Edible Forest Gardening is the conscious application of the principles of ecology to the design of home scale gardens that mimic forest ecosystem structure and function, but grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, “farmaceuticals" and fun. This workshop will offer an in-depth exploration of forest ecology, site analysis and assessment, the design process, and interaction with some of the lesser known plants that can comprise ‘perennial polycultures’. There will be interactive lectures and group work, as well as hands-on experiential learning. The course will include a detailed analysis of the Yestermorrow site, using what we find to create a draft plan for a large forest garden installation. Students will be an integral part of a permaculture designed landscape installation at Yestermorrow. This workshop is open to all, but is recommended for experienced gardeners or graduates of Permaculture design courses.

Course start time: Sunday, 5pm
Course end time: Friday, 5pm


"Same as the other times that I came here, this experience has been really wonderful. Every time I leave, I feel newly inspired with a fresh view of life and ready to face some new challenges. This is a wonderful place! Thanks."

  • Competency Level: Intermediate to Professional
  • AIA credits: 35 -- Qualifies for HSW and SD requirements.

Class Schedule

  • The first two days of class will be spent learning the fundamentals of Forest Gardening and the design process.
  • The second part will be implementing a design at Yestermorrow and the final two days the class will design their own patch of a forest garden.

Day 1

  • Class introductions and Goals Articulation
  • Edible Forest Garden and Permaculture
  • What is Edible Forest Gardening- Human and Ecosystem Functions
  • Edible Forest Gardening Principles Card Game
  • Understanding Forest Ecology activity, succession and layering
  • Introduction to the Design Process- Goals, Observation, Site Analysis, Assessment, Design, Revise
  • Observation- Active listening and outside observation activity
  • Learn to read the landscape using the Yestermorrow site, what "weeds" tell us
  • *Hands on soil test
  • Soils Food Web Talk
  • *Hands on brewing compost tea
  • Holyoke Edible Forest Garden Slide Show
  • Movie the Global Gardner w/ Bill Mollison

Day 2

  • Develop personal niche analysis
  • Social Polyculture design
  • Site Analysis and Site Assessment what, so what, now what -Scale of Permanence
  • Holyoke Edible Forest Garden Design Process
  • Mycorrhizal fungi plant connections talk *Hands on activity inoculating mushrooms logs and woodchips
  • Montview Neighborhood Farm Presentation
  • Cooking with perennial vegetables and other food from the forest garden
  • Edible Forest Garden DINNER
  • After Dinner Roundtable discussion: Edible Forest Gardens as tool for Social Justice

Day 3

  • Yestermorrow Apple tree guild design presentation
  • Going from site analysis summery to design -Design Concept, Schematic Design, Detailed Design
  • *Hands on site preparation -sheet mulching, proper planting techniques, how to divide perennials, when to transplant
  • *Hands on planting
  • Field Trip to local nursery
  • Forest hike
  • After Dinner Presentation from local Project TBA

Day 4

  • Introduce Yestermorrow design project
  • create/"design" design teams
  • How to interview "clients"
  • Interview Yestermorrow team
  • Gleaning goals from interviews
  • Design teams develop goals, site analysis, assessment and summary
  • Design time

Day 5

  • Design time
  • Design Presentations
  • Design critiques with local designers
  • Closing circle
  • Evaluations