Our 2015 Offerings

The Farm Ecovillage Training Center (and its partner programs abroad) are restructuring to better serve the needs of The Farm community in navigating the post-petroleum energy transition.

View all Farm workshops listed in chronological order.

Permaculture Design Certificate Course
February 21-March 6, 2015

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 info@mmrfbz.org for information or to register for the Belize course.

Maya Mountain Research Farm, San Pedro Columbia, Belize
with Albert Bates, Marisha Auerbach, Chris & Celini Nesbitt and Starhawk

For bookings and further information contact Chris Nesbitt (info at mmrfbz dot org)

$1500 with discounts for Early Bird and hardship

 For further information or to register please contact:

Christopher Nesbitt


mushroom inoculation

2015 Workshops

Cliff Davis

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

12 week Spring Internship: Applied Permaculture Practitioner Training April 1 - June 21

International Permaculture Day: Homestead Tour & Plant Sale May 2

Permaculture Design Certification Course at Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead May 23 -31

Cob Natural Building Workshop June 12-15

Natural Building Immersion August 1 - 15

12 week Fall Internship: Applied Permaculture Practitioner Training August 15 - October 31

Advanced Permaculture Course: AgroEcosystems: Creating Homestead & Farm Resilience October 10-18

Off Grid Mushroom Farming and Myco-Remediation with Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain October 17-18

Keyline® Design Introduction & Practicum-November 7-8

The Permaculture Pig: Pig Farming, Butchery & Charcuterie with Casey Daily 'Charcuterie Chef'  November 21-23

organized by

Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead & The Farm Solar School Campus

Ecovillage Skills & Permaculture Apprenticeships

includes Permaculture Design Certificate

Natural Building, Plasters and Trim, Synergistic Gardening, Compost, Teas, Primitive Skills, Mushroom Production, Natural Beekeeping, Bamboo, Woodland Crafts, Biochar, Keyline, Arborist Skills, Edible Forest Garden Design and Installation and more

Summertown, TN, The Farm community

Our 2015 program is now closed. Please inquire for the 2016 program in December 2015 - January 2016.

For more see our apprenticeship FAQ and contact us for current prices and opportunities.

To apply, contact us at apprenticeship at thefarm dot org.

Come to Iceland this August!

A Permaculture Design Course with Albert Bates and friends

 [Student Handbook PDF 20Mb]

Contact: Farmayor of Töfrastair, Mörur G. Ott

Permaculture College of Europe: Martin Giannini, martin@permaculturecollege.eu

August 16 to 30, 2015

Fee 125.000 isk or €830 including accommodation and food

Solar Photovoltaic Design and Installation
Oct 12-16, 2015

Become a solar installer with this week-long course with Ed Eaton. $1200 includes food and lodging. Complete manual and instruction in all aspects of design, sizing, acquisition, stand-alone storage, grid-tie, installation and maintenance.

PV Installer Certification Requirements: This course counts for 60 advanced training hours.

PV Technical Sales Certification Requirements: This course counts for 20 hours, which covers the PV Installer Recertification Requirements.

This course counts for the following:

  1. NEC (Code Based) Hours
  2. Job Task Analysis Hours
  3. Non-Technical/Other Hours

Introduction to Natural Building
Sep 25-27, 2015

Introduction to building with straw, cob, wood and other natural materials. Wattle and daub, adobe, earthbags, earthships, traditional Mexican styles, timber frame, domes and arches, earthen floors, earth plasters and alis, passive solar, foundations and drainage, living roofs and pole frame. Architect and builders Howard Switzer, Katey Culver, and Albert Bates. $425 for 3 days, or $750 for couples, meals, lodging and course materials included.

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:

Cob building
Rammed earthbags
Adobe and other earth building techniques
Natural paints and plasters
Wattle and daub
Rubble trench foundations
Strawbale construction
Light-clay construction

Through hands on sessions each day, students will gain practical experience in integrating a number of simple and valuable technologies into one working solution. 

Course instructors:

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.

    The Farm's Prancing Poet EcoHostel is offering private and family rooms, dormitory bunks, and camping on the grounds of the Ecovillage Training Center.

    Kindly contact our Innkeeper at ecovillage at the farm.org.


    Class size limited so early registration is recommended.

    Fee & Enrollment Prices include tuition, lodging, and vegetarian meals. Please send a (non-refundable) deposit to reserve your space. Substantial discounts may apply for advance registration. Balance is due at registration. Credit card users may register by phone. Shuttle service is available upon request from the Nashville Airport for $85 per trip or less, depending on the number of people sharing the shuttle van.

    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.

    For more information, please write or call:

    What some past participants say about the courses:

    This is a life philosophy and community support structure, not just land design - more than I expected! Those expecting a seven-day classroom course of study were abruptly shocked into entirely new dimensions - and loved it! This course drew together a good community which took me beyond the analytical to experiencing something different. When we built the swale and pond I saw differently.

     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 accupicturemulated 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 ... 

    Courses • Eco-HostelToursEventsPresentations to your Group