1. Action Learning Pathway

Location: Germany, UK
Start and end of planning dates:November 2019 – 
Type of project: Personal development and the ‘inner transition’
Design process:SADIMET


22nd November 2019 – High Heathercombe Center

Sitting here on what seems like the top of the world in the Dartmoor windy hills in Autumn I am inspired by other permaculture students around me whilst we are all on the last day of a journey to be accredited with our permaculture design certificate. In many ways I had been on this path a lot longer than the start of the course, my life decisions have long been influenced by permaculture through the many travelers sleeping on my couch in Spain, the many visits to various communities in Spain, Portugal, Germany and the UK, my years of self study and in my endeavors to start a permaculture Eco-community in Spain 2016 and then a year later in Northern Germany 2017. This process then seems like a natural progression from my day to day application to an intricate and thoughtful design of my action learning pathway.

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

– Marcel Proust

25th November 2019 – Portsmouth

I woke up this morning with an eagerness to continue on my diploma journey by starting to work on my action learning pathway design and the earth cellar dwelling design. The earth cellar dwelling design process at the moment seems to be easier to do than my life path perhaps reflecting that looking back at my journey to this point is by far more difficult than designing for pleasure and function.

For my design I have chosen SADIMET as my design framework, partly because it is the one I am most familiar with at the moment but also because I feel that it flows well for me, it matches my internal process. I will however allow myself to have intermittent pockets for ideas following Lobby McNamara’s web design model and will document them as they come up through my design.

Idea for Design: Earth Cellar Dwelling


River of Life

“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”

B.J. Neblett

My river of life

My river starts in Malta in 1985, my parents chose Aimee as my name carrying the meaning of Beloved. My first experiences of nature are early in childhood running around grandad’s fields and country dwelling and at the boathouse by the sea, eating thick slices of Maltese bread smeared with red juicy tomato, drizzled with olive oil and speckled with salt and pepper. Never tiring of running, swimming and causing mischief we spent many hours playing at one with nature.

A young me dressed as little red riding hood in my parents field.

As we grew older my father used to take my siblings and me to the fields, his favorite crops were broad beans and peas. I have vivid memories of eating broad beans and beans straight from the pods I pulled off the plants. The mere existence of this abundance in itself a miracle, crops grown only with rain and no irrigation system in hot and sunny Malta. It was not immediately clear to me that what my father was doing was not quite right, this insight came much later, in my teens. Right then I made the acquaintance of the blue chemical fertilizer, I was forbidden to touch it, I did not understand why he would put into the ground something that was toxic to touch and then we would turn that into food. When asked why my father a little angry pointed at the soil and said, nothing would grow here without it. This was perhaps one of the first of many moments of awakening.

By 2001 it had become clear to me that something or indeed many things were fundamentally wrong, everywhere I looked was injustice, poverty, ecocidal and antisocial behavior. This discordance became increasingly hard to live with and for two years I battled within myself to continue living, find a way to cope and channel this energy away from the same self destruction I was experiencing around me, there was no support and no understanding. I felt increasingly angry, frustrated, helpless and alone. This time was marked by a surgical operation that saw me deprived of my appendix. It was right there in that hospital bed that I decided that in order to live I must seek support elsewhere, at that time and in that frame of mind I decided that this was best sought out of my home country.

By the end of that year I started a course in Hospitality Management that would put me on the Isle of Man by 2006. Here was my first encounter with a different kind of nature, the practices of organic farming, the gentle treatment of farm animals and the possibility that life on and from the land was possible. Walking through the countryside flanked by sheep on pasture, the green lands and abundance of water and life. Life became once more full of hope. I met nice people, became acquainted with the concept of food growing in allotments, without chemicals and a life without judgment. I understood life was possible with freedom to be oneself, with the possibility of fulfillment, peace and creativity.

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My sister Astrid and me on her visit to see me on the Isle of Man

In 2007 after almost a year I decided to stay, this meant I had to break my course before completion, a decision made in fear that once back in Malta I would not be able to leave again. I applied for a job where my boyfriend at the time was working in finance. I met many wonderful people working there, accepting, loving and supportive. This time in my life was in many ways instrumental to grow my understanding of the financial system and the socioeconomic factors that shape our world.

2nd December 2019 Journey Portsmouth to Berlin

During my 10 year career in finance some things became very clear to me, the financial system today is nothing more than a machine to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, speculative markets pander to the human quality of greed and addictive dopamine induced highs of gambling, the day to day activities to perpetuate this system generated guilt, anger and shame in me like I had never experienced before. For years I tried to attenuate this grief, guilt and anger by volunteering my free time to those suffering on the other end of the scale, millionaire wealth management during working hours, drug addicts and troubled youths after hours.

The learning curve was steep both of the social work front and on the career front as I advanced up on the career ladder. This wide and extreme view of the spectrum together with the difficult emotions brought me to my knees, the first time in 2012 I left my career position and spent time working with the social work projects. I was financially poorer but my mental health improved, I felt like I was doing something worthwhile.

When we later moved to Malta I had to go back to work in finance to make ends meet. At the time I seemed blind to any other options. Part of me enjoyed doing what I was good at together with the take home pay and another part of me started dying again. If was not until I moved to Spain that my outlook started changing.

In 2015 the company had put me in Mijas on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and in the distance I could see the Atlas mountains, in a 3 bedroom house, I lived on my own. This was the first time and the only time I lived on my own, my most poignant memory of this time is sitting on the terrace with a glass of wine and a fruit salad looking at the stunning surrounding views and crying out of sheer loneliness and grief that there was no one there to share it with. In that moment I decided that in order to save myself from descending into a deep and life threatening depression I would have to do something about this. I decided to sign up to couchsurfing as a host, this would mean that I could share the house that was paid for by the company with others on my terms, in a way that I felt safe.

My first couchsurfer was Ondrej, he introduced me to the workaway / woofing concept. During the next 2 years I hosted over 300 visitors that came from all corners of the world. From these visitors I learned about all possible ways of life, permaculture, the rainbow family, eco communities, festivals, squats, co-housing projects etc. etc. They gave me the courage to step beyond my comfort zone and I started traveling every weekend to different places all over the south of Spain and Portugal, often alone but sometimes with others. I visited projects and saw how applied permaculture, sharing and kindness was a viable way of life. In 2016, I met Franz, both at a crossroads with similar visions we started Eco Hacker Farm, with locations in both Spain and Germany we dove into retrofitting our buildings and practices using permaculture ethics as an anchor to make decisions. 

The spanish town house became a place of learning and permaculture practice. The garden once a dry and desert steep rock face turned into a place to grow food. Together with regular visitors and events it was a resounding success. Sadly though no one answered the call to take it over when a year later, I left my job and decided to move to Germany to work with Franz.

Scenes from Ventidos

Our applied permaculture projects are driven by the needs of the community, the buildings and land we are stewards of and our goals to spread permaculture into the world. 

Some of these projects are:

  • Compost toilet design, building and maintenance
  • Rainwater catchment
  • Compost production
  • Mandala vegetable garden
    • no dig gardening
    • organic food production   
    • paper, straw mulching   
    • steeped nettle fertilizer
    • tree planting
    • Veg and fruit products – Juice / jam / dried / pickled       
    • wild foraging
    • fostering a natural mushroom patch        
    • soil building / chop and drop
    • chickens and ducks for slug and weed control, egg production, compost, meat
  • Volunteer dormitory renovation and redesign
  • Communal hackerspace
  • Workshops
    • Introduction to Permaculture
    • Permaculture for Hackers 
    • Permaculture for Urbanites 
    • Insect hotels creation
    • Young coders summer camp   
Me in the Mandala Garden with a giant kohlrabi

Aranya’s book on permaculture design was my first ever purchase in terms of permaculture books in 2018. Before that I attended the Permaculture Design Certificate course run by Andrew Millison for Oregon Open State University in 2017. 

My online learning was heavily influenced by permaculture practitioners on permies.com this kept me grounded into practical applications that I could experiment with on our site whilst providing me with the value of context. 

Living in the countryside, I learned to accept and adapt to my limitations in terms of time, physical strength, work and life balance and also in terms of resources. Since I walked away from my career in finance my life has changed considerably, not only in terms of surroundings from the city to open countryside but also in terms of disposable income. Adaptation has been incredibly difficult and at times painful. As I enter my third year here I feel that I have finally started moving through the process where I can focus on which income flows I want to pursue. Part of this Action Learning Path is to hone into these and enable me to adapt faster for the implementation phase.

Idea for Design: The EcoLodge income flow design

Idea for Design: The Kuckucksmuehle income focus 1 year internship opportunity

Attending the Permaculture Design Certificate course at High Heathercombe Center run by Aranya and Klaudia Van Gool in November 2019 filled me with hope and inspiration, I feel a lot of impetus to kickstart my diploma. 

Many of the course attendees were also inspiring from Steph who works with children echoing an invitation received from Lea to give sessions at the local forest kindergarten. Olivia whose family have an organic farm echoing our struggles to produce a crop to take to market with a side income of accommodation also echoing our plans for the Ecolodge. Sameer the London urbanite echoing the permaculture for urbanites course I ran earlier this year. David the permaculture designer living in a van designing beautiful gardens at festivals, echoing my own desire to spread beauty and permaculture at festivals. Eti bringing permaculture to the public through puppetry and reminder to use play for art, culture and education, Janet on the board of her local group presenting permaculture to people who make decisions of how funding should be allocated. Maria running yoga courses and learning skills to apply for her own food production. The experience, sharing and network benefits went beyond the knowledge and practical skills learned during the course. It has made me question my interaction with the volunteers and how their experience could be improved and enriched during their stay with us.

Idea for design: Creating an environment for learning / sharing / fun for volunteers at Kuckucksmuehle

Idea for design: Creating a mandala garden at fusion

Idea for design: Design the Mandala garden at Kuckucksmuehle with an educational focus

Idea for design: Diploma Student Focus Week Retreats

I recognise that I have a variety of design ideas, however not all will be incorporated into my diploma not because they are not worthwhile but because I want to take into account the limiting factors involved and also the choice to focus on improving my skills as a designer and teacher.



Dreaming goals in year phases

By the end of this design process I will have: 

  • Created my diploma calendar
  • Shortlisted my idea list of designs for the diploma
  • Organized my diploma projects

After the completion and implementation of this pathway I hope to have met these objectives:

  • Expand my knowledge and practice of Permaculture
  • Develop new skills and improve the skills I have
  • Share permaculture with others in and outside of our community

7th December 2019 – Kuckucksmuehle

After being home for almost a week and back into my rhythm I am finding it difficult to find time to concentrate on the Diploma work I would like to do, however this is not coming as a revelation it was expected. Nevertheless after a long day at “work” taking care of the house, booking in volunteers and cooking I have sent a message to the PDC group to ask if any of the lovely people in the group want to join into a peer group. Peach & David immediately joined in. I also joined in with the Facebook group and asked if there were any local / regional diploma students in Northern Germany. Since I have decided to go about my diploma using the independent route peer support is going to be very important for me.


After drawing my river of life, tree of life and done the dream sketch I feel very blessed for my past experiences, the skills I learned along the way and the people in my life who make it worth living. I am rich in resources, networks and skills that will undoubtedly come in handy to achieve my goals. 

Education Resources and reference material

Online support network

  • Whatsapp group with PDC friends
  • Facebook group: Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design
  • Permaculture Association – Educators Monthly Online Gathering attendees: Graham Bell, Aranya, Kt Shepherd and others (added December 22, 2019)

Inspiration from

Face to face support

  • My wonderful neighbour Regina who is also a PDC holder
  • RioLaden eV – group members
  • Kuckucksmuehle community members
  • Attending events:
    • Diploma Gatherings organised by the Permaculture Association UK
    • Diploma Student Gatherings organised by Peach / Myself

Technical skills

  • Permaculture Design
  • Teaching | Groups | Private tutoring
  • Web development: HTML5 | CSS | Bootstrap | jQuery | Git | Github
  • OpenOffice | Microsoft Office: Word | Excel | Powerpoint | Outlook
  • Nextcloud: Collabora
  • Google Products: Drive | Docs | Sheets | Slides | Forms | Drawings | Maps | Sites
  • Project Management Tools: Scrum | Redmine | Six Sigma
  • Dokuwiki
  • Sketchup
  • Group dynamics and team work
  • Public speaking
  • Marketing 
  • Human Resource management

Limiting Factors

11th December 2019 – Kuckucksmuehle

I acknowledge that for some of the designs my skills will not come up to par and therefore provide an opportunity for upskilling or even introducing new skills. 

My main limitation is expected to be time as I fit the design process around my other responsibilities however I also recognise that this limitation invites me to integrate my design process into everyday life, this will save time as I would be designing on the go for projects that I would be doing anyway. This will bring benefits of better insight into my decision making and grow my designer skills. 

Initially I was hesitant to pin this down however it is important to note that the community also has a lot of bearing of the designs that I work on, whilst this can be viewed as a limitation it is also notable that without their support this diploma journey would be a lot harder. 


14th December 2019 – Hackerspace, Kuckucksmuehle

David Holmgren beautifully explains permaculture principles providing a powerful tool to tie in my thoughts and design efforts and the permaculture ethics. For this action learning pathway I see several connections with the different principles as outlined below. 

Observe and interact

Living in a community and being a project manager on the same site my first observation is that my time is limited but it is mostly also flexible if I have enough volunteers and help. I also have a lot of support from the community and my permaculture network to feel confident about my journey. Whether or not I will be able to complete it in 2 years will have to be seen but I hope that this action learning plan will help to motivate me and keep me on track with my designs. 

Catch and store energy

As my plan is to integrate the design work with the ebbs and flows of the community project activities I expect to have a good store of energy to keep me going until my energies are required in the garden. 

I also plan to have reflection phases whilst designing to allow myself some perspective. In general up to this stage I have noticed that this seems to happen naturally as I take personal space every few days to rest. 

Obtain a yield

Whilst the main yield would be the diploma itself that will enable me to teach the PDC, I also plan to use the designs to run short courses on different permaculture topics, this would produce more than one yield, some money to finance the diploma and the support and also help me share and spread the knowledge with others.

Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

I expect that as most of my designs will be community related, as I start working though the designs there will be instances where feedback will be given that needs to be addressed in terms of design choices and perhaps even design choice. I also acknowledge that 

From patterns to details

My creative juices have already produced some ideas which I am looking forward to shortlist in the next section based on functions, time, skills and design complexity. The idea is to create a symbiosis between my goals, the ethics, principles and individual designs within the context of my day to day life. Since most of the designs will be implemented the pattern in which the designs are chosen and documented will reflect these needs.

 Integrate rather than segregate

Instead of scheduling strict timeslots to work on my designs I plan on integrating them within my everyday life and only have a loose structure for general timekeeping of the overall portfolio building process. This will ultimately save time, provide multiple yields, continuous feedback and incremental progress towards achieving my diploma. 

 Use and value diversity

The diversity in the chosen different designs is important to grow different skills and also to identify areas for improvements and leave room for fun and excitement when it comes to going from one design to the next. I also want to attend gatherings with other students to look at my work with a fresh perspective. 

Use edges and value the marginal

Since a lot of the activity here is seasonal I expect that the colder months will be when I am most active with the documentation phases of each design, this reflects what happens at the moment anyway, winter is for planning the next busy seasons. The edges in this case are very valuable nuggets of time which I can dedicate to planning my diploma work. My design work will be structured in such a way that I can pick it up and continue without having to spend too much time recapping. 

Creatively use and respond to change

It is likely that in the next 2 years there will be a lot of changes in my life as I plan to become a mother, the ecolodge to open as a retreat and short rental place and the farm to be registered for food production, teaching workshops and keeping the farm running. I acknowledge that it is impossible to plan each detail of these events in sufficient detail to prepare for all eventualities and that life has a way to throw off even the best made plans. I endeavour to be flexible and not punish myself if along the way I need to pause or change course. 

Shortlisting Design Ideas

My main goals for the designs is that they should be: 

  • Inline with my vision / dreams as outlined in my dreaming sketch and the river of life
    • Share my knowledge
    • Live on the land from the land
    • Live in harmony with the earth and others
  • Achievable within or only at the edge of my resources and limitations
  • Real life applications and functions within my life in the next 1, 2 or 5 years
  • Valuable to myself, the community I live in and / or the public at large

To arrive at a decision more easily I devised a table to help me compare my design ideas taking into account my main goals.


Y = YesN = No? = Maybe
W = Want to learnS = Short (2 months)M = Medium (4 months)

S = Short (2 months)        M = Medium (4 months)    L = (5 months plus)   

B = Beyond 5 years         I = Me                C = Community       

P = Public                x    = chosen design

VisionResources & LimitationsReal life applicationValue
Does it help me to share my knowledge?Does it help me to live on the land from the land?Does it contribute to me living in harmony with the earth and others?Do I have the SkillsHow much Time do I think it will take?When is the implementation happening?(in years)Does it bring value to myself, the community or public at large?
Y / N / ?Y / N / MY / N / MY / N / WS / M / L1 / 2 / 5 / BI  / C / P
Action Learning PathwayYYMYL1I C P
Earth Cellar DwellingYNYWL1I C P
The EcoLodge income flow designYYMWM1I C P
One year internship position offer focused on income generationYYYYS1I C P
Creating an environment for learning / sharing / fun for volunteers at KuckucksmuehleYYYYS2I C P
Mandala Garden at Fusion?MMWM5I P
Increase functions of the Mandala GardenYYYYM1I C P
Diploma Student Focus Week RetreatsYYYYM2I C P
Communal house spaces – hackcenterYYYYS5I C
The ecolodge and garden designYYYYL2I C P
The ecolodge compost toilet designYYYYS1I C P
Zweistromland fruit forestYYYWL5I C P
My room / personal spaceNNYYS1I C P
RioLaden social enterprise modelYYYWL2I C P
First Hand Press social enterprise modelYYYWL2I C P
Design Intro to Permaculture workshop to deliver in BerlinYMYYS1C P
Design Intro to Permaculture workshop to deliver at KuckucksmuehleYYYYS1I C P
Design and publish a gratitude journalYYYYM5C P

VisionResources & LimitationsReal life applicationValue
Does it help me to share my knowledge?Does it help me to live on the land from the land?Does it contribute to me living in harmony with the earth and others?Do I have the SkillsHow much Time do I think it will take?When is the implementation happening?(in years)Does it bring value to myself, the community or public at large?
Y / N / ?Y / N / MY / N / MY / N / WS / M / L1 / 2 / 5 / BI  / C / P
Publish an ebook on seed savingYYYWLBI C P
Turn Kuckucksmuehle into an iLAND locationYYYYL5I C P
Aquaponics set upYMYWM2I C P
Lea & Moritz property sample designYYYYM2I C

Whilst shortlisting the designs I allowed myself to not only look at how each fulfilled the criteria that I set in the beginning but also had room for how I feel about doing the actual design, each one evokes different tones in me. For example the ones that are to be implemented in the first year fills me with trepidation, a kind of excitement with a little panic mixed in. I am hopeful that I have not bitten off more than I can chew and then I remind myself that I am at the analysis part of the design, that I can still change it if I need to once the evaluation stage comes and next the tweaking. It feels somewhat reassuring that I can allow myself to be able to change my mind. 

I also tried to pick a good mix of designs which I am comfortable with and excited about, that I know will be growing my design skills and others that will also grow technical skills, for example the aquaponics setup. The clients for all the designs will vary and give a different flavour to the design process, some like the compost toilet will take the ecolodge users into account who may have never seen or heard about a compost toilet before and others like my personal space allows room for me to really think about my needs and self care which I tend not to be very good at. I have also included a design that is not located on the site where I live, this will give me the opportunity to have an external client and design experience. 

I was also careful not to pick designs that exceeded my self imposed implementation excess (beyond 5 years) this is to try and have designs that would produce a shorter feedback loop providing the opportunity for implementation, evaluation and tweaking as soon as possible to further improve my design skills.

A web of connections

My initial idea was to create a web of connections that would include the designs and their relative connections, the ethics and the principles however at this point I do not have sufficient information to include the principles (apart from the one I have already done for this design) and therefore I chose not to include that into the mix. The designs themselves will have this included when I start working on them individually. 

This produced an interesting graphic as you can see nearly all designs have connections to at least two ethics apart from this ALP, it could be argued that by becoming a diploma graduate I would be a better designer and therefore the earth benefits more from my designs and my sharing of knowledge, I did not want to be so presumptuous.

Web of connections between designs and ethics

This exercise helped my identify connections between the designs that were not necessarily immediately obvious to me and it also reassured me that my shortlisted choices are varied enough but still connected with the permaculture ethics and with each other.

It is important to also acknowledge how each design fits within the different domains of permaculture and within the diploma system categories. For clarity this is represented below in this table:

DesignHolmgren’s domainAreas in Diploma System – categoriesMain application
1Action Learning PathwayEducation & CultureEducationPersonal life & work
Personal level
2One year internshipFinances & economics, Education & CultureAdministration / Community Development / EducationPersonal life & workPersonal & Collective level
3Creating an environment for learning / sharing for volunteersEducation & CultureEducation / Community DevelopmentPersonal life & workPersonal & Collective level
4Increase functions of the Mandala GardenEducation & CultureSite designPersonal life & work
Personal & Collective level
5Diploma Student Focus Week retreatsEducation & CultureEducation, Community development, Culture and CommunicationWork
Collective / global level
6The ecolodge compost toilet designBuilding, Land & nature stewardshipArchitectureWork
Collective level
7My room / personal spaceHealth, spirituality and well beingSite designPersonal level
Personal life
8Turn Kuckucksmuehle into an iLAND locationEducation & CultureEducation / Administration / Community developmentWork
Collective level
9Aquaponics set upTools and technologySite designWork
Collective level
10Lea & Moritz property sample designLand & nature stewardshipSite designWork
Collective level


Timeline / Gantt Chart as at 15th December 2019

Xx = Design in progress        xx = Support event        xx = Diploma Assessment

Designs & Key EventsNov  – Dec 2019Jan – Feb 2020Mar – April 2020May – Jun 2020Jul – Aug 2020Sep – Oct 2020Nov – Dec – 2020
1 Action Learning PathwaySADIMETSurveyAnalysisDesignImplementationMaintenanceEvaluationTweaking / reloop if necessary
2 Offer one year internship (income focused)SADIMETSurveyAnalysisDesignImplementationMaintenanceEvaluationTweaking

Diploma Gathering London 2020Book tickets and transport
7th & 8th March 2020

Review of 1st Two Designs

Approach tutor, book session, assessment & feedback

3 Creating an environment for learning for volunteersGOBRADIMET

4 Increase functions of the mandala garden (education / rest / exercise)GOBRADIMET
5 The ecolodge compost toilet designGOBRADIMET

Diploma Students Gathering Spain
Book tickets and transport
24th to 30th May

Tutor support / review


6 Diploma Students GatheringGOBRADIMET

Goals, ObservationsBoundaries, ResourcesAnalysis, DesignImplementationMaintenanceEvaluation, Tweaking
Diploma Students Gathering  @ Kuckucksmuehle

Organise and promote

September 28 – October 4 
Interim portfolio assessment

Book tutorAssessment & feedback
1st Five Designs

Reevaluation & tweaking of first designs
Designs & Key EventsJan – Feb 2021Mar – April 2021May – Jun 2021Jul – Aug 2021Sep – Oct 2021Nov – Dec – 20212022 and Beyond
1 Action Learning PathwaySADIMETTweaking / reloop if necessary
7 Register Kuckucksmuehle as an iLAND locationSADIMETSurveyAnalysisDesignImplementationMaintenanceEvaluationTweaking
Diploma Gathering 2021Book tickets and transport?? March 2021

8 My room / personal spaceCEAPCollect site informationEvaluate the informationApply permaculture principlesPlan a schedule of implementation, maintenance, evaluation, tweaking

9 Aquaponics setupSADIMET

10 Lea & Moritz property designGOBRADIMETSurveyAnalysisDesignImplementationMaintenanceEvaluationTweaking
Diploma Students Gathering – Kuckucksmuehle?

September 20  – 26 

Final Assessment 1

Book tutorBook with permaculture associationAssessment & feedback

Review of the last 6 Designs

Reevaluation & tweaking of last  designs
Apprenticing at PDC course

Final Assessment 2

Book tutorAssessment & feedback
Presentation event (2h)


I expect that this timeline will change around life and hopefully keep flowing until I complete my portfolio and am awarded the diploma.

As I finish the timeline I realise that I feel quite daunted when represented in this way even though I split this into the 1st and 2nd year and used wide time frame for each slot. I use this nervous energy to think about my next achievable step. 


Before moving on, however I would like to talk about the earth dwelling design which I had mentioned at the beginning of this document. After discussions with the community it became clear to me that the survey phase would be a lengthy one that will involve costs and time that would be beyond the scope of this portfolio. The intention is still to carry out this design collectively with other members of the community at a more leisurely pace.


Reflection – 15th December 2019

What’s going well? 

I seem to have gotten myself organised and despite the underlying anxious energy I feel competent and ready to get started on my one year internship design

What’s more challenging? 

Keeping focus on the diploma work is sometimes challenging as I am working in a communal space at the moment, this is mainly because there are not many warm rooms that are private, which also have a comfortable work space so occasionally I am interrupted by the volunteers or other community members passing through. 

What is the long term vision/goal? 

My long term vision is to finish the diploma on time and teach permaculture, living on the land from the land, live in harmony with the earth and others. 

What are the next achievable steps? 

Get started on the one year internship design.

Reflection – 22nd December 2019

Milestones achieved: 

  • booked my ticket for the diploma gathering in March + bus ticket Berlin to London
  • attended my first event Monthly Online Gathering (MOG) for Educators organised by the Permaculture Association 
  • Finished reading Donella Meadows – Thinking in Systems

Opportunities offered from me to others: 

  • Published the 1 year internship for project manager at the Kuckucksmuehle
  • Started a permaculture library in the hackerspace at Kuckucksmuehle & helped volunteers who wanted guidance on which books matched their interest
  • Passed on the apprenticeship offering from Graham and Aranya to the PDC group and told them about the MOG so they too can attend.
  • Short term stays at the Ecolodge are now possible as I managed to find enough furniture. 
  • Offered online and in person garden planning sessions for anyone who is interested in this topic

Opportunities received/offered to me:

  • Steve Charter at the MOG asked me if I wanted to be on a pilot team for a new course being designed that would be a bridge between the PDC and the Diploma
  • Graham Bell and Aranya would like more apprentices at their courses
  • Jemma offered to put me in touch with CoLab currently working on Ethical Lifestyle app
  • Jemma sent me an invite to join in “Creating an introduction to permaculture community process”
  • Regina offered me a space on the farmers group to try and sell produce on the market
  • Regina offered me help to prune the fruit trees in the new year

I had been feeling in the last couple of days that I hadn’t really achieved anything. I felt apathetic and generally a little depressed. Probably the winter weather is not helping and also knowing how much there is still to do in preparation for Congress. Sitting down and reviewing my progress however I see that I actually did plenty and it does make me feel better, that it is also good to rest and take some time to feel grateful for such abundance.  


  • Feel good about progress & gratitude for every opportunity offered
  • New support channel & strengthening of existing channels
  • Better insight about self care needs and patterns
  • Served as a conduit for information and opportunities to others

“Onwards and upwards and let’s grow that team just as we grow our gardens. With patient loving care, accepting our failures, celebrating our successes and sharing our surpluses. Counting value rather than money. Feeding each other on every level. “

– Graham Bell


22nd January 2020 – Kuckucksmuehle Hackerspace

I have been regularly reviewing the content on this design particularly as the guidelines state that I should try and keep the design to 2000 words. In order to bring this more in line I will extract most of the personal details in the river of life section to the about me section and simply link it from the design. This will server multiple functions, it makes me more human to the reader and also does not overload the design with the intricate details that are illustrated in the design, thus making this more concise.

In the last week there were moments when I was tempted to change some of the chosen designs, perhaps if it had been just a list and I hadn’t documented how they all fit into the bigger picture I would have however the fact that they are documented and interwoven in this design with clear goals and direction has made me reconsider some of the swaps that I had been thinking. One such swap would have been the iLAND registration for Kuckucksmuehle with a mushroom cultivation design. This is still a valid design however it is very different and would not be as interconnected as the original choice. 

This exercise has brought me a new insight, not only about the design choices here but also the benefits of applying this in everyday life choices.

I did however need to print the GANTT chart as I was finding that my memory not being very good when the time came to work on my diploma I had to continuously go back into the document and looking for it. A printed copy of the first year schedule in now on my desk.

Evaluation & Tweaking

Accreditation Criteria

Demonstrating Design SkillsApplying Permaculture in my own life
Design pattern to details
River of life
Action learning Gantt chart
The ALP is not only a design but a detailed account as to how permaculture was applied in my life and throughout the coming 2 years.
Learning from and developing your permaculture practiceApplying permaculture to my work and projects
It has been interesting for me to adapt my project management skills to my permaculture practice which produced a sort of hybrid that allowed me to both be structured but remain flexible enough to allow for personal growth. Whilst keeping a clear goal for me was never going to be a problem allowing myself to rest, not getting burnt out and still enjoy the process is something that I had to keep in mind and regularly remind myself of. David Holmgren’s domains:
Culture and Education
12 categories: Education Personal development and the ‘inner transition’