In Focus: Permaculturist Rico Zook Projects,Part I

May 23rd, 2011

Today we focus on the projects of Permaculture Specialist Rico Zook. His more than two decades of experience spans permaculture designs to promote enhanced living conditions through the fruitful collaboration of people and nature. He works with communities, large and small, including NGOs to find solutions to restoring and preserving natural ecosystems for better food productions and land restoration.  With these partnerships, they implement community building and development through permaculture workshops, and apply permaculture principles in demonstration sites. Click here for his complete bio.

Harmony Farm – Beng Melea, Cambodia

In 2009, Mr. Zook taught a permaculture design class sponsored at Singing Tree Café in Siem Rep in which a local farm/orphanage in Beng Mealea called Harmony Farm participated. After the workshop, the farm implemented many of the permaculture concepts to help improve operations at the farm – through better planting and infrastructure designs.

Permaculture in Cambodia with Rico Zook from AstralJester on Vimeo.

Harmony Farm is a local Khmer run NGO  in Beng Mealea that provides housing, care and education for 18 orphans and participates in local community building. The farm is composed of:

- a children’s centre (orphanage)

- learning centre (where classes/ recreational activities are held for local rural and village kids)

- general garden/farm area for organic food production and permaculture designed infrastructure.

The NGO is funded through donations, grants and fees charged for program participation.


The farm aims for sustainable living not only for itself but for the local community, through nurturing disadvantaged children’s development and using permaculture as a tool for self sufficiency.


Little by little, Harmony farm has achieved its goals with partnerships and volunteers, as well as the cooperation of everybody on the farm. Completed projects include:

- Compost Toilet Construction

- Village House and Classroom Construction

- Village Office Construction

- Fence

- Pond and Road Construction

- Land Purchase


- Solar Facility for Village Location

- Daily Breakfast Program for Local Village Children

-  Chicken Yard with Chicks

Future Plans

- House for Children and Staff at Harmony Farm (Budget: $21,900)

- School for Children at Harmony Farm

- Environment and Conservation Program

- Biodigester and Pig Yard

Harmony Farm Needs You

The farm is always open to volunteers, donations and grants.

Contact Info


Farm Director: Vannak: (855) 11 805 665

More info:

Jordan Valley Permaculture Project

June 24th, 2010

(Source: Permaculture Research Institute of Australia)

The new Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan, under management of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, launched the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project in March of 2008 to redevelop and revitalize arid lands in the Dead Sea Valley to establish a sustainable living environment that can fill the basic necessities of the underprivileged local community. The project demonstrates energy saving, sustainable living models that include:

- Waste water treatment done naturally with biological processes

- Diverse plant, tree and animal systems to sustain food production

- Composting (dry)

- Cooling systems (natural)

- A nursery for plants

- Rain water collection with earthwork

- Solar powered models for heating water and providing electricity.

Also known as “Greening the Desert“, the project features a main educational center for permaculture design classes. The first class was conducted in October, 2009.

(Source: Permaculture Research Institute of Australia)

To date, the project has successfully completed some of its milestones for the March 2011 target deadline:

Phase I (Sept., 2008) – all initial infrastructure was built, including the main house, fencing, garden set-up, compost toilet (dry), water tanks, reed bed (gravel), nursery, animal area and plant nursery.

Phase II (March, 2009) – solar infrastructure installation, plant and animal systems set-up and completion of the main house (furnishing, interiors, kitchen, bedrooms, office).

Phase III (March, 2010) – Completion of training programs for local trainers with mentorship from the main Permaculture research institute for management of the project (education, administration and infrastructure).

Future Plans

The Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan aims to establish completely local operations with minimal visits from the mentoring staff. The institute also looks forward to extending the project to other Jordanian areas which might take an interest in establishing a similar system.

Project Needs

This project needs permaculture course enrollees to take part in Permaculture Design Course (PDC)s to help establish a fund for maintaining operations. Click here for more information.

Contact Info:

Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan

Email : geoff (at)

Tel: +61 (0)2 6688 6578

Cell: +61 (0) 427862902