EVS opportunity in Arterra, a spanish ecovillage

Do you feel like experimenting the life in Arterra for 3 months? We have a place for you through our EVS program!

You will be working on the community farm from the 1st of September – 30 November which is the time of harvesting all the bounty from the garden!

Read more below:

What is EVS?
EVS is the European Voluntary Service, is a program allowing young people to go abroad, learn and contribute to a better world with support from Erasmus+ funding. It provides an opportunity to join meaningful work and experiential learning while your food, accommodation, traveling, pocket money, insurance and mentorship are fully covered. A person can only do one long-term EVS.

The EVS project will take place from 1 of September 2018 to 30 November 2018.

Arterra Bizimodu: www.arterrabizimodu.org
The living conditions will be simple with the focus on low ecological footprint. You may expect shared rooms and common facilities, natural rural environment and diverse social activities together with the group.

Young peoples the age 17-30, who have not participated in an EVS project before, from the corresponding partner countries: Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. If you are not from any of these countries, you can apply if you find a sending organization from your country.

We are looking for motivated candidates with a pro-active, creative and problem- solving attitude, with a wish to learn about farming and other ecovillage activities.

The main activities of the EVSers will be working in the garden cultivating vegetables and taking care of the community animals, composting, and normal community chores such as cooking and cleaning. The volunteers are expected to produce a creative presentation in form of video/audio, poster or photo collage about their learnings and discoveries from agricultural techniques they experienced during their EVS period.

If you are interested in this EVS project, please send your CV and motivational letter to Ruben from Permakultur Danmark (rubenbiolec@gmail.com):

Five natural design frameworks

Hi everyone, I’m Luis Gil from REPESEI (Iberian Southeast Permaculture Network)

I would like to begin this article by thanking the entity that made it possible: Permaculture Denmark. Thank you for providing us the necessary information, advice and connection to the Erasmus+ programme, through which we have been able to receive a grant to cover the costs of the nature-based design framework course. Thanks to Candela, promoter and participant of this enriching experience and to Catherine, bridge with Permaculture Denmark. I would like this to be the first of several collaborations between the two networks, the Permaculture Denmark network and the Permaculture Network of Southeast Iberia.

But what am I talking about?
Well, the course that took place from May 14th to 18th in Lisbon on natural design frameworks. At the end of the seasonal spring meeting at the Ecosystem Restoration Camp, Candela and I left for Lisbon. When we arrived we got immersed in the landscapes, the culture and the Portuguese university. It was in the facilities of the University of Lisbon, annexed to the botanical garden, where we received the course and a lot of learning.

A design framework is a set of ethics, principles and practices that guide us when interacting with a medium. For example, when making a permaculture design on a land we would base our design on the 3 ethics, as well as on the 12 principles of permaculture. We can start by observing the land, understanding it and from there adapting it at the same time that we are modifying it to guide it towards a more sustainable state until we get to make it as permanent as possible.

The 5 design frameworks that we focus in, in addition to other collaborative design tools such as “The WeLand”, were: biophilic design, biomimetic design, regenerative design, resilient design and permaculture design.

I will try to explain each of them as fully and briefly as possible:

Biophilic design

For many people is the beginning of their learning about nature-based design. This design framework is based on the appreciation, recognition and the value of the natural world. Haven’t you ever been surprised by the height of a tree? Or the strength of a river? Or the flight of a bird?

By remembering the link that unite us with the wildest and most natural world, by putting it into value, we are simultaneously recalling a very important part of our interior, the most instinctive and primitive part, the part that has existed for the longest time on earth and that has led us to what we are today as human beings. Being able to reconnect with the natural world opens the door to an ecosystem that has been developing in harmony for millions of years. It is through this door that the necessary inspiration begins to flow to recreate the beauty of the natural world on paper, in a garden, a house or an entire city.

As we see many of the examples of biophilic design are based on introducing natural elements into urban and interior spaces such as trees and plants, scattered light sources imitating the leaves of trees or organic forms.

Biomimetic design

The biomimetic design gives us the possibility to emulate natural technologies. From the connection with the natural world we can observe the forms, processes and ecosystems we are finding.

Relying on nature as a mean of inspiration and learning gives us the clues to understand the mechanisms that govern this world. With these clues and through their abstraction, analysis and study it is possible to imitate nature. Copying nature provides us solutions to problems in a stable and adaptive way, solutions that have been successful for millions of years.

Imitating the hexagonal shape of some corals to build strong, flexible and lightweight structures, or taking inspiration from burdock (a type of thistle) and its ability to attach itself to hair and invent velcro, or even understanding how peacocks’ feathers work by refracting light to give colors to fabrics avoiding decoloration, are just some examples of biomimicry.

Regenerative design

When we find damaged, degrading or collapsing ecosystems it is time to talk about regenerative design. Knowing what an environment was like to return it to its original state or to help it regenerate to a more optimal but different state is the key to regenerative design.

Most of the problems that the current extractive production model is facing are the destruction of the ecosystem in which it operates and, with it, the loss or increase in the price of the resources that were being extracted. A clear example is the soil of intensive farming. When forests are cut down to establish intensive monocultures, a high level of profitability is achieved at the beginning, which diminishes as the soil wears down and contaminates to the point where it ceases to be fertile and becomes unprofitable over time.

But if instead of fighting with the natural world we help it run its course, letting it do its job, we find that it has an immense capacity for regeneration, through many interconnected pathways that generate endless solutions. By adapting technology to the needs of the land it is possible to accompany nature in its process while obtaining the necessary resources to live in abundance.

In this way, and using the information provided by degraded soil, we can rely on the power of nature instead of brute force to find multiple ways of regeneration. Nourishing the soil instead of feeding the crops may seem impractical at first glance, but the more nourished and healthy the soil is, the more fertile it becomes. In fertile soil, plants grow stronger, more resistant and bear more fruit, making it much more profitable in the long run to nourish the soil than to continue to degrade it with chemical fertilizers and poisons.

Resilient design

This design framework focuses on flexible solutions capable of absorbing and resisting anomalies. A resilient design is able to adapt to adverse conditions to return to its original state once the problem is overcome.

One of the keys to this design lies in having a great diversity capable of providing a multitude of different solutions to the same problem. Thus, even if some of the solutions fail, if we have a good diversity, it is much more likely that the solution to the problem will be found in another way. A clear example can be found in forests, where the connection between the roots of plants allows the exchange of nutrients, the more diversity of plants we find, the greater the diversity of nutrients will be available to the entire forest and even if one species disappears, if there is diversity many others will be able to continue their work and occupy their ecological niche.

As a result the redundancy of elements in a system makes it much more resistant to change and therefore more sustainable.

Permaculture design

Up to this point we have practically defined many of the characteristics and principles of permaculture design thanks to the previous design frameworks.

We can talk about design in permaculture when by connecting with nature and observing it, we can find ways to flow with it, regenerate it and make it more resilient until we reach a permanent ecosystem. To be able to understand culture as permeable, to observe it flow through generations and join its course is surely a good way of doing permaculture.

In this way, permaculture design has a wide range of development pathways or petals that cover most areas where human beings develop, being a holistic design system. Natural agriculture, breeding, bio-construction, self-management, integral health, community management and appropriate technology are the most common petals or areas of permaculture.

In this way, permaculture design is a holistic design framework, it has a wide range of development pathways or petals that cover most areas of human culture . Natural food growing systems, free education, bio-construction, self-management, integral health, community management and appropriate technology are the most common petals or areas of permaculture.

By applying permaculture to a project, we can achieve better results with less effort. An example of permaculture applied in a farm would be to make fertilizers and compost with animal and vegetable scraps and with them feed the fields that in return will feed the animals, feed us and give us health, medicines and materials to create tools or build. As well as spaces where we can raise our children and live in community and also provide a surplus to trade and finish covering the needs of the farm.


For me it has been very enriching to contact other permaculture networks such as the Danish and Portuguese ones. To understand that, even though we are far away, we are on the same path and dream. It makes me feel grateful and happy.

By being able to investigate and explore other design frameworks based on nature, finding similarities and complements with permaculture, it has given me new tools that I am already sharing with good reception in the networks I am part of. I’m also starting to integrate them into my designs with favorable results and I hope that over time they will be successful.

The language immersion has been an opportunity to learn specialized terms and grammar and at the same time has forced me to express myself in English, the basic language of the course, reminding me of the importance of this language in order to connect with international networks. Somehow I think I’m beginning to appreciate the English language a lot more than I did before.

To conclude, I would like to tell you that Portugal is a very interesting, unique and mysterious country to which we do not usually give all the attention it deserves.


Erasmus+ mobility- Job Shadowing a PDC in England

Text: Charlotte Louise Langdon
Photos: Aranya

Job shadowing for Aranya and Caroline Aitkens PDC course this spring has given me a great deal of inspiration for developing my teaching. This I would like to share with you here.

We were about 18 people who spent two weeks at High Heathercombe Centre: this included a teaching team of 3, plus me as the shadow, 2 working in the kitchen and 12 participants.

Here I have collected some of the things that made the teaching on this course so effective.

  • What we teach- is the content relevant?

Questionnaire was sent out before the course beginning- covering participant’s previous knowledge of permaculture, their interests, expectations and future plans for using permaculture in their life. The teaching group read through the questionnaire replies together, on the day of arrival. This meant we were able to see who in the group had previous knowledge and who were beginners. This helped in organising groups and making the content relevant to all participants.  Other methods could be a show of hands, where educators ask the group about their interests.  The questionnaire also helped to flag up and unknown circumstances like health problems, shyness or learning difficulties.


  • How it’s taught- is the process engaging and interactive?

Course days were filled with activities and opportunities to relay content to suit many learning styles.  Visual learners were met with slideshows, free standing pictures, as well as pictures and clear mind-maps on the whiteboard. Linguistic learners could talk it out in pairs or groups, kinaesthetic learners got the opportunity to move their bodies and complete practical activities, audio learning was aided by discussion and presentations. Participants were invited to work in groups, in threes, pairs and often came back to the whole group presentation in order to share the individual experiences from the activities to the whole class. This meant that the course felt dynamic, but also that participants could compare their own findings to the findings of others, thereby broadening their understanding.


After-lunch sessions were particularly reserved for practical and outdoor activities, since this is usually a time of low-energy when sat in a classroom situation. Activities included soil-testing, observation of natural systems, water audit for the teaching centre, measuring slope with bunyip and A-frame.  Handouts meant that it was possible for small groups to go and work independently while still receiving guidance from the educators. On the handouts were questions which should be filled in for later presentation to the whole group. How is the soil where you have taken your test? How does this compare to the other test site?



It was very clear that the educators had been inspired by multiple intelligences, the Action Learning Cycle and Accelerated learning in their teaching. (Participants are prepared by offering a safe group working environment and building on previous learning. The content is presented creatively and interactively and the participants then have the opportunity to practice the learning in real-world situations. They are then offered insight into their performance through peer support, coaching, personal observation, evaluation and feedback)



  • What relationships does this information make with our
    existing knowledge- does it connect with previous learning?


Reviews of the previous day’s content were carried out by each of the groups in turn. They would prepare a review for the rest of the group and were offered inspiration for how to do this with some “idea cards” The idea cards were based on the multiple intelligences- so it invited the review team to refresh their peers memories through mime, logic puzzles such as word scrambles, kinaesthetic activities including recreating the forest ecosystem with their body poses. Linguistic methods were also used in reviews where the participants could talk about their memories of the previous day with a partner. One fantastic review was auditory/musical and consisted of the group singing some very funny songs about the previous day’s content.  Very memorable!


End of week reviews consisted of the whole group drawing in image form, what we had learnt throughout the week, trying to match the memories to the day that we covered the content.


  • How does it lead us forward- what can we do with this new knowledge?
    The educators gave many practical examples of how the new knowledge could be used by the participants, introducing them to agroforestry methods, small-scale home sufficiency, national and global organisation and alternative economy. There were 3 visits to sites where practical examples of the course content could be found. Martin Crawford’s forest garden, LAND matters community and Odd-Job community recycling station.

The teaching crew had a library of relevant books on the subject matters covered. They would lay the relevant books from the library on the floor, so participants could see them, have a flick through or borrow them to read while staying at the centre. This gave a great deal of inspiration for further reading and where to go next. Participants also got the chance to go deeper into what they feel is relevant for them, outside of session time.


Participants gained the ability to actually start designing whilst on the course, presenting their design to their peers and receiving feedback from the educators and teaching apprentices. Achieving this learning outcome was made possible by the creative presentation of course content, group dynamics and support systems, and opportunities to practice design techniques.

A good example of this is the presentation of principles of permaculture (in slideshow form) and principles of ecology through drawings on the board and discussion, always asking the participants to contribute. “What is the difference between these two ecosystems?” Through inquisitive questioning, observing the image and thinking, the group cement the principles in their knowledge.

After being introduced to the key planning tools, participants were given a small design exercise to work on in groups, starting with a simple problem solving exercise: where to place a compost bin in a small garden. The course culminated in detailed group design work and finally presentations, feedback and celebration.


  • Teaching styles, individual sessions and the course as a whole were reviewed, both between the teaching team (when participants were busy with practical activities) and by the participants themselves through the opportunity to write feedback on post-it notes and pin them up- while the teachers were out of the room.



Design of Teaching Structures

What else can we learn from seeing, interactive, well-planned, quality practical and theoretical courses that are held in the UK. Part of the learning can come from looking at the course itself: teaching techniques, tools and the fantastic online and print learning resources available to students.

But we can also learn from the overreaching structures that support these courses, in the form of teacher’s guilds, mentoring opportunities and common teaching resources which make it possible for a group of educators to offer the same high quality education and worth to participants across the country.
Aranya is part of a teacher’s guild called “Designed Visions” which consists of Looby Macnamara, Chris Evans and Hannah Thorogood. They have worked with creating course materials, course timetables, improvement of courses and teaching, support, inspiration and peer review. They also have a common webpage where courses can be posted publicly.

Caroline Aitken had been working under a skilled mentor: Patrick Whitefield, where she had learnt many of the interactive teaching skills and techniques that came through on the course. These strategies make a great deal of sense, especially when working with permaculture. We know that an integrated system is more resilient and stable than segregated elements (The group outlives the individual)

So on your next workshop or course, don’t forget:

  • Prepare well with lesson plans and learning outcomes
  • Prepare the learner by creating a comfortable and relaxed learning environment and nurture a cooperative group culture.
  • Find out about participants previous knowledge and make the content relevant to their needs.
  • Allow opportunities for group, pair and individual working.
  • Keep the course dynamic by including lots of different teaching methods.
  • Get the participants to review and refresh content often.
  • Guide participants to actually start putting the learning into practice, and offer feedback or peer-2-peer sharing following these exercises
  • Cater to the multiple intelligences

Become an EVS in Spain

If you are a member of Permakultur Danmark, are between 18 and 30 years old and  interested in becoming a volunteer for 9-12 months from next autumn through the European Volunteer Service, this 200ha-ecovillage could be a good option.


Los Portales is an intentional community that practices innovative ways of life in different areas including organic agriculture, holistic education, deep psychology, empowering and power sharing systems of governance, conflict resolution, natural medicines, art, clean energies, an economy based on sharing, and above all, the empowerment of each individual, continually advancing towards greater sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Founded in Andalucía in 1984 (although born in 1978 in Brussels), the inspiration of the founders was nurtured by Jungian psychology and dreamwork as a way to know and transform our fears and pains into power, and to access our hidden talents.

They have a firm commitment to personal and global development and harmony through respect for oneself, each other and their environment. They conceive the community not as an end in itself, but as a means of creation and a path of transformation.

After 33 years of existence, Los Portales is a well-established, stable and broad project that has developed in many directions and integrated the main dimensions of sustainability.

You can read more about Los Portales in their website:


If you know other projects that are of interest for you, you are welcome to contact them asking if they host EVS.

More info about EVS programme:


For further information about EVS, feel free to contact Ruben:


2-day Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training in Fejø Retreat Center

An exciting course coming up first weekend of june in LAND center Fejø Retreat:

Become a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and help to spread the laughter in permaculture places, yoga and fitness studios, senior care facilities, and many more places.
Denmark needs more laughter and impro.
Ruben has learned with UK´s Laughter Ambassador: Lotte Mikkelsen, who has trained more than 800 individuals over 10 years.

In order to participate you have to sign up and pay before may 8th.

Deadline to register: may 8th

This popular course is ideal for individuals who are looking to expand their set of skills, learn new energizers and bring more laughter into their lives and their teaching.
Or simply learn the Laughter Yoga techniques to add more laughter in your own life.

Who is Laughter Yoga Leader Training for?
The training is ideal for people in the following professions – but is not exclusive to those:
 Recreation activity facilitators
 Yoga teachers and sports coaches
 Occupational therapists and health care professionals
 Psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists
 Nurses and social workers
 Permaculture teachers
 Health care workers and senior care workers
 Professional speakers
 HR and management training professionals
 School teachers
 Entertainment professionals, actors and singers, clowns and comedians
 Life coaches and alternative therapists
 Tourism and nature guides
 And finally anyone who wants to add laughter and joy to their live

Ruben offers the popular Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training in the following formats (for more details about courses and dates write to rubenbiolec@gmail.com):
 Group training (residential):
2-day Laughter Yoga Leader Training which runs in different locations.
 Private or workplace groups:

2-day or 4-half- day Laughter Yoga Leader Training running on request and always to suit your busy schedule, as well as running workshops by request.
NB The course content is the same for all Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Trainings.

For further details and information about tailored Laughter Yoga programmes for the workplace or information about Laughter Yoga and laughter training please contact us.
Course fee: Booking early is recommended.

Registration: Please secure your place via email/google form. You will receive confirmation and details once booked.
The world needs more laughter!

The course is held in the following location:
– Fejø Retreat Center – june 1-3
It comprises of two days of Laughter Yoga Leader Training as originally outlined by Dr.
Madan Kataria, Founder of the Laughter Yoga Movement.

Course Content
During the training you will
 get an understanding of the need for Laughter Yoga
 find out how the idea of Laughter Clubs originated
 learn the basic guidelines for a Laughter Session
 get to know the benefits of Laughter Yoga as well as the risks
 learn to present Laughter Yoga
 find out how to start a Laughter Club
 find out how to run community workshops
 practice a minimum of 40 laughter exercises
and much more.

EARLY BRID (Until april 30th): (1700dkk)
– Your own tent: 2550dkk
– Common room: 2650dkk
– 2-beds room (only x places): 2800dkk

Normal Price (From may 1st to may 8th): (2000dkk)
– Your own tent: 2850dkk
– Common room: 2950dkk
– 2-beds room (upon availability): 3100dkk

Fejø Retreat website:



Nordic Meeting 2018!

Nordic meeting2018 will be held at Stiftelsen Holma-
in Höör, Skåne (Sweden!)
From Friday the 9th Feb -. Sunday the 11th Feb

We will visit Holma Skogsträdgård (Holma Forest Garden) and there will be a presentation “Holma Folkhögskola- from idea to reality”

You can find the full program from january, on : www.permakultur.se

Registrations here!

Höör is easily reachable by train. (They go from Malmø a few times every hour) When you get to Höör station, it’s just 2,3km to Stiftelsen Holma. (takes a little under 30mins to walk)

For practical info, and sign-up
Contact Kicki

For the program and questions about diploma accreditation
Contact Hans


Welcome to the Permaculture Association of Denmark!