Open Hearth PDC Programs

Our Open Hearth programs combine the wonderful diversity of course content from a standard Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) with a hands-on, practical approach to learning through doing, smelling, seeing, hearing, & feeling – emphasizing a supportive & mutually beneficial learning environment. Organized by Cody & Megan of Land by Hand & Living Hearth Farm & School, we facilitate the exploration of the resilient culture, communities, & skills of the Upper Midwest bioregion; cultivating leaders of the next generation to continue this beautiful story…

Two options for you to join our PDC this season!

6 Month Apprenticeship PDC & 10 Day Immersive PDC

Scroll down to learn more…


What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is an integrative and solution focused approach of utilizing principles, ethics, & strategies for living a thriving livelihood in harmony with Mother Earth. The word ‘Permaculture’ is a combination of the words Permanent Culture; the goals of this process seek to design for a culture of natural abundance. Learn more about the principles & ethics of Permaculture > scroll down, or watch some Videos >


What is a PDC?

An introduction to Permaculture is the PDC (Permaculture Design Certification); a 72+ hour learning journey which provides an integrated, whole systems overview of both natural and social aspects of our planet. Our PDC has evolved from its origins as a brilliantly successful and transformative curriculum developed by Bill Mollison & David Holmgren in the 1970’s and integrates many mentors who have helped contribute since.


Our PDC Course emphasizes a hands-on, intensive, practical approach to learning skills that empower humans to awaken, connect the dots, and take action to break the chains of slavery to destructive systems & culture. Inspired by many Indigenous cultures around the world, Permaculture develops skills in observation, design, & implementation for creating resilient abundance in food, shelter, water, craft, community, livelihood, wellness & our most precious resource – time.


Who is a PDC for?

Are you interested in…

  • Transforming problems into solutions
  • Transitioning to a new career, livelihood & lifestyle
  • Gaining more free time for life, friends & family
  • Building community & regional resilience
  • Starting a rural or urban homestead
  • Developing an independent livelihood or start-up business
  • Becoming more effective communicator, activist, & educator
  • Farming, gardening & working with nature
  • & more!

“I began the Open Hearth program as part of my search for a livelihood that filled me up. I thought it would be ideal to pursue opportunities outside of a traditional educational environment to gain the skills necessary for working with plants, bugs, dirt, you name it. The holistic approach of this program was appealing to me.” – Student


What will we learn about & explore in this program?

The Open Hearth PDC program explores many types of disciplines, skills, & wisdom through the diverse perspectives of our amazing partners; weaving together design, community mentorship and hands-on practical experience with the three ethics of Permaculture in mind: Earth Care, People Care, & Fair Share


  • Gardening, Farming, & Agroforestry
  • Ecological / Whole Systems Design & Pattern Language
  • Natural Building & Architecture
  • Water, Soils, Earthworks, Climate, Geology, & Natural History
  • Plant/Tree/Fungi: ID, Propagation, Seed-Saving, Polyculture Design
  • Bio & Myco-Remediation / Regeneration
  • Raising Animals & Wildlife Habitat


  • Community & Village Building
  • Art & Placemaking
  • Ecovillages & Cohousing
  • Herbalism, Wellness & Yoga
  • Food Preservation, Cooking & Wildcrafting
  • Gourmet & Medicinal Mushroom Cultivation
  • Re-Wilding, Hunting, Fishing & Wilderness Skills
  • Open Source Learning & Home-schooling, Self-Education


  • Regenerative Business, Gift Economy / Barter / Trade
  • Entrepreneurship / Startup skills
  • ‘Right Livelihood’ & Lifestyle Design
  • Financial Resiliency & Debt-Free Strategy
  • The Art of Mentoring, Facilitation & Educating
  • ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’, Activism & Communication
  • Bioregional Resilience & Invisible Structures



What types of hands-on projects?

  • Building medicinal Hugelkultur growing beds
  • Designing & hosting events for placemaking, art & community building
  • Planting hundreds of Blueberry bushes
  • Designing/Implementing passive rainwater capture for community food forest
  • Designing & Planting out crops for a CSA farm
  • Planting urban pollinator boulevards & vegetable beds
  • Maintaining urban wildlife habitat
  • Medicinal plant walk, foraging & wildcrafting
  • Implementing rainwater capture / storage system for homestead use
  • Teaching food preservation & canning with school garden / family learning classes
  • Maintenance & mulching pathways for urban demonstration site
  • Designing/Implementing a food forest
  • Inoculating Shiitake Mushroom logs
  • and so much more

Consider our PDC a crash course journey in listening to your heart, opening your mind, and learning the practical skills of freedom to share your true gifts with the world. We may provide a spark to light many fires; the choice of which fire grows is up to you.


How can a PDC help you?

Here’s what some of our past PDC students are doing now…

  • Environmental Non-Profit Executive Director
  • Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council & Community Sustainability Coordinator
  • Developing new Small Business Ownership Models
  • Landscape & Homestead Design business
  • Improving Community Cohousing & Intentional Community
  • Grief Ritual Facilitation organization
  • Planning a Farm to Table & Production Partnership business
  • Sustainable Building, Contracting & Consulting
  • Community Church Partnership, Food Forest Planting
  • Farming, Fungi Cultivation & Education organization
  • Designing Urban, Suburban & Rural Homesteads
  • Developing multifunctional Landscape Design business for Schools
  • Outdoor Education & Preschool Teacher
  • Regenerative Farming & Growing a Regional Hub
  • Planning Urban Placemaking & Art Events
  • Studying International Social Entrepreneurship overseas

What makes our PDC programs unique?

We emphasize a hands-on, intensive, & practical approach to learning skills that empower humans to awaken, connect the dots, and take action to break the chains of destructive systems, livelihoods & culture. Our program seeks to connect with the experienced folks of our community & region who have developed regenerative & diverse expressions of leading a life in this place we call home and share our strategies to transform problems into solutions.


Which PDC is right for me?

A comparison….

Our 6 Month Apprenticeship PDC 

  • Large emphasis on personal project
  • Ongoing mentorship (via in-person & remote check-ins)
  • Time for integration in between class days
  • Spread out over growing season & fits into daily life schedule
  • Visits to several field sites & opportunity to hear several perspectives
  • Establishing lifelong connections with PDC cohort & extended area permaculture scene
  • Schedule is 4/5 – 10/19, 2019

Our 10 Day Immersive PDC

  • Immersive experience
  • Quick turnaround — receive a PDC after only 10 days
  • Great for folks not located near the twin cities
  • Community meals, camping & living on site
  • Beautiful location as a living example of permaculture design
  • Opportunity to thoroughly get to know land, see real projects through to completion
  • Establishing deep connections with PDC hosts and their site
  • Schedule is 8/9 – 8/18, 2019


Ready to learn more or apply?




What our past students say…

“Hands-on, experiential and discussion-based; Reflective and introspective; Non-traditional; Relational vs. transactional. Unique. Nurturing. Powerful.”

“Great community- loved the meals and the community building. Cody and Megan are awesome caring people and great community resources. Well organized. Plenty of opportunities to make connections and network with other people. A great way to deepen your working knowledge around farming, gardening, landscape design, working with the earth, working with the community.”

“A hands-on dive into nature-based skills to use in growing food and growing community sustainably and regeneratively. A way to learn about all meanings of permaculture – a multi-faceted way of being, focusing on living in intelligently and in harmony with the land and your surroundings.”

“Throughout the course connections were made. My dreams and visions now had words and language and science behind them. I have been, through taking this course, refined. Although still I am not fluent in this new language, I can join in the conversation. This language is what has been missing for me for all these years. It’s as if now I can start to really live. I have reached the base of the mountain, Cody and Megan you both have taught me to speak, now it’s time to climb.”

“A great way to gain practical skills to work with the land around you in a natural way. Lots of self discovery and inner landscape work. Very co-created and highlights personal character strengths in a working group setting.”

“Throughout the course I have most enjoyed the cosmic play of characters within the group that has enhanced who I am and how I see and how I am in the world. The deep conversations and critical thinking was a good fire for my life. Saturday farm tours were a potent way for me to see these classroom concepts in action and get to see all the flavors and styles of the permaculture lifestyle. There were also many new connections made and methods learned, sharing about my farm and projects with all of our classmates and expanding the circle that way. I am very grateful for this time of reflection, and it is truly bittersweet reminiscing back on this course, many precious memories and friendships that will live on.”

“Megan and Cody are outgoing teachers, welcoming, inclusive, thoughtful, a team to support if you want to support their own growth as teachers. Passionate, grateful, useful, fast-paced. Peers/not hierarchical. Partners and guests: absolutely 100% inspiring. Measured, thoughtful elements. Take life and just live it elements. Practical yet passionate. Giving. Life-long learners. Regular people, not perfect, just trying and doing their best, thus very relatable.”

“The most powerful connections for me, have been with other members of the PDC. I truly adore our group, and am so grateful to have crossed paths with such a wonderful community of people! It was a very grounding experience for me to build these connections during such a significant time of transition in my life and I am very much looking forward to staying connected.”


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