In 2015 we completed two permaculture design courses (PDC's). In both courses we collaborated with nearby like-minded enterprises like Lucky Dog Organic Farm, store, cafe, food-hub where about a dozen of us met over five months. We visited local   sites including Yemana and Scott Sanders extraordinary straw-bale complex of houses. These structures are living proof of the beauty and comfort implicit in this kind of construction and great examples of permaculture thinking. Off-grid, mass oven for heating, lush kitchen garden and herbs drying, an atmosphere of quiet and meditation.

Nearby is The Janiszewski Family Wildflower Farm Organics where John Janiszewski has an indoor talapia aquaculture project in a straw bale barn. John runs horses, cattle and experiments in organic soil creations including a fertilizer that deters ticks:

"Ten years ago Wildflower Farm formulated a potato fertilizer for use on the farm. We added amendments which we hoped would deter Colorado Potato Beetles and their grubs. As with any field crop, we always prepare more fertilizer than we expect to use to avoid running short at planting time. This surplus, usually a half ton or so, would go to a cousin, a landscaper in Dutchess County, N.Y. He used it on the lawns of clients who wanted an organic fertilizer. Aside from producing a healthy deep green lawn, clients began reporting a dramatic drop in tick populations."

We also visited Catskills Mountain Keeper, Wes and Amy Gillingham's off-grid log cabin and farm and they fired up the community oven

The second course with Peace Temple, a work in progress on 68 acres, owned by Vladamir Kuperman. It's  three hours from NYC in the picturesque northern Catskills. Peace Temple's objective is peaceful community events, where art, music, creativity, spiritual growth, respect for nature intersect. It is mainly Russian and brings with it the wisdom and connection to nature implicit in Russian culture.  A design collaboration with Hancock Permaculture Center.

Throughout both courses we invited other teachers and experienced permaculture practitioners to join us and Kyle Murray literally walked us through Trees and their Energy Transactions. Kyle provided a deep understanding of the forest and native plants related to climate. His soil building techniques are straight forward and composting is central. Erika Medina lives off-grid with her young family on Indian Reservation land. She and her husband have a solar consultancy and installation business  and Erica's real-life experience in a temperate climate imbues her teaching. Maria Grimaldi is multi-facited - she applies permaculture principles to her life and garden and has wide horticultural knowledge she shares in our classes.

We think our courses are among the best in the region - detailed theory, hands-on practice, lots of good food, conversation and networking opportunities and great social time too. Please be in touch if you'd like to join us.



 Peace Temple students with certificates on graduation day.