Permaculture Planning

Homesteading weekendwith Chris Shanks - tropical permaculture expert and certified PDC mentor

Who’s this for?

This course is catered to those with property in Nicaragua or Costa Rica looking to take their production to the next level with minimal energy input.

It’s aimed at those with little to no knowledge of permaculture planning in practice. It’s an intensive introduction to get you going in making your place abundant and fruitful.

The primary focus of the course is to show and demonstrate through experience and examples onsite the most effective and useful designs and strategies for using Permaculture Design around your home and/or farmstead. PBF and Selvista are arguably the oldest Permaculture site in Nicaragua. 

Case studies and relevant examples above and beyond the site will be shown and explained as they pertain to your own site(s).

Participants will become extremely familiar with the design principles and methodologies as applied to one’s homestead.

Chris Shanks demonstrating best permaculture planning practices in the field on Ometepe 2019

About the Teacher

Chris has had a lifelong passion for the natural world and her patterns. During his time at university he was introduced to many ideas and concepts concretized into different fields of Ecological design and Natural sciences. In 1999 he was introduced to Permaculture Design by Ben Falk. Since that fateful time Chris has passionately pursued a life of work, design, self-study and right livelihood by teaching, practicing and creating businesses that espouse the principles and ethics of Permaculture Design.

Chris has practiced Permaculture Design year after year faithfully on his home site, Project Bona Fide and Selvista Guesthouses since late 2002. He was a young junior teacher and part of Bona Fide’s first PDC in 2003, an apprentice teaching with Douglas Bullock, trained by Bill Mollisson himself.

Chris has taught over 30 full Permaculture Design courses, founding PDC programs at Project Bona Fide, Nicaragua, The Island School, the Bahamas and Rancho Mastatal in CR. Chris has been fortunate to lead/guest teach at sites in Thailand, Hawaii and at the Green School/Kul-Kul farm in Bali, Indonesia.

Chris’ primary expertise lies in the tropics and encompasses all manners of site design from homestead to institutional scale. Chris has built and advised in the design and build of many farms, eco-boutique hotels, BnBs and educational institutions all over the tropical belt of the world.

In addition, Chris has extensive ethno-botanical plant knowledge, Permaculture Business Development skills alongside water systems and self reliance skill sets.

He loves dogs, all types of berries and is an aspiring pirate/sailor.

Chris demonstrating water run-off management and contour lines during the Permaculture Design Course 2019 on Ometepe

What’s included:

Each participant and/or project will receive 90-120 minute FREE consultation as pertains to their project remotely/online POST course. 

Exotic seeds from our extensive re-forested property that you can collect to take home with you.

Cuttings from our farm and food-forests to plant in your own garden.

Discounts on our nursery plant sales for all students.

Comfortable, jungle lodgings - housing options range: check here for options.

Breakfast and lunch, with farm-to-fork produce - dietry requirements happily catered for.

The weekend allows time for a personalised question and answer consult regarding your specific property needs. The group size is small and cozy. Sign up now to guarantee your spot. Limited spaces available.

Prices vary depending on accommodation chosen. Start from $250 for singles and $350 for couples sharing.

Course Schedule:

Friday evening:

Instructor and participant’s introductions and presentations of their properties if relevant. If students have properties they want help with they should bring as many maps, pictures, aerial images, Google earth info etc as possible.


8:00 am Intro and project presentations cont...

9:00 am-11:00 am Tour of Homestead that demonstrates the Permaculture Principles in action

11:00-11:30 coffee break/snack

11:30-1:00 “break out session” applying newly learned principles to projects of participants, presenting ideas and receiving feedback.

Lunch 1:00-2:15pm

2:15pm-4:00 pm Process of Permaculture Design as applied to the Homesteader. Participants will learn how to use different design tools, maps, imagery, government resources, plant and other equipment suppliers as well as local knowledge and patterns to (re)design their sites in an efficient and cost effective manner.

4:00-4:20 coffee break

4:20-5:45pm Nursery tour, training in propagation by cuttings, bamboo propagation and an introduction to grafting as a technique as well as a design skill.

6:30-7:30 ish Dinner at Cafe Campestre

7:30 ish: Site development and story of PBF and Selvista Development with Q & A


8:00-8:45 am Participants regroup and address any lingering questions from Saturday or seek further examples

8:45-10:30 am Tour larger orchards, bamboo forests and agro-forestry systems in order to expand our working knowledge of permaculture design, examples will apply back to participant’s own projects as per applicable.

10:30-50am Snackles!

10:50-1:00pm Participants projects viewed by group and instructor feedback and recommendations delivered.

1:00-1:45pm Lunch

1:45-2:30pm Participants gather FREE cuttings and FREE seeds as well as discounted plants from Selvista nursery and receive planting instructions

AFTERNOON 3:00pm to 6:00pm Participants opting for the 3:00pm ferry will be leaving to make that ferry. Participants who opt to stay another night will receive additional instruction whose subject shall be decided by the participants who remain.

6:45pm Cafe Campestre dinner

For a longer, Certified course in Permaculture that’s globally recognised see our 14 day retreat in Jan 2020 with Chris Shanks, Ben Falk and Mitch Haddad.