Permaculture Design Course in the Tetons


Higher Elevation is hosting the first ever Permaculture Design Course in Teton County, Idaho!

July 26 – August 11, 2015

A team of very talented permaculture designers and practitioners, including the founder of Higher Elevation, Christian Shearer will be facilitating this great course.  Come join us in bringing the inspiration and information of Permaculture to the Tetons.

We expect this course to fill, so register soon to reserve your spot:

Register Here



Higher Elevation Permaculture is in an incredible position to offer a super engaging environment for a Permaculture Design Course.  Just in their second year of development, the site is in the early stages of implementing an integrated permaculture model site, including an impressive array of climate appropriate design elements to work with the high elevation of Teton County.  The participants in this design course will have a great opportunity to learn about, work on and gain understanding of many of these elements, including:

  • an earthship; a passive solar home constructed from rammed earth tires, reclaimed lumber and ingenious design to reduce the need for conventional energy sources, create a superior living environment, recycle waste, grow food, and re-use materials that would otherwise be headed for the land fill.  
  • A highly productive and beautiful zone 1 garden, producing food for the course, for the residents on the land, and for a mobile organic pizza business that fits into the enterprise ecology of the site.  
  • A new zone 1 which is in need of design and implementation to make it the wonderful, productive space it can be. 
  • A young food forest planted out with apples, pears, plums, currants, service berries, chokecherries, elderberry and much more.
  • Animal systems including a 2.5 acre rotational sheep grazing pasture, pastured pigs, and chickens.  (The food provided during the course will contain the option of pork and eggs from our animals as well).  
  • Composting humanure toilet systems
  • Compost powered hot water shower (as one of the options)
  • Reclamation of conventional potato fields back the rich soil of an organic system. 
  • an education center / volunteer area rich with an outdoor kitchen, social tipi, fire pit and gardens managed by the volunteers.
  • land based enterprise in the form of an organic pizza business on wheels, serving incredible pizza every Friday through the summer at the Driggs Farmers Market, as well as catering to private events. (learn more:

Having such a dynamic place to conduct the course will be very advantageous to the participants in being able to see first hand one way in which the ethics and principles of permaculture can be applied to a small homestead type project.  

Permaculture is a proven design system which draws from indigenous and traditional agricultural methods, the understandings of science and from a deep consideration of natural systems.  Permaculture brings together organic gardening and smart landscape design with the newest technology, water harvesting methods, compost and soil management, natural building methods, alternative energies and alternative solutions for trade and markets. The unique feature of Permaculture is that these elements are integrated into a system where they support each other, requiring less inputs and producing more outputs. This art of imitating nature and the combination of elements is called Permaculture Design.  At Higher Elevation, we have come to truly believe that the way of thinking embodied by permaculture can truly help move each of us toward a healthier, more fulfilled life; more connected with the natural world around us and more in tune with our own needs. 

You can apply this design principles to small scale or urban gardens as well as on large scale farms in any kind of climate or landscape. By the end of this course you will have gained the skills necessary to design your own land, get deep insight into what to include, get an overview of many alternative ways of living, and how to live a more self-reliant life, all of which contribute to solving urgent problems facing our world . This course can definitely change your life!


We invite you to join us for this certified 72-hour Permaculture Design Course (PDC). This PDC promises to be a very unique experience. We teach, based on our real life experience with Permaculture from around the world. The 72 hours of course work, required to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate, will be covered over the two week period. It promises to be a PDC full of energy and excitement, balanced with groundedness, awareness and centeredness, where sessions will be taught to accommodate different learning styles combining lectures, group discussions, visual demonstrations, hands-on participatory learning, and design activities.

All participants are required to be present for the full two weeks if they wish to receive the certificate.  (*Day 16 and 17 of the course are highly encouraged but not necessary to receive the certificate.  We plan on taking a hike up to the wind caves in Darby Canyon as a group, and finishing the course with a discussion of next steps and ongoing learning opportunities. The course will be complete at mid-day on the 18th of August.)

The course will consist of a broad range of topics applicable to life anywhere on this planet, yet will be tailored to the needs of the students present as well as the location at hand.  As part of the course, participants will help to co-create designs for real world projects that could include elements such as food forests, permaculture-style gardens, natural building, water catchment and irrigation systems.  All will have an opportunity to take part in the existing permaculture activities on the hosting land.

In this course, we will cover every major topic in Bill Mollisons: Permaculture: a Designers Manual.  What that includes is the following:

1. Philosophies and Ethics underlying permaculture

2. Basic permaculture principles

3. Patterns in Nature and how to use that in permaculture design

4. Methods of design.  How to apply permaculture design tools and strategies to your design problems. How to increase your chance on a successful design by following a well defined design methodology.

5. Climactic factors and strategies.  We will cover all the major climates and how to work with them.

6. Trees, forests and Forest gardening. How to mimic natural forest systems to create an abundance of food, fiber and fodder.

7. Water: catchment, usage, importance, and conservation.

8. Soil structure, minerals, microorganisms, building new soil and preventing erosion. Learn to work with the soil food web to create a healthy ecosystem and regenerate degraded land.

9. Earthworks. How to shape the land to help it achieve the goals we are aiming for.

10. Natural Building. How to build structures with materials available on-site.

11. Alternative systems. Community living and other ways of living differently that works well for people and the planet. Bioregional organization, community development, alternative economic systems, permaculture as aid.

Each of these categories has subcategories and each teacher also has their own additions and certain topics that are stressed over others.

Costs for the two week certified PDC course:

Course fee

Commute to the course: $650 + optional scholarship contribution

(Lunch included)

Bring Your Own Tent and Stay with Us: $795 + optional scholarship contribution.

(All meals included, plus all the benefits of living on site!)

Meals will be made with tons of food from on site.  We will do our best to accommodate the dietary needs of the group.
We ask every student for a deposit of $150 to reserve your space. This reservation fee is non refundable.
Space is limited, and we expect it to fill, so register now (or later. Up to you)!


Full and Partial Scholarships available to a select few.

If you feel that you are unable to cover the costs of the course and would like to apply for a scholarship, please submit a proposal to us for what you can contribute, and why you believe that you would be a good choice as a recipient of some of the scholarship funds.  What is your situation that stops you from being able to contribute economically toward the course?  How will you use the information in the course?  How do you plan to pay forward the scholarship funds that you do receive?  

Would you like to contribute to the scholarship fund?

There are many people that would benefit greatly from the information presented in the Permaculture Design Course but cannot afford to take the course.  We are proud to offer scholarships to a few of these people, and would be glad to accept funds to be able to accept more. Please let us know if you would like to contribute toward this effort.  Any amount helps, as it all adds up! 


Fundraise for your Tuition:

If you are interested in a creative way to come up with funds for this course, look into fundraising for it through It is a great way to reach out to your family and friends, let them know what you are up to and give them a easy way to contribute to your education.

Click on the banner below to learn more:

Fundraise your course tuition with WeTheTrees!


REGISTER NOW! We expect this course to fill, so get your spot locked in.

(click on that link above or copy this url into your browser:


Contact:     Christian Shearer  

208-850-0563    (e-mail is better for us, unless it is urgent.  Thanks)


About the Facilitators


The primary facilitator of the course, Christian Shearer, has broad knowledge of permaculture, having taught, consulted and worked on permaculture projects for over 10 years all over the world, including Thailand, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, Barbados, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and The Philippines.  He was also featured in a full length documentary about permaculture in Thailand in 2012, Seeds of Permaculture.  Christian founded the Panya Project, a permaculture education center in Northern Thailand and currently works as a permaculture consultant for Terra Genesis International.  He has taught the Permaculture Design Course over 25 times and his teaching has been described as "incredibly inspirational," "his passion for human happiness, environmental change and permaculture in general is obvious from Day 1," and "this course changed the direction of my life!"  

Check out seeds of permaculture here: