October 23 – Nov 4, 2018 – Intensive Permaculture Design Course – Our Permaculture Farm, Brooksville.

Our fall Intensive Permaculture Design Course will be held Oct 23-Nov 4, 2017. It is our 21st design course.

This is an intensive two week course held at our permaculture farm north of Tampa about 20 minutes from Weeki Wachee, FL. Students will have the opportunity to participate with and observe permaculture systems installation and operate in an immersive environment, including appropriate tech, innovative greenhouse solutions, perennial food systems, animals, solar and more. This is a small, diverse farm with many different elements and examples of permaculture that can be translated to a wide variety of settings, urban or rural. The course will address strategies and techniques for both urban and rural areas in different climates and circumstances. We will be midst setting up new food production systems and water catchment systems during the course (with our staff and volunteer crew) and students will have the opportunity for daily hands on involvement with a number of farm tasks and ongoing installations.

The farm is located in a unique sandhill pine-oak ecosystem in Florida. We have many beautiful oak and pine trees on the site, native wildlife including protected species, and wild edibles such as pawpaws, wild cherry, and dewberries. We have many beautiful parks nearby including springs that manatees visit regularly, rivers, bike trails, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Instructors: Koreen Brennan, Steve Szmidt others TBA.

Location:

Our Permaculture Farm
11251 Salina St
Brooksville, FL 34614

There will be a one day field trip Oct 22, and there will be apprenticeship opportunities after the training, for those who would like to delve more deeply into applying what they’ve learned.

For people who may have difficulty spending all 13 days on the design course, we have options to let you catch up on some days.

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. Permaculture is a cutting edge approach to living that helps both people and the environment.

The training 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. We will offer written materials and study aids and exercises before the course and urge students to use them, as you will get much more out of the course. If you complete these materials, you will receive three days’ credit and can attend 9 days only.

Some of the subjects covered include:

Permaculture design ethics and principles

Master planning and site analysis
Reading the landscape
Pattern recognition in nature and society
Organic, intensive gardening and farming
Edible landscaping, food in small spaces
Soil building
Composting and vermicomposting
Designing sustainable water use
Water harvesting and greywater techniques
Building food forests
Agroforestry and ecoagriculture
Aquaculture
Alternative pest management
Natural building, regenerative building technology
Reducing energy costs in your home
Best forms of alternative energy
Appropriate technology including solar
Self-reliant living, urban and rural strategies
Boosting your career with permaculture
Sustainable economies
Increasing quality of life through “placemaking” design
Community revitalization and rebuilding
Successful strategies for intentional communities, ecovillages and cohousing, urban and rural
This course exceeds the requirements laid out by permaculture founder Bill Mollison for the internationally recognized 72 hour Permaculture Design Course. The training provides a deep and wide overview of permaculture design, focusing on skill sets you can apply immediately. It is a thorough introduction to a subject that has many levels and areas of expertise and professional practice. Further study is available through our apprenticeship programs and advanced study.
Who Takes This Permaculture Design Course?

Artists
Community activists
Do it yourselfers
Educators – homeschool, teachers, professors
Environmentalists
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
Early bird course fee is $1,050 through June 30, 2018. The full rate is $1,395. This fee covers all costs, including materials, three healthy meals per day and camping. Our courses are an investment in yourself and your future – you will make and save far more than the course cost, to the degree you use the information in the course. A non refundable deposit of $300 will hold your spot. Please have your full payment in by Sep 22.

To register for the course, pay via our PayPal’s Buy Now button on the right side of this web page. We offer a limited number of partial scholarships and work study.

For questions or to register outside of PayPal, contact Steve at: 727-495-6145 or courseinfo@growpermaculture.com.

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 halfway thru the pieces started to fit together. Then we got lots of real universe examples of existing permaculture farms 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 have a permaculture farm near Brooksville and an abundant urban site in the Tampa Bay area. We create guilds with community, business and other human elements as well as with trees. We are invested in co-creating our local community to be everything it can be. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to co-create an intentional community and weave beneficial connection into the fabric of everything, regenerating both human culture and the natural world in the process.

Edible Landscaping – March 17, 2018

Edible Landscape Design

We will focus on basics you need to know in order to grow food in Florida.

Learn:

Top plants to use for Southwest Florida edible landscaping – beautiful, easy to grow, high in nutrition, and delicious

Basics of soil building and composting

Basics of propagating and growing from seed

Hands on work in the garden and food forest

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

Strategies for a relatively carefree garden

Take home an edible plant for your landscape!

Cost: $25

Time: 1-4 PM

Date: March 17, 2018

Location: Our Permaculture Farm, 11251 Salina St, Brooksville, FL 34614

Growing Food Abundantly – March 3-4, 2018

This is a stand alone weekend workshop that is also part of the Permaculture Design Course. Attend this workshop if you want to learn more about food forests, growing food from seed to harvest, and other aspects of regenerative gardening and farming.

This workshop will happen at our 10 acre permaculture farm in Brooksville. You will see gardens and a young food forest in action as well as our soil building methods. We will cover why food forests work and how to make plant choices, create plant guilds, etc. We will go over specific permaculture plants that are great for Florida edible landscapes and get hands on experience from planting seeds to trees.

Cost: $195

When: March 3-4, 9AM- 5PM

Where: Our Permaculture Farm – 11251 Salina St, Brooksville, 34614

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.

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. 😀

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.

Living Bridges – permaculture design inspiration

Living bridge in Meghalaya, India

Living bridge in Meghalaya, India

This is a wonderful example of the type of design solution we are interested in accomplishing with permaculture. Working with nature, rather than against her, the people of Meghalaya in India have created a beautiful design for a bridge that will survive heavy flooding. This is an exquisitely  aesthetic and informative 5 minute video that you won’t regret viewing, or forget!  How could we incorporate the lessons of this amazing design solution?

https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/13a16e6996096942

Using compost to heat buildings

The Japanese have created a model tea house that is heated with compost in the walls with pipes running through it. It is an elegant design that could be replicated  in cob houses and other natural building, greenhouses, or other types of buildings. It’s good to see the concept is spreading.  We have seen several working compost showers.  How could you capture the heat in your compost pile?

bakoko-comploo-composting-shelter1

The link below has more information on the tea house.

http://inhabitat.com/circular-pod-tea-house-is-heated-by-compost/

Economics of Happiness

Mark Anielski, a cutting edge economist, has devised a way to make economic statistics reflect what people most want – quality of life.

http://www.anielski.com/celebrating-years-genuine-wealth-leduc-alberta-2/

“This work was inspired by the words of Robert Kennedy who said that the Gross National Product — the primary measure of economic progress– may measure the money flowing in an economy but fails to measure most of the things that make life worth living. This included the quality of our water and land and air, the way we spent our time, and our sense of trust and belonging to a community.”

“This is what the Genuine Wealth assessment delivers: a system of well-being measurement that is the basis of local governance and decision-making.”

This system for measuring quality of life is based on what citizens themselves feel that represents.

I appreciate the similarities between Mark’s flower graph and David’ Holmgren’s Permaculture Flower. Leduc-GW-Flower

permaculture flower

Apprenticeship opportunities in Tampa Bay

We are offering apprenticeship or “shadowing” opportunities to course students in several exciting projects we have ongoing. We are working on all of these from the Tampa Bay area, Florida. There is a lot happening, a lot that needs to be done and if we work together, the sky is the limit!

– Plan and implement a permaculture design for a city park.

– Plan and stage multiple food forests designs for Pine Ridge reservation.

– Work with Greenwood neighborhood on planning a permaculture community garden, and get it created.

– Help with fall planting and ongoing care for an expanding permaculture edible perennials nursery.

– Work on creating and expanding financial permaculture models, including innovative urban farming cooperative ventures, link-up, beneficial connection and integration of permaculture energies around the Bay for mutual benefit, start up businesses that get support from the existing community, time banking, etc.

– Work on community projects, including art gardens, neighborhood place-making, etc.

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