Thanks for stopping by to look at what we think is one of the best ways to learn about permaculture, homesteading and trees: our 8 week intensive permaculture design course where you’ll be living permaculture 5 days a week over 4 weeks, visiting the best practitioners on Salt Spring Island, BC and the area while learning hands-on skills 80% of the time. Then you’ll spend an additional 3 1/2 weeks in East Africa establishing the next Practical Permaculture Institute to educate, train and work with Africans.
Is this your permaculture paradise?
This course is likely a GOOD fit for you if you:
- are looking for something “else”
- want to get away from the business of the city world
- relate to this past student’s sentiment “I’m done with trucking; I’ve got to open my eyes to new things”
- want to do something with the Earth and your life that’s meaningful
- have an appreciation for and see the beauty in farm work
- have had a taste of permaculture through an article, video or conversation and are hungry for more
- haven’t enjoyed typical classroom academics and are looking for a different way to learn
- love the idea of a longer, immersive course where you can get your hands dirty with like-minded people 5 days a week
- excited about working in and facing the challenges of implementing a permaculture project in East Africa (Fall course only)
After years of hosting interns, students and wwoofers, we’ve also observed why some people don’t do well in this type of permaculture education. Some people just aren’t a good fit for this program.
This course may NOT be a good fit if you:
- are looking for distraction from your life (the course isn’t something to do, it’s a design approach to improve every aspect of your life)
- are lost without a direction (we help motivated people to learn, grow and apply permaculture)
- are attempting to fill time, get out of the house, want a change but don’t know what (we are focused in our approach to education and not just a ‘thing to do’)
- are coming to the course because your Mom, Dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, or Great Aunt Mildred told you to come
- have no drive, dedication or motivation for working with the land (if you don’t like farm work this course isn’t for you)
- are only interested in the intellectual theories versus the practical, hand callusing skills (we offer both!)
- have so much going on you’re not clear that you could be present for the course (we recommend you have the time to focus and be fully present while you’re on site)
There you have it. Observations of why students thrive and can take a dive in this course. Another big reason why students have raved about this course is how much exposure they have to the best practitioners the area has to offer on permaculture, homesteading and regenerative design. Here’s just a taste of the farms and practitioners you’ll have the opportunity to visit, work with and review during the course:
- seed saving enterprise (one of Canada’s favourites)- small and medium scale market gardeners
- small and medium scale annual, perennial and tree nurseries
- young farmers who were wwoofers only four short years ago and now own and operate their own farm
- successful community land organization and living with multiple residents (you could call this living together well)- zero mile restaurant “farm to fork”- off grid farming and homesteading- large scale food production and commercial farming- natural buildings ranging from low cost DIY to large scale residential projects
During the program we will dive into topics while providing real and profitable models for food production and self reliance. We are the first to say that Seven Ravens doesn’t have every one of the system above on site… and how could we? It takes a community, the whole of the island, to create a thriving local economy driven on local products and services and every year we move closer to that ideal. We connect and visit all these site and practitioners to give students the most well rounded educational experience possible.
Seven Ravens Permaculture Academy and Eco-Forest – Salt Spring Island, BC
The lead instructor for this course is the principal operator and owner of Seven Ravens. Michael has been living and breathing permaculture ever since a friend, introduced him to the concept; “it looks like what you’re doing is permaculture.” Michael took his permaculture design certificate (PDC) with Jeff Nugent (who coincidentally took his first PDC with fellow class mate Geoff Lawton from Bill Mollison) some years ago. Since then he’s been working to create a resilient forestry model that includes multiple species and products from the forest. Michael has also been working abroad for 20 years, mainly in Africa, specifically Kenya, and Uganda. He runs Seven Ravens with multiple income streams from farm gate produce sales, custom furniture and breadboards, timber products including slabs and dimensional lumber, consulting, tree nursery sales and installation work. His passion is his work in the world…his work in the world is his passion for life.
Michael Janetta – Former student and later intern farm Hand
Entelechi Farm and Nursery – Salt Spring Island, BC
After 8 years interning at the famous Bullock Brother’s Homestead on Orcas Island, learning and diving into the world of botany, propagation and food production, Brandon made his way to Salt Spring Island. Here he created Blue Raven Farm where over an 8 year period he refined and honed his practice. Humble, Brandon boasts, “I’m still learning everyday, and when I say something that you think is wrong let me know and I’ll learn more!” which could be why he’s a bit of a walking plant encyclopedia knowing the latin name, growing conditions and propagation method of nearly every plant he comes across. Common comments after Brandon’s lectures are: “Wow, how do I download your brain?”; “It’s incredible how much I learned in just a few hours about plant propagation.”; and one of our favourites after his lesson on reading weather indicators, “I’m looking at clouds in a whole new way… I never knew I could predict weather by just looking at clouds.” This was said while the student was looking up to the sky.
Javan K. Bernakevitch
Permaculture BC, All Points Land Design, Southern Vancouver Island Permablitz Network – Salt Sping Island, BC and across Canada
Within 5 years of taking his PDC, Javan already has a growing list of accomplishments with permaculture that includes working and teaching in Uganda, Kenya, the United States and Cuba. In addition he’s actively been learning from Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, Mark Shepard, Mark Lakeman, Elaine Ingham, Peter McCoy, Richard Walker, Paul Stamets and a few other local super heroes of regenerative living. Honest about where we are in the world, he has an authentic teaching style that’s down to Earth and, while compassionate, embodies a no bullish*t attitude. He focuses on helping students explore their niches in permaculture while understanding their inherent function as an individual. A recent student had this to say about Javan, “What I loved about the days we had with Javan is he would introduce big concepts, boil them down, give us a taste and then relate our experience back to the bigger picture. Things made more sense after his [teaching] days.”