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Cycle 15 of the Elfin Permaculture Design Course begins January 22

By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

The Elfin Permaculture Design Course, a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, will begin Jan. 22 online.  ‘Cycle 15’ runs approximately six months and includes reading assignments, four reports from each student including a full permaculture design report, regular class assignments, and class discussion via email.

Oklahoma environmentalist, local food expert and permaculture designer Robert Waldrop said, “Cycle 15 of the Elfin Permaculture Online Design Course will begin Jan. 22.  It runs about 23 weeks thereafter, and takes place online. It’s not for the “faint of heart”, but does provide rigorous permaculture instruction. Lead instructors are Dan and Cynthia Hemenway and I am an assistant instructor and discussion leader.”


Elfin Permaculture is a teaching and consulting project of Barking Frogs Permaculture Center.

Permaculture, a systematic method developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.  It teaches how to build natural homes, grow your own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.

Instructors include course designer, Dan Hemenway, principal discussion leader and founder of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Robert Waldrop, and special instructor Cynthia Hemenway, CNM, who leads the Design for Health module.

Dan Hemenway, the principal instructor and designer of the course, received permaculture training from Bill Mollison, permaculture movement founder, in 1981.

He founded the Forest Ecosystem Rescue Network, published dozens of permaculture publications, served on boards of several related groups, and given talks, courses, and keynote addresses worldwide.

Cynthia Baxter Hemenway, CNM, is partner in Elfin Permaculture and Associate Editor of The International Permaculture Solutions Journal. A founding member and former director and officer of the Planetary Project Foundation (Kansas, USA), Cynthia is a Certified Nurse Midwife and holistic health practitioner with particular emphasis in working with women during the childbearing year.

Robert Waldrop, teaching assistant and architect of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, is on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, a group that connects and educates the people of Oklahoma concerning sustainability. Founder of the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House community, an organization working on food security for low-income people, Waldrop publishes the Better Times Almanac of Useful Information.  His most recent project is the Oklahoma Worker Cooperative Network, an organization promoting new businesses owned by their workers.

The word “permaculture” originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to also stand for “permanent culture” as it was seen that social aspects apply to a truly sustainable system.

The course CD, which includes more than 300 items including papers, course assignments, instructor’s lectures, background information, reference databases, and sample designs, is available separately in a special, non-certificate edition.

The online course consists of three consecutive sections, plus work on a permaculture design which students undertake throughout the cycle in which they are registered.

Several registration options are offered including a non-certificate track, certificate training in one six-month cycle, and a two year ‘deliberate track’ that enables a student to participate in two consecutive course cycles and allow for time to prepare the design report for certification.

Enrollment of certificate students is limited. To be eligible for certification, it is required to submit a complete permaculture design report for a site of the applicant’s choice. The course instructor must approve the site selection.

Up to 20 non-certificate students, submitting no design report and unlimited monitors, with no participation, may join in.

To be on the mailing list for an updated course preregistration package, email [email protected] or for more information regarding course fees visit


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