Permaculture Cliffs Notes

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    What Our Courses Are All About

    • Build Ecological Literacy: Observe nature and learn her patterns. Re-connect to the biological web that we depend on for all of life. Understand that humans can actually have a beneficial impact on the environment.

    • Integrate and Regenerate: Permaculture Design is a cross-discipline framework for holistic design. Apply the patterns of nature to your garden…and to your life. Redesign your daily practice, sustainable business, community space, and more.

    • Connect with Your Tribe: Our courses bring together participants from all around the world who are passionate about regenerative design and sustainable living!

    • Revision the natural world and your connections to it using Permaculture design.




    Atitlan Organics

    Located on the shore of Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands, Atitlan Organics is a 10-year old productive Permaculture farm. Since 2010 we have been cultivating edible greens, fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, chicken, ducks, dairy, honey, and medicinal plants. We firmly believe in Permaculture Principle #3: Obtain a Yield and we supply Lake Atitlan’s best restaurants and shops with our Permaculture greens, eggs, and chicken.

    We are also deeply engaged with our local community and last year partnered with Wellkind Guatemala implement Permaculture strategies and design to create a lasting positive impact in our community. Projects focus on the diversification of local coffee plots, the installation of Permaculture kitchen gardens, & natural building home improvements. You can read more about our Community Service Initiative here.

    Course participants tap into all aspects of Atitlan Organics, learning both about the daily work of a fully-functional, productive Permaculture farm and how to use Permaculture design within the wider community to serve the needs of many. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to work alongside local farmers and families engaged in this work and experience life in a typical Mayan village. And it all takes place on the shores of the most beautiful lake in the world!





    Online Permaculture Design Certification

    $795 USD

    This 80+ hour certification course is internationally recognized and includes the full Permaculture Design Certification curriculum as laid out by Bill Mollison and Dave Holmgren, the founders of Permaculture. The course takes place online with a mix of live sessions, prerecorded lectures, and design activities. The content is an effective mix of theoretical design methodologies and hands-on practical advice and strategies. Additional focus is also placed on sustainable business development, personal wellness, and community development. Course content and training is applicable to all climate types and regions. Created for anyone who is interested in learning and promoting a more sustainable, nature-based approach to their work.

    Upcoming course: January 16 2022

    Permaculture for the Herbalist’s Path

    $2,850 – $3,100 USD

    This unique course melds two broad interdisciplinary studies, exploring the impact the health of our environment directly has on our personal well-being, specifically working with and alongside medicinal plants. This 31-day course will cover regenerative lifestyle & design, integrated wellness and herbalism, community and social awareness by working with living plants and living people to cultivate resilience. Topics covered include: Anatomy & Physiology, Global Materia Medica, Botany, Phytochemistry, Mycology, Biology, Deep Ecology, Triple Bottom Line Business, Education Alternatives, Slow Food, Economics in Agriculture, Alternative Energies, Community Development, Herbalism in Action, Herbal First Aid and more!

    Upcoming courses: CHECK BACK FOR 2022 DATES

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    Sacred Earth Yoga Teacher Training + Permaculture

    $3,595 – $3,795 USD

    In collaboration with Awakened Spirit Yoga. Deepen your yoga practice and feel the subtle and profound shifts that happen when you embrace sustainable and holistic practices. Drawing on the wisdom of both ancient yogic philosophy and Mother Earth herself, this 4-week course teaches the foundations of yoga through asana, breathwork, and mindfulness. Embedded within this training is Atitlan Organic’s Permaculture Immersion, which gives participants the chance to come into a deeper and more symbiotic relationship with the natural world. Highly recommended for yogis, change-makers, innovators, activists, seed planters, or anyone is interested in transformation.

    Upcoming course: February 14, 2022

    $895 USD

    Explore the foundations of Natural Building through this immersive 9- day course that creatively combines in classroom learning with hands on experiences that support the learner in integrating the art and practice of ecological construction in to their lives. Allow for yourself to connect to the wisdom of traditional building practices as a means of creating a more resilient and self sufficient existence. From stone to cob to natural plasters, you’ll learn a wide range of natural building styles and technique which can be put to use in any climate or region of the world. Learn how to reduce your footprint and maximize your efficiency all while creating beautiful, durable structures!

    Upcoming courses: JANUARY 24 – FEBRUARY 1, 2022 and

    APRIL 18 – 26, 2022


    Your Stay

    In person course participants stay at the Bambu Guest House, our partners for sustainable accommodations. You will stay in large, bright shared rooms, each one equipped with its own private bathroom with hot water, wifi, and a balcony overlooking Lake Atitlan. The on-site farm-to-table restaurant prepares three meals a day, snacks, coffee and tea to keep you nourished and energized during your stay. You’ll feel supported and pampered during your stay with us!


    Want to Connect? Send Shad a Message:


    Sarah Wu

    Sarah is a clinical herbalist of 20 years, studying and practicing planetary eclectic, regenerative herbalism with a foundation in Wise Woman Reclaiming philosophies. Influenced by global traditions, Sarah focuses on local food-based healing and ethnobotanical traditions. She leads trainings and workshops in herbal medicine, Permaculture Design Courses, Therapeutic Deep Ecology, Social Permaculture, field-to-the-plate holistic nutrition, herbal first aid and Tarot. She is a passionate mentor and educator, who believes in the teacher’s role in unlocking the innate wisdom of the student. Sarah is the co-founder of the Village Witches project, and is a Co-Founder and Co-producer of Envision Festival.

    Laura Palmieri

    Laura ‘Lala’ Palmieri is a clinical herbalist, a biologist, plant and fungi lover and grower. She offers health consultations to balance body, mind and soul working with medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Her approach to health integrates the knowledge of many ancient traditions and teachers, fusing spirituality with nature, and science with alchemy through the transformation of the elements.

    Lala has spent her years in dialogue with Nature, which has fueled her passion to integrate scientific knowledge and the connection with all beings to help humanity. She integrates her practice with cooking, gardening, and exploring ecosystems. She teaches and facilitates herbal clinics and programs in permaculture, herbalism, botany, fermentation, and medicinal mushroom cultivation, with a regenerative earth care approach and techniques that are accessible to most. She and Sarah co-created the Envision and Cosmic Converge Herbal First Aid Clinics, other relief Clinics in Guatemala for the volcano eruption. You will find Lala crafting remedies for her diverse communities in Guatemala and Costa Rica, where she is actively creating a world with integrated healthcare.

    Holly Mech

    Holly fell in love with yoga because of the sense of connection she felt every time she came to her mat. She began teaching yoga in Chicago in 2011. Her desire to deepen her teaching and personal practice led her to continue her yoga education in California, Bali, Australia and Guatemala. Holly now travels around the world teaching yoga and facilitating yoga teacher trainings. She enjoys helping new teachers sequence yoga classes and incorporate philosophy into their teachings. Her classes are creative and dynamic with an emphasis on making yoga accessible to everyone.

    Holly studied English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and frequently draws inspiration for her classes from literature and poetry. When she’s not on the yoga mat she enjoys exploring nature, singing, dancing and working with textiles.

    Ashley McDonnell

    Ashley’s work focuses on resurrecting our relationship to the natural world through the development of earth based skills that deepen our connection to place while increasing our sense of sovereignty and resilience. Devoted to the arts of permaculture, natural building, herbalism and birth work as her mediums, Ashley explores with humility the diverse modalities that support us in living in right relationship with the world around us. She views permaculture as a practice that not only creates healthy ecological communities but one that helps to reweave the very fabric of who we are as people. Her work is an offering to the future.

    Zach Loeks

    Hailing from Ottawa, Canada where he and his partner run the 50-acre Kula Permaculture Farm, Zach brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the course. He works as an educator, designer, consultant and farmer, with an emphasis on integrating diversity, conserving soil and maximizing farm ecosystem services while maintaining high productivity.

    Last year Zach published The Permaculture Market Garden, which explores ways that permaculture can be scaled up be a profitable whole-systems enterprise. Zach is a leading figure in permaculture, who brings a new and exciting vision of how it can be integrated into the wider community and marketplace.

    Rony Lec

    Rony is one of the world’s leading experts in permaculture and Mayan ancestral knowledge. Rony has spent the last 20 years teaching and implementing permaculture throughout Central, South and North America focusing on promoting food sovereignty and preserving biodiversity for the survival of Indigenous communities.

    Through his extensive work with Indigenous communities on traditional ecological knowledge, seed saving, native plants, local/global food movements, livelihood security, and the interaction between communities and the environment, he has made a key contribution to the empowerment of Indigenous people around the world. Rony is a co-founder of IMAP.

    Neal Hegarty

    Neal is originally from Ireland. He grew up on a dairy farm and has been around animals all his life. He studied agriculture in Ireland and has worked as a permaculturist for the past 10 years. Neal was the Volunteer Manager at Atitlan Organics for 2 years before co-founding his own Permaculture-based enterprise, Abundant Edge Farm, in Tzununa. He brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and energy into each Intro to Permaculture Course and Permaculture Design Certification Course and we’re happy to continue to collaborate with him!

    Shad Qudsi

    Shad Qudsi has over 13 years experience in organic and commercial gardening and farming. He is certified in Permaculture Design and has over 3 years experience in permaculture design consulting. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a double major in Applied Math and Psychology, Shad and his wife, Colleen, moved to Central America with only vague goals of farming at some point in the near future. In January of 2010, Shad and his wife bought and moved onto a very small farm located in the traditional Mayan village of Tzununa, which on the north shore of Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala. The farm developed into Atitlan Organics and now mainly focuses on greens and chickens, a large edible and useful plant nursery, a food forest, and training and education.  Shad is an enthusiastic teacher who truly believes in the work he is doing. Human resiliency cannot be erased from the landscape and now, it is coming back with a loving grace.