The Learning Journey
Agroecological Farming & Gardening
Herbalism, Health, and Wellness
Forest & Watershed Regeneration
Primitive Skills & Ancestral Arts
Farming & Agriculture
How to grow your own food/start a farm/homestead
Value-added products (pickling, preserving, flowers)
Propagation from seed/cuttings
Soil & water
Project, Professional, and Personal Development
Project & professional development. Coaching and individualized mentoring to support your project work such as developing a business plan, a garden or new homestead, projects you are working on to build your portfolio, project management, or professional skills. We will draw from many well-known tools and best practices to support you.
Personal development. Some people come to the program seeking greater clarity and empowerment in their lives, while others do not. If you are wanting to grow in terms of communication, emotional intelligence, public speaking, leadership, collaboration, or cultural competence (such as social justice work regarding race, class, gender, age, and nationality) we can provide guidance.
Skill building. Through hands-on farm & nature skill-building sessions, one-on-one mentorship, and peer-to-peer community development, our experienced instructors will guide you through an immersive program to develop your competence in agroforestry, soil & water restoration, sustainable farming, foraging, primitive skills, ancestral arts, and much more. Each participant will bring a personal or professional development project to the course, where they will have the opportunity to engage with individualized coaching to further their work.
Personal empowerment & Coaching. The program is very student-centered in its design. Each week of the program includes empowerment practices that we hope you’ll incorporate as tools on your personal transformation tool belt. Additionally, one-on-one coaching is built into the process to support you with your personal, professional, and/or political project work.
Top-notch guides and community partners. We’re blessed to have a rich network of changemakers and community leaders eager to support you. Furthermore, the guides in our network are each deeply engaged in their communities. We aim to amplify our movements through exposing you to the best people, places, and communities we know of so that you’ll have a rich support network to engage long after the program ends.
Stunning and accessible location. The farm and surrounding forest and beach are awe inspiring. It feels good to be there and the natural beauty will enhance our experience. Furthermore, the farm is only a 20 minute drive from the Westside of Santa Cruz.
Community. The friendships and professional networks you’ll join through the program will last your lifetime. We have over 1,000 alumni from our programs and make great efforts to support life-long learning and community engagement.
“By the time you graduate you will have a better understanding of who you are, what you really care about, and how to design and implement our collective future. Also, the family you become a part of is priceless. I recommend this course for anyone interested in anything. It applies to all aspects of life.” – Jaime Longoria, Attorney at Law
What is a week in the permaculture immersion like?
You wake up on the farm to the sound of hermit thrushes on Ano Nuevo Creek and join your fellows for a delicious meal.
After breakfast, you head to a top-secret special forest with Caitlin Rose Wild for a foraging and plant identification class. That afternoon you come back to the farm to make medicines with your wild finds.
You relish a hot shower before dinner, nourish yourself with an abundant, organic meal, then share music and stories around the campfire as the stars come out.
Wednesday morning you join Dave Shaw on the farm to harvest blackberries, then have a discussion about home-scale and farm-scale composting.
After lunch, you help build a vermicomposting system for the farm and vermicomposting systems to take home, enjoying the opportunity to ask in-depth questions about soil health and repair.
That night some folks keep playing tunes around the fire while you take a night off to read books from our library.
After enjoying some crisp, fresh coastal air during breakfast, you join Della Duncan for embodied activities from the Work That Reconnects that help you integrate what you’ve learned this week.
After lunch, this is followed by a group coaching session to move forward with a personal project. Some of the students take off that night, but you decide to stay overnight to catch some stargazing time before heading out for the weekend.
You leave the week with that “good tired” feeling one gets from a job well done, some reading and listening materials, and a couple simple next steps to integrate before next week.
Dave Shaw – Lead Program Facilitator
Della Duncan – Lead Facilitator of The Work That Reconnects & Right Livelihood Coaching
Caitlin Wild – Lead Facilitator of Wilderness Healing & Counseling
Darren Huckle – Garden Herbalism
John Valenzuela – Agroforestry & Tropical Permaculture
Lydia Neilsen – Watershed Restoration
Maya Elson – Mycology
John O’Mara – Wilderness Guide & Primitive Skills
Devaline Waring – Herbalism & Food Preparation
Miles Taylor – Natural Building
Lee Klinger – Sudden Oak Life
Kanyon Sayers-Roods – Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge