Bones to Bloom Online

Ecological Design Course with Optional Permaculture Design Certification Track

Posted February 6, 2021 by Robyn Mello - Most recent update on March 12, 2021

Our In-Person Bones to Bloom Eco-Design Course and PDC for Spring 2021 Sold Out in mid-December! However, we received over a dozen waitlist inquiries since, and we caught wind that another PDC course in our region has decided to postpone their spring course. With such demand, we’re choosing to offer a web version of this course with weekly online discussions for $50 below our lowest in-person tuition rate. Ecological Design or Permaculture Design Certification tracks are both available. If the online option is not right for you, please consider registering for our in-person summer/fall course--"Bloom to Bones"! Details for that at

In the online course, students will be able to view all of our course modules remotely. While online students won’t have the benefit of being literally hands-on, each Friday, six to seven hours of the previous week's in-person class time will be made available to view online in video format via our "Gurucan" platform, and we will be holding a 90-minute Zoom session every following Thursday evening from 6-7:30pm to answer follow-up questions, facilitate specific discussions, and teach modules for online students. Additional Zoom time with teachers may become available if the need arises. There will also be two weeks of 2.5 hour Tuesday/Thursday Zoom sessions on PDC weeks for those who choose to pursue the full 72-hour Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) Course. Certification requires additional completion of a final design project presented by each student on July 11th. Full course curriculum topics by date below.

This course is open to a maximum of 20 PDC students, with a total of 30 total registration slots.


  • Ecological Design Online Option: $600
  • Permaculture Design Online Option: $850


Email Robyn Mello at with your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address, and submit a registration deposit of at least $300 to hold your space in the course.

Payment options are as follows:

  • Venmo to @ edenspore
  • PayPal to via “Friends and Family” option
  • Cash App to $robynmello
  • Check or Money Order made out to “Robyn Mello” and mailed (e-mail Robyn to request mailing address)
  • Cash hand-delivered to Robyn Mello or Benjamin Weiss (e-mail Robyn to arrange)


Robyn Mello is an earth-worshipping designer, writer, organizer, forest gardener, herbalist, builder, musician, and mother. She received her Permaculture Design Certification from Melissa Miles in 2014, Advanced Permaculture Design Certification from Peter Bane and Jono Neiger in 2015, and Permaculture Teacher Certification from Pandora Thomas and Lisa DePiano in 2015. Much of Robyn’s permaculture and social justice background has been self-taught and through direct experience, beginning as a teenager but diving into these worlds most deeply upon graduating from The University of Delaware in 2009. She worked with The Philadelphia Orchard Project to design and train others in biodiverse community orcharding from 2010 through 2017, started a dozen community gardens with a grassroots vacant lot gardening organization she founded called Philly Food Forests from 2010 to 2013, worked as Gardens Manager and Nature Educator for Historic Fair Hill in North Philadelphia from 2011 to 2013, organized the Occupy Vacant Lots campaign with Occupy Philly activists interested in gardening and community organizing from 2011 to 2013, started a small organic farm in Upper Bucks County while living off-the-grid in a tiny house in 2013, worked as an Environmental Justice Researcher with The Delaware Environmental Institute from 2013 to 2015, redesigned and rehabilitated two neglected homes from 2014 through 2018, and she is just now pursuing a lifelong dream of exploration and conservation with a 100-acre plot of land in Upstate New York. She has been fully self-employed through her multifaceted life project and business, Edenspore Design, since 2017.

Benjamin Weiss is a certified permaculture designer and teacher, activist, herbalist, farmer, musician, and writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ben studied natural building and permaculture at The Farm Ecovillage Training Center, received a permaculture teacher certification from CRMPI, studied urban agriculture at Growing Power, and has studied herbalism with Sarah Preston of Radiance, shamanic dreaming techniques with Adhi Moonien Two-Owls, and forest garden design with Dave Jacke. Ben was also the administrator and a long-time volunteer for the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice, and has helped to organize many other initiatives and actions related to racial and environmental justice. Ben has facilitated PDCs and many other classes and workshops, has designed and managed four organic farms, and forages professionally. He owns and manages Susquehanna Apothecary and Urban Edge Farm.


  • Wilson Alvarez - Woodland Steward, Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education and Inventor, Rebel Garden Tools
  • Lindsey Sloat - Ecologist, Researcher with Colorado State University
  • Douglas Smith - Bureau Chief of Planning, City of Lancaster
  • Kendra Hoffman - Founder, Ladybug Earthcare
  • Dale Hendricks - Owner, Green Light Plants Permaculture Nursery
  • William Padilla-Brown - Owner, Mycosymbiotics
  • Zack Elfers - Owner, Nomad Seed Project
  • Harrison Rhoades - Livestock Farmer, Rising Locust Regenerative Farm


“Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your full-day permaculture intensive at the Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture 2020 conference. You all did a great job presenting the course, and I think it was great the way you all overlapped with your areas of expertise. Ben was great for hands-on practicality of setting up a space and the logistics; you beautifully covered wellness, which is not discussed enough in any setting; and Harrison was great at presenting a closed-loop system using livestock. The overlap was in repairing our land and ourselves through our work, and I think it really created a positive environment to tie us back into these closed-loop systems and observe what is going on around us. Thank you for your contributions in other sessions and in your personal time, as well. I hope to see you again and hear about your endeavors.” --Chris K., Pittsburgh, PA

WEEK 1 - April 16th to April 22nd - Intro to Ecology

  • Gathering of Group Agreements, Goals Articulation and Intention-Setting
  • Student and Teacher Introductions
  • Indigenous History of Susquehanna Valley and Land Acknowledgment
  • Intro to Ecology
  • Q&A with Lindsey Sloat
  • Using Field Guides

WEEK 2 - April 23rd to April 29th* - Intro to Permaculture - PDC Students Only

  • History of "Permaculture"
  • Defining Permaculture
  • Permaculture Ethics
  • Permaculture Principles
  • Zone Mapping
  • Niche Analysis
  • Sectors and Vectors
  • Intro to PDC Project Rubric

WEEK 3 - April 30th to May 6th - Intro to Wild Ecosystems

  • Ecological Guided Tour of the Woods around Urban Edge Farm
  • Reading the Landscape
  • Intro to Primitive Skills - Shelter & Fire
  • Sensory Awareness Games
  • Sit Spots

WEEK 4 - May 7th to May 13th - Ecological Systems

  • Patterns & Pattern Language
  • Intro to Systems Analysis
  • Systems Games Demo
  • Gaia Theory
  • Weather patterns presentation
  • Introduction to wetlands and beavers in the landscape
  • Sectors and Vectors

WEEK 5 - May 14th to May 20th* Intro to Permaculture Design Certification Project - PDC Students Only

  • Review of Design Tools
  • Intro to Design Practicum Rubric
  • Intro to Mind Mapping Presentation
  • Group Critiques
  • Design Tools Breakout Exercise with guiding questions
  • One-on-One Teacher Feedback Sessions
  • Past Year Project Examples & Public Speaking Pointers
  • Design Software Ideas & Suggestions

WEEK 6 - May 21st to May 27th - Self-care, Social Justice, and Advocacy as Eco-Design

  • Homework Review: Inner Landscape Applications of Niche Analysis, Zones, Sectors, and Vectors
  • Spiritual Ecology & Conscious Observation
  • Systems of communication
  • History of Environmental Movement with special focus on environmental justice & intersectionality
  • History and current status of land access for people of color
  • Pattern language for doing environmental work in low-resource communities
  • More-than-human personhood

WEEK 7 - May 28th to June 3rd - Ecological Micro-Enterprises

  • Tour of Green Light Plants Nursery and Homestead
  • Rewilding
  • Soils and Soil-building
  • Plant Propagation
  • Bio-Char
  • Zone Mapping Review and Breakouts

WEEK 8 - June 4th to June 10th - Rural and Broadacre Ecological Farming

  • Tour of Rising Locust Farm
  • Ecological Livestock Management
  • Community Governance Models
  • Beekeeping Presentation and Demos
  • Poultry and Fowl

WEEK 9 - June 11th to June 17th - Ecological Design for Urban and Suburban Landscapes

  • Tour of Urban Edge Farm
  • Intro to Mycology
  • Composting, Compost/Herbal Tea, & Composting Toilets
  • Mushroom Inoculation
  • Online and analog mapping tools and basemapping
  • Herbs and Herbal Medicine-Making Techniques for Nervous Systems, Immune Systems, and Ecosystems
  • Outdoor Forest Garden Design
  • Incorporating educational programming and community building as a means of generating income and training future farmers (best and worst practices)
  • Marketing and Budgeting for Permaculture Projects
  • Tour of Ben's Urban Backyard Design

WEEK 10 - June 18th to June 24th - Urban-scale projects and course wrap-up

  • Permaculture in tropical and arid climates with design strategies
  • Case study of desert permaculture design
  • Tropical permaculture and Swidden Agriculture presentation
  • Lunch Panel: Professional Pathways in Eco-design
  • Working with local government: Zoning and Ordinances
  • Urban Design Exercise - Final review
  • Deep Organic Methods of Food-growing
  • Tour of County Park Community Garden


WEEK 11 - July 11th* - Permaculture Design Project Presentations - PDC Students Only

Details on scheduling to be determined by class size

We truly hope this is a viable option for many of our interested students, and we're looking forward to the possibility of hosting more people who are otherwise unable to join our in-person class due to barriers of distance, transportation, health concerns, or accessibility. After reading through the course details, feel free to reach out to Robyn with any questions at

Looking forward to meeting you remotely and sharing our dynamic and diverse curriculum!

Be well,

Robyn & Ben

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