5 Days • Wednesday-Sunday, September 28 – October 2, 2016 • Iowa City, IA 52240
Do you want to plan, install, and operate large-scale permaculture systems for maximum resiliency and economic stability? Ready to learn from international experts in tree crops, keyline design, and multi-species grazing?
We’re all in a unique place in history. Our motivations are clear: live an enjoyable life, earn a living from a sustainable and regenerative source, and build security while facing an uncertain future. The only reliable way to fulfill these goals, for ourselves and the greater world, is to scale-up permaculture. Farmscale Permaculture is the process of rolling out scalable systems that feed lots of people and rebuild ecosystems – changing how Earth looks from space.
This course is hosted at Versaland, an emerging 145-acre agroforestry savanna in Iowa City, Iowa. Versaland is actively transforming a degraded monocultural landscape into an abundant ecosystem. Remarkable to see it happening with your own eyes.
It’s possible, it’s being done, and it’s easier than you think.
This course presents advanced material outside of a typical Permaculture Design Course (PDC), and is focused for those who will create abundant farm ecosystems.
The Farmscale Permaculture course teaches a broad scope of skills and concepts you MUST HAVE.
- Permaculture Business Models Learn from proven practitioners as they explain their permaculture businesses in-depth. Hear from experts in fields as diverse as mushrooms, design consultancy, and pastured livestock
- Keyline Design Hosted on-site of one of North America’s largest developing Keyline systems.
- Value Added Products Learn methods and real-world stories of value-added food products. Feremented foods, hard cider, cured meats and more.
- Energy learn how to modify your infrastructure to operate more efficiently and utilize renewable energy sources
- Specialized Machinery view and operate the specialized machinery to plant, maintain, and harvest a multispecies agroecosystem including tree transplanters, custom row mulchers, and electric tractors
- Grafting Learn how to graft fruit and nut trees so that you can produce your own nursery stock for a fraction of the cost!
- Polyculture Crops Silvopasture and agroforestry. Forage to fruit, apples to seaberries.
- Buildings Farm workflows and building site selection, portable structures, and material selection.
- Water for landscapes, people, and livestock. Adapted water delivery systems from reticulated pipelines to large-scale dams.
- Infrastructure Roads, fencing, pipelines, and power. Where, why, and how.
- Soils Building, understanding, and regenerating
- Buying Land from the big picture of geography to the fine points of contracts
- Economics & Cashflows get in-depth enterprise budgets and profit modeling tools for stacked enterprises available nowhere else.
- Resiliency Learn the tools and techniques that cultivate self reliance, vibrant livelihoods, and resilient health.
- Multispecies Grazing learn the fine points of co-grazing and leader-follower grazing groups of multiple species (also, when NOT to graze)
- Health Medicinals, herbs, and food medicine, wildcrafted and cultivated health for you and your family.
- Holistic Management a working introduction to the management philosophy that works with nature
- Appropriate Technology from low tech to high tech.
- and more…
Grant is the Founder of VersaLand and known in some circles as the “Mad Scientist of Permaculture”. As a farmer-hacker-artist, Grant develops new tools and techniques for creating and managing agroecosystems, including GPS Keyline technology, custom tree planters, and electric tractors. Leveraging a background in agricultural and commercial land management and brokerage, Grant will share innovative ways to gain land access, design a diverse farm, and create a broadacre permaculture farm that yields abundant rewards.
Based out of Minneapolis, Lindsay designs permaculture systems from tiny urban lots to broad-acre farms. Since 2005 she has worked with Ecological Gardens designing, implementing, and managing integrated edible working landscapes. Her current work involves consulting on issues of land use, creating perennial crop systems, and establishing whole farm management plans.
A graduate of the University of St. Thomas in environmental studies and justice and peace studies, Lindsay has studied culture and food systems in the US, Bangladesh, and Cuba. After a year of working on permaculture farms in Guatemala including I’jatz Cooperative and Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura (IMAP), Lindsay became Program Director at Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate. For more than ten years, she has worked with farmers, local foods nonprofits and chefs in Minnesota to organize and strengthen cold climate permaculture networks. You can find Lindsay teaching her children how to grow food in their own gardens as well as on Twitter and Instagram.
Peter is an ecologist-turned-farmer and applies his background in complexity science and ecology towards the design, restoration, and management of diverse and agriculturally productive savanna ecosystems. He and his wife Maureen founded Mastodon Valley Farm, a 100-acre permaculture farm in Southwestern Wisconsin where they are homesteading, planting lots of trees, and grazing lots of animals.
Jean Claussen Donohue
Jean is a master of homestead skills. An expert of fermented foods, Jean will share how to preserve the harvest without refrigeration, brew kombucha, create probiotic kimchis and krautchis for optimum health, in addition to sharing all of her animal husbandry and CSA operational skills. Raised on a diversified Midwestern farm, Jean will share her insights to live a healthy and optimal interdependent lifestyle.
Trevor is the co-owner of Roots To Fruits Ecological Design— an edible landscaping and permaculture design firm based in lower Michigan. He has worked on the design and implementation of countless orchards, homesteads, and small farms. Trevor is the president of the Michigan Nut Growers Association and runs a website called The Fruit Nut where he explores pomology and uncommon fruits. For the past several years he’s been actively researching and working to develop uncommon fruit crops for cold climates; he is also an enthusiast of the emerging cider industry and has been working on a grant-funded project to restore neglected orchards with the aim of producing cider apples. Trevor is an all around plant geek, avid horticulturalist, and a passionate student of the natural world.
Neal Spackman has transformeda 80 acres of desert in Saudi Arabia with transformational terraforming. Using water from flash floods, he has pioneered a silvopasture system that regenerates groundwater, builds soil, and creates new economies in a climate averaging fewer than 3 inches of rain per year and summer temperatures reaching over 120ºF.
Protégé of legendary Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer, Zach is the first person to earn Holzer Practitioner’s Certification in the USA. Zach will construct a Holzer-style livestock earth stable during the Farmscale Permaculture workshop. Harvesting the natural productivity of agroecosystems over the long-term is primary focus of Zach’s design work, constructing high initial input, high yield systems that last until the next ice age.
Site & Setting
145-acre VersaLand Farm in Iowa City, IA. A real-world example of successfully transitioning an Iowa corn farm to perennial polyculture. See mature fruit and nut trees in a savanna alongside a newly established silvopasture of chestnuts, apples, persimmons, pawpaws, hazelnuts, haskap, and seaberries (among hundreds of other species). Indoors, there is a large comfortable classroom nearby with a commercial kitchen and restrooms. Outdoors, VersaLand is one of the largest developing Keyline properties in North America, making use of GPS technology, keyline swales, Yeomans plow subsoiling, and diverse cropping systems. We’ll travel and visit other area sites as well for site evaluations and design review.
Investment and Leisure
This workshop brings together like-minded people from around the World (several continents) to learn and prepare for a bountiful and resilient future. You’ll make new friends near and far, and confidently learn new skills. Four FULL days of coursework, 8-6 each day with ample breaks for food and refreshments. We’ll share recreational opportunities in the evenings, as well as trips to local sites and sounds.
Enjoy abundant, nutrient-dense food as a consistent highlight of this course. Meals are provided as part of the course, grown locally and organic when available. Our chefs and their crew of prep cooks and producers do a wonderful job. Enjoy fresh organic greens harvested just a few feet from your table. Paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets are all accommodated with the utmost care and fulfillment, let us know your preferences and we’ll take care of you.
Accommodations & Lodging
Hotels and bed & breakfasts are available in nearby Iowa City and Coralville. We’ve negotiated heavily-discounted rates for workshop participants ($55-92/night). Budget to luxury hotels. Free camping is permitted on the farm, with some access to power and water. We ask that campers with non-service animals leave their pets at home, local pet sitters are available if necessary.
Plans & Deliverables
This course presents specific material for Farm-sized Permaculture. Participants will go home with the skills to create a self-directed plan for developing their farm or homestead for maximum productivity. You’ll leave this course with new friends, new skills, and extreme confidence to create your own vision.
2016 Course Topics
Registration & Tuition
Earlybird Registration is $1,295/person (Save $200)