Cornell’s Online Permaculture Course begins January 20th, 2020.


Study permaculture online through Cornell University’s distance learning program.

Create a design portfolio based on your own project and complete all three of the courses from home to earn a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).


Instruction and facilitation is led by Michael Burns of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute who has been teaching and practicing permaculture since 2005 at Cayuta Sun Farm.

Enrollment for the first course Permaculture: Fundamentals of Ecological Design is open. Sign up and learn more at:

The first 6.5 week long course and provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design.

Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of a design for a site of their choosing.

While the course is online, the format is designed for consistent interaction between instructors and students through forums and review of assignments. Readings and presentations will be directly applied through hands-on activities students will engage with at home.

There are two additional permaculture design courses: 

Permaculture Design: Ecosystem Mimicry: Begins January, 2020

Permaculture Design: Design Practicum:Begins March, 2020 

*Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Ecological Design or Ecosystem Mimicry

Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion from the Cornell Dept. of Horticulture and Continuing Education units. Completion of all three courses gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. Students may choose to continue and complete all three courses  the course of the next year or may opt to finish it in following years.

Space is limited to 20 participants.  Fee is $675 for the first course paid via credit card at sign up. See registration link at:<> Questions about the course can be directed to the lead instructor, Michael Burns at <>.


Learn Permaculture Online and at Home with Cornell University

Cornell Permaculture

Michael Burns & Kelly Dietz created Cayuta Sun Farm to produce healthy food in an ecologicaly regenerative system. Permaculture is the central organizing framework of the farm. Learn permaculture with Michael and earn a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Permaculture Design:
Ecosystem Mimicry

January 2020

Cultivate your ecological literacy by looking at complex symbiotic relationships in both natural and constructed systems. Explore and apply systems thinking to your own garden, farm, or backyard.

Design Example

Learn permaculture while designing your own site.

This course is one of three in a series offered by Cornell University’s College of Life Sciences Extension and Outreach Program leading to a Permaculture Design Certificate issued by the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. (Read more about Permaculture Design: Fundamentals of Ecological Design and Permaculture Design: Design Practicum.)

This course is designed by Steve Gabriel of “Farming the Woods” and Wellspring Forest Farm with Michael Burns of Cayuta Sun Farm.  Both are cofounders of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. Michael Burns will be the course instructor.

Gabriel & Burns

Steve Gabriel and Michael Burns