Thursday, December 22, 2011

upcoming events

Greetings All,

Happy Solstice! Below is a great collection of info on upcoming permaculture and sustainability events in the central Virginia bioregion, including our Spring 2012 BRPN Permaculture Design Course, a BRPN potluck with a community talk by Dave Jacke next month (COME ONE, COME ALL), and lots of great sustainable agriculture conferences.

If you know anyone else that would like to sign up for this newsletter, or if you have an announcement, email Christine at for the next update, which are sent monthly. Wishing you a great holiday season.

Christine and the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network team

1. Spring 2012 BRPN Permaculture Design Course
We are pleased to announce our winter - spring 2012 Permaculture Design Course: Sustainability Strategies for the Blue Ridge, over four weekends near Charlottesville, Virginia.

This Permaculture Design Course lays the foundation for understanding and working with natural systems to design sustainable environments that produce food, shelter, and energy. It also provides participants with models of community development and extension by which they can create networks of support for themselves and empower others to do the same. The course provides tools to help design and develop urban or rural properties or neighborhoods in a sustainable manner, revitalize local communities, and restore ecological balance.
Permaculture promotes land use systems that work with natural rhythms and patterns to create regenerative cultivated ecosystems. Participants will learn how to design and build gardens, homes, and communities that model living ecosystems. By understanding patterns in nature, students will learn how to grow food, manage water catchment and storage, utilize renewable energy and build community.

The ecological design course covers themes such as: ecological systems understanding, organic food production, natural soil improvement, watershed restoration, water conservation and management, edible forest gardening, native medicinal plants, natural habitat restoration, healthy buildings and human settlements, community and consensus building strategies, renewable energy systems, sustainable community development, local economics, and ecological planning and design methods.

This 72-hour certificate course, presented by the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network, will be offered over four weekends with leading permaculture teachers including Emily Axelbaum, Christine Gyovai, Dave Jacke, Hub Knott, Terry Lilley, Dave O’Neill, and guests (teacher bios on the website). The course will be held near Charlottesville, Virginia, at Montfair on the following dates:

Dates: Jan. 13-16, Jan. 27-29, Feb. 18-20, and March 3-4, 2012.

The cost for this course will be a sliding scale, including a discount for early registration. If you register by November 15 the sliding scale is $895-$1200. After November 15 the sliding scale is $995-$1200. A few work trade positions are available for partial tuition; inquire soon about work trade guidelines and availability. The work-trade application deadline ends on December 1st, 2011, and limited scholarships may be available, inquire for details. To register please visit the BRPN website for a registration form, or contact Terry Lilley at or 434-296-3963.

2. Blue Ridge Permaculture Network potluck and
Dave Jacke Community Presentation on “Ecosystem Agriculture and Forest Gardens”

Come One – Come all!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Charlottesville, Virginia (Location to be announced in next newsletter and the BRPN website)

BRPN Potluck at 6:00 pm, 7:30 Dave Jacke presentation
Bring utensils and a dish to share
Suggested donation $10 for community presentation to support PDC scholarships

3. Teaching Permaculture Creatively 2012: Eastern PA
A Nine-Day Intensive Professional Permaculture Teacher Training Course
March 23 through April 1, 2012, Kimberton Waldorf School, Phoenixville, PA

Consider this proposition: Events make the best teachers. The most significant learnings of our lives mostly come from situations we have experienced, and even when people lecture well, they make their presentation an event from which we learn. If events make the best teachers, it would follow that effective educators focus their energy on designing effective learning events. How does this apply to teaching permaculture?
This nine-day intensive Permaculture Teacher Training explores how to create permaculture learning events, applying ecological principles and processes to the design of permaculture workshops, courses, and other experiences. Learn how to quickly assess students’ learning modalities, eight intelligences, and other niche characteristics; create effective learning environments; design multifunctional, functionally interconnected courses where the whole experience is far greater than the sum of the sessions!
Each trainee in this course will design and run short classes and exercises, speak in public, plan and budget an event, and coteach a public one-day permaculture workshop at course end. What do whole learning systems look, feel and sound like? Come find out! The best way to learn is to do, and to have fun doing it! Join us!
Limited to 27 certified permaculture design course graduates; pre-course preparation required.
Course Staff:

Dave Jacke, primary author of Edible Forest Gardens, has taught innumerable workshops and courses across the country using the principles you will learn in this training. This is the fifth teacher training he will lead.

Farmer, educator, and designer Chris Jackson works with at-risk youth and livestock at a school in Plainfield, VT, and homesteads there. He took this training with Dave and Jono Neiger in 2007, and has taught three trainings with Dave since.

Kim Almeida hails from the south shore of Boston, where she farms organic annual and perennial vegetables, workshops, and social systems. This will be her second time assisting with this training, which she took in 2009.

• A $25 nonrefundable application fee applies to course cost if accepted. You may register and pay the application fee at:

• Cost for tuition, meals, lodging: $1,300-$1,700 sliding scale. Early application discount: $1,250 if completed applications are received before February 1! Commuters (no breakfast or lodging included): $1,050-$1,450 sliding scale, $1,000 if completed application received by February 1.

• An additional nonrefundable deposit of $275 is required to hold your place once accepted into the program. Full payment is required by March 1, 2010.

• Partial scholarships will be available—and your completed scholarship application will help us raise funds!

For more information, download the brochure, Student Outcomes, and the course application (includes scholarship application) at
The Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild, c/o Melissa Miles,
101 Abbey Drive, Linfield, PA 19468, 
(484) 949-1600,
ALSO: check out the Carbon Farming Course coming this January—I’ll be sharing the stage with Wes Jackson of The Land Institute! Also will include Darren Doherty on Keyline, Elaine Ingham on Living Soils, and many other great classes!

4. Advanced Permaculture Design Course
With Dave Jacke of Dynamics Ecological Design and
Jono Neiger of Regenerative Design Group present:

Laying Groundwork: A 9-Day Advanced Permaculture Design Course
At Brook’s Bend Farm, A Permaculture Research and Education Center
Friday evening, June 8 through Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lay the groundwork for your deepening practice of permaculture design and for the establishment of a permaculture training and demonstration center at Brook’s Bend Farm. This Advanced Permaculture Design Course (APDC) offers you direct experience designing permaculture systems that will build your design skills, your confidence and your portfolio, and spur you to deepen your self-study of the field. At the same time, you will help plan the transformation of Brook’s Bend Farm into a thriving multi-dimensional permaculture and nature awareness training and demonstration facility.

Course staff and participants will together form a large-scale paraprofessional design team tasked to resolve key design challenges and create a Schematic Master Plan for Brook’s Bend Farm. This involves integrating farming, livestock, forest garden, coppice, and building systems for the farm’s 90 acres of woods, streams, pastures, and farm buildings. We’ll dive into previous site assessment and design work by students of the Conway School of Landscape Design (CSLD). Each participant will then focus on one of several key “design streams” relating to the whole design, such as: water supply and waste water treatment systems; food production, processing, storage, and distribution systems; forest use and management; livestock grazing and foraging, and buildings and energy systems. Each “stream” will take on design problems in a mentored group-learning environment. As a collective, we will synthesize these streams into a unified Master Plan and present to a larger public audience by course end.
In this APDC, you will learn through design exercises, participatory classes, observation sessions, and self-study. Pre-course homework will be required. The course itself will be a fun, full-on design charrette with classes mixed in. At course end, you and your team will synthesize everything you have learned into design schemes and details to present to the clients and the public. The design process will be your main teacher; it will tell you what you need to learn. We’ll be there to support and guide you along the way.

Primary instructors Dave Jacke and Jono Neiger co-developed and co-taught “design-centered” permaculture courses together over many years. Dave is primary author of the award-winning book Edible Forest Gardens, and teaches design, permaculture, and forest gardening across the USA and Canada. He has run his own design firm, Dynamics Ecological Design, since 1984, and is now working on his second book, Coppice Agroforestry, with Mark Krawczyk ( Jono cofounded the Regenerative Design Group, a Greenfield, MA design firm (, is on the faculty at the Conway School of Landscape Design in Conway, MA (, and is on the board of the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast. Dave and Jono both graduated from CSLD, Dave in 1984, and Jono in 2003. Apprentice teachers, as well as a coterie of guest instructors and design reviewers, will also join the course’s faculty.

Tuition and food: sliding scale $1,150-1,550, with an early registration discount of $50 before April 1, 2012. Scholarships will be available; inquire for more information. Tuition payments above the bottom of the sliding scale will be used for scholarships, so please be generous if you can.
Meals: All meals will be provided as part of the tuition.
Accommodations: Camping and limited indoor accommodations will be available on site for an additional nominal fee.

• All course participants must have completed a certified Permaculture Design Course, and must furnish a copy of their course certificate with their deposit to hold their place in the APDC. If you want to take the course but cannot meet this prerequisite, please inquire.
• A $400 deposit is required to hold your place in the APDC. The full balance is due by May 15, 2011. Make checks out to Dynamics Ecological Design and mail to the address below. Credit card/Paypal payments will incur a fee from Evenbrite, and may be made at

Contact Ben Miller, Brook’s Bend Farm
119 Old Sunderland Road, Montague, MA 01351
413-367-2132 •

5. Virginia Biological Farming Conference
"Transitioning to Organic Agriculture"
Feb. 10-11, 2012
Holiday Inn, Koger Center
Richmond, Virginia

We hope you will join us for this informative, always stimulating event. Pre-conference options begin at 10 am on Feb. 10, followed by our traditional food-festival potluck-type lunch for which we ask everyone who wants to join us to bring a dish of food to share. We provide paper plates, cups, and flatware.

Our trade show begins at 11 am.
Official welcome, youth program, and opening plenary session start at 1 pm.

Who comes to the conference?

Certified organic farmers and market gardeners
Practitioners of organic farming / gardening who have chosen not to be certified
Sustainable, ecological and low-input producers
Biodynamic gardeners and farmers
Producers of pastured beef, poultry, eggs, dairy cows or goats, etc.
Home gardeners and homesteaders
Researchers and other agricultural professionals interested in organic or sustainable agriculture
Others who want to support ecological agriculture or sustainable food systems, or who simply want safe, nutritious, fresh, locally-grown food.

Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens, the Friday afternoon keynote speakers for our conference, were conventional grain farmers in New York until Klaas began to develop health problems due to pesticide exposure in 1991. Following the examples of other organic farmers, the Martens began transitioning to organic production in 1992. They received invaluable assistance from a neighbor named Cliff Peterson concerning weed control through mechanical cultivation. They also learned a great deal about management of soil fertility, organic quality control and adding value to their organic grains by producing livestock feeds. Today they operate 1300 acres organically with higher profits per acre than they ever earned using conventional practices.

The keynote speaker at the Virginia Biological Farming Conference in 2009 was Will Allen with Growing Power from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Allen described the incredible system he developed for commercial production of horticulture crops in urban neighborhoods of Milwaukee and Chicago. This inner city farming is based on utilization of compost made from food wastes collected from many urban sources such as restaurants, bakeries and institutional food services.

Renee Catacalos and Christian Melendez from ECO City Farms in Edmonston, Maryland will provide the second keynote presentation at the 2012 Virginia Biological Farming Conference. They will speak about their successful development of the Growing Power model for urban horticulture in their city in Maryland. Many people have heard Will Allen speak but these folks at ECO City Farms have actually employed the Growing Power model.

Have a look at our program to see all the other great sessions offered!

6. Richmond, VA home for sale, a two-story arts-and-crafts style house on 1/3 acre. Home is fully renovated, including refinished hardwood floors, bright and charming. The yard has lots of perennial edibles: grape trellises, dwarf apple and cherry trees, elderberry, asparagus, and rhubarb, plus perennial herbs. There are also several raised beds for annuals. $125,000. Contact Anna at for more info.

7. Allegheny Mountain School Seeks 7-9 Fellows for its Sustainable Food and Community Development Program in Highland County, Virginia.

Allegheny Mountain School (AMS) is assembling a group of highly curious, hardworking young adults to create a cohesive and cooperative team for living, working, and studying sustainable food systems and community development. AMS was founded in 2011 and beginning on May 1, 2012 our second group of AMS Fellows will spend 6 months (Phase I) in residence on Allegheny Mountain in western Virginia, followed by one year in the service of Partner Organizations (Phase II) along the Route 250 corridor of the two Virginias. Our goal for this year of service is that each AMS Fellow will touch the lives of at least ten families through teaching gardening and building sustainable local food programs.

AMS Fellows will be provided room and board during Phase I and there are no program fees (other than to apply). Fellows will receive a small stipend at the end of Phase I and a monthly stipend during Phase II, where they will be working within community organizations whose focus is strengthening connections to our local food system in communities, neighborhoods and schools. Fellows will be trained in a variety of farm skills, from organic gardening to permaculture site design, preserving food, carpentry skills and small animal husbandry.

The AMS Residency Program (Phase I) is located in Highland County on a 550 acre farm on the western edge of Virginia. The work/learning program will take place on the farm and at community projects in surrounding areas. Workshops and seminars will occur both on and off campus.

AMS Community Engagement (Phase II) entails working with a Partner Organization located along the Route 250 corridor of the two Virginias. Fellows will be expected to help build capacity for the organization’s mission as they share and teach the skills they have learned during their first six months in the program.

For more information, visit or email us at Allegheny Mountain School is a program of The Highland Center in Monterey VA. You can reach The Highland Center at (540) 468-1922.

8. EQIP Organic Initiative Signup is Open - opportunity for cost share on conservation practices

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has released guidance to state offices for the 2012 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), including the Organic Initiative, the High Tunnel pilot, and an EQIP On-farm Energy Program, as well as the regular EQIP. The EQIP Organic Initiative can offer cost-share for conservation practices that will help with the transition to organic production, such as cover cropping, conservation crop rotation, and other cropland conservation practices; and prescribed grazing, fencing, and other livestock management practices related to resource conservation. You can also get cost share for a High Tunnel either as part of an Organic Initiative contract, or as a stand alone practice. This is an excellent opportunity to receive some financial assistance to farm at the high level of land/resource stewardship that you would like to achieve.

The EQIP Organic Intiative is now available for signup for the 2012 growing season. Application cutoff date for the first ranking period is February 3, 2012. However, if you miss this date, there are two additional application periods this spring, one closing March 30, and the final one June 1.

These dates apply to the EQIP Organic Initiative, the EQIP High Tunnel pilot program, an EQIP On-farm Energy program, and the regular EQIP program. Note that organic farmers can apply to any of these programs.

In order to sign up, visit your district NRCS office. If this is the first time you have applied for a NRCS program, you will have some paperwork to fill out with the Farm Services Agency - they should also have an office in your district. If you have any questions or problems with the application process that the local office cannot address satisfactorily, contact the state NRCS liaison person for the Organic Initiative. In Virginia, that person is:

Ron Wood

Virginia NRCS
ProTracts, PRS, Toolkit, eAUTH - Coordinator
Organic Initiative/WHIP Manager
804 287-1660
FAX 804 287-1736

You can also find more information about the EQIP Organic Initiative in Virginia at,


PASA's 21st Annual Farming for the Future Conference
Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture:
Cultivating Versatility and Resilience

February 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2012 ~ State College, PA
Click HERE to view the current conference programming and details!
Join us as we Break Ground for a new wave of learning and growing. The trail ahead will be challenging as we define and create a New Agriculture. After a year of changing politics, weather patterns and economics, it is clear that our community must be both Versatile and Resilient to persevere and bring about through local actions solutions to the global challenges we face. The conference will pull together many ground-breakers for a series of lectures, tracks and workshops that will send you home ready to dig in and cultivate your way to a more sustainable future. Our new Friday schedule includes a third workshop slot - that means you’ll have over 100 workshops to choose from! - and we’ve built in more time for you to network with our sponsors and exhibitors, speakers and fellow conference goers. Mark your calendars now, and we’ll see you in February!
Visit the conference website here to see the program and register. Click here!
Sponsorship information for the 2012 conference is available, please click here!

The annual Farming for the Future conference is PASA's signature event and our main vehicle for community building. Widely regarded as the best of its kind in the East, this diverse event brings together an audience of over 2,000 farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists, and business and community leaders annually. The sheer numbers and diversity of business and organizations that are associated with the conference are notable, through sponsoring, exhibiting and presenting. Typical conference workshops focus on such practical topics as poultry production, cheese making, riparian buffers, organic certification and raw milk marketing. The very popular day-long "Pre-Conference" tracks offer in-depth exploration of special topic areas.
The conference does not focus entirely on practical training for farmers. Keynote speeches in recent years have featured such visionaries as human rights advocate Anuradha Mittal, environmental leader William McDonough, world humanitarian Vandana Shiva, Native American activist Winona LaDuke, environmental activist Diane Wilson, ag economist extraordinaire John Ikerd and peak oil specialist James Kunstler.

The Farming for the Future conference continues to bring the PASA membership a high quality program with knowledgeable field experts, acclaimed keynote speakers, and special events. Year after year, conference staff and volunteers do their best to plan and provide this inspiring event, always with an eye to improve things as we can. Special features of the conference include; youth & teen programming, a babysitting program, a triumvirate of benefit auctions, the Sustainable TradeShow and Marketplace, and conference meals featuring sustainably, organically, and regionally raised foods from over forty PASA members throughout our region.

10. Virginia LID Competition Call for Entries
The purpose of the Virginia Low Impact Development Design Competition is to challenge teams of development professionals to demonstrate cost-effective approaches to replicating pre-development hydrology on development sites. The Virginia LID Competition is modeled off of the highly successful Houston LID Design Competition (Details) held in 2009 in Houston, Texas.
A prize of $15,000 will be awarded in each of three design categories:

•Suburban Mixed Use
•Urban Infill
•Green Roadway

View more information here:

11. VCU Certificate in Sustainability 2012

The VCU School of Business Foundation – Center for Corporate Education is offering a unique professional certification program beginning early 2012.

The VCU Certificate in Sustainability Program 2012, developed by Environic Foundation International (EFI), gives participants a real understanding of sustainability as a significant force in business success in the 21st century. The program provides a practical overview of global trends and forces that are changing how business is conducted, why sustainable business practices provide businesses with a competitive advantage, and how to incorporate those lessons into your business. The program explores what business challenges and opportunities are created because of the growing need among businesses and markets to become more sustainable and examines how businesses are responding. Finally, participants work on developing approaches that can benefit their careers, businesses and communities.

The program will meet every Wednesday from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, beginning on January 18th and ending on April 25th. The program culminates with the award of a VCU Certificate of Achievement in Sustainability. Enrollment is limited and thus interested individuals are encouraged to reserve a place now if their schedule will permit.

VCU accepts payments in three installments - $500 upon being accepted, then payments of $500 in March and April 2012). For more information visit or contact Dr. Van R. Wood – (804-519-2022).