Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I join PINA?
When you join PINA or renew your membership you are connecting with a growing network of permaculture professionals throughout North America. The work each of us is doing to care for the earth and her people is vital now and for future generations. By working together with a common vision and in mutual service we grow stronger, more resilient and have a greater impact.
The well being of our families and communities is inextricably bound to the health of our land, our cities and our planet. Permaculture offers hope of profound societal transformation. Supporting PINA through your membership is a low cost, low effort step you can take to significantly increase the connected yield of our permaculture efforts. Membership Overview
How can I renew my membership?
Most PINA members are set up with automatic annual renewal through Paypal. If your membership has expired due to nonpayment, go to our membership reinstatement page.
If you do not have a log-in because you have never registered on the PINA website, please use our Become a Member page as if you are a new member. This applies to all member types – regular, diplomate, or fast-track candidate.
If you need any other assistance with your membership, please use the Contact form to get in touch with our administrator.
How is PINA passing the torch of permaculture to the next generation?
The founders of PINA were all senior teachers and designers with developed reputations for competent work in the field of permaculture. The PINA Board of Directors believe this depth of experience and demonstrated excellence is necessary to maintain consistency with the historically developed and recognized permaculture design curriculum out of respect for the hundreds of thousands of certificate holders worldwide. PINA is designed to provide pathways for younger designers and consultants to access the experience and support of older permaculture practitioners. We believe this multigenerational partnership can skyrocket permaculture into the future.
How is PINA promoting inclusivity and decolonization in permaculture?
PINA’s Board of Directors strives for gender balance along with representation from regions throughout North America. PINA is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ folk to apply for jobs and contracts. PINA regional hubs must to be open to all PDC certificate holders in their regions, and PINA offers hubs guidance and mediation for internal conflicts. PINA accepts donations earmarked for support of certain classes of people and projects. We currently have funds for the support of membership and regional hub development for areas east of the Mississippi in both the USA and Canada. Read our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access.
What is Permaculture?
How do permaculture designers work?
After completing a Permaculture Design Course, graduates may use the term “permaculture” in pursuit of a livelihood. Some choose to enter consultancy on land-based projects or social systems design. Others build household, farm or ranch systems or launch businesses to offer products or services. Yet others develop projects for community empowerment ranging from food security to housing renewal to trade and barter economies. Individual calling and initiative is encouraged in the PDC along with a collaborative attitude, while PINA’s diploma program cultivates mastery through individually designed programs of work and study, called Action Learning.
Why would I hire a permaculture design consultant?
Before undertaking a property purchase or land development, seeking the advice of a trained permaculture consultant can avoid major and costly mistakes while revealing perhaps unseen potentials. The environmental and social analysis that takes place in a permaculture design is more comprehensive and integrated than what can be learned from a realtor, builder, or public official, as it will encompass all these perspectives and go beyond them. Moreover, a permaculture design consultant, while adhering to ethical standards, will work to help you meet your needs and aims in relation to property, housing, livelihood, and community.
It can also be helpful to engage a permaculture consultant for any large or comprehensive community development where people’s interactions with the natural world and built environment have physical, psychological, social, and economic components.
What does a permaculture design look like?
What does a permaculture design cost?
It should be emphasized that the savings to be realized from good permaculture design advice will return many times the cost of the consultant’s fee.
How do I find a permaculture design consultant?
PINA’s diplomates in Site Design are listed on our website. Each has sound training, extensive experience, a good professional process, and we recommend them. More diplomates are being trained and added to our roster each year. Most working designers have established a web presence and you should be able to conduct a search online for services in your region. We recommend checking for professional credentials. You should not be afraid to ask for a sample portfolio, professional resume, or references.
Permaculture Design Course
How do I go about choosing a Permaculture Design Course?
In a good course, senior or lead teachers work with newer teachers and diverse guests to ensure that multiple voices represent permaculture, the curriculum is fully presented, and the team can properly support all the students. Courses led by a single instructor, unless that person is deeply experienced, are likely to convey the material less effectively. Though many formats are legitimately offered, it is difficult to convey the full 72-hour curriculum in less than 12 days. Courses of shorter duration may rely on evening sessions or the use of recorded materials prior to the actual class, or may put most project design time outside the bounds of the course. In a PDC, students should expect to encounter the fruit of lived experience as well as research and study, and to engage with practitioners of the design system. Film and video can be entertaining and informative, but are not a substitute for teacher – student interaction.
PINA diplomates in Education teach the international standard curriculum, which was published following the 1st Intl. Permaculture Convergence in 1984, based on the original work of Bill Mollison, and has been stewarded by his successors for nearly 40 years. You may view it on our website.
A residential course will provide a greater immersion experience, building bonds with your learning community. Many people enjoy combining a PDC with travel to an inspiring place. There is much to recommend taking the course with instructors who know the region where you expect to live and work.
A weekend-format course will involve primarily local participants, can build ongoing local connections, and is more convenient for those working weekday jobs. It can also delve more deeply into uniquely local issues and potentially provide better access to resources of immediate concern to you.
Courses longer than 12 days will generally offer additional benefits through hands-on experience, multi-season observation, extended immersion in community, and additional time to process information. Bill Mollison’s initial PDCs ran 21 days, but it was soon recognized that 1) this was impractical for too many, and 2) that the need for extensive presentation of the evidence for global problems has diminished as public awareness of the crisis has spread. As a result, the course was affirmed in its present 72-hour framework by delegates to IPC-I.
On-line courses do not offer the same level of instructor interaction, group support, hands-on training or group design experience as a face-to-face PDC. That being said, due to their location, time constraints, or financial issues, some people may only be able to take an on-line PDC. As with other courses, PINA recommends studying with an instructor who has a high level of competency.
Do I need to take my Permaculture Design Course from a PINA certified instructor?
Who is qualified to teach the PDC and how do I find one in my area?
PINA diplomates in Education and PINA-recognized instructors will generally have a minimum of six years experience and will have taught 10 or more PDCs, or they will be working with a senior teacher who has. Based on research by PINA staff and other colleagues in the field, PINA’s diplomates in Education have led about half the PDCs offered in North America since instruction began in 1980. They have demonstrated a high level of competency in the field of permaculture, and we recommend them as instructors. See the list of PINA diplomates in Education . PINA has criteria for quality of teaching that include teaching the approved PDC curriculum, having taught the required number of courses for a diploma in Permaculture Education , and teaching in a range of situations, plus the design practice itself.
The pathway to becoming a teacher of the PDC is a matter of some debate in the movement. There are excellent teachers of the PDC who have not gone through the PINA diploma process. Please investigate the background and experience of your prospective PDC instructors. We look forward to offering a calendar of courses offered by PINA recognized instructors in the future.
Permaculture Design magazine publishes a quarterly calendar of PDC offerings across North America.
I heard that if you take a PDC, you can teach the PDC, is that true?
Teacher training courses are now widely available and are considered important for those planning to teach the PDC. Teaching permaculture is an artisanal activity requiring multiple skill sets, deep intelligence, and a strong heart. It is best learned by modeling superior practitioners and by practice. The sober advice of veteran teachers to new ones is to start by teaching introductory classes and co-teaching with an experienced teacher. After one has taken the teacher training, in most regions, local teachers are open to a request to audit for additional experience with other teachers, teach a module in their course, or co-teach with them.
It is also important to gain experience with permaculture design before putting oneself forward to teach others. If you have recently taken the PDC and want to start sharing what you’ve learned, we recommend that you start by teaching short courses in areas where you have particular expertise and that you practice doing designs.
As a PINA diplomate, can I offer the PINA certificate at a PDC where I'm not present the whole time?
What is the difference between the PINA diploma and other permaculture diplomas?
Some organizations offer a diploma that Bill Mollison designed which requires only one documented project over 2 years of self-study, a much lower standard. There are also diplomas with high standards offered by other organizations such as the Permaculture Association in the U.K. Holders of the diploma issued by the Permaculture Academy of Britain may apply to PINA for recognition of their diploma status if they are working or living in North America.
What is the difference between a Field Advisor and a Mentor?
A mentor is an expert in a specific field relevant to the Action Learning Plan who has knowledge or understanding sought by a diploma candidate. Candidates are encouraged to seek out mentors of their choice.
On average what is the entire fee for going through the diploma process as a newly certified permaculturist?
In addition to the PINA fees listed in the summary, expect that most candidates will have a monthly meeting with their Field Advisor lasting 1/2 to 1 hour. Those who are more self-directed may not need that level of assistance. We hope to be able to answer this question better as we gain experience with our diploma candidates. Fees for mentorship and costs for training would be in addition to PINA and Field Advisor fees. Remember that candidates make their own contractual arrangements with Field Advisors and mentors, so while we can recommend fee levels, we cannot control or foresee them.
How does PINA evaluate the teaching of diploma candidates?
The PDC is unlike teaching grade school, high school, or college. It has its own demands, some of which overlap with other classroom and pedagogical experience. If you have long-term teaching experience but just started teaching Permaculture, PINA expects that your experience will shine through in the diploma process and other aspects of professional development. The Field Advisor evaluates the diploma candidate’s capabilities and determines credit for any past experience which could be applied toward PINA criteria
Can I apply for diplomas in Site Design and Education at the same time?
What is a qualified design for purposes of a regular PINA diploma?
Site designs should demonstrate the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of a permaculture approach. While we say that permaculture design can be applied to anything, the designs we are asking diploma candidates to base their portfolio upon should have the complexity of living and working venues for households and communities surrounded by productive landscapes. These can be small or large, but should involve yields from land, conservation of natural resources and the meeting of real human needs.
We are looking to see that diplomates understand design methods and process, can work with others, and are applying permaculture ethics and principles to transform the culture. The design does not have to get implemented, though it’s nice if at least some of those in any portfolio are built. We do not require every qualified design to have full scale drawings and a lengthy report. There should, however, be clear evidence that the candidate has done such work repeatedly.
What does the requirement of 'taught with/under a senior teacher' mean?
What is a PINA-recognized Advanced Course?
How can I apply for a regular diploma or see the Application Form if I can't log in?
How can I apply for a Fast track diploma if I'm already a PINA member?
If you became a member of PINA without registering on the website, please use the Fast Track form to register as a new member at the professional level.
Our administrator will refund any overlapping membership fees when she processes your application.
Organization of PINA
Why do we need a North American permaculture organization?
Who makes up PINA?
Made up of both individuals and Allied Organizations, PINA supports its members’ individual and collective development as permaculture professionals. PINA’s individual members provide the lifeblood of the organization, while its other organizational members provide services and educational opportunities that span the continent. PINA members serve on various boards, panels, committees, subcommittees and other teams, and may also work as field advisors or mentors for diploma candidates. PINA’s Board of Directors is composed of a small group of long-time permaculture professionals that serve terms of 3 years with a limit of 5 terms. Please contact us if you would like more information about volunteering on the Board.