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learn to create the world you want to live in

EAT's Mission Statement:

To bring the knowledge and resources of regenerative ecological design to communities with the greatest needs and fewest resources.

To teach visionary and practical solutions and personal sustainability to social change activists, and to teach practical skills, organizing, and activism to visionaries.

To cross-pollinate the political, environmental, and spiritual movements that seek peace, justice, and resilience.

Start with permaculture as the foundation. "Permaculture" is regenerative design: a set of ethics, principles, and practices that create beneficial relationships and whole systems. Permacuture meets human needs sustainably and heals damaged natural systems. Permaculture works with nature, or rather, teaches us to "work as nature working."

Extend the principles and insights of permaculture into progressive political organizing, and explore strategies for change. Weave in threads of Earth-based spirituality, inclusive and non-dogmatic, to connect heart and soul to the work. Add nature awareness as the touchstone. This is Earth Activist Training, a rich array of solutions, tools, and strategies to redesign our world.

Immerse yourself in this richness through classroom theory, hands-on practice, inner experience, and community. Don't forget that it's damn fun, too. Many find it life changing.

The 2-week, residential EAT First courses include a rigorous 72-hour permaculture design course—participants receive a certificate on completion.

worm bins
Amber makes new friends: earthworms

topics include

  • Permaculture principles and ethics
  • Making a spiritual connection with the elements: real air, fire, water, and earth—the equivalent of a "Magic 101" class with Starhawk
  • Nature awareness techniques (such as owl-vision, fox-walking, plant allies, & the language of birds)
  • Humans' role as Nature-in-Action.
  • Pattern thinking in design, strategy, and movement-building
  • Diversity in ecosystems and in political movements
  • Planning for big changes: global warming and peak oil
  • Indefinitely renewable agriculture, urban food growing, garden design, planting for wildlife, and food forests
  • Urban permaculture and strategies for cities
  • How to think like a watershed: collect, conserve, clean, and reuse water
  • Bioremediation: healing soil and water with beneficial bacteria, compost teas, fungi, and plants
  • Soil and forest ecology; ecology as economics, economics as ecology
  • Erosion control and soil conservation
  • "Impermaculture": temporary systems for encampments, gatherings, and emergency response
  • Renewable energy and efficient design
  • Media strategies
  • Natural building introduction and cob practice
  • Creative access to land and financing
  • Consensus process, facilitation, and conflict resolution
  • Movement building: basics of political organizing, strategy, and direct action
  • Weaving magic and ritual into action
  • How to stay grounded and centered in tough situations
  • Breaking the spell of fear, rage, grief, and frustration
  • How to renew personal energy, avoid burnout, and find hope for our world

The curriculum is not only immediately useful for students' own lives, but holds real hope for our collective future.

EAT course graduates have gone on to start intentional communities, carry out bioremediation in flood damaged New Orleans, start urban community gardens, set up permaculture encampments for major mobilizations, restore watersheds and habitats, organize campaigns against forest clearcutting and GMOs, set up teaching programs and community centers, and many other important projects. EAT grads are at work in Brazil, Africa, Palestine, Israel, Mexico, Jamaica, India, Thailand, Spain, France, England, Australia, and all over the U.S. and Canada.

college credit

Several regularly enrolled college students have successfully petitioned their schools for independent study units for the EAT course. A few graduate students have had the EAT course accepted as part of their requirements. If you're a college student, it's worth checking with your degree advisor.


students in meadow
Begin with observation

background on EAT

EAT began in late 2000 when author and activist Starhawk and permaculture designer and master teacher Penny Livingston-Stark asked some new questions: "What can permaculturalists and activists learn from each other that would make each more effective? What skills do people need to know in order to really 'save the planet'? How can we teach these skills in ways that ripple out to others?" Penny and Starhawk combined their many years of knowledge and created the first Earth Activist Training, held the following spring in 2001. EAT took root and flourished.

EAT is a creation of its teachers. Currently our core teachers are Starhawk, Erik Ohlsen, and Charles Williams. Penny, always our inspiration, is now occasionally a full co-teacher, but more often a guest teacher at the northern California EATs. Andy Goldring is a core teacher at EAT UK.

Maraiah presents to class


Originally a single permaculture design certification course, EAT has grown over the years to meet the needs of a diverse student body. Today, EAT courses are offered in locations throughout the world in the following configurations:

2-week intensive residential, Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
This two-week residential intensive offers a broad-brush overview of the regenerative design principles of permaculture. From inoculating mushrooms and digging swales to building with natural materials and sheet mulching the land, students have ample opportunity to experience these principles firsthand. Throughout the course, students work in small groups to incorporate what they are learning into real-world permaculture design projects. The course culminates in the presentation of each group’s design project — which earns each student a Permaculture Design Certificate (required for any advanced course of study).


peeling logs Tree People
seed balls Radiant Seedballs
tossing cob balls Twilight Cob Toss

Earth Activist Training
Original logo artwork by Beatriz Mendoza. Website by Terrapin.
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