, March 18; Wednesday, April 1; Wednesday, April 15; Wednesday, April 29; Wednesday, May 13; Wednesday, May 27; Wednesday, June 17; Wednesday, June 24; Wednesday, September 23; Wednesday, October 7, 2020 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road), Ravenhill Herb Farm (1330 Mt Newton Cross Rd)
Tuition: $1181.25 transcript credit; $787.50 no credit

Digestive Health: Plant Medicine Basics (NU132)

This course introduces students to the world of plant medicine in regards to digestive health. Several herbs and essential oils are covered, and students explore how to apply them therapeutically to ease common digestive complaints and support the overall digestive process. Students also learn how to make their own custom digestive tea and essential oil blend to take home.


Instructor: Alexis Hennig
Length: 15 hours/1 credits
Dates: Thursdays, February 13 & 27, March 5, 12 & 19 (all 3:30-6:30pm)
Location: Pacific Rim College 
Tuition: $225 transcript credit; $150 no credit

Natural Building Techniques for the Garden (NBT101a)

This course introduces students to various natural building techniques, with a focus on cob earthen structures. Topics covered include pre-colonial natural building, landscape observations, ecological & passive solar design, foundations, woodworking, cob building and sculpting, and finishing plaster techniques. We also touch on light clay, strawbale, wattle and daub, adobe, and other natural building techniques and materials. Students participate in developing hands-on skills in working with natural materials to create a wide range of structures.


Instructor: Bryce Ehrecke
Length: 77 hours/5 credits
Dates: Monday, June 8; Tuesday, June 9; Wednesday, June 10; Thursday, June 11; Friday, June 12; Monday, June 15; Tuesday, June 16; Monday, June 22; Tuesday, June 23; Monday; June 29; Tuesday, June 30 (all days 9:00am-5:00pm)
Location: Tiny Tree Herb Farm (6370 Old West Saanich Road)
Tuition: $1125 transcript credit; $750 no credit

Backyard Gardening (WHS121)

In the age of financial uncertainty, gardening skills are a sought after commodity. This comprehensive and practical 30-hour introduction to backyard gardening in the Pacific Northwest will provide beginners with the requisite skills, knowledge, and support to begin their own organic growing projects at home. At the end of the program participants understand plant growth requirements and how to provide them for a variety of annual and perennial plants, including food and medicinal crops; the role of a living soil system in growing healthy plants and know how to feed the soil using organic methods; basic gardening methods, including seeding, planting, watering, mulching, cold protection, pruning and container gardening; the role of beneficial species in suppressing pests and disease and know how to manage common insect, weed and disease problems organically; and how to extend and share the harvest.


Instructor: Nikki Wilkinson
Length: 30 hours/2 credits
Dates: Sundays, March 15 & 22, April  5 & 12 (9:00am-5:30pm)
Location: TBA
Tuition: $450 transcript credit; $300 no credit

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