The purpose of the iLAND initiative is to grow an international network of Permaculture Learning and Demonstration Centres (LAND Centres + 'i' for international) that demonstrate and expand good practice in permaculture design, permaculture practice and permaculture education.

An iLAND Centre is a good-quality education centre for permaculture, agroecology and related knowledge. Students learn through farm-scale and specific demonstrations and working models, and through open days, workshops, courses, education resources and volunteering. Facilitators teach on-site as well as in their own and neighbouring communities. Centres can translate and create new education resources and provide training for new trainers. An iLAND centre becomes a community hub and a regional or national catalyst for other centres, projects and educators to emerge and grow. Any centre, new or already well-established, can become an iLAND centre once the criteria have been met.

There are three main objectives for IPEN’s iLAND initiative:

  1. Helping good quality permaculture learning and demonstration centres to emerge, grow and be supported, whether their focus is solely permaculture, permaculture and agroecology, or other combinations with permaculture as a key focus;
  2. Helping national/regional associations and networks to establish iLAND Centre systems;
  3. To establish an international network of these centres, for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and sharing of key education resources.

The intention in the first half of 2019 is to establish a pilot international network of iLAND projects. Within this pilot network, IPEN has capacity to support 10-12 centres more actively, where these 10-12 centres partner with IPEN in producing materials and resources that assist both that centre, the pilot network as a whole and other projects around the world. For example, pilot Centres could be involved in translation of curriculum guides and other education resources, establishing systems for training of teachers and providing permaculture learning pathways that enable people to progress from introductory to more advanced levels. So most of these pilot centres will be in locations where English is not the first language.

Already it is apparent that 3 levels of iLAND Centre may be defined, with one objective of the iLAND initiative being to support centres to steadily progress from one level to the next: 

  • Emerging iLAND Centres, that are working towards filfilment of the iLAND Criteria (equivalent to the UK's 'LAND Learners' status);
  • Established iLAND Centres, that have fulfilled the iLAND Criteria;
  • Advanced iLAND Centres, that have exceed the iLAND criteria and which are outstanding permaculture learning and demonstration centres, which for example may have a particularly important role in training teachers that are native to the country in which they are located, and possibly neighbouring countries.
The iLAND network and designation for centres is an open network, so it does not tie any centre to a particular organisation or permaculture philosophy, other than the initial collaborative relationship with IPEN and other iLAND centres in the network. In addition, iLAND Centres: 
  • can be social enterprises or other forms of non-profit organisation, or private or publicly owned or managed;
  • are supported and encouraged to identify and create their own sustainable income streams, so there will be a diversity of economic models amongst iLAND centres;
  • need not achieve all the iLAND Criteria before applying - part of the support from IPEN is to help projects achieve all the criteria.

iLAND as a global network is about learning by doing, the sooner we can support others to set up good examples of learning and demonstration centres the better, as this will help us all to understand the issues, problems and opportunities involved. 

There will be dedicated iLAND pages on the new IPEN website, to provide iLAND resources and inspiration to the network, and we expect to establish an iLAND WhatsApp group to help connect the network globally.

The aim is to enable new, emerging and established centres to follow a largely self-directed learning pathway, with appropriate targeted support, to develop and improve their centres and to connect with others to share experience of what works and what doesn’t. For the 10-12 pilot centres, aside from providing a common set of resources, IPEN will provide a small amount of direct support in the areas of: a) iLAND centre design advice; b) funding applications; c) general advice and connections.

Twinning of centres is an option for linking i) an established set-up with an emerging iLAND set-up, or ii) linking iLAND centres in different parts of the world or within global regions. Encouraging iLAND Centres to develop local/regional educators guilds and teacher training systems is another aim.

To take this initiative forward, IPEN is establishing an iLAND Working Group. This will include Chris Evans who has many years of relevant experience from being involved from the start of the Himalayan Permaculture Centre in Nepal, now developing the Applewood permaculture Centre (a 20acre smallholding) in England with Looby Macnamara, and as a member of the UK LAND Advisory Group. Also in this iLAND WG will be the very experienced permaculture educator Morag Gamble, Ardhendu Sekhar Chatterjee who brings extensive experience from his work across the Indian subcontinent, South and South East Asia, and Cat Dolleris, who founded the first LAND centre outside of Britain in Denmark and has stimulated the spread of LAND centres in Europe. Also in the group is Steve Charter, Joint IPEN Coordinator, also on the UK LAND and ScotLAND Advisory Groups, coordinator of the EuPN Education Working Group which aims to support LAND Centres to emerge across Europe, and also a member of the UK Education Working Group. One Working Group function will be to work with LAND reps from a particular country to help set up a national system and hand it over. If you are interested in being part of the Working Group email us using iLAND Working Group as the subject at: [email protected] 

IPEN will produce Case Studies of successful UK LAND centres and other learning and demonstration projects in a range of climates and cultural situations – some are already available here: IPEN’s Case Studies

To avoid disappointment, while there is a small amount of funding to support a small number of pilot iLAND centres, iLAND should not be seen primarily as a funding initiative. The IPEN funding available will be used very carefully to maximise wider benefits, so the funding options that will be available for 10-12 pilot iLAND projects include:

  • Where pilot iLAND centres aim to raise funds to help their centre develop, IPEN is looking at a system to provide a small amount of match funding and assistance in drafting funding applications
  • This assistance will be available for individual centres or setting up national systems
  • The needs that might be funded include: physical demonstrations, creation of learning / teaching resources, training of permaculture teachers, etc.
  • Funding support will be clear and transparent, and tied to achieving specific outputs or objectives

Please use the pages below to understand more about iLAND and find excellent examples of existing agroecology and permaculture learning and demonstration centres. To apply to be part of the pilot network email us using iLAND Centre as the subject at: [email protected]