Permaculture Design

OAEC's Permaculture Design Program facilitates and trains change agents and community leaders to solve persistent bio-cultural issues in their communities by creating and implementing land-based solutions that generate measurable ecological regeneration, foster greater human rights, and grow improved personal and community well-being. We use a methodology we call Resilient Community Design.

we thrive.

Permaculture News

Food For Thought garden

OAEC Daughter Garden for People Living with HIV/AIDS

What if a food bank distributed not just canned and donated goods, but fresh, organic produce grown right onsite? The… Read More >

OAEC Permaculture

Highlights from EcoFarm

Last week’s 35th annual EcoFarm Conference gathered nearly 2000 sustainable agriculture experts and allies for education, rejuvenation and celebration with… Read More >


Applied On-Farm Permaculture Design: OAEC’s EcoFarm Workshop

Create a whole systems design for your current or future farm, facilitated by Brock Dolman, Kendall Dunnigan and Vanessa Carter, on… Read More >

What is Permaculture?

A permanent culture depends on responsive, reciprocal relationships between a community and their environment.

Permaculture is a design process – based in observation and systems thinking – that enables people to create ecologically sustainable and socially just human settlements based in natural patterns and processes. At OAEC, we apply permaculture as a community-based endeavor in which groups craft their own regenerative living systems beneficial to themselves and the particular ecological and cultural systems in which they are nested.

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OAEC's Permaculture Design Program works to build community resilience:

Supporting Communities to design resilient systems

Every community has the knowledge, the ability, and the right to craft an ecologically regenerative, economically viable, and socially just future for themselves.

Community resilience is the ability of human groups to adapt to changing conditions over time by developing social and physical infrastructure that can withstand external shocks. With Resilient Community Design, OAEC’s adaptation of the permaculture design methodology, Permaculture Program staff facilitate groups such as schools, farms and ranches, highly-impacted communities, non-profit organizations, and governments through design processes to address their cultural, ecological and economic needs by deepening a community’s ecoliteracy, self-governance, and social/personal wellbeing.

Projects & Collaborations

Training Change Makers
in Permaculture Design

Each year the Permaculture Program offers change makers from around the globe an opportunity to train in an array of permaculture courses, from our flagship 2-week Permaculture Design Course (PDC) to courses such as edible perennial food forest design, carbon farming, group facilitation, and intentional communities design.

The Permaculture Design Course offers a comprehensive design theory and practice curriculum that empowers landowners, policy-makers, philanthropists, land-use professionals, non-profit and agency staff, students, neighbors and social justice advocates to bring integrated design solutions to the bio-cultural challenges they face in their lives and work.

Permaculture Design Course

Modeling Permaculture
design solutions

Community resilience depends on beneficial relationships with our ecosystems. Through permaculture design on our 80-acre demonstration site, OAEC is practicing how to restore and protect the ecosystems in which we live.

OAEC has applied dozens of permaculture design solutions such as roofwater catchment, graywater, solar hot water, solar panels, hydro-electric systems, organic gardening and seed saving, composting and vermiculture, food forests, natural building, animal husbandry, wildlands restoration, resource sharing, and the ever-present water, energy, and materials conservation efforts.

DIY Graywater Guide

Changing the Rules: Legalizing Regenerative Solutions

Many communities face policy barriers that disable them from implementing just, ecological, and locally-appropriate solutions to the issues they face.

OAEC helps identify common obstacles to equitable and regenerative living and forms coalitions to move forward new policies, regulations, and laws that allow for the legalization, research, and funding of bio-culturally appropriate solutions that communities seek.

California Decentralized Water Policy Council California Decentralized
Water Policy Council