Establish a rural permaculture system


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to establish a rural permaculture system from a permaculture design, as well as knowledge of a broad range of integrated plant and animal systems, earth shaping skills, soil improvement, water harvesting and work site coordination skills.

All work is carried out to comply with workplace procedures.

This unit applies to individuals who work under broad direction and take responsibility for their own work including limited responsibility for the work of others. They use discretion and judgement in the selection and use of available resources and complete routine activities.

No occupational licensing, legislative or certification requirements are known to apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Prepare to establish a rural permaculture system

1.1 Read and interpret the design for the permaculture system

1.2 Identify the site, planting methods and system features

1.3 Select materials, tools, equipment and machinery

2. Coordinate establishment of the rural permaculture system

2.1 Coordinate work tasks in a sequential, timely and effective manner

2.2 Establish the permaculture system according to work health and safety requirements and with due consideration for environmental implications

2.3 Maintain a clean and safe work area throughout

3. Prepare the area

3.1 Undertake earthworks if required

3.2 Select and apply additives to the soil as required

3.3 Mark out patterns or positions of elements on site according to permaculture design

4. Undertake positioning of elements in the rural permaculture system

4.1 Inspect elements prior to planting, introduction or installation and remove elements with major defects

4.2 Trim or treat plants with minor defects to maintain health and vigour

4.3 Position elements to enable them to develop their full potential according to zone and sector analysis, pattern understanding and the permaculture design

4.4 Provide elements with post-installation care

5. Monitor establishment of the rural permaculture system

5.1 Monitor the system and take corrective action as needed

5.2 Identify situations which will prevent elements from reaching their full potential

5.3 Complete works for the permaculture design

6. Complete establishment of the rural permaculture system

6.1 Remove or dispose of waste material from the site

6.2 Clean, maintain and store tools, equipment and machinery

6.3 Report work outcomes

Evidence of Performance

The candidate must be assessed on their ability to integrate and apply the performance requirements of this unit in a workplace setting. Performance must be demonstrated consistently over time and in a suitable range of contexts.

The candidate must provide evidence that they can:

communicate with work team members, supervisors, contractors and consultants

utilise recording, reporting, analysis and work procedure documents

read and interpret the permaculture design

prepare the area for installation of elements of design

install elements progressively over an appropriate period of time to establish the rural permaculture system

Evidence of Knowledge

The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of:

principles of permaculture and practices in a rural context

rural permaculture system design for a farm or small holding where permaculture is practiced

zone and sector analysis, for example:

consideration of the frequency of use and intensity of need of elements in the system

consideration of the spatial requirements of elements in the system

mutual benefit and connections between zones

consideration of the specific needs of the location of the system in terms of climate, access, slope, potential for wild fire, flood, tsunami or other catastrophic force

Consideration of the neighbouring or local environment, its need, products and intrinsic features

Establishment of permaculture elements:

Elements which together form a system

species chosen for their functions in the overall system including plants, animals and objects

elements chosen for mutual benefit

elements which address important functions such as energy, water, food and fuel

elements which support the needs of the system within the overall design

the objectives of the plant system establishment program, including finished plant system forms, site appearance, end use and time constraints

the interactions between plants and animals and how to maximise the benefits

cultural requirements, planting procedures and follow-up care for plants

environment and habitat requirements of animal species

the identification of pests, diseases, parasites, and deficiencies that are likely to affect plants and animals and the use of appropriate treatments

soils and appropriate soil amelioration techniques

the ecology of the native species, and their value in a permaculture system

Assessment Conditions

Assessors must satisfy current standards for RTOs. Assessors must also hold a nationally accredited Certificate III (or higher) in Permaculture. Completion of a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is not sufficient at this level.

Foundation Skills

Foundation Skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.

Range Statement


Permaculture (PER)