Analyzing Permaculture Systems

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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This program will teach students the quantitative and hands-on skills needed to measure, calculate, and work with sun and shade patterns, greenhouses, solar energy systems, passive solar structures, water-capture and irrigation systems, soil tests and plant nutrients, composting systems, seeding rates, planting densities, and yields for annual crops, cold storage, and natural building materials. Learning will take place via lectures, workshops, labs, and hands-on field activities. Seminar readings will highlight program-related knowledge, skills, and example projects from around the world to illustrate practical applications of what we are learning together. We will use the campus farm area as our design and hands-on learning laboratory as a way to put theory into practice.

This program is particularly suited for students interested in learning the practical math skills appropriate to sustainable farming systems and ecological design. In fall we will build foundational skills in statistics and algebraic thinking by finding and analyzing examples of geometry, proportions, and data patterns in permaculture systems. In winter we will mature our mathematics by quantifying these systems through the framework of functions (precalculus). We will explore general function theory, classic families of functions (power, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, sinusoidal, etc.), and fractal geometry. Special emphasis will be placed on how each mathematical concept describes the dynamics and control of permaculture systems. You will apply precalculus modeling to your design and applications of permaculture projects.

The fall math curriculum satisfies the Master in Teaching (MiT) requirement for statistics and college algebra. The winter curriculum satisfies the math prerequisite for Integrated Natural Science (INS), and for continued studies in calculus, in programs such as Calculus I, Matter and Motion, and Ecological Dynamics. For students interested in learning how to incorporate all these systems into holistic human habitation systems, this program would serve as a solid foundation for the spring quarter offering, Permaculture Design.


Fall 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10123
So - Sr (16): 10126
Winter 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 20046
So - Sr (16): 20047

Academic details

Preparatory For

agriculture, permaculture, environmental studies, ecological design, and mathematical modeling.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$30 in fall for drawing and design supplies.


In Person or Remote
Hybrid (F)
Hybrid (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SAL 102 - Food Safe Lab