Forest Garden Design Intensive

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Edible Ecosystems Emerging: Food Forestry for the 21st Century

A 9-Day Forest Garden Design Intensive with Dave Jacke, Juliette Olshock, Seth Nyer, and Jon Darby

October 13 – 22, 2017 
Heritage Creek Farm Camp, Mount Joy, PA
Sponsored by Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education

Forest ecosystems exhibit many beneficial properties we humans could stand to emulate in our culture, agriculture, and horticulture: 

  • They maintain, renew, fertilize, and propagate themselves without human inputs. 

  • They build, store, and conserve clean air, clean water, nutrients, soil quality, and biodiversity.

  • They exhibit stability, resilience, and adaptability.

These qualities emerge from the dynamics of the forest as a whole system, not from any one or more of the elements that comprise the forest alone.  To design productive edible ecosystems that express these same qualities, we must understand forest structures, functions, patterns, and processes, and use this knowledge wisely.

In this nine-day intensive course, you will dive deeply into the vision, theory, and practice of designing wholesome, dynamic, and resilient edible ecosystems using temperate deciduous forests as models.  Dave Jacke and his teaching team will offer lectures, site walks, and experiential classes to help you understand how the architecture, social structure, underground economics, and successional processes of natural forests apply to the design of edible ecosystems of all kinds.  You'll learn a variety of ecological design processes while designing a range of food-producing ecosystems at Heritage Creek Farm Camp.  Design projects could include designing forest gardens for: urban or suburban homesteads, an educational summer camp, farm-scale (up to 20 acres), or an edible stream corridor.  We'll also engage with issues of garden management, economics, and the deep paradigmatic shifts required to succeed at co-creating “humanatural” landscapes and cultures.  You will leave inspired and empowered to design food forests at home for yourself, and your friends, neighbors, and clients.

Dave Jacke is the lead author of the award winning two-volume book Edible Forest Gardens.  Dave has studied ecology and design since the 1970s, and has run his own ecological design firm—Dynamics Ecological Design—since  1984.  An engaging and passionate teacher of ecological design, Dave is also a meticulous designer.  He has designed, built, planted, and consulted on landscapes, homes, farms, and communities around the North America, as well as overseas.  He has designed, installed, and lived with forest gardens at his current and past homesteads, for numerous clients and community groups, and for Wellesley College Botanic Gardens near Boston.  He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Simon's Rock College (1980) and a M.A. in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design (1984). Read more at

Juliette Olshock, M.S., M.Ed., studied sustainable agriculture and permaculture design at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and completed a permaculture apprenticeship at the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute.  As a worker-owner of Fourth River Workers Guild,  she designs and manages permaculture landscapes in the Pittsburgh area.  Juliette teaches permaculture design and has co-taught Forest Garden Design Intensives with Dave Jacke as far away as Montana and Oregon and as nearby as Bedford County, PA.  She loves gardening and creating her own food forest oasis at her home in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Seth Nyer, M.A.F.S., first became interested in permaculture while working in South Africa, in 2007, to establish school gardens in rural areas. In 2011, he moved to Pittsburgh, PA to get his Masters in Food Studies at Chatham University where he focused on sustainable agriculture, ecological design, and social justice. In 2013, he graduated and became a co-owner of Pittsburgh Permaculture, where he worked as a designer, educator, and garden installer. He is now a full time member/owner of the Fourth River Workers Guild, a worker-owned permaculture, construction, and natural build cooperative.

Jon Darby spent years working in human resources, massage therapy, and kayak instruction until he eventually found his way to working with the land. In 2005, he began working at an organic CSA farm where he developed a deeper appreciation of plants, food and soil. In 2010, he started his own farm, Sterling Farm, which he ran for five years, growing and selling organic vegetables at local markets and through a CSA program. For the past eight years, he has worked in various capacities for the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education and in 2016 accepted his current role as Education Director. Jon received his Permaculture Design Certification in 2011 from Susquehanna Permaculture. In 2014, he completed his Permaculture Teacher Training through Dynamic Ecological Design with Dave Jacke. He is a husband, father of two, bicyclist, and a lover of all plants, wild and cultivated.

OUR EDUCATION SITE: Heritage Creek Farm Camp and Education Center - Our course venue is a working farm that offers camp and day programs that help children and adolescents ages 3-17 develop valuable life skills through cooperative work and creative play.  Rooted in the simplicity of nature, Heritage Creek Farm Camp is focused on teaching skills that nurture the seeds of social change and provide opportunities to discover the common threads of humanity.  

Located 15 miles northwest of downtown Lancaster, PA, HCFC sits on 30 acres of varied landscape, including multiple homesteads and outbuildings, gardens, 20 acres of open farmland and pastures, wooded stream corridors, and woodland edges. Read more about Heritage Creek Farm Camp at 

PAYING FOR THE COURSE:  $1,200-$1,600 for tuition and meals on an income-based self-selected sliding scale—please be generous, as any amounts paid over the base of the sliding scale automatically go into our scholarship fund!  

Accommodations for the 9 nights of the course include:

  • Shady campgrounds on site: free;

  • “Roughing it indoors” in one of two unheated garage spaces we will use as men’s and women’s dorms, BYO bed: $5/night;

  • Shared indoor mixed-gender living room space in the main house, BYO bed: $10/night;

  • Other nearby accommodations options:

    •, DIY.

    • Local hotel information available, contact us for listings. 

    • Homestays may be available: contact us and we’ll let you know what we’ve worked out, if anything.  

SCHOLARSHIPS:  If you need a scholarship, please submit a letter (as a .pdf, please) to in which you answer the following questions:

  • Why do you want to take this course? What do you hope to get from it?

  • What do you plan to do with what you learn in this course? 

  • How much can you pay for tuition and accommodations for this course?  This last question must be answered for us to consider your application complete.  Please note that virtually no one will receive more than a $600 scholarship, and most will receive less due to budgetary limitations.  Please make sure to consider your travel costs when budgeting how much you can afford to pay to be with us.

Community-Supported Forest Gardener Program:  ALL scholarship applicants and anyone else interested in financial assistance with the course should consider creating their own Community-Supported Forest Gardener Program (CSFG). Download sample letter here.

DEPOSIT AND PAYMENT IN FULL - A $500 deposit is required upon registration, with payment in full due no later than September 22, 2017.  $250 of the deposit is non-refundable.  If you need flexibility in paying this deposit please be in touch.

CANCELLATION POLICY -  If you cancel your registration up to 1 month prior to the start of class, we will refund all of your payments to date minus the $250 non-refundable deposit.  If you cancel less than 1 month prior to the start date, we will refund your payments, minus the $250 non-refundable deposit, only if another paying student fills your space.  There are absolutely no refunds once the course has begun. 

REGISTERING & PAYMENT FOR THE COURSE - Please register using the button below, filling out and submitting the form with your accommodations and diet information prior to making your $500 deposit (or full payment if desired). If sending payment by check, we must receive payment within 5 days of registration to hold your spot. 

October 13th, 2017 2:00 PM   through   October 22nd, 2017 3:30 PM
Heritage Creek Farm Camp & Education Center
1949 Milton Grove Road
Mount Joy, PA 17552
United States
Mobile: (717) 332-8710
FGDI - Sliding Scale
$500 Deposit
$1200 for tuition and meals
$1250 for tuition and meals
$1300 for tuition and meals
$1350 for tuition and meals
$1400 for tuition and meals
$1450 for tuition and meals
$1500 for tuition and meals
$1550 for tuition and meals
$1600 for tuition and meals
No lodging needed $ 0.00
Camping - on site $ 0.00
Roughing it - indoors $ 45.00
Indoor, mixed-gender space $ 90.00
Dietary Restrictions
Dairy free $ 0.00
Gluten free $ 0.00
Vegetarian $ 0.00
Vegan $ 0.00
Other (please email details) $ 0.00

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