Our Homegrown gatherings, tours, workshops, talks, and annual Permaculture Design Course provide the support needed to turn inspiration into action and teach people how to live a more nourishing existence, while radically reducing their footprint on the planet. Daily Acts Homegrown Programs grow hope, skills and engaged communities who are feeding and inspiring neighbors and reclaiming our future.

home-grown1Homegrown Programs build household and community self-reliance by transforming our homes and landscapes into productive, resilient ecosystems.

Changing the world starts by leading with how you live. Daily Acts’ Homegrown Programs provide citizens support to turn inspiration into action to live a more nourishing existence, while radically reducing their footprint on the planet.

With a growing bounty of inspiring Homegrown Model Sites, Tours, Workshops and Community Groups like the Homegrown Guild and Petaluma Garden Wheel, our Homegrown Programs provide the skills, resources and connections to transform how you live.

No one alone has all the abilities, time or knowledge, but together as a community we grow whole.

Through our Homegrown Programs, we grow hope, community, skills, education, habitat, policy change and engaged citizens who are feeding and inspiring neighbors and reclaiming our future. Regardless of your resources and whether you rent or own, are urban or are rural, it’s about cultivating the resourcefulness, relationships and proactive audacity to turn large problems into elegant, tasty, eco-efficacious solutions. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being proactive and committed to learn, do and share what you live; and to keep growing.

Are you ready to join the Solution Revolution?

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Permaculture Design Cerificate Course with Toby Hemenway

This special Permaculture Design Course offers a unique opportunity you won’t find anywhere else:

It not only covers the internationally recognized 72-hour curriculum, but through our special partnership, lets you work with real sites, communities, organizations and agencies all while learning from top permaculture instructors.

The course links Daily Acts, the award winning non-profit applying permaculture solutions at personal, neighborhood and community scales, with Toby Hemenway, one of the best-known permaculture teachers in the world. From theory to on-the-ground action and real community engagement, this course will empower you with the knowledge, experience and tools to start living a more regenerative lifestyle.

This is your chance to learn permaculture’s whole-system tools to design and build regenerative landscapes, food systems, communities, schools, businesses, and relationships. Participants routinely call this course “life changing.”

The course takes place one weekend per month for six months, so you don’t have to take time off from work to attend.

What you’ll get:

You’ll come out of this course with an ecological design toolkit for applying whole-systems thinking to every aspect of your life. You’ll be able to create and implement regenerative solutions to personal, local, and regional issues and to the challenges facing us all.

You will also receive the internationally recognized Permaculture Design Course certificate, and gain tools for leadership, self-care, and collaboration with local communities and organizations. This is a unique opportunity to build social capital and a close, personal network of local solutionaries.

This course:

  • Covers the official 72-hour permaculture curriculum – including design principles, pattern literacy, mapping and surveying, soils and composting, ecology, water catchment and re-use, natural building, renewable energy, social permaculture, community building and green business design (to name a few)
  • Features permaculture site tours, hands-on projects, lectures & discussions, exercises, & social networking
  • Allows plenty of one-on-one time with the instructors.
  • Certifies you with the Permaculture Design Certificate, sponsored by the premier certifying body in the US, Permaculture Institute USA, founded by Bill Mollison.
  • Provides membership within an international community of over 350,000 PDC graduates & makes you eligible for advanced permaculture courses

Who we are:

The lead instructor, Toby Hemenway, is the author of Gaia’s Garden, the best-selling permaculture book in the world. Toby has taught over 70 Permaculture Design Courses, and his ties to local and global sustainability experts will bring to the course internationally known permaculture teachers as well as Bay Area experts.

Daily Acts is an educational non-profit that supports people and communities to live more sustainably by reclaiming the power of one’s daily actions. Through educational programs, landscape transformations and action campaigns like the Community Resilience Challenge, they inspire action to build more resilient, nourishing and connected communities. Using a heart-centered approach, Daily Acts is at the forefront of taking permaculture solutions like sheet-mulching, greywater and food forests to scale from homes and neighborhoods to City Hall landscapes.

Timeframe:

The course meets in Petaluma on the second full weekend of each month, October 2016 through March 2017. Between each weekend session, you’ll have ample time to absorb and integrate all the amazing new information you’ll learn into your “real life.”

Course Dates:

October 8 & 9, 2016

November 12 & 13, 2016

December 10 & 11, 2016

January 14 & 15, 2017

February 11 & 12, 2017

March 11 & 12, 2017

Many people find this course to be one of the most transformative experiences of their life.

“I think the course has fundamentally changed the way I think about problems in every aspect of my life. I just want to express how much gratitude I feel for the opportunity to experience this course.” –Katie N.

“I wish I had taken this course before I was vice-mayor. The regenerative design tools and strategies presented are so needed in local government. Other government officials would certainly benefit from these tools, which can be applied to crafting solutions to the toughest challenges, by taking an integrated approach to doing more with less.”  (Tiffany Renee, former vice-mayor of Petaluma, CA)

“I’m not sure what I was expecting—but the course opened my eyes to what could be. I will never look at the land the same way again—I have a new toolbox to see and engage with the world. The design project gave our team an opportunity to direct our passions and build teamwork. It got us out of our comfort zone and allowed each of use to rise to our highest selves.” (Richard Parker, AIA, San Francisco, CA)

Upon successful completion of the course participants will earn a Permaculture Design Certificate issued by The Permaculture Institute (USA), the principal certifying body in the US.


Video: Redesigning Civilization with Permaculture – Toby Hemenway

What Is A Food Forest?

A food forest is an edible landscape that mimics a natural forest in form and function. Natural systems don’t require human inputs to flourish. Instead, the various species form a web of interconnection where they feed off each other and support each other in a closed, sustainable system. In these systems each plant serves more than one function (i.e. accumulating nutrients, producing mulch, attracting beneficial insects etc.).

When we design and plant a food forest our goal is to create a system that produces food, habitat and medicine while requiring very little human input.

Layers Of A Food Forest

food-forest-layersJust like in an actual forest, a food forest has many layers with different species of plants inhabiting each layer. For example, tall trees create a canopy layer,providing shade, harvesting water (from fog), producing mulch and creating a sheltered area in which other plants can grow.

Below the canopy is an understory layer of smaller trees and shrubs, which provide structure for climbing plants and vines. The food forest floor is home to groundcovers, herbs and root crops.

Each species within this system inhabits a specific niche but serves more than one function.Some plants produce a food crop while also fixing nitrogen in the soil. Other plants produce edible or medicinal leaves while also sending down a deep taproot that breaks up the soil and draws up nutrients to the surface.

  • The Canopy Layer of the food forest usually consists of large fruit trees and nut trees.
  • The Understory Layer consists of dwarf fruit and nut trees.
  • The Shrub Layer often has berries and currents.
  • Vines such as grapes,create a vertical layer as they climb the shrubs and trees.
  • Perennial Herbs and Groundcovers fill in the forest floor, shading out weeds and providing culinary and medicinal benefits. These herbaceous plantsalso attract beneficial insects. Even annual vegetables can fit in here.
  • Root Crops such as Daikon Radish break up the soil allowing water to infiltrate.

 Plant Guilds

A guild is a grouping of 3 or more plants that have a beneficial relationship. The classic example is the “Three Sisters” corn, beans and squash. In this guild the corn provides structure for the beans to climb; the beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which feeds the corn and squash, and the squash shades the ground, helping to keep it cool, moist and free of weeds, while also producing mulch.

A food forest can be made up of many different plant guilds which come together to form a productive, resilient and (mostly) self-sustaining system.

Inputs

food-forest-exampleAlthough the goal is to create a self-sustaining landscape, certain inputs are needed. The initial purchase of fruit trees, shrubs and perianal plants is the major input. Ongoing watering via drip irrigation will be needed to sustain the plants, especially in the early years as they get established. All gardens require some maintenance, depending partly on the desired aesthetic. However, ongoing maintenance can be kept to a minimal using the “chop and drop” method (laying cuttings down in place, which produces mulch and returns nutrients into the system).

With situationally appropriate design, the end result is a low-water-use landscape that produces food, fiber, medicine and habitat while building topsoil and increasing biodiversity. Compared to a grass lawn, which is essentially a monoculture and requires a lot of water, synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and oil, a food forest is an earth-friendly, eco-groovy amalgamation of multi-functional fecundity and delight.

More Than Just Food

Beyond just producing food, a food forest can also provide habitat for wildlife as well as fuel, fiber and medicine for humans.

The structure of a forest landscape can create an enchanting, natural-feeling space, which can be a welcomed contrast to the one-dimensional landscapes that often fill our neighborhoods.

Additional Resources

Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke

Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway

Premaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison