the irresistible fleet of bicycles

Leave a comment

farmscale permaculture

October 2-5, 2014
Iowa City, IA 52240

IMG_4071Do 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.

Hosted at VersaLand, an emerging 145-acre regenerative savanna actively transforming a degraded monocultural landscape into an abundant agroecosystem.  You can see it happening with your own eyes.

It’s possible, it’s being done, and it’s easier than you think.

More information here


Leave a comment

the von thunen model: a very cool lesson in agricultural geography

The Von Thunen model of agricultural land use was created by farmer and amateur economist J.H. Von Thunen  in 1826. Von Thunen’s model was created before industrialization and says that farmers have to take 3 things into account: the cost of land per year, the price of crops when sold, and the cost of transportation to market.


The first ring in the von thunen model produces dairy products, fruits, veggies, and flowers. Land costs in the first ring around the city are high, but so are sale prices for these products. All of these products spoil and require quick transport to market

Wood is grown in the second ring because it requires lots of land and the land must be cheaper. The forests are located in the second ring because back when Von Thunen wrote this model, Germany was heating primarily with wood.

Field crops like cereal grains are in the 3rd ring because they require vast amounts of land and are not nearly as expensive to transport as wood or fragile fruits and veggies. Also, farmers need land that they can afford to leave fallow for 1 out of every three years.

Ranching and livestock requires huge amounts of cheap land that doesn’t necessarily have to be good for anything except growing grass.

(For you permaculture people out there, check out this comparison between the Von Thunen model and the basic permaculture model. Second paragraph)

Leave a comment

the permaculture orchard: beyond organic is available for download on june 1st!



Click here to download this video on June 1st!

The orchard can be a magical place; endless acres of peaches, pears, or apples in gorgeous bloom by the roadside, producing delicious fruit. But an orchard, by definition, is a monocultural crop – nothing but one type of fruit tree that requires a lot of time, effort, money and pesticide to create produce for the billion dollar fruit industry. With organic orchards becoming more common but still very labor intensive, what are future fruit farmers to do? They completely rewrite the book on orchard management by using permaculture.

This is exactly what Stefan Sobkowiak does in Olivier Asselin’s new film, The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic. Sobkowiak owns and operates Les Fermes Miracle Farms, an orchard in Canada that he converted to a permaculturally-diverse organic orchard over the last twelve years. Asselin’s film condenses Sobkowiak’s decades of knowledge and experience into a seriously educational primer on how to propagate, grow, manage, and enrich one’s orchard. Clear instructions, animation, and demonstration make this film an important addition to your video learning library. To read more of this review by, click HERE—>

To purchase this video by DVD or download, click HERE




Leave a comment

a young farmer designing/running a profitable perennial farm

For those of you out there  interested in permaculture and needing camaraderie in the young farmers growing perennials for a living realm, meet Grant Schultz of Versaland. He’s transforming a 145 acre corn and soybean farm in Iowa into a broad acre perennial farm, capturing grants from the USDA,  implementing farm hack strategies (electric tractor), and offering workshops.

grant schultz1

He was recently interviewed on the Permaculture Voices Podcast. Click to learn more about Grant and how he’s making it all happen.


Leave a comment

keyline trainings, upcoming


Greenhorns ally Owen Hablutzel will be speaking at, or involved with, the following events:

Leave a comment

the indigenous farming project

Planting Justice in the Owens Valley: the Indigenous Farming Project 

by May Nguyen of Planting Justice 


I’ve been working on behalf of Planting Justice with a project called the Indigenous Farming Project (IFP), a tribal agriculture & nutrition pilot program in collaboration with San Francisco artist collective Future Farmers. Inspired by his train travels through the reservation lands, EPA Region 9 director Jared Blumenfeld recognized a common desire for developing food sovereignty projects within native communities and asked Amy Francheschini of Future Farmers to start up a program that would help tribes gain access to the resources they need to build resilient foodsystems on their lands.

Many tribal reservations are geographically isolated and are “food deserts” in which there is very little or no access to healthy fresh foods, ( In order to combat this health related epidemic, there has been a resurgence in the number of American Indians and their allies championing a revitalization of traditional food knowledge and ritual farming-and-gardening.

In spring 2012, Anya Kamenskaya, the IFP project manager, started the first IFP-sponsored site with the Environmental Department of the Big Pine Paiute of the Owens Valley. Over the course of the year, as I joined on as a co-project manager and permaculture designer, we were able to work with Alan Bacock, Tony Karl & Sally Manning of the Environmental Department to design & plan an active demonstration community garden on the land of the Big Pine Paiute Tribal Headquarters.

Continue Reading… 

1 Comment

martin crawford’s forest garden

Martin Crawford of the UK’s Agroforestry Research Trust is one of the world’s best recognised practitioners of the art of “forest gardens”.

Martin’s forest garden has an enormous diversity of plants. Most, but not all, are edible. Those that are not edible would be regarded as a waste of space to most farmers or gardeners, but these also serve valuable purposes and earn their keep in the garden — ultimately also being responsible for not only increased resiliency, and thus less labour input, but also increased productivity. Some attract beneficial insects, or insect-eating birds. Some may distract/confuse the more troublesome insects by their colour and scent. Some may provide sustenance and habitat for pollinators. Some are bio-accumulators (i.e., for example, they might bring minerals up into the soil profile layers where they can later be accessed by other food-producing plants), or some might provide protection from wind and extreme temperatures to their more fragile peers.

1 Comment

permaculture design course in hawaii

Here’s a note from Meleana Judd of Waihuena Farm:
Since earning a PDC with Robyn Francis in Australia in 2003 I committed to bring more ‘permaculture’ to Oahu. The PDC provides a framework & skill-set to approach living sustainably and is an experience I feel you, our community & the planet will benefit from. Please join us!

For more information, contact Meleana at meleanajudd at or at 808-551-8132
Sign up for the course HERE

Leave a comment

a nice commentary on scotch broom

from some bay area permies.


Anyone know the best way to get rid of Scotch broom? I was going to sheet mulch a hillside in Pacifica after slashing down broom, when I was told to eradicate the broom before putting anything down on the ground. Not sure what eradicating meant and why this wouldn’t at least help.
Also there are moles living in the hillside and the “mole expert” told my client that decaying cardboard will attract the moles to nest in the area. Anyone else heard of this and/ or have suggestions about getting rid of moles/gophers?


It’s exactly what people don’t like about scotch broom that makes it so effective. You might reconsider your approach to this problem in order to take advantage of the broom.   Continue reading

Leave a comment

permaculture for non-profits

Regeneration CSA (and friends) is offering free intro to Permaculture workshops for community organizations and non-profit organizations, staff, and their clients in the Hudson Valley. Permaculture is a design science that takes a holistic approach to long term sustainability. We hope these workshops can help your organization and members in thinking thru how to better approach the challenges that are coming our way in the 21st century; climate change, energy descent (peak oil), food security, and much more.
Workshops are usually 1 1/2 to 2 hrs, and can be tailored to the work and goals of each organization.  Contact us at: 845 687 0535 or for more info and to set something up.


Regeneration CSA
at Outback Farm
81 Clove Valley Rd, High Falls NY 12440

Leave a comment

more from common vision

Common Vision has an epic line-up of permaculture and sustainability workshops this summer/fall with some of the most esteemed teachers in the world, namely Elaine Ingham, Darren Doherty, and Michael Philips. All courses will be held at the M.A. Center in Castro Valley with group camping options. We hope you can be involved.


Soil Food Web w/ Dr. Elaine Ingham (August 2009)
August 10-14th 2009 @ M.A. Center in Bay Area
Dr. Elaine Ingham PhD is revered internationally as the preeminent teacher of soil micro-life and how human survival depends on it. Her five day intensive course will transmit a wealth of knowledge and teach hands-on compost and compost tea strategies for organic gardens, orchards, and landscapes. Common Vision and the GreenFriends have worked hard to offer this course at almost half the price of Dr. Ingham’s usual course tuitions. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Advanced no-till workshop at Regeneration CSA

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, check out this great workshop, tomorrow!

We should have something to offer at these workshops for beginners and experienced permies alike. And we have a lots of new projects to show off…raddichio

When: Saturday, Apr 11, 2009

Where: At Regeneration CSA, 81 Clove Valley Rd, High Falls, NY

Description: #3 in the series. Working with previously established beds: How do you keep the fertility up with commercial scale intensive production? Can a no till mulch bed compete with tilled soils in terms of productivity on a commercial scale? Do you ever need to repaper? What about direct seeding? All this and more…!Also: Bed building. Come help with the CSA expansion, and learn all about growing veggies in no-till sheet-mulched beds from the ground up! Start your garden beds without tilling, digging, spading or plowing! Are you interested in getting the straight scoop on sheet mulching, lasagna gardening, and organic no-till on a garden or commercial scale? Come to this series of workshops! Please RSVP! Formal workshop from 9:00am to 12:30 followed by potluck lunch. For more details, give us a call 845 687 0535 or visit the website

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Permaculture Workshops, Hudson Valley

This just in from Greenhorns friend Ethan Roland: flowers

Howdy All!

In just a few weeks I will be starting a Permaculture Design Course in the Hudson River Valley — it’s incredibly well-priced, and adds some innovative new twists to the standard 72-hour Permaculture Design Certification. If you’re interested, get in touch with Sarai ( QUICKLY – spots are filling up.

Steve Gabriel of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute is co-teaching, and Dyami Nason Regan will be working with Sarai Shapiro to weave cultural mentoring and nature connection throughout the course. We’ll be outside every day, with tons of hands-on and design project work.

Lots more info below — I hope to see you there!!!

Permaculture Design Course at Eden Village Camp
April 13th-19th, and May 19th – 26th

Cost is sliding scale of $700 to $1200 and includes 2 weeks of food, lodging, tuition and certificate, with Work-Trade Possible.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Swales, Composting, Pruning, etc.

Some lovely words from Neil Bertrando…

here’s a brief rundown of the past weeks events…filling in and finalizing schedule smith-ranch-3-11-2009-7and curriculum details for NV city PDC, pulling together resources and learning materials for this course, organizing and directing delivery of 20 yards of woodchips from local tree services to river restoration project (with Americorp volunteers), designing and teaching spillway installation in swales, installing spillways, designing and teaching swale surveying, doing fine tuning on dug swales and digging new ones, ordering 750 native and useful trees to plant along swales near Truckee River, setting up native reseeding logistics, organizing tree planting logistics, loading up on cheap fence materials and tools at a going out of business warehouse clean-out at a local fencing company so we can build our chicken coop, run and portable fence/tractor systems, pruning fruit trees at our home farm, planting support species in the fruit forest at our home farm, demo day for youth outdoor program, whittling down my master’s thesis to submit to a journal, gathered spent grain from local brewery for composting…and so on.

Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 590 other followers