Applied Permaculture Design
Taking you out of the classroom and into the landscape, our focus is hands-on learning. We immerse ourselves in the soil, the plants, and the animals (our best teachers). We learn to hone our observation skills and collaborate to create a personal and empowering learning environment. (You will probably forget you are learning!) Some topics we will dig into are
- Permaculture Design
- Ethics and Principals
- Invisible Systems
- Appropriate Technology
- Green Building
- Community Building
Small Farm Production and Management
This program is hosted by a working permaculture farm and homestead that allows us the opportunity to “share the surplus” and support our local community with high quality food and other products from the land. These skills are an empowering part of this education program, allowing you to extend your knowledge and skills out into the community and see the return. You will see firsthand the possibilities and challenges involved in developing and maintaining productive integrated systems.
- Farming skills
- Land stewardship
- Farming using simple technology
- Sustainable urban farming techniques
- Harvest and market preparation
- Homestead butchering
- Green housing
- Culinary Herbs
- Fruit & Vegetables
The compassionate and grateful exchange of resources made possible by living with, caring for and communicating with our domesticated animal communities.
You will learn basic animal care, animal social dynamics, how to listen and identify calls and communications, how to communicate through calls and behaviors, to observe foraging choices, to honor the complexity of social structures, and how family units strengthen the health and survivability of the group.
We will be working with small animal systems and the benefits they provide:
- Icelandic sheep: working with primitive breeds from birth to yarn.
- American Buff Geese: how to use birds for weeding and mowing.
- Muscovy Ducks: meat production from your lawn.
- Khaki Campbell Ducks: making eggs from slugs and snails.
- Turkeys: meat production and pest management
- Bees: pollination and honey from a Perone hive
- Bella and Miss Mew: keeping down the mice and watching for the UPS man, very important farm jobs.
Fiber Production and Processing
Our small herd of Icelandic sheep shed their wool in spring allowing us to hand harvest it using a traditional method called rooing that has been practiced in northern Europe for many centuries. We will work together to process the fiber that will be sold in the fall to hand spinners.
- Hand harvesting wool
- Sorting and washing
- Picking and carding
- Explorations into knitting, felting, crochet, and weaving
- Felted pelts
Perennial and Annual Food Production
“I want to grow my own food” is a powerful statement. Have you ever wondered why our culture has lost our most basic homesteading skills, and how you can acquire the knowledge needed to live a simple sustainable lifestyle? Here at the farm school we are passionate about giving you back those skills and the confidence to teach others what you know. It’s not enough to grow our own food. We need to empower our neighbors and our children so they will not have to ask where there food comes from; They will know.
- Growing a garden for personal food production
- Orchard management and guild planting
- Cultivating herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes
- Hot and cold composting
- Soil building/fertility farming
- Seed saving
- Perennializing annual crops
- Extending the season
- Water sequestration
- Greenhouse production
- sustainable harvesting
- polyculture planting
Working with Local Plants
In our gardens we work with, not against our local plant populations. We will teach you how to reduce weeding time, increase fertility, and improve your diet using the plants that grow all around you.
- The value of weeds: “chop and drop” composting in place and living fertilizer
- Partnering with local weed systems to benefit your garden and diet
- Living mulch
- The 80/20 rule of weeding
- How to create a ‘Hit List’
- Uses of native plants and plant identification
“Eat what you grow, and grow what you eat” my mom would say. In our northern cold climate we have more to eat in the summer and fall and less in the winter so let’s “put it up”! We will teach you new & traditional ways to preserve your harvest so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor year round.
- Root cellar storage
Passing on the chain of knowledge from generation to generation
There are many beautiful traditional skills that have been passed down from generation to generation, and many that have been lost and reclaimed. Our lives are full of books, internet, videos and podcasts but it desperately lacks mentors, and hands on experiences guided by practitioners & skill masters. Like the old man next door who could show you how to hold that ax a little looser and to adjust your feet to make the job easier. We want to be that guide that can help you turn your knowledge into mastery, to own the skills and to be able to pass them along to the next generation
- Proper use and care of tools
- Knife sharpening
- Rope making
- Building with sticks
- Harvesting the woods
- Working with hand tools
- Natural building
- A-frame level/micro swales
- Wood chopping and kindling
- And other tricks of the trade
Living in Community
All of us bring knowledge and wisdom with us as we come together in community. We learn by teaching and we increase our knowledge base when we share our stories. Building community and creating a sense of place is important to building this new cultural paradigm and it comes from within. So please come share and build with us.
- Sharing knowledge
- Sharing meals
- Fire gatherings
- Music and singing
- Story telling
- Leaving it better than you found it
- Growing space for others
Please keep in mind our spring and fall terms come with unique opportunities as the natural cycles of the seasons change.