Friday, June 17, 2022

Permaculture Design Course, Darjeeling, India


Permaculture Design Course

5 November to 20 November 2022

Mineral Springs, Darjeeling

Permaculture Design Course fees, inclusive of training material, food and lodge:

International Candidates Rs. 60,000:00

Indian Nationals residing outside Darjeeling but working in India Rs. 45,000:00

Discounts available for Darjeeling Hills’ residents. Please contact for details

Training venue “Mineral Springs, Dabaipani, Darjeeling”

Mineral Springs, Dabaipani is an internationally certified organic 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. The tea is grown as part of a polyculture crop, within thousands of acres of Forest Garden and food systems

The participants will have home stay accommodations facilities with the members of Mineral Spring Sanjukta Vikas Sanstha.

Teacher: Rico Zook ( )

Co-Teachers: Reed.Burnam (Insta: @r33d_b) Guest Teachers: Sailesh Sharma , Siddarth Blone

Host: DLR Prerna. FB: Darjeeling Prerna

For further details

Darjeeling Ladenla Road Prerna

c/o Hayden Hall Complex,

42 Ladenla Road,

Darjeeling 734 101,

West Bengal, India.

Phone Number: +91 9800869959 (Sailesh Sharma)

A 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 form.

Permaculture Design Course Description

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 farming, 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, sustainable systems.

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 populations.

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 emerge within the system. As a real-life experience this course is structured permaculturally, modeled as a regenerative invisible structure, thus creating deeper and synergistic learning

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.

Subjects will include:

        Permaculture Ethics and Principles

        Pattern Literacy and Application (physical and invisible)

        Energy and Resource Management  

        Site Assessment,Sector Analysis and Zonation

        Water; Harvesting, Holding, and Recycling

        Soil, its health, building and restoration 

       Plants, Cropping, and Seed Saving

       Animal Systems

        Farm as Ecosystem

        Appropriate Technologies

        Climatic Strategies and Micro-climates

        Climate Change and Design for Catastrophe

        Natural Building, siting and orientation

        The Design Process

        Social Permaculture

        Urban Permaculture

        Permaculture in the Developing Countries

        Permaculture and Organizations


This workshop will culminate with several groups doing real-life design projects that will be relevant to the site of the workshop.

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 together.

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.

Richard Rico Zook

Permaculture Designer, Consultant and Educator 

Rico brings over four decades of experience in nature to his work. As well as creating and working with a wide variety of land-based systems in all types of climatic environments, for the past 24 years he has been a Permaculture designer, consultant and educator working with farmers, villagers, private individuals, and local organizations in India, Cambodia, Spain, USA, the mid-east and other parts of the world. This work focuses on assisting all levels of our global community to create culturally and environmentally appropriate life systems that are resilient and regenerative.

With a degree in Environmental Studies focused on Land Restoration, minors in biology and philosophy, with years of homesteading in northern California and working in Yosemite Nat’l Park, Rico came to permaculture with almost all the elements, but no organizing structure or system. From 1996 to 2005 he was first co-director and crew foreman for the land restoration crew, then land manager at a wilderness community decimated by wildfire in the mountain wilderness of northern New Mexico. Guided and mentored by Ben Haggard (, for ten years Rico did hands-on permaculture design and installation rebuilding a community and village from the ground up.

Over the years he has worked from the village level to the international. For the International Permaculture Convergence in India he organized, managed and taught the pre convergence PDC, with Robyn Francis and an Int’l instructor crew of of Jude Hobbs, Starhawk, Govinda Sharma and others; and the Teacher Training, with Jude Hobbs(  Currently, when not developing his farm in Hawaii,  much of his work is assisting and mentoring his advanced students who are now working in permaculture and evolving as instructors. 

For more information about Rico and his work go to

Darjeeling Ladenla Road Prerna (DLR Prerna) FB: Darjeeling Prerna

DLR Prerna is a Darjeeling based NGO working in the Darjeeling Hills since 1996.

Vision Statement

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.

Mission statement 

Our mission is to build sustainable human communities in the Darjeeling hills and the adjoining areas by promoting people's participation, gender equality and living in harmony with the environment. 

Darjeeling Prerna works towards having regenerative relationships with small farmers, forest villagers, tea plantations workers, CBOs, CSOs, Educational Institutions and NGOs in furthering the vision and mission of the organisation. We are a Darjeeling based organisation and our interventions are grounded in the specificities and long term lived experiences within the Darjeeling Himalaya. Our relationships extend across Sikkim as part of the Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya. We bring these experiences to the larger discussion tables negotiating invisible systems that needs supportive policy environments. Darjeeling Prerna believes in a participatory, inclusive and environment friendly approach to development and is the organisational philosophy of good governance within and in all our interventions.

Current focal areas:

1.  Community conservation

We work with communities living next to forests especially protected areas in Darjeeling and Sikkim focussing on sustainable agro-ecology, and managing mountain human wildlife conflict and advocating for mountain human wildlife conflict policies. Agro-biodiversity conservation is an integral part of the intervention.

2. Climate resilient communities

We work with small farmers in Darjeeling and Sikkim evolving and promoting climate smart agriculture and agro-forestry. Promotion of diversity of local food cultures is a critical aspect of our climate resilience intervention and nutrition sensitive agro-ecology.

3. Community Health

We work with tea plantation workers, small farmers and educational institutions especially in rural Darjeeling.

a.    Water and Sanitation: Knowledge, institution and infrastructure strengthening to access clean and safe water for all. We are piloting bio-digesters; evapo-transpiration systems, grey water management systems as well as springshed recharge as part of our work. We promote sustainable menstrual health and hygiene. 

b.    School Health:

                      i.      Preventive health education inclusion in curriculum, screening and referrals in partnership with rural primary schools.

                    ii.        TeaLeaF: Teacher leading frontline addressing mental health and promoting mental wellbeing of rural children.

4. Zero Waste

We promote zero waste principles and practices as a member of Zero Waste Himalaya. We facilitate direct interventions in Darjeeling and Sikkim with local self-governance institutions, community-based institutions, government institutions and educational institutions. We share need for a change in narrative of waste to not producing waste, no-burn, demanding systemic and design changes across the Indian Himalayan Region through the Integrated Mountain Initiative. Zero Waste discussions include changing food choices and the need to go local and unpackaged.

5. Knowledge

Contextualised sustainability knowledge and practise within the Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalaya that is evolved in partnership with small farmers, forest villagers, plantation workers and educational institutions.

Permaculture: DLR Prerna’s philosophy and practice has evolved with permaculture principles and ethics and is woven in our invisible and visible interventions. We have beenoffering the Permaculture Design Courses in the Darjeeling Hills with Rico Zook as the trainer since 2005. Shorter term courses for farmers, community leaders and teachers are being facilitated by the DLR Prerna team in the local language.

6. Platforms, Networks and Partnerships

We believe that our effectiveness, reach and impacts are made manifold through Platforms, Networks and Partnerships. Our intervention experiences are transferred to policy landscapes as well as bring solidarity across the Indian Himalayan Region through the Integrated Mountain Initiative a platform of elected, bureaucrats and civil societies advocating for mountain sensitive policies. Our waste interventions are taken forward under the Zero Waste Himalaya, a pan Himalayan platform of individuals and organisations promoting principles of zero waste.


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 deposit.

International Candidates please contact Darjeeling 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%





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