2019 PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE WITH IMAP and ATITLAN ORGANICS
The course is held at the stunning Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The lush natural beauty of the landscape, combined with hands-on work in Mayan communities, make this an authentic, truly special experience. You will work in two different sites, which provide a variety of climates and microclimates, giving you so much more information than other similar courses. You will implement your design project in a local community, which means you will have a huge impact by significantly helping community members prepare their land for small-scale food production.
The course is hosted across two amazing permaculture sites, which provides praticipants with a rich diversity of experiences across different regions.
The Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura – IMAP) is a non-profit organization based in Guatemala. It was founded in 2000 by a group of local people concerned by the serious environmental, social and cultural problems affecting the nation. They established an ecological education center to promote permaculture techniques, local biodiversity conservation, production of organic food, and a seed bank that strives to reconstruct the Mayan seed heritage.
Atitlan Organics has focused on building a profitable small scale permaculture farm. It is an effective learning model for permaculture study.
What is Permaculture?
There are literally hundreds of definitions of permaculture and as far as we are concerned, they are ALL VALID. Part of respecting and valuing diversity and self-regulation means tolerating ideas or interpretations that one may not agree with. That being said, we have our favourites.
While we spend a lot of time in the garden and working in nature, permaculture is applicable to all aspects of life. A more technical approach to permaculture suggests that we mimic nature and natural patterns to design and implement ecosystems that meet our collective needs. A deeper definition considers the whole of human culture and suggests that permaculture is a tool for designing new ecological culture, considering the whole of the earth in all of its strategies. Whatever definition works for you is cool. We like to say, it doesn't matter what you call it, just so long as the work gets done!
Get connected to your food. From seed to the table!
Work closely with various animal systems!
Harvest and process coffee and other local products!
Get lots of real hands-on practical eperience!
Learn how to propagate plants the easy way in our interactive nursery.
Studying Permaculture in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world's centres of biodiversity, Central America attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Central America. Studying permaculture in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings.
Lodging and Food
During the first week of the course, participants will stay at IMAP outside the town of San Lucas Toliman, right on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Though IMAP and Atitlan Organics are both on the lake, you'll really feel the difference between the two sites and experience how different eco-systems lend themselves to different methods of farming! All meals and snacks are prepared for you onsite by the talented local staff.
During the second week of the course, you will move to the Bambu Guest House, which is a five minute walk from the Atitlan Organics. The Bambu Guest House is a brand new, natural building boasting bathrooms and balconies in each room, new comfy beds, wifi, super hot water, and amazing views of the lake, mountains, and rivers. The Bambu Guest House is proof that natural building can be clean and luxurious. Lodging is shared, but private rooms are also available for an additional charge.
Permaculture Design Courses have always been known for their excellent, organic, locally grown food and our weeklong intensive is no exception. The Bambu Guest House has a Farm to Table Restaurant that serves up delicious and filling plates mainly composed of Atitlan Organics and other local farm products. Currently, Atitlan Organics supplies all of the milk, yogurt, cheese, salads, cooking greens, honey, coffee, chicken, taro root, pigeon peas, and herbs to the Bambu Guest House Restaurant. The restaurant is run by three young, local, aspiring chefs named Antonio, Maricela, and Petrona. They are amazing!
All food, snacks, coffee, tea, and frescos are included in the course, as well as lodging for the duration. Three meals a day are served as well as coffee and tea throughout most of the day and two daily snacks as well. Basically, you are well-fed and well-kept. It feels soo nice! If you are interested in private housing, please mention that to us when you write.
Travel and Logistics
The course starts on Sunday, December 1st, 2019 at 4pm. Participants are expected to arrive by 4pm, but are welcome to come and check in at the IMAP any time throughout the day. Once the course starts, all food, lodging, training, and travel is covered and included in the cost of the course. We often travel on local pickups, which makes all excursions fun and exciting. Adventure travel for sure! The course ends Saturday, December 16th, at noon, following a big brunch, student presentations, certificate awards, and goodbyes. We can help arrange shuttles to/from the airport, Antigua, or anywhere else for that matter. Just let us know if you need this service. Upon writing us to express interest, we will send an FAQ and a food allergy questionnaire. We can accommodate most all requests including vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, etc. We will also send the Permaculture Course Note Packet, which is an amazingly fun, illustrated notebook that contains most of the course curriculum in abbreviated forms.
Getting to IMAP:
1) Go to Panajachel, one of the biggest towns on the lake. If you'd like help arranging transportation from the airport, Antigua, or anywhere else just let us know! We can set you up on a reliable shuttle.
2) From Panajachel you’ll take a public boat (“lancha”) to Santiago (40 minutes, Q25 – have exact change ready). There is no direct boat to San Lucas Tolimán. The last boat for Santiago leaves from Panajachel between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.
3) When you arrive in Santiago, walk up the hill and when you see a restaurant called El Pescador on the corner, go left to the end of the street. Here you can catch a pickup to IMAP / Pachitulul (20 minutes, Q5).
4) You will see a sign on your left-hand side after you pass the small town of Cerro de Oro that says IMAP / Pachitulul. Get off here. Walk 1 km down the path by the sign. IMAP will be on your left-hand side, across from the lakeshore.
*If you prefer private travel, just let us know and we can get you a private shuttle direct to IMAP. We can also help with getting you to Panajachel on either a private or a shared shuttle, if you would like. Just write and let us know!