Diploma of Regenerative Land Management Requirements
The Regenerative Land Management diploma recognizes the integration of permaculture design understanding with the ability to apply both theoretical and experiential knowledge of carbon, water, and biodiversity in productive landscapes. Candidates will acquire a wide range of practical skills appropriate to ecosystem regeneration and work on land and with broadscale systems. Diplomates in this specialization will be qualified to operate farm, ranch, retreat, parkland, or forest properties at a range of scales while restoring and enhancing their natural resources.
Pre-Requisite or first step – A permaculture design certificate (PDC)
As with other PINA diplomas, a portfolio demonstrating competencies is required, and will be assembled by the candidate over the course of at least two years following completion of the PDC. Candidates will work with a Field Advisor to ensure that their Action Learning Program aligns with the requirements of the diploma.
Earth Activist Training of California has developed a comprehensive program in cooperation with PINA, which meets most of these requirements. Though not all registrants in the EAT program will enter the PINA diploma track, which carries specific additional fees and requirements for documentation, reporting, and review, EAT is prepared to assist its RLM students to apply for and complete the PINA diploma in conjunction with the EAT certificate. PINA is also prepared to accept independent candidates in this specialty who may elect to follow a similar program offered elsewhere or created under a PINA-assigned Field Advisor.
The curriculum set out below is more structured than for some other PINA diploma specialties, though it leaves a number of choices to the candidate wishing to emphasize context-specific skills. Action Learning Plans of sufficient breadth and based on this curriculum may be submitted by candidates if approved by the Field Advisor.
Documentation of theory sections will include detailed description of the subject matter as presented in classroom sessions or workshops, the length of each such session, the instructor’s name, and the venue and date of training. Documentation of practice will describe the skill-based learning, the time period devoted to it (e.g. one hour, two months daily, a weekend) as well as the setting, purpose of the work, practical outcomes, instructor(s), and any relevant experiences or insights unique to the candidate.
Because the PINA professional diploma recognizes commitment along with competency, the engagement of the candidate with actual properties and communities is an explicit requirement, not just for learning, but to regenerate land.
Internships or Paid Work Experience required:
This is where you will sharpen your hands-on skills and acquire a wide range of experience.
- Rotations: A minimum of three internships or paid placements in varied situations, each lasting three months or covering 200 hours of work, shall be in evidence.
- A longer-term apprenticeship: In year two, your Advisor will help you identify and take up a longer apprenticeship in an area that fits your long-term goals.
- At least a one-month internship in a different country, language, or culture than your own, preferentially in North America, to help broaden your perspective, learn from the inspiring work being done across the world, and build ongoing networks of friendship and collaboration.
The portfolio should document the time spent in each major work setting (e.g. 3 months half-time work at Jones Hill Farm), include a brief letter of reference from each internship or work supervisor.
The candidate need not undertake new work or internship placements if documented prior experience meets all the above requirements, including that for work in a foreign country, culture, or language. While self-directed study and learning are essential to this program, a substantial portion of the curriculum material must be gained in didactic settings with instructors or mentors. All required theory and practice must be accounted for in the portfolio, and in no circumstances can the requirement for two year’s work following entry to the diploma program be waived. The candidate entering the program with an ample range of skills should focus on increasing exposure to the optional theories and practices.
The portfolio should describe any public exposure the work of the candidate may have received, e.g. guided tours of the venue by visitors, public programs in which the candidate played a presenting or supporting role, or copies of any reports filed, talks given, or articles published about the work. If the candidate represented the farm with customers, spoke for the retreat center with public officials, filed forest management plans, or wrote letters to local media about the venue, evidence of these should be included in the portfolio. Two such examples of public outreach or interaction are required to be included in the portfolio.
Design for Change
The portfolio must include three land management plans developed for different sites, and closely modeled after permaculture site designs. (See Section 13.) These should specifically describe aspects of the system which are most in need of changing, along with any work done by the candidate toward furthering implementation of plan elements during his or her period of service.
Sections of the Curriculum:
- Basic Eco-literacy and Systems Thinking
- Understanding basic ecology, principles and concepts, disturbance and succession,
- indigenous land management—history and strategies,
- overview of agronomic systems: annuals, perennials, livestock, trees, methods, interactions.
- Introduction to research techniques and protocols,
- measuring carbon in all biotic systems, setting up trials and documentation,
- mapping—direct measurement, and using Google Earth and other online resources.
- Soil and Carbon Sequestration
- Soil structure, chemistry, and biology,
- basic microbiology and mycology as they relate to soil,
- bioremediation: applying healthy soil models to damaged soils,
- building soil fertility—compost, compost teas, cover crops, no-till, perennial management, integration of animals, etc.
- take soil samples from two properties (including biology) and set up protocols for future testing,
- read and understand soil test results,
- make and apply compost and compost teas,
- use of the microscope to observe soil life,
- sheet mulch,
- use myco- or phyto-remediation strategies to heal soil,
- biochar—build a simple kiln or pit; make charcoal; inoculate with microbes,
- cover crops: sow and terminate during cool and warm seasons
- animal fertility: build an animal tractor and integrate it into the system
- Chop-and-drop management of perennials
- Integrate methods of generating soil fertility and sequestering carbon;
- mushroom cultivation,
- observe use of no-till drill or roller-crimper.
- Water Harvesting and Water Cycles
- Water’s role in climate change and mitigation,
- water harvesting strategies, Keyline and swale systems,
- erosion control strategies and methods,
- waterway restoration (floodplains, banks, channels, meanders, vegetation).
- Design a water harvesting system for a site,
- build water-harvesting structures on the landscape, by hand,
- observe water harvesting structures being made with heavy equipment,
- recommend appropriate erosion control strategies for two properties,
- take water samples from two properties and set up protocols for future testing;
Options (do at least one):
- direct operators or operate earthmoving equipment,
- observe use of the Keyline plow,
- build roof catchment system(s).
- Forest Conservation and Management
- Basic forest ecology, succession, forestry in relation to water and soils,
- wildlife habitat, animal impacts, grazing,
- best management practices for forest regeneration,
- fire resilience, indigenous burning,
- community forests,
- working with public agencies;
Options (choose one)
- sustainable harvesting methods, landings, roads, paths, etc.,
- social forestry, including value-added, use of small materials, etc.
- Reading forest management plans,
- forest assessment, measurement,
- path building,
- chainsaw training, tree felling,
- limbing and pruning,
- fuel load management and brush handling;
Optional Practices (choose two)
- sustainable harvesting, woodlot management, coppice,
- value-added products—mushrooms, charcoal, saps and syrups, etc.,
- fencing or building with poles and small materials,
- using animals for clearing and invasive species control,
- controlled burn.
- Range Management and Rotational Grazing
- Grasslands ecology: herd behavior, predator impacts, fire, soil communities, hydrology,
- holistic management and decision-making,
- grazing for climate mitigation,
- pasture design, layout, and fencing for different animals.
- Animal care and management, animal health and well-being,
- fence-building and electric fencing;
Optional practices (choose one or more):
- planning and managing pasture rotations,
- shepherding and herding practice,
- Agroforestry and Perennial Systems
- Structure and dynamics of food forests and forest gardens—layering, niches, temperate and tropical patterns, plant/animal interactions,
- Planning and designing food forests: polycultures, perennial plants, establishment, harvest, succession.
- Agroforestry systems; silvopasture and alleycropping, layout and succession design, predator control, integrated pest management, animal integration, harvest (hand and mechanical)
- Designing windbreaks and buffers
- Propagating—division, cuttings, layering, stooling, seed saving,
- tree planting,
- horticulture: selection, weed management, probiotic sprays;
Optional practices (choose one or more):
- growing and marketing herbs and medicinal plants,
- nursery methods.
- Farm and Ranch-Scale Energy Systems:
- Evaluating on-site energy resources and potentials vis-a-vis grid power,
- understanding the basics of solar (thermal and PV), wind, micro-hydro, methane digesters, producer gas, biochar, and other off-grid technologies,
- battery systems and maintenance issues.
- Hands-on experience operating at least one of these systems over winter and summer;
- build or install any of these systems (optional).
- Waste management
- Management strategies for common waste streams – reduction, repurposing, recycling, safe disposal
- Safe management and use of animal and human manure, carcasses, biosolids, etc.,
- Systematic use and handling of community-scale solid waste – reclamation, salvage, compost, cascades, carbonization, etc.
- life cycle analysis of buildings: redemption and reduction of construction waste, deconstruction products, and other singular materials.
- Work with at least two of the above: manures and carcasses, community waste systems, or construction waste.
- Project Management (core)
- Ethics and socially responsible business practices.
- Planning, sequencing, and staging,
- farm and ranch record keeping: weather, phenology, planting, harvest, animal breeding and life cycles,
- contracts and change management,
- working with specialists and subcontractors (foresters, engineers, archeologists, pollinator or wetland specialists, equipment operators, etc.),
- managing workers and volunteers,
- logistics of tools, equipment, and materials.
As management lies at the heart of what distinguishes this specialization, practice shall include:
- Hands-on experience with all of these systems; the portfolio shall also include a description of ethical and socially responsible business practices at three sites, or alternately the failure to implement these and how that might be rectified.
- Business and Financial Planning (core)
- Business and product planning,
- money and sales management:
- designing for short-, intermediate-, and long-term cash flows
- assaying and monetizing farm yields
- basic accounting and bookkeeping,
- marketing and advertising,
- invisible structures:
- government programs, grants and subsidies,
- insurance and liability management
- legal structures for holding land.
- Hands-on experience within all three principal areas
- Social Permaculture (core)
- Self-care, personal discipline, and personal resilience practices,
- transforming oppression: understanding the systemic oppressions of racism, sexism, class, gender, age, disability, etc., and designing systems and best practices to address them;
- Communication and conflict resolution skills and practice;
- structures and decision-making for healthy groups, facilitation skills and practice,
- trauma and healing: recognizing trauma and its effects, and supporting the healing process.
- Familiarity with all of the above, additional training and experience in one or more aspects of facilitation, conflict resolution, or trauma support.
- Community Organizing and Disaster Response
- Methods of community organizing
- taking the community pulse, evaluating needs,
- responding to diverse communities; determining priorities for action,
- methods for disseminating innovation and support;
- Disaster planning, design, preparation, and remediation
- disaster planning and design for fire, flood, storm, drought, earthquake, etc.,
- civil defense preparation: shelters, resources, communication networks, warnings, and practice,
- post-disaster remediation, community planning, and restoration.
- Hands-on experience with at least two of these systems; one from the first group of three, and one from the second group of three.
- Practical Homesteading Skills
- Cooking and canning,
- care, use, and maintenance of tools and machinery,
- basic carpentry
Optional practices (learn at least two):
- Plumbing, electrical, and other building and maintenance skills,
- basic auto mechanics, engine maintenance, and repair,
- fencing and use of electric fences,
- Health and spiritual wellness
- Health needs and care at different life stages (childbearing, babies, youth, elders, etc.), covering sleep, nutrition, work/play, etc.
- Prevention of common hazards, risk reduction, work safety.
- Basic first aid,
- basic herbal remedies, wildcrafting, plant recognition.
- Design and Planning (core)
- Create regenerative land management plans/permaculture designs for three sites:
- Evaluate environment, resources, history, human needs;
- formulate aims, vision, and concept;
- pattern resource, work, and living flows;
- plan priority, sequence, and staging of changes;
- list and source material and information inputs;
- budget expenditures;
- design systems for monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment.
Your designs should demonstrate competency in the whole system of regenerative land management.