Toby Hemenway will be bringing his knowledge of permaculture to Nelson in a rare course offering.

Unique permaculture class offered with Hemenway

There is a growing interest for local food, community self-reliance, transition towns and energy descent future.

  • Mar. 19, 2012 8:00 a.m.

There is a growing interest for local food, community self-reliance, transition towns and energy descent future.

“Permaculture is a holistic approach to land use planning,” wrote local well-known permaculture teacher Gregoire Lamoureux in an email,”Permaculture design evolved through the observation of natural ecosystems that are usually abundant, resilient and often very diverse in species and in the relationship between species. You can create an abundance and diversity of food in your own backyard by using permaculture design principles and techniques while using only a small amount of energy, resources and time to implement and maintain the design.”

Kootenay Permaculture is welcoming Spring with a series of permaculture workshops & courses. This year, the society is proud to have Toby Hemenway visit Nelson for an evening talk March 28 and a full day workshop March 29. Hemenway is the author of the best-selling book Gaia’s Garden, A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and a well-known permaculture teacher from the West Coast, and brings a wealth of permaculture knowledge with him.

Toby has been on the faculty of Portland State University and was a scholar-in-residence at Pacific University; he teaches permaculture all over the world. He currently lives in Sebastopol, California, where he puts theory into practise and tends a two-acre food forest amid seven acres of redwoods and bay laurels.

His evening talk on March 28 is titled: “Permaculture: Solutions for Community Building and a Fear-Free Future.” This presentation will leave you with a deeper understanding of the issues we face such as climate change, food security, peak oil, economic uncertainty, etc.

“The ecological design approach known as permaculture offers both a way to think about these issues constructively, and a set of solutions for individuals, families and the places we live,” said a recent press release from Kootenay Permaculture, “This program will help us develop a toolkit for a regenerative culture that offers specific solutions and a positive program for our future and for the future of our communities.”

The evening presentation will be held March 28 at 7 p.m. at Self-Design High 402 Victoria in Nelson, BC; no registration is required.

The all-day workshop taking place March 29 is “Permaculture Design for the Home Landscape: from the urban backyard to the small acreage.”

In this session,Toby will talk about how to use permaculture to design home landscapes that not only produce food and beauty for people, but also shelter birds and beneficial insects, conserve water and energy, improve soil health, and enhance biodiversity. During the day he will cover 12 essential permaculture principles, a set of design methods to help turn your yard into a rich, food-producing ecosystem, techniques for efficient and pest-resistant garden layout, selecting plants that work together to build soil and habitat, drought-proofing your yard, and conserving energy through landscape planning that warms the home and yard in winter yet keeps it cooler in summer.

The full-day workshop is March 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Selkirk College Silver King Campus 2001 Silver King Road in Nelson. Registrations with Selkirk College is required to attend the full-day workshop.

More permaculture information will be available when Gregoire Lamoureux presents an Introduction to Permaculture workshop March 31 and April 1 in at Selkirk College Nelson. Registration is required to attend this event as well.

In response to the interest for longer courses, Kootenay Permaculture in partnership with Selkirk College is presenting a four week Permaculture Training Program April 16 to May 11, 2012. This is a full time course Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The goal of the course is to help initiate more permaculture projects in Nelson and the region,” said Lamoureux, “The participants will be in Nelson for the first two weeks doing a permaculture design for a property and the last two weeks at the farm in the Slocan Valley where there will be many hands-on learning activities.”

He emphasizes that this intensive course combines theory with practical hands-on learning. The participants will learn permaculture design principles and techniques that are adapted to the climate and ecosystems of the Kootenay and can also be used in other parts of the country.

Selkirk College and Kootenay Permaculture will also be offering the 11th annual Permaculture Design Course, a 13 day program, in Winlaw from June 3 to 16. The summer course for this year has been scheduled for August 19 to September 1.

Those interested in the courses, please call Selkirk College in Nelson at 250-352-6601 to register. For more information, please call Kootenay Permaculture at 250-226-7302 or email


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