Learning Land Care
Hands-on activities for learning to practice the basics of cultivating a care-based relationship with land and plants. 

A Change in course format:

Weather conditions through 2023 were challenging for this course, with five of the eleven course days experiencing some form of weather or air quality warning, including two days with tornadoes and one with so much rain that roads flooded across the city. 

I’m adjusting the format for Learning Land Care for 2024, switching to a more flexible series of offerings based on the needs of the plants and various gardens at the Just Food Farm, as well as the weather forecast.

If you are interested in participating in land care activities, please let me know via my Contact page and I’ll add you to the email list I'll be using to announce gatherings. You don’t need to commit to any particular dates of number of gatherings to be on the email list.

The Practice of Land Care

While I'm not offering the season-long course in 2024, individual activity days will still include exploration of the same principles and practices, with space to:
  • 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 may 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. 
  • Planting native and edible perennials in some of the beds that were started last year
  • Caring for the spaces through the growing season
  • Gathering of the abundance that the gardens offer, including foods and seeds
  • A closing circle with optional sharing of harvest and other food will wrap up the course in October
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. 
These activities are 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). 
A row of woven, branched sticks, stuck into the ground in a curved line, with pea vines growing up them
A photograph of a squash vine with a large yellow squash flower
A picture of a cob of corn, still in the hust, growing on a corn plant
A leafy, green black-turtle bean plant with lots of pods of beans