Smoky Mountain Permaculture Design Course

August 20 - 30, 2019

Seven Springs

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Explore innovative strategies for harmonious land use, combining traditional wisdom with cutting edge techniques to build thriving communities.


In this 10 day permaculture design course otherwise known as a PDC, you will be learning the tools, guiding principles, and strategies that create lush productive landscapes, reduce your energy use, and create more stability and security for you and your loved ones.  You will create a village and find community with a group of caring individuals sharing the knowledge and enthusiasm that come from joining forces and focusing on solutions. All levels are welcome. Whether you are new to these ideas and wondering where this path will take you or if you have been in an a related field and need new inspiration.

Now is the time to take action to benefit ourselves and future generations.  Yes, the earth is beset with problems, YOU ARE THE SOLUTION!

Strategies for increasing food production and promoting native species and medicinal herbs will be combined with non-invasive and ecological construction techniques to build a solid foundation and the capacity to host a variety of transformational experiences.

Co-facilitated by international and local permaculturalists with decades of experience, this course will provide participants with a unique experience of how to build communities that are truly harmonious.  Together we will design innovative solutions using experiential tools for creative visioning and strategic planning.


Topics Include…

Permaculture Principles & Ethics * How to Read the Landscape * Patterns & Pattern Application * Water Harvesting * Swale Building * Rainwater Catchment * Zone and Sector Analysis * Climate & Microclimate * Mapping * Land Access * Community Building * Plant Guilds, Food Forests & Agroforestry * The Ecological Design Process, Principles, Strategies & Techniques * Soil building * Synergistic Gardening * Pond Management & Ecology * Earthworks * Natural Building * Grey Water Systems * Bio-remediation * Renewable Energy Systems * Forest Management * Watershed Management * Growing Mushrooms * Animal Systems * The Business of Permaculture *Ferment and Human Nutrition * Homesteading Skills * Farm Practices * Propagation Techniques * Appropriate Technology * Holistic Management * Keyline Design®  * Pattern Languages *Landscape Design Graphics * Urban Permaculture *Financial Permaculture *Communities and Ecovillages *

and so much More!


Key Benefits for taking a Permaculture Design Course:

Generate an inspired vision for your landscape.

Increase the yields and resilience of your backyard, homestead or farm.

Learn to create and implement a design from site analysis to completion.

Discover the secrets for rapid creation of healthy, and biologically active topsoil.

Plan for whole landscape water harvesting for your property.

Learn to improve efficiency and synergy between elements in your landscape.

Reduce costs and dependency on outside energy inputs, increase profits, and enhance livelihoods while improving your quality of life.

Create resilience and security for your family and your local community.  

Contribute to the regeneration of land, water, and air quality to improve the health and wellbeing of the environment and it’s inhabitants.  

Think in whole systems, rather than in parts, to understand and enhance the relationships between those parts.  Whole systems thinking is a methodology that leads to successful problem solving because it mimics the behavior of natural systems.


Highlights of the 72 hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course with Us…

Take part in lectures, slide shows, site tours, exercises, games, facilitated group discussions and other learning modalities.

See permaculture in action on a small farm/homestead scale in a temperate climate.

Build your skill set with hands-on  classes, practical exercises and implementations.

Learn from varied team of professional designers, farmers, homesteaders & community organizers that are actively putting the design process to work, not just teaching about it.  We live and work in the systems we create, constantly receiving insights and feedback to deepen our understanding of natural and designed systems.

Learn about and use the Ecological Design Process.  Not every Permaculture Design Course will teach the ecological design process, which has you create holistic goals, read the landscape and use the scale of permanence to organize data and develop a design.  This professional process will give you a step by step approach to applying the principles of permaculture. You will gain confidence to tackle a variety of designs with this process. You will create holistic goals, read the landscape and use the scale of permanence to organize data and develop a design to meet those goals.

Get the attention you need.  More time for questions, discussions, and individualized attention from the instructors, to dive deeper into a topic or discuss personal projects you are working on (bring maps of a current project, if you can).

Learn how to design in any climate and in any circumstance, yet give added focus to temperate climate permaculture.

Learn about complimentary disciplines such as Holistic Management, whole farm planning, Keyline and Broadscale Design in our integrated curriculum.

Connect with others and build community.

Devote 10 days to intensely study and live permaculture.  We like to take our time covering the material, with plenty of time for hand-on activities, group process and design, community building and fun.

Receive continued support after the course.  Cliff offers phone mentoring and consultation services for projects and professional development.

Social gatherings in the evenings with story and music.

Experience incorporating permaculture practices into your daily life.  Join us as we do our regular homesteading/farming activities during the course of your stay and learn new skills.

Eat well!  Fully catered high quality meals, so you may focus on your time on course activities.


Meet your Facilitators …


Cliff Davis and Jennifer Albanese, co-own Spiral Ridge Permaculture, a learning center and design studio, serving the southeast since 2011.  Jen and Cliff also run Pig & Leaf, an eco-farm and nursery, specializing in craft pork, artisanal vegetables, organic plants and speciality cut flowers.  They developed their businesses out of their passion to; address cultural and ecological issues that demand real and lasting solutions, encourage more people to homestead and help save family farms, by making them more ecological and productive.  They have over 36 years of combined experience studying and applying permaculture in temperate, tropical/subtropical and dry land climates and have taught hundreds of students permaculture and homesteading skills. They live off-grid with their children in a naturally built home.

Cliff has vast experience in the fields of permaculture, food forestry, organics, appropriate technology, natural building, deep nature connection and regenerative agriculture, that allow him to offer an integrative approach to land and culture repair.  He empowers others to take a hands-on approach to design in his regular and advanced course offerings. His humor, straight-forward style and determination to make positive change, make him an engaging instructor, consultant and designer. He has taught over 64 classes & courses since 2004, and has taken over 28 professional development courses in various specialities. As a professional designer and consultant, he has worked for farms, intentional communities, school campuses and homesteaders.  Cliff is the main instructor and curriculum developer for all Spiral Ridge courses. He took his permaculture design course in 2004 from the International Institute of Ecological Agriculture, where he earned his certificate. He later received his teacher training certificate from Dave Jacke, after which he co-taught the teacher training course, with him. Cliff has been featured in many podcasts/magazine articles and has been a speaker at many sustainability/farming events and conferences. Experience matters.  For a detailed look at his experience, training & mentors as well as a list of courses that he has taught, check out his full resume.

Jennifer has been an organic gardening student and practitioner for over 20 years.  She has a special interest in soil regeneration and re-mineralization to create ecosystem health and nutrient dense food.  She specializes in annual nursery and cut flower production. She has a passion for local in-season, nose-to-tail cooking, ferments and traditional foods.  Jennifer worked as a midwife’s apprentice, birth mentor/doula and course organizer, for The Farm Midwifery Center, for many years before running Spiral Ridge full-time.    Jennifer is also an instructor for the Women’s Permaculture Guild Online Permaculture Design Course. Jennifer took her permaculture design course in 2007 from the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and Ecovillage Training Center.



Yurt $1650

Camping $1450

$100 OFF Early Bird until June 15th

$50 Bring a Friend Discount!

Three organic, local meals a day and camping at the beautiful Seven Springs Holistic Retreat Center are included in your registration fee. Yoga classes will be offered throughout the week. Upgraded accommodations are also available. 


Contact us now for more information!

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