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?

pdc-wheelLooking for deep solutions in a world of challenges? Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments that uses natural systems as a model. Our 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate course will introduce you to strategies and tools for designing and living in landscapes, homes, businesses, and communities that are regenerative—that is, that go well beyond just depleting resources and the human spirit, to actually renewing and invigorating them.

The course is led by Toby Hemenway, whose Permaculture guidebook, Gaia’s Garden, has been the best-selling permaculture book worldwide for the past seven years. Having taught over 50 Permaculture Design Courses, Toby is one of the premier permaculture educators in the world today. Guest instructors include acclaimed experts Larry Santoyo, Brock Dolman, Erik Ohlsen, John Valenzuela and others. See instructor bios to learn more.

You’ll learn to create and practice sustainable solutions for food, water, energy, and shelter; building social capital; developing a sustainable economy, renewing local communities on all scales, and more.

Gain a comprehensive framework for critical decision-making to guide re-designing human settlements, from backyards to cityscapes, based on the patterns of natural ecosystems. Permaculture is about a whole lot more than just gardening! Guest instructors will provide a diversity of examples of permaculture in practice. Students will apply the concepts of the course through a group design project. Most of the student design projects from past years’ courses are now being implemented around the Bay Area.

This course is recommended for green architects, landscape contractors, county and city leaders, policy-makers, homeowners, farmers, business owners and anybody seeking a pathway to truly sustainable change. During this course you’ll develop new relationships, connecting with people concerned about and inspired by, many similar topics as you.

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

“I would say personally it was one of my favorite things I have ever been involved in. Also in terms of what the world needs to heal, the info presented here offers the most rational and intuitively proactive response possible.”(Matt Grantham, Napa, CA)

“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