Teaching Permaculture in Indigenous Communities

Land Restoration
Gardening Strategies & Patterns
Composting & Planting
Community Gardens
Native Agriculture
Seed Saving
Open Pollination
Genetic Diversity
Water Harvesting
Solar Energy & Climate
Sustainable Economics
Pedal Power

Cosmovision (Permaculture) Certificate Training

Now running its eighth cohort, the Indigenous Permaculture Green
Leadership training is a free, yearly, rigorous hundred-hour training
offered to community members interested in learning permaculture
design from an Indigenous perspective. One of the main goals of the IP
training is to train community leaders who are interested in and doing
work around community health, with an emphasis on food justice. Upon
the completion of the training, each student is expected to design and
implement a community-based project using the knowledge learned from
the training. Projects from past IP students include launching the City of San
Francisco's biodiesel program, and starting two community gardens in East Oakland.

Our meetings take place in the form of lectures, films, slideshows,
field trips, and lots and lots of discussion and hands-on work. Some
of the topics covered in the training include soil restoration,
sustainable food systems, wastewater management, composting, and
alternative energy sources. The several site visits that are
incorporated into the training include visits to reclaimed lots in
East Oakland, community gardens/nurseries in South Berkeley, urban
gardens in SF, waste-water treatment & recycling centers in the East
Bay, and educational production farms in Santa Cruz.

Trainings covering this type of material can often cost upwards of
 $1000, rendering the information inaccessible to those people and
communities who stand to benefit from it the most -- poor communities,
which are typically communities of color. This contributes to the perpetual
displacement of these already marginalized peoples.

On the contrary, the Indigenous Permaculture Green Leaders training
focuses on building capacity for community self-determination through
food sovereignty and also places a great deal of emphasis on respect
for all those life-forces that inhabit our neighborhoods—past,
present, and future. Needless to say, the Indigenous Permaculture
Green Leaders training is an invaluable resource to its students and
their families/communities/neighborhoods/networks.

Unfortunately, this year's training is running with a budget of $0.
This means that all of the preparation/organization/facilitation for
this program is 100% volunteer labor and expenses related to travel,
food, books and materials, and project implementation are coming
straight out of our, the students, pockets. Even so, we greatly
appreciate this rare learning opportunity and want to make sure that
the program continues to run for many years to come. We realize that a
community project can only be sustained through community support,
which is why we are asking for your support to keep this precious
learning opportunity alive. Support definitely comes in the form of
monetary donations, but also through donating materials (new and used)
to do gardening work, books, food for our meetings and anything else
that you think might be beneficial to the project.

You can help here. 

View Class Schedule

The final project is a two year commitment utilizing the teachings of Indigenous Permaculture within the community. A group presentation is required at the end of the course to discuss the final project.

  • To understand, respect, and follow the natural laws given to us by the Creator.
  • To understand natural energy flows.
  • To understand impacts on the natural environment and indigenous communities when unsustainable choices are made
  • To be conscious and responsible in our use of natural resources.
  • To establish microclimates for natural habitats that will promote a favorable environment for all living beings.
  • To create diversity for beneficial symbiotic plant and animal relationships.
  • To develop a cooperative existence with human kind and the natural world.
  • To utilize the designs, patterns and rhythms of nature.




Learn the difference between Mono-Agriculture and Traditional (Sustainable Agriculture). Focus on how can we rejuvenate areas that have been damaged by monoagriculture or by urban impact. Learn how you can increase local biodiversity and how you can create micro- climate conditions for the future health of the local ecosystem and the community.


Understand the importance of using traditional techniques of practice and observation on traditional agriculture.
Explore tools and techniques to design a garden in your community, including preparing garden beds, composting techniques, traditional fertilizers and pesticides, and seed-saving.
Explore key questions: How can you improve and restore the soil that has been abused by pesticides or others chemicals? How important it is to preserve the diversity of trees, enhance native plants, and incorporate fruit trees into the agroecology?  Community food security example will include low-income communities.


Review methods  to catch and store water.  Understand the importance of compost toilets and groundwater quality, including technology demonstration and management.  Participants will form groups and design a project around the information learned in the workshop.