Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Eastern Europe, Slovakia Aug-Sept 2017

The stunning view of the host site!
The stunning view of the host site!

August 20th – September 2nd: 2-Week PDC at Sekier, Zaježová, Slovakia


Location: Sekier, Zaježová, Slovakia (facebook page:Ekokomunita Sekier, Zaježová), Broad-acre Historic Mountain Setting. Regenerative Agriculture. Permaculture Education and EVS Host Site

Outdoor classroom
Outdoor classroom

Facilitators: Doug Crouch, Author of TreeYo EDU Online Book, with host site guest speakers Hanna Bohlin and Arvid Bohlin
Language Used: English
Course Fee:  650 EURO

Dates: August 20th – September 2nd, 2017 (Day Before arrival and departure that next day)

****includes accommodation as meadow camping and all
meals that are delicious and homemade with highly local foods focus which means both vegetarian and meat options****

Contact Info: For more information on the host site and to register contact the following:


Please check out the following supportive media to understand more about the location and course:

Strawbale Building at Sekier: Click Here

Past TreeYo Course at Sekier: Click Here

Also check out our Online Educational Platform for further reading in the Permaculture Design Course Handbook:

 TreeYo EDU



THE COURSE: Format and Content

The course will be an 80-hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course spread out over 14 days. This ample time allows students to digest the material, get hands-on experience and work thoroughly on the final design project and presentation. The course will be certified through TreeYo Permacultureas we are guided by Bill Mollison’s curriculum that comprises the 14 chapters of his book “Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual”. Our schedule reflects this commitment and has a strong emphasis on how the design principles and process influence site develop and systems management while always acknowledging the people care side of it all. This course will help you gain confidence in setting up land based designs but also the inextricable link with creative integration of humans. We will cover the following topics throughout the course:

  • Ethics, Principles, and Methods of Permaculture Design
  • Pattern Understanding: Interpretation and Application
  • Climatic Factors: Broad Climatic Zones and Microclimate – Effects on Landscape and Design
  • Water: Harvesting, Conservation, and landscape hydration
  • Trees and their Energy Transactions: Tree Systems for landscapes and Tree Identification
  • Soils: Classification, Food Web, and Restoration
  • Aquaculture: Food Web, Aquatic Plants, Chinampas, Tyre Ponds, Water Quality Parameters
  • Animal Systems: Integrate worms, chickens, goats, and many other animals in your design
  • Strategies for Tropical, Dry-land, and Temperate Climates: Influences on Vegetation, Housing, and Earthworks
  • Introduction to Natural Building: Earth as a Building Material
  • Fermentation and Nutrition: Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Sourdough Bread and Pickles
  • Local Food Systems:  CSA-Community Supported Agriculture,  Cooperatives, Food-Coops
  • Social and Economic Permaculture: Bio-Regional Organisation, Living in Communities, Transition Towns and Local Resiliency

More on the course itself and its facets look at these links and read more below:









The course will end with the required student design projects that will utilize the landscape at Sekier, which will be immersed in daily observation from living on site. By using an actual physical site for the design projects, students will gain the experience of completing a full design from walking the land during the initial assessment to mapping and measuring to client interviews and final presentations.

final design work from last years course in Slovakia
final design work from 2015 course in Slovakia

The process  behind the design project increases learner retention through immediate application and direct practice of learned skills while offering a means to evaluates students’ comprehension of the course.  Successful, effective, and certified Permaculture designers are accelerated in this course for a future of meaningful work and regenerative practices.

The final design project is also considered to be a direct hands-on project because students will be engaged in a process that will yield a viable design proposal and it is a design course after all. Our commitment to practicing the design principles throughout the course process itself reinforces the theory and lecture sessions. Concurrently, to bring the material alive the course is facilitated so that numerous learning styles are supported. We honor diversity as one of our teaching techniques is through design exercises that compliment the lecture material, demonstrates the design process, and adds to the fun atmosphere.

One of the area for the design projects
One of the area for the design projects

For more information about our past courses visit the following page: Previous TreeYo Courses.


Another integral part of the course is the hands-on segment because it integrates the techniques directly to your body. Proposed hands-on segments for the course are:

  • Hot Compost Pile Making and turning throughout the course to address fertility maintenance
  • Small-scale Earthworks to address rainwater runoff issues and feed associated plantings
  • Natural Building Project on a small scale
  • Plant Propagation as a way to learn different techniques to quickly fill up a site with useful plants at a low cost
  • Food Fermentation as a way to connect food production with culture with health and season extension (and we get to eat and drink them!!!!!!)
  • Final Design Project for immediate application and direct practice of learned skills

Field Trips


We will be using the backdrop of this amazing eco-village (Sekier is at the very top of it) for an educational opportunity through an extended tour.  We will first have a powerpoint introduction to story tell this projects development then go and see the practical applications.  Its such a wonderful asset to learn from others ecological, social and financial experiments, failures, and successes over the years.  Its an inspiring group to have moved back to the land been leaders of the alternative movement in the region for years!

On the day off on Sunday this an optional trip:

Gavurky, 500 years old oak forest pasture. A beautiful example of historical Silvopasture, a 2 hours walk away from our site, and 45 minutes away from the pizzeria 🙂

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Doug CrouchTrained as both a Permaculture Designer and Fish and Wildlife Manager, Doug has extensivedoug bio pic knowledge surrounding landscape planning and food production systems. This regenerative design and implementation work spans the globe ranging in contexts and climates including tropical agro-forestry, Mediterranean organic gardening, and temperate suburban edible landscaping. To facilitate this work he founded TreeYo Permaculture thus building off his other formal training in small business management. Incorporating this knowledge and experience into sustainability educational programming has now become Doug’s main focus as he continues his ecological design and holistic development in various ecosystems.

He holds a Diploma in Permaculture Education which demonstrates his commitment to crafting his creative facilitation style.TreeYo facilitation style and process. To view some of the presentation you can expect during the course via PowerPoint, please visit Doug’s slideshare account at the following:


About Hanna:
Hanna started her permaculture career as chef for various permaculture courses, earning her backpacker living in Eco-village projects in Czech Republic, New Zealand, Denmark and Slovakia. Eventually settling in hanna2Sekier, she gained all the remaining necessary skills for life and wisdoms like “a thousand ways to use a wheel barrow”.

About Arvid:

By not studying at University and gaining a “formal education”, Arvid has gained a head start in his life immersed in regenerative agriculture.  He studies avidly many topics within this movement and others like permaculture, while also being an appreciator of traditional craftsmanship. Some of those crafts he excels at are carving, baking, fermenting, scything, and butchering.  For four years he has been living at the ecovillage and is the co manager with Hanna of the EVS program and Sekier site.  He is a warm father and is exploring what it means to raise children naturally.  He is daily exploring what it means to live in the mountains and maintain a site, in particular, with animals in a holistic way.
Arvid explaining the history of the site and access considerations


Sekier is a 18ha meadow above Zaježová at 800 m above sea level right under the ridge with its back towards the northern cold winds coming from the Tatra mountain ranges. It is a bowl of sorts catching the southern sun while overlooking a peaceful valley and receiving glimpses of warm breezes from the Hungarian prairies. It has several restored historic buildings as well as other modern day natural buildings that fit with this classic aesthetic.

Some sixty years ago, the entire meadow was arable land, divided into small strips of rye fields, surrounded by hand-mounted stone walls. Currently oak, beech, pine and spruce forests surround Sekier, which once were pastures with solitary trees.

Sekier now is in transition from a classical “cultural landscape” (meaning that subsidies pay for a tractor to mow it once a year and dump the hay in the forest) to a biodiverse, edible and functional landscape with orchards, grazing animals of all sorts, food forest beginnings, ponds and aquatic biotopes.

The following Permaculture elements and functions are on display amongst others:

  •   Broad-acre animal husbandry with cows, sheep, goats, geese and chickens
  •   Earthworks to capitalize on surface runoff
  •   Food Forest Beginnings
  •   Organic gardens to supply the Sekier farm house and residents
  •   Food Preservation and supporting local economy of food production
  •   Small Community of volunteers (including EVS), focused on adult education through traditional craft workshopsand hosting visitors who want to experience sustainable life without prior experience
  •   Traditional crafts and Natural Building techniques utilized for dwellings and social spaces
  •   Beautiful scythes and good scything instructors. Or no, actually – the other way around

The Sekier Farm House

The course is going to take place at the heart of Sekier, the Sekier farm house, which is run by a small group of volunteers serving their European voluntary Service.

Typical Stone Construction from the area beautifully renovated on the inside
Typical Stone Construction from the area beautifully renovated on the inside

The 150 year old stone building is neatly renovated with clay plaster, wooden floors and wood-fired stoves, however its interior is traditional as it only can be!

Participants will  camp on the meadow or sleep in own sleeping bags in one of the hay attics. For a little surcharge however beds in the guest room with be available.


Map of central/eastern Europe, notice the mountains!
Map of central/eastern Europe, notice the mountains!

Slovakia is a rather mountainous little country in Eastern Europe, with still quite some wilderness present. The lush mixed forests are roamed by brown bears, lynx and wolfes, and the rocky Tatra mountains with icy lakes, creeks and caves, the rolling green hills and the warm flatlands with wineyards in the southwest make Slovakia one of the most beautiful countries in Europe.

Slovakia’s climate is continental-temperate, with rain coming usually from the west and warm prairie winds coming from the Hungarian flatlands in the south. 40% of the rainfall occurs in summer (summer storms of 100mm rainfall per day), 25% in spring and 20% in autumn.

About Zajezova

Pretty much in the middle of Slovakia, in the rolling hills mid-way between Budapest and Krakow, lies Zajezova, an inconspicious village consisting of widely spread settlements.

For centuries the inhabitants of Zajezova have lived off the local fertile soil. However, during the second half of the 20th century the greater part of its original inhabitants gradually moved away with a vision of a better life in towns. Zajezova was “discovered” after 1989 by enthusiasts of traditional culture who established ”The School of Folk Culture” in Zajezova. Since 1991 several NGOs have started to be active in Zajezova – their focuses being traditional handicrafts, folk architecture and environmental issues, attracting a great amount of alternative people, of which some decided to settle in Zajezova and its surrounding settlements.

The newcomers and the original inhabitants are in most aspects different, however, many of them cooperate in their effort to make Zajezova an even nicer place. A part of the inhabitants that are more actively involved in different both non-formal and formal projects call themselves „community of Zajezka“.

Their creativity and enthusiasm to live freely and in harmony with nature made Zajezka a place that inspires other freely thinking people not only from Slovakia. Some of Zajezka‘s local initiatives are pioneering and unique in Slovakia:

Several permanently inhabited strawbale buildings, a community run primary school, a non-formal forest kindergarden, a food bank cooperative, natural reserves protected by the municipality, dunkeltherapy retreats, to name just a few.

In 2009 Zajezka received the Global Ecovillage Award.


Zajezka is easily accessible by bus from Zvolen (50 mins), which is about 3 hrs busride from Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital. Bratislava is connected by a 1-hour long shuttle bus ride with Vienna airport, so there is not much hassle to get here if you are coming from abroad!

For the last bit from Zajezova bus stop to Sekier it is still about 30 minutes of uphill walk through the forest, that’s why we warmly recommend to travel with a bagpack, not a wheelie case.

mapslovakia sekier10

Many Reasons to Come Join Us!

Come and be part of a community that is dedicated to giving young people true skills for life. Enjoy our multicultural little community with smiling faces!

The Confidence to be a Permaculture consultant and practitioner in the future is one of the most valuable qualities that students will develop during the course due to the numerous site applications, international staff, creative solution successes and varied micro-climates. The world needs YOU!

Shepard's post at Sekier
Shepard’s post at Sekier

So please come join us in lush Slovakia for what is going to be a great community experience, an adventure and an awakening to the natural world around us that is ripe with possibilities for connection and interaction.

After all, it will be a fun learning experience sure to give a new perspective on everyday surroundings and bring inspired solutions to the table. Let Permaculture be the systematic approach to make change in the world and your local community alike. Learn to turn Problems into Solutions, to Work with Nature not Against, and how Everything…yes every THING…gardens!!!!!

Class Photo at the Botanical Gardens in Banska
Class Photo at the Botanical Gardens in Banska Stiavnica, 2015



One Comment on “Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Eastern Europe, Slovakia Aug-Sept 2017

  1. Pingback: A network Connection/ travels east to Slovakia for a consult and PDC setup | TreeYo Permaculture

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