Houses and buildings are the “nuclei” of any site, through which the majority of energy and resources flow to be either wasted or maximized for best use. And yet, most permaculture courses barely touch on physical structures! We here at Atitlan Organics think that your house and other structures deserve more attention as integral and essential parts of your overall permaculture design. That is why we offer this 9 day course grounded in the permaculture principles offering a deep dive into the art and practice of Natural Building.
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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! We like to think of it as “Permaculture for Zone 0.
Natural Building is many things. Broadly speaking, it is use of natural and renewable materials to create shelter for ourselves: something humans have been doing for millions of years. Natural building helps us to connect to the ecosystems we are a part of and ask what resources are abundantly available around us for creating structures. It allows for endless creativity with the raw and minimally processed materials that nature provides. Each bioregion on earth has historically developed a building vernacular that was based upon available resources.
There are many styles of natural building that we utilize: cob, adobe, straw bale, rammed earth, wattle and daub, wood, bamboo, and stone work to name a few. But beyond the techniques and materials used, natural building also means connecting deeply with the place you are in; valuing and honoring the ecosystem to which you belong. It gives us the opportunity to build with consciousness so that our homes do not contribute to planetary destruction but rather the regeneration of the environment.
Through the permaculture framework we begin to understand that our homes can aid in the reduction of waste through the use of recyclable and renewable resources. We can create homes that are healthy living spaces not utilizing toxic materials or requiring large amounts of maintenance and upkeep costs. Through these modalities we are able to create energy efficient designs that require less energetic inputs while offering us a beautiful, unique structure.
By turning our gaze to the homes and buildings which surround us, we discover huge potential for a more sustainable and regenerative lifestyle. We also empower ourselves to recognize how deeply we are affected by the spaces we inhabit.
Each day is split into two parts: a hands-on practical exploration of the art and practice of natural building and classroom sessions which delve deep into topics such as bioregional design, foundations, wall systems, and troubleshooting design flaws.
Are you curious about how to take radical responsibility to provide for your basic human needs?
Do you wish to live in a healthy, non-toxic home?
Are you dreaming of creating a homestead whose structures are imbued with meaning and beauty?
If you have said yes to any of these questions this training is for you!
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 future generations.
To learn more about Ashley visit her website!
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Registration is now open for Elements of Natural Building. Please know our courses fill up so please register early!
The full cost of this course is $1100 and includes your stay at the Bambu Guest House, all meals and snacks, facilitation, daily yoga, field trips and materials. Translation is available to those who are more comfortable speaking Spanish.
If you are local and would like to join we also offer a No-Lodging option for $800 please send email to receive payment link for this ticket option. No-lodging tickets do not include stay at Bambu guest house but provide students with breakfast and lunch!
We understand that this may not be accessible for all, If you would like to join but are having difficulties making it happen connect with us.
Please email Ashley at Roottorisedesign@gmail.com if this applies to you!
Join our waiting list and be the first to hear about future training dates.
During the course participants will stay in the Bambu Guest House, a beautiful eco-hotel in the indigenous village of Tzununa. Built from all local and natural materials, the Bambu embodies the principles of Permaculture and Natural Building.
All guest rooms are big and bright, and come equipped with private bathrooms with hot water, wifi, comfy beds and balconies with hammocks and amazing views of Lake Atitlan and the volcanoes.
The Bambu’s farm-to-table restaurant is supplied by Atitlan Organics and other local producers and serves 3 fresh, delicious meals a day plus snacks, dessert, tea and coffee. The Bambu Guest House proves that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand!
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 ‘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 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 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.
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 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 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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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.
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 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.