Ecology & Mindfulness Retreat

Loading Map....

Date(s): Jun. 12, 2015 - Jun. 19, 2015
Language: English

Upper Hamlet - Plum Village

“Sustainability, Mindfulness and Community Living”: A Plum Village Happy Farm Retreat

Happy Farm FlowerInterested in organic farming, permaculture, mindfulness practice, community living, and sustainability?

Interested in feeling the Earth in your hands, peeling a carrot gently and mindfully, working and living together in the spirit of Sisterhood and Brotherhood?

We are delighted to welcome you to the first Plum Village Happy Farm Retreat with the theme Practicing with Sustainability.

Many of us have meditated on and have longed for a more sustainable lifestyle and a way to reduce our ecological footprint, yet we’re unsure how to proceed in the face of the current consumption-oriented and materialistic way of life. Sustainability must begin with us, our daily life and habits if it is to help alleviate the dire condition of our fragile planet. This requires training.

happy farm 13During this retreat we will take time to explore different notions of “sustainability.” Against the backdrop of the newly established Plum Village Happy Farm, and using the experience of sustainable farming as an example, we invite you to contemplate “deep sustainability” with us, to move beyond the notion of sustainability as a technological problem to sustainability as a spiritual challenge, as a training in mindfulness and as a practice in daily life, rather than just a notion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe will cultivate the energy of mindfulness throughout the day, while we are sitting, walking, eating, cooking, working, farming, and sharing.

We will also learn how to create a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood as we practice, work and live together in community. In addition, we will have a chance to share with and hear from monastic Dharma teachers, Happy Farmers and interns about walking the winding path toward living more sustainably.

We believe that sustainability is not only about implementing energy-saving, alternative technologies, eating organic foods, or driving a hybrid car – as important and beneficial as these steps are.

Happy Farm hay fork We will discover how sustainability is, at its heart, about cultivating an inner attitude of peace, mindfulness and presence which allows us to discover the many conditions for happiness already available to us in the here and now, and to gradually stop running after ever more things and experiences.

Whether you are interested in deep sustainability, organic farming or living in community, we welcome you to this wonderful gathering.

No prior experience in mindfulness or farming is required. Everyone is welcome.

>>Proceed to Registration


Son Ha bonsaiThis retreat will explore the following themes:

Caring for Oneself – mindfulness training

Caring for Others – relationships, community, and communication

Caring for Farm, Earth in a sustainable way – Interbeing with our true nature


Retreat activities will include:

Sitting meditation, walking meditation, farming meditation, eating meditation, cooking mindfully, dharma sharing, deep relaxation, yoga and chi kong and exercise and collective games.


The Teachings in this retreat will include presentations on:

  • Beginning Anew – the art of loving & mindful communication
  • The Five Mindfulness Trainings as a sustainable practice of love to Mother Earth
  • “Experience of bringing mindfulness into the start up and running of a working environment at the Happy Farm” (with Daniel D. and Stuart W.)
  • Designing a permaculture food forest (with Daniel D.)


This retreat will be led by Monastic Dharma Teachers and Happy Farmers, including:


Daniel Dermitzel

Daniel Dermitzel

A native of Germany, Daniel moved to Los Angeles in 1988 and pursued a career in broadcast journalism. In 1999, after nearly a year of traveling through Asia, Daniel moved to Missouri to co-found Trailside Farm, a small, organic vegetable farm. In 2005 Daniel co-founded the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture (now Cultivate Kansas City) to teach urban farming and promote sustainable neighborhoods.

Daniel holds a graduate degree in Urban Planning and has taught courses in planning, sustainability and urban agriculture at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. In 2012-13 he spent a year in Plum Village to help establish Happy Farm.

Daniel’s current interests include the social and spiritual dimensions of sustainability, including mindfulness, community living, peace-building, mediation and restorative justice.


Stuart Watson

Stuart Watson

Originally from Scotland, Stuart has spent the last 7 years living in the Upper Hamlet of Plum Village. He came here for the Winter Retreat in 2007, having completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy, and has enjoyed living here ever since. The past four years he has supplemented the nourishment of Sangha life by growing vegetables for the community.

Inspired by sustainability and bringing mindfulness into working environments Stuart was fortunate to be part of the team which established the Happy Farm. He is now proud to be the coordinator of the project. When he is not weeding onions he likes cooking, playing music and running marathons. Stuart ordained into the order of inter-being in 2009 with the name True Path of Loving Kindness.


Recommended readings:

You may like to prepare for this retreat by reading up on sustainable living and farming. You may also like to look at these books by our Teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh:

Available at Parallax Press: Love Letter to the Earth, Joyfully Together, Mindfulness KitThe World We Have


Registration is now open

Follow the Happy Farm on Facebook 
facebook logo

Happy farm logo 2