This was my first apprenticeship during my yearlong graduate degree at Experience Institute. I began the apprenticeship with a 10 day intensive permaculture design course (PDC) at one of the most influential permaculture education centers in the world, Zaytuna Farm, The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. The Farm is owned by Geoff Lawton who is a leading permaculture designer, consultant and educator. The course was extremely dense and served as the perfect follow on to deepen what I learned as a volunteer at Rancho Margot and Finca Bona Fide.

After the course, I helped nudge an idea into real life. The idea was to build a self-sustaining wellness and retreat center. There were a number of elements in play already- relationship with a specific property, possible team members, and heaps of great ideas. I identified common passions amongst the possible team members, brought them together from the edges of Australia, wrote a business proposal and built a financial model that would be used as a capital raising tool. I facilitated team-building activities, taught the team about how to build a social enterprise and how to get the money to build it.

After I left, they raised more than $500k, purchased a 200 acre property that used to be a Buddhist Retreat Center and are currently in the initial phases of re-development and improvements.

  • When: 2013
  • Where: New South Wales, Australia
  • Skills Sharpened: Permaculture Design, Financial Modeling, Team Building, Business Planning, Collaboration, Negotiation, Empathy