Environmental Studies at UVM

ENVS 156 SU: Permaculture

Permaculture is the study and practice of the way human beings- as individuals and communities- can participate in the creation of ethical (socially just and ecologically regenerative) perennial support systems. We present a whole systems approach that integrates plants, animals, buildings, people, communities, economies, and the landscapes that surround us through careful analysis and thoughtful design. This course introduces students to the principles and practice of permaculture design through collaboration on real-world projects with an eye towards repairing, restoring, and regenerating human ecosystems. This is the first of a two-part course. Taken together, these two courses fulfill the requirements for an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification Course. Part one, ‘Fundamentals’ will cover the theory of permaculture design, including the history of permaculture and ecological design, Permaculture Ethics and Principles, and explore the application of Ecological, Anthropological, Ethnobiological, and Evolutionary Sciences to agriculture and human ecosystems, the built environment; as well as social and economic organization (‘invisible structures’). Skills and techniques for ‘reading the landscape’, developing site-responsive design, and representing interpretations and plans through visual maps and public presentations will be developed through a collaborative design by students in groups. Students explore various food production, energy production, waste management, water and shelter systems, and assess their potential for integration to meet human needs while improving ecosystem health. One weekend session will be required, TBA. Course requires attendance at the Winter NOFA Conference (February 13-14, 2016). Instructor permission required, email aresnik@uvm.edu.






Fall, Spring, Cross-Listed Course

Breadth Requirement: 

Natural Science (NS)


3 credits in basic biology or ecology

Program Fees: 


Enrollment Limit: