Permaculture Education

 For details please visit our official course website at: 

PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE & CERTIFICATION with Sowing Solutions in Shelburne Falls, MA

~Attend a Three Weekend Series PDC~ 

2020 Spring Dates: April 3-5, May 1-4 and June 5-8

antique group photo

 Learn permaculture skills and practice ecological design with Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education, and gather skills to apply to your own home and community landscapes.  Conduct a design for your own client through a guided design process onsite.  Gain a permaculture design certification from Sowing Solutions.  Gather college credits from UMass Amherst (optional for anyone enrolled in the Five College Consortium) .   Register with Sowing Solutions:

  • Study and practice permaculture design with Sowing Solutions who is celebrating over 12 years of permaculture education
  • Learn from some of the best permaculture designers, naturalists, and educators in the northeast
  • Gain your permaculture design training and internationally recognized certificate
  • Gather new sustainable living skills through skill shares and hands on training sessions
  • Optionally earn college credits through the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Learn by experience in no till vegetable gardens, forest gardens, orchards, natural buildings, greenhouses, etc
  • Witness the new construction of an 80′  four-season straw bale and cob greenhouse
  • Work alongside leading permaculture designers
  • Complete a permaculture design project from start to finish~ from an initial client interview to a design presentation for real clients


Tuition is $1325 or $1600 Sliding Scale (for anyone capable of paying $1600, a surplus of funds will go towards a scholarship for another attending student) and this tuition includes all local, organic lunches. Fundraising support is available to you, please inquire.  Accommodations are available onsite.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Permaculture Design Course Topics Include:

  • Permaculture Principles & Ethics
  • Reading the Landscape & Understanding Natural Cycles
  • Urban Homesteading
  • Forest Gardening
  • Water Harvesting
  • Soil Regeneration
  • Creative Waste Cycling
  • Micro-livestock
  • Energy & Building Systems
  • Food Systems Planning
  • Cooperative Economics & Financial Permaculture
  • Design for Climate Change
  • Community Building
  • Aquaculture
  • Soil Regeneration & Land Restoration
  • Design Projects, Methods, & Tools

About Sowing Solutions:

Sowing Solutions provides permaculture design services for home owners and land stewards and offers educational events for non-profits and communities in the northeastern US, leading over 20 permaculture design certificate courses to date.  Sowing Solutions has run courses collaboratively with Living Routes Study Abroad in Intentional Communities (MA), Green Phoenix Permaculture (NY), UMASS Amherst (MA), Sirius EcoVillage (MA), Dynamics Ecological Design (TN, MI, NY), Living Mandala (HI), and Omega Institute (NY).

Staff for the Sowing Solutions PDC Teaching Team:

Kay Cafasso, Lead Instructor

 Kay Cafasso Photo    Kay is the Founder and Director of Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education, permaculture designer of diverse landscapes growing food and medicine, and instructor of over 20 permaculture design certification courses to date.   Kay also has many years of experience specializing in earth plasters and natural finishes for straw bale and other natural buildings. After documenting ecological design applications in homes and landscapes in arid, temperate and tropical climates worldwide, Kay founded Sowing Solutions, offering education and ecological design and consultation services for homeowners and land stewards. Kay practices what she teaches: thoughtful and holistic design of landscapes, agriculture, dwellings, communities, and learning environments.

Certified Permaculture Designer, Naropa University; Certified Permaculture Instructor, Dynamics Ecological Design; BS Environmental Geosciences, Boston College; Natural Building and Solar Home Design Certification, Solar Energy International

Keith Zaltzberg,  Instructor

keith-zaltzberg  Keith combines his professional training in environmental and Permaculture design with the hands-on experience of a farmer, homesteader, and builder to help communities and individuals create new, symbiotic relationships with their homes and place.  Since 2002, he has dedicated his deep interest in applied ecology to exploring patterns in landscape use that can both rebuild ecosystem resilience and meet people’s needs today.  An avid teacher and skilled designer, Keith has worked with diverse groups from Latino farmers creating an urban farm to Smith College students engaged in a neighborhood wide infrastructure redesign.  At the Conway School of Landscape Design, he teaches Master’s candidates to apply digital tools such as GIS, CAD, and graphic design software to environmental design.  Keith is a certified Permaculture Designer, holds a B.S. in Environmental Design from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass-Amherst, serves as Town Councilor for Greenfield MA, and is a founding partner of the Regenerative Design Group.

Founding Partner and Designer at Regenerative Design Group; Faculty Member at Conway School of Landscape Designer; Certified Permaculture Designer and Instructor; B.S., Environmental Design, UMass Amherst

Walker Korby, Instructor

walker-korby-soft-edges  Inspired by the likes of Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, then Tom Brown Jr., Walker Korby realised that he had found his people we he discovered Wilderness Awareness School doing programs at his high school in New Jersey, USA in the mid nineties. He got involved through illustrating for the school and for the Kamana Naturalist Training program, and after college followed them out to Washington state to became the first Outreach Coordinator. He came back to the East Coast where he still resides, in Massachusetts, to teach children’s nature connection programs at several schools. Walker was also an Adult Expeditions Instructor for Wilderness Awareness School for their wolf tracking programs, and has been staffing the Art of Mentoring in the USA on and off since it’s inception. Most recently Walker has been coordinating the Teen Rendezvous at the Art of Mentoring in Vermont. His passion for peacemaking inspired by Chief Jake Swamp, a Mohawk peacemaker, has been fueled by his work in the Mankind Project and training in mediation. Walker brings with him the unique perspective of being immersed in the Art of Mentoring teachings for half of his life as well as his ability to integrate them into his own community.  Walker is a naturalist and tracker, permaculturist, primitive skills mentor, forester, firefighter, and storyteller.


Our Recent Contributing Guest Instructors:

Ryan Harb, LEED AP, Guest Instructor

ryan-harb-personal-picture  Ryan Harb, a certified permaculture designer and LEED Accredited Professional, received his BBA in Business Management and his M.S. in Green Building from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After graduating in 2010, Harb created a job for himself as the first Sustainability Specialist for UMass Amherst Dining Services. He then co-facilitated one of the first student-led university permaculture gardens in the nation that supplies produce to its dining commons and sustainability education to the campus community. Together, Harb and his students converted a traditional ¼ acre grass lawn into a thriving, productive, edible landscape that improves ecosystem health and has inspired a global campus permaculture movement. He is passionate about solving the world’s social and environmental issues and is constantly inspired by others who are making a positive difference. Harb teaches courses in sustainable design and permaculture and is the first person in the nation to hold a Master of Science degree in Green Building. 

White House Award Winner, UMass Permaculture Initiative; M.S. Green Building, University of Massachusetts Amherst;  B.B.A., Business Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst;  Permaculture Design Certification, Regenerative Design Group;  Permaculture Instructor Certification, Dynamics Ecological Design

Connor Stedman, Guest Instructor

Connor is a naturalist, ecological planner, nature awareness and primitive skills educator, and the Executive Director of the Vermont Wilderness School.

Meg McAuliffe, Guest Instructor

 Meg is a certified permaculture designer, an ecovillage resident, herbalist, and yoga instructor whose focus is in contemplative education, whole systems thinking, herbal medicine, and yoga.


What students are doing since their graduation with Sowing Solutions:

Becoming land caretakers, building straw bale homes, joining natural building teams, coordinating university campus-wide permaculture gardens, incorporating permaculture design into their existing landscape business, turning their lawns into gardens, starting plant nurseries, designing their home landscape to produce abundance and ecological benefit, experiencing life at ecovillages and intentional communities, becoming educators and authors, weaving permaculture design and thinking into their healing arts practice, enjoying rare fruits and edible perennial foods outside their door, and……

What students are saying about Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design Courses:

“Thank you again, for so awesomely teaching a course that completely redirected my life (for the better!). I learned so much in your course…Experiencing the power of real teaching and learning not only affected me personally and as an aspiring permaculturist, but as an educator as well.”  -Kyle

“I am having the time of my life, and the best part is that I am receiving an education!” -Brenda


Registration:  Please send an email to Sowing Solutions   to request a full course information packet, a registration form,  as well as the complete course schedule.

Course schedule:  This is a 72 hour requirement for the permaculture design certification. This course offers over 100 hours of training, skill shares, design assignments, visits to permaculture demonstration sites, and a one day practicum/ installation event. 

Course Website: For complete information about the 2016 and 2017 Sowing Solutions PDC’s ~   Please visit our official course website at :


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