Agile Permaculture Course Thailand

The Agile Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)

About the Agile Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC), in Thailand At Daruma

(follow these links if you are looking for our regular Permaculture Design Course, or our Intensive PDC Course.)

Agile learning in general is a student directed learning system. Our agile-PDC is unique in that it allows anyone with a special interest in permaculture design to formally pursue this type of program while also satisfying the requirements for the PDC certificate.

The Agile Permaculture Course in Thailand:

Inside Daruma Eco-farm you will also find Mosaic Learning Center. Mosaic is a full-time, alternative grade school with approximately 80 children. We believe it is the first school in the world with curriculum and pedagogy designed using permaculture principles and it is certified by the Thai Ministry of Education. One aspect of the Mosaic method is the inclusion of Agile Learning Principles (see http://agilelearningcenters.org for more information about the agile learning system).

You may already be familiar with schools that approach education in a similar, holistic way. Agile Learning is, if anything more flexible, or less rigid, in the path a student decides to pursue.

Agile learning in general is a student directed learning system. Our agile-PDC is unique in that it allows anyone with a special interest in permaculture design to formally pursue this type of program while also satisfying the requirements for the PDC certificate.

As you are taking part in a program which is largely student-driven, you as the student have a great degree of freedom in choosing how you learn within the educational environment at Daruma, with structured support and regular class time also in the mix.

It doesn’t matter if your interest is in setting up a small scale grain farm or an organic essential herb production business. A massage and yoga retreat or an aquaponic restaurant to complement your rock climbing school. Natural earth building techniques. A food forest. Maybe just a self-reliant, sustainable retirement villa.

Whatever your desire, you can use this as the core for your project work and refine this design element and plan how it will integrate with the existing or future elements of your design plans.

Action learning: A reflective process of progressive problem solving that accepts the observer as a part of the system being studied.

Daruma Ecofarm ‘sees itself’ firmly rooted in the Education and Culture domain of applied permaculture action. The obvious evidence of this is that Mosaic Learning Center, Thailand’s first and only English language based, holistic learning center, is located at Daruma. Not only are the buildings and surroundings designed using permaculture, even the curriculum and pedagogy which is approved by the Thai Ministry of Education was created using permaculture principles and ethics.
What does this actually mean and how does this relate to taking a PDC? It means that education has overlapped permaculture since the very beginning. Looking at the permaculture flower in the domain of education and culture you find “Action Learning.” Reading the wikipedia will give good insight into what this is and where to look for further information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_learning

What you should realize after reading this is that action learning (possibly now with other names and new terms) is a very intuitive and natural way to learn. It is also enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Why Agile? Action Learning was most popular in business education. Business start-up strategies went through a lot of changes during the last two decades of IT start-ups where ‘what worked last year probably has no chance to work this year.’ A modern internet start-up business model is called ‘agile’ and this has spilled over into the general world of education reform.

What is Agile learning like? There are many websites that explain this so it is best to let them answer that question. But in a nutshell, systems used in agile project management were adopted to learning environments. These mainly short focus??? to Student Directed Learning (SDL). Mosaic uses student directed learning for children from 3-18. But the Daruma PDC has often been more ‘chalk-and-talk’ and less action learning. Why would one of the premiere agile learning facilities in the region not offer the PDC in the same format? Well that question can’t be asked anymore.

The Agile PDC is exactly what it sounds like. It promises to cover all the topics that you (and anyone) would expect to be included but it does this in a way that is special. Daruma isn’t the only place doing this and certainly didn’t invent the idea. Many excellent permaculture courses are using agile methods even if not calling them by this name. But the intent is that this program be offered start-to-finish with agile and student directed interests at heart.

Does this mean I can study anything and call it permaculture? No. Sometimes the Mosaic students that understand student directed learning (SDL) ask the same question. They are given the ‘movie director’ analogy that as the director they can shoot the scene anyway they like. But the script is written and changes must be approved by the producer and scriptwriter etc… The analogy works well enough to say that the path does have some places it needs to go and those are good places. But there is more flexibility to allow moving around in ‘special topics’ of your own choice. This can work amazingly well for people that already have a decent understanding of either permaculture or what they want to do with permaculture (and possibly even where). It can allow a more specialized investigation into the aspects of some technique or appropriate technology.

But is what I learn compatible with other PDCs? Yes. So often, the focus of a PDC design project is design of rural lands. How many permaculturists actually do this? Not many. But if that is what you want to do, there is no problem with doing that. But it is worth taking some time to consider that this is probably not where the best permaculture work can be done.? In fact, sometimes in PC it is said to design for regeneration meaning that the best place to put the garden may not be where the best soil already is. Maybe, it should be where the worst soil is? And this question is often asked ‘inside’ our design domain but what about outside? Perhaps the best place is the loathsome suburb. Perhaps it is no coincidence that David’s most recent book RetroSuburbia expounds exactly this.

See booking dates, or drop us a message if you have any questions, and check out our testimonials page if you would like to see other students’ thoughts on the quality of the PDC courses at Daruma, and see our Gallery of images here.

The Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Syllabus

In the early days of permaculture, Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual was the stated standard for most PDC’s.  Sometimes a PDC description would state that it officially covered the “14 chapters” which are listed here:

  • Introduction (to permaculture)
  • Concepts and Themes in Design
  • Methods of Design
  • Pattern Understanding
  • Climatic Factors
  • Trees and their Energy Transactions
  • Water
  • Soils
  • Earthworking and Earth Resources
  • The Humid Tropics
  • Dryland Strategies
  • Humid Cool to Cold Climates
  • Aquaculture
  • The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation

In a few places, these chapters can serve as a guide for a PDC that will wind through the maze of design concepts and supporting background material.  The Daruma PDC definitely covers the topics in these 14 chapters but this is not the order (or format) it is presented.

Permaculture Course Dates For 2019 (Intensive PDC)

MONTH & YEAR START DATE END DATE

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  • Certificate: Permaculture Design Certificate

  • Effort: 72 to 84 hours Student Centered

  • Accommodation: Included, see FAQs

  • Meals: Included, see FAQs

  • Wifi Access: Included, see FAQs

  • Venue: Daruma Eco Farm, 335/10, Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand

  • Category: Design Courses

  • Level: Any Level

  • Language: English. (Translation is available in some cases, please inquire)
  • Price: $250 USD / week

  • Online Course: Coming Soon

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Permaculture Flower of Ethics & Domains. Permaculture courses near bangkok thailand.

COMMENTS

Neil Willmann is a close friend and partner in Permaculture Design Education.  Over the past 10 years Neil has designed and built Daruma Eco-Farm, a premiere Permaculture education and demonstration site in southeast Thailand.

Daruma Eco-Farm features organic gardens and rice fields, livestock husbandry, natural building, appropriate technology, and also hosts Mosaic School, an alternative international school.

Neil is an encyclopedia of Permaculture wisdom, providing Permaculture Design Courses at Daruma Eco-Farm and also traveling internationally to teach and consult. Together I hope we can continue to support Permaculture in both Thailand and Japan.

Read more of what previous students at Daruma have to say here.

As a graduate from the 2 week permaculture design course at Daruma Eco-farm, I could not recommend this experience enough. Set in a beautiful and convenient location, this dynamic and abundant farm is an excellent classroom for budding and developing permaculturists.

With amazing teachers, fascinating ecology, and innovative systems, this is the ideal location to study permaculture.


Read more of what previous students at Daruma have to say here.

Rachael Maysels, Environmental Science PhD student, Universidad del Cauca, Colombia, Co-founder of Tierras del Sham Educational Research Center

I graduated from Daruma’s first Agile PDC. My background is in the corporate world but on the creative side having worked for PolyGram and Universal Music I moved to New York and spent the last 5 years of my career working for Google’s Creative Lab in New York.

I took a sabbatical from Google and went to Thailand to study with Neil to learn about Permaculture in a concentrated and concise way. In the 2 weeks I spent with Neil we were encouraged to think deeply about global crises – economic, social, ecological and climate change including energy supply and use.

I was fascinated by Neils in depth knowledge of the Permaculture Design process and ethics and the incredible working/hands on set up he has at Daruma Eco-Farm which show permaculture principles in action. As well as this incredible knowledge we also learned about thought tools including SWOT analysis, MOPP, SMART criteria and LogFrame techniques as well as survey analysis.

Little did I know that this design thinking would help me pivot to a new career in just under a year after returning to New York. It helped me crystalize my passion for helping people and take a considered leap of faith to launch my own business.

My time at Daruma was educational and hugely transformative in a life changing way, I cannot recommend Neil and the Agile PDC more highly. Go study with Neil and see for yourself!

Read more of what previous students at Daruma have to say here.

Sue Rae, New York
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Every PDC course here at Daruma begins with an orientation tour of the farm to give you an overall impression of how individual elements integrate with each other.  This often generates a broad range of questions. We will, however, hold off on answering most of these questions initially but don’t worry, if the course material doesn’t answer them,  they will be answered in time. We also spend some time getting to know each other and sharing our goals.

One reason for not answering all the questions in the beginning is the most common answer in permaculture courses is, “it depends.”  So it takes a little time to establish the basic foundations which we start on right away. That foundation begins with two important topics:  The state of the world (why we need permaculture design thinking) and what is permaculture and where did it come from (a comprehensive overview).  The overview includes a good discussion on ‘influences’ on permaculture.

Influential permaculture literature

Permaculture has been influenced by, incorporates and develops upon important and influential works new and old. These include classics such as A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Keyline Design by P.A. Yeomans and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, as well as more recent works such as RetroSuburbia by David Holmgren, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and Theory U by Otto Scharmer.

The library at Daruma is filled with books directly related to the topics covered in our Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses

The privately curated library at Daruma is well stocked with an eclectic and extensive selection of books which powerfully support and complement your permaculture studies during your time here, and we are sure you will appreciate it.

Incidentally, Daruma has an extensive library with literally (pun intended) thousands of titles about permaculture as well as many topics associated with permaculture  design and what might be called the permaculture lifestyle. LibraryThing (an online library resource) lists over 800 works (less than half) of our print books. Feel free to see what is available:  https://www.librarything.com/catalog/DarumaEcoFarm

So after introducing and discussing some of the influences, the real work begins.  The PDC content can be daunting in its breadth and scale; it is both detailed, and diverse.  We wind through an interconnected maze that on one side involves traditional sciences including ecology, biology, chemistry and even physics and on the other side, we learn the nature inspired patterning that can influence design thinking and create sustainable systems.  The scientific aspects relating to ecology are very important to understand how the design principles and regional strategies actually create meaningful designs.

Permaculture design makes use of the concept of design principles.  Bill Mollison introduced design principles as a way for designers to more easily pattern from nature in creating sustainable designs.  Since then, many others have developed their own list of principles including Toby Heminway, Rosemary Morrow and also David Holmgren. David’s principles are explained in elaborate detail in his book, Permaculture; Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.”  David’s 12 principles are listed here:

  1. Observe and interact
  2. Catch and store energy
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use Edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

The PDC will discuss all of these principles, especially how they function creating sustainable designs.

Even though you are taking a PDC in the tropics, permaculture design principles are said to be ‘global’ in their application.  But different regions (different climates) require different design solutions. In permaculture these are referred to as design strategies.  We will look at the general strategies for a variety of regions around the world.

Many people are very interested in permaculture techniques.  These, like strategies, are regional and possibly even local because of cultural influences.  So while there is not enough time in a PDC (or even in a lifetime perhaps) to learn all the techniques we might employ in a design, we will discuss and also find some time to engage in practical sessions of some common permaculture techniques.

Calling these permaculture techniques is perhaps incorrect.  Almost no technique used in a permaculture design is unique to permaculture.  Rather the technique is considered an important practice for a particular design.  These usually include things like composting, seed saving, natural building, preserving, and many more.

Finally, we discuss the eco-social aspects of permaculture.  This includes the future of permaculture. Co-founder David Holmgren’s recent book RetroSuburbia illustrates ways permaculture design can make an even greater and more meaningful impact than was initially thought when permaculture was conceived more than 30 years ago.  For many, this is a ‘most exciting’ part of the course.

David Holmgren, Neil Willmann (center) and Su Dennett (David’s partner) share a laugh at the RetroSuburbia book launch in Sydney.

David Holmgren, Neil Willmann (center) and Su Dennett (David’s partner) share a laugh at the RetroSuburbia book launch in Sydney.

If you would like to learn more about permaculture you can see our what is permaculture page, and our RetroSuburbia-centric permaculture courses.  You will also have access to the privately curated library during your course at Daruma, see details below & on the library page.

Of course there is also the design work.  Every PDC should include at least 10-20 hours of design work including critique.  Designs can be small or large, detailed or general. Design work includes some relevant practical work as well.  This includes survey and analysis, (reading the landscape), design consultation (reading the client), consideration of constraints and limitations, establishing goals and definitions etc…

At least three different design processes are introduced, discussed and compared.  SADIMET has become a standard of permaculture design but different methods might prove more powerful for different situations and different people.

Some discussion of implementation strategies and methods is also a key skill necessary in applied permaculture.

Integrated animal systems
Bamboo charcoal production at Daruma

Days With No Class

permaculture courses near bangkok thailand

Daruma features many interconnected systems such as the natural pool, many koi & catfish ponds, rice paddy and chinampas all interconnected with canals, integrated animal systems, vegetables, fruit trees and of course many buildings and structures that provide shelter for humans & animals as well as learning facilities.

As a visitor, you are welcome to use the natural pool when class & practical activities are over.

All Intensive PDC students also have the opportunity to experience not just one, but two traditional 2 hour Thai massages at Daruma’s own Vimaya Spa, included in the course fee.  We would of course recommend you book & reserve your massage well in advance of leaving, to ensure that we avoid having very disappointed massage-less students at the end of their course!  

To discover the facilities and wider area around Daruma such as the nearby lake, reservoir, Bang Saen beach, and Siracha, take a look at our About pages.

Taking a PDC Course in Thailand

Of the many places to study for your PDC in Asia, Thailand has always been a popular destination.

Chinampas at Daruma, a permaculture designed educational ecovillage in Thailand

Chinampas at Daruma, a permaculture designed educational ecovillage in Thailand

The climate in Thailand can be as varied as in any country that rises in elevation from sea level at the coast to mountainous ranges and is classified as wet/dry tropical.

Here at Daruma we are firmly in the tropics, however the permaculture design course covers many variations and combinations of geography, landscape, climate and the plant & animal life that exists as part of them.  A firm grasp of permaculture ethics & principles is what we will focus on which can then be applied by you at home and to any project, anywhere in the world.

We feel our all inclusive price delivers excellent value to you, covering all meals, accommodation, use of the extensive library & other study areas including 20 computer cubicles in the Learning Resource Centre, super fast internet, natural pool, sauna and FarmLab™ to name a few of the facilities at Daruma which are at your disposal during your stay.

Updated as & when they become available, hit the link to see all our courses here, and all our permaculture courses in thailand here.

Your Permaculture Certificate

Upon completion of your Intensive PDC, you will be presented with your Permaculture Design Course Certificate.  Students must complete the 72 hours of class & hands-on activities along with presenting their own design project at the end of the course.

You will also be registered on the Permaculture Global Network website by your instructor, confirming your attendance & announcing your successful completion of the course to the global permaculture community.

As a graduate of our Intensive PDC, you are also presented with the Daruma ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ kaisoku t-shirt.

Meet The Facilitators

Neil Willmann, lead instructor for Daruma's permaculture courses in Thailand.Neil Willmann: Teacher

Permaculture Global Network Profile

Having more than 35 years in the world of permaculture and design teaching including lecturing undergraduate and graduate level engineering design and ecological design courses and instructing hundreds of students in permaculture design, I finally settled down to grow roots figuratively in Thailand. I started growing roots literally by regenerating a 20-year abandoned farm into a Permaculture research center.

Darren Roberts, co-teacher for Daruma's permaculture courses in Thailand.Darren Roberts: Course Coordinator

Permaculture Global Network Profile

A desire to build an eco home using natural building materials led to my discovery of Earthship principles in early 2017.

The Taichung World Flora Expo 2018 presented an opportunity to work on the ‘4 Person Eco Home’ in Taiwan. During the course of this project, I met many people who introduced me to the concept of Permaculture.

I began learning about Permaculture, studying what I could find online, in books, and through projects such as the 4 Person Eco Home and Datong Community Garden in Taichung.

In February 2019 I flew out to Thailand to study for my Permaculture Design Certificate at Daruma Eco Farm with Neil Willman.

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The Venue

The venue for your Permaculture Design Course is Daruma Eco Village, a functioning Ecovillage based within the culture & education domain of the permaculture flower.  Hit the video below for a quick tour.

Established in 2007 on an abandoned farm with nothing growing above head height, Daruma Eco Village comprises many elements including Daruma Eco Farm, an alternative English-based school for children aged 3 years and up called Mosaic Learning Center, as well as volunteer & intern programs in addition to hosting permaculture design courses.

You can see in the video above, shot in 2015, how things are blooming there, with many trees now firmly established and well over three storeys high.

Daruma is an ecologically designed facility with the purpose of providing an environment geared towards lifelong learning.

You can read more about Daruma Eco Village here.

Schedule

The permaculture design course will typically require 10 to 12 days to complete, so classes usually run from Monday to Saturday, with Sunday as a rest day.

Many students comment after the course that it is highly rewarding both in terms of what they learn, and also the relationships and bonds that are formed when taking the course during an intense, demanding 2 week period.

With that being said, arrivals at Daruma Eco Village should be by the Sunday afternoon at latest to enable us to get you settled in, take you on an orientation tour around Daruma Eco Farm & answer any preliminary questions you may have.  It is preferable to arrive early rather than late, to avoid disturbing other guests at Daruma, and additionally, staff may be unavailable from 6pm. If your travel plans make this arrival schedule an issue for you, please let us know so that we can organize accordingly with you before your arrival, and we can probably figure something out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meal times, bicycle hire, laundering and ironing services during your permaculture course

Yes.  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are all included in the price of this course and are served in the Cafeteria which has capacity for around 80 people.

We have a full time Chef, kitchen & domestic staff that prepare and serve dishes that are typical of local, regional & national Thai cuisine, prepared with fresh, local produce, including salad, vegetables & fruits from our own farm at Daruma.

Omnivorous (non-vegan, non-vegetarian) & vegetarian options are served as standard.  Please do notify us when enrolling if you require vegan options and for any other special requirements, as our Chef will have to plan meals accordingly & order produce etc.

We also barbecue occasionally, using some of the bamboo charcoal grown & processed at Daruma.

Further information is available on our About pages.

Yes.  Dormitory rooms which sleep up to 4 people are included in the course fee.  There is also space for tents if you prefer the camping experience.

Typically we limit class sizes to a maximum of 12.  This affords more time to fully explain anything we need to during class & address any questions you may have throughout your course.

Laundry service is available at Daruma.  Laundry bags for visitors are kept near the reception area at the foot of the main building stairwell.  You can drop your filled laundry bag at the bottom of the stairs in the morning, and it will magically reappear the next day, laundered, dried & folded in a basket in the reception area.  There is a 50 Baht fee for 1 laundry bag.  Pressing / ironing is also available, please see the announcement board at the main building stairwell area.

Internet & WiFi access is included & available to all students participating in a course at Daruma.  As an education facility, Daruma has a very high speed connection (approximately 500Mbps download speed, 100Mbps upload speed).

Wifi works well from the entrance gate, around the main buildings, and down to around the FarmLabs™ area.

If you do not have your own mobile device or laptop, you are welcome to use one of the 20 or so internet-connected computer cubicles in Daruma’s LRC / library on the 1st floor, and open class area on the 2nd floor in the main building.

Bicycles are available if you wish to use them to ride to the local night market or explore the local area.  They are not suitable for off-road riding.  We use an honour system, with an honesty box in place in the cafeteria area for use of the bikes.  Prices are 20 Baht for single use, 50 Baht for a half day, and 100 Baht for a full day.

Discounts are available for large group bookings, and for individuals booking 2 or more courses.

If you are an individual booking a 2-week course such as the PDC or similar, and a 2-day course such as the PRPT, a discount of 10% will be applied to the course of lower monetary value.

Discounts are not available when booking e.g. 2 x 2-day courses.

For Group Bookings, contact us using the booking form below & let us know how many are in your Group, and the course(s) you wish to enroll in.

If you are looking to book a permaculture design course for large groups, drop us a message and let us know what you need.  We can accommodate groups of up to 100 visitors for single day tours, or for weeks at a time if studying one of our courses.

Farmlab Merch, applied permaculture and ecological system design at Daruma Ecofarm in ThailandNo.  At least, not yet.  This is a humorous reference to the problems encountered when one of the founders of permaculture had issues with copyright & trademarks.

FarmLab T-shirts will be available when we become cool & hip, with a Youtube channel, thousands of subs, and a ‘merch’ store….

Booking Enquiry Form