View all Farm workshops listed in chronological order.
Permaculture Design Certificate Course
with Albert Bates, Marisha Auerbach, Chris & Celini Nesbitt and Starhawk
"We should be the heart and mind of the Earth, not its malady. So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone, and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia. We must do it while we are still strong enough to negotiate, and not a broken rabble led by brutal war lords. Most of all, we should remember that we are a part of it, and it is indeed our home."
James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia
Belize, Central America
Hike in the rainforest, see an array of beautiful waterfalls, overnights in remote dinner Mayan villages, visit relief projects by Plenty International, explore permaculture at the Mayan Mountain Research Center.
Global production of petroleum per capita peaked in the 1970s. From here on, we need to how to live with less, and yet our profligate lifestyles are still expanding, still straining the web of nature. At the same time, climate change is in a curve of acceleration that will pose unprecedented problems. Travel far south; to the back of beyond; to a remote valley accessible only by dugout canoe. Study permaculture surrounded by a lush, productive forest of edibles, medicinals and tropical hardwoods. Eat organic food, sleep in dorms powered by renewable energy, bathe in a sparkling pure river.... Field trips will include visits to a Mayan cacao farm, an underground river cavern and local permaculture projects. $1500 with meals & lodging. Contact www.mmrfbz.org firstname.lastname@example.org for information or to register for the Belize course.
Maya Mountain Research Farm, San Pedro Columbia, Belize
Winter Weekend Permaculture Design Certificate Course at The Farm School Feb 21, 22 & 23, Feb 28 & Mar 1, Mar 7 & 8, Mar 13, 14 & 15
Resilient Gardening Series:
Introduction to Permaculture April 11-12
Permaculture Gardening & Soil Fertility April 18-19
Rainwater Harvesting April 25-26
Edible Forest Gardening May 16th-17th
Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead & The Farm Solar School Campus
To apply, contact us at apprenticeship at thefarm dot org.
[Student Handbook PDF 20Mb]
This course counts for the following:
Registration opens at 8 am on Friday and we will have a hands-on program going for early arrivals all day Thursday. Classes start at 9 am Friday and go until Sunday late afternoon. Friday and Saturday nights' lodging are included in the course fee. Additional nights are $24 dorm or $18 for camping.
The class will be limited to 35.
To enroll for the class send a deposit of $50 to ETC, PO Box 90, Summertown TN 38483. There is a $25 discount for full payment by August 1.
Ecological design and natural building topics:
Selecting and testing materials
Natural wall systems
Foundations and drainage
Passive solar design
Hybrid natural building design
Modeling and design
Roofing and waterproofing
Specific building systems to be covered will be:
Adobe and other earth building techniques
Natural paints and plasters
Wattle and daub
Rubble trench foundations
Through hands on sessions each day, students will gain practical experience in integrating a number of simple and valuable technologies into one working solution.
Katey Culver Switzer has been a life-long activist with a focus on ecology and natural systems. She owns a local recycled paper supply co. She has been teaching about, designing and building natural buildings since 1996.
Howard Switzer is an architect with more than 30 years experience in building solar homes and working with natural, ecological, and recycled materials and construction techniques. He has studied with many other natural builders. His architecture firm designs and builds many straw and native material structures for residential and business clients in the Southeastern US.
Albert Bates is author of ten books on energy, environment and law, and two films on ecovillages, and currently serves as Regional Secretary for the Americas for the Global Ecovillage Network. He has lectured and universities and government agencies and worked on natural buildings, village infrastructure, and permaculture landscapes on 6 continents. He has studied natural building and its instruction with Nader Khalili, Joe Kennedy, Ianto Evans, Jon and Mitzi Ruiz, Alejandra Caballero, Paco Gomez, Sun Ray Kelly, Bob Kornegay and many other instructors.
About Our Courses
To make the transition toward a sustainable society it is imperative that we take responsibility for our own lives and meet our basic needs for food, shelter, energy, gainful employment, and supportive community. The purpose of our courses is to offer you practical training in ecological design principles so that you can begin the application of these skills within your own home grounds, workplace, and local community.
We also focus on building the support systems, networks, and alliances we all need in our work of remaking our culture. We strive to create a balance between classroom time, hands-on experiential learning, and personal empowerment work. Our courses will be useful for people with varying levels of experience, from backyard gardeners to design and educational professionals.
At the ETC we are creating a holistic, comprehensivist, "total immersion school," co-evolving creative designs that move us toward sustainability. All projects and buildings on site provides a walk-thru visit to the future. You can walk through our strawbale cabin, dome, organic gardens, and soon-to-be-completed cob Visitors Center (the largest cob structure in North America, the first east of the Mississippi) and wetlands filtration system. We have a large creek flowing through the Center and the headwaters of the Swan watershed are located on the property as well. Over 1000 acres of The Farm are designated as wilderness preserve.
The Eco-hostel is an old Farm house that has been renovated and expanded. The house was originally constructed by members of the Farm in the late 70's out of completely recycled materials. Our renovations have included three dormitories, four solar showers, rainwater collection, solar electricity, wastewater recycling, 2-story greenhouse and a third story observation deck. More extensive renovations are planned for 2015.
For our policies on discounts and cancellations, please visit our Discounts page.
Bunk houses and tent sites are available for the entire course. There are showers and bathrooms nearby. Bedding is provided. A limited number of private rooms are available at typically $30 per night. Wheelchair access provided. Language translation services can be arranged. Bring rain gear, swim gear, comfortable walking shoes, flashlight and towels.
It was a safe place to take risks. Whole living can't be taught, as it has to be experienced and absorbed, so this week at The Farm was an experience of osmosis for most.
We accumulated knowledge and direction for our lives while absorbing some of the wisdom and spirit represented around us. I saw a catharsis in many of these individuals. An immediate sense of community and purpose. It was a seminal experience in my life and a reawakening to a journey ...