Indiana University Bloomington

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CLLC L230 Learning from Nature: Permaculture

Two intensive weeks of being outdoors, classwork, and camaraderie at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice grounds

Two intensive weeks of being outdoors, classwork, and camaraderie

Join us for the twelfth year of this fantastic experience!

Course Dates: June 5 – June 19, 2016
Application Deadline: Friday, April 15, 2016, by 5PM

  • 3 credits (GenEd & CASE Natural and Mathematical Sciences course)
  • Counts as a Collins seminar
  • Cross-listed in the Department of Religious Studies
    This course will count in the Religious Studies major or minor.


  • David Haberman, Department of Religious Studies, IUB
  • Peter Bane, Publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine and author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country.
  • Keith Johnson, Editor of Permaculture Activist magazine and celebrated urban polyculture forest gardner.
  • Rhonda Baird, a talented young permaculture practictioner and teacher from the forests of sourthern Indiana.
  • You will also be working with the on location staff.
  • perma instructors

Useful links for more information:

Course DescriptionGarden

What is Permaculture?


Permaculture is a holistic design strategy for creating truly sustainable human habitats that are in harmony with a particular environment.  It aims to produce communities of abundance that serve human needs while healing the natural environment.  Respecting nature and working with it rather than against it, the ethical art of permaculture fosters mutually beneficial relationships.

About the IU Permaculture Design Course

Indiana University has offered the permaculture design course (PDC) since 2002, making it one of the longest running university permaculture courses in the nation.  The course introduces students to core permaculture ethics, principles, and practices, and is led by some of the top teachers and designers in the region.  It offers an in depth look at the problems we face today (climate instability, peak oil, deforestation, famine, economic injustice, etc.) and provides participants with a wide range of practical solutions and steps towards resiliency. 

This is a crash course in regenerative holistic design.  The IU PDC is offered as a two-week residential course giving participants time to be immersed in the learning experience, to engage with peers, and to connect with the place around them.  The course is taught through hands on activities, lecture, group design projects and discussion, videos, and lots of one-on-one conversation.  During the two weeks, students will stretch their understanding of how the natural world works and strengthen their observational skills - learning to identify patterns found in nature and how to mimic them through thoughtful and integrative design.  The PDC has inspired thousands of people worldwide and creates the foundation to lives and careers that help heal our planet.   Join the movement towards a future full of abundance!

We are excited to announce that the course is returning to the magical Lazy Black Bear, a 270-acre retreat center located just south of Paoli, Indiana.  This site, which is surrounded on three sides by the Hoosier National Forest, gives students ample opportunity to experience the wonders of the woods of southern Indiana while contemplating some of the most challenging issues of our times within a creative community. It features swimmable ponds, a 3-acre organic farm, a renovated barn classroom, a spacious and picturesque outdoor eating pavilion, a kitchen that prepares locally grown organ food, solar showers, composting toilets, a menagerie of animals (including possums), an open meadow for residence in a tent or cabin, and funky art everywhere.

Students must complete an application and be accepted to register for this course. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. Participants will be spending time outdoors for the duration of the 2 weeks. A special course fee covers round-trip transportation, food, lodging, and course materials. In addition to getting three hours of course-credit, students who successfully complete the course will receive a permaculture certification, which enables them to practice the art and science of permaculture.


Permaculture is a design pattern for living more harmoniously with our life support systems, and with each other. It is a rapidly growing and internationally recognized design system for creating sustainable human environments. It is a set of principles and techniques that aims to create ecologically sound and economically prosperous human communities. This course gives students innovative conceptual tools and the chance to view that future from as many angles as possible. This is a unique opportunity for a hands-on experience in a class at Indiana University.
David Haberman
Department of Religious Studies
Indiana University

Permaculture is the art and science that applies patterns found in nature to the design and construction of human and natural environments. Only by applying such patterns and principles to the built environment can we truly achieve a sustainable living system.

Permaculture principles are now being adapted to all systems and disciplines that human settlement requires. Architects, planners, farmers, economists, social scientists, as well as students, homeowners and backyard gardeners can utilize principles of Permaculture Design.

Larry Santoyo
University of California, Berkeley


Fee: A fee will be added to the 3-credit-hour tuition rate for each student (on your bursar bill) to cover transportation, food, lodging, and course materials.

Contact Information

David Haberman, Department of Religious Studies, IUBGarden

Application Information

Application deadline: Friday, April 15, 2016, by 5PM

Click here for a pdf copy of the application.

Please email or send your application into:

David Haberman
Department of Religious Studies
Sycamore Hall, Rm. 215
Indiana University
1033 E 3rd Street
Bloomington IN 47405

If you have any questions, please let us know.