Learning Land Care

The Practice of Land Care

This program will launch sometime in 2021, but not until after it is safe for us to begin to gather. 
 This will likely be sometime in the late summer, so the course will likely end up shifting to a year-long process, or be broken into a planning and a practice course, with the planning running from the fall through the winter, with a blend of online and in-person gatherings and the practice starting in the spring and carrying on through the fall. 

The Practice of Land Care
A six-month course to learn and practice the basics of cultivating a care-based relationship with land and plants. 
Over an entire growing season, we’ll: 
  • Explore the land that we’ll be working with and get to know the site conditions and existing life and activities that already exist nearby. 
  • Have conversations about what connection and intersection points exist between the various forms of life and types of activities taking place and what options there are for meeting the needs of that life in ways that increase biodiversity and support the continuing of complex life. 
  • Look at the soil health, structure and texture and review ways of working with plants and organic matter diverted from waste streams to build soil fertility in sustainable ways. 
  • Discuss ecosystem progression, from disturbance to maturity and explore what factors and stages of ecosystem progression best support a combination of human life and a resilient diversity of the other species who are sharing their space with us.
  • Get into long, involved conversations about plants, people, ecosystem, community and what it takes to support resilience. 
  • Cover practical skills for working with plants and soil and growing and harvesting food. 
  • Move with the progression of the seasons, adjusting plans and activities in a responsive, adaptable manner.  
Hands-on activities will include: 
  • The planning and creation of new garden beds which combine plants that provide for human needs with plants that provide for the needs of other being, including annual plant combinations based on reciprocal and complimentary plant needs and gifts. 
  • Caring for the new beds through the growing season. 
  • Gathering of the abundance that the gardens offer, including foods and seeds. 
  • If pandemic safety protocols allow, a gathering that includes sharing of food will be held in the fall. If that isn’t feasible, a closing circle will be held instead. 
Emphasis will be on: 
  • Learning to observe complex factors that guide the path of growth in a space, with a strong emphasis on relationship. 
  • Minimizing any harmful off-site impacts of choices or actions and working to ensure that on-site impacts are net positive for biodiversity.
  • Regionally native plant species and species that provide for human needs, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and common medicinal species. Some less common edible species and perennial vegetables will also be introduced. Participants will be welcome to adopt seeds and divisions of plants, as they are available. 
  • Centering choices and activities on care-based relationships, breaking from patterns of domination and imposition of simplified order that underlies many current horticultural practices. 
This course is for anyone who is interested in exploring and practicing a care centered relationship with land and plants. 
The skills covered will center the type of work that can be accomplished with hand tools, making the most of available materials and any other supplies or resources, and what an individual or a small group can accomplish and care for.
Urban specific considerations will be included. 
Animal agriculture will not be included (it is outside of my field of expertise). 

Course Format
Over six months we’ll meet 11 times. 
We’ll be meeting at the Just Food Farm in Blackburn Hamlet
Weekday Gatherings: Noon until 3:00 
Weeknight Gatherings: 6pm until dusk (Probably on Tuesday and/or Thursday) 
Every 2 weeks, beginning in early May, except for August, which will only have one gathering. 
Proposed course fee: $495 for the full series. 
Maximum of 10 participants per group. 
Minimum of 5 registered participants for a course to proceed.