8va Vida Panamá

Onsite PDC Courses

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Permaculture Design Certificate – $750

4-week combined on-site and online

Join the founding members of the 8th Life Panama EcoVillage Project in rural Panama to learn how being a Permaculture designer can lead you to real environmental solutions, both locally and globally. Permaculture provides us with the tools necessary to live more lightly on our planet. Applying this design science to our lives and all our projects we can create the new (or perhaps adapt a very old) way of living that is needed if our species is to survive. We’re destroying ourselves and our planet. She will survive, but we may not.  It’s time to STOP THE DESTRUCTION.

The course will be held at Villa Astoria, the project’s guest house, and Finca Astoria, 21Ha of rolling hills, meadows & forests set between a stream and a river (with an incredible waterfall) the project’s EcoVillage site. Help design and implement some of the initial interventions at this forming ecovillage.

Internationally recognized Certification

8th Life Panama has teamed up with the Integral Permaculture Academy to offer this course, which exceeds the 72 hour standard of study required for a Permaculture Design Certificate, the standard PDC. This iPDC consists of more than 90 hours and in addition includes a more multi-disciplinary perspective of Permaculture. The full contents of the course are described here.

The Integral Permaculture Academy is a network of experienced permaculture designers, social activists & change agents who have been working together to co-create an international, multilingual community since 2001.



What’s unique about this course?

The truly outstanding value of this course is that the Academy Team has been working hard to continually improve our courses since 1998, with a team of dedicated students and tutors, focusing on perfecting the kind action learning that gets results in your real life after the course, for the long-term. This on-site Integral-focused Permaculture Design Certificate (iPDC, or Integral PDC) is unique in many ways:

An Online Component

We encourage you to enroll in the online component of the course before the onsite dates so that you can make the most of your time  by:

  • meeting the tutors and your other course companions. This enhances the probability that you’ll continue to stay in touch after the course, which is important as you learn to APPLY permaculture in the real world.
  • familiarizing yourself with the online learning platform
  • reviewing the Project’s website and asking about practical designs requiring support; and
  • asking any questions you have.

When you return home after the course this same platform allows you to:

  • keep in touch with everyone or anyone you wish and help each other with designs;
  • review any or all of the classes at your leisure;
  • go deeper into anything that interest you, especially using the e-book;
  • take your time to develop and present the 2 practical designs which are necessary for the certificate, as they show that you are able to apply the theory you learned, at least at a basic level. It is possible to complete these designs on site if time allows.

While most courses give you take-home notes, with the Academy you get the whole course online, as well as a multimedia Integral Permaculture Designers’ Manual (the e-book) and an online support group which you can use to review and dive deeper into the theory and knowledge behind your experience at 8th Life Panama. Through the online community base, you can continue your learning journey, using this international group of permaculture designers to help and inspire you in developing your life designs & permaculture projects.

This kind of ongoing support from colleagues is crucial for implementing permaculture ideals in the real world, and this is what our neighborhoods, ecosystems and society desperately need. This also makes it very easy to continue learning at higher levels as the iPDC can lead to the Diploma level in Integral Permaculture – a smooth and easy transition that is unique to the Integral PermaCulture Academy.

See testimonials from current and past iPDC students here.





This iPDC course runs over 4 weeks, while the standard PDC course runs over 2 weeks or 5 weekends. Why is this one longer? After experimenting with the standard formats for many years in the past, the Academy team concluded that such a short time doesn’t do justice to the radically transformative potential of the curriculum.

It is important that the very deep theoretical content be integrated into as much observation work and practical hands-on designing and living the alternative as possible. There also needs to be plenty of time both for personal reflection and group discussion for the content, which is often quite new to most people, to be truly understood and successfully integrated into one’s life.

Of course, it isn’t possible for everyone to take 4 weeks out of their normal life to embark on such an experience, which is why the Integral Permaculture Academy focuses on delivering online courses (also because the real design work for most of us takes place in our homes, projects or neighborhoods). So, this offer is designed for those people who can take time out and is especially recommended for those who are looking to radically redesign their lives, for whom leaving their regular environments and habits can be a distinct advantage. We encourage you, if you can’t join one of our classes this year, to enroll in the Academy and begin the online course.  Then, when you have the time you can join an on-site course as a refresher or, who knows, to help co-facilitate.

Varied & Enjoyable

The course includes a variety of approaches such as multimedia presentations, discussion, hands-on learning, and individual and group design projects. Past students have loved the community atmosphere, and the experience will be adapted to you and your fellow students to maximize your learning and enjoyment.

Part of the practical work will include contributing to the basic maintenance routines at the guest house and the initial interventions on the land. Along with being great open-air physical exercise for you, we count this as part of your accommodation payment – which is why the course costs are quite low.

In this beautiful landscape you will enjoy the unique opportunities of hands-on learning. As a group, we will explore holistic, systemic, integral solutions to modern challenges with a focus on People Care, Earth Care and Future Care.  This is all about real-life, practical experience and outcomes, so expect it to be intense – but also intensely rewarding!

Time to Explore

The course schedule allows for most weekends free, so that you can explore the incredibly beautiful part of Panama where the 8th Life Panama Project is located. Group excursions can be planned by the group (each assumes his/her own cost).

Bilingual English & Spanish

One of the most enriching parts of the Academy and its on-site/online combo courses is that it is an international environment, with interesting people from all over the world living together for a time.

Apart from the cultural richness, this also means we can practice lots of languages, especially Spanish & English, which are respectively the 2nd & 3rd most spoken languages in the world (the first one is mandarin). We’ve even had students set up impromptu language support groups, where they wanted to accelerate the benefit of being around native speakers.

Everything we do in the Academy is published in these two languages. So, whether you speak in English or Spanish, you can take this course and have the opportunity to improve your language skills, which makes this a very multi-functional course (multi-functionality being an important permaculture principle).

This course in Panama will be held primarily in the language (English or Spanish) of most of the students. Bilingual students and the facilitator will support students in the other language to participate in discussions and activities.



This course is for you if you are…

  • Interested in developing projects with a focus on sustainability
  • Looking for hands-on action-learning
  • A pioneer or activist
  • Interested in healing the land and people you encounter
  • Looking for an alternative to our ‘DestructoCulture’ way of life
  • A gardener (urban or rural), artist or designer
  • A member of an NGO, ecologist, educator or social worker
  • A current or wannabe community member
  • In search of a closer connection to Nature
  • Any age, with any life experience
  • Curious about learning and expanding your world-view


Aline Van Moerbeke, a long-time facilitator of Permaculture Design through the Association Permaculture Mediterránea (PermaMed), and eternal student of applied Permaculture, assumed the role of supervising diplomat in September 2018. Aline holds a Diploma in Integral Permaculture Design from the Integral Permaculture Academy.

Stefania Strega Scoz founded the academy and until September 2018 was the supervising diplomat for this course. Her experience as a permaculture designer, eco-economist and community developer is detailed here: StellaCVeng. She now walks in the next world and is sorely missed.

Rebecca Reiber, the founder of 8th Life Panama, will facilitate learning activities on-site and all participants will engage in practical exercises related to the forming ecovillage and to their own lives and projects.



Course Dates

FEBRUARY 2020 – 31 January – 1 March

Other dates to be determined


Upper left – dorm accommodations at Villa Astoria.                          Right – courtyard garden at Villa Astoria.

Lower left – waterfall bordering Finca Astoria.




Step 1

In the Courses section of the Academy you can choose which of the courses you would like to enroll, the minimum for this course being the PDC, which is what will be facilitated on-site.  If you choose a higher level, you can continue your studies online for the more advanced options. Follow the instructions online to pay the EUR 286 fee directly to the Integral Permaculture Academy and be sure to note that you will be attending the on-site PDC in Panama. You will receive confirmation directly from the academy upon enrollment to the online course.

Step 2

The room and board fee for the 4 week course is  USD 405 which is paid to 8th Life Panama, by direct deposit to a bank account that will be provided, or by Western Union or PayPal. Please contact the Course Coordinator to discuss any aspect of the course.  And definitely contact us once you’re enrolled at the Academy so we can provide payment details for your lodging.  We can be reached at hola@8thLifePanama.org or Whatsapp +507-6741-9672.

Most of the photos about the course were taken on site at the 8thLife Canarias EcoVillage project – & mostly by interns.
If you’re interested in interning at 8th Life Panama, please reach out to the above contacts.




We're looking for visionaries; people with an entrepreneurial spirit who believe, like we do, that
it's time to transition from a destructive society to a sustainable world.