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Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper 's Profile
Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper
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Chico, California, United States
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Teaching Permaculture for the Community and Future

Posted by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper almost 9 years ago

My husband and I will be teaching an Introduction to Permaculture Workshop next month in Chico, CA. We've been encouraged for a while now by many friends, Clients, and fellow permies to "Please teach!"... so we are!

I've been working with a really wonderful woman, Monica, who is currently the Workshop Coordinator for a local non-profit organization, Cultivating Community in Chico. She and I both feel that permaculture is urgently needed in our area and that farmers and urban gardeners alike will benefit greatly from more outreach and courses in permaculture. So she and I teamed up to get this workshop going...

Below is more information about the workshop from our blog:

Brian and I, via our business Gaia Creations, will be teaching an Introduction to Permaculture Workshop next month in Chico, CA. The focus of this workshop is to invite the community to learn more about permaculture in general and at the same time begin/continue networking with each other to gain experience in permaculture design strategies for effective local food production and resource efficiency.

Permaculture is an integrated system of design encompassing not only agriculture, architecture and ecology but also land access strategies and money management for businesses and communities. The goal in permaculture design is to create systems that provide for their own needs, do not pollute and are sustainable for future generations to inherit.  Conservation of soil, water and energy are central to permaculture as are food production and food  storage methods that enable communities to rely upon each other for their basic needs.

The workshop will be held at a local 3.5 acre Walnut orchard which is in the process of developing into a permaculture oasis. A good friend and Chico Permaculture Guild member, Andy, and his wife have graciously offered us the use of their property for the workshop. Andy has been developing 'hugelkultur' beds for the past year or so and has several beds in different stages to show us during the workshop. Workshop participants will gain experience utilizing this permaculture strategy for garden bed creation and food production.

What is 'hugelkultur'? Hugelkultur literally means 'raised bed' in German. The beds are traditionally filled with woody debris such as felled trees, logs and branches before being back filled with soil, compost and mulch to create a raised bed for growing plants. Most people utilize hugelkultur for maximizing solar inputs in early spring... the beds heat up a great deal sooner in colder climates than ground level beds. In our Mediterranean climate (wet winters and dry summers) we are best served by sinking the woody material a few feet into the ground for water retention -which over time reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation. The woody material decomposes slowly over time giving off heat for the first few years and ultimately creates a fungally dominate soil; ideal for perennial polyculture including trees. 

Not only do these beds conserve water  by creating a living sponge out of the soil but they reduce or eliminate the need for hauling off or burning excess wood pruned from your property! Every day there are people who have trees cut down or pruned because they a) don't need/want the tree anymore b) are having problems with the tree or c) do it as a seasonal affair (for shape or size -or pollarding which is done to fruitless Mulberries a lot around here).  Most people either have tree companies do the cutting and trimming or they do it themselves. The tree trunk and branches are cut up and sometimes used for firewood (which is a good use), hauled off to the green waste facility or worse the landfill.  A lot of people also just pile it all up and burn it. Why haul away or uselessly burn the wood when we can instead create hugelkultur beds -both on large scale for farms and orchards or small scale in an urban setting. Utilizing an opportunity to grow food using what some think of as a waste product (but we think of as a resource) is a far superior method.

For more information about permaculture and to gain hands on experience in hugelkultur creation join us for the workshop. You can register for the workshop at this website.

Cultivating Community will be sponsoring this event. Cultivating Community is a local non-profit organization creating opportunities for our community to learn more about food production and local food security. From their website: "Cultivating Community is a multifaceted project supported by a 2011 California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant and awarded to the CSUC Research Foundation. It aims to increase food security by serving the Specialty Crop food economy and system needs of low-income residents, local growers, and service agencies." 

Workshop Details:


You can view the flier below. The flier is one that I created several years ago when marketing permaculture courses for my mentor and permaculture instructor Cathe' Fish and now use as a template for our own workshops and courses. Let the teaching begin!

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My Badges
My Permaculture Qualifications
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Cathe' Fish
Location: Nevada City, CA
Date: Mar 2009
Other course verified
Advanced Permaculture Intensive
Type: Earthworks
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: GreenFriends Farm - Castro Valley, California
Date: Oct 2012
Other course verified
Edible Forest Gardens & The Commercial Food Forest
Type: Other
Teacher: Eric Toensmeier
Location: Urban Roots Farm
Date: Oct 2013
Other course unverified
Soil Food Web Intensive: Microscope Use
Type: Soil Biology/Compost
Teacher: Elaine Ingham
Location: Green Friends Farm
Date: Mar 2014
Other course unverified
Permaculture Theory & Practicum, Open Consultancy
Type: Other
Teacher: Darren Doherty
Location: Green Friends Farm
Date: Aug 2014

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