Focus on Food: Cultivated Ecology 10th – 24th August 2014

Come and join us at the Panya Project permaculture education centre and intentional community for this exciting and innovative new course…


About Focus on Food:


The Panya project intentional community invites you to join us for our Focus on Food: Cultivated Ecology 2-week hands-on course. Focus on Food is a series of courses that have been designed to empower people to reclaim their food freedom through permaculture design and various sustainable food production practices. The Panya Project is an example of a fully integrated Permaculture site with many exciting examples of sustainable food production systems . We offer a positive and inspiring environment to experience living in an intentional community, exploring an alternative way of life and reconnecting to a natural way of living while developing skills to be more self reliant.




What is a Cultivated Ecology?


Permaculture is based on the observation of natural systems, the wisdom contained in traditional farming systems and modern scientific and technological knowledge. Permaculture creates a cultivated ecology, where humans deliberately develop cultivated ecosystems to meet human needs while not only not compromising the local ecological systems — but supporting and improving them. Its design approach on a farm uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals in combination with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supporting system. These systems maintain genetic biodiversity , minimise inputs and produce more human and animal food than is generally found in nature.

As permaculturists we believe that it is our responsibility as humans to take on the role of “earth stewards”, this means caring for and looking after natural ecosystems rather than degrading and destroying them. Our viewpoint sees ecosystems as a collection of cohabiting communities living in equilibrium and harmony rather than a collection of resources that exist only to be exploited by our consumer driven human societies. We believe that all lifeforms have the right to live and flourish, we also believe that it is our responsibility to protect, conserve and rehabilitate the habitats that support them. Recognising that without these biological communities and the work that they do within our ecosystems, life for our human societies would become untenable. Therefore the only ethical decision available to us is to promote “earth stewardship” and cease to invest in our own annihilation for the good of ourselves and future generations.




What to Expect from the course?

This course will be held at The Panya Project, an international group of people from all over the world working to create a self-sufficient community and provide opportunities for people to experiment and learn about sustainable food production and permaculture. Our aim is to create a supportive learning environment for the duration of the course where trust, compassion, support and connection are built amongst participants and facilitators.


During the course you will:

  • Learn how to apply the permaculture ethics and principles whilst getting a good overview of how permaculture works.

  • Gain practical skills in the areas of soil remediation, plant propagation, organic gardening and agro-forestry

  • Live as part of the Panya community. We cook, eat, work and live together. As a participant in this course, you will be part of the Panya community providing you with insight on how to live and thrive in an intentional community.



Course Details:

This 2-week program is designed to give participants the inspiration and knowledge they need to reclaim their food freedom and become a positive change in the world. Participants will gain fundamental practical skills needed to develop sustainable food production systems, these pactical skills will be supplemented by theory sessions that will give the participants a solid foundation in permaculture. Not only will you be partaking in a two week long immersion into sustainable food production , but you will also learn how to apply the permaculture ethics and principles in your daily lives. It is our goal to live, breath and practice Permaculture every day of our life and we are very eager to share as much of our knowledge as possible.


Practical Component:

Participants will learn and work alongside the Panya community on various projects. This will provide the participant with practical experience and the opportunity to try new methods and techniques. These sessions will include:

  • Soil restoration – Learn to work with soil food web technologies to create a healthy ecosystem and regenerate degraded land; You will learn different ways to produce wonderful compost, compost tea, biofertiliser, green manuring techniques and other soil amendments that promote ecological diversity and abundant healthy food production.

  • Organic gardening/designing for abundance – Discover the secrets behind designing awesome functional, aesthetic and productive gardens

  • Food forestry – How to mimic natural forest systems to create an abundance of food, fiber and fodder. Explore the art of designing and creating edible landscapes which not only provide an abundance of food but also require less and less maintenance over time.

  • Plant propagation – Develop your green fingers by learning different techniques on how to grow your own plants. Gain a deeper understanding and the practical skills to be able to: Save your own seeds, propagate seed, take cuttings, layering and air layering, division and grafting.

  • Animal husbandry – Take part in our daily routines of raising our pigs, chickens, ducks and geese. Learn how to eliminate the need for commercial feed, the use of pro-biotics and deep-litter bedding for promoting health, prepare a bird for the table (optional).




Theory sessions

The theory sessions are designed to supplement the practical sessions and providing the participants with a solid foundation in permaculture.

  • Permaculture fundamentals – Learn about the ethics, principles and strategies.

  • Design methodology – How to apply permaculture design tools and strategies to your design problems.

  • Food forestry and forest ecology – Learn the inherent qualities of trees and forest systems as well as how to tweak them in order to promote abundunt food production as well as maintaining and improving ecological diversity and stability.

  • Map making – Learn how to produce an accurate base map and work with overlays in order to maximise efficiency on the land.

  • Animals in permaculture – How to integrate animal systems into a permaculture design to encourage multiple beneficial functions, for the people, the animals and the landscape.



Our Accommodation

At the Panya Project, we have two dormitory buildings, as well as a number of private rooms available. If you would like to reserve a private room (not fancy!) we are asking for an extra contribution of $100 for the course. Either way, you will be provided with a place to sleep, mosquito net, mattress, sheets, blankets and pillow. Please be flexible about your sleeping space. If for some reason you would strongly prefer to be in one space or the other, please let us know, and we will try to make that happen for you. Fresh, vegetarian food with lots of fruit, will be provided throughout the course. Special dietary needs can be accommodated for but please let us know in advance. Please contact us beforehand with any questions.

buid panya 033



Course price: _________US$500 (16 000 Baht)

These prices include all meals and a place to stay for the duration of the course. We ask all registrants to make a deposit of US $100 to secure your spot.

We ask all registrants to make a deposit of  US$100  to secure your spot and the remaining fees (US$ 400) be paid  in cash on arrival.


Register now!


**Scholarships are available to people from Thailand or surrounding SE Asia countries.**


We like to be as transparent as possible with our finances, as an example to other projects and to be open and honest with our visitors, who each contribute so much to the building and maintenance of our farm. Panya is funded through the support of our volunteers, who each contribute to food and accommodation costs through a weekly payment. This helps us break even on the cost of having a short-term community on site. Our bigger projects, maintenance systems and financial support of our managers is gained through the courses we run.


Please Note:

In the unlikely event of us canceling the course, your deposit will be refunded in full. We will not be held responsible for any additional financial losses accrued. The closing date for registration for the course is the 1st of September 2014. Should you cancel after this date your deposit becomes non-refundable. We will accept late bookings if there is space available.


Fund-raise for your Tuition:

If you are interested in a creative way to come up with funds for this course, look into fund-raising for it through It is a great way to reach out to your family and friends, let them know what you are up to and give them a easy way to contribute to your education.





Contact information:

Please feel free to email us on for any additional information you may need.



Meet the facilitators


Ben Murray

Ben is a Permaculture designer, consultant and teacher with a background in organic and biodynamic gardening / agriculture, natural building, horticulture & landscape architecture. Ben has been actively practicing and teaching permaculture for the last 5 years in England, Thailand and India. He loves community living, natural building and is most often to be found with his hands in the earth working in the plant realm. Ben is passionate about applying permaculture design to every element of life and believes in being the change we wish to see in the world.


Kyle Smith

Kyle practiced horticulture and community living on a kibbutz in Israel where he was inspired to pursue a career in horticulture.  After completing his studies in horticulture he worked in botanical gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. During this time at the botanical gardens he realized the importance of conserving natural ecosystem while providing basic human needs, this interest lead him to permaculture.  Kyle is passionate about the conserving soil ecosystems and is working towards empowering people to grow their own food and become more self reliant.





Together We Can Grow the Revolution!!


Earth Care – People Care – Fair Share