Diploma of Site Development & Implementation Requirements

The Diploma of Permaculture Site Development and Implementation is granted to honor achievement and excellence in permaculture site development or implementation.

After acceptance into the diploma program, you must meet all of the following requirements with the guidance and support of a field advisor and mentors.

  • Action Learning Plan
  • Permaculture Site Development and Implementation Work
  • Advanced Coursework
  • Portfolio

Action Learning Plan

Developed with the guidance of the field advisor, the plan may entail mentoring, internships, paid work, self-directed projects, and direct instruction.

Completion of two comprehensive permaculture client-based designs and/or community project designs is required. At least one design must be a solo effort. We encourage the other to be a team-based design. Demonstration of skills is required that connect design to the real world, including problem solving ability, budgeting, generating estimates and scheduling.

Permaculture Site Development and Implementation Work

This specialization covers the establishment of working systems at one or more sites, each development pursuant to a documented permaculture design. This design may be the work of the candidate or of another permaculture designer.

Establishment means, among a range of activities: earthshaping, water management, the creation of structures, including access ways, buildings, and energy systems, the planting and cultivation of vegetation, the introduction, removal, or management of animals and wildlife, and the implementation of systems for harvest, processing, and distribution of yields, including public education. Though it is hoped that all these will be addressed in each implementation, it is essential that they be represented in the portfolio.

The minimum duration of involvement is five years on a single site, or implementation of systems on 10 sites over the course of at least two years. These time periods must be post-PDC.

Advanced Coursework

Participation in a PINA-recognized Advanced Permaculture Design Course or other advanced permaculture course is highly recommended, and may be required by the field advisor.


Documentation of each site development or implementation shall include a schematic of the basic design as well as baseline assessments of soil, water, biomass, and species from beginning of intervention to date. The portfolio presentation shall further describe inputs necessary for establishing the project, along with its human co-creators, and must reveal how the design and implementation together address permaculture ethics.

The candidate focusing on a single site will show evidence that the development has yielded substantial product for sale, trade, or free dissemination to the local community: examples would include produce, seed, nursery, livestock, breeding stock, botanicals, published research, craft from on-site resources, or equivalent surplus. In a public, communal, or natural setting, solid evidence of land repair, use for social benefit, or creation and use of a common pool resource from the land may substitute for product in establishing a beneficial yield to the community.

The candidate presenting 10 projects will offer a range of site scales to include at least one site of more than five acres, at least three occupied residential sites, and at least one site in urban conditions and one in rural terrain. She or he will also present an analysis of lessons learned from comparing multiple sites.

Respecting the standard’s intention to call forth experience with diverse conditions, the Field Advisor or Diploma Review body may adjust the balance of required examples where justified.

In addition, your portfolio should include:

  • Documentation of how you implement permaculture in your personal life, including the design and status of your home site and livelihood. This item illustrates permaculture ethics in action.
  • Written references from two PINA-recognized diplomates with whom you have worked.
  • Written references from two of your employers or clients.
  • Two instances of the following: public speaking, media presentations or publications about the body of work, field days at the site(s), or workshops led by the candidate and centered on practices or systems he or she has developed.

Supporting documentation as applicable:

  • Bibliography of publications.
  • Roster of public outreach activities.
  • Professional awards.
  • Additional supporting evidence, such as field reports or photos.

View the Diploma Program Overview


Handout: Diploma Program Details (pdf). Note that this document describes the overall program in more detail but does not address the Site Development and Implementation standard specifically.  All the requirements are listed here and/or on the actual application.