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The Italian Permaculture Association:
the "Italian Academy of Permaculture"

In Italy, Permaculture was very little known in 1996 when two representatives of a new international association, the GEN-Global Ecovillage Network, gave a lecture about it to a conference in Alessano (Apulia) in front  of hundreds of ecovillages representatives, coming from all the 5 continents. Many of these representatives already knew and experienced permaculture and this was the occasion in which build interest and community around it.

In 2000, Torri Superiore Ecovillage (Liguria) invited two permaculture teachers from the Spanish Permaculture Academy (Richard Wade and Ines Sanchez) to teach the first 72h Permaculture Design Course in Italy.

In 2003, after two years of apprenticeship with Richard Wade and Andy Langford (of the British Permaculture Academy), following this course, the first graduates (Marino Barboncini, Massimo Candela, Saviana Parodi and Stefano Soldati) were awarded with their Diploma in Applied Permaculture by the British Permaculture Academy.
The Italian Permaculture Academy was “unofficially” born.

The Italian Permaculture Academy was officially founded as a non-profit organisation in 2006, by those first Italian graduates from the British Permaculture Academy.

The main purposes of the Italian Permaculture Academy are:

  • promoting and disseminating the principles and spirit of Permaculture
  • assist the educational processes of students that wish to obtain the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design

Currently the Italian Academy has about 450 members, of which 54 are Diploma holders and 146 are graduating and actively engaged in their Diploma Pathway.

Since 2000, there have been many PDCs and Italian people and businesses are engaging in permaculture, together with agronomists and engineers who have studied the principles and applications.

The path to graduation (the Active Learning Pathway) is to attend a course until the completion of the standard form of 72 hours, taught by any teacher from one of the recognized Permaculture Associations. At the end of the PDC, aspiring designers begin their learning process, under the supervision of the tutors, lasting at least 2 years. The "Diploma of Permaculture Design" will be celebrated with the presentation of their projects in front of a committee.

Those who have attended a PDC can join the Italian Academy of Permaculture.

Overview of the different Permaculture diploma systems

Country:  Italy
Diploma name: Permaculture Diploma
Number of Diploma Holders: 54
Current students:
Certifying body: Accademia Italiana di Permacultura
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Prerequisites: Successful completion of the 72 hour Permaculture Design Course
Requirements to complete:

The candidate:

  • has been continually a member of the permaculture association at least 2 years (and is still a member of the association when asking for a diploma)
  • filled an application form for the diploma holders and sent it to the Council of the association, stating the name of the Tutors and with a draft or proposal for the Design
  • after a minimum of 2 years of practical experience, must present one complex Design, which includes many well documented sub Designs
  • is invited to make at least one short presentation (25’) of the Design and evaluate the feedbacks, during one of the 2 national meetings that the Academy holds during the year, before proceeding to the Diploma
  • the Diploma accreditation takes place in a national meeting after formal approval of the tutors,in a 45’ session in which the candidate must show evidences of the work that has being done during the years of Permaculture apprenticeship
  • The candidate’s work is evaluated by a Commission (nominated by the assembly during the meeting), which will analyzeall the requisites (designs, documentation, implementation of permaculture in life/design, symmetry)
Process details:
1 Documented Complex Design
1 Mentor who documents meetings
1 Design Tutor (must be Diploma Holder and active member of the Academy)
1 Pathway Tutor (must be Diploma Holder and active member of the Academy)
2 Tutorials a year
2 Years Minimum, from the formal approval of the candidate pathway from the Tutors and the Academy
Cost:  €30     (Annual Membership for the Academy, including the pathway Tutoring)