The Green Apprenticeship Permaculture and Ecological Design Training Course

Join us for a 4 week practical training program in hands-on sustainable engineering, systems design and cooperative living. We’ll be learning about the designing, building and running of sustainable projects, linking together ecological, social, economic and cultural aspects into a unified whole. We’ll develop skills through hands-on work in our environmental education center, organic gardens, and alternative/natural building projects. Students live in the EcoCampus, a prototype low-impact sustainable neighborhood featuring beautiful hand-crafted earth and straw bale domes on Kibbutz Lotan in Israel’s southern Arava, a desert oasis. At the end of the course participants receive an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification.

Course Dates:

Green Apprenticeship Course Dates:

10 August - 8 September 2020

2 November - 1 December 2020

10 January - 5 February 2021 

22 February - 23 March 2021 

Coursework includes:

Alternative Technologies

  • Renewable energy systems
  • Grey water and black water systems
  • Composting toilets
  • Biogas
  • Solar cooking

Natural Building

  • Earth mix for building projects
  • How to test soil for building
  • Straw bale construction
  • Hands-on building projects using natural and recycled materials

Regenerative Community Development

  • Holistic worldview
  • Group dynamics
  • Reconnecting to nature
  • The global economy and the dilemma of growth
  • Localization and the economics of happiness

Permaculture & Ecological Design

  • Structural engineering for hand built houses
  • Passive solar & energy efficient design
  • Permaculture ethics and principles
  • Design techniques including: zone and sector, input and output analysis POBREDIM
  • Needs-based design projects 

Sustainable Agriculture

  • Local food production through bio-diverse small scale farming
  • Companion planting, natural pest control 
  • Sheet-mulch, container & square foot gardening
  • Composting: theory & practice
  • Seed saving: theory & practice
  • Transplanting & sowing seeds
  • Weekly gardening and harvesting

Learn More

Who should Attend?

Are you:

  • Looking for something different and unique to do in Israel
  • Interested in a study program that includes environmental training and environmental studies
  • Looking for a way to complement your university degree program with an internship experience
  • Interested in study abroad
  • Searching for gap year programs in Israel
  • Looking for a kibbutz experience
  • Looking for a short-term course as a birthright extension program
  • Looking for a summer program in Israel
  • Looking for a component for your iTrack /Maslul Ishi MASA program

Then the Green Apprenticeship could be the program you are looking for!


No prior knowledge is required to participate in the course. Because of the emphasis on practical work, and a bottom-up approach to engineering (big word for people who make things work), participants from diverse professional and academic backgrounds have gained valuable and applicable tools and knowledge from the course, whether they come from a background in sustainability or have little or no previous experience. Let’s talk if you’re concerned about being under- or overqualified.

Please note that the language of instruction is English.

Application Process

To apply, please complete the online application and send us supporting documents via email:

  1.  Complete the online application
  2. Scan of the first page of your passport / Israeli ID card (including your picture)
  3.  C.V. / resume showing where you have studied, worked etc.



Cost of the program including tuition, room and full meal plan is 8750 ILS (approx $2500.)

 Scholarship for Israeli Residents - The Center for Creative Ecology provides a partial scholarship of 1250 ILS for residents of Israel (cost of the program 7500 ILS).

Grants and Scholarships

Early Birds Discount - Register and pay in full one month prior to the course start date and receive 500 NIS discount.

Non-Israeli residents grants and scholarships - 

Eligible participants may be able to apply for a MASA grant as part of a 4-5 month iTrack/ Maslul Ishi Israel experience.

Top Israel Interns provides a list of organizations that give grants and scholarships for programs in Israel.

New immigrants to Israel can receive a refund of 80% of the course fees as part of the Ministry of Absorption’s professional retraining program.

If you require further financial assistance, please contact us.



Live in our Eco-Campus and experience ecological living

Room and board (3 meals a day) for the duration of the program.

  • Rooms are equipped with beds, air conditioning, shelves, pillows, linens, and towels.
  • Shared accommodation (maximum 3 to a dome).
  • Meals are served either in the kosher kibbutz dining room (vegan/vegetarian options with meal or dairy) or we’ll cook vegan/vegetarian (no fish) in our Eco-Campus kitchen.

The Green Apprenticeship Extension

Korean Natural Farming

Join us for a four-day training course in Korean Natural Farming (KNF). KNF is a unique and revolutionary process of cultivating and utilizing indigenous microorganisms through simple, natural, and affordable methods to develop healthy and fertile soil to produce high yields.

The training will be run by certified KNF teacher Sam Bevans. At the end of the training you will receive the Level 1 Korean Natural Farming Certification.

The KNF Level 1 Course will run from Tuesday to Friday at the end of each Green Apprenticeship Permaculture and Ecological Design Training Course on Kibbutz Lotan. It may be taken as a stand-alone or as an extension to the Permaculture Design Certificate.

Cost of the KNF training including certification, food and shared accommodation in Lotan’s Eco-Campus is $850 (5% early bird discount up to two weeks prior)

Meet the Team

Mike Kaplin

The Center for Creative Ecology (CfCE) is a school for hands-on learning based on Mike’s philosophy that everyone is a teacher and everyone can choose to Do instead of just talk. He is one of the first Permaculture Instructors in Israel and has taken the formal Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) outdoors into the garden and the workshop. Together with Mike you’ll be planting food, mixing mud, constructing objects of beauty, maintaining conservation areas, having fun and laughing. As Director of the CfCE he oversees all of the staff’s activities and the content of our programs. Observing and interacting with Mike is a first-hand experience in successful business leadership with a big heart.

Alex Cicelsky

Alex teaches the theory of Permaculture Design, environmentally responsive architecture and renewable energy technologies. He mentors our Permaculture students during their course projects continues to support them as they’re building their businesses around the world. In regards to the buildings he’s designed on Kibbutz Lotan he says “We know how the buildings will save energy, that they meet safety standards and how much they cost. We don’t know what they’ll look like because that is in the hands of the people that join us to build them.” In addition to his practical work in researching energy efficient buildings for deserts, he writes about the spiritual connections of religions to caring for the earth.

Mark Naveh

Before joining Kibbutz Lotan, Mark was an underwater researcher in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. His work in marine ecology has extended to human ecology, a deep concern for protecting the environment, and curiosity into how society needs to evolve. Mark leads in-depth nature tours in the desert, practical technology lessons and sessions in new forms of economics and community organization. Mark is active in Israeli-Palestinian co-existance education and trains our staff which hosts thousands of visitors each year.

Maya Galimidi

Maya is an International Ambassador of Global Ecovillage Network. With all her experience, Maya is now the Global Business Developer for Kibbutz Lotan Center for Creative Ecology to bring associations, governing bodies, academic world, students and businesses from all around the world together to learn sustainable living techniques to care for the earth, its resources, each other, and to open new visions in this field.

Deborah Dell'ariccia

Debby brings the joy of her youth in Italy to the desert. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and is an engaging group interactions facilitator of the Green Apprenticeship group and the other college groups that work and study on Kibbutz Lotan. She is also the coordinator for our Israeli post-high school “Year of Service” leadership training program. She loves to prepare and enjoy Italian food at our Solar Tea House Restaurant, theme nights and jam sessions.

Daniel Burstyn

Rabbi Daniel puts his theology to work as he manages the landscaping of Kibbutz Lotan which is completely dependent on drip irrigation to survive in the desert. He holds certificates in both Permaculture and Spiritual Direction. You’ll get to know him from his lessons in irrigation and horticulture. He is a semi-professional vocalist, so you’ll want to get him singing while fixing water lines.

What our graduates say:

“I took this program and it is one of the most memorable experiences of my life! The community is filled with great people and it was a very fun atmosphere to learn. Particularly special if you connect with Tikun Olam. I miss Israel, eat a pita for me.”
Ori Mike Kalmus
Lafayette University, now Actor, Los Angeles, USA
“I have received a treasure box filled with tools and keys. The time in Lotan made me believe again that one can change on a large scale as long as you 'just do it' and don't get trapped in the fear of making mistakes.”
Merav Carmi
Founder Yesh Meain Permaculture Farm, Moshav Nahalal, Israel

Opportunities Abroad

Receive University Credits

Now you can receive college credit for participating in the Green Apprenticeship at Kibbutz Lotan.
Through a partnership with Paul Smith’s College, an accredited private college in upstate New York,
Green Apprenticeship participants may receive 3 semester credits for successfully completing the

Authentic Leadership Presence

When you are able to show up in those situations as your authentic self, communicate in a way that engages and connects with others, and align your intentions with others' perceptions, then you know you are bringing forth your Authentic Leadership Presence.

This online course, led by instructors and coaches from the Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute, takes you on a journey to develop your own Authentic Leadership Presence through instructor-led learning, live streamed lectures and videos, readings to provide inspirations and examples, self-reflection, on-the-job learning activities and shared feedback. Designed as an experiential journey.


Oregon Food Bank

 Oregon Food Bank’s garden education programs offer Green Apprenticeship graduates volunteer opportunities that address the root causes of hunger.Learning Gardens: Beginning and experienced gardeners work together to grow nutritious fruits and vegetables and learn new gardening skills during their Dig In! shift* at one of Oregon Food Bank’s Learning Gardens.

Gardeneers , USA , Chicago 

We are looking for candidates who can commit from February 19 to December, 2019. This service requirement is full-time and will require you to be available some weekends.

What is Americorps? 
It is important to understand, this is not a job with Gardeneers. It is a year-long service opportunity, where individuals (called Americorps Members), will serve alongside Gardeneers’ Garden Educators.
Send a cover letter and resume to Alex Rosen, Program Director, at with the header “Americorps Applicant.” No phone calls, please. Application deadline for 2019 Americorps Service is January 5. Position will begin February 19, 2019.

Habiba Community Nuweiba, South Sinai, Egypt

Habiba community is composed of an organic farm, a beach lodge and a learning centre, all complementing each other with one purpose of creating balance in the Bedouin life in Sinai. Through creating an alternative method than the reliability on the traditional tourism based activities on one hand, and to provide the community with financial stability on the other hand. An interdisciplinary approach to raise the community’s social awareness toward the necessity of applying the basic principles of Permaculture, Responsible Tourism and Knowledge Transfer.

For many years, the community has benefited from the commitment of postgraduate and other volunteers from all over the world, who bring their knowledge and workforce into a variety of projects, including: Agriculture, water management, environmental protection, education, or ethnology.

The property is located on one of the most attractive beaches on Sinai and is ideal for all kinds of water sports, and the adjacent desert offers delightful destinations and the opportunity to experience the daily life of the local Bedouins.

Can Bustan Mallorca

Shaul Shaham is a master Permaculture Designer and project director. He is now developing a homestead in Mallorca, Spain and is looking for good workers for agriculture and building renovation work. His website shares his previous work in Israel (an eco-park at a school), projects throughout Turkey and relief volunteering on the Island of Lesbos as part of the ReFGEN (Refugee activism of the Global Ecovillage Network). He worked as the Permaculture Consultant at the Ecological urban restaurant Ek biç Ye İç in Istanbul, Turkey where he constructed the hydroponics indoor farming system and where he taught urban gardening and education for ecological urban life style. 

Aspen TREE

Green Apprenticeship graduates are invited to intern at Aspen TREE (Together Regenerating the Environment through Education) in Aspen, Colorado, USA, founded by Green Apprenticeship graduate Eden Vardy.

Green Apprenticeship graduates have the opportunity to joing the Aspen TREE staff as interns looking to dive into integrated farming (agroforestry, greenhouse gardening in high altitude cold climates, rotational grazing, alley cropping, compost production, market gardening, and more), youth education in nature connection and food, community based farm collaborative initiatives, and farm to community events and activities. The main requirement is a willingness to work hard, keep an open mind, positive outlook, and team based approach. Aspen TREE has reciprocal agreements with several colleges for college credit for participation.

Opportunities in Israel

Post-Graduation Green Apprenticeship Opportunities in our Network

The Green Apprenticeship Graduate Network includes farms, businesses, NGO’s and many creative projects that our students have founded and supported. Many are happy to be able to offer Green Apprenticeship graduates the opportunity to work with them. Each opportunity has it’s own terms and conditions. We’ll introduce you to our worldwide family members and keep in contact with us for more.

Internship Opportunity 

The company is part of a multinational solar energy developer group that builds, finances and operates utility-scale photovoltaic solar projects in emerging markets. The company’s co-founders build on their experience as pioneers in implementing utility scale photovoltaic solar systems in Israel (through Arava Power).

This is an internship opportunity for very limited number of students. 

Kaima Nahalal – Yesh Meain

Merav Carmi founded the Yesh Meain Farm on her grandparent’s land in Moshav Nahalal together with Adrian Dupont, Yael Freund, Maya Baruch and Dalia Bali following their graduation from the Green Apprenticeship in 2007. They are an education center and community hub which is well loved in the region for the their monthly Sharing Market and courses for young and old. Since 2016 the farm’s mission as Kaima Nahalal is to re-engaging and empowering girls (15-18), identified by the Ministry of Welfare as having dropped out of school. The hands-on organic farming, business learning, and community activities of the farm are led by a multi-generational all-women professional team of social activists, agriculturalists, and pedagogues experiences in working with youth. The program cultivates a sense of personal value and self-confidence while learning business skills as they grow, harvest and sell the farm's organic products. The young women earn a salary and see themselves as fully invested partners in an undertaking of which they can take pride. Green Apprenticeship grad Lior Zrihen is the field manager and farm youth guide.

The Arava Institute

The Arava Institute is home to five transboundary research and development centers focusing on the areas of key environmental concern — water management, renewable energy and energy conservation, sustainable agriculture, ecology, and sustainable development. The research centers enable critical cross-border exchanges of knowledge and technology by providing young Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and international researchers the opportunity to work together and advance solutions to the region’s pressing environmental issues. 

Geva’s Organic Farm

Geva Ben-arie graduated the Green Apprenticeship in 2016 wondering if his grandparent’s neglected farm in Gan Haim could be invigorated using Permaculture design and organic agriculture techniques. The result has been spectacular.

Green Apprenticeship graduates are invited to join in with the work on the farm and gain hands-on experience in all aspects of organic farming, marketing and community engagement. 

Contact: Geva Ben-arie


Tzomhim baemek

Itay Shornik has turned his grandparent’s farm in Kfar Yehezkel, Israel, into an organic vegetable farm and social education enterprise. The farm is also a social training initiative where  Youth, that has dropped out of the formal education system receive training in organic agriculture, earn a fair wage and are guided by a professional team in cooperation with the Department of Social Services and the Education Department of the Gilboa Regional Council.

Learn more about “צומחים בעמק - Tzomhim baemek / Growing in the valley at and their Facebook page, and contact Itay at

Israel and Brazil working together to tackle the sustainability of arid areas

Press Meeting in Brazil Gira Mundo

The Kibbutz Lotan Center for Creative Ecology is happy to welcome and be the education venue for The World Tour Israel project “Gira Mundo Israel” in Brazil. Volunteers World Brazil (VWB) is ready to educate 20 teachers from Paraiba State Teaching Network operating in the semi-arid region.

The World Tour Israel project is a State Government educational venture. It aims not only to qualify teachers and students of the state network, but also to evolve the education system though the application of successful experiences. Twenty teachers from Paraíba were selected to submit innovative projects in the areas of Renewable Energies, Sustainable Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Management, and Natural Construction. The schedule calls for teachers to spend a month in August at Kibbutz Lotan. Center fCE will train teachers from Brazil with their flagship four-weeks-long Green Apprenticeship programme, this time specializing in the specific characteristics of Paraíba. The Green Apprenticeship is a hands-on training programme with theoretical lectures and practicals.


Questions? Call us at +972-54-979-9033 or write us

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