Practical course work
In the Venus flower
72-hour Permaculture Design course, 29th April-9th May 2021 at the eco island retreat Gea Viva on the Croatian island Brac
What is permaculture?
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a set of design tools, methodologies and principles that allow us to enrich and diversify landscapes, our communities, towns and villages to be in harmony with nature and to provide an abundance of everything we humans truly require. Guided by ethics, permaculture aims at creating a permanent culture - lifestyles our planet Earth and its rescources can sustain for generations to come. The design principles of permaculture are very versatile and can be applied to any design task ranging from ethical business development, house design, gardens, creating lifely communities and creative solutions to generate energy, catch water and to minimize waste, to name a few.
Gea Viva is an eco retreat camp in a tranquil olive grove, 15 minutes’ walk from the sea and the harbour village Milna on the beautiful Croatian island Brač. Giving people the opportunity to experience living in harmony with nature, it offers retreats, events and seminars around the themes of ecological construction, permaculture, geomancy, healthy living, arts and crafts. Being completely off-grid, Its design is based on permaculture principles featuring a stone circle, a beautiful pavilion which serves as a teaching space, a permaculture garden, compost toilets, solar showers, a geodesic dome, a straw bale eco cabin, a giant mosaic dragon and a cosy Summer kitchen. The course will take place in our outdoor pavilion and around the Gea Viva site.
Photos | Video | Location
PDC Course Syllabus
Having discussed the challenges we face as a society, permaculture ethics and the basics of permaculture, we will cover a wide range of themes and teach the patterns and concepts of permacutture. In a practical design project as well as hand-on work at the Gea Viva site, you will be able to apply and deepen your learning,
The syllabus will cover the following areas
- Permaculture ethics and approach to challenges
- Principles of Natural Systems - Sustainable Design Methodologies
- Patterns in Nature, Culture and Society
- Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes
- Large Scale Land Restoration Techniques
- Water Harvesting Techniques
- Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements
- Grey Water Recycling
- Natural Building Strategies
- Cultivated & Productive Ecologies
- Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency
- Energy Conservation Technologies
- Appropriate Technologies and Renewable Energies
- Urban Environment Permaculture
- Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control
- Invisible Structures: People, Community, Economics, EcoVillages
- Community Supported Agriculture
The lead instructor Karmela Kiš, a renowned permaculture designer, has long-standing experience in permaculture, organic gardening and ecological garden design. Being completely immersed in permaculture for almost twenty years, Karmela has created and sustained a number of Permaculture gardens, grown a wide range of rare plants, published a book on conserving fruit and vegetables and has, together with her deseased husband Miroslav, written the first book on Permaculture in Croatian. An inspiring teacher with in-depth knowledge of applied Permaculture, Karmela truly walks her talk.
Sabine Engelhardt is an eco architect, joiner and geomancer, who is the innitiator of the Gea Viva project. She has designed the site according to permaculture principles and has built most structures on site, together with friends and volunteers. Having lived close to nature for the last eight years, Sabine has also designed and constructed her own tiny eco strawbale house, which you can see on site. Sabine has been cultivating the connection with the unseen layers of the Earth for many years, known as sacred permaculture and will lead the optional morning meditations/Yoga sessions as well as some modules on the course.
Facebook | Website
Barbara Scheltus is a gardener, webdesigner and permaculturist. Originally from Amsterdam, she has been living on a 12 hectare property in Croatia called "Bogata Suma" ("Rich Forest") with her family for 10 years.
Barbara designed and developed a beautiful kitchen garden ("vegetable park") that produces fresh food all year round, a food forest, a food savannah, a polyculture nut orchard, a natural swimpond and a permaculture campsite.
Besides land based permaculture, Barbara also makes and teaches people based designs. Like how to improve her Croatian language skills, a design about taking a break and a design for a sustainable elderly care community in rural Croatia.
She learned permaculture from Rosemary Morrow, Looby Macnamara, Mark Shepard, Rakesh Rootsman Rak, Taco Blom and others.
Facebook | Website
This 72-hour workshop starts on Thursday, 29th April at 18.00 hrs, with one afternoon off in-between, and ends on Saturday, 9th May with an evening of celebration. Sunday, 9th May is the leaving day, either before or after breakfast, according to your choice.
The course will run every day from 9.00 - 13.00 and from 15.30 - 19.00 hrs, with short interim breaks as required. Optional morning Yoga sessions/morning meditations are from 7.45-8.15 hrs.
The course language is English. Do not hesitate to ask, if you do not unterstand something, we can take it slowly. If you need, we can translate parts into German and Croatian.
The glamping tent has twin and single canvas rooms with camping beds. Bedding and bed linen are provided. Please bring your own towels.
The glamping huts host up to two people, have camping beds, reed roofs for shade and private terraces with sea views.
If you like additional days to relax here, you are welcome to arrive before the course. Additional nights are 16.50 Euros in the glamping hut, 13.50 Euros in the glamping tent/own camper van/ individual hire tent and 9.50 Euros in own tent.
To secure your place on the course, please pay the deposit of 200 Euros at the time of your registration. Payments are by bank transfer in Croatian Kunas (HRK) or in Euros, by Paypal or in cash. The deadline for registrations is the 21st April. We offer an early bird discount of 10% for bookings before 1st March.
For cancellations up to two months in advance of the event, we will deduct a handling fee of 50 Euros, and return the remainder of the deposit to you. For cancellations later than two months before the event, the deposit is non-returnable and for cancellations later than one month before the event, the entire fee is due.
Food and practicalities
We have a fully equipped kitchen on site, and will prepare vegetarian meals jointly. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know in the registration form.
Please note that alcohol and drugs are not allowed on site.
The village Milna has grocery shops, restaurants, bars, cash points, a currency exchange, a doctor and a post office.
The nearest city is Split, which can be reached by plane, ferry, rail, coach and car. From there you can catch a passenger ferry directly to Milna on Brac or travel via Supetar with the car ferry (more frequent). Milna is also serviced by a ferry from Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korcula and Hvar.
What to bring
Please bring coloured pens, a notebook, drawing paper, working clothes, a sun hat, sunscreen, a torch and a towel.
Register here, if you have questions, please contact Sabine Engelhardt, firstname.lastname@example.org , tel + 385 99 749 3711.
Gea Viva is a beautiful place where you can learn to live with nature! People I met there were very kind :) I learnt so many things thanks to Sabine. We built an eco-cabin with straw bales and it was very interesting. Moroever, Brac island is such a nice spot to camp!
I had a great time a Gea Viva. Sabine was a terrific host. Brac is unlike any landscape I have ever seen and there were plenty of beaches within walking distance from camp. I would definitely recommend Gea Viva.
The Gea Viva camp and Sabine hosted us for a week and we had a great time! The food was excellent: freash fish, fruits and vegetables, good coffee, awesome! Sabine is also a really good host, we had great discussions about everything, she is really a wonderful woman, full of spirit and talent. The camp has a really good way of thinking, in harmony with nature and soul. It is perfect to relax and have a break from the stressful city life. The beach is only at 20 mins walk from the camp, really peaceful. You have another one a bit more far away (40 min), really beautiful. We really appreciated our stay! Thanks again Sabine!