Marcus Pan

down to earth – Founder

Permaculture Expert

Marcus Pan

Marcus Pan is an internationally active permaculture designer, teacher and advisor. He completed the permaculture design course in 2002 and was awarded the Diploma of Applied Permaculture Design from Permakultur Akademie im Alpenraum – Institut für angewandte Ökopädagogik und Permakulturbildung
E.R.D.E. in 2008.

Marcus has participated in numerous permaculture projects around the world since 2002.

Since 2018 he manages the PERMACULTURE FARM AUENHOF at FELDBACH in Switzerland – Learn and Demonstration Site of the ACADEMY for PERMACULTURE DESIGN.

“My deep commitment, my immense love for nature and life, and my knowledge and all of my experiences and insights about the various connections and contexts enable me to design bountiful and nutritious permaculture gardens, landscapes, and cities. These are the most basic requirements for conceiving and building functional permaculture systems.”

“.. .. with strong roots in the region where I had the privilege to grow up, a still diverse and intact natural landscape with vibrant meadows, forests, clear lakes, and sweeping mountain ranges, in a small village on Grundlsee lake in the Salzkammergut region of the Austrian province of Styria – a little paradise !!

.. .. it is my pleasure to share a little about my life .. ..

Nature provided everything that we needed to lead a healthy and satisfied life in this region. The landscape offered everything required to enjoy life to the fullest. We in the village had no need to go somewhere else, or to spend a holiday in some far – away place. It was my grandparents who instilled in me a connection with nature from my youngest years with their knowledge. I felt safe and protected, surrounded by their love as I was.
They laid the foundation for my life, the basis upon which I was later able to build. My grandmother had a wonderful and diverse organic vegetable garden. It yielded fresh vegetables and herbs all summer, and there was an ample supply of vegetables throughout the winter. When I recall their cellar, I see the big potato box and the shelves filled with apples, and I can smell the vegetables stored there.

I will never forget the times in the forest when we gathered wild strawberries and blueberries or collected firewood, or the times with her in the garden. I also have very fond memories of the wonderful walks and mountain hikes with my grandfather.

I met my friends on the beach no matter the time of year. From here, he headed into the forest and mountains to explore our home and nature. We had no interest in going to the next larger town 10 kilometres away to
‘hang out’. In the summer, we sat on the beach, made bonfires, and played our own music.

My experiences and adventures and life in this incomparably beautiful landscape have had a lasting impact on my life. It was not until recently that I left this protective ‘cocoon’ and went out into the world outside of this small village. And this makes me more and more aware every day of how lucky I was to be able to grow up so close to nature.

The mandatory school visits (that I or we rarely made anyway) were finally over when I was 17! I worked as a waiter, as a stage hand, as a mail carrier, as a house superintendent, and as an attendant at a children’s ski lift;
as a landscape gardener and hiking trail maintenance worker for the town of Grundlsee, as a glazier and lumber mill worker, in home construction and renovation, and as a harvester and gardening assistant. I was self – employed as a landscaper and permaculture garden designer for many years. All of these different jobs allowed me to gain a great deal of knowledge and experience.

I heard the word permaculture for the first time in 2000. I was given the opportunity to build a barrier free permaculture system on an area of 16’000 square metres with ‘physically and mentally disabled persons’.
The Austrian permaculture pioneer Sepp Holzer was responsible for the planning. My responsibilities consisted of implementing the permaculture elements in the first two years, and later the maintenance and improvement of this permaculture system. This allowed me to apply and develop my abilities. Here, I learned how permaculture systems function and how such systems are built, maintained, and improved.

I will also never forget this time in my life. And I will not soon forget the special people with whom I created this wonderful garden. I also taught them everything about permaculture. Today, there are different working groups in this small paradise garden, some of whom complete their work independently. There is a group that holds tours of the garden and explains how it works, and there is another group that harvests herbs and turns them into teas, vinegar, and oils and into herbal salt. Some are responsible for the animals, and there is of course a group that takes care of various permaculture gardening tasks. Our jointly developed organic products are sold at the farmer’s market or directly from our farm. This was a time where I gained an immense range of organic gardening experience and where I learned a great deal about life!

I have been working on my own projects since 2002, in different climate zones and with different people and their goals. Today, I can look back on a broad range of Permaculture projects that I had the privilege to plan and build.


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Consultant - Designer - Experts - Teacher

down to earth ASSOCIATION


Developing down to earth PERMACULTURE FOUNDATION

Melanie Jucker

Melanie did graduated the Permaculture Design Course in 2013. During her travels of several years, mainly in Peru, Melanie supported the down to earth ACADEMY for PERMACULTURE DESIGN in the course organization and administration.

Since August 2017 Melanie works for the down to earth FÖRDERVEREIN and assists in the set-up of the foundation.

Dipl. Permaculture Designer

Permaculture Designer, Consultant, Practitioner and Teacher

Janick Peter

Janick spent his childhood in the Simmental in Bernese Oberland in the Swiss mountains. Surrounded by this still untouched nature, he got to know his new teachers in nature on endless hikes through forests and mountains, and began to learn the language of the plants. Inspired by the vision of a new, healthy and versatile world, he did the Permaculture Design Course in 2013. 

Since then, he began with the training for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. Janick now works full-time as a Permaculture Designer. His main focus is on project implementation.

His scope of work at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Advice, planning, implementation and assistance in permaculture projects world wide
° Building with natural resources
° Building water retention spaces

Awareness-raiser for sustainable development

Social Permaculture Teacher

Tilla Künzli

Permaculture Design Certificate – Bolinas California – USA
BA: Cornish College of the Arts – Seattle WA – USA
MA: Master Studio Basel Kunsthochschule FHNW – Basel – CH

„With humor and ideas, I am committed to change.“

Her main commitment as a project leader is in four areas: 

° Food; in the Association Urban Agriculture Basel
° Music; singing with the public in the market hall in Basel: Facebook – Markthalle
° Clothing; Kleihd – the first fashion loan-boutique in Switzerland as well as Textilpiazza
° Networking of all sustainability movements in the region of Basel – Basel Wandel

Dipl. Homoeopath SHI for large and small animals

Permaculture Designer, Consultant, Practitioner and Teacher

Sascha Pollak

After having completed the Permaculture Design Course in 2014, Sascha began training for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. Since then he is internationally active as a Permaculture practitioner and teacher.

Since 2003 Sascha practices homoeopathy for animals. 

Sascha grew up in Liechtenstein close to a nature reserve. He spent most of his childhood outside by the rivers, fields and woods and had many oppportunities to be in deep connection with nature. 

Dipl. Permaculture Designer in training

Permaculture Designer, Consultant and Practitioner

Nico Eberle

Nico grew up in Liechtenstein, and used to observe insects and other beings in his spare time. He is fascinated by plants and the soil in which they grow.

Nico did an apprenticeship in landscape gardening. In 2015 he got his permaculture design course certificate.

His scope of work at down to earth PERMCULTURE DESIGN

° Design and implementation of gardens
° Building of dry stone walls
° Composting
° Plant knowledge

Architect MSc ETH

Permaculture Building Planner

Ivelina Grozeva

During her studies and professional life, Ivelina has made valuable experiences in various countries spanning two continents with different (construction) cultures.

Above all, she is interested in the integrative and long-lasting design of living space, a holistic view of aspects in economy, ecology, culture, society as well as open space for creative potential development. 

Ivelina is founder and contributor of various projects at the University as well as in her community. Amongst other things she founded the permaculture community garden SeedCity on the ETH site Hönggerberg in 2010. 

She is engaged in causes for diversity, networking, alternate education and for sustainable respectful handling of intellectual and material resources. 

Ivelina would like to connect the permaculture principles with the principles of diversity in nature and society as well as with alternative education and working structures.

Her scope of teaching at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Sustainable design of living space with respect to the existing structures and local conditions
° Creative design of processes (i.e. interim solutions) and integrative planning
° Coordination of projects and strategic networking
° Formation of community and self-discovery


Nonviolent Communication Coach

Urban Permaculture Expert

Baastian Frich

Baastian earned his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2010.

He studied biology at the University of Basel and nonviolent communication with Marshall Rosenberg. 

Bastiaan is co-founder and vice-president of Urban Agriculture Basel (UANB). Bastiaan initiated and led over ten projects in the name of UANB. He started various other projects: the internationally recognized and award-winning public Permaculture Community Garden Landhof, the Lebensmittel Gemeinschaft Basel, the CSA-Nuglar project and UniGärten Basel.
He is a board member of Permaculture Switzerland, founder and president of UniGärten Basel, initiator and board member of Lebensmittel Gemeinschaft Basel and co-founder and board member of Neustart Schweiz Regio Basel. 

All these projects and experiences in building up connections together with his versatile background make him an international connector and sought after coach in human potential development.  

Bastiaan has a lot of experience in leading workshops and seminars as well as giving lectures and organizing excursions in an interactive teaching style. Furthermore, he has international experience as a coach for urban sociocultural projects. 

His scope of teaching at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Formation of alliances / formation of communities
° Process design
° Development of human potential
° Communications Training: empathy and relationships
° Urban permaculture
° Social permaculture
° Native flora / edible wild plants and how to use them
° Cycle of materials
° Natural sciences approach: physiology, biochemistry, etc.

Environmental Engineer

Permaculture Teacher

Laila Rüesch

Laila grew up on an organic vineyard in a mountain village in Ticino, Switzerland. 

During her studies to become an environmental engineer her focus was on horticulture, regional development and eco-tech. Since her study she has been involved with different projects in the fields of environmental protection and eco-tech; for example, as the project leader for the building of a plant-based purification plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
In the summer of 2012, she started the project KOMPOTOI, an ecological compost toilet rental. With Kompotoi, ecological sanitary systems will be etablished in Switzerland. 

„The power of a system lies in its diversity.“

This idea has inspired Laila for a long time and it brought her to Permaculture. To gain more knowlegde in this area, she did the Permaculture Design Course in the summer of 2013. The course gave her an overview of the many methods and approaches of Permaculture.

“Nature is my idol, so diverse and connected, that I will continue to learn from her all my life.“

Her scope of teaching at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Construction of compost toilets and recycling of human waste
° Designing and construction of plant-based purification plants
° Agriculture in mountainous regions


Electric Engineer & Artist

Permakultur Lehrer

Michael Pfenninger

In the past few years Michael has learned a lot from nature as well as from other experts in this field. In the sharing of his knowledge and experience a balance is created and allows the opportunity for something new to develop. Similiarly, this cycle of balance is aimed for in every permaculture system. 

Michael has experience in the planning, actualization, preservation and development of permaculutre projects. 

His focus is on solar technology. 

Michael lives in the Emmental, Canton Berne, Switzerland, on the Permaculture farm SonnenSchmiede and is implementing a Permaculutre System on about 4’000m2.

His scope of teaching at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Designing and building of solar dryers
° Designing and building of herb gardens
° Building of dry stone walls
° Building up of topsoil
° Terra Preta

Environmental Engineer Bsc. FH

Permaculture Teacher

Iris Hansen

Iris studied environmental engineering with her main emphasis on eco-tech, botany, silviculture and water and soil ecology. After her studies she worked for KOMPOTOI where she dealt with the development and research of treatment methods for human waste. 

To learn more about the composting process she has taken the basic course on green waste processing at educompost – Training Institute for the Recycling of Organic Materials. 

„The more I learn about how nature works, the more I am amazed about its ingenuity.“

An important concern is the closure of natural cycles and a careful handling of the earth’s resources. 

Her scope of teaching at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Consulting and planning of compost toilets
° Consulting and planning of treatment processes for domestic wastewater streams

Soil Scientist & Geographer

Permaculture Designer, Consultant and Practitioner

Tobias Messmer

Tobias studied geography and was primarily engaged in soil research, the cycle of materials as well as with the development of the landscape over the last 20’000 years. Through his travels and work in the tropical rainforests and the mountains of South America, he obtained a diverse knowledge of their eco-systems and culture. 

In 2014, he completed the Permaculture Design Course and since 2015 he is studying Permaculture Design.

For Tobias, a holistic view of nature and the role that human beings play within it is essential to his work process. For him, diversity and how everything connects are very important to the development of well functioning eco-systems. His practical experiences and his education in the natural sciences help him in the realisation of these goals.  

He lives with his family on a 5 hectare farm in Guggisberg, Switzerland, in the shared community LAHiNA. There Tobias is developing a permaculture system which will also serve as a model for sustainable farming in mountainous regions.

His scope of work at down to earth PERMACULTURE DESIGN

° Building up of topsoil
° Cycle of materials
° Permaculture in agriculture
° Social Permaculture
° Permaculture in the tropics
° Science and Permaculture


Permaculture Building Designer, Consultant and Practitioner

Daniel Wernli

Daniel completed various training courses in the field of concept design for sustainable living.
In 1993 Daniel emigrated to Malaysia where he worked on the development developing:

° Natural cooling systems for buildings without electricity; 
° Solar projects for remote villages in the jungle; 
° Self-sufficiency training for villages in Malaysia;
° Installations and implementation of aquaponic systems for self-sufficiency;
° Development of The Capsule (shared residential community with 8-16 buildings).

Since 2014 Daniel is back in Switzerland, where he founded the Green Spirit association.

Since 2015 he has been planning and building concepts for the Growing Dome. The Growing Dome makes it possible to plant and harvest vegetables 365 days a year.

In 2018 the project Kids go Green is planned. In this project, children and young people are taught practical knowledge on how to independently secure their basic needs.