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PDC Course

The Permaculture Design CERTIFICATE (PDC) 


The PDC is a life-changing experience! It starts you on a journey to become part of a global movement for change.

The PDC is an internationally renowned certificate course which gives you the foundation for using permaculture in many areas of life. The course here at La Loma Viva is an interactive learning experience - including both theory and practical sessions - presented over two weeks, by dynamic and experienced teachers. We provide a really high quality education and always invite facilitators who have a great depth of practical and theoretical knowledge, along with the La Loma team who have worked full time researching and implementing permaculture for the past nine years.

Permaculture design is applicable in many areas of human life, allowing us to shift from consumption to production and live more regeneratively. This is especially important at a time when the continuation of our species might depend on us making that change. So whether you want to: make your business more sustainablegrow healthy food for your family, learn more about natural systems, become more resilient in the face of global change, get skills for NGO work, aid in crisis situations, build a green economy in your community, start your own educational or farm project or live in a more inter-connected way with nature - Permaculture will empower you with a vast tool kit of knowledge to apply in any situation and is an asset to any career. It is open to people from all backgrounds, ages and professions, no prior experience is necessary.

The PDC course follows the classic format developed by the founders, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, covering a wide range of topics - where you will learn all about the natural world and start to use “whole-systems thinking” and ecological principles as your guide to creating regenerative eco-systems wherever you are. 

During the course will learn to start applying the permaculture principles to real life plans and projects. You will gain the tools to interview clients, to gather information and data from the landscape, map out your site and design an ecologically based plan. The designs will be presented to the group and once completed, participants will be awarded a globally recognized certificate. The PDC is the first step of permaculture education and is a necessary requirement for any future courses, work or teaching in the field. 

On our particular course we provide over 100 hours of classes. You will also get the opportunity for practical training in some of the techniques used in permaculture.  La Loma Viva is a working farm, research site and a living model, where you can see permaculture in action, with a diverse range of applications. You will also live life on a permaculture farm - engage with like-minded people in a fun environment - enjoy healthy, organic, home-grown food and experience the transformational power of nature! You will also enjoy the Spanish sunshine and spectacular views of the Mediterranean and Sierra Nevada, with local hiking routes.

We include a strong `people care´ component on our courses, which is centred around caring for our minds and bodies, cultivating our inner landscapes, connecting to the world and awakening our senses to nature.


  • Permaculture principles and ethics - whole systems thinking
  • Reading the landscape and observing patterns in nature
  • Climate, ecology and working with the forces of nature
  • Water cycles, rain-water harvesting,  aquaculture
  • Soil science and building healthy soils
  • Organic food production
  • Natural building
  • Waste management
  • Food forests and agroforestry including Syntropic Farming
  • Animal husbandry and Holistic Management
  • Earthworks, swales, rehydrating the land
  • Renewable energy
  • Mapping and design skills
  • People Care (including mindfulness, confidence building)
  • Nature Awareness
  • Community resilience, social permaculture, cultural emergence and personal transformation, leadership training. 

The practical sessions

Will be based on what you most want to learn and may include: planting vegetable gardens, making compost, intuitive botany (identifying plants), seed saving, plant propagation, building swales and earthworks, soil tests, making your own A-frames & water levels, mapping the land, food preservation, fermentation, connecting to nature and much more.....

The PDC is an inspiring, empowering and transformational experience for students, as well as being lots of FUN!






We are excited to welcome back the hugely inspiring ALEX KRUGER from South Africa, where she is a prominent figure in the education and practice of permaculture and has been transforming landscapes and people for the past 25 years. 

Alex has worked in some harsh environments, including a 450 hectare project where she is currently based, in the semi-desert Karoo area of the Cape Province (see http://www.berg-en-dal.co.za). She also works in townships and impoverished areas and is dedicated to bringing permaculture to people of all walks of life. Her enthusiasm and positivity are contagious!

KAREN DE VRIES and RYAN BOTHA, the founders and managers of La Loma Viva will also be bringing their knowledge and experience to the teaching team. They have been building the project here since 2009, implementing permaculture design, regenerating the local eco-system, growing food and running educational programmes. Karen has been working with Jon Young and Looby McNamara to bring more social permaculture and nature connection into her work. Ryan has been doing practical training and studying with Ernst Gotsch and his team using Syntropic Farming. Karen and Ryan also put a big emphasis on the personal transformation of their students and on going support and mentoring.

See more about all the facilitators here :


Accommodation for the PDC will be shared comfortable rooms in our beautiful retreat centre, which has been designed using energy saving practices, ecological principles and many natural materials. Most rooms are shared doubles and all have private access to the outside and gardens, as well as beautiful views across the Mediterranean. There are 4 shared indoor bathrooms and outdoor compost toilets. Guests at La Loma can enjoy walks in the mountains, a swimming pool, yoga areas and could arrange trips to the beach or local village on the day off. We normally arrange a celebration at the end of the course which may include local musicians. Click below for more info on the accommodation and retreat centre:


During the PDC your senses will be delighted with an array of delicious, fully catered organic vegetarian meals served to you with love from our 5 star chefs. We are committed to using only fresh, seasonal ingredients grown right here on our farm or locally sourced from ethical producers. Food is a huge part of the experience here and even if you are not used to eating a mainly plant based diet, you will be amazed and inspired by the diverse flavours and health benefits of eating highly nutritious organic food. There is a large communal eating area and outdoor tables with views across the Mediterranean. Our food choices and supporting small local producers, are an important factor in changing the current food system to a more sustainable and healthy alternative that supports human and planetary health.


The price of the course includes 2 weeks of classes (8-10 hours a day) and practical sessions, an internationally recognised Permaculture Design certificate upon completion, 3 organic fully catered meals and snacks over 16 days and a large data pack full of permaculture resources, films and reading material. La Loma Viva also offers continued support and mentoring to all its students. The price also includes Spanish IVA/VAT tax (21%)

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS: The accommodation price includes 15 nights in a comfortable shared double room in our beautiful retreat centre. All bedding and organic soaps are provided. If you would like to take the camping option then you will need to bring your own tent and bedding. If you are coming by car and prefer to rent your own accommodation in the village of Gualchos that is also an option (local prices start at around 40€ per night. Please chat to us about this option).

  • TOTAL PRICECourse + Food + Accommodation = 1200€ (16 days)
  • Full certified PDC course and all meals  = 975€ 
  • Accommodation at La Loma Viva Retreat Centre (15€ a night) = 225€
  • Or Camping Option (5€ a night) TOTAL PRICE = 1050€ (Course + Food + Camping)


A deposit of 250€ will reserve you a place on the course. The remaining balance will need to be paid in full by 31st August 2018. You can pay the deposit or full fee via bank transfer (at no extra cost) or via our secure online payment option below or PayPal (subject to a 25€ internet booking fee). Places are limited, we keep our groups to under 20 people so that you can benefit from maximum personal attention.

La Loma Viva guarantees all its students the highest quality education and a world class Permaculture Design Certificate that will provide you with the skills, tools and inspiration to transform your world. We are a non profit Foundation and all our income goes towards funding the research, education and practice of Permaculture and Regenerative Living, as well as creating local employment and supporting ecosystem rehabilitation. 


We will be holding a practical permaculture course called "From Seed to Table" directly after the PDC. So you can put your knowledge into hands on experience immediately and learn many valuable practical skills. There are special offers if you sign up for both courses.

 Please click here to see the course page for more details