FSE-50306 Ecological Design and Permaculture


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical28
Group work10
Excursion (one day)8
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)ir. C van Veluw
Lecturer(s)ir. C van Veluw
prof. dr. ir. JSC Wiskerke
dr. DF van Apeldoorn
ir. G Bartelse
I Wheeler
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. RPO Schulte

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

Basic knowledge in Biology, Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Sociology and/or Economics.

Continuation courses:

Analysis and Design of Organic Farming Systems (FSE 30306, in period 6 second half) or a thesis or internship at FSE.


Part 1 (50%) The scientific background of three aspects of Permaculture is explored: agro-ecological, socio-economic, and cultural realities influence the daily decisions of farmers. Lectures, excursions, assignments, and discussions introduce Eco-literacy, Participatory Design and Development, Climate Neutral Farming, Agro-Ecology, System Thinking and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Fallow Lands through the design method of Permaculture (a combination of scientific and indigenous knowledge). Its ethics, principles, tools and techniques are explained and examples of applied systems given.
Part 2 (30%) Student design teams are challenged to (re)design existing farms or other land using the permaculture principles. Application of the design principles at farm level, interaction with farmers and other stakeholders and feedback sessions help to fully integrate the theory of part 1 in practice. There is a mid-term assessment of the ecological, socio-economic and cultural feasibility of (re)designs by course staff and participating landowners.
Part 3 (20%) Teams present their design to course participants, staff and farmers. Grades are assigned on the combined marking of an individual exam at the end of Part 1, final designs (poster, presentation and report), and an individual exam on the last day reflecting on process and course outcomes.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the scientific and intuitive interconnection between the agro-ecological, the socio-economic and the cultural aspects of farming systems;
- apply the 10 designing principles of Permaculture on farm level;
- assess the sustainability of their (re)designed food production system;
- reflect on their own learning process and design capacities.


- lectures;
- practical extensively supervised;
- practical intensively supervised;
- excursion, problem oriented education, independent study.


Grades are assigned on the combined marking of an individual exam at the end of Part 1 (30%), final designs (poster and report, 20-20%), and an individual exam on the last day reflecting on process and course outcomes (30%).


Bill Mollison, 1997. Introduction to Permaculture. ISBN-13 978-0908228089;
Mark Shepard, 2013. Restoration Agriculture. ISBN-13978-1601730350;
Rafter Sass Ferguson and Sarah Taylor Lovell, 2013. Permaculture for Agro Ecology: Design, Movement, Practice and Worldview. A review. Agron. Sust. Dev. DOI 10.1007/s13593-013-0181-6;
S. Gliessman, 2007. The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems. CRC-press.