Permaculture Design: Ecosystem Mimicry

Cornell University

Date Posted: Aug. 22, 2016
Submitted by: Julian Dautremont-Smith
Sustainability Topics: Curriculum, Food & Dining, Grounds
Content Type: Academic Programs
Disciplines: Agriculture, Design
Program Type: Professional or Continuing Education Certificate/Diploma
Completion: 6.5 weeks
Distance: Distance Education
Commitment: Part-Time


This 6.5-week online course provides an opportunity for students to build their knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of design for a site of their choosing.

Writing and reflection are key elements of processing information and the instructor will take an active role by providing feedback on assignments and journal entries. Students also have the opportunity to learn from one another through an open forum in which they can share their ideas with others.

The purpose of this second permaculture course in the series is to further cultivate ecological literacy by looking at the complex symbiotic relationships in both natural and cultivated systems. Students will explore and apply systems thinking to their own gardens, farms, and backyards.

Participants do not receive Cornell University credit. Rather, they receive a certificate of participation from Cornell's Office of Continuing Education.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, graduates will be able to:

  • Define permaculture and describe key elements of permaculture systems.
  • Read the patterns of natural landscapes and apply them to design.
  • Discover living soil and how to regenerate and maintain soil health.
  • Apply water harvesting techniques and mitigate water issues.
  • Appreciate the role of trees and forests in productive conservation systems.
  • Describe the important role of animals and aquatic systems in permaculture.

Links and Materials