Two-Week Permaculture Design Course

Date & Time
May 1, 2016 - May 15, 2016

with Instructors Dave Boehnlein, John Valenzuela and Guest Teachers

Two Week Permaculture Design Course

Eventbrite - Permaculture Design Course

This intensive Permaculture Design Course, lead by permaculture experts Dave Boehnlein and John Valenzuela, will inspire you to participate in nothing less than the transformation of our world.

We live in a critical moment: our biosphere is straining to support seven billion+ people; communal structures are failing to meet the basic needs of millions; the divide between those who have and those who don’t grows ever larger. This is a course about the tools to create a world grounded in sustainability, justice and love. It is a course about building regenerative communities on all levels.

Permaculture has been defined as “a holistic approach to landscape design and human culture, integrating several disciplines including biology, ecology, geography, agriculture, architecture, appropriate technology, and community building.” Our course will integrate each of these fields, and include lectures, discussions, hands-on projects, field trips to local East Bay permaculture sites, and a final group design project. Participants will be taken through 72 hours of core curriculum and will receive a Certificate of Permaculture Design upon completion of the course.

The course will draw upon the expertise of an amazing team of permaculture educators who bring with them decades of experience in the areas of Food Production and Propagation, Rainwater Harvesting, Compost and Soil Building, Earthworks, Natural Building, Community Organizing, and a diversity of other components that can make healthy human and ecological living possible.


You can view the full curriculum here.

The Urban Adamah PDC will explore:

• Permaculture Ethics and Principles
• Reading the Landscape; Site Assessment and Analysis
• Design Methods, Strategies, and Mapping
• Annual & Perennial Production
• Food Forests and Agroforestry
• Soil Building and Fertility Management
• Climate and MicroClimate strategies
• Renewable Energy Systems
• Water Management Strategies & Grey Water Systems
• Livestock & Animal Systems
• Aquaculture
• Plant Propagation
• Structures and Natural Building
• Urban Permaculture
• Community Building & Collaborative Group Dynamics
• Financial Strategies & Alternative Economies
• Earthworks
• Bioremediation
• Land Access
• Soil Carbon Sequestration

Permaculture 5 Permaculture 3 Permaculture 2

Course Site, Schedule and Details

Course Schedule

The course begins at 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 1 and ends on Sunday, May 15 at 6:30 pm. May 7 and May 14 are full days off. Classes start at 8:30 am on most days and end at 6:00 pm, with a few additional classes from 7:30 – 9:00 pm on some evenings. There is a lunch break from 12:30 – 2:00 each day. (Times subject to slight changes)

About the Site

The Urban Adamah Farm is located on a one-acre lot in the heart of Berkeley, and includes raised beds for vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit, greenhouses, an aquaponics system, outdoor kitchen, teaching tents, meditation spaces, chickens, bees and milking goats. The farm produces a diverse yield of organic food which is donated to the local community through both food banks and a weekly free farm stand. The farm is in the midst of transitioning to its new permanent site in West Berkeley and through the PDC, participants will gain tangible design experience helping to envision exciting possibilities for the new site.

Course Meals

Urban Adamah will provide mostly organic lunches each day of the course, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Please let us know if you have any specific food allergies. We will also be offering three catered dinners on nights when we are having evening sessions. Otherwise participants are encouraged to bring their own dinners or grab a bite at one of many food establishments in the neighborhood. There is a kitchen on site which you are welcome to use to prepare vegetarian meals during the course. We will have hot water, tea, and fruit set out each morning and throughout the day.

Registration and Course Fee

This course is limited to 30 participants and will most likely sell out. Once the course is full, interested participants are welcome to join the waitlist.

The fee for the course is $1,250 if you pay by check. If you want to pay by check you must also register over the phone by calling Zach Friedman at 510 649 1595 x 304. You can register and pay online with a 4% additional fee. If you are coming from out of town, you are welcome to camp onsite, in your own tent, for $250.

Limited scholarship funds are available for those in financial need. In order to apply for a partial scholarship, please fill out this form.

For questions about course content and scheduling, please contact Tali Weinberg or Ryan Rising at

For questions about registration, please contact Kat Morgan at or 510 649 1595 x 304

Cancellation Policy

We understand that life circumstances sometimes change and that you may need to cancel your registration. All cancellations must be received in writing by email to

Cancellations before March 20: full refund minus $100 processing fee
Cancellations before April 10th: 50% refund minus $100 processing fee
Cancellations on or after April 10th: no refund

Instructors and Facilitators

Lead Instructor: Dave BoehnleinDave Boehnlein

Dave Boehnlein serves as the principal and founder for Terra Phoenix Design and is also the education director at the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island, WA, where he lived for seven years. He offers Permaculture Design Courses through Bastyr University’s Holistic Landscape Design Certificate Program and Alderleaf Wilderness College’s Wilderness Certification Program. Dave is a member of both the Cascadia Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Institute of North America. He holds a diploma in Permaculture Education and seeks to mainstream permaculture design with integrity. Dave also co-wrote the book Practical Permaculture with Jessi Bloom, and illustrator Paul Kearsley.

Lead Instructor: John Valenzuela

John ValenzuelaJohn Valenzuela is a horticulturist, consultant and educator. First introduced to the sustainable design theories and methods of permaculture in 1989, John studied and practiced tropical permaculture and taught extensively in the Hawaiian Islands. He was the lead Permaculture Design Course instructor at the Bullock Family Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington for over 15 years, and taught in Costa Rica and throughout urban and rural California. His special interests are rare fruit, home gardening, trees, traditional agriculture, plant propagation, and ethnobotany. He is active in the Golden Gate chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers where he has been Annual Scion Exchange coordinator, and served as Chapter Chairperson. He now lives and grows in Marin, where he has planted a food forest with over 150 varieties of fruit on multi-grafted trees.

Guest Instructor: Kevin Bayuk
Kevin Bayuk

Kevin works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets cooperative organizations’ intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is a partner with LIFT Economy where he provides strategy and guidance for social enterprises helping them grow. He also frequently teaches classes & workshops, does public speaking, facilitates meetings, plans events and provides one-on-one mentoring as a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco. Kevin has helped design and start gardens and public learning experiences intent on reminding people that they too are nature. He is as fluent with information technology as with perennial polyculture agroforestry.

Guest Instructor: Lydia Neilsen
Lydia Neilsen

Lydia Neilsen works out of the belief that there is a consciousness in the earth and in all living things. Through her business Rehydrate the Earth, which focuses on small-scale water infiltrating earthworks for ecosystem regeneration, she educates individuals and communities on water infiltration, sustainable garden design, soil building, and general Earth healing practices and strategies. She listens to the land and its inhabitants to facilitate the creation of vibrant, energetically alive, functionally beautiful habitats. In addition to Rehydrate the Earth, Lydia currently works at the Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas where she has been the Program Manager and a core teacher for the Four Seasons Permaculture Course – a once a month year-long Permaculture Design Course (PDC) since 2007. Lydia is dedicated to the development and implementation of stunning regenerative designs and practices on a do-it-yourself scale. Lydia specializes in small-scale water harvesting earthworks, productive water conserving landscapes, soil building, greywater, and habitat creation. She is available for presentations, consulting, design and implementation.

Contact Lydia at or visit her website at

Guest Instructor: Kat Steele
Kat Steele

Kat Steele is a permaculture activist, designer, educator and founder of the Urban Permaculture Guild in Oakland, CA. She facilitates workshops on ecological design, sustainability, facilitation, permaculture and holistic healing. Kat specializes in eco-social design, city repair, social permaculture and the power of placemaking. She has played a leadership role in developing women’s permaculture gatherings and support circles. Trained in Ecovillage Design with the Findhorn Foundation of Scotland, Natural Building with Kleiwerks International, and Permaculture Design with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, she also holds an MA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University. She is the former Sustainable Development Manager for the Esalen Institute in Big Sur California and now resides in Oakland, California where she co-teaches Permaculture Design in the Landscape Horticulture Department of Merritt Community College.

Guest Instructor: Willow RosenthalWillow Rosenthal

Willow Rosenthal grew up in West Sonoma County, where she began her love of farming by planting an annual veggie garden with her Dad. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1997, she has worked to strengthen local economies and improve community food access with a variety of organizations including the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment; Food First; the Organic Consumers Association; Berkeley Region Exchange and Development; and The West Oakland Neighborhood Improvement Initiative. In 2000 Willow founded City Slicker Farms, in order to increase access to fresh produce for low-income residents in her West Oakland neighborhood. She has partnered with Slow Food USA on the Victory Garden at San Francisco City Hall, and with the US Department of Labor on the urban farm at the Treasure Island Job Corps Center. She and Novella Carpenter are co-authors of The Essential Urban Farmer (Penguin Press, 2011). Since 2013, Willow has served as the Farm Manager and Fellowship Educator at Urban Adamah. She holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Oregon, and is a certified Waldorf teacher. She lives in Berkeley with her husband where they tend a very, very small veggie garden of their own.

Guest Instructor: Nathan Kaufman
Nathan Kaufman

Nathan Kaufman designed and now manages the aquaponics program at Urban Adamah. He is also the Director of Living Systems at The Perennial restaurant in San Francisco, managing the restaurants composting program, a rooftop garden, and an Oakland based market garden. Prior to his roles at Urban Adamah and The Perennial, Nathan served as Director of Research and Development for Viridis Aquaponics in Watsonville, CA. He has degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Nathan conducted his PDC training at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA and has worked independently as a permaculture designer for the past few years.

Guest Instructor: Nikolas Wulff BertulisNikolas Wulff Bertulis

Ecological designer, builder, teacher and naturalist, Nik studied Ecological Design at Colorado College. His professional experience includes establishing environmental programs at Merritt College and San Francisco Art Institute. His love for plants and animals led him to work in habitat restoration and edible landscapes with EarthCorps in Seattle, Living Structures in New Mexico, CEDICAR in Mexico City, and as co-founder of the DIG Cooperative in Oakland. Currently, Nik manages a non-profit sustainable living center called PLACE, ( and works for Rehuman (, an ecological services firm. when he’s not snorkeling in West Marin doing juvenile salmon counts for the Watershed Alliance of Marin. Nik is an avid gardener, tinkerer and bicyclist.

Guest Instructor: Brennan Blazer BirdBrennan Bird

Brennan Blazer Bird is an ecological educator and natural builder based in the SF Bay Area. Currently he is a full-time Garden and Sustainability teacher at an independent K-8 school in SF, teaching students about gardening, cooking, natural building, ecological design, and more. In 2011 he founded the Peace On Earthbench Movement (POEM), a nonprofit organization that teaches youth and community members how to transform waste into a community gathering place – an Earthbench made from repurposed bottle bricks and an earthen mortar called ‘cob.’ Brennan has taught thousands of students around the world about natural building and zero waste principles – over 40 Earthbenches have been built in over 15 countries around the world (

Guest Instructor: Giancarlo MuscardiniGiancarlo Muscardini

Giancarlo Muscardini is a farmer, builder and artist. He has studied Permaculture since 1996 and has been in the practice of applied ecological design in backyards in the Bay Area ever since. His studies include work in Hawaii, Brazil, Mendocino and Sonoma counties with Doug Bullock, John Valenzuela, Penny Livingston, and James Stark to name a few. For fourteen years, Giancarlo and the mother of his children, Nuria Bowart, have developed the Hearst Hive Homestead as a cooperative household and urban farm. In addition, seven years ago, working with Patricia Algara and the next door neighbors, Matt and Jane, he established a garden and farm in the adjacent lot. This project includes annual crops, perennial plant guilds, beehives, a rainwater harvesting system, and a composting and soil building operation.

Guest Instructor: Jonathan YouttJonathan Youtt

Jonathan Youtt helped to catalyze PLACE for Sustainable Living, in Oakland, CA in 2011.  It is a public serving experiential learning center showcasing and fostering sustainable living practices, urban gardening & homesteading, community resiliency & preparedness, social justice, food security, artistic expression and public placemaking. Jonathan also instigated and co-founded the Sustainable Living Roadshow, a touring eco-caravan that set up sustainability events at colleges, universities and music festivals across the United States from 2005-2012.  As the brainchild & Big Mouth Barker behind the Conscious Carnival, he has helped create eco-themed carnival games which engages participants with entertaining and fun activities while they learn about a variety of issues concerning the environment and sustainability.  Another current edutainment project is the Big Tadoo Puppet Crew, which is a puppet troupe that creates and performs politically and environmentally conscious puppetry.  Jonathan also catalyzed and co-founded the CELLspace, a 10,000 square foot warehouse collaborative arts center which provides a safe and supportive public environment for the exploration of art, education, performance and community building.

Facilitator: Tali Weinberg

Tali WeinbergMotivated by her passion for food justice, seed security, and a deep love and respect for life, Tali has spent much of the past 10 years with her hands in the earth. She worked as the farm manager for the Adamah fellowship in the Berkshires in 2006 and 2007 and coordinated the Tel Sheva Desert medicine project in the Northern Negev desert, while working for environmental justice organization BUSTAN. Working with a team of Bedouin women in the township of Tel Sheva, she helped to design and found a garden which demonstrates the richness of traditional knowledge that exists within the Bedouin community around local desert plants as food and medicine, as well as the traditional natural building techniques that stem from their community. She spent 2 years living at the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead and moved to the Bay area in 2011 to design and run the Urban Adamah farm. Tali currently teaches workshops on sustainability and permaculture and is studying Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley.

Facilitator: Ryan Rising

Ryan RisingRyan Rising is a community organizer and permaculture educator based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ryan focuses on creating community access to land for local food growing and regenerative living – connecting people to take direct action and transition to a resilient way of life; and social permaculture – the ways we make decisions, build resilience, resolve conflicts, and organize in community. Ryan has taught numerous permaculture courses and workshops all over the world. A certified permaculture designer, he co-founded a regenerative, productive urban farm in the East Bay and now organizes with the Omni Commons – a community space and education center in Oakland, CA.