Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion
What to Expect:
This class is the deepest Permaculture Design Certification Course you are likely to find. It integrates multiple modalities to help you transform your life into one that is in harmony with nature’s patterns and cycles. The format is one 3-day weekend a month, plus exercises and support to help you integrate what you are learning into your everyday life back home. In addition to the 72 hours of content required for permaculture certification, we include over a hundred hours of instruction on skills and classes that we find indispensable for being human, like a wild foods backpacking trip, human nutrition, primitive skills, a natural building class, and much more.
Because of its format of one three-day weekend intensive class per month, students have the opportunity to delve deeply into the content, integrating what they are learning into their lives. Hours are generally Friday: 9:30am – 1pm; 2-5pm, and 6-8:30pm, Saturday: 9:30am – 1pm; 2-5pm, and 6-8:30pm, and Sunday: 9:30am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
Our instructors are top-notch and teach their specialties and passions, infusing the classes with a wealth of experience, inspiration and engaging teaching styles.
Schedule varies on extended weekends.
Special Note: If you are unable to attend one or two weekends, not to worry! There will be opportunities for you to make up classes by attending other Wild Abundance classes, self study, or attending the classes you miss next year.
Permaculture Design Course and Homesteading Class
April 27-29, 2018: Wild Foods Hike
Backpacking trip focused on identification and uses of wild food, medicinal plants, botany, foraging edible weeds, and wild foods cookery. The forest will introduce us to plant guilds, holistic forestry, climates, bio-geography, microclimates, and reading the landscape.
May 18-20, 2018: Whole Systems Thinking & Making a Bow Drill Fire
Fire by friction, early spring gardening and garden planning, seed starting, knife sharpening, permaculture principles, knife sheath making, and more. We’ll review plans for helping you get your permaculture certification.
June 21-24, 2018: The Firefly Gathering
A weekend pass to the Firefly Gathering (the largest primitive skills gathering in the US), which hosts dozens of classes on permaculture, eco-homesteading, and primitive skills taught by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced instructors in our field. Think of this as time to explore electives. Laura Ruby will guide you through class decisions and will facilitate a check-in each day to ground these electives within the container of the whole course, if you choose. The rest of the event can be added on at a reduced rate.
July 13-15, 2018: Soil Science, Water Systems – How to Live off the Grid
Soil science, permaculture design tools and techniques, making permaculture maps, water systems, earthworks, compost, waste, budgets, fostering independent living, and more…
August 24-26, 2018: Tiny Houses and Natural Building
During the Tiny House and Natural Building workshop, we’ll take a tour of local homesteads, have an overview of natural building and do hands-on natural building and carpentry projects. Students can choose to attend just for the 3-day weekend, or can add the rest of the workshop for a reduced fee.
September 7-9, 2018: Animals, Farming, and Food Preservation
Urban Farm Tour, playing with pasture management and larger-scale gardening, holistic orcharding, working on hands-on permaculture designs, greywater systems.
September 15-16, 2018: Designing for Community and Carving
[Optional but highly encouraged!]
Facilitated design time, ecovillage and nieghborhood design, and preparing for catastrophe. You’ll also learn homestead economics, and have time to meet with your design groups and spoon carving.
October 19-21, 2018: Going Deep: Design Presentations, Hunting, Harvesting Materials, and Communication
Final permaculture design presentations, human nutrition, tools of the homestead, deep ecology, harvesting materials for baskets, starting baskets, introduction to using chainsaws, introduction to hunting, stalking, and flintknapping. We’ll review how to go off the grid.
November 3, 2018: Getting to know ourselves, weaving it all together, and bringing seeds to the future
Focus on figuring out where to go from here. We will look at gifts and abilities, and help each other find our paths and identify the obstacles standing in the way. We will finish our beautiful baskets, and learn seed saving and fruit tree pruning.
“Natalie and her team of instructors thoughtfully constructed a comprehensive PDC program that includes a wide breadth of practical, theoretical and hands-on instruction... I would recommend the program to anyone, but especially to individuals who are looking for a program that covers applications for permaculture design principles beyond basic site design. This PDC thoroughly covers design of both rural and urban sites and includes applications for homesteading, forestry, entrepreneurship and intentional community development... If you have any interest in taking a permaculture design course, you'd be doing yourself a favor by signing up for this one.” (a 2015 PDC student)
Alex Kilgore has been learning, practicing and teaching primitive and traditional living skills since 1995. Alex lives in a straw-bale house that he built on his off-grid homestead in the Blue Ridge mountains. He is a jack-of-all-trades who specializes in carpentry and off-grid living.
Barron Brown is a truly amazing jack-of-all-trades. He learned timber framing, post-and-beam construction, log cabin construction, and much more from his grandparents when he was a child and teenager. He currently works as a sculptor, welder and builder, as well as teaching carving, blacksmithing and building. Barron is a joy to learn from, as he weaves together his many talents with deep intelligence and a great ability to explain concepts to anyone. Barron has taught at Firefly since its beginning and has been an instructor with the Earthskills Rendezvous for more than 20 years. He lives on a homestead with his family in Yancy County, NC.
For the next 17 years, he made a “career” out of co-creating symbiotic relationships with landowners and basically homesteading in other people’s backyards in and around Asheville, NC. He is locally infamous for his portable suburban barnyard and semi-nomadic dairy goat herd seen foraging around the vacant lots and kudzu patches of West Asheville, his mobile cider pressing, and wild experiments in radical nutrition as highlighted in Sandor Katz’s book, “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved”. Cailen met his partner Chloe in 2011 while attending Martin Prechtel’s “school,” Bolad’s Kitchen, which has deeply informed and inspired their evolving approach to reawakening the indigenous soul and keeping the seeds of real culture alive through spiritual farming. In 2013, they bought 23 acres in Barnardsville, NC, just a mile up the holler from Wild Abundance, where they are developing a diversified and integrated permaculture-inspired homestead, christened Bittersweet Farm. Cailen is passionate about developing community-based resilience, independence from the global/industrial economy, and truly sustainable Earth-based culture. He is also a locally renowned fiddler.
For the next 17 years, he made a “career” out of co-creating symbiotic relationships with landowners and basically homesteading in other people’s backyards in and around Asheville, NC. He is locally infamous for his portable suburban barnyard and semi-nomadic dairy goat herd seen foraging around the vacant lots and kudzu patches of West Asheville, his mobile cider pressing, and wild experiments in radical nutrition as highlighted in Sandor Katz’s book, “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved”.
Cailen met his partner Chloe in 2011 while attending Martin Prechtel’s “school,” Bolad’s Kitchen, which has deeply informed and inspired their evolving approach to reawakening the indigenous soul and keeping the seeds of real culture alive through spiritual farming. In 2013, they bought 23 acres in Barnardsville, NC, just a mile up the holler from Wild Abundance, where they are developing a diversified and integrated permaculture-inspired homestead, christened Bittersweet Farm. Cailen is passionate about developing community-based resilience, independence from the global/industrial economy, and truly sustainable Earth-based culture. He is also a locally renowned fiddler.
While some locals prefer to commute to Wild Abundance from Asheville, students from the area and out of town are welcome to pitch a tent in one of our flat camping spots in the woods or field, or to tie a hammock in the forest on our seven-acre property. We strongly suggest bringing a very warm sleeping bag and bedding during cold months. We do have a fully functioning outdoor kitchen and bathroom, though in extremely cold weather, sometimes one or both are out of operation due to the water freezing.
If you prefer something more conducive to creature comforts, we suggest browsing Airbnb (there are a few within walking distance of the school) or checking out a local motel within a 10-15 minute drive to Wild Abundance.
Comfort Inn in Mars Hill, NC
Classes will take place at Wild Abundance and at the Ruby Roost, both of which are fantastic examples of permaculture in action and are each about 20 minutes north of Asheville. One is nestled in community, and the other is a multi-generational homestead.
Payment plans and worktrade opportunities are available. Please let us know if you are interested in these programs when you fill out the application form. For more info, email: info.WildAbundance@gmail.com, or click here to see our policy on refunds, payment plans and work-trade opportunities.
Also, feel free to read our Frequently Asked Questions.
This class will change your life. The community formed in the context of sharing 9 months of learning with other students makes this a very comfortable and welcoming class for anyone to take on their own. We also encourage couples, friends or other groups of folks to register together. Couples, landmates, or friends who are interested in designing for land together, or who just want to study together, who register together for this program can each receive a discount off their tuition! Email our Assistant Director, Annie, for more info at Info.WildAbundance@gmail.com
- Early-Early Bird Price: $1900 (through February 16, 2018)
- Early Bird Price: $2100 (February 17- March 23 , 2018)
- Late Bird Price: $2500 (March 24 – April 25 , 2018)
*Please note that meals are not included in the class.
Expect to receive a confirmation email within one week of sending payment. Additional emails will cover logistical details as the adventure approaches.