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Permaculture Design Certification Course


Brave Earth community and Finca Luna Nueva Eco-Lodge, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

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Join our diverse team of permaculture instructors led by Scott Gallant and Sam Kenworthy of Porvenir Design for this life-changing 2-week experience. The course covers the core Permaculture Design curriculum and emphasizes creating diverse multi-functional human landscapes based on ecological patterns. This is the first course ever offered in conjunction with the Brave Earth community and Finca Luna Nueva.

Utilizing these sites as a living classroom, the class will mix lectures and hands-on work, exploring design solutions for both temperate and tropical regions.  Putting Permaculture into practice, the course concludes with students working in teams to create their own permaculture site design. This course is applicable to anyone with an interest in designing resilient and regenerative futures as well as professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, ecology, education, farming and community development.

The whole-systems design thinking outlined in the course will give participants the tools to re-design and improve their surroundings; from gardens, farms and homes, to livelihoods, relationships and communities. 

To learn about who this course is designed for, learning outcomes, what to bring, and much more, please read our PDC Course Information Book. Please note this booklet is specific for our April course at Rancho Mastatal, but much of the information is relevant for the October course as well.

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Topics covered include:

  • History of Permaculture

  • Principles and Ethics of Permaculture Design

  • Design Methodologies and Site Analysis & Assessment

  • Pattern Languages in Culture and the Landscape

  • Reading the Landscape and Pattern Recogintion

  • Simple Mapping and Surveying Techniques

  • Client Interviews and Goal Setting

  • Map Reading

  • Master Planning and Design Presentations

  • Climate and Microclimate Design

  • Water: Cycles, Catchment, Ecology, Conservation, Treatment

  • Greywater and Blackwater Systems

  • Earthworks, Pond Construction, & Water Storage

  • Soils: Biology, Ecology, Fertility Strategies

  • Biochar, Biofertilizers, Mulching, Biomass Production, Microorganisms Cultivation, Compost Making

  • Introduction to Keyline Design and Holistic Management

  • Gardening from the Tropics to the Temperate Regions

  • Orchards Management and Agroforestry

  • Plant Propagation, Grafting, Nursery Management

  • Silvopastural and Aquaculture Systems

  • Fermentation, Post Harvest Handling, and Harvest Strategies

  • Shelter and Siting

  • Natural Building Techniques

  • Urban and Suburban Permaculture Applications and Case Studies

  • Energy and Appropriate Technology: Photovoltaics, Biodigestor Design, Alternative Cooking Models

  • Regenerative Economic Models

  • Social Structures, Decision Making, and Community Organizing

  • Professional Designer Project Case Studies

The Place

Finca Luna Nueva, is a living classroom, regenerative, biodynamic farm and rated one of the top 10 ecolodges in Costa Rica. Offering a restaurant, miles of hiking trails through the lush rainforest, a Sacred Seed Sanctuary, featuring 300 plants prized for their medicinal or sacred uses, spa services, and an ozonated pool and jacuzzi. There are several on-site activities available such as night wildlife hikes, birding, a tour of our sacred seed sanctuary and regenerative farm.

Brave Earth (Tierra Valiente), partner and sister-property to Finca Luna Nueva, is a living laboratory in service to regenerative living and co-evolution with Nature. Initiated by a diverse group of  change-makers, artists, creative innovators, activists and thought leaders from around the globe with the intention of  prototyping a model for community based on biomimetic principles, ancestral wisdom, sacred activism and solidarity economics. The location is a treasure of biodiversity located amidst endless tropical rainforests and world-class, natural thermal baths.

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More instructors will be added to the team as the course approaches.

Scott Gallant

Scott Gallant is an agroforester and food system designer with nearly a decade of experience working in Central America. He is the co-founder of Porvenir Design, a landscape design firm specializing in productive landscapes. He graduated from Wabash College in 2008 with a degree in Economics. As the farm manager at Rancho Mastatal he works with an amazing team to cultivate 15 acres of an emerging tropical agroforest. 

Passionate about regenerative agriculture, holistic thinking, ethnobotany, community development, and re-skilling, he still makes time to hike and bike, read exhaustively, and work on his basketball jump shot and frisbee throw.  He has traveled extensively in Latin America, leading to a love of the culture, food, and language, which he tried to speak.  Scott  writes for the Permaculture Research Institute and has been featured on the Permaculture Voices podcast.

You can find him on instagram here.

Sam Kenworthy

Sam Kenworthy is a water systems specialist and landscape manager with nearly a decade of experience in the tropics. He has experience designing and developing educational curriculum for students of all ages, particularly focused on conservation, practical skill building, and applied research. Originally from the east coast of the United States, Sam currently resides on the southern Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Dedicated to continued learning and improving his skill sets, he is passionate about self sufficiency, water management, generating more and better yields, and well executed design for human eco-systems. Experienced in working in a wide variety of environments, he enjoys the process of designing around problematic landscapes. Sam holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science and Hispanic Studies.

Start and End Dates

The course will start at 9 a.m. on October 17th.  Students are encouraged to arrive on October 16th. Lodging the night of October 16th is included in the cost of the class.  

The course will end at around 5 p.m. on November 1st.  Most students will depart on the morning of November 2nd.  Lodging the night of November 1st is included in the cost of the class.  

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There are different accommodation options available: 

Camping (bring your tent, access to hot showers & composting toilet) - $1000
Farm Loft Single (semi private /shared toilet) - $1500
Farm Loft Room (private /shared toilet) - $1950 (single) $1500 (double)
Gaia Domes & Tambos (private /shared toilet) - $ 2260 (single) $1650 (double) 

Costs include instruction, 14 days and 15 night accommodations and 3 organic meals per day. Transport to and from the lodge or airfare is not included. 


For questions about the course content please email Scott Gallant

For enrollment please email the Brave Earth community

permaculture costa rica