I completed Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Design Certificate Course last year. You only need a certificate if you intend to teach permaculture. If you just want a home version for your own family, without the certificate, then you can get FREE permaculture training here:
Prof. Will Hooker, North Carolina State University (iTunes download) http://610kirby-permaculture.org/610kirby-permaculture.org/Welcome.html
Larry Korn, Open Permaculture School http://www.openpermaculture.com/
Jack Spirko, The Survival Podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgRwtMGcNe4
Just be warned that the first two schools do not use the traditional $114 textbook, Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, which covers world-wide conditions: http://www.tagari.com/store/12. Instead, the first two schools use Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Second Edition http://www.amazon.ca/Gaias-Garden-Guide-Home-Scale-Permaculture/dp/1603580298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400669218&sr=8-1&keywords=gaia%27s+garden, which is specific to cold temperate climates in North America. If you live anywhere else in the world, Mollison’s book is better for your needs. (There are free pirate versions of both on-line by torrent.)
What I found most difficult about implementing what I learned is the heavy metal contamination of soil where I live, especially lead. I had to replace the topsoil, which was very expensive. If you live in an urban area, you will, too. I had to sequester the pollutants with plants like sunflowers, mushrooms, and water hyacinth, and then dispose of them safely. I took $2,000 worth of damage from my teenage drug dealer neighbours, who don’t like the way permaculture looks. Permaculture may not be acceptable where you live. You will need a partner in crime. Otherwise, it’s backbreaking work.