Internships

Integral PermaCulture Action-Learning Intenships  in La Palma, Canary Islands

lasting 1 to 12 months start every month during the year
Contact: email permintegral@gmail.com
Skype: StefaniaStrega
Telf./Wasapp: +34 697 590 185
Enrollment: fill in the application form
choosing the Student option

Languages: Spanish, English, Italian, Polish
 
Dates: ongoing, check for places
we organize the dates with you
(maximum 4 interns at any one time).

Bursaries

There are bursaries available if you qualify under Erasmus+  or European Voluntary Service (EVS) requirements

(click to see more details of these two EU grant-funded programmes)

Both programmes are fully funded by the EU which includes a PDC course.

The main differences are:

 EVSErasmus
Requirementsyou need to be 18-30 years old and not have done long term (longer than 2 months) EVS beforeYou need to be studying in an educational institutio that will support you in getting and following through the grant - ask your tutors if they support Erasmus+ placements.
DurationWe sometimes run 3 month short programmes (with PDC) but you can also apply for a longer programme (6-12 months) which we need some proof of committment for. See EVS leaflet for detailsErasmus grants are for 2- 12 months
PaperworkWe do most of the paperwork, you just need to get in touch with a sending organizationYou and your University are responsible for doing the paperwork
CertaintyIt is not certain that we will get the EVS grant (although none of our requests have been refused to date), so there is an element of speculation.You come after your University approves the programme, so certainty is much higher

 

 


The Project

“8thLife” is an EcoVillage project started in 2011 which includes the permaculture site Finca Luna, which had been used as a permaculture action-learning farm from 2006.
It is part of a typical traditional agricultural settlement which suffered from rural de-population (as people increasingly moved to cities), 
which we are slowly bringing back to life & toward full production (for all life, not just humans
!).
We now have 2 of the 5 farms it was divided into, and 2 resident members.
Stefania Strega (who coordinates & teaches on the iPDC) and Maja Borkowska
are amongst the permanent residents here.
  
Stefania has lived in the neighbourhood since 1999, renting a nearby farm from 2001.
After a lot of observation she brought the current site for the GaiaTasiri Association.

In 2014 we were able to buy another one of the nearby farms (all are parts of the original settlement) which included a house so now we have more space for visitors & can offer these courses with more comforts for guests.


Location

We are in the North of the Island of La Palma, a bio-sphere reserve and one of the smallest & the greenest of the Canary Islands, known as La Isla Bonita for its great natural beauty & dramatic landscapes, still with most of its primary ecosystems intact & a population that’s quite connected to the land.

We are located in a small village with cafe-bar, small food-shop, town-square (plaza)… and the bus-stop is at 10 mins. walk from the farm.  There’s a small town nearby (15 mins in bus) with all sorts of shops & a farmers’ market every weekend.
La Palma has a very mild climate and winter is generally like late spring / summer in northern Europe.
Especially in Spring you can enjoy sunny days with mild temperatures and flowers all over the place, especially almond blossoms, that cover everything around us.
There’s some fresh produce all-year round in the farm (fruits & vegetables, varying with the seasons), and you can harvest some of it during your internship, but expect it to be a supplement to your diet and not your main source of food (you can go shopping for whatever you need in the nearby town and farmers’ market).
Weather – see eltiempo.es/canarias/lluvia for current rainfall
eltiempo.es/canarias/temperatura for current temperatures

Internship Structure

Before arriving on site:

  • Get to know us on site (residents & other interns), practice doing ‘Think & Listens’, and plan for the details of your internship program
  • Go through our induction steps – Living Together Agreements and other sets of agreements for everyone on site
  • Study the 20 multimedia classes to understand the basic theory
    (approx. 2h each – required in order to focus on the practice while on site.  Please note that if you can’t finish the classes to our satisfaction before arrival we will either ask you to postpone your site work or treat you as a regular Guest instead of an Intern – meaning you can help on the farm as a volunteer but won’t take on any design responsibilities or receive any mentoring time)
  • Start deciding which design projects to focus on during your stay

 

While on site you will:

  • be considered a member of the Association (not a client) and as such take on some practical work responsibility & leadership like all other members on site (since this greatly speeds up any action-learning)
  • work 5 hours a day on the farm, 5 days a week, learning about farm maintenance (building & repair work, garden care…) in exchange for the discounts on accomodation price + the mentoring for your practical design work that you will receive as an intern
  • review & question the theory learned previously against the designs you will get to know on the farm during a period of observation, then start on your own designs
  • document, plan & advance your practical design projects with the support of weekly mentoring sessions and daily circles or ‘Think & Listens’ with the group
  • & conclude your stay with a design presentation which will count your PDC, iPDC or Diploma design portfolio

Pricing

Here is a table of prices so you can budget and choose which type of accomodation and options you prefer.  Please note we have only 3 rooms so you need to check availability before booking (for now here in our old pages), but tent space is rarely filled up.

For the Internship Programme at 8thLife:

Accommodation type >>TentShared RoomOwn Room
1st month accommodation only246€374€498€
1st month with PDC course441€
(49€ discount*)
553€
(61€ discount*)
665€
(74€ discount*)
Following months
(accommodation + mentoring costs**)
100€ min
249€ max
224€ min
374€ max
349€ min
498€ max


Also note there is  a 10-15€ admin fee for every extra document you might require (for example paperwork for Erasmus+) – not counting the PDC Certificate (if you complete the course + 2 designs as directed) which is included in course price.
* There is a 10% discount only if you pay in full (course and accommodation together), at least 3 weeks before arrival on site (otherwise add discount to cost given)

** You can earn “Permis” (equivalent to Euros) for work done for the project during your stay.  These can be then traded for discounts off accommodation prices (eg. paying the lowest accommodation price if accrued more than the minimum of hours of work on the farm in previous months), for other Academy courses or for additional workshops / mentoring during your stay.  

Past Experiences

If you want to hear from previous interns how this was like for them,
and what to take into account before coming,

have a look at these newsletters:

Examples of Design Projects

Below are some examples of the kind of design work we’re doing on site
– these are just some, there are many others,
and they are all organized in our private online design portfolio,
to which you will have access once you enroll
in order to study the different design projects and choose which ones to work on.

Gardens

 We have a big nursery and several gardens and there’s space for many more including a large chicken-tractor garden still under construction (for future large production: at the moment we don’t need so much).
So we have plenty of space & scope for some more intensive growing, which is ideal for someone who wants to design a whole garden from scratch, plant, maintain & harvest it (if you wish) or simply improving and maintaining the current ones.
Because with the online-learning & design time, we can do interesting team-work things like get the nursery plants before you arrive, so you have however many plants & varieties you decide waiting for you, as you will have worked out the preparation & growing times together with us & be well on the way to becoming an expert garden manager by the time you’ve completed your project.
Or you can simply help in the day to day maintenance of the existing gardens, nursery work and / or building of the larger infrastructure work, which is ongoing.
Forest Gardening
 We have 8 embryonic forest-gardens on site, and if you wish to focus on trees, soil conditioning, making & improving swales, paths, hedges, & in general learning how to be a food-forest designer, there is plenty still to design & plant in each of these sites.
Our vision is that each of these small forest gardens will eventually join up into a big edible forest, which will be the whole site, but this takes quite a few years to all grow, so building soil & planting more & more varieties is still a priority.
 
The idea is that each part will have it’s own character, own peculiar art, cosy sitting-places, wide variety of food growing with least effort.  All are future foraging-space for our chickens & other animals.
 Hobbit Domes
One of the more adventurous (& controversial) projects that we started on site is an experiment in making small “hobbit-domes” with 90% waste materials.
This means finding creative ways of working with things like:
– plastic bales instead of straw-bales (in order to find good uses for the huge quantities of plastics which are currently causing havoc in landfills & the oceans)
– using cardboard as a building material (quite challenging also, but has great structural qualities, as well as being plentiful waste material from the banana industry here) – old car tyres, metal fencing, palets … whatever is normally pollution & can become a valuable resource, with some imagination & skill.
Eventually the vision for the domes is that they be covered with a thin fire-proof, water-proof ferro-cement shell that will in turn be a support-structure for climbing plants – so the buildings can disappear totally in the landscape.
At the moment we have a 2 early prototypes at various stages of building, which you can help with or take on as your individual project, as you prefer.
Here is a short video we made in spanish about this (it’s called Transforming Rubbish into Dreams & is presented as a crowd-funding project – which you are very welcome to use if you wish to fund your stay in a very original way)
 Plant nursery

We currently have 3 plant nurseries: one for trees, one for seedlings and one for cuttings / bigger plants. Interns interested in this work usually take responsibility for one of them in turn, also contributing to design ideas for improving them if they wish.

As we love nurseries (most of our production is gifted to neighbours and friends at present, and we have exchanged all sorts of stuff for plants in the past) we’re always open to making new or improved ones, like this rather ‘wild design’ one of our students came up with :

   >>    

The old trial greenhouse and the guinea-pig multifunctional greenhouse design we made for a future larger greenhouse.

The idea is that the guinea-pigs live inside the greenhouse, providing plants with Co2, compost & heat, in exchange for being in a nice warm sheltered place, where we can see them every time we pass through the greenhouse on the way to the camping site or the house, as the new structure will act also as a corridor in a well-transited place.

Chicken house

A large-scale chicken-tractor project, that will eventually join up the 6 big half-moon terraces & gardens is still being designed.
 
It aims to provide enough chicken meat & eggs for a small community – & of course also all the great de-bugging & fertilizing services that these wonderful creatures offer.  
The chicken house is part of a big chicken & pig tractor project which is slowly being completed.  This is a great design for someone ambitious who wants to contribute to a major structure of the whole.

Chickens in one of the tractor system gardens.


Solar Showers

 
The solar shower started as basic bottles + black pipes structure (in the picture) that we built in our first months here, & it worked fine most of the time, but was a little cold in winter.

It was re-designed in february 2015 & has been through several re-designs already. 

We could do with more showers, so there’s scope for much creativity as there are lots of ways they can be designed, … eg. as an integral part of a wood-heated sauna-spar complex that we are fantasizing about from time … 🙂 

Just this simple shower can be improved by building a compost-heated winter version & by adding a storage tank for hot water.

Compost Toilets

Again, we started with the very basic sawdust bucket-system which we still use in parts of the growing project as they work very well, but in 2015 a friend also built us a larger twin chamber composting toilet.

There’s still lots of scope for improving the existing structures and for experimenting & building various toilets of different types here, if anyone has the enthusiasm to organize it.

Costs, Options & Enrollment

Residential costs depend on which course option you are doing,
whether you stay in a tent or in a single or double room,
and for how long you are staying.

In this form you can get an idea of prices for your first month,

and once you fill the application form we can give you a more specific quote.

Note that we are not a business, but work with a non-profit association,
so all income from guests or courses is a donation to the GaiaTasiri association
& is used only for creating the eco-village project.