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Permaculture Design Course – Rancho Mastatal

April 22, 2020 - May 5, 2020

Join our diverse team of permaculture instructors led by Scott Gallant for this annual life-changing 2-week experience. The course covers the core Permaculture Design curriculum and emphasizes creating diverse multi-functional human landscapes based on ecological patterns. Utilizing Rancho Mastatal as a living classroom, the class will mix lectures and hands-on work, exploring design solutions for both temperate and tropical regions.  Putting Permaculture into practice, the course concludes with students working in teams to create their own permaculture site design. This course is applicable to anyone with an interest in designing resilient and regenerative futures as well as professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, ecology, education, farming and community development. The whole-systems design thinking outlined in the course will give participants the tools to re-design and improve their surroundings; from gardens, farms and homes, to livelihoods, relationships and communities.

To learn about who this course is designed for, learning outcomes, what to bring, and much more, please read our PDC Course Information Book.

Topics covered include:

  • History of Permaculture

  • Principles and Ethics of Permaculture Design

  • Design Methodologies and Site Analysis & Assessment

  • Pattern Languages in Culture and the Landscape

  • Reading the Landscape and Pattern Recogintion

  • Simple Mapping and Surveying Techniques

  • Client Interviews and Goal Setting

  • Map Reading

  • Master Planning and Design Presentations

  • Climate and Microclimate Design

  • Water: Cycles, Catchment, Ecology, Conservation, Treatment

  • Greywater and Blackwater Systems

  • Earthworks, Pond Construction, & Water Storage

  • Soils: Biology, Ecology, Fertility Strategies

  • Biochar, Biofertilizers, Mulching, Biomass Production, Microorganisms Cultivation, Compost Making

  • Introduction to Keyline Design and Holistic Management

  • Gardening from the Tropics to the Temperate Regions

  • Orchards Management and Agroforestry

  • Plant Propagation, Grafting, Nursery Management

  • Silvopastural and Aquaculture Systems

  • Fermentation, Post Harvest Handling, and Harvest Strategies

  • Shelter and Siting

  • Natural Building Techniques

  • Urban and Suburban Permaculture Applications and Case Studies

  • Energy and Appropriate Technology: Photovoltaics, Biodigestor Design, Alternative Cooking Models

  • Regenerative Economic Models

  • Social Structures, Decision Making, and Community Organizing

  • Professional Designer Project Case Studies


The course will be taught in English and simultaneously translated into Spanish.  Este curso será traducido simultáneamente al español . Se requiere un mínimo de dos hispano hablantes para ofrecer servicios de traducción.


permaculture porvenir design scott gallant costa rica

Scott Gallant

Scott Gallant is an agroforester and food system designer with nearly a decade of experience working in Central America. He is the co-founder of Porvenir Design, a landscape design firm specializing in productive landscapes. He graduated from Wabash College in 2008 with a degree in Economics. As the farm manager at Rancho Mastatal he works with an amazing team to cultivate 15 acres of an emerging tropical agroforest. 

Passionate about regenerative agriculture, holistic thinking, ethnobotany, community development, and re-skilling, he still makes time to hike and bike, read exhaustively, and work on his basketball jump shot and frisbee throw.  He and his partner Laura have traveled extensively in Latin America, leading to a love of the culture, food, and language, which they speak.  Scott  writes for the Permaculture Research Institute and has been featured on the Permaculture Voices podcast.

You can find him on instagram here.

Rachel Jackson
Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design from the Conway School in Conway, Massachusetts. She has been practicing permaculture in the tropics since 2009, working in both the rainforests of Costa Rica and the dry forests of Nicaragua. She is passionate about creating harmonious, healthy relationships between humans and the landscape. From urban renewal projects in New England to food forests in Latin America, Rachel has used her skills to create integrated, whole-system designs in difficult locations. She has also worked as a garden-based youth educator, art handler, photographer and carpenter and harbors a life-goal of trying as many varieties of tropical fruits as possible.  

permaculture costa rica


After being a flying seed, traveling with the wind to many places and dimensions, Durgà attended EARTH University (Costa Rica) to study agronomy. She then received a MS in Holistic Sciences at Schumacher College (UK). After school she worked with ProNativas (identifying plants with very cool botanists), received a diploma from the Permaculture Institute, and began co-teaching the PDC with Scott Pittman, which she has been doing for the last eight years in Costa Rica.  Durgá planted her roots at the Sat Yoga Ashram in 2011 and she has been steadily growing there since, while co-coordinating permaculture areas, like growing food, erosion control, waste management, making cheese, and so forth. At Sat Yoga, she finally stayed still enough to observe, the inner and the outer, and realized there is more unknown than known, so every day is a constant learning: how to design with that awareness that we don’t know? And that the more we know, the less we realize we do know… ?

She is fascinated by the invisible structures of permaculture, after observing that this is where most projects fail. Dedicated to a life of service to re-design and re-dream the whole thing, she fully trusts that a new world is possible. She understands that we must start with new foundations, that we cannot use the same “principles” the present society is based on, that this is a moment of passage, of transition. Miracles happen: when you change, the world changes around you. She has no doubt that a new world is been born, and that birth is invisible to our eyes, but not to our heart.

permaculture costa rica porvenir design

Alejandro Arango

Alejandro Arango Berrocal is an architect and urban gardener who works to promote strategies for a greener urban lifestyle. He is the co-founder and director of Huertas Donde Sea; a social impact project focused on the implementation and development of urban agriculture, permaculture and regenerative planning. In other words, 10 years of promoting experiences for a possible ecological future.

Within his multidisciplinary work, he has coordinated and collaborated in several urban renewal projects, such as social and landscape design matters for rescuing urban rivers, reactivating public urban spaces, social impact design,  community markets, festivals,  school gardens,  cultural education events and finding the ways to revive un-used urban land.

For the last year, half of his time, he has been working in the Curridabat Municipality, as part of an innovation team, building strategies and prototypes for food security, the maintenance and promotion of urban agriculture and its social alliance, designing interactive gardens, regenerative landscape and other urbanism deep eco-visions.

Alejandro is most active in communities  with  social and economic risk, and in his words “kids are the most fertile soil, where we should  plant the seed of change for possible sustainable future”.  


The course will start at 9 a.m. on April 22.  Students are encouraged to arrive on April 21.  Lodging the night of April 21 is included in the cost of the class.  


The course will end at around 5 p.m. on May 5.  Most students will depart on the morning of May 6.  Lodging the night of May 5 is included in the cost of the class.   


Central Americans, US$950
Residents and Ex-Pats, US$1,350
Foreigners (non-Central American) US$1,500

These prices include 15 nights lodging, all meals (except on Sunday nights when we support a local restaurant), course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge.


Central Americans can apply here for limited scholarships.  

permaculture costa rica porvenir design


For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.

Course Payment

Please follow the link for payment options.


Please see our cancellation policy here.


To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form.  For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at [email protected] and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a  minimum of 8 students to run the course.


April 22, 2020
May 5, 2020
Event Category:


Rancho Mastatal
Costa Rica
506 2200-0920
View Venue Website

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