Design Course in the Darjeeling Hills
27th March to 12th
21st November to 6th
The course fees, inclusive of
training material, food and lodge:
International Candidates Rs. 33,000
Indian Nationals residing
outside Darjeeling but working in India Rs.
Discounts available for
Darjeeling hills’ residents. Please contact for details
“Mineral Springs, Dabaipani, Darjeeling”
Mineral Springs Dabaipani is an internationally
certified organic area and fair-trade labeled collective of 456 small farmers
since 2002. The farmers have come under the Mineral Spring Sanjukta Vikas
Sanstha since 1996. The collective has been marketing small farmers organic tea
in the international market, which is grown as a polyculture crop.
The participants will have home stay accommodations
facilities with the members of Mineral Spring Sanjukta Vikas Sanstha.
working knowledge of English is
required by the participant. We do not look for academic qualifications for the
course, except an interest to be part of a sustainable lifestyle and be the
change you want to see in the world.
NB: **** DLR Prerna and
Rico reserves the right to admit candidates to the course. Candidates will be
notified of their participation on receipt of the completely filled application
** IMPORTANT NOTE **
Full Fee deposit is
required to secure your spot in this course. Registration without deposit will
only hold a spot in the course until we are filled. If you have not deposited
the fee by this time your spot will be given to someone who does make the
Foreigners please contact
Prerna for details.
This course is offered at
the lowest possible pricing to make it accessible to as many people as
possible. As such a late cancellation can have a significant impact on our
budget. For this reason we have the following cancellation policy.
6 weeks or more notice: full refund minus 5% processing fee
4 to 6 weeks notice: refund minus 25%
2 to 4 weeks notice: refund minus 50%
2 weeks or less notice: refund minus 75%
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND INSTRUCTOR’S BIO ARE
Permaculture Design Course
Permaculture is a design system to
create regenerative, sustainable systems. Envisioned over 25 years ago by Bill
Mollison and Dan Holmgren, from Australia, it has now spread to over 120
countries. Though its conception was as a land based system, its effectiveness
has moved it into urban settings and to being applied in various social,
political, and economic environments.
Permaculture was created through the
synthesis of many design systems, with the emphasis on nature as the
penultimate one. Similarly, the insights and value of traditional and
indigenous practices and knowledge are acknowledged along with the necessity of
molding these with our current understandings and the appropriate technologies
of today's world. What Permaculture seeks to do is to create three-dimensional
designs that are site specific and sustainable. By bringing together elements
(orchard, water system, farmer, cow, etc.), techniques (organic framing, natural
building, etc.) and strategies (microclimate, relative placement, etc.) a
system is designed or altered based on regenerative relationships. It is these
regenerative, beneficial relationships that give a system complexity, three
dimensionality, and thus, resiliency.
The world can be looked at as the
convergence of many different flows. From ‘natural’ (wind, water, soil, etc.)
to human (social, resources, transportation, etc.) to invisible (economic,
information, etc.) which interact and create patterns. These flows form our
world. Recognizing this, Permaculture teaches Pattern Literacy and Pattern
Application. This, along with Sector Analysis (site specific flow mapping),
Zonation (a tool for structuring time) and other techniques and tools, Permaculture
focuses on creating regenerative relationships that are the key to resilient,
From its inception Permaculture has
quickly spread to over One hundred and twenty countries where farms and other
sites are successfully applying its' ideas, techniques and strategies. As
further testament to its applicability, Permaculture is now being applied in
many urban and suburban areas. In many developed countries these applications
hold much promise for dealing with the many issues associated with mass
Permaculture in the last few years has
been moving into the invisible structures. In the United States a Permaculture
credit union has been formed and 'green' investment firms are using
Permaculture principles and ideas to create resilient, sustainable investment
systems. Environmentalists and social activists are using Permaculture to give
depth and complexity to their approaches to many issues we are dealing with
today. These applications are possible because Permaculture is a design system
that focuses on relationship and not so much on object.
Permaculture is a multi-faceted, in
depth design system that will help us create appropriate, site-specific designs
that are both sustainable and regenerative.
Permaculture principles are a list of
attitudes, approaches, and actions that are practical and not system specific.
These along with certain tools and techniques allow for a holistic approach and
interaction with any type of system. As a tool of analysis it is an excellent
way to look at existing programs, strategies, and interventions to assess their
interactions, linkages, and success'. It is a way to reach an understanding of
the various influences and flows involved in a system, be it self help groups,
village, or organization. Second, it provides insights and principles by which
to intervene or interact with a system. As there is neither a truly independent
system, nor sterile 'environment' this aspect is of significant importance.
Thirdly, as we have already stated, Permaculture is an excellent approach for
designing resilient, site-specific systems, be it disaster preparedness,
HIV/AIDS, or women's empowerment.
It is important to understand that
Permaculture is not so much about giving you new and improved ideas,
techniques, and strategies, though there is some of that. What Permaculture
does is allow for a deeper understanding of the situation at hand and, with its
principles and strategies, a more holistic, effective way to interact with or
design a system. What Permaculture offers
are skills and principles by which we build our awareness of why or why not
something was successful. Through this insight we can build on what is
successful and modify others to become more successful.
Stepping up another level, Permaculture
is an excellent way to weave together the different parts of an organization so
that a unity and synergy can be created. In this way unforeseen benefits and
ease will raise within the system.
This workshop will present Permaculture
with all of these applications in mind. We will focus on land systems with as
much hands on work and examples as possible. In addition, many discussions and
examples will be explored of possible applications in what are called the
'Invisible Structures', the social, cultural, political, and economic
structures that shape much of our world today.
Permaculture Ethics and Principles
Pattern Literacy and Application (physical and invisible)
Energy and Flows
Sector Analysis and Zonation
Water; Harvesting, Holding, and Recycling
Soil, Plants, and Environments
Agriculture; From Your Doorstep to the World
The Design Process
Permaculture in the Developing Countries
Permaculture and Organizations
This workshop will culminate with
several groups doing a real life design projects that will be relevant to the
site of the workshop. Not only will the teaching be about Permaculture, but it
will also model it by its structure and the environment we create together in
This workshop will contribute to the
enrichment of its site and each of its participants. With the goal of having
half international students and half local students this workshop will not only
be an opportunity to learn about Permaculture, it will also offer an
opportunity to understand we can create a regenerative, sustainable world
The person attending the Permaculture
Design Course will not only gain theoretical and practical knowledge on
Permaculture at the end of the workshop but will be handed a Permaculture
Design Course Certificate. This certificate will enable the participant to be a
certified Permaculture Practitioner. This course has been specially designed
for the many enthusiasts who are unable to invest two weeks at one go in the
East Nepal and Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas to get certified.
Richard Rico Zook is a Permaculture
designer, consultant and instructor. He
works with private individuals, farmers, villagers and local organizations to
create cultural and environmentally appropriate life systems in northern New
Mexico, India, Cambodia, and places in between.
Mr. Zook's work focuses on assisting local and indigenous cultures to
preserve traditional knowledge and technologies while adapting to and becoming
active members of our rapidly globalizing world. Currently (2011) his year is divided into 6
months in India, 2 months in Cambodia, 3 months in the states, and 1 month in a
different place each year.
In India, many of the projects he is
involved in are based out of Darjeeling, West Bengal, which is his home for
part of the year. These include a
bio-conservation project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Protection Fund
(CEPF). Utilizing a participatory model,
DLR Prerna (a local NGO) and Mr. Zook are training five forest villages in
permaculture and working with them to internalize and cycle their resource
needs, thus minimizing their impacts on the critical bio-corridor in which the
villages are located. A team headed by Anugyalaya (another local NGO), and
including Prerna, the Catholic Diocese and Mr. Zook, have initiated the design
process on a 16 acre Permaculture demonstration and education site. This process and the design implementation
will be a hands-on experience for several local, long-term students of Mr.
Zook. Other projects in the planning
stages include: tea worker trainings in Permaculture for improved quality of
life (e.g. water processing and cycling for health, home gardens, humanure,
etc.); and conversion of a working tea estate to a socially just and
environmentally appropriate model.
In south India Mr. Zook works with
several private clients whose projects include a university, a healing centre,
a children's camp, and assisting local farmers and tribals convert to organic
agriculture. Past projects have included
wetlands construction for wildlife, a children's school, and many private
consultations on farms and homesteads.
An ongoing focus is the conversion of a traditional family farm into a
model of sustainability and Permaculture.
Located 15km south of Udipi in the state of Karnataka Punarvasu Farm
annually hosts several work weeks for foreigners and Indians with hands-on
learning and cultural immersion.
In Cambodia Mr. Zook is building a
network of projects and associations with NGO’s similar to that in India. He also conducts several trainings for Khmer
farmers, as well as assisting in the development of several demonstration
sites. This past year he trained a group
of teachers from the Teacher’s College in Siem Reap, and is working with them
to develop a curriculum that will become part of the government’s Life Skills
Program that is part of the public school’s curriculum.
In Taos, New Mexico (USA) Mr. Zook is working with the
Hanuman Temple in creating a 5 acre urban Permaculture farm. He is also working with the San Cristobal
Youth Ranch in converting to a holistic ranch model, as well as interacting
with youth campers in educating them with hands-on applied Permaculture
techniques and strategies. At times he
provides consultations to private clients.
Every year Mr. Zook visits new
sites, meets new NGO’s, and teaches numerous courses, from 1 day introductions
to 2 week design courses with certification, for farmers, villagers, NGO
workers, and foreigners. This year will
be the 7th annual Permaculture Design Course in Darjeeling, the
longest running course of this type in India.
He is always open to inquiries and requests. He also accepts qualified apprentices.
addition to academic and professional credentials, Mr. Zook has spent more than
25 years living in nature, including long-term residencies in California’s
Yosemite National Park, the demanding Sangria de Cristo Mountains of Northern
New Mexico, and as a homesteader in Northern California wilderness. For more
than a decade as Land Manager for the Lama Foundation, a spiritual community
and retreat center North of Taos, NM, Mr. Zook designed and transformed the
rugged, semiarid high-altitude site that had been decimated by wildfire into
one of beauty and productivity. Using permaculture practices and a lifetime of
observation and interpretation of the natural world and how to create human
harmony with it, he has built a visible and successful permaculture
demonstration and teaching site. It is a model of design integrating the needs,
resources and yields of community and nature in proactive and abundant ways
with respectful and restorative impacts on the environment.
Mr. Zook is
a graduate of Sonoma State University, from which he holds a Bachelor of Arts
degree in Environmental Studies focused on land restoration, with minors in
Biology and Philosophy.
Prerna is a Darjeeling based NGO working in the Darjeeling Hills since 1996.
Darjeeling Ladenla Road Prerna believes in a
world that sees the need to live as one family where the environment is
preserved and protected, where conscious efforts are made to remove unjust
structures while striving to build a just and humane society.
Our mission is to build sustainable human
communities in the Darjeeling hills and the adjoining areas by promoting
peoples participation, gender equality and living in harmony with the
Prerna has undertaken community development of Harsing Dabaipani and Yangkhoo
Busties(Villages), Darjeeling. Mineral Spring Sanjukta Vikas Sanstha (MSSVS)
has been established by the communities with 440 families as members in 1996.
It is the first certified organic small farmers in Darjeeling, undertaking poly-culture
farming and selling tea as Mineral Springs Tea in the international fair trade
market. For this experience MSSVS and DLR Prerna is mentioned in the World
A member of DLR Prerna are accredited organic certifying inspectors with Institute
of Market Ecology India specializing on small farmers.
DLR Prerna has conducted and been part of researches with specific references
to the issues of the Darjeeling Hills including the Area and Issue Profile of
Darjeeling and Sikkim and Village Level Planning on Developing a Transboundary
Conservation Landscape in the Kangchenjunga Complex – Senchel & Mahananda
DLR Prerna has also managed and implemented all the programmes of Anugyalaya
DDSSS from 2001 primarily focusing on small farmers organics and community
based disaster preparedness. In 2006 November DLR Prerna phased over Anugyalaya
DDSSS as we feel the capacity of the organization has been enhanced to manage
her own programme.
DLR Prerna has been instrumental in community and student campaigns like:
• Clean and Green Darjeeling
• Campaign for the judicious use of plastics
• Clean Darjeeling Clean River Rungeet – focus on Solid Waste Management with
the Darjeeling Municipality
DLR Prerna has been a founder member of the Darjeeling NGO Network, a network
of 11 NGOs in the Darjeeling Hills who come together to share expertise and
resources and have in the recent times undertaken the campaign, ‘Conserve Water
Reduce Your Waste’.
In the past two years DLR Prerna has initiated a community-based sustainable
livelihoods option conservation efforts with 5 villages in the fringes of the
Singalila National Park, Darjeeling.
2011 taking the community conservation efforts forward, DLR Prerna is engaging
with Samanden Forest Village, looking at human wildlife conflict management. A
community pilot on waste management at the Vitoria Falls is looking at home
composting and community initiatives of waste management.
Prerna is pioneering Permaculture Design Courses in the Darjeeling Hills,
offering certified basic course with Mr. Richard Zook as the trainer since 2005.
Shorter term courses for farmers are being facilitated by Rico and the DLR
Prerna team in the local language.