A Center for Contemplative Ecology

802. 453. 8111

Integrative Permaculture


Design models for natural resilience

July 22 – August 6, 2016

Every program is available for credit in 15, 9, or 6 day format

July 22 – August 6, 2106 
15 days, 150 hours, 3 credits

July 22 – July 31, 2016
9 days, 100 hours, 2 credits

July 31 – August 6, 2016 
6 days, 50 hours, 1 credit

Vermont Permaculture

Permaculture is an emerging worldview that addresses global issues with a holistic, systems approach. Originating as a design science, permaculture has evolved to include not only landscape and regenerative agricultural design, but also social design – including community development innovations, communication processes, natural and green building methods, renewable energy systems, alternative health systems, and alternative economic structures.

This Permaculture Design Certificate Course emphasizes design at various scales. Participants learn how the principles and methods of permaculture design can be applied from backyard garden, to farm, to watershed.  Students consider how to apply these design methodologies to social systems including food exchange, economics, and communication.

Metta Earth Institute Permaculture Intensive

Participants learn how to play a positive role in personal and cultural transition. Students learn side-by- side with some of the nation’s leading permaculture designers as they contribute to a master plan in process for Metta Earth. Participants also collaborate on broader scale designs of the regional economic system. We will also explore the role of social media on our culture, and strategies to expand the permaculture message.

This course is designed for those interested in increasing their skills in farm design and implementation, food-system design, regional planning, land-use planning, social-change advocacy and media production/storytelling.

Our emphasis will be to apply Permaculture Design principles to expanding scales:

Program Information


15 days: $1500
9 days: $900
6 days: $600

Tuition Includes:

  • Program, meals, and accommodations
  • Three thirty minute life/leadership coaching consults after the training to help participants sustain change.
  • Financial assistance may be available to those in need.
  • Credit with your university or college is usually available as independent study. We will offer assistance, as needed, for this process.


Every program is available for credit in 15, 9, or 6 day format.

  • 15 days, 150 hours, 3 credits
  • 9 days, 100 hours, 2 credits
  • 6 days, 50 hours, 1 credit

Meals & Accommodations

Metta Earth is nestled in the quietude of the mountains, the stunning headwaters of the New Haven river with abundant waterfalls and pools for swimming, wilderness trails to walk or bike, and 158 acres of Metta Earth land to explore.

Meals are vegetarian and lovingly prepared with seasonal, local and organic foods, much of our food comes from our own 3⁄4 acre organic garden and farmstead. Participants assist and have the opportunity to learn about harvesting, cooking, putting food by, and other aspects of organic, local food.

Options for sleeping accommodations include peaceful rooms in the main Metta Earth house, shared space in one of the yurts, or space to set up your own tent.

The Metta Earth main house provides bathrooms, laundry, phones, wireless internet, library, kitchen and dining facilities, and teaching, study, and practice space.

Daily Schedule

6:00 – 7:00am
Yoga (self guided practice)

7:00 – 7:30am
Sitting Meditation

7:30 – 8:30am

Experiential Learning Activities

12:30 – 1:30pm
Lunch Community Meeting

1:30 – 2:30
Open Time

Experiential Learning Activities

5:00 – 6:15pm
Metta Earth Yoga Class

6:30 – 7:30pm

7:30 – 9:30pm
Evening Program

Selected Readings

  • Metta Earth Yoga: Contemplative Ecological Practices for a Sustainable Future by Russell Comstock
  • Quantum Community ~ The Archetype of Communion & Community, An Interdisciplinary Inquiry by Gillian Kapteyn Comstock
  • Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice on and Off the Mat by Richard Faulds
  • Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People by Hildur Jackson
  • Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World by Wendy Johnson
  • Moving Like a Gardener by Deb Soule
  • Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel
  • The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Radical Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Soul of Nature: Visions of a Living Earth by Michael Tobias
  • The Way of Council by Jack Zimmerman
Integrative Permaculture Class

9 Day Session: Permaculture Design Certificate

July 22 – July 31

Permaculture Theories and Practices

We explore the core ideas of the PDC curriculum each morning which focuses strongly on land stewardship, landscape design, and conceptual foundations.

  • Formation of the Universe & Earth’s Systems
  • Regenerative History: Civilizations & Agriculture
  • Group Design: Landforms, Water, & Succession
  • Scaling Perceptions: Microclimates
  • Coppicing, Agroforestry, Silvopasture, & Animal Grazing
  • Zoning: Forest Farming, Suburban Permaculture, and Orchards
  • Urban Permaculture & Foodsheds

Permaculture Practices For Ecological Sustainability

During the experiential afternoon sessions, participants have the opportunity to engage in hands-on permaculture land stewardship concepts and practices.

  • Conscious Worldview, Permaculture Ethics & Principles
  • System Design: Elements, Zones & Sectors
  • Reading the Land
  • Forests, Energy Transaction, & Wastewater Systems
  • Animals, Carbon Farming, & Compost
  • Communities of Culture: Dairy, Kefir, Yogurt, & Cheese
  • Mapping Practice & Design Time

Social Permaculture Skills

This session provide an opportunity to reflect on the human and societal integration of permaculture design. These topics are meant to enrich the exploration of the day’s activities, bringing awareness to the necessity for communication, community, and group dynamics in order to have a fuller understanding of permaculture as a worldview capable of creating a just and sustainable world.

  • Co-Listening, NVC, & Conscious Communication
  • Unconscious Communication
  • Power, Privilege, Oppression, & Rank
  • Models of Activism
  • Facilitation & Leadership Models
  • Chaos & Creativity
  • Community & Leader Ethics

6 Day Session: Advanced PDC

July 31 – August 6

Integrative Permaculture Vermont

This aspect of the intensive is an opportunity to apply and advance permaculture design principles and practices to a project at Metta Earth, as a way to develop hands on experience and skill development. Focusing on the design/build project and a surrounding edible food forest, participants will create a rainwater catchment system, solar hot water shower, and a graywater irrigation system gravity feeding a main garden area.  The edible food forest part of the project will include designing and planting various fruit and nut trees and developing an edible mushroom yard.  Evenings will be a time to share and reflect on the day’s work.

Applied Design-Build

In the morning session, we review skills and processes of permaculture design projects and then apply these to a collaborative design process for a bathhouse area within the Metta Earth Community, incorporating land observations, systems thinking, and community processes.

  • Site Analysis & Design
  • Rainwater Catchment System
  • Solar Shower Hot Water System
  • Graywater Irrigation
  • System Integration

Applied Edible Food Forest Design

The afternoon session places a greater focus on landscape design and implementation. We focus on designing for fruit and nut trees, herbaceous understory, pollinators, wildlife habitat, and mushroom communities with a particular orientation on interfacing with the morning’s design-build project.

  • Edible Food Forest Map of Site
  • Design for Guilds & Polycultures
  • Food Forest Development & Planting
  • Mushroom Log Inoculation

Teaching Team

Andrew Faust

Andrew Faust

Gillian Kapteyn Comstock

Russell Comstock

Russell Comstock

Mark Krawczyk

Mark Krawczyk

Lisa DePiano

Lisa DePiano

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson


“What an incredibly holistic experience that embraces both the social and environmental aspects of permaculture and ecovillage design and dynamics, in addition to an opportunity to delve into the many aspects of a homestead environment.” ~ Lucas Lundell, Permaculture & Ecovillage Design 2014

“Metta Earth is a place where you can come home to your true self as a being on the planet at this exact moment, one of great change. Not only did I learn about design elements of permaculture, I also learned about how to vision and develop the skills to work in a group. It was a dynamic learning experience that taught me how to apply permaculture principles from a micro–scale to a macro–scale.” ~ Madeleine Lyman, Permaculture & Ecovillage Design 2014

“I came to the Permaculture & Ecovillage Design session expecting to get a basic understanding/foundation of permaculture to apply to my life. I am leaving with an open heart and mind ready to set out on a new path in my life to be congruent with myself so I can help lead others. Metta Earth Institute helped me engage and reconnect with what I lost of myself  and helped me to start off in a new chapter of life with a positivity and hopefulness I did not have upon arrival.” ~ Ashley Nunez, Permaculture & Ecovillage Design 2014

“Metta Earth felt like a sanctuary for experiencing personal creativity, insight & loving community while connecting with the beauty and wisdom of nature.” ~ Permaculture & Ecovillage Design Participant, 2014

“Whatever you’re looking for in coming to Metta Earth, you can be assured that more than you could ever imagine awaits you. This is a place of inexplicable wonder and may very well open you to things you never knew were possible.” ~ Permaculture & Ecovillage Design Participant, 2014

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