Foundations of Permaculture at UNH

Foundations of Permaculture

Permaculture refers to the philosophy and development of a sustainable ecosystem that is self-sufficient and meets the needs of its inhabitants, from food and shelter to fuel and entertainment--thereby reducing impact on the environment. Permaculture design and principles are derived from the laws of nature at work and challenge human beings to live sustainably in innovative and creative ways.

This online course is the first of three online courses that will culminate in permaculture certification. It will give you a foundational understanding of permaculture and offers a basic overview for developing a resilient future for the self, home and community “starting where you are.” A synopsis of permaculture ethics, principles, and key concepts will provide a base for developing one’s own permaculture solutions while working with nature on a variety of sites and conditions.

One week prior to the course, during the Intro Week, you will establish a UNH IT account required to access the Canvas online teaching system and also receive detailed information from the instructor. Register early to ensure your IT account can be set up in a timely manner! 

What You Will Learn


Foundations of Permaculture


  • Permaculture Zones
  • Permaculture Systems
  • Importance of Biodiversity
  • Preparedness and Resiliency

What You will Learn

  • Essential elements of foundational permaculture
  • Life concepts within the permaculture framework
  • The importance of biodiversity and interconnectedness
  • How to embody permaculture’s philosophy and practice

Required Texts

Neiger, J. (2016) “The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities”
ISBN: 978-1-61212-427-8

Chase-Rowell, L. (2012 )Integrated Landscaping: Following Nature’s Lead”
ISBN: 978-1-611-68-278-6


Tools & Materials


Foundations of Permaculture

Required Texts

Neiger, J. (2016) “The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities”
ISBN: 978-1-61212-427-8

Chase-Rowell, L. (2012 )Integrated Landscaping: Following Nature’s Lead”
ISBN: 978-1-611-68-278-6

Online Participation

Hosted by UNH Canvas learning management system. Participants must be prepared to:

1) access the course regularly via the internet and participate in a dynamic learning environment with other students and the instructor,

2) organize their time to complete assignments and meet deadlines, and

3) respond to an email from UNH IT department to set up an account and access the course online.

Technical Requirements for an online course
1) Recently purchased Mac or PC
2) An internet connection via a hardwire(!) is preferable
3) A high speed wireless internet system at home is OK (Public wireless connections are not recommended)
4) Internet speeds of at least 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down). http://www.speedtest.net
5) Laptop camera or USB camera (optional)
6) Microphone or USB headset

In addition, participants should be comfortable with the following computer skills:

  • Use a word processing application including features such as copy/cut/paste
  • Attach and upload documents and assignments
  • Send and receive email
  • Use a supported web browser to access your course and other online resources on the Web.

Instructor Bios


Foundations of Permaculture

  • Lauren Chase Rowell

    Lauren Chase-Rowell

    Lauren Chase-Rowell has been studying, teaching and practicing permaculture prior to her first Permaculture Design Certificate course in 1997. Her 19 acre homestead is an example of the practice of permaculture. She integrates permaculture and the importance of biodiversity into her landscape practices, courses, livelihood and lifestyle. Lauren holds a Permaculture Teaching Certificate and teaches for Great Bay community college, Natural Resource Stewards, and New Hampshire Technical Institute. Lauren has introduced and taught permaculture practices to NH Master Gardeners, NH Department of Environmental Services, UNH Cooperative Extension, as well as other quality courses at premier sustainability venues. Lauren initiated a NH Permaculture Teacher Certification course in 2014 and obtained a second PDC from OSU in 2016.



Foundations of Permaculture

A Living Example of Learning

Lauren is a mentor, a colleague and a friend who I admire dearly for her honesty, openness and caring learning and teaching environment. Her students are always so appreciative, and deeply moved, by her personal stories and experiences, and her ability to bring out the best in everyone. I am a better teacher to my students because of Lauren’s guidance on how to teach and be authentic and real in the classroom. I bring my classes to her home to see the true master in her element, and I often recommend students to study with Lauren and seek her out.  She is an asset to the educational world and a living example of what learning should always be.


Stacey Doll ⋅ Owner, Rooted by Stacey, LLC

Depth of Experience

As an educator and lifelong student I have had the pleasure of teaching alongside Lauren and being a student of hers on numerous occasions. Lauren is a talented educator and her work is focused on the needs of each of her students. Lauren is thoughtful and knowledgeable, she teaches from a depth of experience that many people do not have. She generously shares this experience for the benefit of everyone she works with, and I have benefited greatly from learning from Lauren. She deeply embodies the principles and ethics of Permaculture and we are fortunate that she is committed to sharing permaculture education with others!

Steve Whitman ⋅ Resilience Planning & Design LLC

A Passionate and Soulful Teacher

I have had the good fortune to work with Lauren as a researcher as well as a mentee. Besides being a consummate botanist, gardener, cook, designer, and ecologist, Lauren is a deeply passionate and soulful teacher. My first interaction with her was through an interview I conducted with her as part of a research project funded by UNH’s SURF program. I can easily say that I learned more about myself and my place in the world in the first hour I had with Lauren than I had in my first three years at school. After our interview, she took me for a walk around her land. As we moved through the different gardens and ecosystems she has cultivated there, she asked me to identify and describe what was going on. She was the first to ask me to open my eyes to deep observation of the world. I have since used these observation skills as a permaculture consultant and designer. Her way of asking just the right questions at just the right time, of thinking from a wider paradigm, and of asking her students to deeply self-reflect make her the mentor that she is. Any institution would be fortunate to have a teacher such as Lauren as part of their team, and any student that has the opportunity to work with her will no doubt be positively affected by her teacher as well as her presence in the world.

Molly McCahan

Legendary Teacher and Practitioner

Lauren Chase-Rowell's standing as a teacher and practitioner of permaculture are legendary, both in the wider field and in her locale.  Her ability to reach students where they are, young and old, whether experienced or new to permaculture, is a gift, the mark of a true teacher.  Her encyclopedic knowledge of plant functions, properties and interactions is balanced by a broader awareness of the larger topics they tie into: ecology, ethics, climate change, and environmental restoration.
My history with Lauren spans several intense design charrettes, a PDC course I took at Shaker Village in 2015, the Natural Resource Steward course she co-teaches, as well as working together on the planning committee for Permaculture Day 2015.  Coming from a background of resource management, farming, forestry, and gardening myself, her tutelage expanded my understanding of permaculture and helped to focus my energies in more productive ways.  This has resulted in more effective gardening and restoration on my own land, as well as on projects I've done for others.
Perhaps the greatest testament is that many of her students, myself included, seek to continue to learn from her beyond an initial course, and in so doing become part of an ever-widening community of learning and teaching.

Laurie Lockwood
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