All posts by cat

About cat

Cathrine is dedicated to preserving life supporting systems in nature and in society. Her background in geography, extensive travels and working with an NGO and an embassy has given her experiences with especially poverty, gender, community development, ethnic minorities and the environment. She took an interest in permaculture first time in South Africa in 2000 while working with Zulu farmers and has studied and applied permaculture principles in her later work in Nepal and Vietnam. She has also worked as a consultant evaluating and documenting rural development projects including permaculture projects and Farmer Field Schools. In early 2010, the time was finally ripe for her to take the permaculture design course in New Zealand. She has since then attended a teacher training course, a natural building and organic gardening internship in Thailand. She is working on designing a permaculture garden and strawbale house in Denmark and started teaching introduction courses to permaculture and co-teaching PDCs.

Permaculture in Africa

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DSCF26515_tnDakar, Senegal – the western-most tip of Africa, and former slave trading post – was home to the Global Ecovillage Network’s international conference December 10 – 14.  There were meetings with the country’s king, spiritual leaders, and musical icon Youssou N’Dour (who is now Senegal’s Minister of Culture and Tourism).  This is because ecovillages (and permaculture) are a strategy of resilience for the country – Transition Towns take note! Continue reading Permaculture in Africa

Training opportunities with Aranya and Chris Evans

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Briefly before Christmas, 18 participants came together to do a 5 day intensive Training of Permaculture Teachers Course (in short: ToT) in the Ecovillage of Sieben Linden with Aranya and Chris Evans ofDesigned Visions.
After 3 days of input and intense exchange and lots of small group work, everybody of the very diverse group of participants did a microteach on day 4 – wow, what a collection of good sessions on so many interesting topics! This highlight was followed by a Q&A in the evening and a talk by Chris about the Permaculture Network in Nepal and then a final Sauna… before we rounded it off on Friday and most people went home. Continue reading Training opportunities with Aranya and Chris Evans

ERASMUS + project Proposal   „Life from soil“

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Call for partners!

Contact: Gejza Legen <>

Idea:  Increase of skills and abilities of vulnerable groups of people to be self-dependent,  employable, active   and competitive in their effort – search for sustianable and fruitfull, rewarding life.

Rationale: The trans-national partnership aims to develop and test an innovative, needs tailored, inclusive learning process, based on the creation of activities among project partners and  target groups ( mayors of local municipalities unemployed and vulnerable adults and students) using social entreprices of organic farming and cultivation  in various EU countries, that would enable the development of a certified training course. The project also aims to create methodology, usable video tutors, teaching tools and demonstration activities in order to increase the skills and abilities both the learners and teachers – trainers and local mayors as well. This will enable to establish and run social agricultural entreprices in currently unused land and thus ecourage and create local jobs. Continue reading ERASMUS + project Proposal   „Life from soil“

More Action on the North Eastern Front

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 by Jillian Hovey

Permaculturalists from the North East of North America recently gathering for their 3rd Annual Retreat.  Our host, Omega Institute for Holistic Living, is located a two-hour (150km) train ride up the Hudson River from New York City.  For decades, this renovated summer camp has been a mecca for people seeking knowledge about alternative living.  Their educational programmes have grown to include permaculture, and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living hosts a month-long “Ecoliteracy Immersion Program” which includes at full PDC.

The 30 participants who came from Maine to Philadelphia had the pleasure of meeting in the world’s first “Living Building”, which treats the campus’ grey and black water with an Eco Machine designed by John Todd (a student of Buckminster Fuller).  The relatively informal meeting was organised by Open Space, and there were interesting sessions and a range of subjects from “business of permaculture”, through to colonialism and oppression, to Zone 00 care.
Continue reading More Action on the North Eastern Front

North American Permaculture Convergence

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by Jillian Hovey, EPT delegate

At the International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba this past December, an Open Session group met to discuss a possible “U.S.” convergence. I showed up, as I thought it was important to have the event include Canada, as we are often “eclipsed” by the “Americans”: we are very aware of them, but they often “forget” that we exist (a strong social ecosystem dynamic). A “North American” convergence (which also includes Mexico) was quickly agreed to, and a group of people from the state of Minnesota stepped forward to host it, and the North American Permaculture Convergence was underway. They had about 8 months to pull it off, and August 29 – 31 we met as almost 400 permaculturalists in the American Mid-West. It was the first meeting of its kind in 30 years – the last one took place in 1984!


Continue reading North American Permaculture Convergence

Permaculture Council of Europe

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EPT was a great success, bringing people together from around Europe, exchanging about culture, education and best practices, making new friends and seeing awesome places. Naturally, the question arises: how can we continue to build our network? Not only within the subject of education but taking care of many more fields of Permaculture.

At the EuPC, we have had several productive meetings about how this wider network can be taken on by the EuPC Council: can the council hold tasks beyond organising the convergences and hosting a website? Can it organise Permaculture European wide, promote political engagement, be the hub of communications for other parts of the world, fundraise and much more?

One of the first steps was that several people stepped up from a number of European countries to become representatives in the European Permaculture Council and to make sure that information between the council and the countries’ networks keeps flowing.
On top of that, there are now 3 working groups within the council:
– A group that coordinates and designs the EuPCs.
– A group that is in charge of the website.

In one of the meetings, we created a first draft for a vision and mission statement:
Vision: We envision a diverse and vibrant Europe grounded in the Ethics of Permaculture.
Mission: We actively support the transition to an ethical and resilient Europe through nurturing an effective Permaculture network with strong connections to the wider society and the world.
So a third group will work on how this vision and mission and the objectives that we worked out in Bulgaria can be put into action.

To start communication about Permaculture on a European level, a new mailinglist has been created.
This is the place where everything from what the European Permaculture Council is working on to practical questions Permaculture and newsbites about the EPT – and everything in between – can be shared.

To join this list, please sign up here:

Nordic Permaculture Festival

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The Nordic Permaculture Festival is the biggest permaculture event in the Nordic countries. This year, the fourth festival took place in Friland, Denmark. 150  partcipants joined in presenting projects, doing workshops, connecting, …

Karoline Nolsø Aaen, which was the main organizer of the festival, was smiling enthusiastically. 

“I am very impressed that everyone has been so helpful and everything is successful because so many have lent a hand in the preparations, in the kitchen, holding workshops and giving the festival positive energy.”

We look forward to next years festival in Sweden! Continue reading Nordic Permaculture Festival

NAPC – North American Permaculture Convergence

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North America’s first convergence may not have had the flash of a Renaissance Festival, but the content of the presentations and conversations eclipsed even the intermittent thunderstorms and driving rain. Brilliant minds, diplomatic discourse, and energy

by Dan Halsey

The 2014 North American Permaculture Convergence was held at Harmony Park in southern Minnesota, USA. Attendees at the convergence were treated to an early and intense thunderstorm and tornado watch, as is the common practice in Minnesota for any outdoor event in summer. Sunny and fresh cool mornings welcomed everybody to the day’s events (and to dry out their tents).

Harmony Park is an Oak Savannah and wetland in the midst of the upper Midwest agricultural landscape. Just off the Interstate highway, attendees had a 90-minute commute from the airport or train station. Many drove from the coasts and from as far south as Texas. Most all states were represented and even broke off into groups at one point to build regional communication. Continue reading NAPC – North American Permaculture Convergence

Permaculture Educators’ Course

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Permaculture Educators’ Course participants October 2013

The Permaculture Educators’ Course (Permaculture Teachers’ Training) is held at Friland eco-village in Denmark by Andy Goldring.

It is an 8 day teacher training for permaculture educators. It takes you through learning and teaching theory, a lot of practice on microteach sessions, lots of games, fun, interaction, excursions and how to design and convene courses, how to create your own teacher pathway – and much more.

The timetable below allows you to see the context and flow of topics. Clicking on a topic will open the session plan for this topic in a separate window.  More resources to support the course are available below.

Permaculture Educators’ Course 2013 Timetable

The Scheme of Work for the course is available here.

Training Needs Assessment

Permaculture Course Convenors Guide

What is going on in the Permaculture Network in Germany!?

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By Sandra Campe

For about 6 years now, we are having 4 main networking and action learning meetings a year: one in each season. The first in the year happens in February, the “winter meeting”. This is really a networking meeting with project presentations, open space time, discussions, games,… In spring, the meeting happens around Ascension Day (I guess the reason for that is because that is a holiday in Germany and this creates a prolonged weekend), this is long-standing.

In summer, we meet for the “summer academy”, which is often 10 – 14 days of camping, hands-on activities, project & diploma presentations, peer learning, bonfires and joy.
And last but not least in the year, usually on the 3rd weekend in September we meet for the “Annual Convention”, at which the annual assembly of the german PC association takes place.

Continue reading What is going on in the Permaculture Network in Germany!?

Journey of the Latvian Permaculture Association

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By: Arturs Polis, Co-founder of the Latvian Permaculture Association

Despite the fact that the European Permaculture Teachers Partnership never got accepted by the Latvian National agency, thus leaving Latvia (and Italy) out of the project, Latvian permaculturists have been working since then and are ready to share the common journey now.

There were only 4 PDC holders in Latvia who hardly knew each other in 2011. Arturs Polis was busy with organizing some permaculture related workshops in Ikskile Transition Initiative which he had co-founded, Gundega Jekabsone was working hard in her organic farm, Guntra Aistara together with Gundega and other active organic farmers organized a series of permaculture workshops on organic farms, and published an academic book chapter on the experience, and Ilze Mezniece was trying hard to bring the ideas of permaculture to subsistence farmers in a very remote country-side region through activities in her farm…

Arturs and Gundega had just returned from their 10 day long PDC course in Sieben Linden, when an invitation came to participate in the prospective EPT project. This was a strong motivator for these people to come together with a clear commitment to work, and this is how the Latvian Permaculture Association was born. Many weeks were invested to prepare and hand in the project application. Of course, it was a big disappointment to learn that Latvia was among the only 2 countries rejected to participate later on… However, the group stayed together, and despite the fact that members were scattered around and discussions happened mainly virtually, there are some good outcomes since then…

Continue reading Journey of the Latvian Permaculture Association

EUPC in Bulgaria

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Permaculture Ball Rolls Rapidly down to the shores of Lake Batak

 IMG_9748In Bulgaria this month, the team of volunteers who are participating in the first-of-its-kind, FREE, year-round PDC have completed a detailed site analysis of this year’s location of the European Permaculture Convergence.

The first phase of design, already on its way, has been to bring together enthusiastic people from all over the country who are interested in permaculture, and provide them with a pleasant atmosphere of learning, sharing and designing. Once we made sure our group had bonded and worked together well, we took them onto the second phase: a week-long session at the actual site to dive them straight into the design process. Continue reading EUPC in Bulgaria

PLANT – Follow-Up to EPT

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Alan Thornton in Berlin during the first meeting about PLANT

PLANT stands for Permaculture Learning Action Networking & Training. It wants to be the extension of the UK LAND project to the European Continent.
In April 2014, an application was submitted to the ERASMUS+ EU funding scheme in order to pursue this objective. Here you can find a summary of the PLANT application:

Permaculture is a globally used design approach that creates sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns. Vocational training is being delivered by several hundred permaculture training centres in the 5 partner countries: Britain, Denmark, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.

Objectives of this project:

  1. Develop a distributed campus network of accessible and high quality permaculture education centres across Britain, Denmark, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Continue reading PLANT – Follow-Up to EPT

IPC 11 CUBA – The Conference

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The International Permaculture Conference

Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation Logo

The International Permaculture Conference was giving Cuba a highlight with its 11th meeting. Habana Libre Hotel in Havana was buzzing with all the permaculturalists from 64 different countries hugging, laughing, refinding each other after years or making new connections.

The Gala Dinner was our first meeting in a beautiful “club” in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana with a great porch to hang out on with a drink and new and old connections to encounter. A shower of rain did little to disturb the high spirit of the dinner. Cuban music was played loud and rum was put on our tables and so the party started.

Spot a few known faces from The Conference in this short video (Presentations will be available later).

Continue reading IPC 11 CUBA – The Conference

CUBA – an extremely brief introduction

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CUBA – land of promises, hopes and permaculture!

Viva la Revolution Cubana

Cubans are proud of their island in the Caribbean under the tropical sun. Any Cuban will tell you stories of the Independence wars and the Revolution, and murals of Che Guevara, historical sites of the Revolution and songs about its heroes are as abundant as the turkey-vultures circling overhead. There was a time in the 1960s when any literate person above 14 years of age would be sent off to an illiterate region to teach. Cubans have always valued education, and the education system is free, resulting in near to 100% literacy and one of Cuba’s greatest assets.

With the nationalisation of US businesses and their infrastructure following the takeover of Cuba by the revolutionary troops in 1959, the US instituted a full trade embargo in 1961. The Special Period started after the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1990, as the USSR was Cuba’s primary trading partner, resulting in strongly diminished access to oil and scarcity of food and most other imported commodities. This put rationing of food on the menu, which is still in practice today. The Special Period has not really ended yet because of the persisting US embargo. Thus sugar, eggs and kerosene for cooking is still delivered in the “Bodegas” rationing shops. The current system ensures cheap access to a certain amount of food, and you can then buy more if you want to, but not at a subsidised price.

Continue reading CUBA – an extremely brief introduction

IPC 11 CUBA – The Convergence

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7. Morning circle

The second part of the IPC was the Convergence that took place at the beach resort “Los Cocos”. We stayed five or six people in each bungalow, sparsely equipped, but sufficient for our needs. Some organising and rescheduling of activities made the program run smoothly with five streams of presentations and several open spaces for deeper discussions. Cuban food was on the menu with generous portions of congri (a mix of rice and beans), chicken, fish, yams, cabbage and guava sauce.
Literally hundreds of speakers were on the program, so it was impossible to retain all the learning and resources that was given. In all 423 people attended the convergence.

Video: What people harvested from The Convergence

Read about The Conference here. For an extremely short introduction to Cuba click here.

Keep reading about a few selected highlights of The Convergence and Havana tour beneath.

Continue reading IPC 11 CUBA – The Convergence

Cultivating Learning in the Future

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noeliaDuring the 5th EPT meeting in Spain from 24th till 28th September in Mas Franch we have identified with a World café technique which are the questions and answers leading the partnership to its future activities after the end of the Leonardo Da Vinci’s funding in July 2014. Here is the result from the Cultivate learning primary activity session.

The first question asked within the group itself was “How do we continue further” and there were 5 suggestions raised:

  1. To create a pan-European permaculture educational game (contact person – Misha, Bulgaria) – see below for more details;
  2. To collect and share more teaching methods in – under the identified main categories (contact person – Tomislav, Slovenia);
  3. To collect and share more teaching stories – from EPT, from failures and successes;
  4. To get to more potential users (contact person – Aljaz, Slovenia);
  5. To support the teaching permaculture process (contact person – David, Spain).

Continue reading Cultivating Learning in the Future