Permaculture Education

 For details please visit our official course website at: 

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

~Attend Our Safely Distanced Weekend Series PDC~ 

2022 Spring Dates: 

  • Saturday April 9 Online Orientation
  • Friday April 29 – Monday May 1  (four consecutive days in person, commuting or overnight stay in spacious retreat house)
  • Sunday May 15 Online Class Day
  • Saturday May 28  Online Class Day
  • Friday June 10 – Monday June 13 (four consecutive days in person, commuting or overnight stay in spacious retreat house)


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 15 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


For the Spring PDC tuition is offered at a sliding scale of $1190 – $1390.  If you prefer to pay $1190, that is fine.  For students who are able to pay any greater tuition option, the surplus will go towards tuition assistance for another student in the course.   This is a special offer, discounted during the covid19 pandemic.   

(Typically, when covid19 is not of concern: 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.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
  • 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 25 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,  Guest 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, Guest 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.

Llani Davidson, Guest Instructor

Llani is passionate about growing her own food and teaching people  how to feed themselves.. Her experience is built upon years of living and working on small organic farms, including Hawthorne Valley Farm, where she practiced and taught small-scale vegetable production, as well as at SIrius Community where she is one of the lead growers for the local CSA, and  numerous agricultural sites in South America.  Increasingly passionate about home-scale food production, Llani studied permaculture and became a certified permaculture teacher in 2010, studying under Dave Jacke of Dynamics Ecological Design.  She co-founded a business called Broadfork Permaculture, structured as a cooperative model, that works with clients,  installing edible forest gardens and perennial landscapes.  Llani has much wisdom to share about life in intentional communities, having spent her childhood years living at a well known ecovillage, as well as much of her adult life coordinating and managing the food systems for residents and neighbors of the community.

Ghadi Tayeh, Guest Instructor

Ghadi Tayeh, Founder and CEO of Topo-Terra Regenerative Design, LLC is driven by a calling to inspire connection and renewal of the natural world. His work as a Permaculture Designer, Environmental Engineer in Training, and Savory Holistic Management Champion is internationally recognized. With a M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management, he wields his dual passion for art and science in service and in gratitude to the natural world. His ardor for place-based design is reflected by his status as a LEED Green Associate.
Ghadi has extensive leadership and team-based experience, specializing in soil and aquatic chemistry, petroleum forensic analysis, organic farming, site assessment and environmental remediation with a deep interest in humanitarian engineering, sustainable agriculture and rural development. To date, he has worked to improve how communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Costa Rica, Nepal, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia function with their natural environment.

Dave Dion, Guest Instructor

​ Dave is a head gardener and assistant to the lead Arborist at the Botanic Garden at Smith College in Northampton, MA.  Dave has years of experience owning and operating a landscape and tree care business, as well as teaching horticulture at a vocational school.  An experienced homesteader and farmer, Dave brings direct training to students of this PDC. Smith College Botanic Garden, Lead Arborist and Gardener.  Dion Tree, Landscape and Tree Care 


Our Recent Contributing Guest Instructors:

Ryan Harb, LEED AP, Guest Instructor

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. 

  Please visit our official course website at :



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