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Permaculture Certificate Design Course – 2021 (canceled)

Unfortunately, we have to cancel the PDC 2021. The travel conditions from England being too uncertain, due to the Covid situation … 
But this is only a postponement! See you in 2022 for the next PDC, which may be organized in Romanian, which would be unprecedented!Instead, we decided to organize a 4 day forest garden course in Romanian language, the first practical course in Romania !! 
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After the great success of the Permaculture Design Course in 2018 with Graham Bell and in 2019 with Pascal Depienne, Ermitaj Malin organizes a new Permaculture Design Course, this time with Mark Shipperlee!
The PDC (Permaculture Design Course) is a course developed by Bill Mollison, co-creator of the term “permaculture” with David Holmgren. It is an entertaining, informative and life enhancing series of discussions, contemplating and practical exercises.
The course format is 13 days residential. It includes theory classes, a lot of practical activities as well as evening entertainment. 
The training takes place from Saturday 21st of August to Thursday 2nd of September 2021 at Ermitaj. Ermitaj is located in Northern Romania. 
There is no prerequisite to participate. Anyone looking for inspiration or willing to master concepts and practice of permaculture are welcome. The course will be taught in an English accessible to the greatest number. Romanian-English  bilingual assistants are involved in the training and many spaces will be given for questions and answers.
Anyone participating to the full course will be awarded with internationally recognized certificates from the Permaculture Association of Britain. These can be used as the starting point to go through the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design.


Permaculture is first defined as “the conscious conception of landscapes that mimic patterns and relationships observed in nature, aiming an abundant production of food, textile fibers and energy to meet local needs” (Permaculture 2, 1979)

Permaculture is largely interdisciplinary. It brings together and proposes a set of techniques and concepts borrowed as much from science and engineering as human experiences and accomplishments both traditional and new.
Permaculture is also a project management method. It strives to build sustainable human structures through the research and development of mutually beneficial interactions between economic, social, individual and natural systems. It covers land management, energy systems, the importance of plants, trees and wilderness, climate and weather and how we interact with all these. It starts with understanding what resources we have and how we can work from those to a better future for all.
In brief: Permaculture is a way of thinking and a reason to act. It stems from the understanding that there is no Planet B!

The trainer

Mark started to work early in woodlands at the age of 15 as volunteer before completing a 3 year course in countryside management at college in the 80’s. He founded his own rural business focusing on arboriculture and woodlands’ care. He also taught part-time at an agricultural college. He is additionally a qualified chainsaw instructor. In the 90’s, he worked overseas in a variety of locations, on humanitarian aid and development projects (in Romania as well).  He also worked as an enterprise coach/mentor. 
In his locality, his current work includes coppice management, felling and milling, and production of biochar and charcoal. He is  also director of Living Woods North East CIC (Community Interest Company) and The Fruiting Tree CIC, both local non-profits associations.
Mark produces hardy fruit bushes and trees and grows the majority of his food needs on his own small-holding on Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland. 
Having undertaken his PDC in 2012, he has since assisted on a range of Permaculture Design Certificate courses with different teachers in various locations. In 2019, his land has been recognize as a demonstration center of permaculture design. He developed in 2020 his own Permaculture Design Course.
Constantly challenged by environmental issues such as waste, pollution and habitat destruction, Mark’s work and teaching looks at real solutions to enable a more sustainable livelihood individually, locally and globally.
We already had the pleasure to welcome Mark two times at Ermitaj! He co-taught two PDC’s at our place with Graham Bell in 2018 and Pascal Depienne in 2019. 

The place of training

Ermitaj has been a pioneering player for teaching permaculture in Romania, since it is here that the first PDCs of the country were organized with Steve Read and Pascal Depienne at the beginning of 2010. 
The land of almost 8 hectares is located on the slopes of a hill at the foot of the Carpathians in an idyllic setting. Its characteristics and potential make it the perfect place to train for permaculture. The place is off-grid: no water, gas or electricity coming from the city, just mobile phone. It is composed of a young forest, old orchards, pastures, a pond, small streams, a difference in height of one hundred meters: micro-climates and challenges are therefore numerous. Ermitaj is running its activites through a non-profit association.

Housing & Food

There are three possibilities for accommodation: you can sleep in a dormitory (limited places), in a tent or in your caravan, or in Beclean (15km away) where many hostels exist. We strongly advise you to stay on site. 
The price includes full board. We will be as much as possible attentive to individual diets.


Starting at 1980 lei / 400 € (see the registration form) + special price possible for groups or if you subscribe to several of our events (contact us) 

Summary program of this course

– introduction to permaculture & its principles
– design tools and methodology
– human permaculture, nonviolent communication & consensus decision making
– soil 
– natural agriculture : regenerative agriculture, synergistic gardening
– water management
– the tree and the forest
– plant propagation
– the cultivated ecosystems
– crop ecosystems: agroforestry, edible forests & more
– animals in permaculture: integrated farming systems, beekeeping, poultry farming.
– natural and bioclimatic construction : ecoconstruction and habitat
– appropriate technologies
– invisible structures : how to recreate social bond and a healthy economy
– Design sessions
– Many practical activities, workshops & evening sessions


Newsletter Spring 2020

What’s going on at Ermitaj??
Like most of the world, our plans for 2020 have been somehow… turned upside down!
At the start of the year, we announced our season agenda with enthusiasm, and it was a busy one!
In early March, the health crisis took hold in Europe, and the first confinement-related measures were implemented in Romania. Optimism then gradually gave way to uncertainty and a feeling of fatality.
But who says fatality means despair?
In terms of uncertainty, we quickly decided to cut it short by canceling all of our events until the fall. Despite the disappointment, we experienced this as a relief: instead of being dependent on external factors and political decisions, we turned the situation to our advantage and took over. Goodbye fatality!
The constraint then became an opportunity: taking advantage of it to work on aspects of Ermitaj’s project that are not related with welcoming people, and at the same time to improve our resilience.
Resilience… a term that is familiar to us, and which resonates a lot !
In other words, this is the perfect opportunity to work on the other strings that we want to have in our bow … The story of not putting all our eggs in the same basket, if you prefer 🙂
And this resilience, it concerns many aspects at Ermitaj:
Human resilience, by finally taking the time to schedule the meetings necessary to clarify our social and administrative organization, and to make collective life as harmonious as possible. Because it is well known that the Precious Human Factor is a primordial aspect in a project like ours.
Energy resilience, by taking the time to improve our water storage and distribution systems. But also by continuing to insulate the buildings, while improving the heating possibilities …
Food resilience, by expanding the vegetable garden, taking care of our orchards, improving our methods of preserving food, and improving our knowledge on foraging and cooking edible wild plants.
And of course financial resilience, by taking the time to develop our personal/group projects, with the objective of achieving a certain economic viability on the spot. According to the person, it will be: market gardening, consultancy and design in permaculture, picking and drying herbal tea plants, building solar dryers for drying fruits and vegetables, wood working, metal working (forge and welding), as well as the increase in our (late) scything areas, while enhancing the biodiversity of our meadows.
A whole program, isn’t it? No time to be bored 😉
And we are happy to be able to have a good time together despite the confinement … which one more advantage of living a collective project!
We must admit that we are looking forward to receiving visitors and volunteers again …
Because meeting and sharing are a big part of Ermitaj’s purpose!
Until we can welcome you again, we promise to take more time to share our activities on social networks, in particular via video content. So, stay tuned ! 😉
Take care of yourself … and of your resilience! 

Newsletter winter 2019-2020

The 2020 season is already on the horizon … and a year has passed since the last newsletter! We apologize for this long silence, which doesn’t mean that we had nothing to say, but quite simply that we preferred to spend time on the land rather than behind our screens.

But we will catch up for this, we promise: we have made for you a little overview of the past year, and a very busy program for the coming year!

What happened in 2019

We will remember the two flagship events of the year, very successful, and which left us wonderful memories:

Click the picture to access the article

Click the picture to access the article

  • We welcomed many volunteers, friends and visitors throughout the year. A big thanks to all of them for the beautiful moments of joy and sharing, and especially for their motivation and their precious help at the Ermitaj!

We would like to thank them one by one in this newsletter as we are so grateful to them, but it would become endless! We would like to thank in particular Yann and Salomé, who stayed with us for more than 3 months, and who, in addition to holding their internship and their precious help on the farm, took a very active part in the organization of events!

  • To finish the overview, here are some photos of our activities and achievements in 2019:

What will happen in 2020? 

Spring is getting closer, and we have plenty of projects!

Many courses and workshops are scheduled this year! Here is an overview:

Spring 2020:

  • From April 25 to 26: spring claca – let’s get ready with the garden!
  • From May 9 to 10: weekend on wild edible plants (in Romanian language)
  • From May 23 to 24: weekend of introduction to permaculture (in Romanian language)
  • From May 24 to 27: week of volunteering around permaculture
  • From May 28 to 31: design method course in permaculture (in Romanian language)

Summer 2020:

  • From July 18 to 19: summer claca – haymaking
  • From July 25 to 26 (date to be confirmed) : workshop on herbal tea plants and their medicinal properties (in Romanian language + possible intervention in French / English)
  • From August 24 to September 5: Certificated Permaculture Design Course with Mark Shiperlee and Tudor Petrutiu (in English)

Fall 2020:

  • Workshop weekend about natural cosmetics and preparations based on medicinal plants (in Romanian language + English translation possible) – to be confirmed
  • Course about Food forest (in Romanian language) – to be confirmed
  • From October 3 to 4: fall claca – fruit harvesting and tree planting

For more information on the events at Ermitaj, consult our agenda regularly, which will be updated as we go!

What else? 

In the garden: we have planned to focus on the development and extension of the new vegetable garden located downstream of the land, and the establishment of a small garden dedicated to aromatic and medicinal herbs.

Food preservation: two different models of solar dryers will be built in the spring for fruits, and a space dedicated to drying plants will be created. Emphasis will be placed in particular, through experiments and workshops, on wild and medicinal plants: picking, cultivation, drying and preparation of remedies (balms, oils, tinctures, herbal teas)

Construction sites: improve and create fences and paths, natural plasters on the walls of the barn, maintenance and minor work in the big house (replacement of a roof), transforming an old van into a tiny house

… And don’t forget that our donkeys are waiting for you to go hiking! Contact us if you are tempted, and we will create a tailor-made stay for you 🙂

See you soon?