Permaculture Intensive

An intern with a homemade cake at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm

Permaculture Intensive – Skills with Meaning 

Learn from us with a One or Two-Week Permaculture Intensive. We love teaching & thrive on sharing our knowledge.

A very meaningful learning experience

Experience the deep beauty and rituals of permaculture living. Let us equip you with the practical skills you need to create your own permaculture garden & to preserve its abundance.

Our Permaculture Intensive Course is offered every week except for deep winter, June and July. We can host up to four students. Contact us to schedule a time. I look forward to hearing from you.

This is a community building holiday, a deeply immersive cultural experience, in a very warm, very nurturing and welcoming sanctuary.


See below for details.

What You Will Learn

The permaculture intensive will share its time between the warmth of the kitchen and the vibrant colours of the garden.

In the Kitchen

Food Preserving skills using the Hot Water Bath Method

Food Dehydrating skills using air temperature or dehydrator

Fermenting Skills used to make Kimchi, slow fermented black garlic, fast garlic and fermented drinks

Sourdough Bread Baking Skills: learn to make your own leaven, learn how to care for it, how to bulk ferment, proof and bake.

Learn to make yogurt

Home-made pasta skills: pasta enriched with eggs, or learn to make vegan or gluten free pasta

Granola making skills – as this will be one of three breakfast staples

Learn to make beautiful home-made soap using either vegetable oils or tallow

In the Garden

Seed sowing skills


Tree planting

How to care for soil

The role of compost

Why mulching garden beds is important and best times to mulch

Weeding: learn which weeds are edible, which are invasive and harvest weeds for feeding poultry.

Harvesting berries, fruit and vegetables






A volunteer at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm
A volunteer at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm 2
A volunteer at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm 3
A volunteer at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm 4

What you can expect during your stay


All meals provided, breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Vegetarian, Meat & Vegan Choices.


In our beautiful straw cottage called ORTO. This cottage is separate to our house and has its own kitchen where you can retreat to recharge. The room has an ensuite, beautiful views to an east facing mountain range and gorgeous prairie garden. For more information on our Permaculture Intensive Course Accommodation, please visit the Farm Stay Page.


Each guest will receive a tour of our property to see our:

Pigs on pasture
Kitchen gardens
Poultry shed and Chook Shaw
Berry, Olive, & Fruit Orchards
Wildflower Meadow
Passive Solar Straw Home


All learning is hands on and supported by extensive notes & published articles authored by your teacher, me. Articles and notes will be sent to you upon booking & payment.


Cost includes three meals a day seven days a week & seven days accommodation & the learning experiences listed above, at our beautiful property ORTO.

The cost is $350 per day, $2450 per week, children an additional $100 per day, 2nd child additional $60 per day. Minimum stay is 4 days / 3 nights. Maximum stay for adults with children is one week, this the sweet spot.

Bookings are made once a full upfront payment is received.

It is not possible to outline which activity is happening on which day of the Fortnightly Schedule.


Full refund if cancellation is made 24 hours after payment is received by us. For example if you pay at 3pm on a Thursday and cancel at 3pm the following day, a full 100% refund is given.

Cancellations made after 24hours are given a 50% refund if the cancellation is made four weeks prior to arrival date.

For cancellations made less than four weeks prior to arrival date no refund is given regardless of reason and the booking can’t be transferred to another.

When you book the PDC we reserve the Orto Cottage for you and prevent others from booking it. In doing so we stop others from taking part in our PDC and hence our refund policy needs to reflect this.


I live here at ORTO with my partner Ralf and my two daughters. When you are here there will be either one (you), two, three or four people undertaking the two-week intensive permaculture course.


Due to the early morning ritual, we ask all farm participants to indulge in quiet activities from 9:30pm. Thank you heaps.


Spring & Summer Learning Hours

Total Hours 6am – 1pm.
Breakfast 7:15am -8:15am.
Lunch 1pm-2:30pm
Rest Time 2:30pm -5:30pm
Dinner 6:45-7:45pm

Autumn & Winter Learning Hours

Total Hours 8am-3:00pm
Breakfast 8am-9am
Lunch 1:30pm-3pm
Rest Time 3:00pm-5:30pm
Cook together 5:30pm -6:45pm
Dinner ­6:45-7:45pm 


Learn with us five days a week & rest 2 days a week. Rest days: either during the week or on the weekend. If we are running a workshop on the weekend, then your rest days will be during the week. All our workshops are on Sunday’s. See Workshop Tab on my website. 


 We will cook & pack up after each meal.


Please do not hesitate to email me with questions if you need clarification of any of the above. I will love hearing from you. 


Learn about gardening while volunteering at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm
Learn about gardening while volunteering at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm
Chickens at the Village Dreaming permaculture farm
Learn pasta making during an internship with the Village Dreaming permaculture farm

Features of our permaculture farm


We have two kitchen gardens, ORTO One and ORTO Two. These gardens are designed to produce food for us, our volunteers and our farm stay guests. Excess is bartered. The gardens have peaks of productivity and times of quietness. We use animal manures, straw and green manures to fertilise our soil. We hand weed and use a fork to loosen the soil for new seedlings.

We are working towards being self-sufficient in the following crops: potatoes, asparagus, garlic, artichokes, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, kale, lettuce, spinach, eggplants, peas, edible flowers, sunflowers, herbs, beetroot. And the following fruit trees: apples, quinces, persimmons, cherries, plums, apricots, nashi pears, figs, pears.


We bought 15 acres of land with not a single tree on it, all the plants and trees you will see were planted by us. We have planted thousands of native trees and native grasses. Our plan is to plant until every corner of our property is thriving.

I really, really love gardens, I love the habitat they provide, the beauty and peace they share.



I love to have a larder full of preserves made by us. Most of the preserving happens mid-summer to late autumn. We make all of our own passata, jams, pastes. We dry quinces and make quince paste, we dry nashis and apples and pears when available and mushrooms in winter.


Our first project here was our wetland. We completed earthworks and planted various aquatic plants and hundreds of trees around it. The wetland is very beautiful and provides a fantastic habitat for visiting birds, frogs and insects.


We have a 200,000 L water tank. All our waste water is reused on site and we ask that you treat water for the precious resource that it is.

We look forward to hearing from you. All the very, very best with your travels.

Arrivederci, Mara

Preserving skills at Village Dreaming permaculture farm
Food dehydrating skills
Wild yeasted bread making skills
Wild yeasted  fermentation skills