Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us.
Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us.
Cooperation with all these things brings harmony.”

– Bill Mollison

2016 Visionary Permaculture Design
Certificate Course

Join us for a uniquely creative learning journey to become permaculture designers, consultants and teachers. Together we will learn how to map and design our lives and landscapes, working with nature as conscious planetary citizens to build a regenerative future.

This is turning out to become a course more special than previously imagined. A number of the core CoSM Staff art taking the program! This will give us special insight into CoSM and empower our year long project of mapping and designing the site.


The course has been redesigned to make it easier for staff and people living in the bioregion to attend at a lower cost, with more flexibility and in a gentler way on their lives. The course will run tuesday and wednesdays every second month.


October 18-19

December 13-14


February 14-15

May 9-10

July 11-12

September 5-6

November 7-8

December 20


Course Topics include:
• Design methods
• Patterns in nature
• Soils and composting
• Water
• Trees
• Animals
• Design for cool , tropical and arid climates
• Social permaculture
• Native food and medicine plants of the First Peoples
• And much much more!

We have worksheets, permaculture design gaming tools, an online social networking and educational support platform, as well as 40 acres of CoSM including hundreds of plants and animals as our living classroom.

There are course readings but no tests, written work but no grades. The main personal project is to start a year long map, and begin the design for, your home or land regardless of its size or location. The flexible group project includes adding to the map of CoSM and envisioning potential permaculture designs for the grounds. This is an awesome way to make an enduring and positive contribution to the CoSM project that is creative, fun and educational. Missed classes can be done for no additional tuition and there is no time limit to complete the program.

We will gather at this inspiring Church of Creativity and Art to transform our understandings of what is possible while living, learning and eating together. The course will include tours of the CoSM land and studio visits with Alex Grey and Allyson Grey. This permaculture meta-program is scheduled in proximity to the full moon ceremonies in case participants want to extend their stay to include the full moon events.

The group project of the program is to make observations on the CoSM land, helping to create a map folio. Here is a free download of third edition of the CoSM Visionary Permaculture Map Folio

At the end of each course we share our accumulated ideas for how permaculture can apply to the CoSM land and organization, helping to make a design folio. Here is a free download of the third edition of the CoSM Visionary Permaculture Design Folio

Delvin Solkinson is volunteering to offer this program in support of CoSM’s mission to build an enduring sanctuary of visionary art to inspire every pilgrim’s creative path and embody the values of love and evolutionary wisdom. This course is for those who want to make a uniquely creative contribution to CoSM while earning a permaculture design certification.

$1300 including meals ( CLICK HERE TO REGISTER )
$2222 including meals and shared room ( CLICK HERE TO REGISTER )
$3200 including meals and private room (only 5 available)( CLICK HERE TO REGISTER)

Facilitator :
 Delvin Solkinson has completed a PDC, Diploma and Masters Degree with Bill Mollison and done advanced teacher trainings with Rosemary Morrow, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Patricia Michael, Robyn Francis, the Bullock Brothers, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, Larry Santoyo, Scott Pittman, Michael Becker, Robin Wheeler, Starhawk and Robin Clayfield. He is an accredited teacher through the Permaculture Research Institute (Australia), Permaculture Association (UK) and a Field Mentor through the  Permaculture Institute (USA). Recently he completed a PDC in Portland with Toby Hemenway, in Greece with Rosemary Morrow and a second Diploma through the Permaculture Institute and is currently doing graduate work in Permaculture Education under the mentorship of Looby Macnamara and Larry Santoyo.

Click here to here Delvin speak about Permaculture at CoSM.

Guest Teachers:

Dina Falconi is a master herbalist, teacher and author who will lead medicine making and plant id workshops each season.

Evan Pritchard is a First Nations scholar, teacher and published author who will present on the traditional Wappingers relationship to the land and its ecological community.

Martin Bridge is an artist, animist, educator and mycologist and will share about the magic of mushrooms.

Matt Dudin is a farmer and the bee keeper at CoSM. He will give a workshop on keeping bees and using their many products.

contact [email protected] for details
VPDC testimonials from past program participants

Spending my days with Delvin amongst the Wappinger Falls New York landscape at CoSM will be something that I’ll cherish forever. His passion and ability to cultivate our awareness was extraordinary. I now see ecology in a way I could’ve never imagined before I attended the course. The CoSM Community was accommodating and inspirational. I have since started talks with the Pittsburgh, PA mayors office about implementing Permaculture principles. My journey has received a huge gift to compliment the natural beauty surrounding us everywhere. Cheers to Gaia Craft and the Legacy that Delvin’s sprouted, and to all those students supporting this vision.

– Gene Stull

The gifts of your dedication, knowledge, wisdom, time and energy – so authentic and pure – are prime examples of why there is hope for healing in this world. Rest assured that your work inspires on the deepest level, and our time together in community lends rocket fuel to our dreams.

– Karen Bryant

Permaculture is the new counter culture movement. Instead of working against systems, you observe, apply ethic and integrate them into your being and community compassionately. Delvin is an incredible and engaging teacher, shamaning you through the various permaculture pathways. CoSM’s 40 acre classroom is a serene adventure, it offers diverse seasonal insights and support for the continuation of your creative and spiritual and learning path.”

– Haya Baumstark

Taking the Permaculture design course at CoSM was a life changing event, and has unraveled a greater awareness of myself and the planet as well as providing an amazing toolkit that I will use in many facets of life.

– Michael Cox

Thank you for your excellent leadership and guidance over the past year! The course definitely changed my life in a way that liberated myself from the norms of society. The people I have met while at CoSM, the knowledge and experience I have gained, and the ability to replace fear with love have been most valuable in this time of transition!

– Brian Dickinson

The Visionary Permaculture Design course taught by Delvin Solkinson at CoSM is an eye-opening and life-changing experience. Long before finishing the course, I found myself making positive life changes, big and small, and getting involved in highly rewarding local projects. In addition to the valuable skills and practical tools for re-imagining and re-shaping my immediate environment, I came away with a fresh perspective that continues to enrich nearly every aspect of my life.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the content was engaging, and sessions were highly collaborative, which enabled our diverse group of participants to learn as much from each other as we did from the course itself. The connections made in this course have become some of my most treasured relationships.

Delvin is a master facilitator. All throughout the year, during our meetings and in the months between, I knew what to expect and what was expected of me. He was hyper-organized and always had a plan, but made subtle adjustments whenever needed due to changing logistics, weather, or the needs of our group. He arranged for us to learn directly from experts on a variety of subjects, from beekeeping to herbalism to mycology and more, all in settings that were as inspiring as they were beautiful.

There are tons of options for learning about permaculture or earning a PDC, but Delvin’s Visionary Permaculture program at CoSM is so much more. I’ll forever be grateful for the experience and look back on it as one of the best investments in myself, my family, and my community that I’ve ever made. If you have the opportunity to participate in this incredibly unique and inspiring program, do it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

– Niki Gallo Hammond

Announcing the next iteration of the course I just graduated from! There are intensive courses from which you can get your PDC in just a couple of weeks, and that’s totally cool, so why did I choose a year long course? One of the first things I read in the designer’s manual was to spend at least one full cycle observing… Also, I know myself and how I learn best – I need time to integrate new info before adding more.

Delvin Solkinson is a true visionary teacher who teaches how to read models, and then models how to teach. His influence gives me confidence that I can take what I have learned, and continue to learn, and share it with others on my journey.
The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors is a magical place, and this time tuition will include meals AND rooms – that is meals crafted by the staff chef (who I adore) and rooms and classes in surroundings saturated with visionary art and history. It is an opportunity to not only enrich your own life, but also to inform the possible designs for the future of CoSM! I am so glad I took this course and wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!

As a person who just finished the 2014 Visionary Permaculture Design Course at CoSM, I believe this could possibly be the best experience of your life if you choose to take this class.

– Mackenzie Nikol Greenwood

It has been 10 years since the Permaculture Concept was first introduced to me and in that time I have been engaged in intensive self study and applications of the design science. While a determined individual can learn a great deal about Permaculture by picking up books and researching and experimenting on their own, I thought it was important as a teacher to get an official certificate. I chose to engage in the CoSM Visionary Permaculture Certification Course after I was approached by Delvin Solkinson about presenting a mycology unit for the first class. While my intentions were primarily to go through the course just for the certificate I never would have imagined I would gain as much as I have out of the class. The course both solidified the foundation I had, filled in the gaps and help me consider how I would teach the material to others. Dina Falconi’s contribution on wildcrafted herbs and medicinals was of great use to my own work this year focussing on fortifying the Perennial systems of my homestead.

Now looking back at the yearlong learning journey I can not imagine that any Certification program that tries to jam the same content into a 2 week intensive would come close to the effectiveness of the methodology of spacing the sessions between the four seasons; allowing a year for reading the accompanying texts while observing and mapping a site through 4 seasons. – Not to mention the time with Alex and Alyson Grey and the CoSM staff is an inspiring part of the journey.

– Martin Bridge

Realizing that giving the gift of growing our own food and sharing knowledge and skills with others is how to create the change I want to see in the world, I enrolled in the Visionary Permaculture Design Course at CoSM. I believe it was the best decision I ever made. I plan to organize many public displays of farming and edible gardening while encouraging leadership and Love within our communities.

– Eli Blank

Program Content 
1 – Pretro
Group introductions
Course orientation & requirements
Group goals and guidelines
Communication (NVC and conflict resolution)
Learning styles & multiple intelligences
Learning Goals:
-Set a course culture of safety, respect and organization
-Create a positive & effective learning environment
-Encourage active listening in groups
-Value different ways of communicating and have confidence in utilizing tools of conflict resolution
-Orient participants to course content
2 – Foundations of Permaculture
History of Permaculture
Learning Goals:
-Know the Permaculture ethics and the Transition ethic and how to apply them to conscious decision making
-Learn the basis of how the Permaculture movement began, how it has grown, some of its progeny’s and how the lineage links to this course.
-Gain a strong understanding of nature’s principles and how they are at the foundation of design decisions and application
 -Provide awareness of the worlds problems and the current situation
-Shift from a place of problems to positive solution based thinking.
-Feel confident in defining Permaculture clearly to others
3 – Design Methods
Needs, Functions and Outputs
Learning Goals:
-Understand how to do a needs & yields analysis
-Gain a base understanding of closed loop systems
-Observe a site, document and recognize available resources and design constraints based on analysis.
-Identify energies or influences that effect a design site
-Be able to create a base map including zones & sector analysis for a site
-Know the basic elements included in mapping a site
4 – Pattern Literacy
Physical patterns, Emergent patterns, Fractal patterns
Functions of patterns
Patterns in time
Behavioural patterns
Application of patterns in design
Learning Goals:
-Pattern recognition in nature and technology
-Learn the functions of patterns in nature and how to apply that knowledge to effective design
-Gain Pattern literacy and understand how to replace dysfuntional patterns with functional ones.
-Know the functions of and feel confident designing guilds
-Recognize that pattern literacy is fundamental in becoming good designers
5 – Soil
Soil biology
Soil classification and testing
Soil remediation
Soil indicators
Learning Goals:
-Have a base understanding of the components of healthy soil and know the value of building soil.
-Know different ways to test soil .
-Recognize different plant indicators and what they tell about soil health.
-Understand a multitude of different ways to remediate and build soil.
-Apply different composting techniques in appropriate situations.
-Identify key plants that bring nutrient to the soil.
6 – Trees
Ecological function of trees in relation to earth, water, air and energy
Forest gardens/ food forests
Plant/ tree identification
Design for trees
Learning Goals:
-Understand the ecological functions of trees and recognize them as a keystone species in the ecosystem
-Learn the stages of succession and how to intervene at appropriate times to speed up the succession process, creating abundant, thriving systems sooner
-Know the layers in a forest garden and different plants for each layer that grow locally
Identify local plants and see the difference in characteristics between different species
Be able to integrate trees  adequately and appropriately in design
7 – Animals
Design for wild and domestic animals
Animal care
Integrated pest management
Learning Goals:
-Recognize the intrinsic characteristics, functions and outputs of animals
-How to meet the needs of animals on site
-Learn techniques for integrating animal systems
-Understand effective and healthy ways to handle pests
-Know how to safely and ethically live with wildlife
8 – Water, Aquaculture & Earthworks
Water facts
Water conservation
Water strategies & techniques
Waste water treatment
Water harvesting & storage
Learning Goals:
-Understand how global water issues can effect us on a local level.
-Learn how to do a water audit.
-Recognize multiple ways in which to conserve water.
-Feel confident in applying strategies and techniques to capture, store, treat and release water safely and appropriately.
-Know how to calculate roof water catchment amounts.
9 – Climate
Climatic Factors
Slope and aspect
12 climatic zones
Learning Goals:
-Understand climate on a global scale and how we may design to moderate climatic factors
-Recognize different microclimates and identify how to use them to benefit a system or how to modify them for maximum efficiency
-Learn the characteristics of different climates to be able to identify effective climatic techniques
10 – Cool Climate
Cool climate characteristics
Cool climate design challenges and strategies
Cool climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:
-Be able to identify characteristics of cool climate and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.
11 – Tropics
Tropical climate characteristics
Tropical climate design challenges and strategies
Tropical climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:
-Be able to identify characteristics of wet, wet dry and monsoon tropics and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.
12 – Drylands
Dryland climate characteristics
Dryland climate design challenges and strategies
Dryland climate design elements and techniques
Learning Goals:
Be able to identify characteristics of drylands and appropriate strategies and technologies to work with them in the home, garden, farm and community.
13 – Social Permaculture
Client Interview & Designer Checklist
Community building (group processes and asset mapping)
Governance (sociocracy and consensus decision making)
Land access
Right Livelihood
Legal Structures
Learning Goals:
-Gain confidence in the consultation and design process for clients.
-Be able to map assets and resources and identify community needs.
-Understand different models of decision making and how to apply them.
-Feel comfortable engaging in community and using tools to provide for healthy group dynamics and efficient process.
-Recognize opportunities for land access locally.
-Learn ethical and effective business models and legal structures that support local economy
-Know ways to relocalize and create resilient communities.
14 – OS Permaculture
Permaculture economics (LET’s, Barter and trade, complimentary currency)
Education (accessibility, open source, alternative education)
Urban renewal strategies and design (place-making, curb cuts, green streets, roof top gardens, boulevard gardening
Learning Goals:
-Ability to identify risks and mitigate using Permaculture design tools and techniques
-Know the steps in building a resiliency preparedness plan and engaging local community in the process
-Know the basis of how the economic system works
-Learn a variety of different economic strategies and the value of utilizing multiple currencies and tools for resilience
-See access to education as a basic right and understand benefits of open source
-Feel confident in utilizing place-making tools, techniques and Permaculture strategies in urban environments
15 – Graduation
Next steps (setting up a permaculture practice, further education, community involvement, goal sharing)
Mapping and design presentations
Talent Show
Learning Goals:
-Think about niche’s in permaculture and practice effective goal setting
-Gain experience presenting to groups and receiving feedback
-Understand how to help others share their gifts
Optional Hands on Activities:
Design Charettes
Earthworks demonstration
Integrative games
Compost building
Soil analysis
Plant & tree identification
Medicine Making
Additional Topics:
Medicinal plants & preparations
Plant Identification
Non violent communication