Training Courses - Moor Wholesome

Training Courses

** Training Courses are currently on hold as I prepare for the launch of a new project: LoopyFood.net – a map-based directory focusing on Local Organic(+) food, incorporating social networking (groups and forums) and links to resources for educating, marketing, and campaigning about food issues – see LoopyFood.net for details (‘soft-launch’ January 2016) **

I am currently offering two courses on a regular schedule: Resilient Smallholding and Permaculture Taster for Smallholders – for details of content, dates and booking, see below. I am able to offer a range of further one and two-day courses (again, see below for details of content) although these will run as and when sufficient bookings have been received – do let me know if you would like to signal interest/reserve a place on either of these (I will fix a date when enough bookings are secured). I am also able to put together bespoke training packages to your specification in these and related areas, and these might include a greater emphasis on visits to the smallholding for demonstration and/or practical experience – contact me if you might be interested in this. If you would like to be placed on the email list to be kept informed of course dates when they are fixed, then email: office@moorwholesome.co.uk.

If you would like to see the smallholding and have the chance to study the set-up in a less formal way, then consider coming to camp at the holding for a few days. Although usually busy with various tasks, I would be able to show you around and answer a few questions. You could always combine camping with some more structured training. I have an extensive library of permaculture and smallholding books that could be lent while here (with a deposit to cover damage).

Courses Scheduled for 2015

Permaculture Taster for Smallholders (Sustainability by Design)

A course run in association with the Devon Association of Smallholders

Permaculture (from Permanent Agriculture) involves designing for sustainability after observing how natural systems thrive. It is applied worldwide in the design of healthy and abundant gardens, farms and smallholdings. The course will set out some of its key principles and how they are relevant to smallholders, as well as explaining some key design tools that can be applied to smallholdings. It will include information on practical permaculture solutions and approaches for crop and livestock management (e.g., ranging from the use of comfrey as a fodder crop, fruit tree mulch and plant food, through to agro-forestry and rotational grazing). This will provide a basic and practical appreciation of the subject, signposting key resources that are available – maybe whetting the appetite for further study.

Location: Ilsington, Devon;

Dates: to be confirmed

Cost: £55 (£40 to members of Devon Association of Smallholders)

Notes: Participants to bring packed-lunch, clean wellies/boots and outdoor clothing (as well as indoor shoes/clothing); tea/coffee provided.

The Resilient Smallholding (Planning for Extreme Weather and Other Setbacks)

A course run in association with the Devon Association of Smallholders

The recent decade has seen one form of extreme weather after another, making life challenging for those working on the land – and weather patters are predicted to become ‘stuck’ more often, making both flood and drought more likely. The concept of ‘resilience’ – the capacity to ‘bounce-back’ and thrive after negative events – has emerged as a means of planning for and dealing with adverse weather and a changing climate, as well as other potential setbacks (such as a financial crisis or ‘oil-shock’/resource shortages). Resilience-building includes small-scale solutions and larger/long-term designs, ranging from planting hardy and multi-purpose crops to digging swales and setting aside a ‘sacrificial paddock’. The course will comprise taught sessions that set out practical solutions relevant to smallholdings as set out in recent publications as well as traditional and newly-developing practice (including on the tutor’s own smallholding). The following areas will be covered:

  • why the need for ‘resilience’ and what does it mean?
  • choosing and managing livestock for resilience
  • choosing crops and cropping methods for resilience
  • managing land for resilience
  • managing water and fertility for resilience
  • managing other smallholding inputs and outputs for resilience
  • dealing with the outside world: community involvement and marketing for resilience

The course is suitable for smallholders, aspiring-smallholders, or anyone interested in how smallholding may be made more resilient; it will include content related to both livestock and horticulture – though will be of limited relevance for large scale/intensive farms.

Location: Ilsington, Devon;

Dates: to be confirmed

Cost: £55 (£40 to members of Devon Association of Smallholders)

Notes: Participants to bring packed-lunch, clean wellies/boots and outdoor clothing (as well as indoor shoes/clothing); tea/coffee provided.

Courses Open for Booking – To Run When Sufficient Bookings Received

Although the titles of some courses sound similar, they are pitched differently – and contain different content – to reflect differing levels of experience of permaculture, keeping livestock, and other aspects of smallholding. I therefore recommend that you read the course outlines carefully; if you are interested in attending one of the courses but are unsure as to which one would be most appropriate for you, then feel free to call for a chat.

Courses that introduce permaculture to those who have not encountered it before will include material on its history, origins and ethical foundation, although the emphasis on the courses will be upon permaculture principles and the design process – and especially the body of work that is developing around the practical application of permaculture. Those whose appetite is whetted to study permaculture more deeply will be encouraged to attend a Permaculture Design Course (a longer duration course – details and course listings available from the Permaculture Association).

Unless indicated otherwise, all courses will be held in Ilsington, Dartmoor National Park, Devon,

Permaculture With Livestock: for Permies

Have you taken an Introduction to Permaculture or Permaculture Design Course already, but feel that you would have liked more practical information on keeping (large) livestock within a permaculture system? If so, this is the course for you. This course will include classroom sessions as well as visits to a working permaculture smallholding with traditional/rare breeds of cattle, sheep and (occasionally) pigs – from which meat is produced for the local community. Of course, there are ‘permaculture chickens’ providing eggs too! Electric fences are used for rotating grazing through smaller paddocks and a number of small-scale, low-tec and alternative solutions have been used in the management of livestock. While the focus of the course is on permaculture approaches to keeping livestock, there will be the opportunity to find out about the nitty-gritty of raising livestock and meat production/marketing, including setting up a box-scheme. Camping on the smallholding the night before/after may be available at a small additional charge.

One Day: 9:30am – 4:30pm

Cost: £50

Introduction to Permaculture Smallholding

This 2-day course will provide an introduction to permaculture with a bias towards content for those who are interested in learning about, and applying permaculture principles and design to, smallholding. It will assume no significant prior knowledge of permaculture or smallholding. Permaculture (from Permanent Agriculture) involves designing for sustainability after observing how natural systems thrive. It is applied worldwide in the design of healthy and abundant gardens and smallholdings (as well as other things!) The course will set out its key principles and how they are relevant to smallholders, as well as explaining some key design tools that can be applied to smallholdings. The course will include content relevant to mixed smallholding – i.e., including keeping livestock as well as growing fruit/veg. Classroom sessions will be complemented by visits to the tutor’s nearby working smallholding. While the focus of the course is on permaculture approaches to keeping livestock, there will be the opportunity to find out about the nitty-gritty of raising livestock and meat production/marketing, including setting up a meat box scheme. Camping on the smallholding may be available at a small additional charge.

2 Days: 9:30am – 4:30pm

Cost: £95

Introduction to Permaculture for Smallholders
(Sustainability by Design)

This 2-day course is a broad introduction to permaculture for those who already have or work on a smallholding. Permaculture (from Permanent Agriculture) involves designing for sustainability after observing how natural systems thrive. It is applied worldwide in the design of healthy and abundant gardens and smallholdings. The course will set out its key principles and how they are relevant to smallholders, as well as explaining some key design tools that can be applied to smallholdings. This will provide a basic and practical appreciation of the subject, signposting key resources that are available – maybe whetting the appetite for further study. Classroom sessions will be complemented by visits to the tutor’s nearby smallholding for practical sessions. The course will include content related to both livestock and horticulture. Camping on the smallholding may be available at a small additional charge.

2 Days: 9:30am – 4:30pm

Cost: £95