Overview of PDC 2016

What is PDC 2016?

The objective of this PDC – Permaculture Course Design – is to provide a solid foundation in permaculture so that one can contribute to life in a way that is environmentally aware and responsible. In addition, this course aims to support the transition to cultivating self-sufficiency and developing the personal empowerment to create change in one´s community and hence the world.

The Arboretum Foundation holds a permaculture course of excellence every year, with the support and contribution of leading professionals and activists, an international and multi-disciplinary team with vocation and experience, that are working towards a positive change in today´s world. During the course you will study in small groups with people from all over the world, with an emphasis on real case studies that will equip you with the tools so that you yourself can make the changes that are so crucial for our society.

PDC 2016 is an educational experience that is informal and based on nature, personal transformation and collective action. We are really looking forward to your contribution.

“Our task – and the task of all education – is to understand the present world, the world in which we live and make our choices.” EF Schumacher

Who is PDC 2016 for?

This course is for anyone who has the ambition to change their lives … and therefore their surroundings. If you are in search of a learning experience that will lead to an internal and external transformation both in your life and work, then, this is the course you.

This course combines both a theoretical and practical approach and is focused on action so that you can begin to make the changes that are so necessary in today´s society for yourself.

“If you want to walk fast walk alone, if you want to walk far, walk together”. African proverb

What are the goals of PDC 2016?

To find another perspective of the world, a holistic vision of life and the complex environment we live in and to understand the relationships between these. This will involve unlearning some of our learned processes, so that we can benefit from new paradigms, other values and ethics that will provide us with a more sustainable and better humankind.

During the course we will teach you the fundamentals, we will arm you with the necessary tools and we will give you a vision and the confidence so that you, ideally in your community, can begin your journey on this new road of respect, satisfaction and responsibility.

We sincerely hope that during your time at the 2016 PDC you find the spiritual guidance and intellectual stimulation along with the practical tools and skills you need to guide you on your personal journey of development. We also hope that when you return home you will be more equipped to carry out your role in the creation of a more harmonious world. We can be part of the solution … co-creating a better humanity that is fairer and more beautiful for everyone, a process that is the source from which and for which we build an emerging future.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

WHEN is PDC 2016?

PDC 2016

From October 8th to 20th.

From 10am-2pm and 3pm-7pm.

Location: Arboretum Marbella The course is being held at, the award-winning permaculture project of Citizen Eco-innovation for Climate Change.

Arboretum Marbella is a conservation park for native species, organic gardens and other spaces that inspire development and encourage an eco-friendlier consciousness and a more sustainable life, through permaculture.


From October 9th to 15th.

From 10am-2pm and 3pm-7pm.

Location: Suerte de tierra – Polyface Farm. A multi-production/polyface organic farm (honey, cheese, vegetables, fruit, eggs, meet, education, etc.) in a rural farm of 4.5 hectares in Marbella. This is an ambitious project that is full of opportunities.

This higher level course is focussed on the design and management of a case study. It is only open to those that already hold and official PDC certificate (minimum of 72 hours).

You can find more Information on our website, email your queries to info@arboretumpdc.org or fill in the form here.







Visionary, enthusiast and permaculturist are the words that come to mind when you think of Alejandro. In 1995 he started a journey that he has not deviated from, when he developed an environmental conscience, defending and supporting life. His beginnings were in the Mapuche indigenous communities of Patagonia, Argentina, supporting the development of sustainable local projects and the preservation of their culture. Now settled in Europe, he works to promote environmental literacy and a systemic view of the complex reality we live in. He enthusiastically confronts the challenges of the 21st century and sees them as an unprecedented opportunity to develop solutions in a holistic way for the world that we co-create.

Permaculture is a life philosophy for him, that allows him to live life to the full, with intensity, development, learning and laughter. With extensive experience in permaculture design, as a trainer, facilitator and an activist, he is committed and passionate about what he does. With lifelong learning and training, his life is guided by and focussed on the promotion and raising awareness of the "ecological evolution."

Currently, in addition to his permaculture design, management and training work that he runs through his company Pachamia, he is the founder of the Arboretum Marbella park, a public park that conserves native species and develops local sustainability, and is also involved in other projects of the Foundation.

Together with his partner, Nicole, he is focussed on the foundation of a learning centre based in nature to deliver an active education that has been inspired by the forest school models found in northern Europe.



Module: Introduction to Permaculture

Teacher: Alejandro César Orioli

What will we learn about permaculture with Alejandro?

We will see how we can live through permaculture, with a culture that is always respectful, inter-connected, free/responsible and sustainable. I believe permaculture is a philosophy of life, a way of looking at the world and interacting with it. It is science and art, common sense and skills. It is the merging of solutions for real and important problems that are as much environmental as social. Permaculture is dynamic.


  • Welcome and “get to know you” session.
  • Outline of the course plan.
  • Participant groups.
  • Arrangements.
  • Brainstorming session – ideas and concepts related to ecology.
  • Systemic vision of the world.
  • Analysis of current problems.
  • The history of Permaculture.
  • What is Permaculture?
  • Permaculture as a design system (not just land-based systems).
  • Ethical principles.
  • Attitudinal principles.
  • Design principals.
  • Zona 00.
  • Working a vision.


Module: The Big Picture and the Change Maker

Teacher:Jennifer Hinton

What will we learn about permaculture with Jennifer?

‘Be the change’ is a simple mantra and the implications are deep, complex, and enlivening. It is a journey which we take both alone and together - our paths are converging for two weeks on this course! For most of us, our journey begins with confronting the daunting global challenges we collectively face. Systems thinking and complexity science help clarify the nature of these complex and interconnected problems, and offer new pathways to solutions. Reconnecting with the earth and with each other helps build personal resilience and the capacity to become a powerful change maker.


  • Introduction to asset-based approaches
  • In-depth understanding root causes of planetary crises
  • Explore complexity science and systems thinking
  • Explore the evolutionary perspective
  • Experience complex systems and social transformation
  • The Six Layers of our dominant economic culture
  • ‘Stories of Separation and Reunion’
  • Practice with systems thinking, Dragon Dreaming, and visioning


MODULE: Cultivating Abundant, Fair and Resilient Local Economies

Teacher: Jay Tompt

What will we learn about permaculture with Jay?

How can we apply ‘permaculture principles’ to design and build local economies that are inclusive, regenerative, abundant, and resilient? This inquiry has become clearer over the last five years as the Totnes REconomy Project has developed. Programmes like the REconomy Centre, a community enterprise incubator, and the Local Entrepreneur Forum, help create the conditions for new economic actors and relationships to emerge. We are part of Transition Town Totnes and a wider network, and our approach is community led and community supported. It is also a natural extension of permaculture thinking and practice.


  • Examine economic assumptions and prejudices
  • Permaculture thinking on different scales
  • Mapping local economic ecosystems
  • Community-supported entrepreneurism
  • Fundamental human needs
  • Engaging and mobilizing collaborators, community and citizens
  • Asset-based Community Development (ABCD)
  • Community development and participation, Open Space Technology
  • Building useful and efficient networks
  • Mapping community resources
  • Cooperative and open modes of production
  • Local Multiplier Effect
  • Design activities

12th and 13th OCTOBER

MODULE: Prepared Communities and a Resilient Future - Transition

Educador: Naresh Giangrande

What will we learn about permaculture with Naresh?

Permaculture provides us with the tools and concepts that enable us to create new operating systems to help solve some of the world´s most intractable problems. Take Transition for instance. Transition is a solution to how a globalized, industrial growth system can be reinvented into something that serves people rather than a global elite. Transition has been described as social permaculture. Rob and I (and others) applied our knowledge and practice of permaculture to design Transition as a way to start building a new world, one solar panel at a time. And it works!


  • Look at why creating a positive vision is a vital part of any social change
  • How to conduct a vision process and create engagement with your community.
  • Experience why inner Transition, or personal resilience is at least as important as the practical 'what we do' part of Transition.
  • Experientially explore how to build personal resilience into your projects from day one
  • Experience effective group and project team processes and techniques.
  • Deepen our personal Transition.
  • Explore how to work with emergent, self organizing processes.


MODULE: Deep Ecology

Teacher: Satish Kumar

What will we learn about permaculture with Satish?

A journey of inner reflection and reconnection. To-date we have tried to manipulate nature for human benefit, however, now we are beginning a see a movement on a global scale to shift towards Deep Ecology. Nature is another part of us that we must protect, not only for human development but for its own benefit, as nature and human are one. More and more people are becoming aware of this.

The ecological movement of our time needs three elements: Soil, Soul and Society. Soil is at the top, the origin of life. This is followed by Soul, the spiritual element that unites nature, humans and animals and allows us to feel satisfied, happy and in harmony, and then Society that makes all humans a unit, a diverse family, regardless of nationality, religion, etc. It is a holistic vision in which we all make up part of a whole - nature, ourselves, the human community – all parties are connected, important and inter-dependent.


  • Reflect on our role as drivers of change.
  • A sustainable culture the protects and respects life.


MODULE: Artivism

Teacher: Emilio Mula

What will we learn about permaculture with Emilio?

One of the fundamental elements of permaculture is design based on observing the environment. If we apply this principle to the field of communication, we discover that the word is not always the most effective way to tell a story. Creative techniques such as Artivism, social art, sustainable art, Land art and other artistic forms are effective tools for communication and social awareness.


  • A brief introduction to Art as means of environmental communication
  • Learning to communicate through art (practice: installation, performance)
  • The importance of interactive learning
  • Introduction to a sustainable art
  • Designed collectively, Artivism as a form of social rebellion, examples from COP21 (Practice: creating small examples of Artivism)
  • Touching your heart, community as an Artistic form and objective (Practice: group project)

October 16th to 20th

MODULE: Design, tools and methods

Teacher: Aranya

What will we learn about permaculture with Aranya?

We see permaculture all around us in nature, the dynamic abundant equilibrium that is the product of many millions of years of evolution. Recently, however, us humans have been changing the world quickly and there is not enough time for nature to tidy up our mess. Many of us have the desire to stop the environmental degradation but having become disconnected from nature by modern society we need help. Permaculture offers us design tools and principles that we can all use to help us make these changes, as much on a personal level as in our communities. By learning from nature we can move forward in a positive direction and minimize mistakes. It also connects us to a community of inspiring and beautiful people. And for me this is the most precious part.


  • Permaculture design principles, tools and methods.
  • We will work with a design proposed by a student or a group of students. We will help outline the fundamentals of the design. We will guide every step until we arrive at a joint vision and base for a design. If we are successful, we will plan the implementation of the project.


Arboretum Marbella is in Marbella. See below for all the details of how to get there.

Av Diego Jimenez Lima, 51
29602 Marbella, Málaga
36.522844, -4.888736

We are situated in the North Trapiche (Trapiche Norte) area of the city, about 1.5km from the centre of Marbella and just 600 metres from the main bus station.

From the A7 motorway take exit 184 (Avd. Trapiche). Take the first exit on the roundabout towards the mountains. Take the second exit at the next roundabout. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto Avenida Diego Jimenez. The Arboretum park is at the end of this street. There is parking in the cul de sac between Area 1 and Area 2.

From the airport:
There is a direct bus from the airport to Marbella.
Inglés: There is a direct bus from the airport to Marbella

From Malaga: There are many buses running from Malaga city to Marbella, here is the timetable 

Taxi fare from the airport to Marbella (as at 5/5/2015)
Marbella (54 km): €61.66 (fare 1), €72.46 (fare 2 – at night)

There is also a train, but it only goes to Fuengirola and from there you have to take a bus to Marbella. We would not recommend it.


We recommend Albergue Inturjoven Marbella: (a 21 minute walk from the Arboretum).
The address is No 2 and 4, calle Trapiche, Marbella 29601, Malaga
Tlf: +34 902 510 000 | +34 955 035 886 | Fax: +34 951 270 305

You can also camp in the park. There is a facility for up to five tents.
The park has basic facilities such as toilets and water. However, you cannot light a fire in the park.


We want you to join us and we are offering different options that we hope will accommodate your personal needs. This year we have 2 distinct courses. PDC 2016 and PDC 2016 Advanced.

PDC 2016 is for those that want to learn about permaculture oriented towards urban permaculture, environmental activism, communities in transition, the social economy and community projects. You can do the complete course. However, if you would prefer to focus on the more theoretical element you can opt to leave out the design module. This is available as the “basic option”.

PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE certified by the British Permaculture Association (104 hours of theoretical/practical training). This is necessary to get your diploma. This course is longer than the international standard (72 hours)

PDC 2016 ADVANCED is for people who already hold an official PDC and would like to continue training in the design and management of real cases. This is a very practical course for those interested in developing projects in the country, diverse productive enterprises. This project is ambitious and full of opportunities.

PDC 2016 Full course (104 hrs), including the Official Certificate from the British Permaculture Association. €850 (You can avail of a special promotional price of €650 until August 1st)

PDC 2016 Basic Programme (72 hrs) with the Official Permaculture Certificate €550

PDC ADVANCED 2016 (56 hrs), including the Official Certificate from the British Permaculture Association. €450

The course is through English and translated into Spanish.

The price does not include accommodation or meals.

There is the option to avail of a vegetarian lunch.


Permaculture Design Course 2015

Este es un espacio, tu espacio, de crecimiento y búsqueda, de inspiración y formación. Junto a un equipo multidisciplinario de profesionales con vocación y experiencia, educadores internacionales, que te enseñaremos que es la permacultura y como aplicarla a tu “nueva” vida. Entendemos que la Permacultura, es una fuente dinámica de saberes, alimentada por el conocimiento, el sentido común, el arte, las experiencias individuales y colectivas y la espiritualidad, que nos permite desarrollar desde una mirada holística una acción sostenible en este mundo. Buscamos que nosotros , en nuestras vidas, en nuestro entorno, ser protagonistas de una nueva cultura que prioriza cuidar el planeta y las personas de manera conjunta. Y construir la realidad que queremos, y necesitamos, para mejorar nuestra vida en sintonía con GAIA. PDC 2015 es una experiencia de educación no formal basado en la naturaleza, la transformación personal y la acción colectiva. Esta diseñado para toda persona que tenga voluntad de cambiar su vida… y por consecuente la de su medio. Una experiencia de aprendizaje transformacional que llevará a la transición interna y externa en tu vida y obra… A través de un aprendizaje teórico - practico, dinámico y orientado a la acción, ofrecemos la oportunidad de estudiar en grupos pequeños junto a algunos de los activistas y profesionales que trabajan para un cambio positivo en el mundo de hoy. mas info: www.arboretumPDC.org info@arboretumPDC.org

Posted by Arboretum Marbella on Viernes, 22 de Mayo de 2015

The team

This small team hopes to make this experience really beneficial for all the participants. We are all former PDC students and this is an opportunity for us to continue learning, to work towards change and to enjoy working with and helping our new permaculture partners.