Teaching Team

Leo Bakx

Course director | host

Leo is a fully qualified primary school teacher (1977) and holds a Bachelor of Education equivalent degree in Biology (1982). He also studied Forestry & Civil engineering, Industrial Design, ICT and Laboratory Technology. He is autodidact in photography, offset and silk screen printing, electronics, automechanics etc…

He worked as a volunteer at the first project for sustainable technology in the Netherlands: De Kleine Aarde, with Sietz Leeflang (1983/84). He was involved in Dutch environmental movement and nature and environmental education (astronomy, meteorology, flora & fauna). His interests include macro photography, geodesic & earthship building and growing mushrooms & bamboo.

Leo is a consultant on social, cultural and educational Internet applications. Selected projects include: Digital City Eindhoven and Van Abbemuseum (1995-2001), ECOCEAN (2002-2008), Albany GateWAy (2003), SAMENinSPRAAK (2003-2004), Albany Public Library (2004-2007), Denmark Today (2005-2008), West Pilbara Communities for Children (2007), Geraldton Greenough Public Library (2007), ImageRadio (2007-2008).

After completing a Permaculture Design Course with Claire and David Coleman of Living Waters Permaculture Foundation in Denmark, Western Australia (2006) and returning to the Netherlands in 2007 he started his current business (as sole trader) in permaculture advice and education. Since then he has introduced “PermaBlitz” to the Netherlands, working as a steering group member for Transition Town Eindhoven and initiated the NatuurSUPERMarkt project with Marije van de Park and Ingrid Bal. He is now participating as “client” and coach in Sustainability projects for students of the Fontys Lerarenopleiding Tilburg (FLOT – Teacher Colleges of the Fontys University of Applied Sciences) for the third year running. Leo also participates as advisor in the Educatief & Eetbaar Groen (educational and edible green) project for Martin de Wolf (FLOT) and Diana van Bokhoven (Imagro), part of the Brabant “Pearls of Biodiversity” program.

In 2009 he returned to the successor of De Kleine Aarde: De Twaalf Ambachten (The Twelve Trades) – run by Sietz Leeflang’s daughter Lieselot. Since then he delivered the first two full PDC courses at De Twaalf Ambachten to a growing group of enthusiastic and inspired new permaculturists.

Leo is a member of NIBI (Dutch organisation of biololgy professionals). He’s also a founding member of Stichting Impuls (Multimedia in Theatre and Culture), associate of MAD Emergent Art Center and associate of the Permaculture Council for Europe.

Leo is a partner in the European Permaculture Teachers partnership. See: http://permateachers.eu. He leads the publication of partnership results and the development of an educational permaculture board & screen roleplaying game.

Mauricio Deliz


Mauricio was formerly involved as a computing engineer in mathematical advice for scientific research at the Universidad de Santiago, Chile. Mauricio has a degree in Computer Science Engineering with studies in Anthropology, Social Geography, Environment and Development at the Oslo University, Oslo, Norway.

He obtained two post-degrees:

  •  “Environment and Energy Planning” SUM Institute, Oslo University
  • “International Development Studies” Oslo University.

In Norway he attended The International Permaculture Design Course with Max Lindegger in 1993.

In Sweden, he attended the “Advance Permaculture Course” with David Holmgren and the Course “Building with soil as raw material”, 1995.

At present he is a chairman of the organization Change the World in Oslo.

Formerly, he was chairman at the Norwegian organization “Sol og Måne”, Norway, and responsible for his Permaculture research field at Geitemyra Oslo Kommunale Skolehage.

In Chile Mauricio was  involved in the organization of the first ECOTOPIA seminar (1992); the First International Permaculture course with the cooperation of IEP (Chilean NGO) and Villa Camila (1994); the First International Urban Permaculture Course in Chile (1996) and implemented an Urban Permaculture Centre in Maipú, Santiago of Chile.

In Bolivia (1995), he organized and participated as a teacher in the first International Permaculture course, in cooperation with the Pachacamack Ecological Movement from Bolivia.

In Nicaragua (1998), he acted as a consultant and adviser in Permaculture and Computing for Latin American Health Foundation (Latin-America Helsefondet), Norway.

In 1999 he organized a tour through Norway with representatives from the Darién Foundation, Colombia and CESTA, El Salvador.

He has been turning given lecture, courses and seminaries in Norway (2005-2011), Sweden (2008, 2009), Chile (1994, 2005, 2006, 2009-2010), Bolivia (1994, 2005), Colombia (2006, 2010), Guatemala-El Salvador (2007) and Senegal (2003).

In the beginning of 2007 he acted as consultant and adviser in ecovillage design for Kabawil (Maya organization in Guatemala). He make the design of a high school.

In nov.–dec. of 2007 he had given lecture, courses and seminaries in Guatemala for the municipality of Aguacatan, friendship North-South group Moss (Norway)- Aguacatan (Guatemala) and a farmer organization Asocuch financed by Development Fond Norway (U-Fond).

He has participated in many different seminars: SEED (Norway), ECOTOPIA (USSR), the Fifth International Permaculture Conference (DENMARK), the 1stInternational Eco-village Conference of GEN (SCOTLAND), the 1st Meeting of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas ENA (USA), Gothenburg Forum about Globalization (SWEDEN) and Social Forum (Norway).

He has visited different ecovillages, organizations and centres for alternative technology in Latin America (Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and Bolivia), Europe (Norway, Sweden, England, Russia, Denmark, Spain, Scotland, Estonia, and Lithuania), Africa (Senegal) and USA.

He has developed and been involved in several conferences, seminars and courses:

  •  “Permaculture et Ecovillages” in Dakar, Senegal;
  •  “An alternative to build an integrative system for a sustainable development” at Bergen Architect University, Norway,
  • “Eco-village: A living and learning centre” for post-degree students in Pedagogy, Oslo University,
  •  “Alternative Development in different cultures”, Bergen Architect University, Bergen, Norway;
  • “Eco-Village as a way of peace”- Peace festival, Norway;
  • ”Permaculture and Ecovillage” at The San Salvador University and in CESTA (Centre for Alternative Technology from El Salvador);
  • “Development: A Possibility for All?” Vestoppland Folkehøgskole, and Sagene Community Centre, Oslo, Norway;
  • A course titled, “Permaculture” in Levanger, Norway as well as a Teacher in the Weekend Permaculture Introduction Course, Sagene, Norway.
  • “Transition Town” in Oslo, Bodø, Tromsø in Norway and at The University of Santiago of Chile in Chile.
  •  “Certificate Permaculture Course”, 72 hours, over the polar circle in Tromsø, Norway.
  •  “Certificate Permaculture Course”, 72 hours, in Telemark, Norway.

He has taken the “Transition Town Course” in London, in the Netherlands and Oxford and is now in the European pool of teacher of Transition Town. He is a certified teacher for the two-day course in Transition Town. He holds two international certified courses in Chile in august 2010 and two in Colombia 2011. Today he is in the board of Transition Town Norway and in the local Transition Town Initiative in Oslo.

Mauricio speaks Spanish, Norwegian, English and conversational French.

Claudio Madaune


Claudio has completed advanced studies in Geography in Chile and France. He has studied various subjects such as Permaculture Design, Appropriate Technology and Alternative Construction at the GAIA Group in Norway, Conflict Resolution and Decision-Making through Consensus in Creestone, Colorado – USA, and Santiago, Chile.

He has participated in various workshops, courses and events about social cartography, GIS, ecological characterisations and management planning as tools for conservation processes and sustainable development with local communities.  These were organised by Fundación Natura – WWF, Colombia – National Network of Natural Reserves – ECOFONDO – Biopacífico, in Colombia.

He was selected as a fellow in the “Land Management and Stewardship on Protected Areas” for LatinAmerican conservation professionals in 1997. The fellowship consisted of exchange of experiences with federal, national and state parks, wild life refugees, land trusts, planning officers and other examples of conservation and territory management within New England, USA.  The fellowship was granted and organised by the Quebec Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Centre for the Environment.

He has given speeches, conferences, workshops and courses on Permaculture Design and Ecovillages Development in various Universities, NGOs, Institutions and grassroots organisations in: Holland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, USA, Puerto Rico, México, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Senegal. He has participated in various groups and organisations as an environmental activist spreading information and training grassroot groups about sustainable ways of life and the respect for all living forms.

Claudio is a founding member of the Darién Foundation, an NGO established in 1993 to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development projects with active community participation in the Chocó biogeographical region in Colombia, one of the most bio diverse regions worldwide. A number of preservation and sustainable development projects have been under his coordination, including those involving territory management planning, ecological characterisation of natural reserves of the civil society, protection of sea turtles, environmental education, responsible tourism, food security and alternative livelihoods proposals, among others.

He has lived for 8 years at the Sasardí Integrated Reserve located in the Darien rainforest (Colombia), a natural reserve and ecovillage which serves as a pilot centre of experimentation for alternative technology and natural resources management  with emphasis on local participatory community process. Sasardi was the first ecovillage in Colombia and one of the first one in Latinamerica. He has worked in local sustainable development projects in collaboration with local authorities, universities, research groups and the Ministry of Environment.

He has represented the Darien Foundation in different international events to share their unique experience regarding endangered species conservation management with participation of local communities at the Urabá Gulf.  The Foundation’s work includes the conservation of the Dermochelys coriacea sea turtle, which serves as example for the preservation of sea turtles and local development worldwide. He has participated and given presentations at the Annual International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, the meeting of Latin American Sea Turtle Specialists, the WIDECAST meeting in the USA (1999, 2000 and 2002),  the  Second International Congress on Chelonian Conservation in Senegal (2003), and the Second International Conference of People and the Sea in Holland (2003).

He has participated at various international arrangements together with representatives of the alternative movement and indigenous cultures such as: The Norwegian Social Forum in Oslo-Norway/ 2002-2006, the Ecovillage Network of the Americas Council meetings at Creestone, CO.-USA/ 1999 and at the Darien-Colombia/ 2002, the Eco Maya Festival at Los Angeles, CA-USA/ 2000, Second Meeting of Elders and Spiritual Indigenous Guides of the Americas at Araracuara-Amazonas-Colombia/ 1997, the  First Bioregional Gathering of the Americas in Tepoztlan-Mexico/ 1996, the International Conference Towards the 21st  Century in Oslo-Norway/ 1995, the 5th International Permaculture Conference in Copenhagen-Denmark/ 1993, the UNSAID Festival parallel to the Earth Summit at Rio, at Freiburg-Germany/ 1992, among others. He has also visited various ecovillages and sustainable development projects in many countries. He has been active as liaison and network-builder between different groups, organisations and grassroots movements worldwide.

Claudio has been the representative for the northern part of South America at the Executive Council of ENA (Ecovillages Network of the Americas) between 1999 and 2003, at present he is chairman of the ENA advisory committee and member of the Norwegian NGO, Change the World. He has lived with his family at Hurdal ecovillage, the first ecovillage in Norway for two years and has moved lately to Fyresdal in Telemark to initiate a Demonstration centre for sustainable development.

Claudio speaks English, French, Spanish and Norwegian, as well as a little conversation Italian. He is currently in charge of some of the main projects of Change the World in Oslo. He has co-ordinated the organisation’s Learning Centre at Sagene Community Centre, where he has been involved in the process of becoming a Centre for the Local Agenda 21 together with other 19 pioneer municipalities working towards a sustainable development in Norway. He has lived for 2 years at the Hurdalsjøen Økolandsby, the first ecovillage in Norway, and has moved since may 2007 to Foldsæ Education Center in Fyresdal, Telemark, where he is in charge of the development of the project “Fiskevollen, Inspiration Center for Sustainable Development”, and will participate as well in the creation of another ecovillage on the norwegian mountains of Telemark.

Fransje de Waard


Fransje graduated as Agricultural Engineer at Agricultural University of Wageningen, with an MSc Tropical Forestry. After her academic training she did various courses such as in Science Journalism, Appropriate Technology, Ecological Agriculture in the Tropics, Ecophilosphy (Schumacher College, UK), Permaculture Design.

During her studies she did her field research in forest economy  (‘A Taste of the Kisii Kitchen; a multiple case study of woodfuel situations in twenty rural households in Kisii District, Kenya‘), and her other subjects were Environmental Studies at Leyden and Amsterdam University (‘Environmental planning in Developing Countries‘), and Extension Science, (Intercultural communication).

After her graduation in 1988 she went to work as a Staffmember at Sunseed Desert Research Centre, Andalucia (Spain), to conduct planning, implementation and reporting on dryland tree species trials. While there she met Emilia Hazelip, the pioneer for permaculture in France and Spain, and was further introduced to the paradigm in her first 4-day workshop in Andalucia. The concept fitted easily with her understanding of ecology, diverse systems and community development, and, being an avid rugby player, the Women’s Rugby Festival in New Zealand in 1990 was the perfect kick-off for a journey lasting some 8 months, where she visited permacultural and other sustainable land-use projects in New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal. She took part in the International. Permaculture Conference IV in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she met a great lot of solid pioneers from the global permaculture movement – and decided this was it.

Back home in the Netherland she published articles in various (inter)national ecological magazines, and started the present educational slideshows. She set up her business, De Waard Eetbaar Landschap (De Waard Edible Landscapes), and started importing permaculture books, and organising PDC courses, ao. for international MSc-students Ecological Agriculture, hiring Lea Harrison, then one of the most powerful and innovative Australian teachers. Soon enough she was asked to organise a workshop on ‘Experimental Communities’ for the Dutch Ministry of Environment, which lead to her study ‘Seeds of Sustainability’ for the National Planning Department. She organised more courses, incl. on green communities and ecovillages (taught by Max Lindegger, co-founder of Crystal Water Permaculture Village), Advanced Design Courses (Patrick Whitefield, UK) and Teacher Training Courses. She participated in the first European Permaculture Conference (UK) and the International Conference held in Skandinavia.

On the side Fransje became co-founder, boardmember and then part-time co-ordinator, raising funds and consciousness, of Ashoka Foundation Netherlands, chapter of the global organisation Ashoka – Innovators for the Public, which powerfully introduced the concept of social entrepeneurship to the world, and continues to launch real and promising ‘changemakers’, and connects them in the Ashoka Fellowship.

After another study for the Ministry of Environment (‘Dynamics of Sustainability: the becoming of Exemplary Plans‘) into participatory processes in innovative spatial plannning, she was asked to write a book on permaculture in Dutch. This became the illustrated ‘Gardens of Plenty – permaculture as sustainable inspiration for the living environment’, published in 1996.

The next year, the first PDC that had been taught in the Netherlands (taught by Bill Mollison at Centre for Appropriate Technology ‘de 12 Ambachten’ in 1989) bore fruit, as Marleen Kaptein, one of its participants, who had gathered various innovators in urban planning around her, including Fransje, managed to get her concept for a highly integrated new neighbourhood to ‘land’ in the town of Culemborg in central Netherlands. Fransje contributed the conceptual permaculture design for the outside space of the neighbourhood ‘Lanxmeer’, which today attracts visitors and inspires publications all over the world. It includes self-maintenance of green space by inhabitants, edible landscaping and an urban farm.

In 2000 Fransje took a break from permaculture, and started as a student in the Global Masters Program Transpersonal Psychology (ITP, USA), from which she graduated in 2004 with her thesis ‘Noetic Navigation through Madness and Mysticism: A Qualitative Exploration of Spiritual Crises and Inner Guidance in the Netherlands‘. In the mean time she translated various books from English to Dutch, ao. The Diamond Approach, John Davis; Facets of Unity, A.H. Almaas; Passionate Presence, Catherine Ingram, and did freelance copywriting for businesses. Next she became involved in the sustainable foresty practices and teak investments initiated by Floresteca, an innovative large-scale teak plantation business in Brasil. Based on her thesis she wrote ‘Spirituele crises – transpersoonlijke psychologie als perspectief‘, published by Royal Van Gorcum, which was translated into English and published by Academic Books as Spiritual Crisis; varieties and perspectives of a transpersonal phenomenon.

Her understanding of the global climate crisis was nourished by the assignment to translate Six Degrees by Mark Lynas, winner of Royal Society Science Books Prize,

Currently she presents and teaches permaculture in the urban context of Amsterdam, and works on promoting various integrated concepts for living, working and growing, both rural and urban. Fransje also conducts the design and transformation process of a long-established community of artists just outside Amsterdam. She was a speaker on ‘food transition’ at the Dutch Transition Town conference in 2011. She is an active member of the Amsterdam core group around urban gardening and sustainable food, and is associated with BuitenRuimte voor Contact (Outdoor Space for Contact), an 2.0-inspired diverse living network of professionals in community gardening and green playgrounds. Her book on permaculture has acquired the status of the standard work in Dutch, and was republished in 2011 in response to the clearly growing demand for innovative approaches to a wide number of urgent problems. Soil and polycultures are her main ongoing passions.

John Button


John Button is a Permaculture designer, educator and consultant, with over thirty  years experience in Australia, South and South East Asia, and Europe, through broadly diverse climatic, social and economic conditions, working with individuals, institutions, commercial enterprises and on his own behalf.

Originally studying under the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison in 1980, Lea Harrison and internationally renowned community designer Max Lindegger, he has since worked as consultant, teacher, designer and project coordinator through south and south east Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. Mollison asked him to present Permaculture to Plan International and he subsequently worked with them throughout South East Asia over a period of two years, teaching courses and consulting on their community development programmes.

Francesca Simonetti


Francesca Simonetti holds a doctorate of Agronomy, and has many years experience working in Italy in various fields, including landscape design, environmental assessment, implementation and monitoring for clients ranging from public authorities and independent organisations, as well as individuals.

John & Francesca draw on both their deep experience and passionate professional integrity to serve with competence and excellence.

Support team

  • Laurens Duiveman – GreenBlend :: fieldwork-instructor
  • Claire Blair – Botanical Gardens :: fieldwork-instructor
  • Joshua Spanner – Congo Preserve :: fieldwork-instructor

Leave a Reply