Walking out your door to be greeted by the beautiful community of plants that thrive in your yard.
A cornucopia of fruits, nuts, and berries are swelling on the branches around you, and underneath them the ground is covered in flowers, herbs, vegetables and perennials.
All the plants work together to build a forest-like habitat, providing you with a diversity of fresh foods and medicine while creating an incredibly beautiful space to enjoy…
Although this garden looks remarkably like a forest, it isn’t exactly a forest… It’s an intelligently designed edible forest garden, aka food forest, that is modeled after natural forest ecosystems – making it more resilient, low maintenance, sustainable, and beneficial to the surrounding environment than conventional gardens, landscaping, and agriculture.
Sounds good to you?
Then come out and learn how it’s possible at our upcoming weekend workshop!
Much like natural forests, food forests build healthy soil, sequester carbon, harvest and store rainwater, and provide a multitude of habitats for beneficial birds, insects, and other wildlife, all while providing humans with locally grown, organic food.
Well, you might be thinking, this all sounds great… but how is it really possible?
We look to natural forests for the answer…
There aren’t a group of gnomes running around the forest fertilizing, weeding, and watering… so how do forest systems perform this “work” all on their own?
Put simply the answer is that forests are interconnected ecosystems where the needs of the various members of the ecosystem are met by what the other members produce, allowing the system to take care of itself.
So is it possible that humans can design and plant forest gardens that function in a similar way, providing us with food and medicine while becoming largely self-maintaining and helping regenerate the environment?
The answer is YES! And you’re invited to learn how…
Date & Time: Saturday February 25th, 9:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday February 26th, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Helen Schuler Nature Centre, Indian Battle Rd S, Lethbridge, AB
Cost: Early Bird: $175 (before January 31st), Regular Price $200
Testimonials from our previous workshops…
“The workshop was very informative and useful. The information was presented in such a way that one could apply it to a variety of settings… I would recommend this program to anyone who might be interested! Thank you!”
- Heather Cunningham, past student
“This workshop has helped me to envision what a positive future might look like for our cities and homes.”
- Brin Jones, past student
Whether you are a newly inspired gardener, a steward of land, or a seasoned pro who is looking to optimize their efforts and get the most out of what you put in… this workshop will teach you essential principles and techniques involved in the design and planting of successful edible forest gardens.
We will show you how to create landscapes that are productive, beautiful, regenerative, and low maintenance.
Who Are Your Instructors?
reGenerate Design is Adrian Buckley, Lindsay Meads, and Luke Kimmel; three passionate designers from Calgary, AB who share a vision for the betterment of human and ecological communities. Our team has a combined 25 years of professional design, project management and teaching experience, with 15 years focused in permaculture and food forestry.
We are excited to share our experience, knowledge, and passion for food forestry with you in this upcoming workshop!
We are excited to be working with a handful of local organizations in Lethbridge to help host this workshop, the list of contributing organizations for this workshop are:
The Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association is the host for this event. The LSLA seeks to educate, empower, evoke, create, and connect with people in all ways of sustainable and regenerative initiatives that further develop and strengthen the resilience of our communities and their food, water, and housing systems.
- Mandy Sandbach of SOUL-fully SOIL. SOUL-fully SOIL is an invitation to look at the resiliency, growth, regeneration, and collaboration, with our original “mother”, Gaia (planet earth), with a connected and sacred lens. Through the sacred lens of permaculture design and principles we offer educational workshops, tours, events, gatherings, cooking classes, and lots of SOIL work.
- Josh Hellawell of Synergy Permaculture. Synergy Permaculture is a Lethbridge based company that specializes in permaculture design, water management, green waste management, and urban farming. Their mission is to rebuild soil and to reclaim degraded and unused urban land to vibrant perennial food forests and urban agriculture in the city of Lethbridge.
- Dan Rollingson of Earthly Matters. Earthly Matters is a vermiculture business that produces a variety of soils and a natural soil enhancer. They produce a premium worm casting and educate people about the benefits of earthworm castings, and they also sell a top quality soil and worm composters. Surprisingly there is never a dull moment on a worm farm and they love talking to people about what they do and what their products can do for them.
People everywhere are waking up to the idea of working with, rather than against nature; and are seeking ways to meet our needs while enhancing instead of degrading the natural environment… food forestry is one seriously potent example of how this is possible!
Food forestry has gained much popularity over the past decade, however similar systems have been practiced by many cultures for millennia, all over the world – so this “new” concept is really an adaptation of strategies that have worked for humans for a long time…
And these concepts are just as relevant now as they ever have been! In a modern era of competing demands for our time and money, the design strategies you will learn in this course will help you get farther with less – save time and money, and generate multiple positive benefits from a single well-planned action.
So why else might you want to plant an edible forest garden?
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to start a garden and are unsure of where to start, or maybe you’ve been working away in a traditional gardening approach, and are intrigued by the promise of food forestry – in either case this workshop will help you get your food forest started right.
From planning to planting to establishment, this workshop is a DIY guide designed to equip you with the tools to succeed in creating your own garden sanctuary.
And of course, this workshop is all about how to grow your own delicious, organic food!
And growing your own food is like printing your own money. Especially when you consider the increasing cost of food…
While salad greens might be looked at as cash, the foods in your food forest (fruit & nut trees, berry shrubs, vines, perennials) are more like a savings account or long term investment that will pay dividends in not only your own health and well being, but that of your children and the greater community as well.
Day 1: Design
The first day of the workshop is all about design.
The forest “magic” we have mentioned above doesn’t happen by accident… in food forests, it happens through the careful design of mutually beneficial plant communities aka plant “guilds” that perform tasks such as nutrient accumulation, nitrogen fixation, increasing pollination, attracting a variety of beneficial wildlife, decreasing the need for weeding and watering, and more!
We will show how the integrated planning of plant guilds, pathways, social spaces, soil structure and rainwater harvesting combine with overarching design strategies and methods to create a comprehensive plan.
To ground these concepts into reality, we will show the cumulative design of actual projects we have completed as we move through each aspect of design, resulting in a complete design at the end of the day.
Day 1 includes:
- Introduction to Food Forestry
- Goals Articulation
- Key Aspects of Design
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Soil Fertility
- Plant Species
- Guild Building
Day 2: Planting
The second day is all about how to turn great designs into reality!
We have summarized our 15 years of collective experience planting and maintaining food forests into a concise delivery of the most essential strategies, techniques, and lessons learned to guide you through the installation process.
Day 2 is a combination of in class lessons, demonstrations, discussion, and a design activity where you have a chance to put all your new knowledge into practice…
And one of the best parts is that your designs will be used to help on a real food forest project that is being planned in Lethbridge. We are excited to help you contribute to a food forest legacy in this great city!
Day 2 Includes:
- Site Preparation
- Installation/ Planting
- Establishment Phase
- Summary of Our Lessons
- Discussion with Local Experts
- Design Charrette
Who is this course for?
- New or experienced gardeners who want to learn how food forestry principles can help them work with nature in their gardens, achieving diverse perennial food production, lower maintenance, and natural beauty.
- People who want to create sustainable landscaping projects that have a positive footprint while producing food and requiring very little maintenance.
- Those needing direction on how to proceed with a food forest project and wanting to prevent avoidable mistakes, or correct problems that have already arisen.
- People looking for inspiration and ideas on how to proceed in a world with a changing climate and uncertain political future.
- Activists looking for holistic solutions to improve community access to food, strengthen local food security, create a sense of inclusion, and make the world a better place through their actions.
- Landscape and Ecology Professionals who want to incorporate more sustainable and progressive practices into their work and attract new clients.
- City staff, schoolyard committees, and community gardeners who are looking to integrate ecological design into their projects to realize the full potential of public spaces.
Students having fun in a group exercise at one of our past workshops.
What students are saying about our past courses:
“Exceeded well beyond my expectations! What a fantastic course! It was basic enough for my beginner knowledge but still challenging/ informative for more experienced people”
- Ashley Millar, student of Landscape Architecture
“This course is one of the most densely packed high value offerings I’ve experienced. Lots of knowledge – operationalized”
- Audrey Smith, Professional Garden Designer
“Adrian’s knowledge, humour, and passion for this work makes studying under him a real pleasure!”
- Darrell Howard, Community Garden Facilitator
“Overall this workshop was great value. Lots of new information to supplement a Permaculture Design Course, the focus on guild building takes our knowledge to the next level. I have more confidence in designing a guild now”
- Christine Sarsons, Hobby Gardener
A vision for a regenerative future.
Every single calorie of food we produce in our food forests takes some pressure off of the industrial agriculture system, which has now become one of the single greatest forces influencing climate change and the destruction of natural ecosystems on this planet.
Food forests and related agro-forestry systems offer a hopeful vision of how we can start to transform our food production systems from destructive to regenerative ones by working with rather than against nature.
But food forests produce a whole lot more than just food… they are also a solution for people looking to create sustainable and low maintenance landscapes in their yard. Whether you want to create a private sanctuary for reflection and relaxation, or a space that invites in the community and brings people together, food forests create the conditions for a variety of human habitats to thrive.
Come out to this weekend workshop and learn how the principles and techniques of food forestry can be adapted to meet the goals you have for your lifestyle and land. We would love to see you out for this workshop so we can help you get your food forest started well!
Adrian Buckley, Lindsay Meads & Luke Kimmel