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Permaculture Design Course, VerdEnergia Pacifica

January 28, 2016 @ 8:00 am - February 17, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

Permaculture Design Course - VerdEnergia - Upward Spirals


Course Description:
Join us for a three-week intensive immersion course exploring the theories outlined in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual in both hands-on and classroom settings. Curriculum covers sustainable and regenerative practices, as well as design theory and the basics of design consultation on a professional level.

Our course covers the agricultural as well as social/political facets of Permaculture. This includes composting, plant propagation, swale digging, land restoration and reforestation, hands-on practical design skills like map-making, land assessment and consultation, as well as alternative economies, community mobilization, activism and strategies for an Alternative Nation. A basic overview of biodynamic farming principles and practices will also be covered.

Because our course takes place on land at differing stages in the reforestation process, students not only have the opportunity to see the before and after of Permaculture design, but also a chance to put their newfound skills to work. Our course is perfect for beginners looking for an in-depth introduction to the principles of Permaculture, as well as intermediate students looking to sharpen their design skills and depth of knowledge with a hands-on design project.

Students will enjoy full use of VerdEnergia’s gorgeous grounds (beautiful vistas, swimming holes, jungle trails and a few humble waterfalls), facilities (open-air dormitories and a few private rooms, a yoga/dance studio, library and a spring-fed swimming pool) as well as 3 delicious meals a day. Our workshop also includes an excursion to Mastatal (another local Permaculture farm) and Iguana Chocolate (a local Cacao farm). Most valuable of all, students will gain an intimate experience of life in a thriving Permaculture community!


Teacher Bios:

marc_headshotMarc Tobin
Marc Tobin is the Executive Director of The City Repair Project. He is also a consultant for ecovillage and sustainable community development. Marc directed education for sustainable community courses at Lost Valley Educational Center, and has worked with many ecovillages and intentional communities on site planning, permaculture design, social sustainable, team building, and organizational development. Marc holds a Master Degree in Community Planning and a BA in Environmental Studies. He is also an avid musician and member of the band Sol Nectar.


douwe_headshotDouwe Wielstra
Douwe Wielstra is a tropical forestry engineer specializing in Permaculture. After studying in Holland in the International Agricultural college Larenstein in Velp, he spent 6 months in Kenya doing research in Agroforestry and 6 months in Honduras researching the biophysical elements for the declaration of a national park. Douwe is now the Garden Manager of VerdEnergia, designing and working on a Permaculture mixed crop system with focus on production of oil for soaps.


sara_headshotSara Czarniecki
Sara Czarniecki spent 4.5 years studying the evolution of humans and their interactions with both the natural and built environment at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, which culminated in a B.A. in Anthropology and Urban Studies. In the midst of her formal education, Sara visited VerdEnergia Pacifica. This visit piqued her interested in Permaculture, environmental issues and sustainable living. Since that initial visit she has become a certified Pemaculture designer, studying, working and teaching at VerdEnergia and at home in the Detroit area where she started a therapeutic gardening program with developmentally disabled adults.


Joshua Hughes (Guest Lecturer)
Joshua went from occupying his state capitol to occupying farmland in order to focus his energy into the construction of sustainable infrastructure to experiment and find realistic, simple and duplicatable solutions. VerdEnergia Pacifica, the Permaculture cooperative he co-founded, has been dedicated to educating, motivating and building solidarity amongst emerging leaders in the environmental/social justice renaissance. With over 20 years of work in the industrial recycling world, Joshua offers us a fresh and honest look at what is being done and what needs to be done to regenerate our land base and communities.


Language class is taught in:


• $1200 for a private room or dorm bed
– Pay $1200 in full before Nov. 1 and you get a private room – (only two left!)
– Otherwise, $1200 gets you a dorm bed

• $1000 for a camping spot in a shady, grassy area (We cannot provide tents or bedding!)
• $700 camping spots for shareholders (We cannot provide tents or bedding!)
• $500 camping spots for residents of Central/South America (We cannot provide tents or bedding!)

• All prices include a non-refundable $300 registration fee (to be paid upon registration) in addition to food and lodging.

We have shared, open-air dorms as well as private rooms. The first four students who register for the PDC and pay the full $1200 before November 1 will be upgraded to private rooms. Students who pay their full course amount (bar the deposit) upon their arrival will be in shared dormitories. It is important to understand that our infrastructure is integrated with the surrounding natural environment; you will be safe and dry, but all rooms are open-air.

Students who would rather camp can do so in a shaded, grassy area that will be prepared. Please understand that we cannot provide tents or bedding to campers. Campers should also understand that we have very limited hammock space.

— Food Options:
Your payment covers three square meals a day and available seasonal fruits. We eat from our land as much as possible and purchase extra food each week from a produce delivery service. Daily meals are usually mostly vegetarian with plenty of farm-fresh greens, fruits and veggies. We consume local eggs and dairy on a semi-regular basis. Occasionally we have meat to eat.

Notes or Comments:
What sets our course apart from other permaculture courses? What kind of stuff do you need to bring? Find the answers here.





Arriving at the San Jose Airport seems a bit overwhelming. Just relax and flow until you get to the exit area. If you are taking a cab right from the terminal, buy your ticket from the window to the left as you are about to exit from the airport (about $50 to Puriscal). This ticket will get you into one of the orange taxis; they will not rip you off like the cabs outside. Many have paid three times what they should have. Please stay in close touch with us via email well before you come.

The buses run from outside the airport to San Jose all of the time. Once you arrive in San Jose you will need to take a cab to the Puriscal Terminal. This should cost about $4. (If you’re not carrying too much and know the way, this is walkable as well.) The Puriscal bus terminal has a bus departing every 30 minutes for most of the day. The ride should take about an hour.

If we have planned it and it is possible (this is not always the case), a member of farm staff can be in Puriscal to meet you. Our cell phone number is 8722-9551. Call us when you are getting on your way from San Jose.
Our phone doesn’t work consistently, though, so do not rely on this unless you have made plans with us already.



Most buses leave from the block that the hardware store Macho Cruz is on, in front of Horocho’s Carniceria. Several buses run from there to San Martin daily. Buses to Quepos also pass San Martin and leave from the Banco Popular, which is one block south from the old church. Be sure to tell the driver you need to get off at Bar Caballo Blanco in San Martin.

Bus schedule from Puriscal: (probably incomplete and subject to change based on things that defy prediction)

  • 6:00 am to Quepos
  • 12:00 noon to Tulin
  • 1:00 pm to Quepos
  • 1:30 pm to Tulin
  • 3:00 pm to Mastatal/Zapaton (4:00 pm on Sundays)

Now all you need is to make it from San Martin to us, which is another 14 km (9 miles) down a road that has no bus service. We have a friend with a truck that can pick you up at the Caballo Blanco and bring you to the farm for 12,000 colones (about $24.00). You will need to be in touch with us to set this up.  If you’re road-hardy and traveling very light, you can also simply start walking and hope for someone to pass by and give you a ride.


You can get a cab from Puriscal to Finca VerdEnergia for around $60.00. The taxis are found (usually in a long line) along the park in the middle of town. You need to tell them you are going to Lanas. (Alternatively, you may be in your own rented car.) Our road is off of the road that goes to Salitrales and on to La Cangreja Parkand Parrita. The Caballo Blanco is about 5 minutes (some 4 km) past Salitrales on this road. Lanas is 14 km from San Martin (at Bar Caballo Blanco take a right). This road is a fairly straightforward drive. Just make sure you take a right turn at Quebrada Honda. There is no sign marking this place, but the main road takes a sharp right here, while the side-road goes straight ahead and up the hill past a blue building.  A ways past Lanas proper you will see our Finca on the left.

OR: We can also set this ride up with a friend that lives near us in Lanas; this will cost $50 to do.

OR: We can set up a small bus to pick you up from the airport and deliver you to the farm. Depending on season, state of the roads, exchange rates and inflation, this will cost around $150.00, but can take a lot of people.



  1. 27 km from Puriscal to Salitrales
  2. 4 km from Salitrales to San Martin (There is no sign for San Martin, but keep your eyes open for Bar Caballo Blanco; Lanas is also marked here)
  3. Turn right
  4. After 9 km, stay right at Quebrada Honda (a fork in the road with a sign that says “Escuela Quebrada Honda”)
  5. Proceed 5 km to Lanas
  6. Proceed past Lanas over the bridge and up a hill, stay left, pass a school on your left, then  continue 500 more meters to the Finca!



View Larger Map

Lanas is another 19 KM from Salitrales, down and to the left on this map.


January 28, 2016 @ 8:00 am
February 17, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
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VerdEnergia Pacifica
Puriscal, Costa Rica
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VerdEnergia Pacifica
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