Join us this season for immersive educational experiences in the Costa Rican rainforest! VerdEnergia is a multicultural and diverse community with a colorful array of political and cultural approaches, practices and philosophies. Together we are pioneering a community-based, regenerative economic model with permaculture principles acting as our guide and unifying tool. We combine theory with applied practice, enabling ourselves and others to find right livelihood through practicing permaculture.

In general, permaculture courses at other places teach theory combined with some hands-on practice, but offer few practical solutions as to how one can use permaculture to meet basic needs and produce a long-term livelihood. At Verde, permaculture is not a hobby or just a class we teach, it is our way of life. With the guidance of permaculture principles, VerdEnergia is pioneering a cooperative business and economic model to help revitalize a low-income community situated in one of the most heavily deforested areas of Costa Rica. As a result of our location and community spirit, our students gain a unique insight into the reality of permaculture as daily life and reforestation as life’s work.

Our courses are perfect for those looking for an in-depth, science-centered approach to the principles of permaculture. We combine theory with applied practice, enabling ourselves and others to find right livelihood through practicing permaculture. If you are motivated to learn practical solutions for the regeneration of the planet, acquire and sharpen design and critical thinking skills, and engage fully in a thriving permaculture community, these courses are for you!


pdc by the rancho
IMG_9056 (Medium)

VerdEnergia is situated in the mountainous region of Puriscal, Costa Rica. While the Puriscal area is largely deforested, we have worked hard to reforest our corner of the neighborhood and are happily situated in a lush jungle oasis with fresh spring water, lots of fruit trees, and a few humble waterfalls. Students have full access to our facilities, including a yoga/dance studio, community library, and a spring-fed swimming pool.

Permaculture Design Certification Course

JAN 23-FEB 12, 2018

Permaculture Design Certification Course– Class limit: 15 maximum – fills up fast!
– Participants earn their PDC (permaculture design certification)

A 19-day intensive immersion course exploring the theories outlined in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual in both hands-on and classroom settings. Curriculum covers regenerative practices as well as design theory and the basics of design consultation on a professional level. Our well-rounded permaculture courses cover the many facets of permaculture and focus on practical solutions in agriculture, building and design, economics, social sciences, and politics.



Lead Instructor

Marc Tobin is an educator, consultant for groups and communities, and community organizer in the fields of sustainability, regenerative culture, and urban planning. He has led experiential and outdoor-based educational experiences for over 20 years. He is a Co-Director of The City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon, that has been widely cited as a leader in urban permaculture and placemaking. In his consulting, his clients include non-profits, businesses, neighborhood groups, ecovillages, and events. Some of the tools he uses include ecological design, sociocracy, conflict transformation, integral theory, organizational learning, social permaculture and group facilitation.

Marc began teaching in 1992 through outdoor education for children. This experience gave him a deep understanding of how to make nature based education interactive, meaningful and fun. He started teaching permaculture and ecovillage design to adults in 2005 in courses that offered credit through the University of Oregon. He has mentored many students in their research, independent studies and internships. Marc started teaching in Costa Rica in 2016, and has been increasingly focusing on international and cross-cultural community building, ecological regeneration and tropical agro-ecology.

As a semi-professional guitarist and group music leader, Marc weaves community based music into his courses and tours. He also helps design and run events that bring together music, dance, workshops, and hands-on service, such as the Village Building Convergence. With an extensive background in mindfulness and personal growth practices, he helps students and clients make crucial holistic connections between growth and healing in one’s inner experience and regenerative culture in the outer world. Previously, Marc ran the Ecovillage and Permaculture Institute at Lost Valley Educational Center, consulted in appropriate technology and renewable energy, and was a forest protection advocate. He also has lived in and helped run intentional communities for many years.

Marc holds a Master of Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from Naropa University.

Lead Instructor

Steven Ganister is a Landscape Contractor, builder/carpenter, horticulturist, designer and consultant. He is immersed in permaculture everyday, managing a developing ecovillage community in Portland, Oregon for the past 7 years, which includes a highly productive and diverse 1.5 acre permaculture garden. Steven has experience designing, installing and managing residential and commercial permaculture projects in the Pacific Northwest, Florida, and Costa Rica.

In his teaching, Steven uses his years of direct experience in permaculture implementation and maintenance to help students understand what will really work in practical applications. In 2008, Steven was farm manager at Punta Mona, a Permaculture education center on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, where he also led visitor tours. He has explored many regions of Costa Rica throughout the years, and has gained a deep understanding of the geography and culture.

In 2009, Steven undertook a year long permaculture internship at Lost Valley Educational Center, where he apprenticed with Rick Valley, one of the Northwest’s most knowledgeable permaculture practitioners. Steven grew up on an island in the Florida Keys and was often immersed in nature, and practiced obtaining food and other yields from the land and sea. This gave him a deep sense of the interconnections in nature from an early age.

He holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography from Florida State University.

(With guest instructors/lecturers Sara Czarniecki, Joshua Hughes, Amanda Wilson and Esteban Jiminez Contreras of Blacksheep Regenerative Resource Management.)


Course Prices, Upgrades and Discounts

Course starts at $1700. A non-refundable $300 deposit is due upon your registration (this is not an additional fee). The rest is paid upon arrival in cash.

We calculate course prices based on where you choose to stay, and what you choose to eat. A camping spot (with your own gear) and full vegetarian meals is included in the basic cost of the course. The price of beds (private and dorms) and meat with meals are additional. See below for details.

We are happy to offer a few subsidized or discounted spots to Costa Ricans and other residents of Central/South America. Please inquire here for information about discounts.

We have a range of accommodations available, including private rooms, dormitory beds, and camping spots. It is important to understand that our infrastructure is integrated with the surrounding natural environment; you will be safe and dry, but all rooms are open-air.

• Camping spot (No additional cost)
• Dorm bed (+$15/night)
• Private room (+$30/night)

We cannot supply tents or bedding for campers. Hammock space is very limited; please plan accordingly.

Each meal features farm-fresh, local ingredients, many of which are grown on the project site.

• Vegan (No additional cost)
• Vegetarian (No additional cost)
• Farm-direct meats (+$5/day)

All of our animal products come from locally-raised, pastured animals. Students are included in cleanup shifts. Reasonable accommodation for food allergies can be made, but indicate your needs in your registration and upon arrival.

IMG_5683fresh Solstice luncheggs and sauerkraut


Yoga Course Add-on

Regenerative Yoga Flow with Katrina Cantu

Born and raised in the hustle and bustle of Southern California, Katrina learned at an early age how to be stressed out. She left it all behind and moved to Oregon in 1997 and started studying yoga. Over the last 20 years, Katrina has traveled around the globe, absorbing the practice from many different cultures and ways of life.

Katrina’s realizations of the human condition, human suffering, and our role in it has driven her passion to make shifts into peace and happiness. This understanding is reflected in her style of teaching. Blending Hatha, Vinyasa, Kriya, Kundalini, and Sattva yoga into her classroom, Katrina caters her classes to each student to help facilitate success and restoration. She encourages all her students to find out who they truly are and to love themselves with a fierceness.

– $25/week
– Optional guided meditation every weekday morning, yoga sessions in the afternoon.
– 90 mins/session, 5 sessions/week
– All levels and body types welcome!

Please consult the information below. If you have a question that is not answered here or on the general course information page, please contact us.

What to Bring
What do I need to bring for the class?
What kind of clothes do I need to bring?
Do I need to bring my own sheets/pillow/blanket/towel?
What are some other important things I need to bring?
Can I bring any extra things to help out VerdEnergia?
What can I NOT bring?
Daily Life and Basic Needs
What will daily life be like at VerdEnergia during the course?
Where will I sleep?
What do I do about my monthly cycle?
How do I wash my clothes?
Is there hot water at the farm?
Will my computer/other device be safe at VerdEnergia?
Expectations, Community and Participation
Can I apply what I learn at your PDC to non-tropical climates?
What kind of people can take this course?
What is expected of me as a student?
What can I expect from my instructors?
Will my religion/culture/sexual orientation/gender identity be accepted at VerdEnergia?
What is the surrounding community like outside VerdEnergia?
I am a student at a University. Can my PDC at VerdEnergia count for school credit?
Financial Information
Do I qualify for a discount or scholarship?
If I decide not to take the PDC and I have already paid, can I get my deposit back?
How much spending money should I bring?
Transportation and Surrounding Area
When should I plan on coming for the course?
How do I get to VerdEnergia?
Is it easy to get on and off the farm?
Food and Allergies
Will I be well-fed at the finca? What kind of food do you eat?
I have a food allergy! Will I have acceptable food to eat?
What do I do about snacks?