What is “microteaching”?

(…) Invented in the mid-1960s at Stanford University by Dr. Dwight W. Allen, micro-teaching has been used with success for several decades now, as a way to help teachers acquire new skills. (…)

Micro lessons are great opportunities to present sample “snapshots” of what/how you teach and to get some feedback from colleagues about how it was received. It’s a chance to try teaching strategies that the teacher may not use regularly. It’s a good, safe time to experiment with something new and get feedback on technique. (…)

For more information, go to http://www.microteachings.com/

(excerpt from Wikipedia)

Evolution of Educational Structures

In May 2014, we did interviews with all Partners that filled in the Educational Structures Questionnaire in October 2012. This interview was supposed to show if and how the Educational Structures in the different countries have developed since 2012.

The full interviews for each partner can be found on the respective country page in the Educational Structures menu.

When asked, the partner organisations said that in general, more educational offers (courses, training, online-material and tutorials) are available in 2014 than in 2012 and that the number of teachers, pupils and accredited Permaculture designers has doubled or even tripled.

Countries with emerging structures of Permaculture education have greatly benefitted from the Partnership, through the display of already existing structures and models in other countries permitting them to start designing their own Permaculture organisation and Diploma pathways. Also, the confidence and capacity building of their few permaculture teachers has greatly improved through exchange and learning teaching and facilitation techniques at the meetings themselves.

Continue reading “Evolution of Educational Structures”

Case study for Ecocamping Batak in Tsigov Chark (Bulgaria)

DATE:    21.07.2014
PROJECT NAME: Eco Camping Batak
LOCATION: Batak, Bulgaria
SIZE: 7500m2
DESIGNER: Christo Simonow

MANAGED BY: Christo Simonow

Context – Physical/social historical
Ecological Camping Site on a resort area near a lake built in the 50’s. Before the 50’s this land was mainly for grazing and farming rye. After this was a comunist resort with hotels and all kind odd indoor facilities, whitch collapsed after the comunist system broke down. The site is sorrounded by mountains and the nearest highest peak is 2103m above sea level. A popular legend says that Spartacus was born around this area.

Site Analysis/Description – Place/use
An alternative and ecological camping area that can accommodate over 250 visitors. The terrain was very slopy and to make it more confortable they had to make terraces and an eco-friendly drainage system for rain water that gets to the lake. The site offers services, like WiFi internet, electricity, potable water, and eco-friendly toilets and showers from April to September. High season is from early June to the end of August and in the rest of the year the accommodations is free of charge but without any services.
Project Background and History
The project was started in 2011 and was inspired by eco-campings in rocky mountains and is following a 5 years succession plan (vertical planning). The aim of the project is to preserve nature and the social mission is to develop a new generation with environmental awareness. The land was always owned by the project manager.
Design, Development and Decision-Making Process
The project manager has the intention of developing a place with low impact on nature and landscape by avoiding big structures and using natural materials to provide basic infrastructure. In the later succession will be planted fruit trees and bushes for natural fences and strawberries for the slopes of the terraces.

Role of Designer(s)
The project manager/owner is doing the design by himself and directing the workers to do what needs to be done according to the plan.
Programme Elements – what was planned/ the site functions (use, users, activity)
The basic infrastructures are built based on bio-construction and their functions are based on ecological methods, like for example an aerated bacteria based water treatment station, hot water for showers heated by a low-cost solar heater.
Maintenance and Management – long and short-term view
Low maintenance infrastructure system.
User/Use Analysis
People enjoy nature in quiet atmosphere and keep coming back. The camp offers various nature sports activities and equipment like, kayaking, tracking, horse rides and bicycles.
Peer Reviews
It’s part of an existing network of camp sites considered to be the best ones in Bulgaria.
Project Significance and Impact/Lessons Learned
The site provides learning about the needs of the campers and about how to promote eco ideas.
What could have been done differently?
There was this idea of having a restaurant on site but this could compromise the quietness of the atmosphere and the spirit of camping.

Visitors are selected to avoid disturbance.

Transferable Features and Lessons
Camping philosophy
Socializing and temporary community building
People are helping each other
Future Issues/Plans:
Natural fences, fruit trees and edible bushes, and maybe dry toilets.
Does your project offer opportunities for volunteering or internships?
Yes, volunteers from Hawai, Holland and Ireland have been here. They get service facilities, nature sports equipment and pocket money in exchange of cleaning.
Does the project welcome visitors or study tours?
Yes, many groups like scouts are coming here every year.
Can you offer accommodation to visitors or study tours (at the project or locally)?
Accommodation in tents can be provided for a limit of one day free of charge and payed in the following days.
Web Sites/Links:

Feedback from EPT participants:

Coming soon!


Update – How have the Permaculture Educational Structures changed in UK in the years 2012 – 2014?

Interview with Joe Atkinson, British Permaculture Association, 21st July 2014 by Gaye Amus

I don’t think interest in permaculture in Britian has increased as a result of the EPT project though we have learned from seeing new ideas, projects and techniques in other countries. The intercultural aspect was fascinating. Through our visit in Bulgaria we came to realize the people in Britain are so removed from the food production. The tradition of small-scale local food prodution being still a key part of the culture in Bulgaria was really interesting.

Through the EPT, several British teachers have become more active in foreign countries, many of them leading teacher trainings as well. We often hear from other European countries that the British system is the most advanced, developed or mature and so in response to that, we want to share our experience. However, we are conscious that we don’t want to be teaching British permaculture around Europe, we want to make sure that the principles of permaculture are used and local permaculture systems are supported to demonstrate their own evolution.

The British Permaculture Association has learned some interesting ideas about diploma systems particularly from the German and French models. The German system is more financially sustainable than ours and the French model has this wonderful “companionage” system so the idea is that a student can go and work with various different tutors and gain experience. It is based on the medieval apprenticeship model. We have been considering how to use a similiar system to build up smaller accredited courses so a student who would like to learn a practical permaculture course could travel to a land centre and get a hands on experience ,which counts towards a larger qualification. During the project we also came to learn some really nice songs and games from different countries.

Answering the question to has there been any changes in our association in a national level, paradoxically, we’ve gained diploma students who are based in Europe. It helps to contribute to the capacity of the association in a small way but we are a little concerned that thıs may undermine other emerging national diploma systems. There’s an increasing demand for some of our expertise around educational systems management so people have asked for British educational consultance to advice them on issues, such as how to set up formal accreditation systems.

UK Permaculture Association


Founded: 1983

Members: 1400

Aims and Objectives:
To enable people to have better access to permaculture training & education
To enable people to share their practice
To demonstrate the benefits of the permaculture approach to civil society and specific sectors
To promote research into the theory & practice of permaculture
To maintain an archive & library of permaculture activities and texts in Britain

Target Groups:
General public, civil society, specific sectors.

Continue reading “UK Permaculture Association”

Update – How Have the Permaculture Educational Structures Changed in Germany in the Years 2012 – 2014?

Jan Fischer, Permakultur Akademie Deutschland interviewed by Monika Frank 28th – 30th of June 2014.

The interest into permaculture has largely increased in Germany over the last two years, the Akademie has responded to this by organising more PDCs (in 2014 8 instead of 4-5 in the previous years) and has lifted the restricition on the number of PDCs, established in the past to avoid competition. Also the number of students enrolled in the Akademie has doubled which led to more persons working as tutors and on the online-structures with these students.

The idea of regionalisation takes place with more regionally based introduction courses. This development would have been taken place maybe also without the european partnership, but the regular contacts with collegues from other countries has helped the awareness to be part of a bigger network which supports each member of it. The sessions about pedagogy and teaching methods have inspired some german permaculture teachers to organise the first teacher trainings in their country which have taken place only in other european countries so far.

Continue reading “Update – How Have the Permaculture Educational Structures Changed in Germany in the Years 2012 – 2014?”

Strategies to Widen Participation : Survey Results

For this small survey, responses were given by only eight EPT partner countries (ES, GE, FR, BG, SLO, CZ, NL), whose educational activities are conducted in more than 17 countries in Europe and other parts of the world. Spain is exceptional in this case with reaching people in 4 continents through on-line teaching.

Educational activities are mostly focused on urban and suburban environments with rural context represented rarely. The activities mostly take form as a short workshop (e.g. 0,5-1 day long), public talks and PDC courses. Not so often as longer (e.g. 2 days long) permaculture courses, diploma pathways and other forms as property development, full vocational. Academic permaculture education school establishment, spreading of printed info, environmental awareness activities, FETAC students in Ireland etc.

The questionnaire asked each responder to describe the strategy they use in the specific country and to answer the questions: ‘Which target groups is this strategy designed for?’ and ‘Which groups of society this strategy does not reach?’ The summary of results shows that the most popular target groups are:

Continue reading “Strategies to Widen Participation : Survey Results”

Program of the York Introduction to Permaculture Course

York Introduction to Permaculture Course
17-18 April 2004
Tutor: Andy Goldring

We will start promptly at 10am on both days, please try to arrive around 9.30 so we have time to settle in before we start. Bring food to share for lunch, magazines, books or other materials of interest, and warm clothes as we will be going for a walk on Saturday.


9.30 Arrivals, tea and settle in.
10.0 Opening circle – introductions, welcome, housekeeping, timetable, expectations.
10.30 Permaculture in a nutshell – overview and starting points.
11.0 Break
11.20 Ethics and principles (including a game and small group work)
1.0 Lunch
2.20 Observational walk – ‘everything is a gift’
3.0 Video – ‘In grave danger of falling food’
4.0 Questions and answers
4.30 Thinking piece for evening contemplation – ‘Me, my greatest asset’.
4.45 Closing round

Continue reading “Program of the York Introduction to Permaculture Course”

Design Course Exercise: What do I eat?

In this exercise, which can be used in a PDC, students try to identify and evaluate their involvement in and impact on food cycles. After evaluating the impacts, students are asked to implement an action plan to reduce the food consumption and sourcing from sustainable sources. The full description of the exercise can be dowloaded here..

Submitted by Andy Goldring

UPDATE on Educational Structures in Ireland

Update: How have the Educational Structures in Ireland changed in 2012-2014?

The article is written by Monika Frank, and it is based on the interview of Davie Philip, CULTIVATE Ireland, May 2014.
Ireland has no national organisation of PC education and only two diploma holders. The partner of the EPT was CULTIVATE Ireland, a NGO based at an ecovillage and learning centre.
The EPT has helped to learn as well from already established educational systems like in Britain or Germany as well as from emerging structures like in Bulgaria, what a national association can be and do. This resulted in talking to other parters in IRE to create a loose national association in order to ensure a diploma pathway. Davie is enrolled on the pathway of the British system.

Other useful: As we design PDC, we have two accreditaed PC-courses (for unemployd people); shared with the EPT, accreditation reviewed, and reviewed the content, partnership has helped.

Despite the economic situation in Ireland going dramatic, the interest in Permaculture has not increased, people are not taking initiative to change their lifestyles and become more self organised. ?Permaculture is often not the best term? thinks Davie. The content and the benefit for the participants is not obvious. Sometimes it is better to undertitle it ?a course in ecological design to make it more mainstream and more accessible.

More permaculturists have stepped up to teaching; people who have come to the EPT meetings are more confident to teach now. The meetings have also identified teachers from other countries to come and teach in Ireland.

CULTIVATE has learned how to structure courses and how to teach certain elements in a more impactful way.

Update – How have the Permaculture Educational Structures changed it the Netherlands in the years 2012 – 2014?

UPDATE on Educational Structures in the Netherlands

Based on interviews with Leo Bakx and Monique Wijn 28th – 30th June 2014. Written by Tanja Korvenmaa

The interest towards permaculture is growing

The interest towards Permaculture in the area of the Netherlands has grown in particular through Transition Towns movement and Urban Farming movement. There is also new legislation coming into effect, forcing all government agencies, organisations and businesses to adopt sustainable development policies and practices. Number of “green” bachelor and master’s courses is rising quickly as universities compete for the favor of students (their main source of income).

Our response has been to plant the seeds for a full time vocational school for permaculture teachers, training complete school teams, based on lean start-up, cooperative, sociacratic models. Affiliating with national and European universities. Both facilitated through EPT network. This project is the Aardwerk Academy.

Continue reading “Update – How have the Permaculture Educational Structures changed it the Netherlands in the years 2012 – 2014?”

Permaculture Design Process – 10. Design presentation

by Aranya

The following pattern is a guide to what you might cover during your design.
Either follow this through as described, or use it as a basis for your own ideas.


Describe your site

  • Explain the context of your design, where it is located, size of site etc.
  • Show your base map and any overlays showing zones, sectors, desire lines etc.
  • Does the site have any significant slope?
  • How do microclimates vary across the site?
  • What is the soil like? Does it vary in content, depth, pH etc. across the site?
  • What flora and fauna is present on the site?
  • What about structures, tools and events?

Continue reading “Permaculture Design Process – 10. Design presentation”

Networking Garden

One of the activities we did at the Friland meeting was to create a Networking Garden with links relevant to our work of important organisations, places and people at international and national level.

Networking garden



Eco­villages (LØS), Baltic ecco­villages (BEN), Ø­network (Island­netwpork), Landsforeningen for økologisk byggerei (LØB), Vocational colleges, LAND / PLANT, PAUK (www.permaculture.org.uk) Transition network


Transition radio (studioansage.de), GEN EUROPE & Germany (gen­-europe.org), Berlin development network, Urban gardening network (urbanacker.net), soned.de, Wildnisschulen.org, Transition network (www.transition-initiativen.de), Tiefenökologie (www.thiefenoekologie.de, Deep Ecology), International Degrowth Conference (leipzig.degrowth.org), ANU (www.umweltbildung.de)

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mihail-700pxby Mihail Kossev

What a dream it would be if the classified section of our newspapers were littered with such headlines! As permaculture gains popularity and credibility, it is essential that those who choose the path of teaching strive to improve this craft alongside their knowledge of permaculture itself.

Even though everyone and anyone is capable of teaching permaculture effectively to others, running a successful course still requires a high level of competence and wisdom to be able to communicate it effectively.

In the same way that a doctor needs a good memory and a builder needs to be able to lift heavy things, there is a set of skills (not necessarily credentials) that fit into the “Permaculture Teacher Job Description.”