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Come to the Farm and Be Inspired! Primary Practical Permaculture

Reposted from my Integral Permaculture blog.


If you’re in the region of northwest Washington, or southwest B.C., consider stopping by Inspiration Farm on June 1st for a day of “Primary Practical Permaculture” at Inspiration Farm, located just north of Bellingham, WA.

June 1st $40 10am to 4pm
A hands on approach to applying Permaculture principals. Ethics, Zones, Sectors, mapping, compost and guilds. This fun information packed day will provide practical ways to design your environment into an integrated system of abundance and productivity. Using design strategies we will explore ways of stacking elements within a system to be more productive and self regulating. The morning will be presentations and discussion, the afternoon will be a site tour and hands on session working with guilds, sheet mulch, keyhole beds and integrated composting.

Class includes: Presentation-discussion, A tour of Inspiration Farm explaining the systems employed, and hands on activities.

Register at

If you attend this class and then decide you want to take the whole Permacultue Design Certificate course we are offering in August we will credit this class fee towards the PDC.

You will likely come away Inspired, as host Janaia Donaldson is when she visits. In her latest Journal post, Janaia writes:

Brian Kerkvliet gave the grand tour to us and gardener Ruth Nail, a recent transplant to the area. A large new pond in the middle, channeling water to a new swales (ditches carved on contour). Just outside the pasture fence were just-planted alder and apple trees which will eventually provide munchables for the two dairy cows inside.

I was most intrigued by his putting multiple levels of plants in one bed. “Stacking function,” said Brian the permaculture educator. Just like in a forest, there’s ground cover, an herbaceous layer, shrub layer, and tree layer. In the berm — a big mound of soil dug out of and piled up beside the swale  Brian had strewn a cover crop mix of broccoli, kale, peas, turnips, sunflowers, parsnips, daikon, buckwheat, oats, fava and other beans, bees’ friend, crimson clover, lettuce, carrots, and collards! Their little leaves were just poking up, colorful and varied like a ground cover of mosses and tiny plants in the forest. What a gorgeously diverse spread for future munching!

Beside the cover crop, a thicket of tall rye grass provided protection for the small apple tree starts planted here and there. The rye grains will be harvested in a few months, their cut stalks falling left in place to become mulch. Amongst the apple trees were also alder trees starts, whose roots will go much deeper than the apple trees, and will bring up deep water and nutrients for plants with shallower roots. 

All of these layers were in one swale mound, just like in a forest: Autumn olive, sea buckthorn, buffalo berry, Gumi berry, siberian pea shrub. Brian rattled off which plants were nitrogen fixers as well as food plants, like black locust and alders.

I love this changing food forest landscape  always evolving, becoming more complex and even more like wild nature.

See Janaia’s Journal: A New Season at Inspiration Farm for a great photo montage that accompanies this post.

A new Peak Moment episode featuring Inspiration Farm is coming soon…in the meantime, check out this recent episode about last year’s Whatcom Skillshare Faire – which partly features Inspiration Farm steward Brian Kerkvliet as he and Celt Schira demonstrate the 100 year old seed thresher they restored.

And don’t forget the Permaculture Design Course in August at Inspiration Farm, mentioned above! Make plans now to learn a skill set for uncertain times, and to be part of the solution!

Feet in communion at Inspiration Farm

Feet in communion at Inspiration Farm

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