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Montana Practical PDC with Warren Brush + Montana Practitioners - Sage Mountain Center  RSS feed

 
Jessica D Peterson
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"This course was the perfect balance of theory and practice, and I came away more excited than ever about furthering my relationship with land and the food it produces." - JG


Inside Edge Design and Broken Ground are offering a PDC, co-teaching with Warren Brush of Quail Springs Permaculture, June 16th-30, in Whitehall, MT at Sage Mountain Center. It's a 2 week residential course, serving up incredible organic, better than organic, and locally sourced meats, grains, and veggies prepared deliciously. We have an incredible line up of MT agricultural and ecological practitioners teaching with us too. There will be lots of hands on, and the lectures will be taught by people who have practice permaculture for many years. The emphasis here will be high and dry climates. Earthworks and water catchment form the base for creating regenerative systems. Soils, food forests, animal husbandry, along with understanding our ecological and social history with regards to plants, animals and earth will also form the structure of this course.

Please find more information about our course here: http://www.brokengroundpermaculture.com/montana-pdc.html.

You have the option of attending for 1 day as well if you don't have time for a full two weeks. We also have an offering to attend during the 3 days when Warren Brush is with us. Warren Brush Only

We have some great testimonials below from past course participants. We really work hard to provide you with the skills necessary to enact your farm, homestead, and entrepreneurial vision, and we have an incredible body of knowledge between our 10+ instructors.

Testimonials
"Whatever your background or experience with permaculture, this course opens your eyes and provides so much practical knowledge, resources, and inspiration to launch your own projects, and begin building your own permaculture community." - AN

"Jesse and Kareen know how to teach permaculture skillfully, with breadth, depth, excellence, science and humanity! I particularly appreciated their capabilities in addressing learning styles and weaving in superb collaboration with others whose real-world experience augments what they themselves bring." - CW

"This course was the perfect balance of theory and practice, and I came away more excited than ever about furthering my relationship with land and the food it produces." - JG

"The course was incredible - it reinforced what I already knew and then stretched that knowledge to new dimensions. I also learned many new techniques and ways of seeing the world. Thank you!" - ES

"The montana pdc met my needs at so many levels. I am new to permaculture ideas and design, but feel I have a pathway now to move along to keep learning more. The course gave me the "hooks" I needed onto which I will hang a lifetime of additional information." - HB

"The spirit of the two weeks brimmed with positivity." - RE
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Montana Practical PDC Flier
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Warren Brush
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2016 PDC
 
Kareen Erbe
Posts: 9
Location: Bozeman, MT
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"Keep going.  Evolve.  Adapt.  Be in the garden as much as possible, but also know when to rest."


Sound advice from one of our experienced instructors for the Montana Practical Permaculture Design Course that takes place June 16-30 at Sage Mountain Center in Whitehall, Montana! There are still spots left if you want to join us, including one and 3- day options for those of us who can't join us for the full 14 days. Check out our interview with Allison below and come learn with her during our course!

1) What is your background? Why do you do what you do?
I grew up in central Wisconsin, where both sets of my grandparents were homesteader/farmers.  I spent a lot of time being on the land as a kid, and on my maternal grandparent’s farm especially, where they grew large gardens, kept bees, grew fruits and had a commercial Christmas tree farm.  I went to college for three years in Stevens Point, WI, and pursued an art degree while there.  I moved to Montana in 1995.  Being immersed in wilderness, living on the edge of Glacier National Park, I came to understand that more than anything I craved a deep and permanent connection to the land itself.  The beginning of understanding that there were alternatives to what I was seeing as normal American existence in the late 1990s happened thanks to my time in northwestern Montana.

My curiosity about the land, and particularly food, was piqued when I first learned about organic farming in 1996, which led me to develop the habits of eating organic food, and reading voraciously about organic farming and gardening.  I eventually learned to garden in my backyard in Bozeman, and I gardened that way on a handful of rental properties for several years.  I enjoyed gardening and producing high quality food that was not only the best I’d tasted, but also the most beautiful, as well as the idea that I could actually contribute in a positive fashion to a great many environmental ills to the extent that I decided to attempt to find out how to make a job out of farming. This led me down an almost 20 year path to the job I have today.  I spent several years working in busy restaurants, doing summer landscaping, and working as a farm intern, before eventually forming my first business providing gardening installation, maintenance and design services in 2004.  That business morphed into our organic farm in Wilsall, which was begun in 2008.  I think ultimately, I do what I do because it feeds my being.  I find much sustenance in the tactile realities of gardening and farming, from the soil, the plants, the animals, and being active outdoors most of my days.  I also find great inspiration in the colors and shapes I encounter in my work.

2) Why did you get involved in permaculture?
I learned about permaculture while taking part in an internship on a commercial herb farm in Williams, OR in 2001.  The farm, Herb Pharm, is an 80 acre diversified farm growing 32 acres of mostly perennial organic medicinal herb crops, for a robust value-added tincture business.  In the several years before my experience there, the farm’s owners had installed extensive water catchments, utilized keyline plowing, cover cropping, crop rotations within their soil-building programs to transform an over-grazed sheep farm into a very productive system for producing plant medicine, and a very beautiful farm and education hub.  I got to see first hand the before-and-after photos of the farm’s transformation, along with experiencing the reality firsthand. 

We had over 50 hours of intensive permaculture training from certified instructors/designers alone, both in class and in the field that season, and when I first learned about permaculture, and became familiar with the Designer’s Manual, I was profoundly struck by the practical concepts involved in setting up holistic systems that were highly productive and regenerative, and in how the methods could contribute to a very drastic shift in how we provide for our needs as humans by working proactively with nature and landscapes and the systems that govern them, with the intent to give back and create community, rather than simply take.  In particular, I was moved by the approach within permaculture to understand and work with water as an enlivening element in the landscape, but I was also moved during our extensive farm touring schedule, to see how many farmers in that region were utilizing permaculture design techniques on their beloved and beautiful farms.  It was, and still is for me, a very fascinating approach to growing food and medicine, and a source of life-long learning opportunity.

3) Describe what you have going on on your property. What is the overall vision for your place?
We have 20 acres of land on an arid and cold climate version of an ecosystem called the Sagebrush Steppe.  The property was managed previously using an over-stocked form of dryland continuous grazing by leaseholders, and we were looking at depleted topsoils, very limited presence of plant or animal species, and erosion of exposed and compacted soils in a wide-open landscape at high elevation off the northern slopes of the Bridger mountain range, with probably one of the shortest growing seasons in the US.  I felt that the permaculture techniques that I had learned could help us make what had ended up as a wasteland of sorts into a livelihood, and that it was worth a go, considering prime farm land was not likely to become affordable to us in our lifetime.

We started in 2008 by forming a market garden and high tunnel production, establishing some water catchments, and have continued to expand our permacultural and agricultural educational exposures, water catchments, tree plantings, animal systems, and management structures from there.  We raise Nigerian Dwarf goats, chickens and ducks, grow produce almost four seasons of the year, and market various crops and goods mostly to the Bozeman area.  We’ve used Holistic Management principles and practices increasingly over the years, both for our livestock and pastures, but also for our broader business.  Currently we are in the thick of food safety systems creation, maintaining a busy production schedule, and fitting in work on our orchard areas and other tree and shrub plantings.

The overall vision for our property can generally be described as a sustained effort to expand land regeneration in increasing ripples to and beyond our boundaries to the greatest extent we are able in whatever form continuing to achieve our economic goals takes as we evolve, recognizing that we are on a multi-decade trajectory in a landscape with inherent limitations.  At minimum, our goal is to provide a healthy and secure and happy livelihood for our family, while having a positive impact on water harvesting and biodiversity.

4) What advice would you give a budding permaculturist/gardener/farmer?
Do whatever it takes to get your hands dirty, learn from your experience and observation, but spend sustained quality time learning from folks with real-life expertise before setting up your own business, whether it’s through internships on farms or permaculture sites, or by working in the landscaping, construction or nursery trades, or all of the above.  Take business planning courses.  Learn to constantly observe and assess details.  Assess early and often your skills and shortcomings, and adjust your endeavors accordingly.  Plan to constantly improve your communications skills.  Devour books, but spend more time doing.  Learn budgeting and money management and recordkeeping, stay nimble and creative, use what you have, be bold but stay extremely well-organized.  Desire to master horticultural and livestock skills, so that the repetitive physical labor challenges can be overcome.  Keep it real, sometimes the best skill is having common sense.  Keep going.  Evolve.  Adapt.  Be in the garden as much as possible, but also know when to rest.
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Allison Rooney of Cloud Nine Farm
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Nigerian Dwarf Goats
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Microgreens in one of the farms
 
Jessica D Peterson
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We have our updated flier...now that the early bird period has passed. We still have some spots open and have some work trade opportunities!
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Montana Practical PDC Updated Flier
 
Jessica D Peterson
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Hi everyone!

I am Jessica Peterson, and I'm 1/2 of a Helena, Montana ecological and social systems design company called Inside Edge Design. Caroline Wallace is my business partner, and an amazing landscape and polyculture designer. We're working with Kareen Erbe, of Broken Ground in Bozeman, Montana, a permaculture design company.


Our aim is to provide an incredible introductory framework to permaculture systems thinking and give participants a rich experience of these principles in practical action!

An element of providing this type of quality experience is bringing in teachers and practitioners from outside Montana, who can bring that broad and long perspective to us! Warren Brush is such a person. I'm linking a video below, created by The Permaculture School (which also seems to be doing some excellent work).

Replenishing our aquifers is a skill that was practiced by earlier cultures for thousands of years. There is a lot archeological evidence emerging that shows up and down the Americas, this was a common phenomenon for both small and mega societies. The complexity of capturing water is all a matter of scale. There are such simple ways for us to capture, hold, and sink water on our own landscapes that quite literally don't need to cost us any money, yet only take some of our time. We will teach you how to understand what is needed on your own landscape to capture water and use it to benefit your plant systems and be a part of the solution for improving your bioregion's resilience.

Here's the video or Warren Brush, talking about capturing water for his aquifers in California. It's also great to see him (and Nicholas Burtner), on his land with his family, including his little granddaughter. Our PDC offers full time childcare, with interactive elements for the hands on experiential work. Stay tuned for another update on our childcare provider, Sydney, who is amaaazing!

So, check out the video, and then check out our course here: Montana Practical PDC Registration

You can also attend just the 3-day portion, where Warren is with us. Here's that link: Short Course with Warren

Permaculture Tip of the Day - Replenishing an Aquifer with Swales - A Case Study
 
Jessica D Peterson
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Scott Mann with The Permaculture Podcast just posted his interview with me and Warren Brush. It's a heady topic, and I'll be listening to it a few times to glean and embody all the incredible insight and wisdom from Warren (and Scott) regarding a post-Trump presidency world with Permaculture.

During the recording of the interview with Scott and Warren, I wasn't able to soak in everything they were both saying, and I'm grateful to have had this conversation recorded.

Very excited to be teaching with Warren Brush in Montana this summer. Please have a listen to the podcast, and then check out our PDC offering! We still have a few work trades available too.

Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann "What Sustains You?"

 
Carol Wilburn
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Kareen and Jesse are superb:  as teachers, as organizers, as resources.  Each has a deep and extensive practice in permaculture, including social permaculture and food forests.  They crafted a sense of community and a highly responsive and supportive learning environment with great thoughtfulness and skill.

I found them highly competent and at the same time inclusive, with generous awareness and sharing of other practitioners’ expertise.  Their knowledge of learning styles and inclusion of significant hands-on activities was vital.

The field trips and guest speakers they planned were some of my highlights, allowing us to witness first-hand several extensive permaculture projects across a wide spectrum:  Holistic Land Management and livestock, working with land to capture water resources and sequester carbon, sustainable building, urban homesteading….  And Sage Mountain Center was one of our visits, as well as time with Chris.  It will be a superb venue, I think!

I recommend Jesse and Kareen's montana pdc with high praise and without reservation.  AND with large applause!!!

Carol Wilburn
Sandpoint, ID
 
Joe Griffith
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I did my PDC with Kareen and Jesse last summer and it was an incredibly fun and informative 14 days. They're both very plugged into the permaculture community in Montana so the site visits were really awesome. We had a chance to visit Sage Mountain (where this year's PDC is) and I must say that it's so awesome that my wife and I half-joked about doing our PDC again this year just to be able to stay there!

I can't say enough great things about the experience and the quality of the instruction that we received. And both Kareen and Jesse went out of their way to answer questions and share knowledge outside of the structured sessions, which is something I in particular really enjoyed.
 
Alison Nichols
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I took Jesse & Kareen's PDC last summer and cannot say enough good things about it! Jesse & Kareen are knowledgable, inspirational, and caring teachers who created an intensive but fun learning environment over the course of two weeks. Our group consisted of people at all levels of permaculture knowledge and practice, and as a newcomer to permaculture, I felt welcome and supported. We visited some amazing permaculture farms & homesteads in the Bozeman area, including Sage Mountain Center, which is a truly incredible site, with impressive examples of natural building techniques, sustainable food production, and use of renewable energies. I attended the PDC from out of state and enjoyed exploring this beautiful corner of Montana.

I highly recommend Jesse & Kareen's PDC! I walked away with a ton of knowledge, a ton of inspiration, and some great resources and connections. Thanks to both of them for such an incredible experience
 
Shane Sater
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I took the full two-week course last summer, and I highly recommend it without any reservations.  The entire time was packed with information and inspiration.  Kareen and Jesse are both dynamic, strong people and experienced, versatile permaculturists with a passion for their work.  They stand out in their inclusivity, responsiveness to the participants' needs, and honoring of the gifts that all participants - not only instructors - bring.  One big gift for me was that they consciously and skillfully made space for a thriving learning community to form.  They provided excellent encouragement and mentoring in social permaculture, often neglected but foundational to everything else.  Experiencing positive ways to work through the inevitable, occasional challenges of working with and living with other people was one of many highlights of the course for me.  I found group project work, hands-on activities, dynamic discussions, and amazing site visits to all be very empowering. 

I encourage you to seriously consider launching on this amazing, life-changing experience!

 
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