OAEC supports diverse communities to design their own regenerative systems at the regional and local scale.
Our cookbook is a collection of inventive recipes inspired by seasonal eating from our biodiverse Mother Garden, orchards and Wildlands Preserve.
Experience the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center through a video tour and beautiful photographs of our Guest Houses, Meeting Room, Bathhouse, Kitchen & Dining Room, Mother Garden and more.
Our Biodiversity Nursery offers thousands of varieties of open-pollinated plants through our three seasonal Plant Sale events (focused on annual plants) and numerous Perennials weekends.
OAEC offers the longest consistently running two-week Permaculture Design Certification course in the West. Immerse yourself in information, ideas and inspiration on how to design sustainable, regenerative systems in balance with your home ecosystem.
Our School Garden Teacher Training supports schools to integrate the school garden into multiple subject areas using place-based, experiential learning.
Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) courses at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center will immerse you in information, ideas and inspiration on how to design sustainable, regenerative systems in balance with your home ecosystem.
Learn more about our Permaculture Design Program.
For over 20 years, the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center and onsite intentional community have been researching and demonstrating ecological design on our 80-acre site in western Sonoma County, California. Immerse yourself in regenerative thinking at the Center, where we offer the longest consistently running Permaculture Design Certification course in the West.
At OAEC, we have learned as much from what we have tried that didn't work as what we've tried that did. We have translated those lessons into a design methodology that empowers you to not only "do it yourself" but to "think it yourself"; to apply elegant theory to the complexities of real places and people.
The Permaculture Design Course is a two-week residential intensive at OAEC. Using a combination of lecture, discussion, hands-on activities at OAEC’s 80-acre site, visits to local permaculture examples, and a group design project, you will have the chance to integrate and apply the concepts of permaculture during almost 100 hours of course time. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a Certiﬁcate of Permaculture Design.
Not only will you become versed in ecological design principles, but you will also have completed a design project for a local community group in need of systems redevelopment. Through the community-service PDC design projects, we invite our students to be permaculture public servants by contributing to a real design project.
Permaculture Design Course graduates include policy-makers, landowners, philanthropists, land-use professionals, agency staff, students, and social justice advocates who have gone on to start thriving permaculture landscape design companies, become sustainability directors for leading educational centers, and conduct cutting edge myco-regeneration research.
Permaculture Design Course participants will learn the ethics, principles and practices of “permanent culture” by exploring topics such as:
Our Permaculture Design Course is open to the public, but we encourage community leaders interested in spearheading a community permaculture design process to attend with 2-4 other community members. This high-level intensive will strengthen your capacity to lead your community towards regional resilience through a collaborative process to re-envision local human systems that mimic natural patterns.
If your community is considering a collaborative permaculture design process, please contact Kendall Dunnigan.
Overnight visitors to OAEC sleep in one of our two beautiful, spacious guest yurts overlooking our North Garden, or other guest housing. Alternately, you are welcome to camp in our Wildlands Preserve. Our accommodations are clean, lovely and spacious, with easy access to modern bathroom facilities. You will enjoy three delicious, organic, hearty vegetarian meals a day, with produce sourced from our gardens and orchards or from local farms.
Course and retreat participants at OAEC can also expect to experience powerful personal transformation, extensive knowledge acquisition, and inspiring networking opportunities.
The cost of this 2-week, residential intensive at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center is $1650, or $1550 if registered three weeks in advance. Besides supporting the work of OAEC and our many guest instructors, the course fee includes three organic, homemade meals a day and accommodations overlooking our beautiful gardens.
The deposit amount for this course is $300 - you may pay the remainder upon your arrival. If you cancel with less than 30 days notice prior to the start date of the course, this deposit is not refundable. However, any balance paid beyond the deposit will be refunded back to the original credit card used for payment. We regret that we cannot accept Americorps Education Awards and are unable to offer scholarships or work trades at this time.
The Permaculture Design Course usually fills up 6 or more weeks in advance. Please register as soon as possible.
Permaculture Activist Magazine calls the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center PDC “a certification course presented by a winning team of California’s most experienced teachers."
Brock Dolman has taught Permaculture and consulted on regenerative project design and implementation internationally in Costa Rica, Ecuador, U.S. Virgin Islands, Spain, Brazil, China, Canada, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba and widely in the U.S.
Kendall Dunnigan is an ecologist, community organizer, artist, and educator with many years of experience teaching ecology and ecological design courses and leading socially-just, community-based eco-justice design projects for people of all ages.
Our goal is to build the capacity of place-based communities to transition towards ecologically and socially regenerative systems modeled after healthy ecosystems.