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Facilitator: Karen de Vries

Karen is the co-founder and manager of La Loma Viva since 2009. Her and Ryan have been involved in all aspects of setting up the Permaculture and Retreat Centre here. Together they have designed and implemented all the current systems and infrastructure - developing their skills and understanding of Permaculture in the process. They have also done a number of private design projects in southern Spain.

Karen began training in Permaculture on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2008, with Living Mandala and a host of renowned teachers, led by Penny Livingston. She decided then, that there was no better vocation and no more exciting task on the planet! She continued with an Applied Permaculture and Facilitation training, led by Alex Kruger, in her home country of South Africa, at SEED - a revolutionary environmental group using Permaculture in schools, townships and impoverished communities.

Karen did another PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in Istanbul in 2010 and an Earthworks course in 2012 with Geoff in Morocco.

As well as loving to get her hands in the earth, Karen is really interested in developing the People Care and personal development aspect of Permaculture, incorporating her academic background in Psychology (BSc Hons) and Medical Anthropology (MSc).

She spent 10 years managing the Kailash Centre in London, a Tibetan charity and Centre for Oriental Medicine. Through this and her love of travel and diverse cultures, Karen has experienced the benefit of traditional and alternative approaches to health, resilience and "being in the world". Karen incorporates “growing people” and “food as medicine” into her work at La Loma.

Karen with Rowe Morrow

In 2015 Karen completed the Training of Teachers course with legendary permaculture practitioners Rowe Morrow, Looby McNamara and Chris Evans (of Designed Visions) in the UK at Applewood.

In 2016 Karen was part of the first ever Cultural Emergence group in the UK. This ongoing training combines the nature awareness & connection work of Jon Young (8 Shields Institute) and the Social Permaculture work of Looby McNamara, looking at how we can transform our culture to be more life-affirming.

Karen is also doing a practitioner training in Hakomi, with the Centre for Applied Mindfulness (http://appliedmindfulness.co.uk. This a body-centred approach to using mindfulness for self-study, helping to heal and transform the underlying beliefs and habits which cause us suffering and finding new possibilities to live life more fully.

Slideshow from the ToT with Rosemary Morrow and Designed Visions. Produced by Dana Wilson (Gaiacraft)