Advanced Farm and Homestead Design


Advanced Farm and Homestead Design: 5-Day Intensive

May 21-25, 2015  ·  Memorial Day Weekend

Versaland Farm, Iowa City, IA 52240

Are you SERIOUS about designing your farm or homestead for optimal use and enjoyment?

Advanced Farm and Homestead Design is a 5-day intensive workshop about creating awesome homesteads.  A diverse team of lead instructors are Permaculture Designers, Builders, Pond & Earthworks Designers, Organic Farmers, and Homesteaders..   Every attendee will receive FREE copies of multiple permaculture and homestead design books. Instructors include Grant Schultz, Lindsay Rebhan, Mark Krawczyk, Peter Allen, and and Jean Donohue.  Learn from leading practitioners, farmers, and do-ers, covering topics from fermentation to Keyline design.

This course presents advanced material beyond a typical Permaculture Design Course (PDC), and is focused for those who will live with functional farm and homestead ecosystems.  

This course is for those who want to live a resilient, rewarding life on their own abundant homesteads.  The Advanced Farmstead Design course teaches a broad scope of skills and concepts you MUST HAVE.

  • Buildings Home and farm site selection, energy systems, construction, insulation, and building integration.
  • Energy on and off grid from wood heat to solar, passive to active.
  • Materials Evaluate building materials for your climate and geography – from timber to stone, modern to traditional.
  • Water for landscapes, people, and livestock.  Plan and survey ponds, swales, and terraces.
  • Infrastructure Roads, fencing, pipelines, and power.  Where, why, and how.
  • Food Production Food, medicine, and fuel in a real-world production system.
  • Keyline Design Hosted on-site of one of North America’s largest developing Keyline systems.
  • Resiliency Learn the tools and techniques that cultivate self reliance, vibrant livelihoods, and resilient health.
  • Food Preservation including fermenting, root cellaring, butchery, and drying.
  • Health Medicinals, herbs, and food medicine, wildcrafted and cultivated health for you and your family.
  • Polyculture Crops Silvopasture and agroforestry.  Fruit to nuts, apples to seaberries.
  • Mushroom Production Inoculate logs for mushroom production – learn multiple systems of production (and how to generate your own spawn)
  • Tools Resilient methods and tools for harvesting and building including chainsaw, axe, scythe, and more.
  • Appropriate Technology from low tech to high tech.
  • and more…

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Grant Schultz

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.


Screenshot 2014-11-21 23.00.28Lindsay Rebhan

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_allen_livestockPeter Allen

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.




Mark Krawczyk

Mark Krawczyk is an ecological design and permaculture teacher, designer, and consultant at Keyline Vermont LLC. A talented designer-builder and longtime instructor at Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Mark brings critical skills to a permaculture setting that other course leave behind.  Having lived and worked in forestry and agriculture in England, Australia, and the United States, Mark brings a wide scope of experience in agroforestry. Mark enjoys time cooking and heating around the woodstove at his homestead in Vermont’s Champlain Valley.

Site & Setting

145-acre VersaLand Farm in Iowa City, IA.  A rare 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.  Indoors, there is a large comfortable classroom 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.


So…you wish you had the skills of an architect, engineer, plant breeder and scientist.  Don’t we all?

The fact is, if you spend quality time with these folks, they’ll teach you the portions of their knowledge that yield the greatest results in remarkable time.  A crash course over several days can often get you well on your way to learning new concepts.  That’s what this course is about: maximum benefit in minimal time.  New skills, new viewpoints, a clear path.

What’s that mean?  Design tools and techniques that you’ll pick up quickly, with or without a computer.  Site surveying methods to communicate with a builder or contractor effectively and easily.   Advanced topographic maps and GPS, design ponds, swales, and Keyline layouts.  Food preservation and medicinal plants so your family will have healthy food year-round.  Infrastructure related to selecting and maintaining a resilient water supply, power, and heating.  Fruit Tree Grafting will be taught hands-on, and each participant will receive an apple rootstock to take home.  Prepper & Permaculture skills of all sorts for those that value true resiliency.  Finally, we’ll wrap things together by combining the built with the biological,  demonstrating unconventional topics such as living fences, electric tractors, and compost systems – on-site in real life.

Evening Events  Learn the resilient tools of your choice with hands-on demonstrations of Austrian scythes, arrowhead flint knapping, and butchery.

Investment and Leisure  

This workshop brings together like-minded people from across North America (and beyond) to learn and prepare for a bountiful and resilient future.  You’ll make new friends near and far, and confidently learn new skills.  Five FULL days of coursework, 8-5 each day with ample breaks for food and refreshments.  We’ll share recreational opportunities in the evenings from bike rides to swimming holes, 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.

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Accomodations & 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 leave their pets at home, local pet sitters are available if necessary.

Plans & Deliverables

This course presents advanced material beyond a Permaculture Design Course (PDC).  Participants will go home with the skills to create a self-directed plan for developing their farm or homestead for maximum resiliency.  You’ll leave this course with new friends, new skills, and extreme confidence to create your own vision.

Registration & Tuition

$995 Earlybird rate includes ALL MEALS

$295 non-refundable deposit.  $700 balance due before April 1st, 2014  ($995/person total)

Course fee increases to $1,195 after April 1, and $1,295 after May 1.

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Join us over Memorial Day Weekend this May, 2015

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