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23 August - 3 September 2023


Bešenovački Prnjavor

72-hour Certified Permaculture Design Course (PDC) with Karmela Kiš

Join us for our yearly PDC where you will find practical knowledge, design work, group work in a permaculture garden, much socialising and delicious home-made organic food. This course is led by renowned permaculture designer and teacher Karmela Kiš.

72-hour Certified Permaculture Design Course (PDC) with Karmela Kiš
72-hour Certified Permaculture Design Course (PDC) with Karmela Kiš

Time & Location

23 August - 3 September 2023

Bešenovački Prnjavor, Bešenovački Prnjavor, Serbia

About the Event



The Balkan Retreat is a one-acre small-holding with guest accommodation and a wild garden inspired by permaculture. The site is situated in the tiny village of Bešenovački Prnjavor on the southern slopes of the Fruška Gora National Park, a hilly, forested oasis in the middle of the flatlands of north-eastern Serbia. We are a two-minute walk from the forest and a 10-minute walk from a lake. The Balkan Retreat is run by two artists, teachers and nature lovers, Vivien von Abendorff and Kalki Aporia. The Balkan Retreat is also the home of two dogs and a cat.

Dates: 23  August - 3 September 2023

Arrival: 22 August

Deadline for registration: 1st August 2023

Teacher: Karmela Kiš.

Guest teachers: Vivien von Abendorff and Kalki Aporia

Price (per person, including accommodation and 3 meals per day with veg/vegan options and coffee/tea for 12 days):

Camping = €800

Shared room = €940

Transport and drinks are not included.

Price includes accommodation for one day before and after the course starts and ends, if needed. If you wish to arrive earlier or stay later, accommodation is charged at The Balkan Retreat’s standard rates (€25 per person per night).

(Please note: Maximum 6 places in shared rooms. There are two shared rooms. One is a double. The other has 4 beds. Both have en-suite bathrooms and kitchenette. Expect shared rooms to be mixed sex.)

About the course:

Join us for our fourth fully certified PDC where you will find practical knowledge, design work, group work in a permaculture garden, much socialising and delicious home-made organic food. This course is led by renowned permaculture designer and teacher Karmela Kiš. Thanks to the feedback of previous participants, the course has evolved to include more practicals and additional introductions from the hosts on the subjects of livestock, forest ecology and art and permaculture.

This course is restricted to 10 places only, so it is especially intimate and personal. In this course you will become familiar with the basics of permaculture, and what you do with this knowledge is up to you. The course will include 1.5 days off for rest, including an excursion.

Special features:

  • Forest ecology and observation
  • Livestock and fencing on rotation
  • Art and Permaculture
  • Excursion: TBD

About Karmela:

The lead instructor Karmela Kiš, a renowned permaculture designer, has long-standing experience in permaculture, organic gardening and ecological garden design. Being completely immersed in permaculture for over twenty years, Karmela has created and sustained a number of permaculture gardens and grown a wide range of rare plants. Her most recent book was published last year, How Permaculture Changed my Life. An inspiring teacher with in-depth knowledge of applied permaculture, Karmela truly walks her talk.

About Permaculture:

Permaculture is usually spoken about as ethically shaping (designing) and maintaining productive agricultural ecosystems which are biodiverse, stable and resilient. Permaculture is the harmonious integration of people and environment, which in a sustainable way ensures the security of food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs.

The syllabus will cover the following areas:

  • Permaculture ethics and approach to challenges
  • Principles of Natural Systems
  • Sustainable Design Methodologies
  • Patterns in Nature, Culture and Society
  • Reading the Land & Understanding Natural Processes
  • Large Scale Land Restoration Techniques
  • Water Harvesting Techniques
  • Design Principles of Sustainable Human Settlements
  • Grey Water Recycling
  • Natural Building Strategies
  • Cultivated & Productive Ecologies
  • Food Forests, Plant Guilds, Gardens for Self-Sufficiency
  • Energy Conservation Technologies
  • Appropriate Technologies and Renewable Energies
  • Urban Environment Permaculture
  • Wildlife Management and Biological Pest Control
  • Invisible Structures: People, Community, Economics, Eco Villages
  • Community Supported Agriculture

A certified permaculture course is led by a qualified permaculture teacher recognised by the permaculture community. Participants of the course will receive a certificate of successful completion of the course. The certificate has international value. This course is led by Karmela Kiš, a permaculture designer with an internationally recognised permaculture diploma.

A 72-hour permaculture course is the basic form in which to learn about permaculture in a permaculture community. The course content is standardised. About 70% of the topics are taught worldwide and 30% are reserved for the specifics of a continent, society, climate; the local landscape.

At a 72-hour permaculture course, the basics of permaculture are taught, and can only be taught by a graduated permaculture designer.

Basic permaculture themes, such as reading the landscape, imitating natural forms, designing methods, zoning, determining sectors, etc. are practical forms of how to achieve harmony with nature and how to consciously shape (design) and maintain productive agricultural ecosystems that are characterised by biodiversity, stability and the resilience of natural ecosystems. It is also about how to achieve the harmonious integration of people and landscapes, which in a sustainable manner ensures food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs. Since permaculture is a way of life and not just about working with the land (gardening, farming), the course contains many practical guidelines on how to enrich resources, how to operate in human communities or use renewable energy sources and more. The course is normally theoretical, and when opportunities allow, it may also contain practical elements (usually work in the garden, tool making, earthworks, resource recognition in the landscape, etc.).

At the end of the course, when all key themes have been dealt with, the participants form groups of 3-4 people and are given the task of creating a visual permaculture landscape design of their choice. As a rule, the landscape or estate on which the course is held, and often the property of some of the participants, is designed. Permaculture designs are done in consultation with the course manager. On the last day of the course, the groups of participants present the designs to the managers and other participants. Successful designs, which meet the basic permaculture principles, will be awarded a certificate. The certificate has international significance and is equally valid everywhere in permaculture communities worldwide, in the same way that a course completed anywhere in the world is valued here in Serbia.

72-hour course participants are awarded a certificate of successful completion of the course. Success is most commonly measured in attendance at lessons (at least 90%), commitment and successful creation of an experimental permaculture design.

The 72-hour course is the first requirement to gain a permaculture diploma. To find out about the other requirements, please see here:

The schedule and duration of lectures on topics is not strictly formalised. Lectures run roughly 45 to 60 minutes with 5-minute pauses, and one more break during the day for lunch.


  • Several camping spots under the shade of Linden and Elderflower trees.
  • Two ensuite apartments (a double room and 4 single bed shared room). For more information on accommodation, see our website:
  • The site has wi-fi and electricity everywhere.

Please bring:

  • Tent, if you are camping.
  • Sleeping bag/bedding, if you are camping (or ask us in advance).
  • Ecological body products.
  • Swim-wear for the lake.
  • Materials for note-taking.
  • Special medical requirements (we are 25 minutes drive from the nearest hospital), especially for allergies and other urgent medical needs.

How to get here:

Žike Begojevića 31

Bešenovački Prnjavor

22212 Bešenovo


  • We can help arrange pick-up from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (50-minute drive). Pre-ordered taxis cost 5000 dinars (€45). Don’t order directly at the airport or you will pay a fortune. Let us know in advance.
  • Alternatively, make your own way: There are good bus connections from Zagreb, Sarajevo and Belgrade to Sremska Mitrovica, where taxis (€12) or pick-up by us can be arranged (if we are available). There is also a local bus which runs from Sremska Mitrovica and stops outside our property, several times a day. Please ask us for details. Trains also run from Zagreb and Belgrade (not from the airport, unfortunately). We are just 15 minutes off the Zagreb - Belgrade motorway (E70). There is plenty of room for parking.

How to book a place:

  • Email us at or contact us on Whatsapp: +381-65-413-7677
  • Fill in our registration form.
  • To secure your place, please pay a deposit of €50 in advance. The remaining amount to be paid on the first day of the course (can be cash or bank transfer on arrival).

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