September Forest Garden Design Intensive

Edible Ecosystems Emerging: Food Forestry for the 21st Century

A 9-Day Forest Garden Design Intensive

With Dave Jacke, Matthew English, and Friends.

At Spiral Ridge Permaculture Gardens
and The Farm Community Center
Summertown, Tennessee
September 23-October 2, 2011

Forest ecosystems exhibit many beneficial properties we humans would be wise to emulate in our culture, agriculture and horticulture: they maintain, renew, fertilize and propagate themselves without human inputs; they build, store, and conserve clean air, clean water, nutrients, soil quality, and biodiversity; and they exhibit stability, resilience, and adaptability.  These qualities emerge from the dynamics of the forest as a whole system, not from any one or more of the elements that comprise the forest alone.  To design productive edible ecosystems that express these same qualities, we must understand forest structures, functions, patterns, and processes and use this knowledge wisely.

In this nine-day intensive course, you will dive deeply into the vision, theory, and practice of designing wholesome, dynamic, and resilient edible ecosystems using temperate deciduous forests as models.  Dave Jacke and his teaching team will offer lectures, site walks, and experiential exercises to help you understand how the architecture, social structure, underground economics, and successional processes of natural forests apply in the design of edible ecosystems of all kinds.  You’ll learn a variety of ecological design processes while designing a range of food-producing ecologies at our host farm.  We’ll also engage with issues of garden management, economics, and the deep paradigmatic shifts required to succeed at cocreating “humanatural” landscapes and cultures.  You will leave inspired and empowered to design food forests at home for yourself, and your friends, neighbors and clients.

Sliding scale (covers tuition and food): $1,100-$1,400.  Amounts paid over $1,100 will go into the scholarship fund.  Partial scholarships will likely be available.  Contact the below for lodging information (some options on site, some off).

Sponsored by: Spiral Ridge Permaculture Gardens
Location: Spiral Ridge Permaculture Gardens and
The Farm Community Center, Summertown, TN.
To register or for info: 931-964-2375

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Spiral Ridge Permaculture 2011 Events

Permaculture Design Course
Three Epochs of Humanity
w/ Wayne Weiseman, Matthew English and Cliff Davis
June 1-12th 2011
Spiral Ridge Permaculture Gardens and
The Farm Ecovillage Training Center
call 931-964-2375

Permaculture Design Certification Course
w/ Cliff Davis, Matthew English and Marjani Dele
August 18th – 30th
Victoria, Virginia
(434) 696-2439

Edible Forest Garden Design intensive
with Dave Jacke and friends
September 23-October 2
1100$ -1400$
call 931-964-2375

Permaculture Skills Apprenticeship
The Farm Ecovillage Training Center
2500$ includes food and lodging
Register at

March 28th- May 22nd
Permaculture Basics:
Synergistic Gardening, Edible Landscaping, Compost, Teas, Primitive Skills and more

June 20th-August 14th ( w/ option to stay until Sept 11)
Natural Building:
Post and Beam,Straw-Clay Slip, Natural Plasters, Earthfloors, Primitive Skills and more.

Oct 5th – Nov 23rd
Advanced Permaculture:
Ecoforestry/Edible Forest Gardens
Mushroom Production, Bamboo, Woodland Crafts, Arborist Skills, Primitive Skills, Edible Forest Garden Design and Installation.

Check out Spiral Ridge Permaculture for more information!

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Free Talk on Biochar during Permaculture Design Course

Beyond Zero: The Biochar Solution

FREE TALK with Albert Bates

Location: Carothers Crossing, Nashville, TN
When: August 14, 2010
4-6:00 PM

How we can take the atmosphere from dangerously over-carbonated with greenhouse gas pollution back to safe, pre-industrial levels on decadal time scales? While conventional agriculture leads to deserts, blowing parched dirt across the oceans and melting ice caps, there is another, older style, that brings fertile soils, plant and animal diversity and birdsong. While the agriculture we use has been shifting Earth’s carbon balance from soil and living vegetation to atmosphere and ocean, an alternative style of agriculture moves carbon from sky to soil and crops. The needed shift, once embarked upon, can be profound and immediate. We could once more become a garden planet, with deep black earths and forests of fruit and nuts where deserts now stand.

Albert Bates is author of The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change, The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook and numerous other books, films and new media on energy, environment and history. A former environmental rights lawyer, paramedic, brick mason, flour miller, and horse trainer, he shared the Right Livelihood Award in 1980 as part of the steering committee of Plenty, working to preserve the cultures of indigenous peoples, and board of directors of The Farm, a pioneering intentional community in Tennessee for the past 35 years. A co-founder and past president of the Global Ecovillage Network, he is presently GEN’s representative to the UN climate talks. When not tinkering with fuel wringers for algae, hemp cheeses, or pyrolizing cookstoves, he teaches permaculture, ecovillage design and natural building.

Permaculture Design Course and Intro

There are two parts to the course: a 3-day intro, and the continuing 8 days of the design course. Both are described on this page. You can also download this as a printable flyer.

Register Now

3-Day Intro to Permaculture

Location: Carothers Crossing, Nashville, TN
When: August 12- 14, 2010

This introduction, sponsored by the Financial Permaculture Institute and Design Recouse, lays the foundation for the full 72-hour design course, with introductions to ethics, principles, and tools for combining old country know how, natural patterns, and conscious design. Permaculture is a design science that takes a whole-ecosystem approach to sustainable development. The term, “Permaculture”, means “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”. Permaculture developed in Australia in the late 1970’s, by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and has since spread throughout the world. Leaders of the sustainability movement are applying Permaculture principles and design methodologies to everything from gardens, home sites, village designs, businesses, and entire regional economies. Includes classes on creating healthy soils, and garden design. Check out the tentative schedule for more topics. Instructors include, Matthew English, Kevin Guenther, Cliff Davis and guests!
Price: $200 with early registration, $250 after July 23 2010
Registration: Register online at (coming on June 25)
Contact: For questions contact or 888-878-2434 ext.2
More details (in PDF format): LogisticsLocationLodgingScheduleRestaurants

Register Now

Full Permaculture Design Course

Location: Carothers Crossing, Nashville, TN
When: August 12- 24 2010 with Sundays off

Full Permaculture Design Course continues from the 3-day intro to the full 72 hour certification course.  Permaculture is a design science that takes a whole-ecosystem approach to sustainable development. The term, “Permaculture”, means “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”. Permaculture developed in Australia in the late 1970’s, by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and has since spread throughout the world. Leaders of the sustainability movement are applying Permaculture principles and design methodologies to everything from gardens, home sites, village designs, businesses, and entire regional economies. Class participants will learn to use a unique tool that incorporates natural design systems into problem solving on multiple levels. This 72 hour course is vigorous and in depth. Students who complete all segments of the course and individual project assignments will receive an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. See tentative schedule for topics. Includes class lectures, interactive class participation, design exercises, field trips, and dynamic learning opportunities. Instructors include Matthew English, Kevin Guenther, Cliff Davis, and guests.

Location: Carothers Crossing
When: 9 am August 12 to 5 pm August 24, 2010, with Sundays off
Price: $700 with early registration, $800 after July 23 2010
Registration: Register online at
Contact: For questions contact or 888-878-2434 ext.2
More details (in PDF format): LogisticsLocationLodgingScheduleRestaurants

Register Now

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Financial Permaculture Workshop 2009 in Hohenwald, TN- Sheila Sewell

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009 people from all across the United States congregated in Hohenwald, TN to discuss and learn about Financial Permaculture. I, for one, have been very excited to meet all the intelligent and wonderful people that I have corresponded with in the past few months while gearing up for this event. We ended up with around 40 people (some of which were our staff) that were eager to start this journey of defining Financial Permaculture and truely learning about becoming a self sustainable community.

Tuesday and Wednesday we listened to several instructors (Jennifer Dauksha-English, Catherine Austin Fitts, Albert Bates, Justin Sanders, Thomas Hupp, Greg Landua, Debbie Landers, Jason Easton, and Eathan Roland) who were well versed and knowledgable in Finance and Permaculture. They laid the ground work for the various discussion groups that would pop up in the Open Space environment over the next couple of days. Our instructors engaged us in think and listen sessions and wonderful participatory exercises. Their list of resourses will help all of us in the future to obtain our Financial and Permaculture goals.

On Thursday we had a “Market Place” where we took a sheet of paper and listed the thing we wanted to get out of the first open space session that day. There were several wonderful topics from financing a complete ecosystem to how to engage the disengaged. I chose the how to engage the disengaged mainly because I wanted to be able to better communicate with people and my employees. Our facillitator’s name was Kyle. Kyle is a GAIA University student who is awesome. He is quite intelligent and a born speaker and leader. He is from California. He made a documentary which he showed us about why it is important to have your money in localized banks instead of big corporate banks. The group decided first to list people who they had engaged or who engaged people that made an impact on their life. We then set goals and listed tools that we could use to accomplish those goals. We had definate moments of bonding and self sharing during this time. I feel that I have a better understanding of people after this session.
After lunch we again did the “Market Place”. We could choose to stay with the group we were in or have new topics to include into the Market Place. There were a couple of groups formed that built off of the earlier topics. I chose a group that was creating a business that would help those that wanted to build their soil quickly but did not have a lot of money by leasing equipment/knowledge to them cheaper and would take a shorter period of time. After listening to the group and throwing things out that would benefit me if I was starting a new business, Amanda Baxter and I decided to break out and start our own group. We discussed what we wanted for the respective companies we worked for and how to engage our employees to give them a vested interest in making our companies financial stable to still have jobs when the Perry County Stimulus program is over. We mapped out our Agenda, Stakeholders, Tools, and Goals to discuss with our employees the next day.

Posted in Albert Bates, Catherine Austin Fitts, Financial Permaculture, Jennifer Dauksha-English, Sheila | 1 Comment

Permaculture Design Class 2009

Hohenwald Permaculture Design Class

A Permaculture Design Certification Series was launched this summer in Hohenwald TN. The 72-hour curriculum was held over 4 weekends in June and July. This Permaculture certification series was sponsored by the Center for Holistic Ecology and the Sonnenschein Green Initiative. The instructors for this series were local Permaculture Designers: Matthew English, Cliff Davis, Greg Landua, Jennifer Dauksha-English, Albert Bates, and Adam Turtle. This unique opportunity to receive training and certification in Permaculture Design has attracted people nationwide. This summer series attracted 5 participants from out of state, 7 participants from outside Southern Middle Tennessee and 22 participants from Lewis, Perry, Hickman and Maury County.

The Permaculture curriculum covers design techniques and principles, which teaches people to work with, not against nature. Permaculture is a design tool that looks at designing systems that integrates and optimizes productivity for the individual, community, economics and the environment.

During the series, the students assisted with the design and development of the Discovery Center demonstration site located behind the Strand Theatre and the Museum in downtown Hohenwald. Also throughout the series, participants took field trips to Merriweather Lewis State Park, Solar Springs Permaculture Farm, and to Earth’s Advocate Research Farm. At Meriweather Lewis State Park, the students were able to observe the forest in its natural setting. Solar Springs is a research farm and nursery. It is constructed with natural building techniques and operated off grid with solar and wind energy. Earth’s Advocate Research Farm is a bamboo nursery and also operated off grid with solar energy. Many participants shared their course notes and pictures on

The fourth and final weekend, the participants going for certification, presented Permaculture Designs of their homes or businesses to the class and instructors. The design presentation included research information on their geographic, social/history and bioregional location, and a site survey, client interviews and a Permaculture design. Each participant had 10 minutes to present followed by questions and feedback. The graduation was held in the Strand Theatre on Sunday August 2, 2009.

After completing this series, the newly certified students will be able to apply Permaculture principles and design techniques to their homes, gardens, farms, businesses, and local or regional economic and community development.

The following individuals received their Permaculture Design certificate: Sheila Sewell, Linden, TN; Jackie Miller, Hohenwald, TN; Richard Miller, Hohenwald: TN, Bob Ogden, Hohenwald, TN; Jim Melton, Summertown, TN; Shea Moore, Kentucky; Kevin Guenther, Lavergne, TN; Bethann Easterly, Nashville, TN; Michael Robinson, Morrison, TN; Leela Robinson, Morrison, TN; Dotty Mulcahy, Hampshire, TN; Deanna Naddy, Hampshire, TN; Ellie Early, Summertown, TN; Joel Helge, Illinois; Kenny McDonald, Hohenwald, TN; Cheryl Smith, Lobelville, TN; Debbie Landers, Hohenwald, TN; Ryan Nichols, Nashville, TN; Mike Sheth, Hohenwald, TN; Jeff Neubacher, Michigan; Amanda Baxter, Linden, TN; Tonya Jones, Hohenwald, TN. Congratulations to everyone.

Please contact the Center for Holistic Ecology at or call 888-878-2434 and 931-933-7592 for further information about Permaculture or upcoming courses and certification series.

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Solar Springs

On our field trip to Solar Springs, on a hot and muggy Saturday in July, Matthew and Jenifer welcomed us to their “little piece of heaven”! This has been a 5 year journey for them, from “clear cut” gravel pit to a lush and thriving farm. We could only imagine!

Jennifer gave us a tour of their home and explained the various types of “natural building” techniques they used. Adobe brick and cement was used on the exterior, and a combination of Waddle and Dob, lath and plaster, adobe brick, cob and straw and clay were used on the interior.

Matthew showed us his gray water system. A simple tub of sand starts the filtration process,then it drains underground to a bog area,where specific plants aid in the purification process, from there the water meanders through a creek system, being cleansed by the roots of the plants until finally it makes its way into the forest garden.

Matthew led us through different areas of the property, pointing out gardens,(where Lela examines garlic seeds), greenhouses, water catchment devices and solar panels

Our lunch break included a delicious all natural and locally grown spread of veggies, eggs and muffins, whipped up by Jennifer and Cheryl. We were also treated to an impromptu talk on Financial Permaculture by Tom, who is a member of the local Financial Permaculture group.

No permaculture project would be complete with out a spiral garden!

Posted in 2009 Hohenwald Permaculture Series, Dotty, Herb Spiral, Solar Springs Field Trip, Weekend 2 | Leave a comment

Sheila’s Permaculture Final Presentation

Posted in 2009 Hohenwald Permaculture Series, Final Presentation, Sheila, Weekend 4 | Leave a comment