2019 PINA Permaculture Design Contest

How to Enter the Contest

Compile your contest materials onto a pdf or Google doc and send to us by email at info.permaculturenorthamerica@gmail.com.
Attach your pdf or send a link to Drop Box or Google Drive with permission to edit.  Graphics may be pdf or jpg.  Finalists will need to submit a short bio for themselves and their team (if entering as a group) and answer a questionnaire about the project.  Team entries are welcome.

This year’s contest offers prizes in two areas: Community Development or Media and Communications. Contestants may enter one or more designs in either or both tracks, though the specifications are distinct for each, and must be met according to the track submitted. 


1. The design site of any Community Development project must be located in North America or Hawaii. In addition to specifications set forth below, the subject matter of any Media & Communications submission must cover and be relevant to conditions in those regions. 

2. This contest is open to all members of PINA, including those who join PINA along with their contest submission. Team submissions are encouraged. Membership in PINA is $30 per year. Learn about the benefits and criteria for joining PINA on the Membership Page.   

3. Directors and staff of PINA and their families are disqualified from entering.


  1. Submission due date: December 1, 2019
  2. Finalists selected by the PINA board posted on www.pina.in for voting February 1, 2020.
  3. Voting ends February 29, 2020
  4. Winner announced March 1, 2020.

Multiple entries are permitted.

Community Development – $3,500 PRIZE!

Contest Track Summary:

The design is for a small-scale urban or rural permaculture system establishing community woodlands, edible perennial landscapes, or supporting infrastructure for these (nurseries, soil amendment resources) with an installation budget in the vicinity of $3500. Preference goes to a group project using a permaculturally designed invisible structure whose goal is to engage adults or youth in permaculture activities new to them and relevant to the global environmental and resource crisis. The budget should be used mainly for project materials, but a portion may be allotted to participant engagement or education. Upgrades to existing permaculture systems are acceptable.


  1. Project must begin in 2020.
  2. Prize money must go to the installation of the design but may include some portion for education or training. 
  3. The top 5 design submissions will be selected by the PINA Board of Directors using the criteria and weighting below.
  4. The final winner will be decided by vote of PINA members.
  5. Contestants agree to cooperate with PINA in publicizing the design (further specifications to be sent on submission of a package).

Entry Submission Package:

  1. Plan of organizational design. (1/2 page)
  2. Site design graphics. Digital images of any size. (2 pages max).
  3. Address / coordinates of design site
  4. Narrative explanation of the design (No more than one page or 500 words.)
  5. Proposed budget and timeline for implementation (1 page max).
  6. Materials submitted digitally as a PDF file or as links to online documents to info.permaculturenorthamerica@gmail.com

Criteria for Judging: 

  1. Design concept: 25%
  2. Social benefits: 20%
  3. Design details: 20%
  4. Design graphics: 15%
  5. Ecological benefits: 15%
  6. Vision: 5%

Notes on Design Concept Discussion: 25%

Explain the community problem the effort is directed at ameliorating. Your project should address both community developmental benefits and environmental benefits of importance. Submissions could be for a rural or an urban community small or large and could take various forms. Projects need to show clear use of permaculture principles to achieve people care, earth care, and fair share/future care.

An example: 

An invisible structure or organizational design that achieved environmental yields might mobilize a community for the purposes of planting trees in order to obtain multiple yields like climate mitigation (cooling and shelter), food (fruit and nuts), water harvesting, erosion control and microclimate improvement (air quality, temperature, windbreak, etc.), natural resource development, economic or nutritional yields, food/fiber/medicine production, net carbon sequestration, habitat reconstruction and stewardship, etc.  

An invisible structure that mobilized a group to improve a community might achieve new hands-on skills education, increase the capacity of community members for environmental leadership and (among youth and young adults) for personal growth such as self-confidence and self-respect. It could break down social barriers among diverse populations, classes, and ethnicities or build solidarity within one that has little coherence for mutual aid; it could contribute to changes in institutions including governments and their effect on a community.  

Factors of importance would be the likely durability and size of the project both environmentally and in the community, the number of people involved and affected in a major way (as a measure of community engagement), and the difficulty of the task. Considerations for community capacity building would be high, i.e. would the project stimulate new businesses or create a skills base in nursery management, composting, soil remediation, forestry, orcharding, public health, or a related field or encourage young people to move in these directions? Extra credit for involving public authorities or civil society partners, and for developing a replicable model.

Media & Communications – $1,500 in PRIZES!

Contest Track Summary:

The design is for permaculture promotional media that highlights a particular system or element of permaculture design. The idea is to create short and infectious permaculture media that can spread the word of permaculture through social media networks.

The video, film, or digital graphic display should be of 2 minutes duration or less, and at the same time convey a powerful message with a strong educational component. How can we turn people on to permaculture and teach them something in the age of short attention spans? The contest seeks to answer this question.

The top 10 submissions will be selected by the PINA Board of Directors. Final winners will be decided by vote of PINA members.

The top vote-getter will receive a prize of $500. The second-highest vote getter will be awarded $400, the third and fourth highest vote-getters will each receive a prize of $300.


1. Graphic and audio materials used must be free of copyright, and the producer must certify that he, she, or they have permission to have filmed any person visually identifiable in the production.

2. Prize money will be paid to the individual(s) submitting the media or to a permaculture project of their designation. 

3. The top 10 design submissions will be selected by the PINA Board of Directors using the criteria and weighting set out below.

4. The final winner will be decided by vote of PINA members.

5. PINA (pina.in) must be identified clearly but discretely in the media as a backer of the production. 

6. Contestants retain copyright to the production and may credit themselves in the media to its creation, but grant to PINA a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license for its use.

Entry Submission Package:

  1. Digital file (.mp4) of the final edited version of the media
  2. Signed statement by the producer(s) of photo releases, if any (individuals need not be named)
  3. Materials submitted digitally as an .mp4 file or as a link to online documents to info.permaculturenorthamerica@gmail.com.
  4. A licensing agreement will be sent following receipt of the submission.

Criteria for Judging: 

  1. Design concept (storyline): 25%
  2. Educational value (accuracy and relevance of information): 20%
  3. Motivational impact: 20%
  4. Production quality (visual, audio, editing): 15%
  5. Clarity of permaculture ethics and principles: 15%
  6. Vision: 5%


Supporting the work of PINA

You can support PINA’s efforts by becoming a member or making a one-time donation. Large or small, your donation supports the work of PINA and helps advance the quality of the permaculture movement.

Many of the projects entered in the 2018 Design Contest were worthy of support, and we expect the same to be true for the current contest.  PINA would like to help more of them get built, planted, and occupied. You can help us do this by contributing to the Fund for Regeneration. Climate chaos, community dysfunction, and land degradation are real and urgent problems; Permaculture designers have solutions.

Designs offered in 2018 may be resubmitted if they meet the 2019 design criteria.  Be sure to re-write your design narrative and budget to align with the new criteria.

Click here to see the archive of the 2018 Contest entries which were featured during our 2019 social media campaign.