Diploma of Media & Communications

“I doubt that I shall ever see, a poem lovely as a tree.”

The PINA Diploma in Media and Communications is granted to honor substantial, lasting achievement and excellence in permaculture education through media and public dissemination. Media and forms of communication may include books, videos, magazines, blogs, films, television, radio, photography, music and other arts, podcasts and other Internet media, games, puzzles, card sets, posters, slide sets, or software that contribute to fostering the permaculture movement and the evolution of society toward the practice of permaculture ethics. The applicant must demonstrate major roles in authorship, journalism, production, or dissemination over at least 3 years following completion of the PDC.

As with all specializations under the PINA Diploma program, candidates must demonstrate proficiency with methods of design. Also required is an understanding of the holistic nature of permaculture education. It is the purpose of Media and Communications to inform, educate, and inspire.

Once your application is accepted, your Field Advisor will meet with you to discuss your current qualifications and together you will develop an Action Learning Plan in order to meet all of the Diploma requirements. Upon completion of the Action Learning Plan, you will submit a Portfolio to PINA for review and earn your Diploma!

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Your portfolio must include the following documents:

Additional documentation as applicable:

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

The length, gravity, quality, frequency, and effective outreach of media will be considered in evaluating the portfolio.

Action Learning Plan

As a condition of receiving the diploma, you must complete 500 hours of paid or volunteer production work in a field of media or communications, or have published 50,000 words, 100 photographs with captions and commentary, 50 graphic illustrations accompanied by text or 2 hours of recorded vocal music. A completed Action Learning Plan also includes 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.

Mastery of Media and Communications entails choosing appropriate subject material, understanding it, and connecting it with an audience or readership in an engaging manner. Works will be evaluated on how well their subject serves the development of permaculture ethics and practice, the fidelity, accuracy, and utility with which they represent the subject, and the effectiveness of their public presentation as measured by breadth of distribution (circulation, copies sold, page views, downloads) and accessibility (style, appeal, marketing, creativity, ease of use).

Because of the wide range of media in use today, it is necessary to attempt to establish equivalence by way of effort required in production. Any programmatic roster of criteria might fail to fairly serve all possible expressions of permaculture design, so the following list may be modified on the recommendation of the Field Advisor.

Production Criteria
  • For publication and distribution work, the candidate will have played a significant role in publishing and distributing 100,000 copies of materials portraying permaculture or related regenerative practices impacting land and society.
  • For books, the candidate will have authored and had published one work of at least 100,000 words and shorter works (essays, chapbooks, treatises, pamphlets, broadsides, research papers, magazine articles, chapters in compendia) totaling at least 50,000 words. The main work and at least a plurality of the shorter works should be accompanied by illustrations.
  • For serials, production of at least 12 issues totaling not less than 500 pages in which the candidate played a major role in publishing, editing, layout, or writing. Serials must include both text and graphic elements.
  • For film, television, or video, publication of four or more works or episodes totaling at least 12 hours in final edited form, in which the candidate played a major role in production, scriptwriting, editing, filming, or acting/narration. For radio, the requirement shall be for 80 broadcast hours. 
  • For CD or other music format, at least 16 released hours of recorded music which the candidate has written and either performed or produced.
  • For blogs, podcasts, or similar, authorship, editing, and publication of at least 100 items over at least three years. Blog entries should be a minimum of 800 words, podcasts a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • For photography or graphic illustration, an album of at least 400 annotated items, of which at least 60 have been published and for most of which caption, title, date, and location are provided. The published photos or illustrations may have appeared in books, magazines, brochures, reports, event programs, advertisements, or on websites. If only published on the web, they should have appeared on at least 10 sites not controlled by the candidate.
  • For miscellaneous media such as games, puzzles, posters, software, or card sets, at least ten products in which the candidate was a principal creator released over at least three years, each with a retail value of $10 or more. (might need increase)
  • For unspecified, miscellaneous, or unconventional media or communications modules, the candidate should get feedback from the Field Advisor who may wish to consult PINA reviewers. Complexity of projects will be considered in establishing equivalence.
  • Accomplishments in various media may be combined to satisfy the requirements of the diploma.
Advanced Coursework

Additional training beyond the PDC is required and may take any of several forms. You must either:

  • Participate in a second PDC following your first course as either a student or a member of the teaching team, and this should be led by a substantially different set of instructors, or
  • Complete two site designs for distinct scales, ecosystems, or kinds of client, or 
  • Complete one advanced course of 40 hours or more in Site Design or Education or other specialization as approved by the Field Advisor.
  • Portfolio must include evidence of training or practice in the technical arts of communication.
Permaculture Design Work

Design work done under this diploma will be demonstrated in the structure of means of communication about permaculture ethics, principles, design systems, implementation, projects, communities, and the arts, sciences, and humanities underlying their success. How these subjects are presented, ordered, emphasized, and integrated bears directly on the level of mastery shown by the candidate. It is expected that the successful candidate will show, for whatever audience she or he addresses, a level of proficiency in communication well above the average for society: sincerity, technical skill, artistry, erudition, grace, and humor will be evident.

Comprehension of design process and methods should be displayed in the range and organization of subject matter investigated and communicated by items within the portfolio. Advocacy of permaculture ethics and understanding is expected.

An effort should be made to communicate the holistic nature of permaculture analysis and solutions in all works, including its emphasis on locational values and scale, the flow of energy through ecosystems, the cycling of materials within nature and society, and the exchange of information that regulates all living communities. 

Candidates are expected to submit example work in at least three mediums. The range of subjects portrayed should approximate the universality of material represented in the PDC. Portfolio must include evidence of the ability to complete media work in an organized, timely, articulate manner.

For your Portfolio, copies of the published works must be provided. If materials are represented on-line, these can be supplied in the form of URLs. If CDs, DVDs, or other mass-produced physical media are to be submitted, provide three copies of each. If unconventional, 3-dimensional materials are involved, one or more example pieces along with an album of photographs of the rest may be provided in the interest of streamlining logistics.

The following broad criteria will be used to evaluate the work submitted for the diploma:


Design Criteria
  • Works must be original, published or distributed in North America, and display a measure of involvement in the subject by the author, artist, editor, or reporter.
  • If involving language, works should be written, translated, spoken, or recorded in English, Spanish, or French, follow literary, professional, and scientific conventions of citation and reference, as appropriate, and remain available to the public for at least five years.
  • In works of technical focus, the subject must be essential to the regeneration of land, culture, or society over large areas or populations.
  • Journalistic efforts should display a broad range of subjects relevant to improving permaculture practice widely.
  • Social and political commentary should be placed in the context of permaculture ethics.