2015 Permaculture Design Course Cancelled

Dear Friends,

I’m really sorry to say that we decided this morning to cancel the PDC 🙁  We got 6 registrations and needed 10 to cover the budget, so alas, we aren’t able to run it this year.  We are holding the intention to do the course next year, so will keep you posted about our plans.
For those that paid by PayPal we will be sending your fees back to you directly Fees that came by other means will be refunded by check in the next day or so.
This was a tough call for Bonita and I. We believe the course as designed is cutting-edge and a significant step in evolving right-relationship as regards education for sustainable living. Thank you for having been brave and willing, we apologize for the inconvenience.
David Cameron, May 11, 2015

At Solomon Brook Farm, Barss Corner, Lunenburg Co., Nova Scotia 

Bonita's permaculture garden in Perth, ON

Bonita’s permaculture garden in Perth, ON

8.5 days residential – June 13 to 21, 2015

Plus 4 distance learning sessions – In early June 2015 (dates to be finalised; recordings will also be available).

Do you want to:
• live well and take better care of the land?
• grow more food and build community?
• learn more about plants, soil, water, landscapes, climates, and more?
• help sustain yourself and others?
• explore personal and spiritual connection with nature?

Join us for this unique learning experience, which may empower you and transform your life.


  • $1200 fee includes meals and camping.
  • $995 Early Bird price if paid in full by April 15, 2015  EARLY BIRD PRICE EXTENDED TO MAY 11.
  • For more info or to register, contact David Cameron at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 902 792-1667.

How we’ll do this:
hands-raisedpresentations, discussions, design and hands-on exercises
• group design projects
• group co-teaching and research projects
• a personal project on design and spiritual practice
• daily observation in nature
• daily interfaith spiritual offerings
• guest teachers with local and international expertise
• readings and videos

What we’ll cover:
• design process for physical (eg. farms, gardens) and social systems (eg. organisations, businesses)
• “Integral” framework for design (systems, actions, culture, experience)
• zones and sectors, inputs and outputs
• observation, patterns in nature
• climate, cold temperate, tropical, arid
• rural, suburban and urban scale
• climate change impacts and implications
• mapping and overlays
planscale of permanence
• water harvesting, earthworks, dams, swales, keyline
• edible forest gardens, polycultures, agroforestry
• wild foods and medicines, honouring traditional knowledge and Native people
• animals and aquaculture
• basics of soil chemistry and soil food web
• recycling human waste
• starting gardens
• shelter and natural building
• microclimates and season extension
• healthy groups, Nonviolent Communication and facilitation
• intentional communities, ecovillages, Transition and Occupy
• alternative economics, gift, barter, local currency
• spiritual connection and intuitive listening to nature in a design practice
• interfaith spiritual offerings and practices

top-dressingWhat is Permaculture?
• Permaculture is an approach to planning and decision-making that looks to nature as the teacher.
• It can be used in our gardens, homes, communities and even our businesses, to help us be more effective with and take care of our resources, while creating health and abundance. It aims to meet the needs of people in more sustainable ways, while taking care of the Earth.
• Permaculture also draws upon both traditional and scientific knowledge and practices.

About the Facilitator – Bonita Ford, B.Sc., M.A.

Bonita Ford

Bonita Ford

Grounded in urban and rural gardens, and extending into communities and businesses, Bonita integrates nature, social transformation and personal healing. Bonita co-founded the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario and Transition Perth. She has led workshops and groups worldwide for over eleven years, including in Haiti, South Africa, Hungary, Cuba, Canada and the US. In 2014, Bonita collaborated with three Native groups/organisations, teaching about permaculture, gardening and social change, and exploring the overlaps between permaculture and the Traditional Teachings. In her workshops and coaching, she blends permaculture, Nonviolent Communication, Reiki and nature connection.

Bonita is a writer and loves to share inspiration and possibilities with people. She and her partner Sébastien have an “urban homestead.” They grow most of their own veggies and meat, and enjoy teaching about permaculture and gardening.

Bonita completed a Permaculture Diploma with l’Université Populaire de Permaculture in France, an M.A. in Holistic Health Education from JFK University, and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Queen’s University. Visit: www.eonpermaculture.ca and www.eco-logicalsolutions.com.

To learn more about Bonita’s approach to permaculture design and gardening, check out this video: www.eonpermaculture.ca/garden-life-video

Guest Permaculture Teachers from across North America (via distance learning sessions)


We are delighted to have the following permaculture teachers from across Canada and the U.S. join us via our distance learning sessions.

Marisha Auerbach – on Tropical Design, including Broadscale Land-Use, Agroforestry, Animals & Aquaculture

Marisha AuerbachMarisha Auerbach is a permaculture teacher and consultant based in Portland, OR. She has been actively practicing, studying, and teaching Permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for over a decade, specializing in food production, seedsaving, ecology, and useful plants. Her practical experience has been gained while living in both rural and urban locations. Currently, Marisha teaches at Portland Community College, Pacific University, and offers an online permaculture program through Oregon State University. She also works with a number of non-profit organizations including The City Repair Project, Aprovecho Education Center, Lost Valley Education Center, Fertile Ground Community Center, and Planet Repair.

Marisha is committed to sharing her passions for food security, regenerative design, biological diversity, seedsaving, permaculture, ecology, cottage industry, and positive futures. She has developed several permaculture based businesses including a plant nursery, providing edible flowers and other gourmet specialty food items to restaurants, plantable greeting cards, and herbal medicines. Marisha has offered permaculture work from the forests of Vietnam to the Rocky Mountains of the United States to the stressed conditions of Haiti. She holds advanced permaculture certificates in Permaculture Aid Work and Keyline Planning.

Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. She currently resides in Portland, OR.  Marisha can be found online at permaculturerising.com. Visit Marisha’s garden blog at: http://marishabee.wordpress.com

Douglas Barnes – on Earthworks & Arid Design 

Douglas BarnesDouglas is a permaculture designer, consultant and teacher. He has designed and implemented permaculture systems in India, Japan, and Canada as well as consulted on projects in Japan, Canada, and Australia. He has taught permaculture seminars in Japan and Canada. He has also taught permaculture design courses as part of the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario. Douglas founded his own design company, EcoEdge Design Ltd. in 2006.

Douglas holds two Permaculture Design Course certificates: one taught by Geoff and Danial Lawton in Brisbane, Australia in 2004, and one taught by Geoff Lawton and permaculture founder Bill Mollison in Melbourne the following year. Douglas has been active in permaculture since 2004 and has been an educator for over 20 years. www.ecoedge.ca

Javan Bernakevitch – on Cultivated Life Design

Javan Bernakevitch Javan K. Bernakevitch lives for Permaculture. From consulting and designing urban to rural homesteads and farms to international aid projects, Javan helps students across the Americas cultivate a meaningful and rewarding future. He helps folks find niches, build businesses and create places to thrive. He is currently based in Canada but works on projects around the planet. www.permaculturebc.com, www.cultivatedlifedesign.com, www.allpointslanddesign.com

The Cultivated Life Design platform helps individuals create a ruthless clarity of vision through a concise and conscious plan for their lives. Instead of choosing a goal and making your lifestyle work around it, design your ideal lifestyle and evaluate if a goal will make your lifestyle a reality.

Zones of Brilliance zeroes in on profitable and productive niches by asking the three most important business questions: What are my inherent natural gifts? What am I perennially passionate about? What pattern of problem do I see that needs solving in my community?

Connect your business ideas and enthusiasm and desire to make the world a better place by: 1) identifying a niche you naturally excel at or want to start; 2) outline the PATHWAYS in which clients find you, the PLATFORM you’re known for and the PACKAGE of goods and services you offer; 3) define business success for you and; 4) make a one year back-casted plan you can use.

This is what you need to know to take the hardest step of all… the very first one.

Learn more about Cultivated Life Design

Lisa Fernandes – on Cold Climate Design, Urban & Rural Examples

Lisa FernandesLisa Fernandes organizes the 1800+ member Portland Maine Permaculture group and is the Director of its non-profit home, The Resilience Hub. She is a trained facilitator and permaculture designer who believes that the strategies of resilience-building, re-skilling and re-localization are among the best we have for creating vibrant communities and for navigating future challenges. Lisa sits on the boards of the Eat Local Foods Coalition (ELFC), the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast and on the Grantmaking Committee of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Lisa participates in the Portland Mayor’s Initiative for Healthy Sustainable Food Systems. She is also active on MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Committee, in the Portland Food Coop, Hour Exchange Portland and is a Master Food Preserver and Master Composter. Lisa attended Boston College and The Evergreen State College and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including a stint owning a software design firm with more than 100 client companies across the region. Lisa and her family are actively converting their 1/3 acre property into a demonstration site for resilient and abundant “post-carbon” living.  Several books are in the works. Website: resiliencehub.wordpress.com

Steve Gabriel – on Agroforestry

Steve GabrielSteve Gabriel is an ecologist, educator, author, and forest farmer who has lived most of his life in the Finger Lakes region of New York. His personal mission is to reconnect people of all ages to the natural world and provide the tools for good management of forest and farm landscapes.

He co-authored a book called Farming the Woods (www.farmingthewoods.com) with professor Ken Mudge, published in Fall 2014.He currently works for cooperative extension in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell, focused on permaculture (http://blogs.cornell/edu/permaculture) and agroforestry (http://blogs/cornell/edu/mushrooms) research and education. Along with fiance Liz, he operates Wellspring Forest Farm (www.WellspringForestFarm.com) in Mecklenburg NY where they produce shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, and maple syrup. Steve is a founder, instructor and Secretary of the FLPCI Board of Directors. www.fingerlakespermaculture.org

Local Guest Presenters

We are very pleased to have the following guests from the local community join us to share their knowledge and expertise.  More guests to be announced.

Meredith (Ma) Bell – on Farmers’ Markets & Value-Added Products

Meredith BellMeredith (Ma) Bell believes that food is at the heart of community. As a grower and producer, she is an activist in the local food system in Nova Scotia. She is also a familiar face at Lunenburg County Farmers’ Markets as the producer of gourmet and seasonal preserves called Ma Bell’s Country Condiments. The rejuvenation of her 4-acre property inland from Mahone Bay began in earnest in the late 1990s. Trees, berries, vegetables, and herbs intermingle with wild roses, brambles, wildflowers and goutweed.

Her most recent gardening project is called WE DIG FOOD, a Therapeutic Garden Program for children and young adults on the autism spectrum. It is a social enterprise partnership between Hinchinbrook Farm Society and the Mahone Bay Farmers’ Market, with raised beds at the Blockhouse School Project site.

With an aging population, where young people are leaving for school or jobs, food can be a vital connection in a community. Meredith Bell is actively involved with a variety of groups and organizations who support this vision of building a healthy, vigorous economy and social and cultural life for Nova Scotia.

David Cameron – on Shelter, Alternative Paths to Building Code, & Ecovillages

David CameronWhere I’m coming from: I’ve been a rough carpenter for a very long time and have experience in building shelter ranging from tipis & sweat-lodges to straw-bale construction and earth-plaster. I enjoy using some of the latest in materials to be able to build shelter that is light, strong, warm and durable. I also like recycled and natural materials for building, usually meaning heavy, thick, warm and rustic. I’m not a purest and can’t claim natural-builder status. If a piece of styrofoam (hopefully recycled) will do the job more efficiently and as surely as a straw bale, I’m apt to use it to solve a design issue. I believe understanding physics, materials science and the site specifics of a project are terrifically important, as are understanding the emotional, spiritual, aesthetic and practical needs of the end-users, as well as their abilities and resources. Nothing is simple, complexity rules!

For me, Permaculture is a philosophy, an attitude, a bag of tools to get to Just! Enough.

A Pattern Language is my bible and Chris Magwood is my hero.

Matt Greenan – on Earthships, Cob & Stacked Wood Building

Matt GreenanMy current mission is to live as joyously as possible while learning how to create a sustainable, resource abundant and spiritually connected community. The topics I am currently studying independently are Organic Farming, Permaculture, Autonomous Housing, Meditation & Yoga, The Pychedelic Experience, Design Thinking, Nutrition and Calisthenics. In November and December of 2013 I went on a two month journey to New Mexico and Peru with two of my friends. In November, we built Earthships in Taos, New Mexico. For the month of December I was living in a shamanic healing community in the Amazon Rainforest near Iquitos, Peru. I learned an incredible amount about spiritual & physical healing, diet, determination, meditation and visualization of ideas. When I was in Peru I was able to clearly visualize my life goal of creating a revolutionary community using the principles of permaculture, autonomous building and spiritual connection. From April-October of 2014 I was WWOOFing across Canada. I learned a lot about how plants grow, as well as how people live in Canada. I will be using this knowledge to grow a wide variety of vegetables this year at the Solomon Brook Farm.

Helga Gruner – on Fermented Foods

Helga GrunerHelga has explored healing and working with energy in many areas. She has studied a variety of healing modalities – Cellular and Core Transformational Healing, Reiki and Pranic Healing being the main ones. Having been aware of the healing power of nature she has acquired knowledge about herbs as well as wild edible plants. She makes her own medicines and concoctions.

Healing also extends to our food; Helga has studied and experimented with healing foods and is particularly excited about the benefits of fermented foods.

Laurie Lacey – Wild Food Walk; Food & Medicine in Mi’kmaq Culture

Jeanette Poirier – Wild Herb Walk & Herbal Medicine in Indigenous Culture

Jeanette PoirierJeanette graduated from the Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby, B.C., with a diploma in Clinical Herbal Therapy. She has her clinical practice and herbal dispensary in Blockhouse, N.S. She is also a founding member of the Herbalist Association of NS (HANS).

Plants have been her companions throughout her life. Since childhood, she has planted gardens and roamed field and forest learning about the wild plants that grow around us, their habitats and their uses.

She is a supporter of the Blockhouse School Project. She has done an inventory of all plants growing there and notes the edibles and medicinals among them. She has also planted a Hawthorne hedge and has 50 elderberry cuttings rooting there.

Jeanette has also been privileged to learn a few things about the traditional usage of plants by Indigenous people. Just as they and others have generously shared their knowledge, Jeanette will share what she has learned with others through plant walks, workshops, and over cups of herb tea. To contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Nancy Sherwood – on Shamanic Journeying

Nancy SherwoodAs an innovative educator, gatekeeper, shamanic dancer and grandmother, Nancy has worked to support individuals and communities in our rapidly changing times. Her practices are based on Earth based spirituality, environmental awareness, and building communities. She finds it inspiring to work with others who recognize our interconnectedness with all beings and who appreciate the inherent creativity in nature, which we humans embody as part of creation and as co-stewards of the earth. Visit her website at www.travellersjoy.ca.

About the Hosts

Lantz FallsSolomon Brook Farm (see website) is a spiritually based community, eco village and international healing centre. Our mission is to facilitate the unfolding of human consciousness and help in the transition to ways of being in the world which make possible a sustainable, just and truly abundant future.

Solomon Brook Farm is located in Farmington, Nova Scotia, and is also the new home of the Abundance Project CSA.


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