The 72 hour PDC

Different Places, same topic, different voices …

The 72 – hour – Permaculture Design Course (PDC) over 3 extended weekends from July to August this year was organized by Soned e. V. (Southern Networks for Environment and Development), an organization based in Berlin, which focuses on promoting permaculture and networking between initiatives applying permaculture all around the world.

Each of the three courses took place at a different location (two in Berlin, the third in Werder/Havel) and was taught by a different teacher. We were a diverse and interesting group of 15 people, who fit together very well. While, in the first days, we got a theoretic overview about approaches to permaculture, the second and third part went deeper into the principles and concentrated on examples.

In the first course, we had the opportunity to get to know the community garden »Frieda Süd« at the Friedrichstraße. This environment was very helpful to get a first understanding of the wide social, ecological, economical and interdisciplinary context of permaculture. 

The community garden is run by people from the neighbourhood, for the neighbourhood. Staying on the site from morning to evening, we could observe first hand, how well it was functioning. Many diverse groups of people use this space.  Elderly people and tourists in the morning, around midday mothers with children and people who volunteer to support migrants by helping with their paperwork, later, fathers meeting for their after – work beer and in between neighbours showing up to take care of their vegetable gardens. There was even a group with instruments for a jam session in the evening. All this happened, while we where sharing this vibrant space in a silent corner of Frieda Süd listening to Rike Oemisch, an experienced PC Designer, who introduced us into the topic. We learned that the term permaculture consists of the words permanent and agriculture and refers to the sincere approach to give the most valuable ingredients we can contribute: permanent time, dedication, ideas, social interaction, attention and endurance to a special field of interest, a piece of land or a group of people, animals, or plants, in order to create self-sustaining eco systems.

There are certain design principles and methods to reach this goal. The circumstances can be as wide as the range of colours of the rainbow and the solutions are not predictable beforehand. However, following the principles, totally new approaches to face individual problems and discover unusual solutions are possible. It became very clear to us that we should make use of this knowledge right now. Overconsumption, exploitation of animals, nature and soil, deforestation and unsustainable systems of food growth are important topics and can be addressed with the help of permaculture. The permaculture flower represents   by its design its principles and ethics. We finished the days baking pizza in a clay oven and experimenting with planned and unplanned recipes.

The second course focussed on the social aspects of permaculture. The chosen environment was again very much in line with the content of the course. It took place at “Kreutziger 19” a former squatted building with a beautiful backyard. The cooperative consisting of six houses provides an affordable and agreeable living space and also hosts the Soned e. V. office. The experienced permaculture designer Sonita Mbah from Cameroon introduced us further into the social aspect of the subject.

Most of us were surprised by the fairly broad questions about how to organize society on the base of equality, freedom and peace. This was not only a philosophical exercise, but also we where thrown into practice, by doing several organizational processes within the group. We learned to use the method »dragon dreaming«, a planning tool for groups.  We dreamt about the upcoming »Weltfest«, which is organized by Soned e. V. every two years on a public square in the district and in our imagination, it became a new and colourful reality. We learned to see ourselves as dreamers, planners, doers or celebrators representing the different stages of a design process. At first, everybody was joking about celebrating as the last stage of the process, but reflecting on it, we found that in our society we are not much used to celebrate our completed tasks and projects. Very special to us was the evening talk of Rose Mutua, presenting a permaculture project in Kenya, which showed that there is more to permaculture than gardening and that permaculture is already being practiced around the world. Talking about the different realities, made it clear that we can and need to learn from each other. The solidarity cocktails after the presentation were great and showed little side effects the next morning.

For the 3d course, we met outside of Berlin at “Dicke Eiche” in the Werder / Havel Area, a beautiful house in the countryside and close to a lake. Again this was an example of a house and wide green space organised and run by a community of people, practicing alternative ways of living in tune with nature. It felt very familiar to meet the others in beautiful and interesting new surroundings again. The group vibe, developed over the last courses, was strong and laughing was as important as providing time and space to every individual.

Robert Strauch the teacher of this last course introduced us still deeper into the topic by looking into specific possibilities permaculture offers. For example, we were taught how to read topographic maps in order to analyse a certain piece of land and be able to zone it for living, growing and saving water. Or we learned about detailed life cycles of forests and their methods of air and water processing.  We also learned how farmers could answer the rise of temperature, by farming differently and using the right trees in order to protect their land from dryness. Robert´s class gave us a more hopeful view into the future we are facing regarding the impact of climate change as he offered many ideas on how to react to it. As this was also the last part of our course, it made sense that we used part of it to work on planning exciting sites, to put our newly acquired knowledge into practise. We formed groups and each one worked on a different site. The result of the group proposals was presented on the last day. This experience was challenging because of the diversity of opinions in the group and additionally, the limited time put pressure on us. However, reflecting on our outcome afterwards, we all agreed that it is an integral element of planning to discuss and exchange different opinions. Methods like the “talking stick”, “dragon dreaming” and many more are tools that can truly help us out here. We are strong in groups but we also have a huge need to have our individual ideas to be heard and respected. So, in order to form “one common shared goal” we have to open up to the process and rethink and evaluate it all the time. Like nature, processes are not static and we have to respect this constant change in order to be able to work with instead of against it. 

Text by: Sherin Abu Chouka, Rose Mutua, Lena Hirche


PDC in Iceland

9-20 september in Ísafjörður, Northwest Iceland.

Take this opportunity to enjoy Iceland and take an international PDC with teachers Tycho Holcomb, Cathrine Dolleris and Hildur Dagbjört Arnardóttir.

The course will be held in Ísafjörður in a very special building. A geodesic dome designed by Einar Þorsteinsson architect that was specialized in geometric forms, including geodesic domes and the glass patterns in Harpan music hall. Half of the building is a greenhouse and the other half a spacious living space. The facilitation will take place inside the building, in the greenhouse and in the areas around, including Gróandi’s vegetable garden. Gróandi is the first community supported agriculture in Iceland, growing vegetables for 50 families in area.

You will learn to use permaculture principles and relevant technical solutions, learn about microclimate, plants, animals, microbes, water, soil structure, organic buildings and social connections. This theory can be used to create maintenance-free and highly efficient systems that have the variety, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. These methods can be used in any type of project, whether it be a cultivation area, running a business, education, livelihood, finance or personal health. Permaculture is a method to find good solutions and making informed decisions.

With permaculture methods we can fulfill the needs of humans without any harm to the nature, in fact the aim is always to do better and leave a positive footprint.
Conventional systems Sustainability Permaculture
Permaculture uses the nature as a model when finding the right solutions, since nature has always found solutions that work perfectly. In this way we can take responsibility for our own lives, our way of living and design our way out of old habits and bad conscience.

Two of the teachers live in Danmark and will join us here in Iceland for this two week course, while one of the teachers lives in Ísafjörður. They all have long experience in permaculture and are leading in the permaculture field in their country.

Cathrine Dolleris

Cat has renovated her house using natural building methods, including a build in flex oven and rebuilding walls. She grows her own food and is largely self sustainable regarding vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts and eggs from her forest garden. Cat manages projects within the permaculture association in Denmark as well as teaching many PDC courses each year. She holds both a masters degree in geography and a diploma in permaculture.

– Has been teaching permaculture since 2011, numerous PDC courses as well as “intro to permaculture” courses, Permaculture Teacher Training and courses about food forests.
– Masters degree in Geography, where she specializes in resource management in undeveloped countries
– Runs the business GeoLiv and LAND center Kattekærhus
– Diploma tutor both in the Nordic- and British system
– Funder and manager of the LAND network in Danmark (permaculture demonstration sites) and manages the LAND centers in Danmark.
– Editor of the European Permaculture Network Newsletter
– Has training in journalism, communication, management and project management
– Member of the board of the Danish permaculture association
– Founder of Orø Transition and Orø Forest Gardens

Tycho Holcomb
Tycho is originally from California and has a lifelong interest in edible plants, gardening, and integrated edible and useful landscapes. He now lives in Denmark with his wife in the ecovillage Friland, where they designed and built a strawbale house, forest garden and homestead from scratch. He runs a small agroforestry farm with vegetable csa, fruit and nut trees, berries and perennial vegetables, integrated with chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, and sheep.

– Wrote the book “Permakulturhaven” and the cardgame “flerårige grøntsager” with his partner
– Lives in the eco village Friland, with 44 other houses as well as a community house, restaurant, workshops and other workplaces.
– Built a house and a permaculture garden from scratch where there was only a field before.
– The house and the garden are designed and implemented with permaculture and natural methods
– Grows vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts in a food forest
– Ducks keep the snails away from his vegetable garden
– Teaches in PDC courses as well as special courses in making bows, tanning skins, growing for sustainability with no dig methods, food forests and perennial vegetables
– Holds diploma in permaculture
– Does permaculture designs for others
– Runs a plant nursery
– Runs a community supported agriculture
– Farms rabbits and geese for sale

Hildur Dagbjört Arnardóttir

Hildur works full time in permaculture, in a engineering company as a landscape architect, runs and grows vegetables in the CSA Gróandi and teaches permaculture. She has truly used permaculture on all aspects of her life and is constantly making drastic changes to her own and her family’s lifestyle. Her four kids are raised in honesty about the state of the world and what we can do to counter that development. Eco-friendly mentality and lifestyle are a constant theme in the family life.

– Has been teaching permaculture for a few years
– Is taking a permaculture diploma in the British system
– Holds regular presentations about permaculture in icelandic
– Works on making icelandic teaching material about permaculture
– Has particular interest in good communication tecniques and behavioral changes.
– Grows vegetables for 50 families in the community supported agriculture Gróandi
– Holds a masters degree in landscape architechture, specialiced in designing ecovillages, natural methods to clean sewage and natural toilet solutions
– Member of the board of the Icelandic permaculture association.
– Member of the Green Team for Environmentally Certified Westfjords
– Assessor for Green Steps in institutions in the Westfjords


COSTS: 185.000 KR


Seljalandsvegur 100


Alfred Decker Courses 2020

Due to the pandemic, all of my courses for 2020 have so far been postponed or cancelled. However, there are three teacher trainings which still may take place this year depending on what happens with Covid-19, and some courses which may be rescheduled for 2021.

Please contact info [at] 12pdesign [dot] net for more information: 

  • Teacher Training in Portugal: October 18 – 24, 2020
  • Teacher Training in France: October 31 – November 7, 2020
  • Teacher Training in Norway: 1st half of December, 2020

2020 Courses That May Be Rescheduled to 2021: 

  • Earth Activist Training (full PDC) with Starhawk in Sweden
  • Social Permaculture in Fribourg, Switzerland
  • PDC at Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece
  • Social Permaculture in Porto, Portugal
  • Social Permaculture in Sweden

Possible Courses in 2021: 

  • Teacher Training in Spain (La Bolina)
  • Social Permaculture in Spain (La Bolina) 

Czech Permaculture

Czech Permaculture had cancelled several courses and stands on various fairs in spring, but it seems that from June, things start to work normally again. For example Denisa Tomášková  organized a 5-days course of advanced permaculture design  in the mountains of Eastern Bohemia, focused on a budding international community of artists who are also interested in sustainable production of food.

So far, all courses in Czech Republic are held only in Czech language.

IPC14 Argentina postponed untill 2021

IPC 14 in Argentina, planned from 28th November till December 4th in 2020 will be postponed to November 2021

Dear friends of the Permaculture World, Children and Youth Groups,  Indigenous- and Rural- and all Communities Everywhere!
The IPC-14 Argentina will be postponed to November-December 2021 due to the consequences of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic.

This new date for 2021 is a first step, a guide for the coming months during which we will continue to observe the development of the pandemic to be able to make the best decisions.

Our wish is that the 14th IPC sees representatives attending from many different places in the world and for that to happen we need to regain our health, the possibility to travel and our economy, among other factors.  And – looking further into the future, we will use the time to explore additional online participation opportunities in many different ways.

We acknowledge the importance of Permaculture and the need to share this way of life with all World inhabitants. What better opportunity to do that than at an International gathering such as this one?

Very soon there will be a cycle of online activities organized by a team of permaculture members and collaborators of the 14IPC, in order to weave and strengthen the network, maximizing this time of change that we are in.

Firstly the facilitators of the 14IPC courses will offer some talks, presenting permaculture as a solution to what is happening in the world now. At the same time there will be videos shown of different inspiring projects in the world that are facing the crisis in an incredible way.

All updates regarding these events will continue to be shared on the official webpage and on social media.

Sending you light, blessings and warm regards from the place each one of us is located now.

  • 14th IPC Argentina Organizing Committee
  • International Permaculture Convergence Council
  • Friends of IPC

Organization in Argentina: Instituto de Permacultura Ná Lu‘um
Contact person: Tierra Martínez, Founder,
contacto [at] ipc14argentina [dot] org
Phone number: +57 3204570126


IPCC – International Permaculture Convergence Council
Margarethe Holzer and John Nzira (Coordinators)
Mail: council [at] internationalpermacultureconvergence [dot] org
Website: – under repair
Phone: +43 6502851185çais.pdfñol_final_27.04.2020.pdf