Permaculture Food Forests

At the Santa Cruz Permaculture Farm & Surrounding Region

Planning, Growing and Enjoying Year Round Abundance

Do you want to gain hands-on skills and build community around growing food? Interested in learning best practices for orchard establishment and management, food forestry, designing year round productive vegetable farms and gardens, and preserving the harvest? We are pleased to offer this advanced practicum grounded in sound horticultural practices, and spiced with the delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables our region has to offer.

Before the area around San Jose was called the Silicon Valley it was known as “the Valley of the Heart’s Delight” because of its apricot, peach and plum orchards, and the delightful abundance it produced. Join us in creating and celebrating these habitats on both home and broadacre scales.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Design and plant productive, resilient, and site/climate appropriate orchards.
  • Engage in seasonal care of fruit trees and perennial vegetables, including summer and winter pruning, fertility management, and irrigation.
  • Propagate fruit trees via grafting and budding.
  • Identify dozens of unique varieties of new and heirloom fruits and vegetables, and assess which ones perform well in your climate.
  • Preserve the harvest through a wide variety of canning, drying, pickling, and fermentation techniques.
  • Create a customized vegetable crop plan for your home or farm so that you meet your production goals, whether they are to realistically produce your own food or have a economically viable farm.
  • Identify organizations and events in your area so that you may plug into active learning communities, exchange free plants, and participate in annual fruit tastings.

Full Series: 6 Weekends over 12 Months

You may join the course at any time during the year and continue for the full six weekends. Register using the link for the upcoming session and indicate which session you'd like to join on our registration form.

Pricing

  • Full Tuition: $1295
  • Partner / Spouse Tuition: $995 (When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount)
  • Early Bird Discount: $1195 (Register more than 30 days in advance)
  • Super Early Bird Discount: $1095 (Register more than 60 days in advance)
  • Teachers: $995 (Special price for For K-12, College and University Teachers)
  • Youth: $795 (Special price for ages 13-18)

August 2023 – July 2024

  • Summer Abundance – August 26-27, 2023
  • Celebrating the Fall Harvest – September 30 – October 1, 2023
  • Winter Pruning – January 27-28, 2024
  • Winter Propagation – February 24-25, 2024
  • Subtropicals & the Abundance of Spring – April 27-28, 2024
  • Summer Abundance & Propagation – July 20-21, 2024

August 2024 – July 2025

  • Summer Abundance – August 24-25, 2024
  • Celebrating the Fall Harvest – September 28-29, 2024
  • Winter Pruning – January 4-5, 2025
  • Winter Propagation – February 1-2, 2025
  • Subtropicals & the Abundance of Spring – March 1-2, 2025
  • Summer Abundance & Propagation – July 26-27, 2025

Individual Sessions

If you don’t want to sign up for the full course but would like to sign up for an individual weekend, you’re welcome to do so! The tuition is $295 per weekend.

Summer Abundance – August 24-25, 2024

Winter Pruning – January 4-5, 2025

Winter Propagation – February 1-2, 2025

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Session Descriptions

All sessions include a mix of lecture and hands-on activities. Classes run from 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-3pm on Sunday.

August: Summer Abundance

  • Designing Food Forests Part 1
  • Stone fruits – tasting plums, peaches, nectarines;
  • Propagating plants via budding and semi-hardwood cuttings;
  • Planting the fall/winter garden.

September: Celebrating the Fall Harvest

  • Preserving the abundance through drying, canning, fermenting, and pickling;
  • Pomme fruits – tasting apples and pears (and late plums);
  • Growing, harvesting and processing nuts and olives;
  • Integrating animals into the agroecosystem;
  • Cover cropping, fall plantings, and preparing for winter.

January: Winter Pruning & Propagation

  • Pomology & tree physiology;
  • Winter pruning pomme and stone fruits;
  • Planting bare root fruit trees and berries;
  • Selecting bare root fruit trees, varietal selection, rootstock, disease resistance, pollination;
  • Exchanging dormant cuttings, scion wood, and perennial plants.

February: Propagation

  • Designing Food Forests Part 2;
  • Propagating plants by seed;
  • Grafting, budding, layering, divisions.
  • Propagation & Grafting

April: Subtropicals & the Abundance of Spring

  • Avocados & Citrus – planting, growing, tasting, varietal selection, propagation;
  • Berries – tasting, varietal selection;
  • Spring orchard maintenance;
  • Thinning, delayed dormant pruning, and corrections to winter pruning;
  • Public food forests & community harvests.

July: Summer Abundance

  • Stone fruits – tasting cherries & apricots, varietal selection;
  • Summer orchard maintenance, summer pruning;
  • Budding & propagation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can make up material you missed during the next session.

Please use the registration button above.

Cancellations up to two weeks before the course begins will be refunded, excluding a $150 processing fee. No refunds are given after that date.

Participants are welcome to defer their enrollment to the next session of the course.

Most classes are held on our 26-acre farm north of Davenport, CA, 20 minutes north of the Westside of Santa Cruz and 1 hour from San Jose or San Francisco. Participants are welcome to camp onsite for the weekend of the course and enjoy the gorgeous natural surroundings and beach access. Some weekends will include regional field trips.
Course participants are very welcome to camp at the farm Friday and Saturday of the course weekends. Our facilities are rustic, but comfortable. Building community around the campfire is a wonderful bonus! The farm is a gorgeous place where you will feel immersed in nature and enjoy spectacular stars at night and walkable beach access. There are restaurants and markets nearby in Davenport and Costanoa.

Class meets Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM with a lunch break both days.

Full Series: 6 Weekends over 12 Months

You may join the course at any time during the year and continue for the full six weekends. Register using the link for the upcoming session and indicate which session you'd like to join on our registration form.

Pricing

  • Full Tuition: $1295
  • Partner / Spouse Tuition: $995 (When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount)
  • Early Bird Discount: $1195 (Register more than 30 days in advance)
  • Super Early Bird Discount: $1095 (Register more than 60 days in advance)
  • Teachers: $995 (Special price for For K-12, College and University Teachers)
  • Youth: $795 (Special price for ages 13-18)

August 2023 – July 2024

  • Summer Abundance – August 26-27, 2023
  • Celebrating the Fall Harvest – September 30 – October 1, 2023
  • Winter Pruning – January 27-28, 2024
  • Winter Propagation – February 24-25, 2024
  • Subtropicals & the Abundance of Spring – April 27-28, 2024
  • Summer Abundance & Propagation – July 20-21, 2024

August 2024 – July 2025

  • Summer Abundance – August 24-25, 2024
  • Celebrating the Fall Harvest – September 28-29, 2024
  • Winter Pruning – January 4-5, 2025
  • Winter Propagation – February 1-2, 2025
  • Subtropicals & the Abundance of Spring – March 1-2, 2025
  • Summer Abundance & Propagation – July 26-27, 2025

Your Guides For This Course

David Shaw

David Shaw

Sustainable Agriculture & Social Permaculture
John Valenzuela

John Valenzuela

Agroforestry & Tropical Permaculture

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