Natural Building at Pine Ridge

This summer, for three weeks we will immerse ourselves in natural building at Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. You will learn to timber frame, build with cordwood, cob and straw bale on a walipini green house and a mixed media building. Dates: Aug 1-Aug 20. Price and further details to be announced. Set aside the dates on your calendar!

These structures will be built at the Oglala-Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitilization Initiative, an experimental and demonstration permaculture site on the reservation.  The greenhouse will be passively heated and cooled, and used for an experimental aquaponics system; and the straw bale building will serve many functions including classroom, housing, office, sustainable sawmill, etc. These buildings are designed to create pathways to more sustainability, self-reliance, and resilience.  We will hold three weekend workshops where you are immersed in the process, and during each week you will work on actual buildings to put your knowledge into practice.

Additionally, you will have opportunities to learn other skills such as animal care, water conservation, erosion control and more.

Housing is primitive camping, healthy meals are provided with vegan option. Limited work study positions available. Volunteer positions available through the summer.  Please sign up for our newsletter for further news on these offerings, or check back on our site!

How Good Can It Get? Social and Financial Permaculture Workshop

10-tips-on-gardening-with-kids-landscape-design-landscaping-tips-3648x2736In this unique and interactive weekend workshop, we will explore different ways that permaculture design is changing the landscape of personal economics and community.

Are you frustrated with economic changes that appear to be out of your control?

Do you sometimes feel like you’re on a hamster wheel?

Tired of rising costs with paycheck staying the same?

Have you been frustrated at how much there is to get done in one day with errands, care of the home, work, family, etc, feeling it was too much for one person?

Have you ever felt that there was a better way of doing things?

Have you thirsted for a deeper sense of belonging?

Included in this fun and eye opening workshop are a number of creative tools that give you more choices and can create more resilience in your life and in your community.

  • Time banking: how can it help free you economically

  • Cutting edge tools for creating resilient finances in your own life.

  • How we can bring and keep more wealth and resources circulating within our own communities, creating more abundance

  • Education, permaculture style – how can it help your family?

  • Simple tools we can use to build more resilient communities.

  • Conflict resolution strategies that anyone can use.

  • How can you find or create your ideal community?

  • Urban permaculture strategies – transform your community and have lots of fun doing it!

  • Local resources that can help you achieve these things

  • How you can make a change

This workshop drastically changed my viewpoint about money and got me thinking way outside the box. Koreen made some complex concepts seem so simple and understandable. I now feel that I have a lot more options than I ever knew were possible.  HM

I’ve always wanted to live in the ways described in this workshop. I was so happy to meet others who feel the same way, and to find out how people are really doing it! I feel that I could too. The warmth of the instructor and the stories she shared of how she has lived these realities added to my understanding of how any one of us could experience a better quality of life. PB

April 26-27, 9 AM – 5 PM

Moccasin Lake Park

2750 Park Trail Lane

Clearwater, FL 33755

The cost of this workshop can be credited to any future Permaculture Design Course delivered by Grow Permaculture

Cost: $195

For more information, contact Cathy

727-495-6145 or cathy@growpermaculture.com

To register via PayPal, enter workshop amount and press PayPal button toward upper right hand side of this web site

Edible Landscape Design

basil-blackberries-in-yard

This specialty course will focus on practical, step by step methods and Florida- specific techniques to create beautiful edible landscaping and edible forest gardens.  We will do a step by step design of a private residence lot, creating an abundant and sustainable edible landscape.

Learn:

  • Basic landscaping techniques such as how to use color, texture, symmetry, patterns, and seasonal adjustments

  • Edible landscaping – how to combine beautiful and useful plants

  • Right plant, right place – how to choose your plants.  We’ll go over specific plant lists and choices.  Shade loving, sun loving, winter, summer, hot, cold, year-round flowers and fruit, etc.

  • Great plant combinations

  • Microclimates – how to create them

  • Florida friendly “no-watering or low-watering needed” methods of planting

  • Growing for high yields, commercial growing in small areas

  • Putting it all together in a design

  • Implementation – staging, timing, and maintenance

  • How to keep your design looking good and staying productive with minimal upkeep (This can be the most challenging aspect because of nature’s continual changes.)

Materials provided to students:

  • Useful plant lists for zones 9 & 10

  • Weather and climate tools

  • Sector assessment tools

  • List of where to find soil building material

  • Basic landscaping tools and techniques

  • Basic drawing techniques

  • Creative techniques – how to make your design “pop”

  • How to keep it looking good

When: May 22-26 from 9am – 5pm

Where: Private residence to be announced, Tampa Bay area

cabbage2

Cabbage, Parsley, Butterfly pea, Onions

Who should take this course?

  • Landscapers who want to incorporate edible landscaping into the business

  • Community gardeners who want to beautify their gardens and neighborhoods, and increase yield

  • Homeowners who want beautiful, edible landscaping

  • Planners and designers

  • Landscape architects

  • Gardeners

  • Small farmers

  • Local foodies

  • Health conscious people

  • Slow Food afficionados

SCHEDULE:

Day 1:

Client interview

Assessing the site – water, temp, microclimates, shade/sun, other features

Basics of landscaping technique

Color, texture, height, symmetry, styles of landscaping

Day 2:

Water systems, “low watering/no watering” planting methods, simple irrigation, rainwater systems

Microclimates – how to create them in Florida

How much food can you grow on one suburban lot? What to grow for best yields, etc.

Day 3:

Field trips, seeing edible landscaping, grafting, propagation

Day 4:

parsley2

Pentas, Cilantro, Okinawa spinach, Parsley

Design charrette - Patterns of design

Water, soil, plant themes, hardscape

Details of design

Tools for water catchment/distribution

Soil combinations

Hardscape choices

Plant selection – right plant, right place; creating plant palettes

Tweaking yield

Day 5:

Installation – Sequence, timing

Maintenance – Follow up, sequential plantings, when and how

Misc – Q and A and wrap up

It is possible to attend one or more days only in certain circumstances – please inquire.


FULL PRICE: $475

EARLY BIRD, before May 1: $425

Single day rate (early bird): $85 (regular): $95

Film showings or social time in evenings.  Local community-based camping site available!

This class can accommodate only a limited number of attendees, so register early!

For more information, contact Cathy at 727-495-6145, or cathy@growpermaculture.com

To register, please pay via the Paypal button on the right off this page, just under the newsletter sign up.

Urban Permaculture Design Course Fall, 2014

1797568_415148638619958_1118291950_nThis is Grow Permaculture’s 12th internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification Course, based on Bill Mollison’s work. This course will unfold one weekend per month over seven months, from September 2014, to March 2015. Permaculture design offers regenerative techniques, tools and design principles to enable you to live abundantly while caring for the environment and the people around you. Grow food with less work and expense, create stronger economic networks, and increase your overall quality of life, while using less, and helping the environment.

By cooperating with nature and her energies, we are able to design human systems, from backyards to neighborhoods, farms or even cities to be more abundant, more long lasting, more ethical, healthier for all life in the system, and more enjoyable. It is a cutting edge approach to living that helps both people and the environment.

The course is designed to offer multiple opportunities including career mentoring and pathways, community building opportunities, resource networking, skill building, as well as what is for many, a life changing experience. The course is extended over seven months to give students maximum time to absorb the information and put it into practice. This also allows people with busy schedules to take the course.

We continue to refine and expand our curriculum based on feedback from dozens of students regarding what helps them learn best. We incorporate multiple learning styles including hands on, visual aids, immersion, lecture, interaction, and more. Our choice of materials, videos, expert speakers, field trips, focused hands on activities (that give you step by step useful skill sets), Florida-specific information, well-organized written materials, networking and career opportunities, and design tools are the result of this feedback. We live in this community and care about its future and we continue to work with graduates in the community to create something better, together.

Homes, work places, gardens, farms, communities, local economies, or cities that are designed with permaculture principles and techniques are more resilient; they use resources in a regenerative way, ensuring that we, our children and our grandchildren will have access to all the resources we need. By incorporating people care into the equation, this process becomes deeply enjoyable too. Students meet others who think like they do, and often make life long friendships during the course; some find new career or lifestyle opportunities. Be the change you would like to see, and be effective at it, by designing that change!

Some of the subjects covered include:

  • Permaculture design ethics and principles

  • Creating abundance with natural patterns

  • Organic gardening and farming

  • Grow more food with less work by working with nature

  • Edible landscaping, food in small spaces

  • Soil building

  • Designing sustainable water use

  • Greywater and rainwater catchment

  • Building food forests

  • Agroforestry and ecoagriculture

  • Aquaculture

  • Composting and vermicomposting

  • Alternative pest management

  • Natural building, regenerative building technology

  • Reducing energy costs in your home

  • Best forms of sustainable energy

  • Appropriate technology

  • Boosting your career with permaculture

  • Sustainable economies

  • Increasing quality of life through “placemaking” design

  • Community revitalization and rebuilding

  • Successful intentional communities, ecovillages and cohousing, urban and rural

Here’s what our graduates say:

This course changed my life forever. It changed the way I look at everything, and gave me tools to address problems I thought had no solutions. It reinvigorated my connection to, respect for and love of the natural world and increased my understanding of it tremendously. It made me feel powerful and able to change things rather than helpless or apathetic. It gave me hope again, a renewed purpose for life and so many tools that I never dreamed existed! It brought back magic to my life, lightness, and fun! GH
This course is the most exciting one I’ve ever attended because it’s all about finding solutions and connecting people together. JJ
I’ve had my permaculture friends tell me this course changed their life. I never understood why, or what the fuss was about, until I did the course myself. It is a paradigm shift to a much nicer and better paradigm. Don’t hesitate to do this course! DM
I really enjoyed the whole PDC experience. I knew I would, but it was even better than I had thought. I loved the detailed theoretical classes in which I learned how to build soil, how to make it faster than it would happen naturally, how plants benefit each other. I also liked the hands on experiences a lot, it made many concepts so much clearer. I enjoyed the teacher’s methods, and the warmth of the teachers’ helpers. It was a learning experience in every single level not to mention a great opportunity to meet nice people and grow.  Thanks!!! MM
I am so grateful for your instruction Koreen, truly a wonderful and transformational experience. I will treasure and put in practice the permaculture ethics & principles every day, integrating them in my immediate environment and eventually reach out to my community. Thanks again for the excellent course, honored to have your friendship and be a part of the Grow Permaculture tribe. MO
After participating in Grow Permaculture’s PDC, I feel confident that I can accurately evaluate a variety of sites and come up with integrated, sustainable designs. LB
The instructors have a wealth of knowledge and it’s clear they really want to share. I feel confidenct, after attending their PDC course, that I could make basic designs that would work well for any potential client. Knowing that they will review any plans encourages me to jump right in and design! MN

The unity of the group was awesome. The shared knowledge very inspiring. Learning this way with the hands on demonstration, I could understand more of the school. And thank you so much for all your teachings and welcoming of Dylan.  Very grateful, DM
I would highly recommend this course, taught by Koreen and her associates to anyone who has great concern for the future of this planet and the destructive path it is on. Permaculture is the solution we have all been waiting for. As permaculturists, “We are the ones we have been waiting for” to save ourselves from ourselves. Koreen is incredibly knowledgeable and has experienced many areas of the world first hand. If you have been feeling at a loss and discouraged this is your last chance to educate yourself as if the earth herself were revealing her deepest secrets on how you can help her. This is what permaculture is. Grow Permaculture far exceeded my expectations, even after years of experience working with organic gardening methods already. This is just the tip of the iceberg on how much is available for you to learn as you will find out. The depth of how very differently agriculture and water managment and land useage really need to be can’t be stressed enough. SK
Thank you very much for this amazing course. The setting was ideal. The fact of being able to practice on real ground was invaluable. The presentation was very lively and instructive and really opened my eyes on how good design takes care of both the earth, the people and creates a surplus without waste. I love permaculture principles and how thoroughly and thoughful they are and how caring. JB
I am Graduate of Grow Permaculture’s Permaculture Design Course. I am very impressed with the quality and professionalism that I experienced during the course. I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It was a great balance of theory and practical training. I feel very prepared and confident going forward with the new knowledge I have. I have made some very big improvements in the way my company conducts business. Our business is all about tree preservation & creating a healthier planet. I acquired the knowledge and ability to create a “truly” regenerative company. I am very grateful for the expert knowledge, compassion and competence of my teacher & Mentor, Koreen. Thank you for creating a better planet one student at a time. NN
The value of this course is worth far more than its cost. The knowledge gained is really priceless. There is so much information provided that is life changing and really valuable. I was told that I can save more than the cost of the course if I use only a portion of the information provided. This was true, but what wasn’t said is that I got something from it that is really hard to put a price on which is life long friends, and a new, creative view about life. CS

Who Takes This Permaculture Design Course?

  • Artists

  • Do it yourselfers

  • Educators – homeschool, teachers, professors

  • Gardeners

  • Green architects/builders

  • Green consultants

  • Homesteaders

  • Landscapers

  • Natural health practitioners

  • Non-profit/community organizers

  • People who care about the earth and each other

  • People who love healthy food

  • Permaculturists

  • Policy makers

  • Professionals (of many types)

  • Recent college graduates

  • Students

  • Urban and rural farmers

  • Vegan, raw food, slow food, and/or local food

  • Yoga practitioners

Permaculture Design Course

Moccasin Lake Nature Park

2750 Park Trail Lane

Clearwater, FL 33759

727-793-2976

Saturdays and Sundays

Seven Weekends over Seven Months

Beginning on September 27, 2014, ending March 29, 2015

9 AM to 5 PM

Special Early Bird rate will go toward our volunteer work at Pine Ridge reservation:

$900 by April 30, 2014

To register for entire course or individual weekends

Call Cathy at 727-495-6145 or write cathy@growpermaculture.com

Or Register via PayPal on right side of this web site near the top of the site.

Benefit Corporations – are they a solution?

What if corporations had to prove they were having a net and material positive impact on society and the environment?

A Benefit, or “B” Corporation status is a relatively new legal structure for public corporations available in some, but not all states. It addresses some of the most problematic corporate law that encourages businesses to operate criminally. It isn’t a full solution but a step in the right direction. “The  purpose of a benefit corporation is to create general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment.” (Wikepedia)

What if all corporations had to demonstrate twice yearly in a questionnaire that their operations were having a material positive impact on society and the environment?  What if shareholders had to demand that of the company they invested in?

This is a paradigm shift from the current model, where shareholders can and do sue companies that put people or the planet ahead of next quarter’s profits.

Of course, material positive impact is a relative term. But B Lab, the non-profit behind the creation of B Corporate structure appears serious about addressing environmental and social issues. http://www.bcorporation.net/

This legal structure allows corporations who feel that people and planet are important to make a public statement about that. It also protects them from greedy shareholders who could cut across the ability of the company to make positive environmental and social decisions if it affects profits.

The concept of passive investors who do nothing but rake in profits and who feel entitled to as many profits as possible needs to be seriously questioned. It is not a sustainable paradigm because it rewards and encourages criminal behavior from many angles.  But Benefit Corporations are a step in the right direction. And well known companies such as Patagonia and Ben and Jerrys are taking the lead.

http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=68413

Another relatively new legal structure, for privately held companies, is the L3C.  A gradient step between for profit and non profit corporations, this structure allows a privately held, for profit company to accept money from both investors and grants/foundations.  It is a “low profit” corporation, operating much as a non profit, but retaining for profit abilities. This structure was created to meet the needs of “social entrepreneurs” who run businesses that have positive social and environmental purposes.

All in all, it’s good to see some people in the business community working to come up with solutions to existing structures that encourage destructive, irresponsible and criminal behavior. Much more work is needed, in every sector.

Detailed breakdown of dates and topics for Spring 2014 PDC

Below you will find a schedule and some of the highlights that we will cover for each weekend. We provide glossaries, outlines, additional written materials, self-testing material, videos and more, to assist you to access and absorb the information. Please note that there are sometimes changes in this line up based on needs of students/instructor availability (we have sometimes had surprise visits by veteran designers for instance).

Weekend One

Permaculture principles, patterns and design

9 AM to 5 PM

February 22-23, 2014

  • Learn to work with nature, instead of against her

  • Apply permaculture principles and design in any setting or circumstance

  • Recognize and use the patterns of nature to increase abundance

  • Get practical tools that can be immediately applied to your life to increase abundance and quality of life

  • Hands on design techniques – zones, assessments, sectors, mapping, and more

  • We will cover an overview of the scope of what permaculture is and what it can do for your life and your community

The first morning of this course is FREE!

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

www.growpermaculture.com

Weekend Two

Secrets of the natural world – energy patterns of trees, water, land

March 15-16, 2014

9 AM – 5 PM

  • Special guest instructor, Jono Neiger

  • How to bring the magic of nature into every aspect of an urban environment through conscious design

  • Think like an ecosystem

  • Climates, strategies for temperate, drylands, tropical, subtropical and changing weather patterns

  • Rainwater catchment and sustainable water use

  • The transactions of trees – mimic the powerful energy transactions of trees in your design

  • Simple  secrets of building soils – how to grow lush, healthy plants anywhere

  • Broadscale applications with water and soil – transforming the landscape

  • Hands on techniques for preparing your land for regenerative abundance

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

or go to www.growpermaculture.com

Weekend Three

Growing food sustainably and abundantly

Work with nature instead of against her to create abundant organic gardens

and “food forests” that need little work to maintain.

March 22-23, 2014.

9 AM – 5 PM

  • The one and only Farm Day at ECHO Farms! Explore this permaculture wonderland with teacher/mentor guides.

  • How to grow food in Florida, the easy way, from seed to harvest

  • Jump-starting a food supply – feed yourself within one season

  • Integrated pest management (organic)

  • How to design and build a Florida friendly forest garden – plant lists, guilds, step by step implementation, propagation, low-water and no-water techniques, and more

  • Animals in a permaculture system

  • Hands on techniques

  • Container gardening, aquaculture, urban farming, agroforestry, small integrated farms, making a living by growing food

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

or go to www.growpermaculture.com

Field Trips and Hands-On Activities

See what is going on locally that will impact our future, get hands on experience,

and define careers and purpose.

Dates – TBA

  • Get into the garden and plant! Hands on intensive will assist you to integrate classroom learning.

  • See examples of permaculture in action.

  • See “green” buildings, organic farms, etc, and get feedback from experts on how to improve the designs using permaculture principles.

Weekend Four

The built environment and appropriate technology

April 5-6, 2014

9 AM – 5 PM

  • Wrap up of food forestry specifics – designing, plant choices, etc.

  • Learn to retrofit your built environment to reduce costs and help the environment

  • Ctting edge “green building” and how to solve problems of the built environment yourself with creative, low cost or no cost solutions.

  • Natural building techniques

  • Alternative energy and technology

  • Appropriate tech workshop – solar power, rocket stoves, and more

  • Putting it all together – integrating the off grid homestead for maximum production

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

or go to www.growpermaculture.com

Weekend Five

    Financial and social permaculture – invisible structures

April 26-27, 2014

9 AM – 5 PM

  • Creating a regenerative local economy

  • Alternative approaches to creating abundance – how and why do time banks, local currencies, etc, work?

  • Business and community guilds; how to create abundance through connection

  • Social, economic and energy aspects of city and town life – practical solutions that work

  • Urban design – visible and invisible structure design for the specific challenges in cities and towns

  • Community building strategies and social permaculture

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

or go to www.growpermaculture.com

Weekend Six

Saturday: Disaster permaculture – creating resilient systems, where do we go from here?

Design presentations

May 17-18, 2014

9 AM – 5 PM

  • Efficient ways to create more resilience for yourself, family and community.

  • Design for disaster – key elements to understand.

  • Where do we go from here? Options and resources.

  • Sunday: Really Free Market, design presentations, and afterparty

To register for this or all weekends, call Cathy Bersier at 727-495-6145

or go to www,growpermaculture.com

Permaculture Design Course Instructors

Permaculture in Cuba

Roberto Perez, Cuban permaculturist and spokesperson in the film  The Power of Community will be speaking at two locations in South Florida on August 14 and 15.
Roberto will be sharing some of the successes of permaculture in Cuba. For instance,  Havana has an extremely successful urban agriculture network that feeds more than 1/2 of the people in the city.
Roberto will also speak about the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba in November. These events will help raise funds for worthy individuals to attend the convergence.
Born in Havana in 1970, Roberto Perez is the Environmental Education & Biodiversity Conservation Program Director of the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, the oldest environmental organization in Cuba.  A graduate of the University of Havana with a degree in Biological Sciences, he later did post graduate specialization in Community Based Natural Resources Management at the University of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Roberto has been part of the Cuban Permaculture movement since its introduction in the country in 1993 after the so called “Special Period”, caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union when Cuba lost access to oil, fertilizers, pesticides, and virtually all trading partners that the small island nation depended on to survive, facing economic collapse overnight.  Roberto has traveled extensively presenting Cuba’s approach to sustainable living in the face of declining petroleum and other non-renewable resources.
As part of the Cuban Organizing Group for the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence in November, Roberto is touring the U.S. in support of scholarships for IPC11 attendees from sometimes cash poor, but skill rich countries and USA , wanting to attend and share their work & projects with other Permaculturists from around the world.
Traditionally International Permaculture Convergences take place every 2 years and switch between continents & hemispheres.  Past host sites have been Australia, USA, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Nepal, Croatia, Brazil, Africa & most recently Jordan in the Middle East.

cuba

Grow Permaculture presents:

Roberto Perez, Cuban permaculturist and spokesperson in the film ” The Power of Community” will be speaking at two beautiful locations in South Florida on August 14 and 15.

Roberto will be sharing some of the successes of permaculture in Cuba. For instance,  Havana has an extremely successful urban agriculture network that feeds more than 1/2 of the people in the city.

Roberto will also speak about the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence in Cuba in November. These events will help raise funds for worthy individuals to attend the convergence.

Born in Havana in 1970, Roberto Perez is the Environmental Education & Biodiversity Conservation Program Director of the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, the oldest environmental organization in Cuba.  A graduate of the University of Havana with a degree in Biological Sciences, he later did post graduate specialization in Community Based Natural Resources Management at the University of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Roberto has been part of the Cuban Permaculture movement since its introduction in the country in 1993 after the so called “Special Period”, caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union when Cuba lost access to oil, fertilizers, pesticides, and virtually all trading partners that the small island nation depended on to survive, facing economic collapse overnight.  Roberto has traveled extensively presenting Cuba’s approach to sustainable living in the face of declining petroleum and other non-renewable resources.

As part of the Cuban Organizing Group for the upcoming International Permaculture Convergence in November, Roberto is touring the U.S. in support of scholarships for IPC11 attendees from sometimes cash poor, but skill rich countries and USA , wanting to attend and share their work & projects with other Permaculturists from around the world.

Traditionally International Permaculture Convergences take place every 2 years and switch between continents & hemispheres.  Past host sites have been Australia, USA, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Nepal, Croatia, Brazil, Africa & most recently Jordan in the Middle East.

Aug 14, 7 PM
Zen Village
zenvillage.org
2570 Main Hwy, Miami
$10-20 sliding scale

Aug 15, 7 PM
Treehugger Organic Farm (a permaculture farm)
https://www.facebook.com/TreeHuggerFarms
1975 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, Fl
$10-20 sliding scale

For more info, write info@growpermaculture.com

Kickstarter campaign for Pine Ridge

We’re doing another Kickstarter campaign for Pine Ridge this year to pay for irrigation, fixing up housing and a number of other projects we have ongoing. See our photos, stories and more at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/892430421/permablitz-for-pine-ridge-reservation-2013. Our intention is to contribute to the creation of food and water sovereignty, healthy shelter and alternative energy  on the reservation.

Pine Ridge reservation food forests

It’s almost May, there is two feet of snow in the swales we dug in 2011 at Pine Ridge, and we might get there this year just in time to hit yet another snow storm.  But we have plenty of blankets and layers; we have shovels and other tools; we’re bringing up some hard to get plants in a trailer; we’re going to plant 500 trees there this year. Plus get a beehive going, create some rainwater catchment, fill a pond, and anything else we have the resources and manpower to complete.

Food forests at Pine Ridge reservation are full of metaphor. The Lakota have experienced a long history of  sabotage of their food supply.  Pine Ridge has recently declared itself sovereign.  There is a place in that for the seven generation food and water security that can be created by a food forest.  Food forests can create calm amidst storm; they are resilient for generations.

There is a spirit to Pine Ridge that keeps us coming back for more. It’s hard to describe. People have tried. You have to read between the lines to see it, without going there yourself and experiencing it.

As we are getting ready for our yearly trip, we started thinking about some of the highlights of last year’s journey in May of 2012.

About how the badlands looked with the sun setting on them when we were driving from Rapid City to Thunder Valley with a car stuffed so full of plants it felt like a jungle in there.

How the wind blew so hard one day you could stand at a 45 degree angle and not fall down and how we still dug trench and laid irrigation, leaning sideways. It was kind of fun. You could yell and the wind would take your voice somewhere into the next field, but the person next to you couldn’t hear you too well.

How the wind blew kept blowing so hard it shredded not one, but two of my tents! Both of them! And then someone just gave me a tent out of the blue. Which was low profile, thankfully (I know this secret well, having spent a month with my high profile tent wall resting on my face whenever the wind blew, the first year I stayed there – it miraculously did not shred or break). I had loaned my low profile to someone else so was using one of those high profile family sized jobs that someone loaned me – which does not work at Pine Ridge – do not bring!  LOL. Do not bring!

How the high school group that was there helping us dig trench in the sleet (yes, it sleeted and froze after the frost date of May 15, and after we planted tomatoes for Kimilelee that all died :-( got smart and used their cars and vans as wind breaks for their tents. They made a guild, while we, on the other hand, were scattered about like random, forlorn fruit trees with no skirt or blanket, or like stranger cats at opposite ends of the yard with their backs turned on each other in a snow storm.  (Pine Ridge kind of has a way of making you want to enjoy all that wide open prairie space, so we pitch our tents all over the field and embrace the weather)

How most of the volunteers who said they would come, didn’t show up, and we ended up with between three and six (at various times) super intrepid tree-hole-digging souls who we will love forever and ever. :-D

How I walked the field where we planted hundreds of honey locusts the year before, that didn’t get any water because the water tank broke, and they were still alive – I saw their buds just starting to come out and jumped and danced around them for joy.

How we helped set up the garden at the jail and planted  a bunch of golden currants for a border and I’m thinking, I gotta come back when these are in season and taste at least just one because I’ve never had one. How intrigued I am by the berries that grow in colder climates that I’ve never tried!

How we stopped at a grocery store on the reservation and they had three shelves of white bread, and the only fresh food was one orange and one apple. And the closest place to buy fresh or organic food is 100 miles away in Rapid City.

How much the kids loved watering the plants.

How big the sky is, how many stars you can see, and how the 80 mile 360 degree clear view of the lands from Slim Butte looks.

How Bryan from Oglala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative always comes up with these brilliant engineering ideas for things he has never dealt with before, but he just “sees” it, and how he then turns around and comes up with a brilliant idea for some issue in the community – such a well rounded genius.

How so many people helped us – how Dave Jacke sent us some awesome food forest plants, how Oikos and Bountiful Gardens donated some beautiful trees and bushes, how people who don’t know us from Adam believed in us and made it happen (and we could not have done nearly as much as we did without all of that).

How children were gently helped and encouraged to be a part of everything and how the kids had some serious skill sets at pretty young ages.

How Nick and Scott took people who came to visit Thunder Valley out back to the food forest to eat leaves off the linden tree, just to see their expression. J

How they were so helpful – how they got somebody out to dig a pond on really short notice, and how they made it happen to move and plant four 170 pound trees and how enthusiastic and engaged in creating resilience on the reservation.  And how big the scope and breadth of their dream is.

How hard working and dedicated Shannon from Earth Tipi is, how much she has gotten done and she is still going.

How we would look up from digging and planting trees and there would be a horse at full gallop with a bareback rider, streaming by in the ditch. Or we were driving home one day and there was a Lakota in full headdress, riding down the highway bareback on a horse.

How, when we’re planting the butternut trees, we’re thinking – these trees will be here ten generations from now, still bearing food. We’re thinking of how the soil will be built over time, the temperatures modified, the wind calmed in the leaves. And how that center of calm  abundance can spread outward once it is established.

How beautiful the apple tree buds looked when they started coming out. And how alive all the plants looked, and what a nice mix of plants we were able to get: serviceberries, nanking cherries, goldenberries, butternuts, cold tolerant pecans, hazels, three kinds of apple, pear, plum, apricot, goji berry, gooseberry, raspberries, buffalo berry, Siberian pea shrub, lilac, linden, pine, cottonwood, honey locust.

How one day when we were exhausted and still had lots of stuff to plant, and wondering how we got ourselves into this. We get out of the car, and a bald eagle circles above us three times, pretty low so we could see all the colors and feathers and his expression, and then soars off to the east. And we wondered in a different way then, and got to work.

Urban Permaculture Design Certificate Course 2013 – Tampa Bay

The course will be taught during 6 weekends over 6 months:
July 13-14,
Aug 10-11,
Sep 21-22,
Oct 19-20,
Nov 16-17,
and Dec 14-15.
Learn to design your life to be regenerative and abundant at the beautiful Moccasin Lake Nature Park in Clearwater FL.
Instructed by Koreen Brennan, designer and teacher.

Welcome to our 2013 Urban Permaculture Design Course!

Urban PDC 2013 - Tampa Bay

We are offering a six month in-depth permaculture design course with career pathways, tools for sustainable living, hands on, apprenticeship potential, field trips, course materials and more. There is still time to get involved!

What is Permaculture Design?

Permaculture is conscious design of sustainable human systems of any size or complexity, from the backyard to watershed and beyond.  In permaculture, we work with nature, rather than against her, to increase abundance and long-term survival potential for humans and for other life forms. Permaculture is the art and design of conscious living for the greater good.

In this course you will learn:

  • Sustainable design techniques
  • Organic gardening
  • Grow more food with less work by working with nature
  • Edible landscape design
  • Soil building
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Greywater and rainwater catchment
  • Bioswale building
  • Food forests
  • Agroforestry and ecoagriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Composting and vermicomposting
  • Alternative pest management
  • Urban, suburban and rural sustainable living strategies
  • Natural Building
  • Retrofitting the urban environment – your home, your community
  • Best forms of sustainable energy
  • Appropriate technology
  • Successful careers in permaculture
  • Sustainable economics
  • Intentional communities
  • Community building
  • Regional/Local Community Revitalization
  • and more

Over 100 hours of instruction to receive an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. This course exceeds the requirements laid out by Bill Mollison for a 72 hour permaculture design certificate course.


Further, we offer optional field trips and/or project based activities on alternative weekends, in addition to the hands on, community building, teamwork, fieldwork, and other instruction during the course. The extra weekend schedules will be posted soon so you can mark your calendars. There will also be hands on apprenticeship design opportunities available while the course is ongoing. Career counseling and business building opportunities are also available. We want you to be successful using regenerative design.
Because the vast majority of people live in urban or suburban environments currently, our focus is on urban and suburban solutions. We are excited about the potential of all forms of permaculture in an urban environment. We are also versed in permaculture techniques for acreage and offer a well rounded course with an emphasis on urban solutions.
One of the things that many of our graduates say they love about the course is the connections they make; we believe that is an important part of a live Permaculture Design Course and so we work to create opportunities for creating beneficial connections, not just with course students but with the broader community as part of the course structure.

Course dates:

  • July 13-14, 2013
  • Aug 10-11, 2013
  • Sep 21-22, 2013
  • Oct 19-20, 2013
  • Nov 16-17, 2013
  • Dec 14-15, 2013

Note: If you missed our July session, we have another class on July 28, plus on line materials, that will allow you to join this course on August 10th.

Course Location:

Moccasin Lake Nature Preserve
2750 Park Trail Lane
Clearwater, FL 33755

Who Takes This Permaculture Design Course?

  • Artists
  • Do it yourselfers
  • Educators – homeschool, teachers, professors
  • Gardeners
  • Green architects/builders
  • Green consultants
  • Homesteaders
  • Landscapers
  • Natural health practitioners
  • Non-profit/community organizers
  • People who care about the earth and each other
  • People who love healthy food
  • Permaculturists
  • Policy makers
  • Professionals (of many types)
  • Recent college graduates
  • Students
  • Urban and rural farmers
  • Vegans and people interested in, raw food, slow food, and/or local food
  • Yoga practitioners

Course Prices

  • $1100 – Full Price
  • Payment plan available
To register, type in the appropriate dollar amount and click the PayPal button “Buy Now” on the right hand side of this web page under Purchase Courses.

For more information, payment plans, or work-study info, contact Cathy at 727-495-6145 or or email info@growpermaculture.com

We also accept time bank hours – for more info ask the Tampa Bay Time Bank

Limited seating: a non-refundable deposit ($200) will hold your seat for the full class.

Through the entire course, you will receive over 100 hours of instruction, however, for this course, 72 hours -in the course room – are required to qualify for a Permaculture Design Certificate. Any missed class will be available online for you to catch up in case you cannot attend one of the weekends.

Deposits and payments are non-refundable and will be applied toward future courses and/or services only.

Course Instructors:

Koreen Brennan – owner at Grow Permaculture – is the lead instructor for this course. Click here to see her bio.

Koreen will be assisted by the following guest experts and teachers:
  • Robert Kluson, Extension Service – soil scientist specializing in sustainable food production in Florida soils, will take us on a journey into the earth
  • Jungle Jay, archeologist, permaculture designer, adventurer, inventor and artist will take us on a hands on appropriate technology journey
  • Bryan Roberts, green builder and designer extraordinaire will share his amazing and creative solutions for retrofitting the urban environment
  • Marie Nelson, PhD, financial permaculture expert will share powerful economic tools of permaculture
Reminder: To register, type in the appropriate dollar amount and click the PayPal button “Buy Now” on the right hand side of this web page under ”Purchase Courses”.

Testimonials:

“This course changed my life forever. It changed the way I look at everything, and gave me tools to address problems I thought had no solutions. It reinvigorated my connection to, respect for and love of the natural world and increased my understanding of it tremendously. It made me feel powerful and able to change things rather than helpless or apathetic. It gave me hope again, a renewed purpose for life and so many tools that I never dreamed existed! It brought back magic to my life, lightness, and fun!”

“Realization: Permaculture is a thought process that can be applied to all systems.”

“This course is the most exciting one I’ve ever attended because it’s all about finding solutions and connecting people together.”

“I found this course to be very intense and comprehensive. At first it was a bit overwhelming but the key points were repeated over and over as the course progressed. About half way thru the pieces started to fit together. Then we got lots of real universe examples of existing permaculture famrs and installations. Discussion made me start to think about application and discern the successful from the less or non-successful.”

“The comprehensive dovetailing of skills, data and disciplines which then got used to create a design came together so beautifully – I know I can do this now.
It’s like a giant puzzle that you work and work till all the pieces fit . It changed my thinking and made me so much more aware. I believe that I am more responsible, aware and empowered from knowing what I now know.  And there’s hope for the future.
I also feel I have met my GROUP!  The friendships and contacts I’ve made on this course will be for a lifetime. “

“I’ve had my permaculture friends tell me this course changed their life. I never understood why, or what the fuss was about, until I did the course myself. It is a paradigm shift to a much nicer and better paradigm. Don’t hesitate to do this course!”

“I would highly recommend this course, taught by Koreen and her associates to anyone who has great concern for the future of this planet and the destructive path it is on.”

“Permaculture is the solution we have all been waiting for. As permaculturists, “We are the ones we have been waiting for” to save ourselves from ourselves. Koreen is incredibly knowledgeable and has experienced many areas of the world first hand.
If you have been feeling at a loss and discouraged this is your last chance to educate yourself as if the earth herself were revealing her deepest secrets on how you can help her.
This is what permaculture is.
Grow Permaculture far exceeded my expectations, even after years of experience working with organic gardening methods already.”

“I really enjoyed the whole PDC experience. I knew I would, but it was even better than I had thought. I loved the detailed theoretical classes in which I learned how to build soil, how to make it faster than it would happen naturally, how plants benefit each other. I also liked the hands on experiences a lot, it made many concepts so much clearer. I enjoyed the teacher’s methods, and the warmth of the teachers’ helpers. It was a learning experience in every single level not to mention a great opportunity to meet nice people and grow.  Thanks!!!”


Grow Permaculture is a professional permaculture design organization that does consulting, design work, and education for a variety of projects. We partner in a cooperative permaculture nursery, and with an arborist who specializes in saving trees. We create guilds with community, business and other human elements as well as with trees. We are active with the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Project in St. Petersburg, and also engaged in major volunteer projects such as permaculture systems at Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, a children’s food forest in St Petersburg, community gardens, and were extensively involved in disaster permaculture efforts after the Haiti earthquake.  We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to co-create an intentional community and weave beneficial connection into the fabric of everything, regenerating human culture and the natural world in the process.

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