Three ONLINE Permaculture & Design Classes

SSA Logo -- blue on white with UMASS.jpg

The UMass Amherst Sustainable Food and Farming Program is pleased to be able to offer three ONLINE classes in Permaculture and Design this spring as part of our 15-credit Certificate Program.  Classes begin on January 19 and registration closes whenever the classes fill up or on January 29 at the latest.

Among the 22 online classes we offer year round are the following three which will begin soon (click on the title for more information):

STOCKSCH 197 G – Introduction to Permaculture

perma4Description: The Introduction to Permaculture Course is a three-credit course that offers students a foundation in permaculture history, ethics, principles, design process, and practical applications. The framework behind the theory and practice of permaculture is rooted in the observation of natural systems. By observing key ecological relationships, we can mimic and apply these beneficial relationships in the design of systems that serve humans while helping to restore the natural world. This course trains students as critical thinkers, observers, and analysts of the world(s) around them, and then goes on to provide students with the tools needed to design for inspired and positive change.

NOTE:  this class is almost full. Please register immediately if you are interested!


STOCKSCH 397 S – Sustainable Site Planning and Design


design2Description: This course will be an exploration into the fundamentals of landscape design with particular attention to integrating both existing and new buildings sustainably into their landscapes and with a view to reducing maintenance needs.
Students investigate sustainable design strategies that address the ecological, water, energy and food system links between buildings and their supporting sites, as exemplified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system and Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). Topics include: design principles and process, natural factors (e.g. topography, soils, vegetation), green roofs, green walls/vertical gardens, rainwater collection systems, native planting, edible landscapes and permaculture, sustainable forestry practices, post-industrial landscapes, and the
human use of outdoor spaces. Emphasis will be placed on cost saving techniques for creating self-sustaining, low maintenance sites. Many real world examples will be discussed.

This will be an introductory course focusing on the theory and practice of sustainable landscape design and planning. It is assumed that students have little or no background/professional experience in design or planning. The first half of the
course will rely primarily upon readings, videos, lecture and discussion. A five minute long mid-term student briefing presentation will be assigned and presented online. In the second half of the course students will delve more deeply into applying the design process culminating in a focused 10 minute long final design project to be presented online.

STOCKSCH 397 SP – Social Permaculture for Food Justice

Description: Social Permaculture for Food Justice  prepares students with methodologies from the fields of permaculture design and social justice to enact change in the food system. Students learn tools to help them critique food system inequities, articulate goals for social change, and analyze their own power, privilege, and competencies as makers of change. Finally, students are guided through a permaculture design process in which they create social design models to catalyze the changes they wish to see in the food system. Through out the course, there is an emphasis on maintaining personal sustainability as food justice activists and developing leadership skills.



These three classes are part of the UMass Sustainable Food and Farming 15-credit Certificate Program.  They also may be used to satisfy requirements in the new online Associate of Science degree or the on campus Bachelor of Science degree.

Other classes offered this semester; (January 19 – April 27, 2016

You may contact Professor John M. Gerber with questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s