Permaculture: Magic of the Earth and Wisdom of the Plants

International certified permaculture design course

4. - 18. August 2017

With Starhawk, Penny Livingston-Stark and Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

This unique Permaculture course links and combines the wisdom and experience of three of the best-known international mentors in this area. Building on the basics of Permaculture, as developed by its founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgreen, this course is brought to life and made accessible through the inspiring wisdom of these three women.

Course language: English with translation into German

The three mentors:


StarhawkStarhawk is the author of 13 books, and has established her reputation through her books on goddesses and women empowerment. She has made several documentaries which can be found on You Tube. The latest one is about Permacuture:„Permaculture: “The Growing Edge„ and was released in 2010. Starhawk lives part-time in San Fransisco and on Golden Rabbit Ranch in Western Sonoma Country. It is on this ranch, together with land manager Charles Williams, that she is developing a model of carbon sequestering ranching, incorporating holistic management. For this course, Starhawk will not only teach the basics about Permaculture, but she will also share her personal and authentic experiences with earth-based spirituality, Goddess religion, political engagements, and the skills of activism. Another focus for Starhawk for this course will be the healing of the Earth, communities and individuals.

''Permaculture is about Healing: the healing of ecosystems, human communities and humans themselves, who depend on this on all levels“.

Penny Livingston-Stark

Penny Livingston-StarkPenny Livingston-Stark is internationally recognized as a prominent permaculture teacher, designer and speaker.
She has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the land management, regenerative design, and permaculture development field for 25 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials. With her husband James Stark, and in collaboration with Commonweal — a cancer health research and retreat center — Penny co-manages Commonweal Garden, a 17-acre organic and certified salmon-safe farm in Bolinas, California.She studied with Bill Mollison and David Holmgeen, the founders of Permaculture. She has been featured in the following films: Symphony of the Soil by Lily Films and Deborah Koons Garcia, 2012: A Time for Change by Joao Amorim and Daniel Pinchbeck and Permaculture: The Growing Edge by Belili Films and Starhawk.

Penny will be teaching in the second week oft he course.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

Susanne Fischer RizziSusanne Fischer-Rizzi is a naturopathic practitioner, author and mentor. For more than 40 years she has been sharing her knowledge and experience through classes, lectures and books. She is a herbalist and a pioneer in Aromatherapy and studied with many herbalists and shamans from different cultures. She  learned Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine and philosophy in India and is the founder of ARVEN- School for Herbal Arts Aromatherapy and Wilderness Wisdom. She has a long term garden practice and is passionate about organic dynamic agriculture and permaculture concepts. She has published as of presently 14 books about subjects including naturopathic healing, nature connection, wild cooking, herbal remedies etc. Her books have been translated into many languages. In this course she will share her experiences about Gaiamantie, herbs of the region, European roots of Permaculture, sacred patterns in Nature and alchemistical principles as a key to permaculture understanding.



Silvano Rizzi

Silvano RizziSilvano Rizzi will play a supporting role in the course and, together with Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, is the coordinator, organizer and initiator of this course. He is a passionate permaculture designer and has been living for the past 4 years in the Tamera community of southern Portugal and will share his experiences and knowledge with us.
He studied Nonprofit, Social & Health Care Management, and found out during his work in disaster areas like Haiti, that humanitarian aid often only works on the symptoms and does not address the cause itself. In the search for effective, regenerative solutions, he discovered Permaculture and his path and his current area of activity. Since then, he has devoted himself to the development of regenerative models, which enable people in community to live in peace, and self-sufficient in water, energy and food.
Topics such as water retention landscapes, the closure of the large and small water cycle, different methods of using rainwater to restore ecosystems are very important to him.

What is Permaculture ?

Permaculture is a design science rooted in the observation of natural systems. The principles of permaculture teach us how to design ways of living that have the stability and resiliency of natural systems. They show us positive solutions for creating and managing systems for food, medicine, water, shelter, and more.
Permaculture is a multi-disciplinary art form, drawing from the physical sciences, architecture, nutrition, the healing arts, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), and spirituality. The ethical underpinnings that guide permaculture are simple yet powerful: take care of earth, take care of the people, and share the surplus.
Designing from nature is not a new concept — traditional people have practiced this design technique for thousands of years. In today’s world, where many of us have grown up in disconnection with nature and unaware of the deeply
Picture: Cover picture of Bill Mollison: Permaculture Designers Manual         interwoven structures that create efficient, no-waste, closed loop ecological systems, permaculture provides a powerful framework for re-designing our lives. In fact, the principles of permaculture are exactly what we need to implement practical solutions to restore our damaged environments and bring the earth back into a thriving, healthy state of being.
You can apply permaculture to any setting or climate — your garden or farm, urban and suburban homes, community structures, watershed systems, and even to relationships and your own “inner ecology.” Applying the principles and ethics of permaculture can provide solutions on any scale — here are some examples:
Permaculture allows us to partner with nature to make long-lasting, regenerative systems that can heal the planet and ourselves for generations to come.


Course discription:

At the end of the Seminar, the participants will receive an internationally recognized “Permaculture Design Certificate”.

Learn how to heal soil and cleanse water, how to design human systems that mimic natural systems, using a minimum of energy and resources and creating real abundance and social justice. Learn how to read the landscape, design integrated systems, harvest water, drought-proof your land, build soil, sequester carbon, make compost and compost tea, biochar, and bioremediate toxins. Explore the solutions to climate change, and the strategies and organizing tools that can put them in place. How do we organize ourselves, resolve conflicts, make decisions, work together effectively, and sustain our spirits.

Participatory, hands-on teaching with lots of practical projects, games, songs, and laughs along with an intensive curriculum in regenerative ecological design that earns a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).
We teach interactively, not just through classroom presentation but through games, songs, ceremony, guided visualizations, design practice, field trips, and lots of practical, hands-on projects.
In the course we will also hear about permaculture in the Allgäu and Germany in general and will visit various permaculture projects in the region.
Hands-on projects vary with weather and needs but may include mapping, water harvesting structures, graywater or roof catchment, compost, compost teas, sheet mulch, plant propagation, planting trees and shrubs, seed-starting, natural building—cob, straw-clay or plastering—and a collaborative design project. Our projects can be tailored to students of varied levels of physical ability and diverse ages and previous experience.
You can be any age, you don’t need to have previous experience with permaculture or horticulture, and we can accommodate a broad range of physical abilities or limitations. Please contact us if you have specific needs you’d like to discuss.

Topic list:

We touch on all the topics below—some in more depth than others, obviously, in a two-week course. But the overarching thing we teach in the course is not any specific subject, but rather how they all fit together into systems that can meet our human needs while regenerating the environment around us.


Permaculture ethics, history and principles:


  • Observation
  • Reading the landscape
  • Site analysis
  • Zones and Sectors
  • Mapping
  • Design tools and processes
  • Design project
  • Broadacre permaculture
  • Urban permaculture
  • Permaculture for gatherings, mobilizations and disaster situations
  • Sacred patterns in nature and European tradition
  • Gaiamancy


  • Creating healthy water cycles in living systems
  • Water harvesting
  • Swales, ponds and earthworks
  • Keyline systems
  • Erosion control
  • Rain catchment for roofs
  • Greywater and blackwater systems


  • Soil structure
  • Soil biology
  • Soil building
  • Compost
  • Sheet mulch
  • Compost teas and ferments
  • Mushrooms
  • Bioremediation and mycoremediation
  • Biochar


  • Plant needs
  • Plant guilds and polycultures
  • Cover crops
  • Agroforestry
  • Food forests
  • Plant propagation
  • Tree care: pruning and planting, choosing varieties
  • Sustainable forestry
  • Medicinal plants of the region
  • Resonance and Synchronicity


  • Animals in our systems
  • Raising and feeding “microherds”—healthy soil microbial communities
  • Beneficial insects
  • Bees
  • Worms
  • Humane treatment of animals
  • Poultry
  • Livestock for the homestead
  • Holistic management grazing systems
  • The role of predators
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Alternatives for vegans


  • Climate change and strategies for adaption and mitigation
  • Microclimates
  • Windbreaks
  • Drylands
  • Tropics
  • Wetlands
  • Cold climates


  • Alternative and renewable energy: evaluating and designing systems
  • Active and passive solar
  • Wind
  • Microhydro
  • Alternative fuels and biogas

Natural Building

  • Insulation and thermal mass
  • Sustainable forest products
  • Cob, straw-bale, light-straw-clay
  • Plasters

Social permaculture

  • Personal regeneration and self-care
  • Site design to support social aims
  • Urban redesign
  • Group dynamics
  • Communication tools
  • Governance structures for collaborative groups
  • Ecovillages and community design
  • Meeting processes
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Alternative economics

Organizing and activism

  • Strategic organizing
  • Pro-active and prefigurative movements
  • Campaign planning and organizing
  • Power mapping
  • Organizing in diverse communities


  • Connecting to the spirit in nature
  • Creating ritual and ceremony
  • Grounding and centering
  • Sensing and shifting energy
  • Drumming, dancing, singing and meditation
  • Daily rituals
  • Alchemy: Circulation of Elements and Distillation


About the place:

Cummunity and Seminar House Sulzbrunn

Gemeinschaft SulzbrunnSulzbrunn is home to the Sulzbrunn Community, living in 15.5 hectar of beautiful grounds, of which half are woodland and meadow.  Like a small village, there are also 7 buildings with approx. 5,000 m2 living space. These contain a large industrial kitchen, a dining room, a sports hall, a carpentry and metal workshop, seminar-rooms, a sauna, and two large greenhouses. Sulzbrunn is a new community with shared values based on multi-generational living, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and living in harmony with nature. We have room for about 50 adults and children. The grounds are also home to an ancient and well-known healing well, whose waters contain high levels of pure iodine.

Haus Haberreuthe

HaberreutheA century-old Allgäu farmhouse, lovingly restored, in a secluded location. It is surrounded by a large area of land with a variety of trees, hedges and meadows.  A river flows past the house and feeds a small pond.  A unicorn sits above the entrance gate, watched over by a large ginkgo tree.  We share this magical place with various animals including sheep, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, cats and a dog.  The land has been farmed organically for more than 40 years. There is a herb garden, a small permaculture area, a fruit orchard, beehives, and many different healing plants scattered around the gardens. This is the home of ARVEN, School for Medicinal Herb Healing, Aromatherapy, and Wilderness knowledge.  From Haberreuthe to Sulzbrunn is about 10-15 minutes by foot.

                     Unfortunately there are no free places available for the course. We would recommend you to still register if you want to go on our waiting list.


We offer you a link to another permaculture course of Starhawk in France:

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