Permaculture Design Course in Tulum, Mexico, April 25th – May 5th 2013

Green Beat is happy to announce its third PDC, which will take place in Tulum, Mexico at our Permaculture Center.

The Venue:

The Green Beat Institute of Tulum opened its doors to the public in November 2012, with Green Beat’s second PDC. We have been working on this 4,000m2 plot of land since June 2012 with the aim to provide a center for local and Mayan peoples to receive training and education in fields such as organic bio-intensive agriculture, rainwater catchment systems, wastewater treatment, waste management, creating soil by composting and mulching, as well as business skills in order to sell their surplus in local co-ops and to local restaurants and hotels.

Our goals are:

  1. To teach children and adults from Tulum and nearby Mayan communities the importance of eating healthy, organic, nutrient-packed foods (through courses, workshops and guided tours)
  2. To provide a space where we can teach them how to grow produce without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which are slowly polluting the fragile underground system of rivers that flow under the Yucatan Peninsula.
  3. To empower them so they can sell their produce to local restaurants and hotels, thus creating a culture of local food consumption.
  4. To provide a living example of all the fields we will be teaching (organic food production, rainwater catchment systems, wastewater treatment, waste management, composting and mulching, vermicomposting, aquaponics, and sale of surplus produce).

Severe droughts in the past three years have prevented local Mayans from cultivating their staple corn, squash and bean crops. Famined farmers need to learn rainwater catchment systems in order to secure enough of this precious liquid for their crops to grow. Children need to learn that industrial agriculture, mismanaged cattle and GMOs are rapidly turning our planet into a dry, arid desert, and that it is possible to cultivate nutrient-rich food in small areas through intensive, organic, environment-friendly methods that save energy and resources and produce high yields.

Since the Mayan Riviera has literally no soil as the ground is made out of limestone, we will be teaching raised bed techniques and acuaponics to the local Mayan communities so they can have a more protein-based diet.

So far we have 160 chickens laying an average of 40 eggs per day, 50 ducks, and 25 rabbits on site. We have also started making raised beds and garden mandalas, planted with mainly rocket, Egyptian and New Zealand spinach, tomatoes, warm climate lettuce and chaya, and are planting lots of moringa, papaya, zapote, guanabana, mamey, avocado and banana trees, along with cow pea, pigeon pea, runner beans, katuk, squash/pumpkin, basil, corn, tamarind, amaranth, alfalfa, cayenne pepper and maracuja. There are plenty acacias already on the land such as local Salam and Flamboyan (Poinsettia).

Most of the proceeds from the course will go towards creating the huts to build a volunteer/WWOOFing facility where we will be able to sponsor up to 10 people at a time, preferably from local Mayan communities who will trade their work in exchange for food, shelter and educational experience. This they will take back to their communities, where they will be able to implement what they learned and build a better, healthier life for themselves.

The Green Beat Permaculture Center will contribute not only to the local Mayan community, but to the local community at large, since we will also be providing fresh, organic locally-grown produce for restaurants and hotels nearby. We will also start working with local schools by training teachers in Permaculture and providing guided tours and workshops for the children.

The Facilitators:

Evan Marks: Founder of both The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, California, and Fuente Verde in Dominical Tamarindo, Evan has more than 15 years experience with permaculture. He studied agroecology at the University of California at Santa Cruz an has been involved extensively in permaculture projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Peru and California. He was voted one of America’s 40 favorite farmers by The Mother Nature Network. Evan is an expert in water and an avid surfer and yoguini.

Xavier Fux: Xavier became active in Permaculture in 2006, when he took a course in Punta Mona, Costa Rica, given by Stephen Brooks and Evan Marks. He later obtained his Permaculture Design Certificate from the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia in SFEL in Ethiopia. He founded Green Beat, a consulting and Permaculture Design company in Mexico, and has lead Permaculture projects in Tulum and the Democratic Republic of Congo (see here and here). He is also an active member of a 32-hectare, 100% off-the-grid eco-village in Orotina, Costa Rica called Tacotal.

The Course

The nature of the course is very hands-on, focusing on practices, while providing the necessary theory to fully cover all aspects of the 72-hour syllabus.

This course will focus on three main aspects:

  1. Permaculture in the tropics and in the Mayan Riviera in particular, where the need to make raised beds is a must because of the lack of soil caused by the covering layer of superficial limestone.
  2. Rural development and indigenous communities in Latin America and the wider third world; the importance of empowering third world communities, offering them the necessary skills to provide for their own food, water and sanitation.
  3. How to plan and build an eco-village from scratch.

Dates: April 25th – May 5th 2013
Location: Tulum, Mexico
Venue: Green Beat Institute
Cost: $700 USD

Includes: Course fees, 3 meals a day for the period of the course, tools, digital literature and handouts.

Excludes: Accommodation, transport, travel insurance.


  • There are camping facilities at the Green Beat Center with hot showers and composting toilets. The cost for camping is $100.00 USD for the duration of the course.
  • For those who rather not camp, we recommend staying at a charming hotel called El Jardin de Frida conveniently located next door to the Green Beat Center where there are comfortable rooms and where we will be having our meals every day.

For more info and to book, please write me at: xavier (at)


  1. @Daniel – Sorry, don’t mean to be incendiary but I believe that it’s going to take some funds to get this new project up and running so they can build accommodation for WWOOFers and local people to participate in it as well. A PDC course is a good way for them to acheive other goals for the whole project with some of the profit from its operation.

    “Most of the proceeds from the course will go towards creating the huts to build a volunteer/WWOOFing facility where we will be able to sponsor up to 10 people at a time, preferably from local Mayan communities who will trade their work in exchange for food, shelter and educational experience. This they will take back to their communities, where they will be able to implement what they learned and build a better, healthier life for themselves.”

    Unfortunately, it costs money to keep a school open and people interested in running it despite wanting to be more generous to more locals. The locals unfortunately have to come second in the business equation (ie: as secondary recipients of the benefits of the school’s operations) if there is to be any school at all.

    And for $700USD, that is a great price for 3 meals a day and a PDC too. Koh Phangan’s school was around $580 or so for a straight PDC alone with no meals and no accommodation as well so this is right in line with that. Plus, taking a PDC in Australia will set you back close to $2000USD with no accommodation either so it’s still a really good deal.

    Good work Evan and Xavier! Good luck with your project and keep everyone posted here on its progress.


  2. Thanks for your feedback everyone!!
    JK, You are right on with your comments. I have nothing much to add, except that we do offer scholarships and discount prices not only to local Mayan people but to Highschool and University students that come in a group of more than three.
    We will always be open to teach and share the knowledge for free, but as you well comment, there are also other expenses that need be covered if we are to keep up with the plan.
    Plant seeds of Love, and you shal harvest sweet fruits!!

  3. I would love to volunteer or pay to volunteer at The Green Beat Institute. My other comment got sent before I was finished. Sorry for the redundancy. Anyway, I am moving to Tulum soon as a retiree.

    1. again this sent before it was time – sorry for any redundant emails.
      I’ve been visiting Tulum, off and on for 30 years – 10 years ago I gave money for a few pieces of land in & outside of Tulum. Fear & the difficulty of commitment, community, language and trust I’ve not moved forward with development. I’ve been retiring for years again without trust and commitment. Please contact me with ideas of development on how to make this work – meet-up. I’ve put lots of dreams into this without much action.

  4. greetings!
    I will be moving to the yucatan next year and initiating the opening of a Healing Arts & Ecology Center on the shores of lake bacalar…perhaps we can meet and collaborate on our mutual vision of a greener and more peaceful world! I am also an experienced organic farmer, permaculturist and community organizer and would love to visit Green Beat in Tulum and volunteer my time and energy to your vision!
    please contact me
    jeffree matthews
    northern california

  5. I’m a Master Gardener from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and have just built a home in Tulum. Not sure I can attend but just wanted to make contact as I have a whole lot of space that I need to plant. When we retire there in a couple of years I will be more than happy to help. In the meantime I hope to learn a lot from your endeavours.

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