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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

Newsletter summer 2018

We are already in August, time flies!

While the west of the continent suffers from heat and dryness, here we have a weather exceptionally mild and rainy. For several months, days without rain can be counted on the fingers of one hand!

Except that, what happened at Ermitaj?

New outside stairs to access to the dormitory, new fences for the garden we opened, kittens, baby ducks, lots of garden work, and much more!

Regarding the activities, we had the pleasure to organize:

Upcoming activities:

For our friends and supporters from Belgium and the surrounding area, note already the date of November 10 in your diaries: we will organize an support evening for the association! Many surprises are waiting for you 🙂 It will happen in Soignies (between Mons and Brussels). The information will follow!

Volunteers, friends and visitors:

Recently, we had the pleasure to welcome: Victorine, Olivier, Audrey and Manuel, Myriam, Doro and François-Marie, Althaea and Polo, Joel and Virginie, Magda and Michael, Olivier, Philippe and Julie and their kids Samuel and Anabelle, David and Ophelia, and Pauline!
A big thank you to them for their company, their support and their precious help!

We leave you with pictures of our achievements, activities and all this beautiful people.

See you soon !


Volunteers, friends and visitors:


The making of the stairs!


Some pictures about the weekend of introduction to permaculture and our class room:


And much more…


Towards Diploma in applied Permaculture Design

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

Thank you for reading our terms and conditions

Starting from the observation that in Romania, there is no permaculture teacher recognized by official networks, we want to give the opportunity to people already experienced in permaculture to get more tools to teach permaculture and to get prepared for the Diploma in applied Permaculture Design.

Following the training ‘Towards Diploma in applied Permaculture Design” will make you a better designer, will help you to manage your diploma work, potentially open up new work opportunities and improve your abilities to spread the permaculture word.


The training «Towards Diploma in applied Permaculture Design »  will be given by Graham Bell, world-renowned author, teacher and practitioner of permaculture, assisted by Mark Shiperlee. The training takes place from 1st to 16th September 2018 (residential) at the Ermitaj. The Ermitaj is located in Transylvania, in a small village called Malin (district of Bistrita-Nasaud), one hour’s drive from Cluj-Napoca, Tîrgu Mures and Baia Mare.


The training covers two aspects: understanding the permaculture curriculum (basically what is in the book « Permaculture – A Designer’s Manual » 1988, Bill Mollisson) and how to teach it in a joyous enabling kind of way. 

The training will help you to manage your diploma work, to discuss specific challenge and to get advices. It will help you gain perspective on your way of thinking about learning.

It will be given along side the Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC). Participants will teach some parts of the PDC and will receive individual feed-back and coaching session.

This course could be linked with the 2019 Romanian Permaculture Convergence. At the Convergence, we would like to invite permaculture seniors tutors, in order to allow you to present your work and to get the Diploma in applied Permaculture Design. Designing of the 2019 Convergence will be part of the training.


Graham Bell is internationally known. He defines himself as a “global change agent”, devoting a large part of his time to sharing his knowledge and experience. He has expertise in several specialized fields: forest gardening and plant nursery management, resource management, energy efficiency, renewable energy … In Scotland, his own garden of 800m² produces 1.5 tons of fruit and vegetables a year, a yield of 16 tonnes per hectare. Its nursery is rich with 500 trees and 5000 plants. For 30 years, Graham has helped to set up thousands of permaculture projects on five continents and almost every latitude in both poor and rich countries. So, his expertise is also one of management. He is the first British man to receive the permaculture diploma from Bill Mollison in 1990 and has published numerous articles and two books: ‘The Permaculture Way’ and ‘The Permaculture Garden’.

Mark Shiperlee considers himself a self motivated entrepreneur. Passionate about nature, the principles as well as ethics of permaculture, Mark has been involved in many different projects. Here are just some examples. He had his own rural business in the countryside and also taught and worked in forest management. He has a special link with Romania since he organized convoys of humanitarian aid in 1990 and then developed social enterprises in both England and Romania. He therefore masters the Romanian language. He also helped to tackle homelessness and poverty through social enterprises in Scotland. He has been a entreprise coach for a government funded project. Nowadays he is running a rural business incorporating many areas of work. And he is living on a small piece of land where he grows as much food as possible, using Permaculture principles and ethics, and is also encouraging clients to work with their gardens/land in a permaculture way.

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 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.

Ermitaj is a non-profit association.

Click here to find out more about the training place


Participants must have relevant experience in one or more areas of permaculture.

The course will be taught in an English accessible to the greatest number.


There are three possibilities for accommodation: you can sleep in a dormitory (limited places), in a tent or in Beclean (15km away) where many hostels exist. We strongly advise you to stay on site.


The price includes full board. The food will be prepared by a team of fine cooks. These will be as much as possible attentive to individual diets.


Between 495 and 825 euros (see the registration form)

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

Thank you for reading our terms and conditions

Ermitaj open house day

On Saturday August 11, Ermitaj opens its doors!

It will be an opportunity to discover the Ermitaj and its project, to make beautiful meetings and to create new synergies, and simply to have a good time together!

Suggested program of the day:

11:00: arrival

11:30 – 13:00: presentation of Ermitaj’s project and its infrastructures

13:00 – 14:00: Potluck lunch: bring some food to share!

14:00 – 16:00: Tour of Ermitaj and its surroundings

16:00 – 19:00: discussions, socialization, games, music …

Those who wish to spend the night at Ermitaj are welcome: just bring your tent and camping equipment (be careful, the nights can be freshs).

Festive evening and, if the sky allows it, we will watch the shooting stars!




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(Until now, the newsletters have been written in French, but they mostly contain pictures! In the future, it will be translated in English and Romanian as much as possible)

To see the previous newletters, see below: