17 – 19 August 2010 Nethen, Belgium

graines de vie garden, Nethen

We thank the host, the organising team, the helping hands of EUPC10 n 2010 in Grez Doiceau, Nethen, Belgium for their hospitality and the work for the organization.


  1. introduction
  2. history
  3. list of participants
  4. program
  5. notes from workshops
  6. excursions
  7. election of the council
  8. evaluation
  9. observation
  10. ressources design implementation
  11. maintenance evaluation


This report will give you a glimpse of the 10th European Permaculture Convergence, held in the village of Nethen, in Brabant in the center of Belgium, in August 2010.

The place of Grez Doiceau (the municipality from which Nethen is part of) had started a Transition town process – which is one of the reason it was choosen for the associated permaculture events.

The Convergence took place within the event of the Permaculture Festival – the Permafest’ “Living and taking care of life” – which offered a good mix of discussions, workshops, practical works, presentations, music and dancing through a network of allied associations, permaculture groups and projects, both local and from different regions of Europe, and welcomed around 1000 participants from Belgium and all over Europe.

The idea was to group the two events – the local and the european – the creative, thinking and hands on activities linking up people in a joyous design !

For the first time the European Convergence took place in a latin language region – actually at the edge between frenchspeaking and flemishspeaking communities – which was a strategic location as it enhanced the encounter of permaculturists from both communities in Belgium. It also facilitated the integration of the frenchspeaking permaculture network within the european permaculture world.

The three first days were specific for the the Convergence, the next three days were for the Festival.

History of the European Convergence

The European Institute of Permaculture was originally based in Steyerberg, Germany and managed by Declan Kennedy. In 1996 it moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, to the office of Tony Andersen. In 2006 the Institute was converted into The Permaculture Council for Europe.

The European Permaculture Convergences and conferences have taken place every two years :

Year Location #
1992 Germany EuPC1
1994 England EuPC2
1996 Germany, Prinzhöfte EuPC3
1998 Slovenia EuPC4
2000 Czech Republic EuPC5
2002 Slovakia EuPC6
2004 Czech Republic EuPC7
2006 Czech Republic, Brno EuPC8
2008 Czech Republic, Hostetin EuPC9
2010 Belgium, Nethen EuPC10

Googlemaps, left/centre area of EUPC and right the “grains de vie” garden

List of participants

The convergence was a success with about 55 participants – not everybody could participate completely to the event.

Margarethe Holzer Bert “berrie bosboer” Carla Willemaers Danielle Blancke Geoffroy Goddeau Greet De Wandel Greet Luypaerts Guy Cotemans Kali De Keyser Laurent Brasseur Sabine Jaucot Sarah Bulckens Sylvia Boller Toma Frank Bernard Alonso Jo Morandin Tony Andersen Tycho Holcomb Antonio Scotti Nele Toniste Anne Derouet Aurelie Caton Claire Uzan Pascal Depiene Franck Nathié Gaëtan Cailleau Jacques Mathon Kris French Moilamain Steve Read Veronique Pelle Christina Buschmann Petra Krubeck Petra Meyer Ulrike Meissner Angus Soutar George Sobol Joe Atkinson Laura Rival Patsy Garrard Zoe Rozar Houssa Jacobi Steve Hart Maurice Levy Fransje de Waard Irma Abelskamp Leo Bakx Mireille Hollaar Mirjam Bruijn Beat Roelli Gaetan Moraro Hubert de Kalbermatten Laurent Schlup Tilla Künzli Pavla Sedlackova

Austria – Alpine Region Belgium Belgium Belgium

Belgium – busy with the festival Belgium Belgium Belgium

Belgium Belgium – busy with the festival Belgium – busy with the festival Belgium Belgium Belgium – busy with the festival Canada Denmark Denmark Denmark Espana – Catalunya Estonia France France France France France France France France France France France Germany Germany Germany Germany Great Britain Great Britain Great Britain Great Britain Great Britain Great Britain Marocco New Zealand Portugal – Algarve The Netherlands The Netherlands The Netherlands The Netherlands The Netherlands Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Tchequia

Program of activities

Monday 16/08/10 Arrival of the participants evening : discussion on the program

Tuesday 17/08/10

morning :

lunch time afternoon :

afternoon :

afternoon :

evening :

Welcome, presentation of the program and the participants Report from and future of the European Permaculture Council

Visit of the garden Seeds of life / Herman Pirmez

présentation Brin de paille – Moilamain/Pascal Depienne/Steve Read presentation UPP – Moilamain/Pascal Depienne/Steve Read

presentation Nodo Espiral and Chaordic Institute – videos from Stella – finally not possible technically

presentation projects in Netherlands / Mireille Hollaar

workshop : Future of european permaculture

facilitators : George Sobol/Steve Read

preparatory meeting before the conference around transition towns

for people already involved in a transition process in their community to meet and exchange experience

facilitators : Danielle Blancke/Veronika

conference Transition towns par Danielle Grundberg

(open to all transitionners from the area and elsewhere and all people interested by the transition process )

Wednesday 18/08/10

am : pic-nic pm : evening :

trip to Voedselbos – a forest garden in Nokere, Belgium

visit to the garden of the Fraternités ouvrières in Mouscron, Belgium

presentation : Strategies of the 10.000 trees/less than 1 tonne CO2 – Tony Andersen

Thursday Jeudi 19/08/10 morning : workshops

lunch time afternoon : workshops

report from the working groups dinner evening : election of the council

evaluation of the event

site of the festival

workshop transition towns / Danielle Grunberg

workshop on diploma process – Chaordic/UPP.. .

facilitator : Steve Read

designer’s workshop

10.000 trees / Tony Andersen

frenchspeakin g network

workshop teachers training/éducation

facilitator : Joe Atkinson

workshop on edition, publication of pc books, documents, dvd’s…

facilitator : Kali De Keyser


Workshop: Permaculture Designer

Mind map of the workshop showing the results of the discussion

Diploma and education workshop :

– roundtable about the diploma situation in the different countries : Great Britain and Germany being quite structured, Denmark also within the scandinavian network, France with the Université Populaire de Permaculture (UPP) developing its own process, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands not being structured yet;

– discussion on the change of situation in Australia with the Pc Institute not recognising diplomas anymore and G Lawton’s controversial initiative – versus the internationally approved protocole with diploma holders organising an Academy and accrediting new diploma candidates;

– discussion about the financing of diploma tutoring – situations in the different countries : in Germany, UK and Austria, tutors get some payment from the apprentices, in France and Tchequia tutoring is free of charges – its a question of balance and flexibility to every individual situation – exchange can be other than monetary with giving help on the tutor’s project;

– how to help connecting projects looking fo financing and sources of financing; – agreement on the diploma content reflecting all the aspects of permaculture

even if focusing on one category;

– discussion about the harmonisation of the syllabus – the process and principles – respecting the diversity of the methods and ways of teaching which can be culturally different;

– discussion about permaculture teaching being included in the formal educational system or not, about the pertinence of a legal aknowledgement of permaculture education;

– 2nd part of the workshop about the teachers’s meeting which could be held in the ecovillage of Sieben Linden in Germany in june 2011. The following subjects will be discussed :

– there will be practical sessions for teachers to show their methods and modules – how to teach the fundamentals/principles – what inspiration from « Teaching Pc creatively » and other teaching methods;

– deep discussion on the syllabus content in the different countries – starting from the Pc Manual : what is not taught and why ? what has been added ? the world has changed, so how to adjust the teaching and staying truthful to the original idea;

– discussion on apprenticeship, tutoring and diploma process in the different Academies and UPP;

– how to promote courses and share Pc values with the world;

– how to continue the exchanges and discussions and develop the teacher’s network;

10.000 trees workshop by Tony Andersen:

– working on setting up examples all over the world : India, Brasil, El Salvador, Denmark…

– and collecting list of projects working with this strategy

– work with schools

– look for funding for tree projects

– in Western world : work on the less than 1 tonne CO2 part

– working group : Christina Buschmann, Fransje de Waard, George Sobol, Kali De Keyser, Maurice Levy, Patsy Garard, Tony Andersen

garden of the Fraternités ouvrières, Mouscron

Publication workshop :

– the participants being french speaking and dutch speaking the discussion went around the publication situation and projects in these two languages

– the ressources : – existing and possible publishers (in french) : Passerelles Eco, Richard Wallner,

Etopia, Nature & Progrès, permaculture groups by themselves

– existing newsletters (in french) : Passerelles Eco, Graines d’abondance (net)

– existing publication (in french) : Permaculture 1 & 2, Graines de Pc, studentwork R. Magnaca, « Essence of Pc » D. Holmgren

– publications on their way (in french) : « Permaculture » S. Holzer, « How to make a forest garden » P. Whitefield, « Guide pratique Pc » L. Schulp, « Ecosystèmes comestibles » Franck Nathié

– how to organize the network of translators, publishers, writers…

– using translation tools, lexicum english-french

– existing publications (in dutch) : « Tuinen van Overvloed »

– existing translations (in dutch) : « Voedselbos » R. Hart; « Essence of Pc » D. Holmgren (net)

– publication projects (in dutch) : PC Magazine (translation + new articles), 2 different textbooks for Pc courses by Ishi and Leo Backx

– the projects :

– translation projects in french : « Tuinen van Overvloed », Pc Manual

– publishing projects : « le sol dans Pc » by Gaëtan, studentwork by Moilamain, « permaculture végétale » by collective + Hubert


In the middel of the convergence, we had set up the day with visits to two wonderful gardens in our regions – this day off allowed participants to meet each others.

In the morning we went to see the forest garden het Voedselbos van Bert D’Hondt « berrie bosboer » in Nokere in de flemish Ardennen. This forest garden started in 2001 show a beautiful diversity of fruit trees, bushes, edible plants, mushrooms…

Voedselbos, Nokere We had some picnic over there in the garden.

Then we went off to Mouscron to the garden of the Fraternités Ouvrières where we were hosted by Josine and Gilbert Cardon. This urban edible jungle on 2000 m2 has the most astounding diversity and abundance of fruit trees, berries, edible plants and vegetables. The association proposes also a huge choice of seeds to its members.

Election of the Council

As decided at the European Permaculture Convergence 8, in Brno, Czech Republic 2006, the participants of the European Permaculture Convergence have the authority to elect the individual members of the Permaculture Council for Europe for the next 2 years term. To run from one European Permaculture Convergence to the next.

At the EuPC10, the Permaculture Council for Europe Election results were as below : Members of the previous term of council to stand down :

Hannah Thorogood Britain Pavla Sedlácková Czech Republic & Slovakia Margaret Holzer Austria and the Alpine region

None represented. New candidates presented for the election :

Leo Backx Mireille Hollar Sylvia Boller Petra Krubek Zoe Rozar

Holland Holland Belgium Germany Great Britain

All were unanimously elected to be the Permaculture Council For Europe 2010-2012. The main duties of the council are :

EuPC11: to ensure the European Permaculture Convergence 11 happens in 2012. They will decide where is happens and who it is hosted by and will support the organisers of the convergence

Funding: to attempt to gain funding for the Permaculture Council for Europe. More Members: to co-opt more members to the council if they see fit. Website: to attempt to have some internet representation of the Counncil.

Proposals of hosting group/place for EUPC11:

– – –

in Turkey / Steve Read in Germany /Petra for Karsten Winnemuth in Switzerland / Hubert de Kalbermatten (came after EUPC by email)

Evaluation :

Summary of feed back

Pos/neg. Topic

Everyone Thank you

number %

all 100

7 13

7 13

5 9




Venue, place

Visits to seed bank and forest garden

organization, logistics

+ Food 5 9





W ish

W ish

W ish





Stay with local people home

Inspiring discussion groups

Many young people

Improvisation, spontaneity

T ime keeping

Not enough compost loos

All spaces a bit closer together

Hygienic situation of dishes, wash hands before after lunch

Noisy camp site at night and in the morning

Unclear programme specification

Permanent space for tea and coffee

Groups for each language

Smaller groups for discussions

Planned moments for reflection

Spontaneity in organization

Flip chart; white board etc.

Clear meeting point

2 4

2 4

1 2

1 2

5 9

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

1 2

2 4

number %

12 22

9 16

8 15

7 13

5 9

5 9

5 9

2 4

2 4

1 2

1 2

Topics collected

Topics collected by the attendees (55) that are of interest

How to become professional designer – evolve

Improved communication between different countries and within different countries – contact page

Do we want to harmonize the PC education / PC diploma in Europe?

More practical PC-projects – learning by doing

More books in other EU-languages for different regions and practical

European PC-teachers

European permaculture council – a role in responding to EU / Govt / local Govt. strategies etc.

Quick contact through internet to use it as a pressure for political issues

More wikis

Design new administrative structure for the European Union

Interested in everything

Feedback in detail as written on the flip chart

Inspiring connectionsw great feeling

Just want to say thank you it was a great event

Thank you for the great organization

It was a great job you have fulfilled with great success. Thanks a lot.

Inspiring connections, great feeling

Thank you it is very good

Merci à tout organisation, plein succès pour les prochaines

It was my first convergence and a great experience I am grateful thank you for organization . also the great tour and visit.

Thanks for all ! My first convergence was a successful experience.

Je n’ai pas tout compris mais beaucoup aimé !!! Beaucoup de travail, beaucoup d’ambiance, merci pour ce magnifique lieu pour cette magnifique démonstration de design.

It was really great the fluid and the organizers as much as the volunteers add a lot of their enthusiastic spirit, all light and pleasant.

Very lovely and had a good time, thanks for everything and looking after me and being a smiley person and the food was good and my working very bad.

I am so glad to have met so many permaculture people. I enjoyed very much the visits thank you all.

A perfect introduction to my new permaculture life in Europe. Thank you for all the heard work organizing this fantastic convergence of ideas, creataive minds and positive energies.

Many covered their interests. Our concerns pulled from the same theme into many directions. The convergence well represented the complexities need for harmonized diversity. I hope the work initiated develops and our ideas translate to reality. I would mention though that instinct was never mentioned. I feel that some of these should only be observed and not manipulated per workshops in education + networking. I would have liked to talk about processual + diffusionist systems more. Looking forward to the next one.

Thanks to the convergence organizing team. Great event, would have been stricter with time keeping.

Thanks for organizing! Good the possibility to stay in home of local people, I really liked it. I disliked the hygienic situation, but the plates and food was good. I missed water to wash my hands after toilet on the festival space. It would be nice to have a signal for starting sessions and to organize that the room is open when the session should start. … only little things … I really loved the garden visits! Well done Merci,

Thank you for your great organization and contact with local people, working together for with each other. Merci beaucoup des compliment The super great kitchen people! Great taking ware of us with food tres bon.

Thank you! Visits ( I would do them at the end); Hospitality in local houses; food and translation; venue; organization; dish washing; time table not always respected; flipchart – white board missing; initial meeting points not clear.

Thank you for your hard work. You chose the right place for a gathering. Next time I would enjoy more group meetings, with less people, small groups Thank you.

Rich connections, great food, unforgettable seed bank, beautiful people, thanks a lot.

It was a great time. I hope I can get the Belgium spirit with me to Germany, Thank you

Thank you for taking us to Paradise on Wednesday, Its very good to really connect to nature.

Trip was great, discussion groups were inspiring

Je ne comprends rien quand Steve Read parle en anglais.

Good convergence, good socializing, noisy campsite late at night and early in the morning, unforgettable ground.

Things I particularly liked: good spaces; All the new young people involved – great to have attracted them. things I would have done differently: more compost loos; have everything closer together on the site if possible.

Thanks for everything it was great. Maybe a bit more spontaneity in organization first day planning the convergence for example.

Thank you for creating a great permie meeting. Time + place wonderful; first experience for me; I liked the improvisation and spontaneity permaculture style. It would have been nice to have some flow and planned moments of reflection and sharing of feelings. I sensed some tensions between people sometimes which might have been solved by just talking feelings. Other than that super grand, merci

Good grassroots job; a bit shaky in time keeping and program specification, but open space did work out. You did a good job holding space and people handled it ok.

Thank you for your hard work : Positive: Venue; programme; organisation/logistics; transport information Negative: lack of coffee on Wednesday ; would have been great to have somewhere permanent for tea coffee ; Hope to see you again.

Que des compliments! Un petite Remarque: peut être aurions nous du parler moins anglais, Quelqu’un a suggéré d’organiser des groups par langues pour facilite la communication.

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