Introduction to permaculture

A 1 day introduction, with practical activities in our garden in the afternoon. We are rerunning this course after its popularity in May. We know some who were keen couldn’t make the date, hopefully this one makes it into your diary!

We are a workers co-operative growing and selling edible and useful plants, focusing on perennials. We don’t use peat and never use harmful chemicals.

We use permaculture design in our business and we think you’ll benefit from learning more.

8 October 2022
9:30 – 16:30
Belper Lane End, DE56 2DL

What’s in the course?

First of all, you don’t need to know anything about permaculture or gardening to come on this course. We start at the beginning. You will learn about ethics and principles of permaculture, how to observe deeper, and be introduced to design tools. You will start to see how to apply permaculture in your life.

You’ll learn in a small group together.

Permaculture can be thought of as a holistic design toolkit. A what? Well, it brings everything together, joins the dots. And there’s a whole load of aspects to it – from ethics at the core, to different design tools you can use to help find your way.

Because of this, it’s not just helpful in the garden! It can help you create effective, efficient, healthy systems of any kind. That may be a new compost bin, sure. It might also be a more thriving way of life. What’s very likely is that what you discover on this course will open doors. We hope you’ll leave having learned lots but also wanting to learn more.

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About the teaching

The course is led by Ryan Sandford-Blackburn, who worked as Strategic Communications Coordinator for the Permaculture Association for almost 8 years. Ryan has taught several similar permaculture courses in recent years. Supported by Cynthia Troche, an experienced teacher, a gardener and parent.

Ryan has previously taught 5 such courses since 2019, as well as leading workshops on numerous other topics too. It will be quite fast-paced and information-rich, with group learning. There will be a little bit of presenting, plenty of group discussion and different styles of activities to suit different people.

In the afternoon you will see our garden and small nursery space. We’ll show you around – you can meet our plants (and buy some too if you like). We’ll take on a task together as a group, with the aim of developing some practical skills that you can take straight back to your garden space.

What others say

Here’s some honest feedback from participants on previous introduction to permaculture courses with Ryan.

“I loved being on your site and channelling the info you gave us” J, 2019

“I thought the course was really well run and your icebreaker exercises at the beginning were great for making the room feel comfortable and integrate everyone. I feel I have begun to understand the permaculture ethics and principles from what we covered which is great” F, 2019

“I enjoyed the course and learnt a lot (especially practical stuff about gardening / allotments). Some of this was through observation and the Q and As with other participants, most was from your examples in terms of layout, design, composting and mulching etc.” T, 2019

“Everything! Ryan and Lamis are wonderful, knowledgeable and nurturing teachers. This course has really opened up a new world to me, one that feels like the right ‘fit’.” Anon 1, foundations of permaculture online, 2021

“I felt Ryan was such an active permaculture practitioner, and any information or thoughts he imparted came from his lived expereince of this. So I felt fortuante to have him as a teacher.” Anon 2, foundations of permaculture online, 2021

We receive plenty of constructive feedback on all our work – we really value it and invite it! We act on what the feedback is telling us, to improve.


We ask that you pay £40-£60 for the day’s course.

If the cost of the course is a barrier to participating, please get in touch to ask about bursary places. 

Teas, coffee, water and juice are provided. Lunch is not provided – there is the option of ordering lunch from the pub on the day. Or bring your own food to be accompanied by a salad from us.

Minimum of 5 learners in the group, up to 12.

The venues

See the source image

We will be using the conservatory at the rear of The Bulls Head, Belper Lane End, Derbyshire DE56 2DL. This is an airy environment, with windows that open and two fire exits into the garden. Social distancing will be possible within this environment. We are happy to confirm group numbers with anyone who wishes confirmation.

The Bulls Head also offers hot food throughout the day and bed and breakfast too. Tannenbaum campsite is 1.7 miles away. We have some very good views and there are plenty of good circular walks in the area, should you want to make a weekend of it.

The afternoon venue is our patch, where we propagate and grow a lot of our plants, (we have another site too). You’ll get to see our garden and nursery systems and have the chance to buy plants too.

Access considerations

The nearest train station is 1.5 miles down the hill in Belper. Bus 72 stops a 10 minute walk downhill from the venue. There is a secure, dry cycle storage and a large car park.

The afternoon venue is not easily accessible to those in a wheelchair or with mobility issues – there are 2 steps up into the garden and the paths on the plot are narrow.

0-1.5 year olds are welcome, accompanying their parent or guardian.

How to book

Or if you’d prefer to pay by bank transfer, please contact us.

Refunds and cancellations: once paid, your place is confirmed. Should you need to cancel your place, we will issue a refund minus £10 administration charge if you let us know by email at least 10 days before the start of the course. If cancelling within 10 days of the course starting, we reserve the right to retain your payment. If we have to change the date and/or location of the course, we will let you know by email at the earliest opportunity.