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.
New in 2017: Now open every weekend April-October, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am-5pm! Our nursery specializes in open-pollinated perennials including edible landscaping plants, rare and endangered food crops, drought tolerant ornamentals and habitat plants. Join us for our three special Plant Sale Events focused on annual plants for starting your seasonal vegetable gardens.
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.
Spend two weeks living with us in one of the nation's best examples of a working permaculture site that is set up as a holistic, well-functioning organism at every level. Immerse yourself in regenerative thinking at one of the longest continuously operating permaculture centers in the west.
Take the visual tour Take the visual tour
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.
We teach Resilient Community Design - where ecosystem meets "ego-system." Based in a functioning intentional community, we teach skills to facilitate group process, democratic decision-making, and self-governance. Our work also comes out of years of community organizing at the intersection of social justice and ecology.
We invite our students to become “permaculture public servants.” Every PDC includes participation in a hands-on project with real world applications in collaboration with a local community organization. Read more about the Permaculture Program at OAEC in the bottom box below.
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.
The cost of this 2-week, residential intensive at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center is $1700, or $1600 if registered 30 days 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. If you prefer, you are welcome to camp in our Wildlands Preserve, though the cost is the same. Payment is due in full upon registration. Please see the registration page for our cancelation policy. 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.
The PDC course at OAEC is part of a larger Permaculture Program and social change Vision & Strategy that extends well beyond the physical site. OAEC is at the forefront of several important regional-scale campaigns to Change the Rules at the local and state level to support sustainable systems of governance and economy, including the Compost Toilet Research Project. Installation is underway now and PDC students in 2017 will have the unique opportunity to see the beginning phases of this ground-breaking project.OAEC staff also consult with place-based communities as well as farmers, ranchers, landowners, empowering them to integrate ecological design principles and practices into their systems design. Contact Kendall Dunnigan for more information.