With Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education, near Amherst MA

Summer Permaculture Course at Sirius EcoVillage! (Early Bird Reg. May 1st)
The Summer Permaculture Design Course with Sowing Solutions at Sirius EcoVillage in Western MA is happening JULY 19th -30th this year! (the EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION DATE IS MAY 1ST , for early bird savings!!) All course info and the registration form is found at

There are also partial discounts available for students who apply in time for work study roles.
This is a one-of-a-kind Permaculture Design Certification course (PDC) offering a unique opportunity to gain hands-on ecological design experience, while studying with leading permaculture designers from the northeast, and immersing in life at the world-renowned Sirius EcoVillage (a leading demonstration site for sustainable living).

Studying permaculture at this eco-village offers you a chance to witness permaculture strategies and techniques in action, and learn from them. You'll learn first hand about four season greenhouses, naturally built homes, edible forest gardens, raised bed vegetable CSA, community process and decision making, conflict resolution practices, food storage, renewable energy systems, soil improvement strategies, waste recycling, compost, ecological design process, and many skill shares! Skills gathered in this course can be directly applied to your home landscape.

This course is offered as a two-week intensive during the summer (OR in a weekend series format during the spring, one weekend a month). This course is eligible for 3 optional college credits with UMASS Amherst.

Saturday June 7th, Western MA Permaculture Site Tours!

This is our annual Sowing Solutions Spring Tour~ one full day of visiting local, leading permaculture demonstration sites. Email for the schedule and for more info.

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June 13 - July 13, 2014, Permaculture, Ecovillage & Arts Community Education (PEACE) Program in Maryland

This summer Heathcote Community is offering a special Permaculture, Ecovillage, and Arts Community Education (PEACE) program. This features internships in farming and carpentry plus a variety of educational workshops! Below is a flyer with a brief summary of the program.

This program is designed for those who are interested in a focused month of work experience and learning about permaculture, ecovillages, community living and personal growth. Workshops with experts are offered in the following subjects: Ecovillage Education, Permaculture Design, Community Skills, Wilderness Awareness and Survival Skills, Consensus and Facilitation, Empathy in Action, Social Justice, Breathwork, Conflict as a Doorway to Intimacy, Interplay, Enneagram, Meditation, Yoga, and more.

Note: People can take the workshops without doing an internship. They can also do an internship without taking the workshops. Internships are available year-round.

Individuals with further questions can find more details at our web page - PEACE Program at, connect with us through the Heathcote Community Facebook page, or email us at


July 19-July 30, Two Week Summer Permaculture Design Course at Sirius EcoVillage in Western MA

Immerse in 2 weeks of permaculture design practice alongside leading designers and educators in the northeastern US! Check out the course website for more information about this event at, and sign up by the early bird registration date of May 1st to save $200. There is an option to gain 3 college credits. This summer course is a truly inspiring event, designed to support you in your permaculture endeavors, offering:

  • practical sustainable living skills and regenerative agriculture
  • ecological design skills for creating abundant landscapes
  • practices for building a resilient culture
  • networking opportunities and community resilience resources

<< Above events are hosted by Sowing Solutions, Permaculture Design & Education. Sliding scales and limited work trades are available.>>

Ongoing April- October, RESIDENTIAL IMMERSION PROGRAM / An Opportunity to Live at Sirius EcoVillage for One Month or Longer~ Practice and study permaculture in daily life at the ecovillage
The Sirius EcoVillage Immersion Program offers a unique experience to those who are interested in community living, permaculture, natural building, ecovillage life, and exploring a spiritual practice. Participants learn sustainable approaches to living and working in the material world through a hands-on work gardening and green building practicum each morning (5 days per week), sustainability classes in the afternoon, and engaging with community members and/or quiet time during the evening. Thursday nights are weekly community meetings which entail consensus decision making and non-violent conflict resolution strategies.

Permaculture Teacher Training:
Building Resilience through Building Educators

Monday, August 18 - Sunday, August 24, 2014 at D’Acres, Dorchester, NH

With Lauren Chase-Rowell, Josh Trought, and Steve Whitman

Features and Highlights:
  • Seven-day, indoor/outdoor, experiential practice for teacher trainees
  • Healthy living accommodations on site to meet individual needs from free camping/floor space to private room rentals at additional cost
  • Workspaces and resource library available while you learn and practice
  • Three nourishing, organic meals per day and snacks provided by D’Acres
  • Free admittance and teaching practice at the 2014 Permaculture Gathering
  • Bring new teachers into our communities for added resiliency
  • A certificate and resume building event for the completion of the course

Program Cost:

More information:

Please contact Steve Whitman at (603) 381-1798,

or email at

5th Annual Permaculture Design Course in Mastatal, Costa RicaJune 1-15th, Summer 2014at Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Education Center
This course will explore whole-systems design solutions for both the temperate and tropical climates.Participants will develop the tools to re-imagine, design, and implement functioning systems in their surroundings:from gardens, farms and homes, to livelihoods, relationships, and communities.
For more information please see

Permaculture Design Certification Course with Sowing Solutions

2014 Summer Course Intensive Dates: July 19th - July 30th

at Sirius EcoVillage near Amherst in Western MA

This PDC offers a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on permaculture experience and immerse themselves at Sirius EcoVillage, one of the most successful of intentional communities and ecovillages in the Northeastern, U.S.A, demonstrating community life, natural buildings, and well established permaculture designs!

This course is offered in a weekend series format during the spring (one weekend a month), or as an intensive 2 week course during the summer. This course is eligible for 3 college credits with UMASS Amherst.
Full Course Details at

Permaculture Design Immersion Certification Course (May 25 - June 8) Sun May 25 to Sun Jun 8, 2014, Antigonish, NS
PDC Canarie

Permaculture Design Certification
at Canarie Farm, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

84 hour Immersion course: May 25th . June 8th 2014
info (at)

Join us for this world recognized Permaculture Design Certification (PDC). We are transforming a 75 acre rural homestead into a Permaculture Institute. Our focus is on creating jobs, demonstrating sustainable Community Development & accessible learning opportunities.

In this course we will plant edible forest gardens, grow medicinal & edible mushrooms, build with cob & other natural materials, recreate biodiversity habitat, learn how to make an income with small agro-enterprise initiatives and much more.

The course facilitated by Graham Calder is a broad curriculum demonstrating the principles, patterns & practices of permaculture design. It utilizes a variety of perspectives from local self sufficiency to international aid. The course is forged to give a foundation for restoring, rebuilding and reconnecting human ecosystems with a focus on Food Systems.

Cost PDC :
• $300+tx registration fee
(deducted from tuition)
*Accommodations &
food included.
{ Transportation not included }

 372 old Pinevale rd, Antigonish Co., Nova Scotia, Canada
{ 45min east of New Glasgow }
{ 1h45min northeast of Halifax }

Class Schedule

Section 1: Fundamentals of Permaculture
Day 1: Introduction, Ethics, Principles
Day 2: Concepts Methods & themes in design
Day 3: Observation of systems & Pattern recognition

Section 2: Ecosystems understanding
Day 4: Climates & Micro climates
Day 5: Water Systems
Day 6: Trees and their energy transactions
Day 7: Soil Systems

Special topic
Day 8: Earthworks & Earth resources

Section 3: Specific Climate Understanding
Day 9: Humid Cool Climates
Day 10: Humid Tropics
Day 11: Drylands

Special topic
Day 12: Aquaculture, Aquaponics & Mariculture

Special topic
Day 13: Alternative Strategies for a Global Nation

Specifically we will focus on energy systems, water security, food systems, social economies. Using the Principles of nature to design solutions to our greatest challenges. This course will be following these topics laid out by Bill Mollison in his book Permaculture: A Designers Manual.

During this course, we will observe & mimic the natural principles that drive ecological systems to be self-sustaining. We will learn how to integrate these principles in the design of our gardens, homes, and communities at large.

Northeastern Permaculture Network
Regional Events Calendar
Please feel free to add your events in chronological order. Visit the History of this page to see past events.
YOU MUST REMOVE YOUR EVENT when the date has passed.

9th Annual Permaculture Design Course: Food Security through Biodiversity

February 10 - 22nd, 2014
at Maya Mountain Research Farm,
in San Pedro Columbia, Toledo, Belize.

The course will be held from February 10th through February 22, 2014. This is a certificate course that follows the standard established 72 hour curriculum. This year's teachers will be Albert Bates, Marisha Auerbach and Christopher Nesbitt. The course costs USD1250, and that covers all food and lodging, field trips (with the exception of fees to National Parks or Archeological sites) and material for the course. You can read bios of the teachers at our web site:

The venue of Maya Mountain Research Farm is one of Central Americas oldest permaculture farms. It is a former cattle and citrus farm that has been rehabilitated into a lush tropical food forest. Accommodations are simple, but clean, with photovotaic powered lights in every room. It is truly a wonderful place to learn about permaculture, whether you are new to permaculture or have several design courses under your belt. This is a good opportunity to see permaculture principles and practices as MMRF is the result of thought, design work and decades of work.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Christopher Nesbitt at, or call Christopher at 001-501-630-4386.

Permaculture Design Certificate Course
Lost Cat Farm Kerhonkson, New York
Permaculture is a tool for holistic design for a regenerative future. We offer our students an experience in learning together and connecting to our earth and ecosystems. This course is for professional designers who want to go beyond green, young people who want a way to design hope, farmers who want to build soil every year, and concerned citizens who want to know solutions to the ecological problems we are facing as a world.
Topics Include:
Regenerative Livelihoods
Holistic Design Process
Water Harvesting and Management
Renewable Energy
Alternative Waste Systems
Community Living
Climate Change
Sustainable Agriculture
Natural Building
Forest Gardening

Cost: Sliding Scale $800-$1,200
This cost covers tuition for the 5 weekends, the use of Lost Cat Farm, breakfasts, and allows us to bring in the premier permaculture teachers and designers in the North East to you. Offering a sliding scale allows us to cover the running expenses and make it affordable to people with less income. Any amount paid over the minimum (tax deductible), makes it possible for people with less income to participate. We strive to make scholarships available so please inquire if necessary.

Jan 18,19,20 (3 days)
Feb 15,16,17 (3 days)
Mar 15,16 (2 days)
Apr 5,6 (2 days)
May 3,4 (2 days)

Lead Teacher: Tama Jackson
Guest Teachers Include: Dave Jacke, Andrew Faust, Mark Krawczyk, Kay McGrenaghan Cafasso and Ethan Roland

For registration: Joan and Wilton 845.626.2161 or
For more information: Tama Jackson
Hosted by Joan and Wilton at Lost Cat Farm 161 Cherrytown Rd. Kerhonkson, NY

Food and Accommodations: Breakfasts are provided. Other meals are organized potluck, to help reduce expenses and enjoy great feasts. We consider special food needs. Accommodations are separate and will cost approximately $310 total in local venues.
Special thanks to:
This course is made possible through generous donations from people like you who care about our earth and her people.



Permaculture - the ethics, principles and design process - is based on living systems. Permaculture draws upon both traditional and scientific knowledge. These courses focus on permaculture as DESIGN, which can be broadly applied to physical systems (eg. farms, gardens, cities) and to social systems (eg. organisational flows, business models, school curricula) anywhere.
This 84-hour Permaculture Design Course (PDC) consists of both the Introduction Module and the Main Module. The Main Module is 45 hours in class (taught over 3 weekends), plus 22 hours of assigned group and independent work.

The Introduction Module can be taken on any of these weekends:
September 14 and 15 – Perth, ON
September 28 and 29 – Ottawa, ON

The Introduction Module provides a foundation in permaculture ethics, principles and design. It also gives an overview of common gardening techniques used in permaculture.

The Introduction Module can be taken on its own.
Cost: $195 for the Introduction Module.

Main Module – In-Class Component (3 weekends, 45 hours)
The Main Module is made up of 3 weekends in Ottawa:
October 5 and 6
AND October 19 and 20
AND November 9 and 10

The Main Module goes into more depth with soil, water, microclimates, earthworks, tropical, arid and cold climates, housing design, alternative economics and more. The Introduction Module is a pre-requisite for the Main Module.

What sets our PDC apart from other PDC’s?
• We emphasise the use of permaculture principles and the design process, making these tools widely applicable to gardens, farms, urban settings, businesses and organisations.
• We emphasise design exercises and the team design projects as key parts of the course. The design projects are for real clients and have real potential to be implemented.
• Bonita and Sébastien specialise in applying the permaculture design process to social, personal and urban settings (eg. organisations, businesses, personal lifestyles, urban and suburban food gardens, etc.). Douglas specialises in large-scale, land-based permaculture design, earthworks, building design, and is knowledgeable about permaculture in tropical, arid and temperate climates.
• Together, our teaching team brings over 28 years of permaculture experience.
• Collectively, we have worked on permaculture sites and projects in: Eastern North America, Western North America, Australia, Japan, France, India and Haiti.

Cost: $795 for the full Permaculture Design Course (includes the Introduction and Main Modules).
To register, contact: or 613-267-1926

Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario
Instructors: Sebastien Bacharach, Bonita Ford & Douglas Barnes


Design Your Life: Create Harmony & Abundance with Permaculture
Saturday, November 2, 9:00am to 6:00pm
Ottawa, ON

This workshop will explore:
*An “Integral Permaculture” that includes self, nature and community.
*Permaculture principles and ethics for your life, work, home and garden.
*Connection: ourselves, our passion, vision, needs and values.
*Zones: the areas we place our time, energy and resources.
*Money as a resource: how much we bring in and how much we spend.
*Community: how we participate in and contribute to the human and ecological communities around us.
*Design: creating more beneficial connections between the key areas of our lives, including visible and invisible structures.
*Next steps: what we plan to do and how we can support each other.

Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario

Registration options: $125 for the workshop • $170 for the workshop & 1 private session
Instructors: Bonita Ford & Sébastien Bacharach
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Permaculture Design Certification Course:
(Weekend Series Starts January 2014)
with Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education
at Sirius EcoVillage near Amherst MA
Weekend Series Format in 2014: Jan 18-20, Mar 21-23, Apr 11-13
(or Two Week Summer Intensive, July 2014)
Internationally recognized certificate - Option to Gain 3 College Credits through UMASS
Practice Permaculture, Ecological Design & Sustainable Living Skills
  • Onsite Permaculture Design Training
  • Perennial Veggies and Food Storage
  • Designing Edible Forest Gardens
  • Creating Resilient Communities
  • Urban Permaculture Strategies
  • Turning Lawns Into Gardens
  • Natural Building Options
  • Nature Awareness
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Carbon Farming
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Many Skill Shares
  • And More!
At Sirius EcoVillage & Retreat Center(near Amherst MA)
~ Experience Life at Sirius EcoVillage, a Leading Demonstration of Intentional Community Living!
~ Enjoy the Wood Fired Sauna, Hiking Trails & Gardens,4-Season Greenhouses, Hand Built Homes Made of Cob, Straw Bale, Timber Frame
~ Immerse in an Inspiring Place & Learn By Experience
Course Info, Instructors Info, Early Bird Registration,


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Visit some of the leading demonstration sites for permaculture in the Pioneer Valley! The first tour starts at 9:00; we wrap up by 5:00. ~This will be a stellar day!!!

Site #1: Edible Forest Garden in Holyoke MA, featured garden from the book Edible Forest Gardens, as well as the new book ‘Paradise Lot, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City’ home of Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates Site #2: Wildside Gardens, Permaculture Homestead Design Project of Regenerative Design Group, Forest gardens, energy efficient house design, root cellar, and more in Conway, MA Site #4: Franklin Garden of UMass Permaculture, Amherst MA, this is the garden site that won national recognition last year by the White House, growing produce for the dining hall and mentoring college students in permaculture design & gardening Site #5: Sirius EcoVillage, near Amherst MA, this is an intentional community that has been established for well over 3 decades, a leading demonstration of permaculture gardens, forest gardens, perennial beds CSA, strawbale, cob, timber frame construction, community organization and ethical, intentional community living. This event is hosted by Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education. Register for the day and secure your space by emailing, $30-45 sliding scale fee for the day. Bring a picnic lunch. Once you register for the day, we can send you the detailed schedule for the day, and potentially set up a carpool options from points in Amherst or Northampton.

2013 Prospect Rock Permaculture and Burlington Permaculture Design Certification Course
July 21- August 2
Willow Crossing Farm
Johnson, VT

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Burlington Permaculture and Prospect Rock Permaculture are pleased to offer our Fifth-Annual summer Permaculture Design Certification course. This year our course will be even further immersed in ecology and practice: held at Willow Crossing Farm- a regenerative organic family farm and now decade-old permaculture project on the beautiful Lamoille River and Vermont’s Long Trail.

This two week residential intensive course goes above and beyond the internationally recognized standard curriculum with focus on Community Resilience, Social Justice, Food Security, Farm Design, Transition, Environmental and Outdoor Education, Natural Building, Horticultural Therapy, Community/ Commercial Scale Production and Propagation, Appropriate Farm Machinery and Tools, and visits to the vibrant farms, homesteads, nurseries, and ethical businesses that contribute to the re-surging agricultural economy of this most Fertile Valley of Northern Vermont.
Almost 100% of the food served during the course will come from our farm and immediately local farms visited during the course. With abundant opportunities to see, practice, and implement permaculture solutions at varying scales, thorough grounding in the process of design and first-hand study of ecology, and led by some of the most experienced designers, farmers, and educators in Vermont and the nation- this course affords opportunities for development and engagement in personal and community abundance and security like no other.
Hands-on Design and Co-Creation of Vibrant, Wholly Nourishing Human Landscapes:
Together, we’ll engage in whole-systems ecological design and implementation of permaculture solutions for a multi-use community garden specifically focused on the needs of food-insecure Vermonters. Learn alongside students, architects, activists, community planners, homesteaders, farmers, business owners, and others while engaging in real world design problems, and being immersed the wild and cultivated beauty of a permaculture site. Each student will also be guided in generating and presenting a design for a site of their own choosing.
Our approach explores the way human beings- as individuals and communities- can participate in the creation of ethical, socially just, and ecologically regenerative perennial support systems. We apply the sciences of Ecology, Anthropology, Ethnobiology, and Evolution to agriculture, the built environment, and social and economic organization (‘invisible structures’) by integrating plants, animals, buildings, people, communities, economies, and the landscapes that surround us through careful analysis and thoughtful design. We also practice permaculture ethics, principles, techniques, and skills by collaborating on real-world projects with an eye towards repairing, restoring, and regenerating human ecosystems.
We welcome graduates of other permaculture design courses to refresh their certification, gain new perspective and experience, build their networks, and advance their practice with the Advanced Permaculture Design and Teacher/ Facilitator Training opportunities available at this site and through this course.
Permaculture is a design science focused on the intersection of social and ecological health. We explore the relationships between the built environment, food security, energy, water, and natural communities, in order to retrofit this infrastructure to respond to the confluent crises of the 21st century with localized resilience, abundance, and ecological regeneration. Build your skills and capacity by taking part!
Our dynamic natural site in the midst of an agriculturally vibrant area affords ample opportunities to study and observe wild ecology, fruit, nut, vegetable, and medicinal herb production, natural/ alternative beekeeping poultry care, natural building, alternative energy, community-scale resilience, etc. In addition to all farm sourced food, immersion in wild ecology, radical sustainability- the site offers us the opportunity to swim, hike, paddle, and camp in the beauty and inspiration of Vermont summer.
All farm sourced, local organic meals, travel to field trips, canoe and kayak use, and camping accommodation is included in the course cost of $1600. There are other lodging options available at additional cost. There are limited opportunities for professional development grants, work trade, scholarships, and other financial aid. Discounted registration for groups, couples, referrals, and travel to the course by boat, bike, foot, or other non motorized means, is available. This course has historically filled quickly, please contact us to reserve your space as soon as possible.

This course is available for 5 credits through the University of Vermont, and is the only farm-based fully accredited permaculture design course in the northeast. Approximately 1/4 of the group will be credit earning students ~3/4 are community members taking a stand alone PDC.
This course qualifies for the Vermont Green professional development grants- Vermont residents may be eligible for aid from VSAC. Vermont Women Farmers are eligible for assistance from WAGN, The Women's' Agriculture Network.

Prospect Rock Permaculture Design Certificaiton

Only 3 spaces left in this summer's course!
...we'd love to fill them with folks who value the unique opportunities this course affords- so please SHARE this with friends, networks, activists, organizers, growers, builders, and designers.
Read on for details about joining us for free open lectures and guest presentations- all are welcome!
Willow Crossing Farm is Vermont's longest established permaculture research and education facility, and the only debt-free 'financial permaculture' working farm we're aware of. Its a family-run homestead; organic fruit, nut, and medicine nursery; wildlife refuge and pollinator sanctuary; natural building and regenerative infrastructure experimentation site; and venue for farm dining, education, and music.
We host one of the most diverse collections of tree crops and other multi-use plants anywhere- providing unique opportunities to practice permaculture directly hands-on, and to immerse yourself in wild ecology. Our location allows us close working relationships with (and to visit) some of the nation's leading herb farms, organic seed companies, winter vegetable production operations, farm restaurants, and other food-system revolutionaries- as well as immediate adjacency some of the best hiking, boating, biking, and rock-climbing around!
Graduates of all of Prospect Rock Permaculture's various programs comprise the nation's largest PDC alumni network! Our leading permaculture design certification courses attract an incredible diversity of students from all over the world: Architects, Landscape Architects, Farmers, Homesteaders, Activists, Town and City Planners, Food Systems Workers, Extension Agents, Children and Adult Educators, Community Activists, Social Entrepreneurs, Graduate and Undergraduate Students, Renewable Energy Specialists, Builders, complete 'Noobs', and folks traveling from all over the country typically comprise our groups.
The curriculum is specially designed to simultaneously accommodate the many students who seek us out for 'refesher' or second PDCs- seeking Advanced Permaculture Design Opportunities or looking to develop their skills as Permaculture Educators.
Prospect Rock and Burlington Permaculture comprise the most experienced team of educators, researchers, designers, builders and growers presently delivering courses in North America.
Lead instructor Keith Morris has created ecological design education programs for the University of Vermont, Sterling College, the Yestermorrow Design Build School, Paul Smiths College, and has worked with the State of Vermont in developing permaculture education for public schools. He's implemented permaculture projects throughout North and South America, in Europe, New Zealand, and West Africa- working with farms, towns, schools, indigenous peoples, squats, activists, and in solidarity with exploited populations.
Mark Krawczyk has studied and practiced permaculture all over the world, including working with Geoff Lawton, Darren Doherty, Ben Law, Jerome Ostentowski, Peter Bane, Dan Hemenway, and more. He is presently writing a book on Coppice Agroforestry with Dave Jacke.
Lisa DePiano completed her Earth Activist Training (EAT), and brings her formidable experience in community scale permaculture design, social entrepreneurship, activism, and experiential education.
Alissa White is an accomplished nursery woman, artist, ethnobotanist, and community organizer. She completed her PDC with Penny Livingston Stark and helped co-create Permacorps International while working on the ground in Haiti.
Skotty Kellogg is the co-author of the book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide (South End Press) and is the co-founder of the Radix Center, teaching ecological literacy and deomnstrating sustainable techniques for urban areas.
We'll also be joined by the region's leading growers, designers, food-systems workers, natural builders, herbalists and more in our annual community celebration of the proof and possibilities of permaculture design.
Feel free to join us for a meal, design presentations, or guest lectures free and open to the public- our tradition that we are proud is starting to catch on with other PDCs!
Head chef Emily Wheeler is a clinical herbalist, Permaculture Design Course graduate, and specialized in creating culinary works of art from seasonal local organic food to deeply nourish us all. As Emily is also a member of the teaching team- the meals, food sourcing, modern nutritional science, food preservation, wild-crafting, and localvore innovations are central to the course experience. We are happy and experienced in meeting the needs of gluten or dairy intolerant, vegetarians and vegans, food allergies, and other special diets.
Many people have expressed interest in the last few open spaces in the course- we will fill them based on first come, first served upon receipt of the deposit.
For details or to register, please visit, call (802) 734-1129, or email
If you don't end up with a space in this course- we are happy to announce we will be hosting Starhawk, Charles Williams, and all the members of the teaching team above (yes- including the food!) for our first
EARTH ACTIVIST TRAINING! September 7-21, 2013.
An 'EAT' is a two-week permaculture design certificate course with a focus on organizing and activism, and a grounding in earth based spirituality. Explore the strategies and organizing tools we need to make our visions real, and the daily practice, magic and rituals that can sustain our spirits.
Most excitingly, this will be the first time we've had Starhawk in Vermont in a few years and she'll be joined by awardees of the recent Gender and Diversity Permaculture Educator scholarship. This course is filling quickly, please reserve your space soon if you are interested.
Please like us on facebook or subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of free guest lectures, farm tours, or to receive details about our workshop series- including the upcoming Artisan Stone Masonry and Permaculture Earthworks, and Natural Beekeeping, including hands-on work with Warre and Top Bar Hives.
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2 Week Residential Permaculture Design Course

with Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design & Education

at Sirius EcoVillage in Western MA This Summer!

There is still time to register for the Summer Permaculture Design Course at Sirius EcoVillage! This is a truly inspiring, informative, and nourishing course!


with Sowing Solutions at Sirius EcoVillage, near Amherst MA
This course has been hosted at Sirius for 13+years

Immerse in intentional community life and permaculture design practice for 2 weeks this summer. Conduct a design for your own client through a guided design process onsite. Gain college credits from UMass Amherst (optional) and a permaculture design certification. Enjoy the pond, sauna, gardens, natural buildings, and community at the Sirius retreat center! Register a.s.a.p. with Sowing Solutions ~

~ Study and practice permaculture design in the 13th annual Summer PDC at Sirius

~ Learn from some of the best permaculture designers, naturalists, and educators in the northeast

~ Immerse in community life and meet the residents and founders of this leading ecovillage in the northeastern US

~ Gain your permaculture design training and internationally recognized certificate

~ Gather new sustainable living skills

~ Optionally gather college credits through University of Massachusetts

~ Learn by experience in the veggie gardens, forest gardens

~ Witness and participate in construction of a straw bale and cob greenhouse

~ Visit local permaculture demonstration sites

~ Meet and work alongside leading permaculture designers;

~ Complete a permaculture design project from step one to deisgn presentation for real clients

~ Enjoy summertime with us!

Course Tuition $950, plus meals. Accommodations are available at Sirius Ecovillage. There are a few partial discounts/ work trades when needed.

Sowing Solutions provides permaculture design services for home owners and land stewards and offers educational events for non-profits and communities in the northeastern US, leading 13 permaculture design certificate courses to date. Sowing Solutions has run courses collaboratively with Living Routes Study Abroad in Intentional Communities, Green Phoenix Permaculature, UMASS Amherst, Sirius EcoVillage, Dynamics Ecological Design, Living Mandala, and Omega Institute.

Sirius EcoVillage is a long-standing intentional spiritual community and retreat center, offering a special opportunity to step into daily life for 2 weeks at this wonderful place. Explore the hiking trails, sauna, yoga classes, swimming pond, gardens, natural buildings, ecovillage social structure, and much more!

Course registration: ; Inquire at:

Teaching Team for the 2013 Summer PDC at Sirius:
~ Kay Cafasso, Kay is the founder and director of Sowing Solutions, permaculture designer, instructor of over 15 permaculture courses, earthen plasterer for natural buildings, and dancer.

~ Keith Zaltzberg, Keith is a core member of the ecological design firm Regenerative Design Group, guest instructor at the Conway School of Landscape Design and Smith College, and permaculture designer and educator.

~ Mark Krawczyk, Mark is author of the upcoming book Coppice Agroforestry- a Perennial Silviculture for the 21st Century, permaculture designer and educator, green woodworker, agroforester, specialist in keyline planning and pond construction, and natural builder.

~ Walker Korby, Walker is a naturalist and tracker, permaculturist, primitive skills mentor, forester, firefighter, and storyteller.

~ Meg McAuliffe, Meg is a certified permaculture designer and yoga instructor whose focus is in contemplative education, whole systems thinking, herbal medicine, and yoga.

What students are doing since their graduation with Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design Courses~ becoming land caretakers, building straw bale homes, joining natural building teams, coordinating university campus-wide permaculture gardens, incorporating permaculture design into their existing labdscape business, turning their lawns into gardens, starting plant nurseries, designing their home landscape to produce abundance and ecological benefit, experiencing life at ecovillages and intentional communities, becoming educators and authors, weaving permaculture design and thinking into their healing arts practice, enjoying rare fruits and edible perennial foods outside their door, and……

What students are saying about Sowing Solutions Permaculture Design Courses~ “I am having the time of my life, and the best part is that I am receiving an excellent education!” (Brenda)
Registration: Please send an email to Sowing Solutions to request a full course information packet as well as the course schedule (scheduled days off, optional sessions, half days, optional evenings). Or by facebook, send a message to Kay Cafasso.
Course schedule: This is a 72 hour requirement for the permaculture design certification, this course offers over 85 hours of training. (Note that the course completes on Friday August 9th, in time for attendance at the NOFA Conference in Amherst on the evening of Aug 9-Sunday Aug 11).


Ecological Design & Gardening: Introduction to Permaculture Course
September 20 (evening); September 21 & 22 (full days)

Permaculture is an eco-logical approach to design based on observing nature. It can be applied to physical systems (eg. farms, gardens, cities) and to social systems (eg. organisations, businesses) anywhere.

Course Topics:
Permaculture ethics and design principles
Patterns in nature, zones and sectors
Design process overview, mini design exercise
Role of trees and forests
Basics of edible forest gardens, guilds, polycultures, sheet-mulch
Garden hands-on

Course Fee: $180 includes HST.
The 17 hours in class can be applied as credit towards the full Permaculture Design Course offered by the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa in fall 2013.
Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario.

For more info:

Course location: Mulberry Waldorf School, 25 Markland Street, Kingston
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Advanced Permaculture Design Course in Wasteland Regeneration

~ Re-establishing Abundant and Resilient Ecosystems on Barren, Neglected, and Abused lands.
Location: Sadhana Forest - Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti

Dates: December 6-10, 2013
Course Content:

-Permaculture strategies and techniques for wasteland regeneration;

-Identification and use of local resources;

-Tools and techniques available for different geographic or cultural context;

-Scalable for rural and urban sites;

-Group work on participants’ projects.

Each day will include some time together in the classroom and time spent on hands on activities and site visits.

Course fee is : $600 USD by 9/1/13.

Includes three vegan meals a day, camping/basic accommodations, and instruction.

Please contact Ryan Ferdinand at // for more info and to register.

Steven Whitman is a professional planner and educator based in the United States, and his work is focused largely on community planning and ecological design issues. Steve is a certified Permaculture teacher and is an adjunct faculty member at Plymouth State University and Colby Sawyer College. Steve also teaches Permaculture courses in the United States outside of the University System, and has taught courses in Australia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Iceland, India, Scotland, Sweden, and Tanzania. Steve lives with his wife and two sons in Plymouth, NH, USA and participates in a wide range of grassroots efforts that promote greater resilience.

Aviram Rozin co-founded Sadhana Forest in Tamil Nadu with his wife Yorit in December 2003. Sadhana Forest is a volunteer based community doing wasteland reclamation and indigenous reforestation. Currently Sadhana Forest is the home to over 1,000 volunteers per year, from over 50 countries. In 2008, the Rozins co-founded Sadhana Forest Haiti, in April 2010, which is a 6,500 acre indigenous food forest project. In November 2010 Sadhana Forest won the Humanitarian Water and Food Award (3rd place) in Denmark, for its work in India and Haiti.


Hello there everyone,

My name is Thomas Heikes and I am writing to inform you all of few natural building workshops that we are hosting at our property, and one other workshop that is nearby. We live on a small farm outside of Berne, NY (just to the west of Albany) where we grow most of our own food and live a quite sustainable and organic life, but mostly we grow medicinal herbs for medicinal products. This summer we are expanding our operation and will be constructing an earth bag and straw bale building and finish it with plaster in the form of workshops for the public. The workshops are being carried out by a non-profit natural building organization though an educational training workshop, and we are still searching for our participants. And through this non profit, there is also another workshop being held in July, an Off-Grid House. You can also check out the workshops on the non-profit’s website: .

Working with natural building materials is a really liberating and invigorating experience. As it unveils we can grasp the practicality and intelligence of "scaling back", saving a ton of money, and living in much greater harmony with the earth and our particular environment. I really hope to see you at our workshop. Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Be well and remember to stop and smell the [[#|flowers]] today.

Thomas Heikes

sustainable building and construction certification
This is a unique opportunity to learn all aspects of the design and construction of sustainable shelters. Colby-Sawyer College will build a new classroom on campus in the summer of 2013 illustrating our strategic theme of “Living Sustainably.” The building will use timber frame construction, natural building materials and renewable energy. This program will involve you in designing and creating a beautiful and unique sustainable building while teaching you the techniques, systems and materials you'll need to create your own.
Starting in September 2012, students will take three courses (3 credits in Fall of 2012, 4 credits in Spring 2013, and 2 credits in Summer 2013) leading up to the final completion of the building. In the process, you will learn about topics like building science and building performance, the design process, materials, construction planning, timber frame techniques and many more.

Students taking all three courses (9 credits) will qualify for the Certificate in Sustainable Building and Construction. This is unique once-off opportunity for builders and designers to learn the principles, apply them, and construct a building on campus.

Registration & Tuition

The cost of the 9-credit certificate is $4,500. Participants may register for only one or two of the courses (but will not qualify for the certificate) at $500 per credit. Deadline for registration is August 24, 2012.
For details about [[#|registration]] call Tracey Perkins at (603) 526-3702 or e-mail:

Fall Class Meeting Dates

Semester 1 of this Certificate Program, Shelter & Sustainability, will take place on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00-5:45pm in Room 102 of the Ivey Science Center at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH from September 4th through December 4th.

About the Instructors - Bryan Felice & Steve Whitman

Felice, founding owner of Undustrial Timber Frames, has been involved in the design and construction of sustainable buildings since 2000 and brings expertise and years of practical experience in building design. Whitman is a professional planner with Jeffery H. Taylor & Associates focused on community planning and sustainability issues through the lens of natural systems-thinking and ecology.

Biomeiler Compost Furnace Workshop
Dates: September 21 (10am - 6pm) & September 22 (9am - 5pm), 2013
Presenter: Heiner Cuhls (from Native Power in Germany: )Sponsors: Small & Beginning Farmers of New Hampshire (SBFNH)


Contact: Sherry Young

Cost: $75 for SBFNH members, $100 for non-members.
Location: The Farm Around the Corner (
395 VT Route 102
Maidstone VT 05905

Contact: Scott LeFoll

Free Camping Available. Coffee and Snacks provided. Lunch and breakfast can be purchased extra, with a potluck dinner on Saturday.

Biomeiler Compost Heating Workshop

Want to be independent from gas, oil & utility electricity? Are you looking for self sufficient heat & power for your greenhouse, seed starting house, packing shed, barn, residence or business?

Small and Beginning Farmers of New Hampshire ( and The Farm Around the Corner ( have invited Heiner Cuhls from Native Power in Germany ( ) to hold a two day hands on workshop on September 21 and 22, 2013 at The Farm Around the Corner in Maidstone, Vermont. Heiner is an expert in the design and construction of the Biomeiler Compost Furnace.

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A Biomeiler extracts heat from a special biomass compost heap and is therefore also known as a "Compost Furnace". Their function is based on the principal of composting. The original compost heating methods of Jean Pain from France have been further developed and engineered in Germany, and there are now over sixty facilities in Northern Europe using Biomeilers to provide all or most of their heating needs, including at a hotel in Northern Germany.

During the composting process aerobic bacteria convert organic matter (in this case wood chips) into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. This process occurs everywhere around us on the ground and in the soil. This heat can be recovered and used for space heating and heating your domestic hot water.

Compost can also be used to generate bio-gas through anaerobic digestion. A biomeiler is a very simple system using just pipes, water and the compost heat from shredded shrubs. The only moving part is a standard central heating circulation pump. This simple construction reduces maintenance cost and the risks of failure.

A biomeiler "runs" for a year to 18 months producing enough heat for a house and the water. In the warmer parts of the year there will be more heat than required and it could be stored for the winter or one might share it with neighbours to help them reduce their energy bill and CO2 footprint.

[For a more detailed article on Heiner Cuhls and the Biomeiler, see the article at the bottom of this page]

This workshop will teach you the theoretical background of compost heating and anaerobic digestion (generating bio-gas) in the first-day classroom session, and the practical building skills when we construct a working Biomeiler on the second day.

This two day workshop is scheduled for the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. Please come prepared to work on the 2nd day, as we will build a fully functioning Biomeiler.

The cost is $100 per participant ($75 for members of SBFNH), coffee and snacks included. Lunch and breakfast can be purchased extra. You can bring your tent or your camper and stay for the weekend on our farm. On Saturday evening we will have a potluck dinner.

Please make your reservation asap, because there is limited space !

If you wish to attend this workshop, please sign up using this link: Registration Link .

After you complete the sign up process, please mail your payment ( $75 for members of SBFNH, $100 for non-members) payable to Scott LeFoll, The Farm Around the Corner, 395 Route 102, Maidstone, Vermont 05905, and be sure to include your name and contact info, and how many people you are paying for, if more than one.

If you want to pay by credit card, please send an email to , and indicate how many persons you wish to pay for. (There will be a small additional fee to cover credit card processing)
For any question or concerns you might have, don't hesitate to call or email us (Scott or Heather LeFoll, 802-676-2684, ) and please feel free to circulate this email to anyone who might be interested.The Farm Around the Corner is located on the Connecticut River, at 395 Route 102 in Maidstone, just over the town line from Guildhall, Vermont. it is about 1/2 mile north of the large Guildhall Town Green, where the historic Essex County Courthouse is located, and is almost directly across the street from the little Maidstone Town Hall.

The white farmhouse is on the west side of Route 102, with the red barn across the street. Remember, when you pass the Guildhall green you are only about 1/2 mile from the farm - GPS systems and Mapquest incorrectly place the farm about 8 miles further north, so please be aware of that. Google Maps is correct. Look for posted signs for the Biomeiler Workshop.

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Article from the June issue of the Small & Beginning Farmers of New Hampshire Newsletter:

Harvesting Heat from Compost

Heiner Cuhls wants to teach you how to heat your greenhouse, high tunnel, seedling house or packing room using wood chip compost. While he’s at it, he’ll show you how to heat water for your washing station.

Cuhls promulgates the technology of biocomposting, which uses a large, carefully constructed, wood-based anaerobic compost heap to generate and capture heat via a system of internal piping.

First introduced in France in the 1970’s, the technology has been largely ignored because “energy was still too cheap,” says Cuhls. Recent price hikes make the concept of replacing dollars with sweat equity more appealing and there are now about 50 active installations in his native Germany. The time seems right for a benign, low maintenance system which produces quality compost after a year of heat generation.

Cuhls has supervised construction of 20 bio composts in the last two years. “A bio compost can be completed within two days, with preparation work not more than four days,” he says. Careful siting is essential; the unit must be placed as close as possible to where the heat will be used in order to mitigate heat loss in transit.

Size is scalable, with 13 cubic yards of organic matter generating one kilowatt of power using slow “biological burn.” Colder winters require a larger heap to ensure the compost maintains heat.

A unit in Germany, 8 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter, comprised over 100 cubic yards of prepared wood chips. It should heat a greenhouse with little or no maintenance for over a year (the first German biocomposter operated for 12 to 18 months), after which a new pile will be constructed with existing piping. The finished compost will be used on the farm.

Materials are relatively low cost and readily available: a pool liner, PE pipes, reinforcement steel mats, mesh potato bags and small parts such as cable ties and wires. NH’s abundant forest (83% of the state) means the vital high lignin substrate is easily obtainable. The chips, combined and compressed with 30% manure, generates heat up to 140° Fahrenheit via an anaerobic process.

Small and Beginner Farmers of NH will sponsor a hands-on workshop with Cuhls in Maidstone, VT (about 2.5 hours north of Concord, NH) the weekend of September 21-22.

Details have yet to be finalized, but the $100 price will include free camping, an evening or half day of theory followed by a day of hands-on construction in which everyone will have the opportunity to perform each task and ongoing informal networking and Q&A with Cuhls.

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