Category Archives: permaculture

Camptier (participatory workcamp) 2021

From July 12 to 31, Ermitaj invites you to participate in its first “camptier”!

The idea of ​​the “camptier” comes to us from Pascal Depienne, professor of permaculture, and his French association “Terre-Paille & co”:

“The ‘camptier’ is a self-managed participatory worksite, we facilitate the transmission of know-how in natural construction and we share a rich moment of life with our participants. We carry out all the collective tasks, whether it is the kitchen or the dishes (the food is provided), and we only work 6 hours a day with one day off per week. This experience allows a completely informal and free education while encouraging the development of each one and the discovery of a permacultural way of life. We also share other activities such as bread-making, gardening, harvesting, processing, or simply time for games and rest, hence the name CAMPTIER. ”

This year, at the Ermitaj, we have decided to organize our first real “camptier”, which will last three weeks, and during which we will work on the exterior aspect of the barn, and its multipurpose space in which we organize most of our courses and events.
We want to take this opportunity to experiment and share several plaster and finish techniques based on natural materials (clay, straw, sand, lime, wood).
The idea is to have a pleasant, beautiful, functional place, and at the same time to experiment and show different natural building techniques!


Here is an idea of ​​the program (we may not do everything … it will depend on the number of participants and how fast we move forward!):

For the AAC block part (the current donkey house):
– interior wall (South) in clay-straw plaster, cob frame for the whiteboard + cob shelf
– east wall: ‘fake’ cord-wood (fixings of wooden washers and lime-clay-sand plaster between them)
– North and West walls => clay-lime-sand plaster or wood cladding

For the wooden part (the current workshop):
– remove the polystyrene plates from the east and north facade (will be used to insulate from the inside and / or for other uses) – wooden sign “Ermitaj Malin” on the east facade
– Filling of the holes between the wooden planks from the inside with light clay straw
– Installation of second hand windows

Creative finishing plaster on the wall in ‘torchi thai’ (made in 2019 during the PDC with Pascal Depienne) – manufacture and installation of a wooden door

 In practice:

– The camptier will take place from July 12 to 31 (arrival July 11 and departure August 1)
– It’s free!
– We ask participants to register (by email), and to stay at least one week (we ask, if possible, that arrivals and departures take place on Sundays)
Camping accommodation (a few places in dormitory will nevertheless be available – first come, first served!), with dry toilets and outdoor shower.
The Ermitaj provides the food (vegetarian), but the cooking (as well as the dishes and the maintenance of common areas) will be self-managed by the participants
– Every morning we will start with a briefing to determine the different tasks and working groups.
– We will work 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Thank you for reading and agreeing to Ermitaj’s Internal regulation. 

The number of participants will be limited to 20 people present simultaneously.

Prior registration required:

Please specify the duration of your stay (arrival and departure date), send us any comments (special diet, health problem, allergy, etc.), and do not hesitate to tell us about your experiences and / or skills that could be valued during the camptier!

Some illustrations of different projects around the world, to give an idea of the creative and aesthetic potential of clay-based constructions and plasters:

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 !! 
Facebook event

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


2 days Introduction to permaculture

From May 22 to 23, 2021, we are organizing a weekend of introduction to permaculture with Radu Craciun, from the Romanian permaculture association.

The course will be given in Romanian, and will be followed by a course in permaculture design methods from May 29 to June 1.

Between the two events, participants have the opportunity to stay at the Ermitaj and volunteer there.

For more information, we invite you to consult the page in Romanian.

Convergence of Permaculture in Romania 2019

After a 3 years break in the series of convergences of permaculture in Romania, the Romanian Association of Permaculture togheter with Ermitaj Malin took back this tradition, trying to find a new format, beneficial for the movement of the permacuture. The preparations started a week before, to make sure that everything will be as well as possible for our guests: we made provisions of local food, we prepared the group activities, some places of the farm were arranged and even donkeys helped us by mowing the grass!

During three days, and with to the help of a team of volunteers, co-organizers and facilitators, Ermitaj Malin was the theater of many activities, dedicated as well to people already involved in permaculture, as visitors or curious enthusiasts. This edition was an opportunity to raise a big question: “how can we grow the permaculture movement in Romania?” And with the help of people already involved in this movement, we have thought of many solutions. It was also an opportunity for the participants to do some networking, to feed their curiosity, to enjoy nature, and to relax.

Thus, for our great concern, community building activities and exercises were organized to create a space of trust, empathy and freedom of expression at the center of the discussions. We sat in a circle in the shade of the great charm of the Ermitaj and we met (or met again), we opened up, we played. Permaculture manifested itself socially through our meeting.

Together, we co-created a definition of permaculture, clarifying any ambiguity. The mantra for the first day was: “We are all in the same boat!” … on the same road, with similar visions and challenges. So, with all this concentrated energy, we worked together to answer the questions raised during this convergence.

People from different professions were present: urban gardeners, educators, people living off-grid, farmers, eco-builders and designers. With all this diversity of knowledge and experience, we have created a World-Cafe, thanks to which we have generated dozens of ideas, some of which we hope will soon become a reality. A hot topic of discussion was the centralization of the permaculture movement at the national level and the need for local representatives in the different regions of the country. We all agreed that to help the evolution of this movement in the country, the next step would be to synchronize local projects, associations and initiatives in a single national network with local representatives in all regions of the country. Thus, a structure of this type will allow national decisions, the international delegation of representatives of Romanian permaculture and the creation of a unique network of people in permaculture.

At the same time, the prospect of a big meeting in the near future, a permaculture festival that would bring together hundreds of people, professionals and curious, was discussed. Thus, permaculture stakeholders from all regions would come together in a single movement that wants to have a strong impact, creating visibility and arousing growing interest around this concept.

The first two days of convergence were entirely devoted to permaculture and the people already implicated in this movement. The third day was a day when we opened up to all the curious, those who sympathize with the concept of Permaculture, but also those who could not attend the first 2 days, but who are on the map of Permaculture. So there were a lot of key activities and meetings. In addition, the Ermitaj received a surprise visit from the mayor Mr. Constantin Toma from the city of Buzau and the mayor Mr. Mureșan Ioan from the commune of Nușeni, two representatives evoking their interest for Ermitaj Malin project and for the future of the permaculture in Romania. In this perspective, the city of Buzau was presented to us as an actor – beginner but nonetheless important – in the field of permaculture, where large projects of permaculture and circular economy must be implemented.

The activities were organized using the technology of “Open-space”, which means that the program was spontaneously co-created with those present, according to the needs of the group and what each participant had to offer. Soon, the empty board that we posted on the wall at the begining of the day has turned into a coherent and diversified program, with several activities taking place in parallel. The future of the ALPA association was discussed, ecobuilding technics were discussed, projects like Ecoruralis and Cutia Țăranului were presented, a bio-intensive gardening course was organized with the Romanian Permaculture Association, a workshop about plants identification with Permacultură Tureni, and many others.

With all this energy channeled in one direction, that of the development of permaculture in Romania, many great ideas and projects have come to life and will be put into practice thanks to the collaboration of those who want this change. And that makes us happy and motivates everyone to continue on this road, the road at the edge of nature. After all, in permaculture, we don’t just need a handful of people to do great perfect things, but rather, we need everyone’s participation in small steps to make this world a place that respects nature and humans, and that will prosper with all of us.

Text written by Tiberiu Marcu on, freely translated from Romanian.