Urban Permaculture Design Certification Course in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Date: August 1st through August 13th  2022

garfield garden with bioshelter

This Summer! August 1-13 2022

Registration Cost: $1200.00
Registration opens March 1 we will accept $200 deposits or if you prefer payment in full.


Please use the links below to secure your space in the program. At this time, you can register by paying a $200 deposit, or paying in full for the full registration. We will collect remaining fees before the program begins. Thanks and looking forward to meeting with you at the course!! Please inquire if you require lodging in Pittsburgh during the course.

Register Now with Deposit

Register Now –  (paid in full)


Prepare Yourself to Change the World with Permaculture!
Earn your permaculture design certification in this two week intensive hands-on course at Garfield Community Farm, Pittsburgh’s largest urban permaculture farm. Study with the author of Bioshelter Market Garden and the Food Forest HandbookDarrell Frey, farm director John Creasy , Elizabeth Lynch and other regional experts.  Course certified through the Permaculture Institute of North America. See more about our teachers below.

2022 pdc class

Garfield Community Farm History
Garfield Farm is a three acre urban farm existing on three city blocks where around twenty five homes once existed.  This land and soil of the farm were highly degraded after the homes were torn down and topsoil eroded away. Today, on this large tract of abandoned urban land, is a landscape of biodiversity, producing thousands of pounds of food every year and attracting native birds and wildlife. Through grassroots community activism the farm has been shaped into a hub of permaculture education for children and adults, a place where neighbors can get seasonal organic produce and people can come together.

mobile market

The farm is a ministry of The Open Door Church in partnership with other local congregations and community groups.

Some Logistics of the Urban Farm Experience

 Each day the PDC instructors will use Garfield Community Farm as the hand class room in morning sessions. Afternoon sessions maybe online via Zoom. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to the farm and to the field trips, but most locations are biking and/or walking distance. The two week immersion into Pittsburgh’s East End will not only give participants an in depth farm experience, but also a valuable experience in the community. Please inquire is you need lodging in Pittsburgh during the course.

Each day snacks and beverages will be provided. Special food requirements should be communicated to the leaders of the course including GF, vegan and vegetarian.

2022 pdc food forest design    garfield farm design drawing

Participation in Daily Farm Rhythms
Participants in the 2021 Permaculture Design Class will have the opportunity to work on the farm and assist with the daily and weekly chores of running a working urban farm. In addition to working on new projects at the farm students will have the opportunity to assist with the farm’s weekly farmer’s market and our CSA program. We feel the activity of Garfield Community Farm may be one of the most valuable aspects of the PDC, as participants experience a real farm serving it’s community and bringing restoration agriculture to its land.

pdc work crew

  1. Local Field Trips
    In addition to learning at Garfield Community Farm we will visit several local permaculture spots that all offer their own unique experiences of ecological farming and biodiversity.

Missional Permaculture and Eco-Spirituality

Some spaces at Garfield Farm are designed for urban dwellers to find quite, peace and a space for contemplation. Since our start, Garfield Farm has been a ministry of The Open Door Church. Social permaculture requires that people are taken care of beyond the physical needs, but also including emotional and spiritual. This PDC will consider the social implications of urban permaculture. We will also provide space for participants to fulfill some of their own spiritual and philological needs by provide time for meditation and contemplation and time with a local spiritual director, if desired. For people interested in leading urban permaculture projects with faith communities an optional “missional permaculture” track will be available during some evenings of the PDC. In this track we will understand the potential behind equipping communities of faith with permaculture. We will also go deeply into the “how” and “why” of making the ethics of permaculture central to the practice of modern communal spiritual practice.


Please use the links below to secure your space in the program. At this time, you can register by paying a $200 deposit, or whole fee. We will collect remaining fees before the program begins. Thanks and looking forward to meeting with you at the course!!

Register Now with Deposit

Register Now – (paid in full)


Educator Bios:

Elizabeth Lynch

Elizabeth Lynch

Elizabeth  currently is the Administrator of The Permaculture Institute of North America. She has managed other organic/permaculture farms, including Three Sisters Farm and FIT Farms. She has been teaching Permaculture Design and consulting in design since 2012. Permaculture Training – PDC through Living Mandala, Teaching Permaculture Creatively with Dave Jacke, Forest Garden Design Intensive with Dave Jacke.

Elizabeth grew up foraging wild edibles and gardening with her family. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the Pennsylvania State University and has worked as a wildlife researcher studying plants, birds, and fish in Pennsylvania. She has taught sustainability and environmental education since 2003 and is passionate about sharing inspiration and knowledge for us to reimagine Eden.

Her hobbies and passions include herbalism, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and spending time in her garden. Elizabeth is available for permaculture design consultation.

Darrell E. Frey  Darrell Frey is a Permaculture Design Consultant and Educator based in Western Pennsylvania. Darrell is among the first wave of permaculture practioners, having begun studying permaculture design in 1980.  After completing a PDC with Dan Hemenway in 1986, Darrell began to develop Three Sisters Farm and Nursery and was instrumental in developing the permaculture plan for The Robert A. Macoskey Center at Slippery Rock University. Both of the projects are among the oldest continuous permaculture projects in North America. Darrell is the author of Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm, New Society Publishing 2011 which serves as both a case study of permaculture applied to a five acre market garden, and as a guide for designing, building and managing bioshelters and market garden farms. He is co-author of The Food Forest Handbook, New Society Publishing 2017. Darrell currently offers permaculture education and consultation through Three Sisters Permaculture.

john creasy profile

Rev. John Creasy is the Associate Pastor at The Open Door Church, a missional church community that worships at the Bloomfield Garfield Activity Center in Garfield. John is the founder of Garfield Farm and the Farm Director. John has loved the steep learning curve of becoming an urban farmer, using permaculture design, and learning to engage the community. John lives with his family a mile from the farm in Stanton Heights where they practice permaculture in their 90 year old home with rainwater collection, solar power, off grid heating and a large backyard garden. In addition to farming Johnn and his wife Alyssa create music together as This Side of Eve.