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Permaculture Design Course 2019


Un mic filmulet al PDC-ului de anul acesta, facut de profesorul Pascal Depienne.A short aftermovie of 2019 PDC made by Pascal Depienne, the professor of the PDC.

Publiée par Asociatia Româna de Permacultura sur Dimanche 7 juillet 2019


Nine years after the first Permaculture Design Course in Romania, followed by two other courses in the years 2011-2012, at Ermitaj Malin we had once again the honor to have as a teacher Pascal Depienne from Terre Paille et Compagnie , for a PDC organized between May 25th and June 5th in the same location. As we have been accustomed to in previous years, Pascal supported two weeks of intensive teaching in permaculture, during which he covered a wide range of this concept.

The rich amount of knowledge gained in Pascal’s 14 years of Permaculture practice and the  assistants-teachers (Mark Shipperlee, an expert in forest management in England, Tudor Petruţiu, president of the Romanian Permaculture Association and Remy and Coline from Ermitaj) brought a complete and diverse package to the PDC curriculum.

In Pascal’s approach, there were theoretical aspects that covered areas such as:

– Principles and ethics of permaculture
– Patterns and templates in nature – their application in the permaculture design
– Design tools – zoning, sectors, permanence scale, etc.
– Design Methodologies
– Social permaculture – tools for communication and organization
– Soil – problems and solutions, regeneration, fertility, and so on.
– Regenerative agriculture – large-scale permaculture
– Synergetic Gardening Techniques
– Water – Techniques and strategies for water capture and storage, passive irrigation, etc.
– Trees and forests – their ecological management, vegetative propagation and so on.
– Cultivated ecosystems – forest gardens, agroforestry systems and others
– Animals – their integration into households, efficient growth systems, and so on.
– Natural constructions – design, strategies, materials and techniques, etc.
– Invisible structures – strategies for the development of ecological societies



In addition to the theoretical sides, practical workshops were also introduced:

Stacking functions: double use of the composting process – fertilizer and thermal energy (domestic water heating)
Natural constructions: building a protective wall using the straw-clay technique 
Control structures: Permeable check dams for prolonged water retention and prevention of downstream destructive flooding
Infrastructure: Design of access routes on / around the farm territory and their implementation
Biodiversity: Bats house inspired by the work of the Bats Research and Conservation Center
Vegetative propagation: grafting, cuttings and marcotting workshop
Multi-functionality: redefining existing spaces
Communication: Non-violent communication workshop, talking stick and decision-making by consensus

DSC_8663 DSC_8690








All of this, alongside the fire-evenings, the pizza-party at the oven and the closing evening with its talent/no-talent show, were the ingredients of a succesful PDC.


Throughout the course the participants used the knowledge they gained in order to develop a permaculture design of the farm, at the end of which they presented the developed plan. We had 5 projects structured in a balanced way, including well-integrated elements designed to inspire and broaden the horizon of the permaculture ideas used in the development of Ermitaj Malin.




We are grateful that we have had a nice team of volunteers who cooked for us every day and helped us organize the event. Thanks Yann, Salome, Amael and Dorian! We also want to thank the teachers, the whole team involved in the organization, and especially the participants!



Translated from Romanian. Original article from 

Ermitaj Malin is looking for 2 volunteers! (period +- 18 May – 6 June)

Do you want to help permaculture in Romania and our project while participating in a moment rich in learning and meetings?

We are looking for 2 more people before and during the PDC which will take place from May 25th to June 5th at the Ermitaj to help to make this event unforgettable for everyone!

The Ermitaj is a pioneer place for permaculture in Romania, it is the first, and so far the only place that organizes certified permaculture courses in the country.

Given the success of the event (we will be about 30 people on the spot!), we would like to inflate the team of volunteers (so far we are 7), so that we can all fully enjoy these two weeks without stress.

What we are looking for: polyvalent people, able to work in a team and living in community, and ready to get your hands dirty for the final preparations (construction / renovation of external infrastructure, help with the garden, maintenance of the camping area and paths, …) and during the course (help with cooking the meals, maintenance of the place and logistical organization, take care of animals, preparation and support of practical activities, etc.).

Of course you will have free time to enjoy the place, spend pleasant moments with everyone, and attend some parts of the course.

The course will be given in English, but a majority of Romanian speakers and several French speakers will be on site.

In general, Ermitaj welcomes volunteers throughout the season, for periods of a few weeks to several months (depending on our needs), do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information or visit the webpage about volunteering.

Click here fo more info about the PDC (if you want to attend the course, we still have 2 places available! – dormitory is full)

Interested? Send us an email at to introduce yourself and explain your motivations.

Thank you for sharing the info around you!

Ermitaj’s team

Newsletter autumn/winter 2018-2019

First of all, we wish you a very happy new year 2019!

What has happened to Ermitaj since our last newsletter in August?

A busy summer end, with …

The Permaculture Design Course with Graham Bell!

Two intensive weeks of human experiences, discoveries and learnings about permaculture, which ended in beauty with the presentation of the designs.
Thank you to all the participants, as well as to the fabulous team of teachers, assistants, volunteers, cooks and organizers!

Interview of Graham Bell at Ermitaj: 

The weekend about foraging with “Incredible Edible Romania”

Thank you to Iulia and Quim for this weekend rich in meetings and learning about our environment!

Support evening in Belgium

On November 10, in Soignies, we organized an evening of support for Ermitaj.
On the menu, there was: a dinner with Romanian notes, a presentation of the project, and a small market of Romanian products.
Many of you have answered the call, and we are deeply touched and grateful. A big thanks to all of you!


During that time, we asked a few friends to keep the farm. We especially want to thank Tudor and Iulia for taking care of the place and our animals with a lot of love!


And what’s next?

We are working on the agenda for next summer. But we already have some information to share with you … and not least!

Certified Permaculture Design Course with Pascal Depienne

Yes, we do it again! This time in the spring, with our friend Pascal Depienne: the first teacher to have organized a PDC in Romania, and it was at Ermitaj!

Click on the poster to have all the practical information:

National convergence of Permaculture

In collaboration with the Romanian Association of Permaculture, we decided to organize the national convergence of Romanian permaculture next summer at Ermitaj Malin!
Dates and news to come …

Hiking with donkeys

Looking for a good reason to come to Ermitaj and discover its surroundings?
We remind you that we organize  hiking with our donkeys
“à la carte”.
They will carry your things or your tired children, and give the pace … quietly! 😉
Hiking from one day to two weeks, accommodation at Ermitaj, homestay and / or bivouac.
Let us know your desires, and we will consider together the appropriate formula!

Click on the picture to access the page about activities with donkeys:


We let you now with some images of the romanian (real!) winter.

If you want more frequent news from us, subscribe to our Facebook page “Ermitaj Malin“!

Permaculture Design Certificated Course 2019

After the great success of the Permaculture Design Course last September with Graham Bell,
Ermitaj Malin, together with the Romanian association of Permaculture, organize a new
Permaculture Design Course, this time with Pascal Depienne!

You want to register ?

Please download, fill out and return this form by email to

Thank you for reading our terms and conditions


“Be here and everywhere as if you were there forever”  Pascal Depienne


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 12 days residential. It includes theory classes, a lot of practical activities as well as evening entertainment. 
The training takes place from Saturday 25th of May to Wednesday 5th of June 2019 at Ermitaj. The 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 and French-English bilingual assistants are involved in the training and spaces will be given for questions and answers.
Anyone participating to the full course will be awarded with internationally recognized certificates. These can be used as the starting point to go through a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design.

The trainer

Pascal Depienne is an off-grid land owner, teacher and practitioner of permaculture. 
He was a teacher of English and French. He reoriented himself towards permaculture during one of his long stays abroad, notably during a six-month volunteering at the Panya project in northern Thailand in 2007, one of the permaculture centers in South East Asia.
Upon his return to France, he acquired a small piece of land in North-West France, where he has been experimenting for 9 years. He restored a small autonomous stone house in 2009, built a bioclimatic and autonomous straw house in 2011, and planted a few hundred perennials to  grow an edible forest.
Founder of several associations related to permaculture, he is a Permaculture teacher and designer since 2009. He also designs for companies or individuals.

Some images are better than a long speech:

 More about the trainer :  his Youtube channel “Avenir Permaculture” and the website of his NGO “Terre-Paille & co

The place of training

The Ermitaj has been a pioneering player for permaculture in Romania, since it is here that the first PDCs of the country were organized with Steve Read and Pascal Depienne himself 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 a non-profit association.
Click here to find out more about the training place

Housing & Food

There are three possibilities for accommodation: you can sleep in a dormitory (limited places), in a tent or in a 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.


Between 550 and 825 euros (see the registration form) + special price possible for groups (contact us) 
Early bird price: 400€ if you suscribe before the 12th of March

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
– Trees and forests
– Plant propagation
– 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

Click here for a more detailed program overview

You want to register ? Please download, fill out and return this form by email to

Thank you for reading our terms and conditions

Permaculture Design Course with Pascal Depienne – detailed program

Please note that this program is informative and could be modified.
Day 1: introduction to permaculture
– presentation, introduction to the concept of permaculture: definition, history, multidimensional approach, ethics, examples 
– Bill Mollison’s principles
Day 2: the design
– natural models and introduction to permaculture design. 
– design tools: permanence scale, sectors, zoning, resource analyzes and needs. 
– design methodology: obredimo 
– design: observation of the site 
Day 3: human permaculture
– introduction to human permaculture
– nonviolent communication – holistic mandala
– consensus decision making workshop 
– practical activities
Day 4: the soil
– soil concept: soil design, cycles, composition, microbiology (soil life), soil quality recognition (empirical methods), structure and texture, bio-indicator plants, problematic and degradations, permacultural soil approach . 
– practice
– maintain existing mounds / move land
– design
Day 5: natural agriculture
– regenerative agriculture
– synergistic gardening
– discussion on autonomy
– practical workshop
Day 6: water
– water: cycle and generalities, water in the landscape, capturing and storing water on a small and large scale (bays, pools, reservoirs, roof waters, hydraulic ram …), filtration upstream and downstream downstream (phytopurification), passive irrigation and watering methods, dry toilets. 
– workshop: the gods of rain 
– design: 
– evening: screening of the documentary “the origin of the apple” by catherine peix
Day 7: the tree and the forest
– the tree: vocabulary, functioning, flows and cycles, climatic factors, relief, roles and functions, the natural succession. 
– plant propagation: cuttings and grafting, natural selection
design (2h)
Day 8: the cultivated ecosystems
– crop ecosystems: agroforestry, different forms of coppicing, orchard-vegetable, principles of edible forests 
– design
– practical workshop
Day 9: animals
– animals in permaculture: integrated farming systems, alternative beekeeping and rescue, poultry farming.
– design (1h30)
– practical workshop
Day 10: natural and bioclimatic construction
– ecoconstruction and habitat: situation, design, natural and bioclimatic construction, strategies, materials, techniques, climates, energy efficiency … 
– appropriate technologies
– practical activity
Day 11: invisible structures
– invisible structures (how to recreate the social bond and a healthy economy, strategies now applicable)
– design (3h)
Day 12: closure
– presentation of the designs 
– feedback on the training 
– the permacultural movement, its mode of development and its networks. 
– concrete actions and commitment 
– certificate delivery – the professional design, the certificate, the diploma and the companioning