Permaculture Design Course, 13th-27th August 2017.


Permaculture Design Course, 13th-27th August 2017, Dual Projects, The Yoga Forest and Atitlan Organics.

An Adventure that takes place within an extinct super volcano, rich with forest, hummingbirds and fireflies, we are working to co-create gentle living, develop practical skills with plants, animals and natural building, whilst sharing and learning with great minds inspired fertile.

Image result for san pedro volcano lake atitlan

The course takes place split between two unique projects, the magical Yoga Forest and  Atitlan Organics, allowing students to take the best from both worlds.

We will be learning from some of the most inspired minds the region has to offer, with a number of field trips to established permaculture sites. This two week long course is practical and hands on where you will acquire useful skills such as techniques in natural building, animal husbandry and plant management.


Whats Included?


In the first week you will be staying in the yoga forest that specialises in inward work, exploring your inner nature, here you will also work within the stunning forest garden and with the soil and aquaculture.


In the second week lake you will be hosted by Atitlan Organics where you will stay in the Bamboo Guest House and learn from Shad in his permaculture homestead, focused on farm produce and sustainable livelihood.

rony_teachingYou will aslo visit IMAP The Meso American Permaculture Institute where you will learn about Permaculture for community development, Mesoamerica history,  Mayan cosmovision, food sovereignty and seed Saving.

img_4104And you will visit Quixaya a Mayan run organisation supporting around a thousand people with aquaculture, here you will receive lessons on land sovereignty, community governance, mayan cosmovision and living and biodiversity preservation.




  • Introduction to permaculture (Permaculture definition, history, Principles and Ethics, design)
  • Ecology (food chains, trophic cascades, keystone species etc)
  • Planning, Surveying, Design (SADIMET design process)
  • Soil (soil ecology and food web, the rhizosphere, culturing biodiversity)
  • Social Systems and Community
  • seed banks
  • Mayan history and Cosmo Vision (politics, permaculture in context, ancestral wisdom)
  • Climates (permaculture in different climates)
  • Food production (home scale, market garden, veg plot)
  • Sustainable energy (bicycle energy, solar power)
  • Forest gardening (ancient and new food forests, species, establishing)
  • Integrated animal systems (chickens, fish, grazers)
  • Aquaculture (tilapia and veg terracing)
  • Right livelihood (fair share people care livelihood)
  • Natural Building (bamboo building and earthen)YogaForest-bradleythomas-5937


  • Plant propagation (cuttings, division, layering, seed saving, etc)
  • Working with animals (goats, bees, fish, chickens, worms)
  • Food fermentation and preservation (lacto fermentation and culturing your inner biodiversity)
  • Composting, mulching (18 day hot compost, humanure, cold compost, horizontal composting, composting with animals)
  • Plant identification (Botanical studies, nutrient accumulators, biological indicators, insectaries)
  • Mapping contours (a frame and bunyip)
  • Water catchment in the land and plants.
  • Team work (designing together, planning and implementing projects)
  • Reading the landscape (Keylines, night hikes, Sensory explorations, animals as indicators)
  • Self observation and study (yoga, Meditation)
  • Permaculture Design and Implementation (final design projects)
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What will I take from the course?

You will be a certified Permaculture designer, a certification that is internationally recognized by the Permaculture community. You will also have the knowledge and practical skills required to immediately begin designing and creating Permaculture projects and sustainable landscapes. You will be provided with links and resources to help you proceed further on your chosen path.

You will be able to form land assessments and designs, and will be equipped with skills to start you off in natural building. You will also be able to implement basic greywater and composting systems necessary for a sustainable dwelling. In addition, you will have an understanding of aquaculture, vegetable production, integrated livestock management and food preservation to begin producing your own food and designing systems for yourself and others.

Course content and training is applicable to all climate regions and is designed for aspiring design professionals, permaculturists, farmers and gardeners, architects, engineers, scientists, and all other professionals who are interested in learning and promoting a more sustainable, nature-based approach to their work.

Who are the course facilitators?



Shad Qudsi (Co-Founder Atitlán Organics)Shad Qudsi has 15 years experience in organic and commercial gardening and farming. He is certified in Permaculture Design and has over 6 years experience in holistic site development and homesteading. Shad originally set out to study mathematics and work in big business, but long ago had a change of heart. He can now be found dancing in his garden in Tzununa. Aside from all of this, Shad is an enthusiastic teacher who truly believes in the work he is doing. Human resiliency cannot be erased from the landscape and now, it is coming back with a gentle loving caress.



Catherine has been recreating and mimicking ecosystems since child-hood, her appreciation for the  natural world led her to be closer to animals and plants than humans until her late teens. After an unexpected rendezvous in the fashion world and then as a shepherdess, she went on to do a diploma in Animal Management then a Bachelors degree in Zoology with Conservation, she soon realized she could integrate all her passions as a permaculture practitioner.  She has travelled the globe extensively taking every opportunity to learn and share with various  cultures including the Quechua people of the Andes, African tribes people, the conservation cowboys of the rockies and the Celtic mountain folk of north wales. Her knowledge is diverse and she is adept at working with people from all walks of life. Her fascination lies in the study of human nature in relation to the planet’s ecology.

Guest Speakers


rony-team-225x300Rony Lec – co founder of IMAP  Institute for Meso AMerican Permaculture
Rony is one of the world’s leading experts in permaculture and Mayan ancestral knowledge. Rony has spent the last 20 years teaching and implementing permaculture throughout Central, South and North America focusing on promoting food sovereignty and preserving biodiversity for the survival of Indigenous communities. Through his extensive work with Indigenous communities on traditional ecological knowledge, seed saving, native plants, local/global food movements, livelihood security, and the interaction between communities and the environment, he has made a key contribution to the empowerment of Indigenous people around the world. 



Charlie has been building houses and landscaping gardens in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala for eight years. He tried just about every natural building method he could before settling on bamboo and mud as his favorites. He gave his first Bamboo Building Course in 2008 and loves helping others learn how build their own houses. Originally from London, England, Charlie holds a Masters Degree in Social Anthropology, and has studied Buddhism, Yoga, business and social development in India. For several years he taught transferable skills development to postgraduates at University College London before meeting his wife and becoming technical director at her arts education project, La Cambalacha.

Course content and schedule may be subject to change depending on climate and resources etc.

For more information contact







THe Apathetic Activists Medicine BLog

For the love of earth.

The Apathetic Activists Medicine Blog.

(Sharing home truths from planet mum)

By Catherine Griggs 2016



This goes out to all those who care what is happening to us, our beautiful planet and the current species that occupy it.  This is not a doom sayers blog, although at times it may seem dark. Its an offering of perspective for the cultivating acceptance of the planetary situation, which leaves so many of us with a heavy heart. my intention is to rid apathy, so I would just like to emphasis here the difference between acceptance and passivity, Acceptance being a mind state where you are aware and engaged, passivity being a mind state where you are un-engaged and somewhat oblivious.  Among many of us, a feeling of despair and apathy has arisen from beliefs formed from observations of the state of the world . I keep hearing people say there is no hope, that we have gone past the point of no return, so they give up trying and apathy sets in. Im not saying i know what to do about it all (apart from the obvious growing your own food naturally, making habitats for wildlife and cultivating love in you heart).  

But! I lifted a huge weight that burdened me and guilt for being human when i discovered the points i will discuss later in this blog. Ultimately allowing me to love my self more and humanity in general. 


Wisdom by Mario Sanchez Nevado

What about this Man Made Extinction?


Mario Sánchez Nevado

The image above shows man heavily burdened by industry, weighed down by what he has created, walking the animals of a cliff whilst carrying the tree of the life, the tree of wisdom in his hand.

The Hopeful Dream

Many of us share the same dream; that humans could be nature’s stewards and peace tenders, guardians of the earth who co-exist symbiotically, a race of global gardeners who tend carefully and creatively to facilitate the highest expression of this planet which is nothing less than a cornucopia of abundance, where all thrive in harmony with each other and as one on this resplendent living orb we call earth.


The current situation is this.

scientist believe we are currently amidst the Holocene mass extinction; one of the big five mass extinctions in all the earth’s history. And there is strong evidence it is anthropogenic (caused by humans).

It is the worst rate of species loss since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. And according to the fossil record the extinction rates are higher than they have ever been. Scientists estimate the normal background extinction rates are around 1- 5 species per year owing to causes unrelated to the activities of humans or commits or other great earthly disasters.. It is now estimated we are currently  losing around 1,000 to 10,000 times this.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment calculated the extinction rate is around  8,700 species a year, or 24 a day. A more recent analysis by  U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded upto 150 everyday.

Please see for more information

A Few of the Amazing Beasts We Have Lost


Wikimedia Commons The golden toad, once abundant in parts of Costa Rica, was declared extinct in 2007.


Wikimedia Commons The Barbary lions, the last was hunted to extinction by humans either 1942 0r as late as 1960.


Wikimedia Commons The Thylacine or (Tasmanian tiger) was a dog like marsupial they were wiped out in the 20th century at the hands of man as their pelts were valuable and they were predating livestock. The last wild Thylacine died in 1930 at the last last captive in 1936.

Some of the Familiar and Much Loved Faces Under Threat of Extinction


Time to Flip the Perspective

What if Biodiversity Decimation is Biodiversity Facilitation?

A mass extinction happens around every 26 million years and this one is right on time, and it’s apparently because of us.

This is very sad, but could biodiversity decimation of gargantuan proportions be our natural role as a species? As a catalyst for actually enhancing and perpetuating life on earth?


 ©2012-2016 ady2fast

After each great extinction a new species regime evolved, mammals only evolved because the dinosaurs died out giving way to ecological niches that mammals could then occupy, thrive and diverge.

We call ourselves separate from nature but how can we be?, we are nature, we are of this earth. And even if we aren’t as some people speculate, then we are of this universe and that is nature too.

And as for being biodiversity facilitators, what more could we do than bring on the next great species shift?; A divergence of a new species regime.

So although in the present and short term we appear to be greatly diminishing biodiversity, in the long run we are enhancing it. We are a keystone species acting for evolution itself.

 In conservation biology there is a principle that intermittent disturbance increases diversity. For example; like a herd of cows going over a muddy field and making hoof holes, seeds get in by the wind, from the animal’s fur or maybe they lay dormant in the soil waiting to be exposed, when they grow the area is diversified. If the cows keep on treading the ground and creating disturbance which is not intermittent then the area will become less diverse. Disturbance is relative, we are not giving nature time to recover now, but in the long run even heavy disturbance increases diversity. All is relative to scale and time.

Our Existence is Reflected in Eternity

There is no way we can predict how we will influence the future, although it would seem we have made good conditions for genetic mutations to occur on a cellular level.

We’ve polluted with so many agents that trigger genetic mutation; radiation from war and nuclear, pesticides and chemical warfare and plastic in the seas that has broken down to small enough particles that it can now interact with dna when ingested. We have emitted greenhouse gases that have damaged the ozone layer allowing more of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the earth, now it bombards the DNA of organisms everywhere with greater ferocity.

We have isolated populations of animals through habitat destruction so they can no longer migrate or find mates causing them to inbreed and go through genetic bottlenecks, which although this leaves them vulnerable to disease it also facilitates mutations that sometimes are beneficial. Selection pressures are high because resources are limited for mates, food and habitat. The best adaptations are being selected by nature in the evolutionary arms race to survive and procreate. The conditions are ripe for species divergence.


Cyanobacteria  By Matthew J Parker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Wikimedia Commons

Around 2.5-million years ago cyanobacteria where the first living organisms on earth. They absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and released oxygen. Eventually they evolved into plants and enough oxygen was released into the atmosphere to support animals. Now today each out breath of an animal is matched by the in breath of a plant.

As Tom Chi rightly pointed out “If those early cyanobacteria had the capacity to think. They would not be able to imagine how they could affect the world today with just their breath”.

In time all the things we worry about not decomposing; like plastic, will have vanished, even the radiation. One day It is highly likely there will be no trace of us at all. The earth transforms all, she’s the ultimate alchemist. All that may be left of us will be the species that evolved in response to the selection pressures we influenced in a time long forgotten.

So it seems good and bad are two sides of the same coin and which is which can only be decided by the perceiver of the circumstance.  Through all this suffering we are facilitating the next great shift, the sixth mass extinction and thus the sixth species regime. Chopping and Composting the biodiversity of planet earth to fertilise the next bloom.