of practical Permaculture management

intensive year

Join us for an

in Permaculture animal systems.


Real hands on

farm machinery

use and maintain

Learn how to

Informal Apprenticeship Programme – Practical Permaculture Management


The Zaytuna Farm Practical Permaculture Management Apprenticeship Programme is for dedicated and hardworking self-starters, who are passionate about Permaculture and have already successfully obtained a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).


As a Zaytuna Farm Apprentice, you will work five days a week on the Permaculture demonstration site and one weekend on light duties in rotation with other apprentices.


For the first month of the Apprenticeship Programme your attendance, performance and progress will be monitored closely and all of the Apprentices’ who have demonstrated continuous competence will progress to the next month. This will lead to additional responsibilities and finer runnings of the plant, animal and people systems.


This programme is not for everyone. consistently long hours of labor and working through the development of the programme is challenging. Only those who are committed to a total immersion in the world of permaculture and it’s propagation out into the wide world should consider applying.


Before submitting an application for this programme, please make sure you have read all of the details below. Ensure that you fulfill all of the requirements and confirm that you are comfortable with the Zaytuna Farm etiquette.

Through my self-responsible practical education at Zaytuna Farm, I have managed to develop myself as a competent Consultant and Designer as well as a Project Manager which has led to a full-time contract in setting up and managing a developing Permaculture project in Southern Thailand.

Programme Objectives


The main objective of the Zaytuna Farm Apprenticeship Programme is to train and develop the next generation of Permaculture practitioners. The structure of the Apprenticeship Programme will continue to develop and evolve in order to shape Apprentices into the next generation of Permaculture project managers and teachers. Once completing the programme, former Apprentices should feel equipped to either take on their own projects or set up their own Permaculture Research Institute.


1 month (up to 6 months possibly more)


Any month depending on free spaces.


5 per intake.



Spaces Available


Spaces Available


Spaces Available


Spaces Available


Spaces Available


Spaces Available


The duration of the Programme is one month with the option up to six months, with flexible intakes throughout the year.

Throughout the year Apprentices will be exposed to and gain experience in the following:*


Cattle pasture enhancement
Laneway work
Animal breeding and processing cycles
Implementation of new animal systems


Irrigation systems, pumps and gravity feeds
Solar systems
Composting toilets
Grey-water systems
Drinking & household water systems


Food forest establishment and refined maintenance
Nursery management
Soils & composting


Use of machines and tractor, including basic mechanics
Communication systems
Running open days/Farm tours
Helping to run the courses.

* The content listed in this programme is not exhaustive, it will change, so please be prepared to be very flexible.


Small animal systems

Poultry & Rabbits


Clean and feed the animals.


Maintain and move the animal cells for land preparation (chicken tractors).


Raising new chicks.


Processing animals.


Feed and stock management.


Develop the composting system.


Large animal systems

Beef & Dairy herd


Clean and feed the animals.


Milk the dairy cows.


Pasture management & cell grazing.


Lane way fencing/maintenance.


Feed and stock management.


Cropping systems


Work through main-crop, kitchen garden & tropical gardens.




Preparing beds after harvesting (resetting).


Composting and mulching.


Weeding, irrigation and defining guilds.

harvest fruit and stuff



Basic seed saving.


Preparing seed tray & potting mixes.




Different propagation methods.


Timing and management of plants.


Growing fruit tree support species.


Watering systems.


The use of hardening off stands.


Caring for the shade houses and polly tunnels.


Wormery management.


Food Forest


Chop & drop.




Spacing and planting.


General maintenance.


Observe & Interact


Monitor the inputs and outputs of the systems and generate yield reports.


Research and develop skills to maximise the use off all system outputs.


Reduce waste and convert surplus into other goods and services.


Devise your own project proposals for presentation and discussion with the management team.

Obtain a Yield
Leadership skills; Supervise and instruct newer Apprentices.


Team working skills; Assist the Zaytuna Farm Staff with the running of zones 1-3.


People Management Skills; Manage small teams to achieve set tasks whilst simultaneously expanding and deepening your own knowledge and understanding outwards into zone 4 and more specialised aspects of permaculture.


Resource Management; Be responsible for ordering goods and services for the farm and kitchen.

Product Development; Assist with organising and structuring courses.


Event Management; Assist with the preparation and execution of farm events and tours.


Organisational Skills; Carry out various administration tasks.


Marketing Skills; Assist with PR, media and social media documentation.


Consultation; From time to time consultation opportunities may be offered from the Permaculture Sustainable Consulting Pty.

Observing (Shadowing) a PSC team member while on a local site visit


Aid Work; Exemplary Apprentices may also be offered the opportunity to assist in Aid Projects.

1.  Before submitting your application please check the calendar to ensure there is availability for the programme.


2.  It is important to note that the Apprenticeship Programme is still very new, therefore the programme structure is subject to review and change.  The programme structure provided on this site should be viewed as a guide.  The conditions at the farm still require considerable infrastructure development both at the physical level as well as in the curriculum and teaching components. As such all Apprentice’s are expected to work with Zaytuna Farm to help shape and evolve this programme.


3.  The Days are long and hard, but soon reveal the experience of learning hands-on in the system. Some days the tasks may be deemed laborious; cleaning the communal areas and toilets, doing odd jobs here and there, handy-work in the houses or weeding for what may seem like hours. None of this may seem like too much fun, but this is a working and living Permaculture farm, where we care for nature, animals and people. As such it’s inevitable that such tasks will be part of the daily/weekly schedule.


4.  You will be working one weekend in rotation with other Apprentices on the basic maintenance of the systems. This allows the other Apprentices to have the whole weekend off. Weekend working will not require full days but some hours will need to be dedicated to the farm to ensure that the systems keep running.


5.  Five weeks of annual leave will be provided during non-course times. Leave requirements need to be agreed with the Apprenticeship Manager in advance.


6.  Your onsite attendance and punctuality is being monitored and calculated. This will determine a pass or a fail throughout the program.


7.  Zaytuna Farm is a demonstration site. We are continuously evolving systems and researching new systems. Zaytuna Farm is not a Permaculture paradise site as many may think, we are always refining the system.


8.  If you have any special dietary concerns, please let us know prior to arrival and we will do our best to cater for you. However, please be aware that while we will do our best to accommodate dietary needs we operate with limited human resources and therefore we cannot promise to cater for anything other than vegetarians and those who have a standard diet (i.e. we cannot commit to catering for vegans, gluten free diets etc). For your interest, much of our food is grown on site and all drinking water is harvested rainwater.

9.  Whilst Zaytuna Farm is the home of Geoff and Nadia Lawton we advise all potential Apprentices to manage their expectations when it comes to the amount of time you will get to spend with Geoff and Nadia. As we are sure you can appreciate Geoff and Nadia are extremely busy and often their time may be taken by projects away from the farm. Whilst Geoff will provide some training and guidance, Apprentices need to be self driven. The majority of tutoring will be provided by the Apprentices manager and the Farm Manager. Zaytuna Farm will provide you with the environment and resources to learn and develop, in return Apprentices are expected to support the project.


10.  It is important that you adhere to Zaytuna Farm’s etiquette policy at all times whilst on the farm, failure to do so will result in the termination of the Apprenticeship placement.


11.  Before applying for the Apprenticeship Programme, please ensure you are happy to comply with all of the terms in the MOU. You will be asked to sign and accept these terms prior to commencing the programme.


12.  This is a non-paid position. All applicants must be able to finance themselves for the duration of the programme.


13.  International applicants; Please note that we are unfortunately unable to provide any assistance in obtaining an Australian visa. Please take the time to consider all your visa options and feasibilities prior to submitting an application.


14.  Zaytuna Farm is in a remote location and is not well serviced by public transport. If you don’t have a vehicle you may find it difficult to find work (if required) on the weekends. However the Zaytuna Farm Team do carpool so this can help you to get into town and/or to visit the local areas.


15.  Certification will only be issued to those who successfully complete the full 6 month programme.  Unsatisfactory performance or early departure from the programme will result in the Certification being withheld.  A reference may be provided upon request.


16.  Finally please take some time to read through our FAQ’s which will provide you will lots of important information in connection to Zaytuna Farm.

What's Included
healthy permaculture food cookies and camping at zaytuna farm



A spot for your tent or camper.*


Hot showers & compost toilet.


Three meals a day, Monday to Friday.

Weekdays apprentices will cook breakfast for the team in a daily rotation.

Fridays a team of two will cook the days meals.

Gary our chef will cook the rest of the meals during the week.


Free reign to pick and cook food from the gardens on weekends.


Internet access and phone/laptop charging stations.


Use of the common kitchen.


Access to the learning library.


Washing machine ($4 per wash).


*Please note only 10 camping shelters are available and students have priority for occupancy. Plenty of ground space is available.

What you need to bring
In the suitcase

We recommend the following as a minimum:

High quality wet weather gear ( rain jacket & pants)
Long working pants
Long-sleeve lightweight close weave cotton or other protective material shirts to avoid sun damage – it is very warm between October and April in NSW with extreme levels of UV
Warm clothes
Good pair of gloves
Good working boots to work in and casual shoes for weekends
Gum boots (rubber boots/wellies)
Wide brimmed hat – very important
Arnica, tea tree oil and/or other remedies for tick or insect bites

Tent or Camper

A good tent that will fit in a 4m x 2.5m area (if you wish to make use of the raised tent platforms) – ensure that the tent is waterproof
Sleeping Bag/Bedding
Air mattress if camping

Work Tools



Rice knife

Silky Gomboy Saw

Leatherman/Multi tool

Positive Can Do Attitude

Organic Toiletries

Sun Protection



Water Bottle







This PDC will be taught at Zaytuna Farm, As one of the leading Permaculture demonstration sites in the world, Zaytuna Farm has a range of functioning systems including water harvesting, food production, and a very productive animal husbandry. All of which will add to the learning experience and make this course a very rich experience and one not to be missed.

What our previous Apprentices say



Going to Zaytuna Farm as an apprentice was one of the best things I have ever done.
I had completed my PDC over 10 years prior with Geoff Lawton in Thailand and was blown away by the possibilities that my mind latched onto. The way I viewed the world had forever changed although life, unfortunately, had a few twists in it for me. I had not pursued Permaculture much further apart from a small amount of volunteering until that point when I decided, and life had a nice big empty spot in it for me, to pursue it further. This was when I applied for the one year International Project Management Apprenticeship at Zaytuna Farm.

Staying a year at Zaytuna has been an incredibly challenging, educational and rewarding experience. Through my time there I learnt so much about the practicalities of Permaculture design implementation which, at times, crushed my delusions of what it takes to run a farm and, at other times, expanded my visions way beyond what I previously thought was possible.

I learnt how to work with animals, grow crops, plant and maintain food forests, handle heavy machinery, design earthworks and much more. I also, through persistence and dedication to a larger vision, began to see how to design, implement and manage long term projects which requires a whole different understanding of time sequencing.

Through my self-responsible practical education at Zaytuna Farm I have managed to develop myself as a competent Consultant and Designer as well as a Project Manager which has led to a full-time contract in setting up and Managing a developing Permaculture project in Southern Thailand.

I believe the world is crying out for competent, dedicated, passionate and creatively skilled Permaculture practitioners and to me this is a vocational field that will only expand over time for those willing to put in the hours and step up to the responsibility of creating to a new vision of the world. If interested further in me and my work you can follow me on Facebook




Zaytuna farm is a beautiful place to live, plenty of healthy food, clean water, wonderful nature and you are right in it and responsible for it. Everything is what you make of it, the community that you will come to join, is forever evolving so it solely depends on the people presently there creating the space for communal activities and true connection.


Zaytuna Farm is a serious space for learning Permaculture, suited for mature individuals. I would recommend it to you if you are a hardworking, dedicated individual, who is willing to test their ability and willing to stretch and grow on all levels. It has a very practical diverse field to learn from, you are expected to take initiative and come up with new ideas to improve and evolve the present systems. There is a competitive edge at Zaytuna that keeps everybody on their toes.


The environment at the Farm is particularly suited for people who want to become professionals in some way in the permaculture field, and who can do this through their own self-determination, should you successfully complete your stay, you might then get the opportunity to travel to different places to work as a project manager or teacher or you could leave with the confidence to set up your own innovative idea on how to spread Permaculture and sustain a living.


There are plenty of courses at Zaytuna which you will be able to help facilitate and to learn from, get ready for participating in some fascinating courses with international teachers, making some wonderful connections. Learn how to organize these courses in a professional manor and how to cater and engage with a wide variety of different people all eager to engage and learn about Permaculture.


You will find as many challenges as you will joy, depending on how you approach life at the farm, the opportunities to learn and to progress at Zaytuna are endless, you will learn how responsible you really are for creating your own environment and how to approach it more and more from a permaculture mind set.


For children at Zaytuna there is a great amount of space to experience true freedom and independence, to be as a child should be, unconfined by objects which could break, rules which only apply to a very fast, confused and modernized society. Lots of opportunity for your children to interact with all sort of different farm animals, to learn about different cultures, to be outside growing their own food, experiencing the circle of life, this creates human beings who are ready to face the global challenges awaiting them.


For myself and my partner Adam, it has given us the confidence in setting up our own business offering people our help in establishing their Permaculture systems, it has also given Adam the relevant teaching experience to be on his way to becoming a very confident knowledgeable teacher. But not only that, it also teaches you basic life skills, how to pluck and gut a chicken, how to run a main crop and how to milk a cow, skills that we should all know. The year at the farm makes you believe that change is possible, it doesn’t mean it is an easy journey, but it is definitely worth walking, we are the change, creating new paths, hopefully encouraging many more to follow.



We have limited places for each intake on this programme

Zaytuna Farm


This Apprenticeship Programme takes place at Zaytuna Farm, which is located 1 kilometre from the village of the Channon, 20km outside of Lismore in New South Wales, Australia.

Nearest Airport

Regional: Lismore, Coolangatta, Ballina
International: Brisbane

Train Station

Casino (with bus service on to Lismore)

Bus Stop

The Channon

NB: A limited service that runs Mon-Fri