Hybrid self-paced and in person Permaculture design certification in Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlan is a global destination for seekers of conscious culture and alternative living. This hybrid course gives you all the theory and then provides the opportunity to explore and deeply connect with numerous diverse permaculture sites in the land of the Hummingbird Water. Get your Permaculture Certification and the experience of a lifetime.

In Person Dates - April 25 through May 2, 2023

Hybrid Permaculture Design Course with self-paced online component and an epic 8 day in person experience. Get your PDC in paradise and have lifetime access to over 50 hours of Permaculture Video Training. Start the self-[aced component as soon as you sign up and pack your bags for an amazing educational experience that starts April 25th!

The Curriculum

Before The Course - Go Deep in the Theory


Sign up and get instant access to a rich permaculture library filled with videos, checklists, design processes, and more. Participants are invited to dive deep into the theory of Permaculture Design prior to arriving on site. This hybrid model not only gives lifetime access to all the permaculture theory, but also prepares participants for a rich learning experience in person. THe online component has been optimized for application across all climates and will provide people with everything they need to bring their own homestead or pemaculture project to life, from the ground up.

Day 1 - Meet The Crew, Set The Intention, Drink Cacao, and Jump in the Sauna

On the first day, we settle into our space at the stunning Bambu Guest House. Meet our fellow Earth Stewards and set intentions for the course. Learn how humans can be good for the earth and meditate on what ecologically appropriate human behavior looks like. Envision the life we want for ourselves and our community, and then envsision the kind of world we want to live in. We will partake in a cacao ceremony led by Pauola from Columbia and then we will jump in the sauna and cold plunge. Following the sweat, we will build a fire and take our intention to the earth and plant it like a seed. 


Day 2 - Mayan Fire Ceremony, Waterfall hike, and Interactive Visits to two functional homesteads

Water 2

Considering we are in the land of the Maya Kaqchikel, we will begin the morning with a powerful fire ceremony offered by Day Counter Thomas of Quiche. This ceremony connects us to the land and to our ancestors, all of whom almost definitely practiced permaculture in their own localized ways. We dive deep into applied permaculture design principles and explore patterns in nature at the stunning waterfall system. Meet the ducks, chickens, and the fish. Snack on fruit and see the potential of permaculture applied in a responsible and ethical way. You will never see the world the same again.

Day 3 - Site Analysis and an Interactive Farm to Table Business Exploration

Spend all morning doing practical site analysis, exploring energy flows, zoning, and other critical factors to homestead development.Get in-depth, hands-on, practical experience analyzing sites and learn how to transfer those skills to your future land designs. Apply these techniques on a raw piece of land that is about to be developed. End the day with an interactive tour of Granja Tzikin, a nearby farm-to-table cafe and market garden. Hear from founders Neal Hegarty and Jeremy Fellows and spend the evening enjoying live music and a fantastic farm to table meal.


Day 4 - Field Trip to a Community in Paradise


Bright and early, we get on a private boat to cross Lake Atitlan, landing between two volcanoes on the shore of Santiago Atitlan, the largest indigenous city in Central America. Explore a local market, get a delicious breakfast of Guatemala Street Food (clean, safe, and even with GF and Vegan options), and taste loads of seasonal local fruits. We will then pile into a pickup truck and go down towards the coast, arriving at an awe-inspiring, fully indigenous intentional community, called Quixaya, which translates to the Heart of Water. See the potential of people working together under ecological principles and get inspired!

Day 5 - Dive Deep into the Garden, Build Soil, and Taste the Herbs

Start building soil, executing earth works, and learn how to reharmonize the land and the water. Seed starting, plant propagating, and composting ripening are tools of the trade and today you will go deep in the practice of how to do them anywhere in the world. But we dont stop there. After lunch, we will explore the local apothecary at Casa Curativa. Experience herbalism in action as you explore an herb-packed landscape and hear from founder Julia Bently as she explains her journey in permaculture and herbalism.


Day 6 - Food Forests and Fermentation

Seed Saving, Atitlan Organics, Permaculture Design Certification Course, PDC, sustainability, regenerative agriculture, Permaculture, Lake Atitlan, Tzununa, Guatemala, Central America

Its the perfect time to be in Lake Atitlan, as the rains are right around the corner and the time for planting is ripe. Explore the nursery and finalize earthworks, so that we are ready to drop a plant bomb! Learn the ins-and-outs of practical food forest establishment and get your hands dirty at the same time, planting a forest that will feed people for years to come. After lunch, we will visit Love Probiotics, an innovative food business that has embraced fermentation and built a thriving community around living food. Learn to make your own ferments at home and store the abundance while retaining nutritional density.

Day 7 - Fungi Forest

We will spend the morning finalizing our food forest and garden installation, taking time to learn how the system will evolve over time. We will also talk about other layers of the food forest, namely the fungal layer. We will visit a local mushroom growing operation run by ninja cultivator Tomasa Simaj and then take a visit to the nearby Fungi Academy and learn how they are growing spawn for the community. We will spend some time working to build strategies that allow us to take what we learned through the week and apply it to our own sites back home. Last night will include an incredible dinner and some merriment.
What's Included
Hybrid In-Person and Self-Paced PDC
April 25-May 2, 2023

Hybrid Course Allows the Best of Both Worlds

Self-paced, full permaculture design certification course with a week-long, in-person, experiential mastermind. Get a full step-by-step Final Design Process that leaves you with your own expert and peer reviewed, integrated regenerative site design and a 1, 3, and 5 year strategic plan for implementation. Balance the theory learned at home with a week of deep, hands-on learning.

Lifetime access to 8 modules of rich video trainings, additional resources, note packs, check lists, and more. Cover the theory before you arrive on site, so that you come prepared with questions and a desire to put that theory into practice.

Includes an on-site, 8 day, in-person training experience to explore the details of Earthworks, Water Management, Botany, Food Forests, Vegetable Gardening, Aquaculture, Nursery Management, and more.

Full Permaculture Design Process Roadmap to support the development of your own Permaculture Design Map and Plan, with opportunity to work, in person, alongside experts, to build your strategy.

Experience numerous, thriving permaculture sites at different scales. Get inspiration and form long-lasting friendships that will support you along your journey towards regenerative living.

Between the in person and online trainings, you get access to over a dozen different facilitators offering their unique knowledge and experience in different climates.

Combine online learning from anywhere in the world with a deep and transformational in-person experience, allowing for development of theory followed by practice and execution.

What's it all About?

People are going back to the land. And its a great thing. As we realize how dependent we have become on big corporations to feed us, and how disconnected we have become from nature, more and more people are waking up to the joys of living closer to the land. Homesteading and gardening are on the rise and for a good reason.

The sad reality is that while gardening and homesteading are not particularly hard activities, most people approach these things from the bottom up. Most gardeners and homesteaders fail to get the real birds-eye view of their land, and just as importantly, their sequential plan of action looking out over several years. 

Without an integrated plan, errors compound and good money gets thrown after bad, as we realize mistakes and then attempt to change course mid way. I know! I have been there myself. 

Lacking basic ecological literacy and a whole-systems lens through which to view my homestead, I regularly spent money in the wrong places, changed plans after work begins, and often was overcome with doubt, which led to shear inaction. I think we all know that ‘list’ that has all the cool things we hope to have on our homestead, one day.

The moment I made a base map and started to build out a holistic site plan, patterns began to emerge. Permaculture Design Tools like Zone and Sector Analysis and Niche Analysis empowered me to make decisions based on the first principles of ecology. This grew into a confidence that my designs would work, as I knew my land deeper and deeper, as I employed permaculture design practices on my site.

My base map turned into an integrated site plan, and then into 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year overlays that guide my decision making at all time levels. This led to a thriving homestead that was a joy to be stewarding, productive and ecologically sound living. And after all, what more do we need?!

Is this training for you?

Look, this training isn’t for everyone. If you made it this far, then it is likely that you are committed to living a more empowered and connected life, with a deeper relationship to nature and more independence and sovereignty. That is awesome.

But the reality is that homesteading does take work. And more than anything, it takes dedication. 

If you are not willing to dedicate effort to your own knowledge building and ecological literacy, then this course isn’t for you.

If you are unwilling to entertain counterintuitive and perhaps even challenging ideas, then this course isn’t for you. As you will see if you jump in, the mainstream environmentalist narrative is not only largely false, but also anti-human and untrusting of the earth.

If you do not enjoy being outside and getting dirty, or even just sitting and observing, then this course isn’t for you. This course works best when you balance the theory with immediate and regular practice and on-site observation. The beauty of learning at your open pace and on your own site, you are right there to put the knowledge to practical work.

Maybe you are worried that you don’t own any land. The most important thing is that you have ACCESS to some land. It can be as simple as a community garden plot, or even a rooftop or patio container garden. Designing integrated holistic plans is a process and the more you do it, the better you get at it. If you are currently renting and worried that you will do a design on a land you wont have forever, its no problem. The practice and experience is invaluable. And when you finally can make the leap to owning your own land, you already experienced and will be more confident.

No site is too small. And no experience is required. What is required is a sincere desire to deepen your ecological literacy and build a land-based lifestyle that empowers you and your family.

What do Past Participants have to Say

Your Investment

The mistake most people make is they think the “do it yourself” route is cheaper. I know because Im a homesteader too!

What they dont take into account is how taxing that approach can be. Making uninformed decisions means money can be quickly wasted, permanent mistakes are, well, permanent….

So you consider hiring a professional. A permaculture design will cost you easily $5-10k. And the worst part is that they will become the experts of YOUR land, while you will remain a mere observer and the person paying for all their crazy ideas. 

This is your chance to learn from our team and become an expert of your own land!

Master the entire Permaculture & Regenerative Design System for . . .

3 Monthly Instalments

$ 650
. per month
  • Easy payment plan to suit your pocket


Single Full Payment

$ 1,495
. once-off
  • Pay in full and save

90-Day Money-back Guarantee

Your investment is fully backed by our 90-day money-back guarantee. If you make a good faith effort to perform the work and complete all course content and you DON’T walk away with a fully integrated plan for your homestead or garden, and the confidence to execute that plan, simply email us and request a full and immediate refund.


For this round only, we are offering an amazing bonus opportunity.
In addition to the full Permaculture Design Self-Paced Certification Training, we are throwing in . . .

Bonus 1

4 x Two Hour Live Group Coaching Calls

Your opportunity to ask specific questions related to your own site-specific experiences and get feedback on your Final Integrated Design Projects.

Valued @ $1200

Bonus 2

2 x 30-Minute Individual Coaching Calls

Get personalised support by one of our lead facilitators at any point throughout the live eight-week period of the program.


Valued @ $1200

Bonus 3

Unlimited Access to Telegram Community

Our growing private homesteading group gives you access to all of our facilitators as well as to a community of like minded homesteaders from around the world.

Valued @ $564

Meet Your Teachers

Click on image to learn more about a teacher.

Copyright 2022 Atitlan Organics   |   All Rights Reserved

Your Curriculum

Your curriculum for the Permaculture Design Certificate includes 20 short courses consumed over a period of 7 weeks, with a final design project to be finalised in the 8th week.

Week 1: The Spirit of Permaculture

Week 2: Design Methodologies

Week 3: Water and Earthworks

Week 4: Soil and Compost

Week 5: Plant Power

Week 6: Animals

Week 7: Permaculture Niches

Week 8: Final Design Project

The Final Design Project Course Module becomes available after completing all of the Content for Week 1 and Week 2. The module serves as a guide for your final design project. We suggest that you work on this throughout the course. The 8th call is reserved for students to present their final design projects. Upon completion of the Final Design Project and all of the Course Content, a Permaculture Design Certificate is awarded.

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.

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.

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!

If you are interested in arranging a visit or tour, volunteering, or ordering products from the farm, please fill out this simple form and check your inbox for more details

Nicolas Hernandez Chiyal

Born and raised in the town of Tzununa, which lies right below Atitlan Organics, Nicholas and Shad have worked since Day 1, helping to craft the this amazing landscape. Nichloas is a supreme ninja farmer with skills beyond explanation. Visitors are endlessly impressed with his resourcefulness, ingenuity, and sheer motivation. Nicholas now owns and operates Las Ensaladas de Atitlan Organics, a business that sells organic produce to over 50 restaurants, hotels, and stores around lake Atitlan.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Don Fransisco Simon

Don Fransisco knows the lands and waters of Tzununa deeper than most anyone alive. His intuitive handling of plants makes the whole system glow, and he is an avid duck enthusiast, maintaining the breeding flocks at Duck Willow, along with his own homestead flock. Aside from that, he oversees the establishment of the perennial agroforestry and aquaculture systems on Duck Willow Farms.

David 'Brock' Barker

Brock Barker was raised as an outdoorsman in the marshes and forests of south Louisiana, where he developed a passion for all things plants. After studying horticulture at university, Brock has worked in nurseries, landscaping outfits, and in the facilitation of a horticultural therapy program, and more. His primary ‘work’ for the last 12 years has been developing a 10 acre homestead which serves as personal garden of Eden and educational space for volunteers and workshops. Brock’s proficiency in areas such as mushroom cultivation/ foraging, fermentation, and botany, combined with his infectious enthusiasm make him an integral part of our team.

Jeremy Dexter Fellows

Jeremy has focused ten years of study, mentorship and implementation of permaculture design systems back home in Massachusetts. With many years of experience in botany and horticulture, he is fascinated by the world of plants. After working many years in Guatemala, Jeremy has dedicated his focus to land and water management systems that lend to ecological acceleration and social integration through food production. Jeremy now runs granja tzikin, works as a designer and consultant with Regenera and teaches in the Atitlan Organics teachers guild.

Julia Forest

Julia is an international yoga teacher, birth doula, women’s health advocate, and closet artist who is passionate about health, environmentalism and empowered birth. She is co-creator of the Sacred Birth Yoga & Doula Training, is founding director of Awakened Spirit Yoga and co-founder of the Wellkind Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on community empowerment and wellbeing through the lens of permaculture. She also created the Sacred Earth Yoga Training, the first yoga teacher training program that combines yoga, mindfulness, permaculture and leadership to transform lives and communities.

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Intuitive Plant Propagation

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