[permaculture] Immersion Courses in Brazil

Marsha Hanzi mhanzi at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 2 14:03:36 EST 2004

Immersion Courses at Marizá, Drylands Bahia, Brazil
Marsha Hanzi

We offer real-life courses in Permaculture Design,
Agroecology,  Intuitive Agriculture, and Life Design. 
These courses occur in the context of a working
Permaculture farm, and the participants are involved
in the day-to-day business of working towards a
pleasurable , ethical, and sustainable form of
occupying our Mother Earth.

Each course is specifically tailored to a particular
group of 5-6 people.  The small numbers permit that
the rythms of the farm continue to unfold without
interruption.  The early mornings are personal quiet
time, to enjoy the sunrise and the birds. After
breakfast we dedicate ourselves to   (sometimes
strenuous!) bread labor ( the fields, planting,
building, also maintenance, housecleaning and
preparing food for all).  The afternoons ( after a
long noon break during the hot hours of the day, which
can be dedicated to study) are dedicated to classtime,
and the early evenings to “putting the farm to bed”
(watering the garden, caring for the animals, etc.).
Nights are flexible and creative, time for sharing,
looking at the stars, videos, bonfires,  celebrations

Weekends are free in order to participate in the local
markets, explore the region, or just rest, breathe,
and contemplate all that has happened.

The time span is also flexible, although a complete
Permaculture Design Course would need a minimum of
three, preferably four weeks, to have ample time to go
deeply into each subject. 

As this is a deep experience for all, we prefer that
the group be composed of colleagues and friends,
people who will remain connected afterwards, to
continue their own personal evolution. But the
participants may also come from different regions or

The courses can be given in either English or in
Portuguese, depending on the groups. 

 Participants fluent in Spanish who do a basic
Portuguese course ( to get accustomed to the phonetic
differences between languages) get along quite well.

Groups may also propose their own specific course,
within our general lines of expertise.

Permaculture Design Course- 

This is a standard course, based on the curriculum of
Bill Mollison, but with strong inputs from  David
Holmgren ( the two founders of Permaculture). It
teaches principles and strategies of developing a
sustainable project, urban or rural.  Participants
will receive a certificate from the Bahian
Permaculture Institute.  The focus is on planning
projects and not on gardening or farming skills per
se, although participants will acquire many of these
from the day to day experience on the farm.  Field
work will be organized, whenever possible, around the
themes being developed in the classroom.  Minimum
three weeks, ideally four weeks. This is an excellent
course for people who have already done one design
course and would like to deepen their skills in a
completely different context. It is also ideal for
those intending to work in third-world tropical

Besides this open-ended proposal we have one fixed
course scheduled for august, in Portuguese. See.
www.permacultura-bahia.org.br for details.

Tropical Agroecology-  

This course (ideally 3-4 weeks) focuses on
agricultural skills needed to implant agroforests or
recuperate degraded areas. It goes deeply into
understanding the dynamics of natural progression and
how we can work creatively with them  in diverse
contexts. In the day-to-day experience on the farm,
the participants will help manage new systems being
implanted and tested:  permanent polycultures (
inserting one crop within another, integrated with
permanent elements such as trees, canegrass, and
native  plants), dryland agroforest bsed on fruits,
recuperation of a severly degraded piece of sandy soil

( the farm was bought end 2001 as 23 acres of bare
sand, with only two cashew trees and ten small native
palms in the whole area). The activities will be
geared according to the time of year, which follow the
general pattern below, although erratic rains may come
( or not!) at any time of the year, and work is
adjusted accordingly. (Remember this is Southern
hemisphere, and our winter, main planting time, is
Intuitive Agriculture : 

This is a course about using our energy bodies to
communicate directly with Nature in order to access
specific information from our system.  Inspired by the
work of Perelandra, (we recommend reading their books
before coming) as well as long practical experience
with crystals, sound, meditation, visualization and
healing.  The participants will have an opportunity to
choose a specific plot and take it to the next step in
its evolution. Although this can be done anywhere and
without the context of a course, participants find
that the support of a group and sharing of experiences
helps anchor the experience and  make it real and
convincing.  Long hours of  silent observation of
Nature and solitary contemplation are central to this
experience.  1-2 weeks.

There is one course scheduled in Portuguese for
September. See www.permacultura-bahia.org.br for

Life Design: This is a retreat for people who want to
make radical changes in their lives and are seeking
inspiration and courage to do so.  Classroom time will
be dedicated to basic life themes such as 
·	our relationship to Planet Earth, 
·	what is money and how does it function and how did
it deviate from its original use, 
·	intentional communitites- key elements to success, 
·	How to annul self-criticism which paralyses our
·	what does it take to become an  entrepreneur. 
 The themes will be chosen by the participants.  Group
and private coaching. This is NOT therapy and we are
not professionally trained to deal with  psychological
imbalances. We reserve the right to not continue the
process with any participant we feel is not stable
enough for what we are offering. (These people will be
offered rest and friendship and peaceful times with
Nature, or  in extreme cases will be invited to seek
professional help back home.)  This is for healthy
balanced people who want to make a big step in their
lives. The physical work in the fields in the morning
helps balance out the intense internal process. 5 days
- 2 weeks. The group will continue as a support group
via Internet after the retreat.

Housing- As this is a new project, housing is in tents
or “slumber party” conditions in our big living room
or on the varandas in good weather.  (The income from
these courses will help towards the expenses of
developing further infrastructure) The adventure of
being together with an inspired group in these rather 
primitive conditions has been  a wonderful experience
for all concerned. 

Food- We follow the local custom of rice and beans,
local vegetables and fruit, and tiny quantities of
sun-dried beef and fresh eggs ( all produced by us and
by the neighbors). (And yes, we DO serve delicious
Brazilian coffee at breakfast, or whatever you should

Cost- US$10 per day, which includes food, “lodging”
(see above), and the course. (Of course we would be
delighted to receive more!) Our intention is to make 
this information accessible to all... 

Contacts:  With  Patrícia , at
patricia.ipeba at terra.com.br  We look forward to
sharing our lives with you!   

Marsha Hanzi
Isntituto de Permacultura da Bahia

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