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Istituto italiano di permacultura
Istituto italiano di permacultura
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Loc.Gambaldo,via Torino, Scagnello (CN), IT
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Scagnello-Italy PDC with Lesley Byrne and Pietro Zucchetti

Project: Istituto italiano di permacultura

Posted by Pietro Zucchetti almost 12 years ago

Finally Lesley Byrne and Pietro Zucchetti are organising a 72 hours PDC in Italy (only in english) in Scagnello at the Permaculture Institute of Italy over 10 days,from the 12 to the 21 of July 2012. To book please go to http://www.permaculturaitalia.co

This practical course will bring the possibility of significant and positive life changes. Although permaculture is most commonly thought about in connection with gardening & farming, its principles, ethics and design methods can be adapted and used in each individual's own work, interests and home to bring about a more harmonious & sustainable lifestyle. Permaculture offers a perspective on all aspects of building a sustainable future. Permaculture encourages us to use our individual skills, knowledge and interests, whilst drawing on traditional wisdom, science and our innate ability to observe and learn from the world around us.

Course participants will be awarded the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia's internationally recognised Certificate in Permaculture Design.

The Permaculture Istitute of Italy is based in the Rainbow Tree smallholding located in Scagnello (CN) – Piedmont – Italy.


Scagnello is a small village,with only 200 inhabitants,on the Ligurian alps ,163 miles from Mont Blanc (Height:15774 ft) and 40 miles from the mediterranean sea. The village was already operating as a stop for travellers during the roman age,infect its name means “seat” in local language,a place where you can find a seat to rest after a long journey.


There is only one shop at moment where you can have a coffee or eat a panino and a bar managed by the local community during the evening. Scagnello is famous for its black truffle,mushrooms,fruits of all sorts and it is very close to the famous wine making area of “Langhe”. The area is one of the most diverse in wildlife and flora in Italy because Scagnello is located on the edge of the Mediterranean sea and the Alps. Also,the village house some old churches where it is possible to admire renaissance paintings.


The Rainbow tree small holding will be the venue of this PDC,the small holding is very young (one year) but it is possible to see already a vineyard at its second year,a contour vegetable garden,the first two layers of a forest garden (high canopy and bush layers) and a micro scale keyline system with a dam and feeder channels. The small holding will keep grazing guinea fowls and chickens in the near future. It is possible to observe a wide range of wildlife from deers,badgers,hares,buzzards,eagles,foxes to pray mantis,a big variety of butterflies,damsel flies,lady birds and more.

It will be possible to stay in the Bed and Breakfast La Botalla just 3 km from the venue www.labotalla.it or it will be possible to stay in camping at the near town Battifollo just 1km from the venue at 10 euros a person in a bungalow or at 5 euros per person in your own tent. Tel.011-9969412 (from Monday to Friday 8.30 - 17.30) Cel.3342665864-3468275720


Prices in euros:

550 (Normal price)

900 (Price for couples)

250 (Price for unemployed)


Learning outcomes:


By the end of the PDC the participants will be able to:


  • State each ethic and give examples

  • Apply the ethics to food buying choices

  • Relate the ethics to design

  • Use the Analysis of Elements method

  • Use design methods and tools (SADIMET,OBRADIMET,random assembly etc.)

  • Explain why observation is crucial to the design process

  • Explain what concepts such as pollution, extra work and relative location

mean in a Permaculture context

  • Explain why creating beneficial relationships is crucial to permaculture


  • Be able to name and describe the principles (Mollison and Holmgren)

  • Understand the value of the principles as a guide to designing

  • Understand the importance of observation

  • Have had an experience of quiet observation & reflection

  • Have gained insights into our relationship with our environment

  • Understand the design process and tools and understand how to apply them

  • Create a base map

  • Mapped sectors & landscape features

  • Performed a client interview & complete a PASTE sheet

  • Used observation skills to listen to the landscape

  • Have created a design for their chosen site

  • Have presented their designs

  • Watched presentations of other groups’ designs

  • Have had an opportunity to reflect on their learning

  • Be aware of local opportunities to further their learning and experience

  • Have made some decisions about their possible next steps

  • Perform a full permaculture design with confidence

  • Describe how principles are demonstrated in a real world setting

  • Have an insight on aquacultures

  • Have an insight on earthworks (keyline design,swales system,dams etc.)

  • Work in groups

  • Have practical experience on earthworks,composting,sheet mulching,raised beds constructions,compost toilet structure and construction,soil sampling,water PH,forest gardening,arboriculture:tree field biology,planting trees,caring for trees,formative pruning,tree survey.

  • Understand sustainable practices for land management like: Sustainable forestry,agroforestry,forest gardening,natural farming,Regenerative Agriculture,biodynamic systems,organic farming,Sepp Holzer's permaculture.

  • Understand the principles of ecology

  • Understand Ecosystems

  • Understand and use pattern in design

  • Make sense of environmental problems

  • Understand trees like systems

  • Recognise different types of soils

  • Understand sustainable water management

  • Understand the basics of designing in humid tropics

  • Understand the basics of dryland strategies

  • Have an insight of community building

  • Understand the permaculture network

  • Understand alternative practices in economy and political systems

  • Understand the concept of bioregions

  • Understand ethical investments

  • Further their study with a diploma in applied permaculture or/and become permaculture trainers/instructors

"I'm amazed by my change of thinking"

Subjects covered:

Day 1 -The basics


What is permaculture?


Welcome,introduction,domestics,handouts,name game.


Why permaculture? (“The state of the earth” Slideshow),spirals of erosion (chalk and talk + practical exercise),explaining sustainability (chalk and talk),permaculture a way of seeing (intro to system thinking).


What is permaculture? (chalk and talk + activity),a brief history.


Permaculture ethics (activity + discussion).


Site visit + constellations game. (outdoor)


Observation of natural system,listening the landscape.(outdoor)


Day 2 Design


Concepts and themes in design


Opening circle,review of learning,helium stick game.


Parable of the chickens (slideshow),element analisys (inputs-outputs activity)


Permaculture principles: Mollison and the 12 Holmgren's principles (card game + slideshow “Permaculture principles in action”)


Permaculture gardening (treasure hunt game/outdoor)


Trophic pyramid,food web,life cycles (chalk and talk + web of life game),population growth (activity)


Biodiversity/zone 5 (calk and talk,discussion,”Biodiversity” slideshow)


The ecological footprint (chalk and talk)


Stability and obtain a yield (chalk and talk,slideshow of different types of yields)


Identifying potential projects (participant have their own project idea to discuss for further development into a design)

Day 3 – Design


Methods of design


Opening circle


Into to design process (chalk and talk,”my design examples” slideshow)


Reading the landscape slideshow


Listening skills exercise


Observation session (site observation,biotime observation) /outdoor


Limiting factors and Mc Harg method (chalk and talk)


Elevation planning (chalk and talk,activity)


Reading and designing a base map


Starting the design practical


Day 4 – Design


Methods of design


Opening circle,review of learning.




Simple survey tools:




A frame level

Bunyip level

Solar compass


All the above to take place outdoor with practicals (hands on)


Zone and sectors analysis (chalk and talk,activity)


Design process: SADIMET,OBRADIMET,CEAP,SMART (chalk and talk)


Explaining the use of P.A.S.T.E. (plants,animals,structures,tools,events) (chalk and talk,activity)

Design tools: Random assembly (chalk and talk + design exercise)

Flow charts for work places (chalk and talk + small exercise)

System,function,elements (design exercise)


Review of design processes and tools.


Introduction to client interview (chalk and talk,handouts)


Day 5 – Design


Pattern understanding


Opening circle,morning game.


Natural patterns (chalk and talk,seeds scattering game) (from Aranya)


The use of patterns in design (chalk and talk,”pattern applications” slideshow)


Pattern card game


Pattern slideshow


Edge effect (chalk and talk)


Spiral patterns (from Rod Everett)


Site survey:Transects,indicator plants,energy flows (sun compass,wind stick,compass),calculating the height of trees. (outdoor-practical)


Action learning guild


Day 6 – Human sphere


Opening circle,review of learning.


Designing for human health (from K. Soutar)


Patterns in human behaviour (from Andy Goldring)


Gaia healing visualisation (from Cathy Whitefield)


Me,my greatest asset! (from Andy Goldring)



The natural Sphere


Climatic factors


Opening circle,weather game.


Weather and climate (interactive talk with chalk and talk + slideshow + global weather maps)


The atmosphere,Broad climatic zones,precipitation,what is the albedo?,winds.(chalk and talk,photos with projector)


Intro to climate change (interactive talk with slideshow)


Intro to microclimate (chalk and talk + photos)


Observation of microclimates exercise (outdoor activity)


Day 7 – The natural sphere


Trees and their energy transactions


Opening circle,review of learning.


Tree biology slideshow


The functions of trees (chalk and talk)


General trees interest (slideshow)


Trees and their microclimate (outdoor session)


Windbrakes (from Patrick Whitefield)


Woodland (inspired by Ben Law and Oak)


Pruning basic and CODIT (Dr. Shigo) slideshow


Forest gardening (from P. Whitefield)


Design exercise: Placement of systems and elements (from Aranya)


Day 8 – The natural sphere


Trees and their energy transactions


Opening circle and review of learning



Agroforestry systems (interactive talk)


Sustainable woodland management (interactive talk)


Visit to a truffle garden


Fruit trees and coppice (chalk and talk) + grow fruit trees from their own rootstock


Urban design to accommodate trees slideshow


Fukuoka: Natural shape of trees and associations (chalk and talk)


Tree habits and form slideshow


Garden practical: Tree mulching and the cycle of nutrients


Seed saving talk


Intro to design drawing


Day 9 – The natural sphere




Opening circle


Introduction to water,charateristcs and use (chalk and talk)


The water cycle (slideshow)


Humanure and compost toilet (chalk and talk)


Water: Find it,measure it,move it,store it,clean it,use it.


Keyline system: Water harvesting system,increased fertility


The use of water slideshow




Intro to aquaculture and slideshow


Intro to aquaponics and slideshow




Intro to soil fertility factors,type and texture,soil food web. (slideshow)


Soil formation (chalk and talk)


Soil erosion,landslides,soil and water slideshow


Soil structure,soil texture activity,Jam Jar test,soil PH.


Soil functions (mind map)


Nitrogen cycle (interactive talk)


Soil weathering,texture and profile slideshow


Soil (from Patrick Whitefield) (indoor/outdoor)


Soil food web (interactive talk)


Fukuoka,Bonfil,Hezelip case studies (slideshow)



Day 10 – Eartworking and earth resources


Opening circle and review of learning


Intro to earthworks,Sepp Holzer case study (Interactive talk)


Keyline system of dams,feeder and irrigation channels (slideshow)


Swales,contour gardens and ponds (Chalk and talk)


Visit to a small scale keyline system (outdoor)


The humid tropics


Intro to tropic climates,including tropical soils (slideshow)


The tropical home garden (interactive talk)


Design exercise: Implementation and maintenance



Day 11 - Dryland strategies


Opening circle


Intro to dryland strategies and slideshow


The desert garden (chalk and talk + slideshow)


Humid cool to cold climates


Introduction to cool temperate climates and slideshow


The home garden slideshow


Comparison of principles applied in different climatic zones (slideshow)


Review and evaluation


Energy saving cooking devices: Solar cooker,dutch oven,haybox.(show the actual devices)


Appropriate technology


Building an haybox practical activity


Supported design exercise: Final preparations of plans and notes


Day 12 Beyond the garden


Strategies of an alternative global nation


Opening circle


My dream home (from graham Bell)


Urban permaculture slideshow


Community patterning (from Chris Dixon)


Land access (from Simon Pratt)


LETS trading (from Angous Soutar)


Design presentations and feedback


What next? Networking and Diploma


Action learning guild


Next step




Closing circle


"Eye opening"

We use group work, discussions, videos, slide shows, observation, guided walks & practical activities as learning methods. These are supportive of different learning styles & for people with learning difficulties. We will also be working in the Permaculture Institute of Italy demonstration site where permaculture theory is being put into action.


"The best experience of my life"


Empowerment is the essence of the course. We will be using practical and theoretical teaching methods to create a fun, lively & inclusive course. The course culminates in the main design activity that helps to consolidate all of the learning & empower students to take permaculture back into their own homes, lives & community. As a group we will benefit from collaborative learning & from having fun together. We don't expect any previous knowledge & recognise that everyone has their own unique skills, knowledge & areas of interest to bring to the course.

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