Internship In India

Advanced Permaculture Principles Application in International Aid:

Interns from all over the world come to Living Ecology’s permaculture internship in India, and are responsible for the design and implementation of a sustainable farming project in Aranya Agricultural Alternative’s Tribal Development Program Area. Interns will visit many successful project sites and see the results of various permaculture practices. Following Aranya’s Agricultural Alternatives’ effective development method, interns will live with villagers, learning about their traditions and needs, building relationships and community trust. Interns will then be mentored in creating their own permaculture project, carrying it out, and following up on long-term results.


Villagers celebrate a visit from agricultural activists: Living Ecology's Permaculture Internship in India #livingecology #permacultureinternship

Indian villagers celebrating during Living Ecology’s intern visit.

Prerequisites for Permaculture Internship:

Admission to Living Ecology’s internship in India requires previous permaculture education for admission. Permaculture Design Course (PDC) certification is recommended for admission. However, equivalent training or experience will open up the opportunity for consideration. This is an introduction to permaculture practical applications, but prior knowledge of the basic principles is necessary. If there are more applicants than space allows, interns will be chosen based on agricultural experience.

Upon completion of the program, interns receive the Aranya Agricultural Alternative’s Permaculture Practitioner in International Aid Certification.

Permaculture Internship for International Aid in India:

1) Social Study of the Village:

Interns learn social mapping and surveying. They spend time making connections in villager’s lives, learning through teachings and customs. Final certification will require a social report based on experience gained throughout the duration of the project.

2) Environmental Study:

Living Ecology Permaculture Design Intern Mapping Project helps farmers in India implement sustainable systems #livingecology #permacultureinternship

Intern mapping her permaculture design project

Interns work on recording a plant database, methods of animal husbandry, climate and land use. A report of the present environmental situation, including what is possible and what is probable will be created.

3)  Design Project:

Map land and project area, reasons for project and its projected impact. Interns create a design for their farm, and facilitate implementation of the plan with the villagers’ help. Together, they create an agriculture masterpiece that is meant to last.

4) Final report:

Follow-up report measuring the impact of Living Ecology’s permaculture internship in India.


Detailed Permaculture Internship Curriculum Outline:

Note: Changes have been made to the internship. There is now a three month option for those interested. The planting, follow-up, and certification are not included in this option.

Interns in India learning permaculture design principles to implement in local farms #livingecology #permacultureinternshipIntroduction to Permaculture Program

(3 days) Starts Jan. 11, 2016

  • Aranya Agricultural Alternatives mission and history.
  • Visit to Aranya’s City Farm School.
  • Visit rooftop water harvesting sites that directly recharge wells.
  • Time for shopping: supplies and appropriate Indian clothing.


Aranya FarmWater harvesting Earthworks Course

Jan. 15-19, 2016

  • Watershed education and government projects.
  • Survey techniques: how to create contours using A frame, U tube, and dumpy level.
  • Water harvesting structures: water absorption trenches, swales, percolation tanks, ponds, dam walls, spillways, gully plugs, check dams, gabion structures and stone outlets.
  • Landforms – concepts of design.
  • Planting and soil erosion.


Introduction to Permaculture Practical Applications via Internship in India #livingecology #permacultureinternshipVillage farm visits (4 days)


  • Small farmers who have worked with Aranya and are using permaculture and biodiverse practices.
  • Telegu language class.


Permaculture techniques practicum (6 days)

Jan. 25-30, 2016

  • Thatch construction, compost, nursery, seed collection, and preservation.
  • Windbreak plantings, alley cropping, planting.
  • Farm and herbal forest flora identification and uses.
  • Contour bunding and percolation tank installation.

Social and Environmental Study

Starts Jan. 25 for 3 weeks

Interns learn, listen, and get to know villagers they work with.  Trust, respect, and friendships bud and blossom during this time.

  • Permaculture Interns with Living Ecology undertake social study of local villages to aid in re-establishment of sustainable food projects in the drylands of India #livingecology #permacultureinternship1 week village home stay.
  • Telugu language practice and learning.
  • Social mapping and socioeconomic survey.
  • Nutritional and food habit assessment.
  • Health assessment.
  • Discussions about needs and issues.
  • Study of plants and trees in village and farms.
  • Farm cropping assessment.
  • Matrix participatory educational farmer interaction.
  • Assessment of capacity building needs.
  • Forest walk with villagers.
  • Forest department and tribal department visit.Climate and environmental research.
  • Work for a morning with 100 days government work program.
  • Natural and local home construction with mud and thatch.
  • Introduction to Permaculture for Villagers workshop.

9 day Recreational Break

Feb. 20 -28 

A break from the internship in India is taken with rest, relaxation, or independent exploration of the country.

Permaculture interns learn how to help poor rural farmers in India with sustainable systems implementation #livingecology #permacultureinternship


Permaculture Design

(3 weeks) Feb 29 – Mar.19

  • Selection of clients.
  • Client interview.
  • Site survey.
  • Base mapping.
  • Water harvesting earthworks planning and mapping.
  • Planting plan.
  • Implementation plan.
  • Water harvesting earthworks workshop for villagers.
  • Lessons on local intercropping patterns and appropriate tree species.


Implementation of Permaculture Design Plan

(3 weeks) Mar.20 – Apr. 9

  • Management of earthworks implementation.
  • Soil fertility lesson.
  • Soil Fertility workshop for villagers.
  • Compost and Mulch procurement.
  • Seed collection and preservation.
  • Seed education with villagers.
  • Nursery creation.


Final Days

(2 days, completing Apr. 12)

  • Final presentation of permaculture design project.
  • Aranya Board of Directors presentation.
  • Sharing documents and photos.
  • Debrief and evaluation.



2 month break during extreme hot season.  Returning June 13 at the beginning of the rainy season to implement the planting part of the design.
During this break, interns complete a detailed project report.


Planting Implementation

Mulching rainfed crops in India helps poor rural farmers through Living Ecology's internship project #livingecology #permaultureinternshipJune 13 – July 15 rainy season

  • Planting of trees, local annual crops and live fencing.
  • Pitchari pot irrigation.
  • Microbial innoculants and bio-inputs class and application.
  • Assessment and design for village rainy season water issues.
  • Capacity building with villagers.
  • Market analysis and idea generation for villager cash income.


Follow up Report

August 2017
Follow up report assessing success and impact of the intern’s permaculture project.  The intern will learn what worked in their design plan and what needs adjustment or follow up and will make suggestions. [Intern can do follow-up report in-person or receive photos and information from Aranya staff or interns of the following year.] The report will be evaluated by Narsanna Koppula and Raya Cole.



Upon completion of their project, interns receive Aranya Agricultural Alternatives Permaculture in International Aid Certification.  Those who successfully finish Living Ecology’s internship in India will have the skills necessary to implement aid projects across the globe, sharing permaculture’s practical application with those in need. Successful intern projects will be showcased in the 2017 International Permaculture Conference tours.

Internship/ Certification Costs:

Four Month Internship:


Cost Covers: 

  • Food
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation
  • Translator
  • Mentorship
  • Supplies
  • Permaculture in International Aid Certification
  • Follow-up Report


Three Month Internship:


Cost Covers: 

  • Food
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation
  • Translator
  • Mentorship
  • Supplies
  • Planting and Implementation Facilitated by an Aranya Employee

Airfare to India is the intern’s responsibility for both the seven month and the three month internships.


Projects (certification) can be completed in the name of an organization or community that sponsors the intern; consider fundraising in your local community to help support the implementation of this permaculture internship in India, an international aid project that creates long-term resilience. We support fundraising initiatives for interns who are pre-qualified.