TESTIMONIALS

In the past decade, Daruma Eco Village has welcomed over 800 volunteers, interns, and permaculture students, many of whom have recounted their experiences. Here are just a few of their stories, with links to their own pages and websites:

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.

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.

Daruma Eco-farm is a wonderful education center and a successful example of caring for the earth, caring for the people, and sharing abundance. I was a student in the 2 week permaculture design course which incorporated hands-on farming and building, design practice, and classroom work. Earth building, seed starting, land assessment, all of the practical aspects were incredible empowering and built a foundation of land practices I still use today. The academic aspects of the course were fascinating; from calculating terrace sizes, to studying ecological interactions, to presenting an integrated landscape design. This course exceeded not only my expectations, but the literature I had found on permaculture. I am forever grateful to my breakthrough experience working and learning with Daruma Eco-farm.

From the natural swimming pool, to bamboo hammocks, to terraced vegetables, and straw bale buildings, Daruma Eco-farm is a paradise of permaculture. An easy day trip to Bangkok, this educational center is conveniently located to incorporate a permaculture design course during travels or study. The 2 week course I participated in was extremely well planned, interactive, and academic. I was not only able to learn leaps and bounds about biology, land design, ecology, engineering, and building, the integration of locals in the farm staff allowed me to expand my Thai language and cultural knowledge as well. I came to the farm a complete permie novice and left with my world turned upside down with healthy soil now being my heaven! The practical work we did daily such as transplanting, propagating, land assessment, earth building, and water capturing were processes that one cannot learn in a classroom. The hands-on experience we had during this PDC was what separated this course from countless others I had researched. We were able to complete full projects such as building a rammed earth structure, straw bale library, and terraces while still learning the science behind it all. It was a great balance of real life practice and classroom/group work. Accommodations were cozy, and I made wonderful lifelong friends with the fellow students. I am still practicing a life of permaculture, now on my own farm in Colombia, using everything we learned in my initial PDC. I will be forever grateful to Daruma Eco-farm for launching me on this amazing path to earth regeneration!

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!

Sue Rae, New York

“The past 10 days have been absolutely fantastic. I was able to get in touch with Neil, a friend of a friend of my fathers’ who lives here in Thailand and has an organic farm about an hour outside of Bangkok. He is part of an organization called WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The idea is that people, anyone, pays a small fee to join the website and get access to contact information for organic farms in certain countries. “

WWOOFing Daruma Farm by Karina

“WWOOFing appealed to me for a lot of reasons. Of course the fact that it’s (mostly) limited to small, often family-run, farms that are all organic was a big reason – I’m sure working on a standard American farm would have been a very different experience. Since I really like the idea (if not always the price…) of eating organically-grown food, I was eager to learn more about the principles and practices behind it.”

WWOOFing in Chonburi, Thailand by Jennifer A.

“We found out about Daruma ecofarm through warmshowers as it turned out that the farm owner was very supportive of passing cycle tourers. It sounded perfect. Keen to get there as soon as possible we decided to cycle out of Cambodia across the border with Thailand at the Poipet crossing and then get a train to Chachoengsao, just 60 km from the farm.”

Permaculture in Thailand by Marianne and Rob

“They are adding a spa for Thai massage and other Japanese treatments onto the front of their house. At their farm they are building a huge house for several things”

Neil’s Farm by Leah O.

“By noon it was time to congregate in the outdoor kitchen to prepare the fresh food. Piban, Su’s sister and a mother to everyone on the farm, cooked the Thai food that Olson soon looked forward to at every meal. Food was different every day and changed with the seasons.”

A Walk in the Farmer’s Shoes by Danielle S.

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