2021-2022 Design Contest

PINA’s 2018 and 2019 Design Contests led to great things for the organization, its members and countless people across the continent. We received more than 50 entries, and as  a direct result, produced nine videos, educated dozens directly in the theory and practice of earthworks–influencing state policy, and rehydrated a watershed in Oregon. The  superb video of the Oregon project Integrated Water Harvesting Earthworks has received 250,000 views.

In Guatemala, we rebuilt a teaching garden, reached out to the hearing impaired with the permaculture message.  The Contests stimulated an enormous flush of creativity, and propoelled PINA toward our current pursuite of regenerative design projects. We are in search of design skill and the good ideas to employ it.

Enter the Design Contest! Sumibt your design by January 17, 2022.

Recognizing the potential brilliance of our PDC graduate designers, the PINA Board has announced a new Design Contest with a submission deadline of January 17 2022. PINA seeks to showcase the talent of its members and stimulate critical thinking about cultural and environmental regeneration.

We will award $5,000 towards implementing the best overall permaculture design. Your thoughtful proposal could come to life! We will, in addition, make five special awards of lesser amounts in the areas of best community/social design, income-producing opportunity, ecological benefits, drawing/visuals, and the best from a recent PDC graduate. Some of these prizes may be combined. PINA judges will sort and select the semi-finalists and finalists; PINA members will award the prizes by vote.

Contest Process

The Contest application is a two-step process. PINA members in good standing may each submit one entry between Dec. 1, 2021 and Jan. 17th, 2022. Membership is open to graduates of the Permaculture Design Course living or working in N. America or Hawaii. Join here.

Submit your application electronically (preferred) as a PDF or Word-equivalent document to info@pina.in or mail it in paper form, postmarked no later than January 17, 2022, to PINA, 2091 Hwy 130, Harrison City, PA 15636. Please include the following information:

  • Your full name and the names of any team members
  • Email address
  • Postal/shipping address
  • Telephone number
  • Date and location where you completed your first PDC, along with the name(s) of your chief instructor(s).

The entry should convey the following information on two pages or using no more than 1,000 words. One page of graphics may also be submitted, but is not required. The absence of graphics at this stage will not count against the entry.

The Design Description in Phase One must answer the following eight questions:

  1. What is the environmental and social context of the design?
  2. What problem(s) does the design solve?
  3. Describe the design concept and implementation.
  4. What positive impacts would this design, if built, have on the surrounding community or on other communities? [These would be downstream effects of solving the problem (#2)].
  5. How could this design be replicated, either in your region or across North America?
  6. How would this create more right livelihood and income opportunities in permaculture?
  7. What are the ecological benefits of the design?
  8. Approximately, how much would this cost to implement? And could it attract other funding?

We encourage all PINA members and potential members (who join) to submit their best ideas as designs.

Contest Timing

Designs received in good order by January 17, 2022 (or postmarked by that date and subsequently delivered), will be considered by the PINA panel of judges for completeness and merit. Entries which do not answer the eight questions above, or which lack any of the required cover information will be rejected. Entrants of the best 20 designs will be contacted by Feb. 4 requesting that they flesh out and complete their design submission according to the following criteria. First-round materials will not be returned. Make copies of what you submit.

Semi-Final design entries must meet the following criteria:

  1. Provide the same covering information as requested for the initial submissions, and put your name on every page.
  2. Provide a site analysis (or system analysis), including invisible structure influences. Show sectors, zones, and elevations as a graphic. Text may amplify this graphic.
  3. Submit a budget (materials, labor, services) and implementation timeline for the project. Organize the implementation into three or more phases, all of which can be completed by March 31, 2023.
  4. Describe how the project will be maintained and how it could be extended or replicated.
  5. Submit a plan view to scale, and at least one elevation showing the system as built out. If the design is for an invisible structure, submit an illustrated organizational chart (structure) and flow chart of resources, people, ideas, money, influence, etc.
  6. Include your original design and implementation description (you may amend it). Add any details of implementation, or which describe follow-on effects from the project that you may have omitted for brevity in the first round. Emphasize your design’s strengths in providing ecological and social benefit (see prize structure below). Describe how your design meets specific problems of the site, the area, or the community it will serve.
  7. Total submission should not exceed 10 pages.
  8. Electronic submissions (PDF, Word-equivalent documents, and JPG or other common graphic formats preferred). If submitting on paper, we recommend using expedited delivery (Priority Mail, Fedex, etc.) as the turnaround time for judging is limited.

Completed Semi-finalist designs must be received by PINA or postmarked no later than Feb. 25th. From those received, PINA judges will review and select the best 10 as Finalists to be submitted to the PINA membership on March 13th via our website, pina.in. Members then have til March 30th to cast their ballots for the winners in all categories. At least three of those selected Final 10 will be designs submitted by members who have completed the PDC on or after Jan. 1, 2019. We encourage newer designers to try their hands.

Semi-final submissions (2nd round) will be evaluated against the requirements above and the judges will assign credit on the following basis:

  • Design Concept/Vision – 25%
  • Feasibility/Fundability – 25%
    • Can the design be expanded in the area, or replicated in other areas?
    • Would other funders recognize its merits?
  • Community/Social Benefits – 20% (special award)
  • Income Production – 10% (special award also)
  • Ecological Benefits – 10% (special award also)
  • Visual/Graphic Excellence – 10% (special award also)

These special prizes—which reflect design criteria—may be combined (awarded to one or more individuals); any of the first four may also be awarded to the overall winner:

  • Best community/social design  ($500 + a book)
  • Best income- or job-producing opportunity ($400 + a book)
  • Best ecological benefits ($300 + a book)
  • Best drawing/visuals  ($250 + a book)
  • Best design from a PDC graduate since 1/1/19. ($250 + a book)

The secondary prize winners may choose a copy of either The Food Forest Handbook by Darrell Frey and Michelle Czolba, or The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country by Peter Bane. Only one copy of each book may be awarded to any winner, though an entry winning in two or more categories may receive both.

The Fine Print

The decisions of the board of PINA and its designated agents regarding the validity and relative merit of each entry are final. The results of the member voting will be announced by March 31, 2022. Entries may be included or rejected at PINA’s sole discretion.

Do not submit changes or supplementary materials after any deadline given above, unless specifically requested by PINA. 

Members of PINA’s board, staff, and their immediate family members are precluded from submitting entries.

All design materials submitted become the property of Permaculture Institute of North America, and will not be returned.

PINA members must be in good standing (dues paid) as of March 30, 2022 to vote in the contest election. Each member will need to log in to the PINA website to cast a ballot. Detailed instructions will accompany the ballot online.

By submitting a design to the Contest, you are granting PINA a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publish or reproduce the design materials in any medium of its choice in support of its mission or for public benefit.

Payment of award monies will be made to the PINA member submitting the design unless a stewarding or supervising organization is elected (business, church, non-profit, or govt. body).

PINA will pay only for implementation of the design by advancing funds for Phase I, and for subsequent phases when receipts for expenses in the prior phase have been submitted.

You agree, by submitting an entry, to cooperate with PINA in arranging media coverage or documentation of your design project implementation, should it be chosen and funded. You will ensure access by journalists to the site when the project has been built and by PINA representatives during implementation if requested. And you agree to be interviewed by a PINA representative or members of the media at reasonable times by prior arrangement. We may request that you provide us photo or video imagery of the work in progress.