Announcing PDC Orkney - Press Release

We are incredibly excited to be announcing that Orkney has won the nationwide competition to stage a funded Permaculture Design Course (PDC). The grant of £2,500 has been awarded to a bid to stage the two week course in early August 2019, based at Stromness Library and supported by the Stromness Community Garden, a registered Charity.

Event organiser Rachael Milor and Trustee at Stromness Community Garden said: “Our team are delighted to welcome this groundbreaking training to Orkney Mainland, which will be offered to residents of Sutherland, Caithness, Orkney and Shetland as well as further afield. The subsidy enables us to use this opportunity to bring education in permaculture and practical sustainability to one of the most remote areas of Scotland, but one which is rich in both creative local folk and natural resources, on land and at sea. We are excited for the design element of the course which will add to the long-term vision of the already thriving Stromness Community Garden.”

The course will be taught by internationally known instructor Graham Bell from the Scottish Borders, joined by a team of experts in differing disciplines from local and national locations. Graham said: “I welcome this opportunity to revisit Orkney and help build on the enthusiasm of local people for the highest degree of self-reliance. We experimented with a short introductory course on Papa Westray in May last year, generously supported by the Papay Community Co-operative and the Development Trust; half the island turned out to our Friday night gathering! Let’s hope we have a similarly enthusiastic uptake on this, the main event.”

Answering the question “What is Permaculture” he replied: “In simple terms we learn from nature how to manage systems well which provide for all human needs. That may start with growing our own food. But it surely includes how we manage all our energy usage - building homes and workplaces which are energy efficient and delightful, working together to make sustainable management of all our society needs. Creating trade structures which are fair for all. Looking after our people, our land and all living things. Leaving the world at least as healthy and abundant as we found it, whilst treading lightly on the planet in our journey. Bringing wealth creation to the places it is most needed with consequent improvement to health and happiness." (Further thoughts and reflections on the PDC can be found here.)

"The permaculture design course is an unforgettable and life-changing experience full of fascinating insights, helping you realise your life’s dreams, and supporting others to do the same.”

Finn Weddle, Outreach Officer for Permaculture Scotland, said:  "I was overwhelmed by the amount of interest in the opportunity we advertised for a subsidised Permaculture Design Course. We were targeting the Highlands and Islands with this opportunity because they have a centuries long history of resilience in the face of challenges of climate and remoteness. The rest of Scotland has much to learn from the way in which these communities have not just survived but have excelled in many aspects of sustainability. With the upcoming challenges we all face in the context of the converging ecological, economic and political crises, we at the Permaculture Association see permaculture as an essential tool for all communities to seek their own blueprint to long-term resilience and co-sufficiency.

"Ultimately we received five inspiring and high quality applications across the whole range of the Highlands & Islands, but Orkney was chosen because of the unique opportunity to bring together like-minded folk from the archipelago and surrounding regions who otherwise might not have many opportunities to connect. We are hugely grateful to the four unsuccessful applicants for the time they spent preparing applications, and are committed to encouraging courses to take place in Skye, Eigg, Argyll and Lewis with what resources we have.

"We are also hoping to integrate into the course the first ever Orkney Growers networking and skillsharing day, and we’re excited to see what happens when the richness of Orcadian culture comes into contact with the global movement of permaculture."


For booking information about the course, please see the course listing.


Rachael Milor 07731 940 001 rachaelofstromness[at]

Antony Mottershead (Chair - SCG) stromnessacg[at]

J.Finn Weddle 0774 7731 108 scotlandworker[at]

Graham Bell 01890 88 2448 graham[at]

For all booking enquiries contact pdcorkney[at]