More about the PDC…

Our Goals

Please spend some time reflecting on your motives for taking the course and what you hope to receive from it. Our goals as facilitators are the following:

– Maintain an inclusive and positive learning environment

– Cover the core curriculum while incorporating student and facilitator expertise and interest

– Facilitate experiential and action learning as a community

– Create systems for feedback so we can better serve student needs

Our Learning Community

FLPCI believes that each person has inherent skills and gifts to share. As a result, we design our courses to cultivate a community where we learn from each other and the natural landscape. The instructors facilitate progress through the curriculum and endeavor to find a balance between the curriculum and the specific interests of participants. In doing so, we aim to illustrate the promise of a permaculture network as a localized response to a myriad current cultural issues.


Please show up between 10 am and 6pm on Friday, July 25th. We will share dinner and have time to begin getting to know each other in the evening. 

Instruction will begin on Saturday morning.

Class will conclude on Sunday, August 10th before noon.

Breakfast will be served from 7:00 – 8:00 each day.

Lunch will be served from 12:30 – 1:30 each day.

Dinner will be served from 6:30 – 7:30 each day.

August 3rd will be a day off from classes. Students will be responsible for their own meals and are encouraged to visit Ithaca and surrounding attractions.

The Talent Show (Saturday, August 2nd) is a long time tradition of most permaculture courses. There are a few reasons behind this. One is to have the challenge and experience of getting up in front of your peers and perform. Another is to discover the mutual support we can give each other during challenging times. And, of course, it’s a lot of fun! Plan to present something for about 3 – 15 minutes; sing a song, do a dance, play a game, read a poem. Consider a talent that is not only a reflection of who you are but also pushes your comfort zone.

A Gifting Circle will occur during the class graduation on August 10th. Please bring an item that you wish to hand off to a classmate. Consider an object significant to you that others would find meaningful or useful. We’ll exchange gifts and share their stories as a way to carry the memory of the course with us as we part ways.


Students will have a variety of assignments and activities. We will be doing individual and group work, many question and discussion sessions, and will work on mini-assignments outside of class. These assignments are often preparation for the final design practicum. The amount of energy you invest will determine the benefits you get from attending the course.

Please dedicate a journal to the course. You will use it for any notes, assignments, and personal reflections. A binder or folder for handouts and your own set of pens/pencils are also helpful.


At this time we don’t require the purchase of a specific book, but we do recommend Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison or Rosemary Morrow’s Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture to get you started. You can order either through the Permaculture Activist.


In order to save paper, we do not provide a massive amount of handouts. We encourage you to take good notes. We will provide a resource CD at the end of the class including several sets of notes, articles, and audio for your use.

Pre-course activities

Readings and exercises will be sent to you a few weeks before to get you started. Please complete prior to your arrival at the course. These will include a general questionnaire to get a sense of what elements of permaculture you are more and less familiar with, a learning styles inventory questionnaire to encourage self-reflection of your best approaches to learning, and some introductory articles on permaculture.


Meals will be provided at the course with your tuition. At three meals a day for sixteen days, we charge less than $5 per meal. We aim to serve food that is mainly seasonal, local, and organic. Let us know ASAP if you have any dietary restrictions or needs.

It is important to allow others to nourish you so that you can focus your attention on lessons, projects, and your need to rest and decompress. Let the kitchen staff know how they can better support your learning experience. Please bring supplementary items that you may want to keep you going; chocolate, special snacks, trail mix, chips, favorite drinks, etc. are some of the things we won’t provide on a regular basis. The kitchen area is not available for student meal preparation in order to keep it clean, organized and to allow our staff to work without interruption. Ice for coolers is available a few miles away. 

We will provide coffee, tea, and light snacks for you throughout the day.


Class will be at Cayuta Sun Farm in Cayutaville, NY. This is also the home of FLPCI instructor Michael Burns and his wife, Kelly Dietz. We ask that all be aware of respecting the privacy of our hosts. Learn more at the Cayuta Sun website.


You will be outside during the two weeks of the course; please plan for changing weather; warm and cold, wet and dry. If you are not used to camping consider an air mattress or foam pad to increase your comfort. 

The campground in the white pine forest provides a shady spot for setting up a tent or hammock. Spaces are 20’ by 20’ or less. Access to the campground with camping gear is achieved with a cart or wheelbarrow.

We encourage all participants to stay onsite during the course as part of community building. However, camping can be too rustic for some and so we can share information on area hotels, B&B’s or homestays if you are interested. Please contact us about your options.

The Outdoor Shower serves one guest at a time and can provide very short showers in the morning, evening, or at any other time the house and course kitchen is not also running the water. The entire site is off the electrical grid and dependent on the sun, wind and storage of our small battery system. Also, our electric pump and small on-demand hot water heater can only handle one hot water faucet running on the entire system. Depending on demand, you may not be able to shower each day during the course. There are several swimming holes within a short driving distance.

Michael and Simone set up the yurt.We have two composting toilets that require a person to walk up a short set of stairs.

Hand washing stations are set up for the course and there is a sink attached to a rain barrel catchment.

Potable water will be available at the kitchen and yurt sites.

The summer kitchen is located on the back of the house. It is generally off-limits to participants except during mealtimes and clean-up shifts. Please respect and thank the cooks.

The yurt is a mixed-use structure located between the shower and composting toilet. Times will be reserved for teacher meetings but in general it is a bug-free zone to relax during off hours and will house the library for the course. Feel free to bring materials to share. There will be an outlet here to charge laptops and cell phones.

The Octagon is located next to the campground and serves as our main classroom. Please do not leave personal items in this space.

The dining area is a small sheltered area in the White Pine forest for meals and other downtime activities. Picnic tables are also available throughout the site in various locations.


We are a very rural site and cell phone access is limited. Verizon has a decent signal and AT&T is weak. Both company’s 3G networks have weak connections. No others seem to connect. Reliable internet, and other amenities are available in Odessa (5 miles), Trumansburg (12 miles), and Ithaca (17 miles).


– NO Glass containers

– NO Campfires (except in designated areas at designated times)

– NO Dogs or other pets

– NO underage drinking or use of illicit substances

Bring with you…

– notebook/binder, pens, pencils, ruler, markers, colored pencils, etc.

– travel mug

– boots, shoes, sandals

– swim gear

– insect repellant

– layers(it can get chilly at night!), outdoor weather gear, rain gear

– camping and sleeping gear

– flashlight

– course materials and handouts

– seating: please bring a camp chair or other comfortable & transportable seating option, we have some but can use more – bring two if you can!

Please contact us with questions.

We urge you to bring up concerns early so they can be adequately addressed. Remember that this is your program and the more active you are in providing information and feedback, the better we can respond and help create a powerful learning experience with you.

Apprentices tend a new forest garden plot.

<— Main PDC information page

Watch a video interview with our 2012 PDC Graduates

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