Course Offerings

Green Building Workshop:

straw and clay insulation

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to use straw and clay in combination to create a low cost, low impact non-toxic insulation called “light straw clay”. Participants will understand the variety of applications light straw clay can be used in. The hands-on portion of the workshop will include mixing and installing light straw clay in a conventional wall system, and installing a basic clay plaster finish over the light straw clay wall system.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about the following topics:

    • Properties of slip-straw construction
    • Properties of clay plasters
    • How to retrofit an existing home
    • How to install in a new home
    • Building code compatibility

ADVANCED LANDSCAPE DESIGN COURSE

Take your skills as a permaculture designer to the next level with this course offered by Colorado’s premier professional permaculture designers.

In this course, we’ll be using a mix of lecture, group discussion, and hands-on activities to cover the following topics:

    • Advanced landscape techniques
    • Advanced design thinking
    • Low-tech and high-tech approaches for surveying and basemapping
    • Hand-drawn and computer-aided drafting techniques
    • In-depth site analysis
    • Strategies for working with clients
    • Budgeting
    • Developing project manuals
    • Implementation tips

HAND DRAFTING 101: FOR LANDSCAPE AND PERMACULTURE DESIGNERS

Are you interested in perfecting your map-making skills?  Creating a clean, legible base map for your site is best way to communicate your design ideas to clients and installers.   In this course we cover:

  • Paper options and considerations, penmanship
  • Drafting tools tips and tricks
  • Site measurements
  • How to determine proper scale
  • Elements of map

All levels welcome!

Greywater workshop:

laundry to landscape systems

Learn how to reuse water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines in this fun, hands-on workshop.  Learn about common and popular greywater systems, soap and product considerations, codes, design and installation considerations, and how to build a laundry to landscape system.  Install a greywater system from the washing machine to edible plants to irrigate a private residence so that you can do the same to yours!

Sustainable Garden Design  

What does it mean to garden like an ecosystem? What edible species are especially well adapted to Colorado’s climate? How can I plan a garden that balances aesthetics, food, and sustainability – all while minimizing maintenance?

Join us for this three-part workshop as we delve into the details of sustainable design for your home garden. With a mix of presentations, home exercises between classes, and focused design time, this workshop will leave you with a visual plan and a solid skillset for transforming your backyard into an edible paradise!

    • learn the fundamentals of ecology and Permaculture thinking, and how they can inform your gardening technique
    • discover specific strategies such as sheet mulching, polycultures, and passive rainwater harvesting techniques
    • understand how to make the best use of the light, water and foot traffic flowing through your site
    • study local examples of sustainable gardens
    • find out about obscure edible plants that grow well in Colorado’s climate
    • and more!

Permaculture for Small Spaces

Think you need to own an acre of land to practice permaculture? Think again! From container gardening to urban foraging to under-the-sink mushroom cultivation, there are a host of strategies for incorporating the principles of permaculture into your current abode. Join Adam Brock, urban permaculturalist, for this interactive workshop and come away with a list of projects to get started on right away.

Urban Permaculture 101

How can our urban areas become sustainable in their use of food, energy and water? What kinds of fruits and vegetables grow best in Colorado’s climate? How can we set up our social institutions in ways that mimic the diversity and resilience of natural systems? These are just some of the questions posed by permaculture, a holistic system of design grounded in a mix of indigenous wisdom and ecological science.  Through an engaging mix of lecture, group work, and hands-on activities, we’ll explore the following topics:

  • The ethics, principles and design process that form the heart of Permaculture
  • Recognizing patterns of sunlight, water, wind and soil and how they affect the landscape
  • Unusual edible plant species that are well-adapted to growing conditions in the Front Range
  • Specific techniques for incorporating permaculture principles into your home and garden
  • Permaculture’s application to urban social and economic systems
  • Permaculture-related resources and activities happening along the Front Range

 

Food Justice

Everyone deserves a healthy meal. But for many communities across the country, healthy food isn’t affordable or even available. Residents of these so-called “food deserts” are forced to rely on cheap processed foods high in sugars and fats, resulting in epidemics of diet-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart conditions. Food justice is a growing movement to address these conditions through a variety of means, including public policy, urban agriculture, healthy markets and corner stores, and nutrition education.

In this workshop, we’ll be examining the issues of food justice from a variety of angles, from the local to the global. Through interactive activities and discussions with local food justice leaders, you’ll learn about the day-to-day reality of living in a food desert, and find out how you can get involved here in Denver to make our food system not only more sustainable, but more just, as well.

Fermentation Station

Fermented food and drink has been an integral part of the human diet for millennia. By partnering with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, societies across the globe have discovered ways to protect our foods against spoilage, enhance their flavor, and increase their nutritional value. Indeed, only in modern times has home fermentation become a forgotten skill, as these benefits were traded for the convenience of artificially refrigerated, sterilized and preserved diets. Join urban permaculturalist Adam Brock and friends for Fermentation Station – an interactive workshop reviving the art and science of “gardening with microbes”. In this interactive 4-hour class you’ll learn:

  • recipes for Yogurt, Kimchi, Kombucha, Tempeh, and other fermented food and drink
  • the nutritional benefits of probiotic foods
  • the advantages to home fermentation over buying commercially-made fermented foods
  • proper techniques for ensuring safe fermentation

We’ll have the ingredients on-hand to prepare several fermented foods that you can take home with you. And, of course, you’ll be able to sample some delicious examples of home fermentation in action!

Obscure Edibles for the Colorado Climate

Ever wonder what a Jujube tastes like? Ever tried to grow Quinoa? In this interactive session, we’ll be exploring garden crops that are especially well-suited to the short growing season and semi-arid climate of the Front Range. We’ll discuss traditional Native American diets of the area, hear a list of Adam’s recommended species and seed sources, and share our own experiences growing and eating unusual edible plants.

 

Design Like Nature:

a Hands-On Forest Garden Workshop

Want to move beyond organic gardening to the next level of sustainability? Forest gardening is a revolutionary method of designing edible perennial landscapes that mimic the diversity and resilience of forest ecosystems. Through permaculture, a design approach that seeks to apply nature’s patterns to the human realm, we can design forest gardens that provide delicious food, healthy soil and attractive habitat – all without the continual tilling, weeding and watering of a conventional garden. Join us in this hands-on workshop as we install one of Denver’s first public forest gardens at Ekar Urban Farm. We’ll introduce permaculture and discuss the practical theory behind forest gardening before getting our hands dirty building a 15’x35′ sheet-mulched forest garden employing locally-adapted edible perennials. With a mix of lecture and hands-in-the-ground work, you’ll learn:

  • How to create fertile soil from waste material commonly found in the urban environment
  • Which obscure edible plants are well-suited to Colorado’s climate
  • How to design and install self-maintaining edible landscapes that provide food, shade and beauty year after year

Create an Instant Garden

Learn how to build an instant garden *on top* of your lawn. No more digging, removing of sod, or building of raised beds. We will create an instant garden in a community member’s yard by imitating how a forest builds soil. Using this technique we can plant directly into the new soil–as long as mother nature is done with her frost and snowstorms for the year.

 

The Ecology of Entrepreneurship:

Sustainability For Your Small Business

You’ve changed your light bulbs. You recycle. And yet you have a feeling that sustainability can mean a whole lot more for your business – you’re just not quite sure where to turn next. Join ecological designer Adam Brock in this interactive workshop as we explore how sustainability can become a fundamental organizing principle of your business. We’ll discusspermaculture, biomimicry, triple-bottom-line accounting, and other concepts that will help you grow your venture while deepening your commitment to your local community and bioregion. – Learn from case studies of small businesses that have adopted innovative sustainability measures – Discover strategies for marketing your new sustainability efforts – Connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs from around town – Find out about dozens of local resources for helping your business become more sustainable And more!

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