Forest Gardening Weekend Course

screenshot11 2011-01-03 08.31.40At the end of July 2011, I co-taught my first forest garden weekend course at the delightful Brockwell Park Greenhouses. Take a look at the flyer.

Development of Experiences

Forest gardening is a design method that mimics a young natural woodland, in which multiple useful species are established in stacked layers from the below the ground level to the tree canopy. By taking advantage of every opportunity, forest gardens are diverse, resilient and productive. This system lends itself to the urban setting and I’ve been a passionate advocate of its useage since my first encounter with a productive forest garden in Guatemala.

sustainable harvest from the rainforest of Belize

sustainable harvest from the rainforest of Belize

 

 

I also spent six months working in agroforestry systems in Belize and Mexico. Upon my return to the UK in 2010, I took a forest garden design course with Martin Crawford. Once I understood the principles, I then applied them to a forest garden design for Occombe Farm, which was planted up in January 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

With fortuitous timing, I completed a teachers apprentice opportunity with the eminent Patrick Whitefield just before this course began. This enabled me to fine tune my teaching style and gave me valuable insight into the myriad details of the art of teaching.

The Course

The course was developed around three main themes

  • forest garden fundamentals
  • key permaculture design principles
  • final design exercise
We also included some games and exercises held in the forest garden to develop observational skills, to change pace and to connect back to nature.

 

Some Images from the Weekend

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On Reflection

Overall, the course was a success however next time I design a course I would include some outdoor practical work and create a tighter brief for the design task.

The workshop had a great balance between theory and practice. Intensive in regards to the amount of content we walked away with, but due to Kevin’s teaching style and content breakdown I was able to absorb it. Kevin is incredibly responsive to people’s differing disposition be it experience and knowledge in the field or attention span, without error he paced the material in such a way that left no one overwhelmed, or unstimulated, struck the balance right that had everyone simultaneously learning and reflecting over the whole session. – Ariel Shepherd volunteer co-ordinator

Next Steps

I’m looking forward to designing and delivering a weekend forest gardening workshop with Claire White at the Hackney City Farm who have already created their own forest garden. For further details about the course in March have a look at our teaching page.

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