Kelowna Community Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Cycle 1: April - July 2019: *this course is now full and in session*

Cycle 2: TBD: Add yourself to Lucie’s mailing list to be notified when the 2020 course is in pre-registration!

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is an approach to design modelled on natural ecosystems. It is rooted in both traditional and modern approaches to land management and environmental stewardship. Above all, it stems from an ethics of care for people and the Earth.

Who is this course for?

This course is perfect for anyone concerned about the current state of our local & global ecosystems, food systems and social systems, and who is wishing to make a positive difference in their community. It is geared towards those who agree that many of the current issues facing our communities today could be improved by implementing a design system that is in tune with the patterns and cycles found in nature.

What will you get out of the course?

Having a quiet mapping day today... Working on a backyard permaculture design and figuring out some last details for the #kelownacommunitypdc. There are only 2 more spots are left in the course, which begins next weekend on April 27th! Come join an amazing group of students and community members as we learn how to design ecologically together. More info at 🌱🌻🌷
#permaculturedesign #womeninpermaculture #ecologicaldesign #overlay #creativecartography #permaculturekelowna #quietday #makingmaps #pdc #permaculturecourse #kelowna #permaculturedesigncourse

You will walk away from this course with a Permaculture Design Certificate signifying that you have completed a curriculum based on the work of Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, and the many amazing teachers who have expanded and developed Permaculture over the last few decades. You will also walk away with a completed Permaculture Design for the site of your choice! (If you don’t have a site in mind, don’t worry, we will help you find one!) Finally, over the duration of this course, you will build community and develop positive relationships with like-minded people in your area.

Click through the photos below for a peek into the course!

Please be sure to visit the FAQ page and read through the questions carefully!

Topics Covered

This course is based off the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) curriculum, with special emphasis placed on the instructors’ personal experience and areas of expertise. While giving a broad overview permaculture, this course will also focus on case studies, stories and specific examples. Below is the quick n’ dirty course outline (please bear in mind, the outline may change slightly from year to year):

  • Day 1: Introduction to Permaculture

  • Day 2: Sectors, Zones and Design Process

  • Day 3: Climates, Bioregionalism, and Ecology

  • Day 4: Hands-On Community Project at Springvalley Middle School

  • Day 5: Soils, Water and Landscapes

  • Day 6: Food Forests/Cultivated Ecologies and Composting

  • Day 7: Broad Scale Permaculture Design at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

  • Day 8: Urban Permaculture and Waste Reduction

  • Day 9: Appropriate Technology, Working With Animals, and Designing for Disturbance

  • Day 10: Social Permaculture/Social Sustainability

  • Day 11: Review, Work Day, Design Project Check Ins

  • Day 12: Design Project Presentations and Potluck Celebration!

Schedule, Location, Cost and Other Key Details

The first cycle of the KCPDC was hosted out of the Mission Creek EECO Centre at 2363A Springfield Rd. in Kelowna. The course home bases were the wheelchair-accessible downstairs multipurpose room in the EECO Centre and the food forest just outside the building. The 2nd cycle location has not yet been decided, but it’s possible that it will be the EECO Centre again - stay tuned! The course size will vary between 8-15 students.

This PDC course includes both theoretical and interactive hands-on activities that will work for many kinds of learners. No special equipment is necessary to participate, just your creativity, notebook, and some comfy outdoor clothes! We are committed to making the course environment a safe and non-judgemental space to learn.

The first cycle of the course took place over 12 weekly sessions and it is quite likely that this will be the way the course is taught next year too. Most classes will take place from 10am - 3pm with a break for lunch (please bring a bagged lunch). On field days we may begin earlier to escape the heat as needed.

The fee for the first cycle of the course was $830, which is on par with the most affordable PDC’s offered anywhere in Canada and Europe. Admittedly, the course budget was very low the first time around, so in order to pay our teachers fairly for teaching and prep, there may be a slight increase in cost for the 2020 cycle. There will be a 10% discount for couples or friends who sign up together to complete the same design project. There will also be scholarship positions in 2019 for people with financial barriers. The scholarship fee is typically the materials and certification fee only, or may include one course fee shared between more than one person. More info on that to come!

Who Teaches the Course?

This course is collaboratively facilitated by Lucie and local guest teachers, including Elana Westers, Haruko Kagami, Gabe Cipes, Victor Cobian and Shayne Meechan who are professionals in their respective fields of ecological landscape design, civil engineering, biodynamic farming, construction, zero waste living and much more! We have studied with pioneering Permaculture teachers such as Steve and Fiona Hanson of Permaculture Eden, Heather Jo Flores of the Permaculture Women’s Guild, Toby Hemenway, Jana and Gord of Element Eco Design, and Jesse Lemieux of Pacific Permaculture, among others. The 2020 cycle may see the introduction of new guest teachers, so stay tuned!

See our 2019 PDC teachers’ bios below!

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Elana Westers: Elana is a certified Permaculture designer and passionate gardener. Through her company, Growing Inspired, she provides eco-landscape design services and gardening education throughout the Okanagan, aiming to leave each landscape healthier than she found it. Elana has taught gardening, composting and Permaculture workshops for the last 8 years throughout the Central Okanagan. From 2008-2017 she was a member of the Central Okanagan Food Policy Council where she voluntarily coordinated the installation and maintenance of the Kelowna Food Forest in Mission Creek Park, which began in 2013. Elana designed the Indigenous plants garden at Okanagan College in Kelowna and has been working as a Permaculture and Xeriscape designer since 2014.

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Gabriel Cipes: Gabriel Cipes is an Operations executive, Permaculture designer and Biodynamicist at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the most visited, largest Organic, and first certified Demeter winery in western Canada. Mr. Cipes focus has been on integrating holistic management practices interdepartmentally into business operations. He is an educator to staff, visitors and learning institutions. In practical application he has become an expert at running zero-waste companies by re-purposing materials to create infrastructure and build soil for Organic agriculture. Mr. Cipes has a solid foundation and background in hands on food production, and research science with multiple disciplines and methods of large to small scale organic farming. With training and certification in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points as well as Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Production Practices he is able to combine his practical knowledge and experience with a business executive mind set to offer Quality Assurance for agricultural endeavours following the highest health standards and most environmentally sound principles.


Shayne Meechan: Shayne Meechan is the founding executive director of Green Okanagan and resides in Kelowna, B.C. Green Okanagan, or GO for short, is a volunteer-led registered non-profit organization focused on progressing sustainability from an individual level. Since moving to the Okanagan, in 2017, Shayne has been passionate about progressing sustainability in our community and sharing the message of Zero Waste living. She strives to inspire others to adapt their lifestyle and reduce their impact. Shayne has a background in communications, community development, and stakeholder and Aboriginal relations. Shayne sees grassroots community engagement as a force to progress positive change.


Haruko Kagami: Haruko took a Permaculture Design Certificate course in 2009 from Jesse Lemieux.  She then started the Kelowna Permaculture group and managed the Okanagan College community garden and composting garden at the EECO Centre for a several seasons with the help of volunteers. She organized various “perma-blitzes” including building a herb spiral, and building & maintaining a seedling greenhouse. She also invited several great permaculture teachers including Jesse Lemieux (Vancouver) & Javan Bernakevitch, as well as teachers from Verge Permaculture (Calgary) and Element Eco Design (Vernon) to Kelowna to teach introduction to permaculture courses. Haruko graduated with a civil engineering technology diploma in 2005 and works as a civil designer at CTQ Consultants. She aims to educate the engineering community with more sustainable and practical solutions. She brings the two seemingly opposed worlds of engineering and permaculture to her teaching. The Kelowna Permaculture group was closed in 2016. It was a very happy moment for Haruko when Lucie started the Permaculture Kelowna group back up again in 2017, and Haruko believes it will be a great new beginning for the Kelowna community.

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Lucie Bardos: Lucie is a community worker and permaculturist. She earned her MSc in Human Ecology in 2015 and has been working in the field of sustainability ever since. She is very much interested in the concept of social sustainability and has worked with the Degrowth and Transition Towns movements to deepen her knowledge. For the past 5 years, Lucie has been sharing her knowledge of permaculture and sustainability via workshops and by facilitating meet up groups both in Canada and in Europe. She most recently worked for the Start Fresh Project as a grant writer and coordinator for a culinary and farm training course designed to empower vulnerable community members. She is also part of the Permaculture Women’s Guild (PWG) online PDC course faculty. In early 2019, she began her Permaculture Diploma and the Kelowna Community PDC is one of her first diploma projects! Lucie also enjoys writing and is a regular contributor to Permaculture Women Magazine, hosted on


Victor Hugo Cobian: Victor is a talented musician, permaculturist and construction professional. He has been working in various fields of construction for over 15 years and holds certificates in both permaculture and natural building. He became interested in permaculture upon meeting Lucie in 2011 and has since participated in many permaculture projects both in Canada and abroad. In his spare time, Victor works with a local migrant worker advocacy group called RAMA Okanagan. He currently helps steward the Permaculture Kelowna meet up group and is excited to bring his knowledge of local food systems and ecological construction methods (especially Cob!) to the Kelowna Community PDC!