Friday, January 6, 2012

upcoming events

Greetings all,

Happy 2012! 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 (only a few spaces left), a BRPN potluck with a community talk by Dave Jacke next Saturday (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.

Christine and the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network team

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

Come One – Come all!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
at Mountaintop Montessori School
440 Pinnacle Place, Charlottesville, VA 22911

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

2. 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.

Dates: February 10th-12th (Friday evening – Sunday evening)
Location: City Space, 100 5th St. NE, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Host Organization: Transition Charlottesville/Albemarle

As we face the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and economic contraction, the Transition Movement is a positive approach that focuses on local solutions and building community resilience. Training for Transition is a two-day, in-depth, experiential workshop designed to introduce Transition for those considering bringing a Transition initiative to their community and/or to deepen understanding of Transition for those already actively organizing in their locale.

Participants will:
· Discuss the context for Transition initiatives, including the current global situation and converging crises of climate change, peak oil, resource depletion, and economic contraction, and how to effectively raise awareness on these issues on your home turf;
· Learn key concepts of the Transition model, guiding principles, primary ingredients, and the larger process for organizing your community towards local resilience;
· Learn how to set up a successful initiating group, organize effective meetings, inspire positive action, facilitate collaboration, reach diverse sectors of your community (including food, energy, transportation, economy, and health), and build momentum for transformational work in your community;
· Participate in a collective visioning process and develop initial action steps for yourself and your community;
· Form connections with other change leaders interested in this rapidly growing, positive, global movement!

The course delves into both the theory and practice of Transition that is working in hundreds of communities around the world. The training is a mix of presentation, visual media, participatory discussions, small group work, and practical planning that you can take home and use. Participants are invited to share their experience and learn from others throughout the course.

Who Should Attend:
People interested in learning about the Transition movement in greater depth, leaders who are already creating a Transition initiative in their community, and leaders of community groups who wish to be resources for the Transition movement in their locale.

Full and partial scholarships are available. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. To apply for a scholarship, please answer the following questions and email your responses to

Please contact Joanie Freeman at or Sarah Frazer at

4. Sacred Plant Traditions workshop with Phyllis Light
March 30 - April 1, 2012
Friday - Appalachian spirituality
Phyllis will take us deep into the magical realms of Appalachian spirituality and the shamanic traditions that she learned form her elders and teachers.
Saturday & Sunday
- Natural Mental Health Approaches
With astronomical percentages of our population on some form of psychoactive medications it is time that the herbal community understand our place in this crisis.We’ll be discussing ADD/ADHD, depression, learning disabilities, OCD, etc, all as patterns of dysfunction not diagnosis. We’ll also be discussing them in relationship to constitutions.

Farm Work – Charlottesville area farm

Looking for a Farm Assistant for 2012 season. Would be responsible for all aspects of field work (seeding to harvesting of vegetables, flowers, and herbs) and selling at farmers' market. Season would be March-November. Minimum of 1 year farming experience is required. This position would be a good fit for a person with some experience who wants to have more responsibility and learn more about all aspects of running a farm while receiving guidance and mentoring. Compensation is a weekly stipend, produce for personal use, and participation in monthly CRAFT farm tours/workshops. For more information: contact Steph at:

6. Food Stamped at the Local Motion Film Series
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at the Mockingbird in Staunton, VA
Time = 7:00pm until 9:00pm

Film is FREE! ($5 suggested donation to help support Staunton's first and only ongoing alternative film series.)

Those of you who care about the other side of local food —how ALL locals are eating, or who are passionate about social justice and fighting hunger in America will want to see this movie.

Food Stamped is an informative and humorous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America’s broken food system. (62 minutes)

Winner, Jury Feature Prize – 2011 San Francisco Independent Film Festival.

Co-sponsored by Transition Staunton Augusta, AmeriCorps*VISTA Food Security and the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement at Mary Baldwin College. Vigorous group discussion to follow the screening.

Transition Staunton Augusta's Local Motion Third Tuesday Film Series is celebrating nearly two years of continuous film showings at the Mockingbird Restaurant and Roots Music Hall. Join us in February for our 2 year anniversary showing of The Corporation on February 21, 2012.

Doors open at 5:30 for dinner in the Roots Music Hall. Dinner reservations strongly encouraged at 540.213.8777.

7. 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!

8. 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 •

9. 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!

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Learn building techniques while traveling, and gain a cultural experience as well.
Natural Building Intro - January 12-17 - Hawi, Big Island, HI - $30/day or $150 for all. Register at: Learn dry stack rock work, gabions for stream restoration, wood-fired cob oven building and earth bag construction during this six day workshop. Jan 12-13 Build rock stairs, and create the foundation for the cob oven using dry-stack techniques. Jan 14-15 Build a clay oven out of cob. Jan 16-17 Use Gabions and Earthbags to divert stream water to garden beds. This intro will leave students with the ability to begin planning and building their first rockwork, cob, or earthbag project. View the full flier HERE.

Earthbag Dome - January 21-25 - Mountain View, Big Island, Hawaii - $600 Artfully create your home with the soil beneath your feet. This earthbag dome class will leave you with the skills to begin planning and creating any earthbag project. In this session we will build a 7 foot dome with earthbags. This technique represents the future of woodless construction. Camping and meals included.

Wattle & Daub - Feb 5-15 - Madagascar - $1000 A local association called FIMARA is building a small clinic in a rural area west of the town of Ranomafana. Participants of this workshop will assist in the creation of this facility that will allow local healers to help the sick. Students will learn Cob building techniques including wattle and daub (application of earth over a stick frame), as well as some basic dry stack rock building technique. Like many of our workshops, this is going to be an amazing cultural experience in addition to a quality natural building skill-builder.

Adobe Brick Vault Construction - February 19-29 - Dogon Country, Mali - $1200 Experience Dogon culture while learning how to make Adobe brick nubian vaults along side villagers. These structures use earthen bricks to span the roof and can be 100% earthen. Woodless construction brings a sense of hope for proper use of nature's resources. Adobe mason Aboukar Kassogue of the town of Boro will co-teach with natural builder Scott Howard of Earthen Hand to bring you a truly cross-cultural workshop. Cultural / language guidance, Greet at airport (Bamako), Camping and meals included.

Adobe Brick Dome Construction - March 8-16 - Cairo, Egypt - $1000 Build a small Adobe brick dome for the family of Said, a local camel rider and tour guide who lives down the street from the pyramids. The dome uses earthen bricks to span the roof and can be 100% earthen. Woodless construction brings a sense of hope for proper use of nature's resources. Cultural / language guidance, greet at airport, Camping and meals included.

Natural Building Primer - April 14-20 - Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica - $1000 Join us for this wonderful 1-week earth building experience. The course will cover the basics of building with earth and offer students a hands-on opportunity to immerse themselves in a number of earth building techniques. Participants will learn about and work with cob, wattle and daub, lime plasters and washes, earth renders and earthen floors. The workshop will be held at the Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Living Center. Students will stay at the Ranch’s amazing facilities and in addition to learning about earth building they will be exposed to a host of other sustainable living projects including a methane digester, composting toilets, Permaculture designed gardens and orchards, animal husbandry, fermented food products and much more. Register by March 14.

Earthen Paints [distance learning] - Anytime - Your house - $50 Our newest type of course allows you to study home made Earthen Paints and applications whenever you have time from your computer via our distance learning video. These techniques are very accessible and easy to learn with this kind of guidance. Earthen Paints have been used for thousands of years to beautify human dwellings, and can produce a wide variety of colors and textures. They are non-toxic, ecological, and not expensive to make. Registration is anytime and ongoing. Course includes email support. DVD is 20 minutes total.


JRGBC-Charlottesville January 10th Luncheon:
"LED Lighting and Controls"

Are you up on the latest lighting technologies and how they contribute to LEED points? If not, then start off the new year with JRGBC and Carter Adams, Principal of Lighting Virginia to learn how new LED fixtures and controls can be incorporated into your projects to save energy and earn LEED points. Carter has been in business thirty years and represents over 80 lighting manufacturers. He will discuss practical examples of parking deck, site, interior decorative and downlighting as well as emergency lighting and will have fixtures on hand to demonstrate.
This luncheon will be held on January 10th at City Space, 100 5th St. NE, on the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA. Doors open at 11:50 and the Seminar begins at approximately 12:10 pm.
Luncheons are free and open to the public; however, advance registration is required by Friday, January 6th. Lunches are ordered based on pre-registration, so please RSVP by the deadline and cancel your registration if you can’t attend before the deadline.
Register Today!