In this twelve-day course over the span of nine months, you will plunge deeply into the vision and practice of creating dynamic and resilient edible ecosystems using temperate deciduous forests as models. You will participate in a rigorous design process that requires 8-12 hours of site design homework between classes. The teaching team will offer lectures, site walks, experiential exercises and skills training to help you understand how the structure, functions, and successional processes of natural forests apply in the design of edible ecosystems. We'll also learn about and practice natural building, water harvesting & storage, plant and mushroom care, reading patterns in natural systems, and understanding cultural shifts required to change perspectives and create mindful communities.

To participate in this design course, you will need a subject site where you will practice permaculture. This site can be large or small, urban or rural. You must submit to the instructors a site where you have confirmed permission to work before you attend the first course weekend. Implementation of your project is not required to complete the course, just developing a working plan.

You will leave this course inspired and empowered to design food forests and restorative landscapes for yourself and your community!

Curriculum Includes

Permaculture Ethics & Principles, Reading the Landscape, Soil Health,
Stormwater Solutions to Runoff & Pollution, Plant Care, Nature Connection,
Patterns of Natural Systems, Drafting Skills, Natural Building,
Water Harvesting & Storage, Local Permaculture Examples and Visits
and much more!

Instructor Bios

Lincoln Smith founded and runs Forested (est. 2012), a forest garden company in Bowie, MD. He is helping create a shift toward forest agriculture by testing forest farming methods, educating aspiring forest farmers, consulting on new forest farms and bringing new forest products to market. He runs a forest garden CSA, designs edible ecological landscapes, and tests forest garden methods at the 10-acre Forested site. Lincoln is passionate about production ecosystems, and lectures on forest gardening at a wide range of venues such as the US Botanical Garden, University of Maryland, and PASA. Lincoln spent five years designing and managing high-end residential landscape projects and pushing sustainability at Graham Landscape Architecture in Annapolis. He holds a Master of Arts in Landscape Design from the Conway School, and earned LEED certification in 2008.

Kim Walsh worked in the field of human rights, popular education, and economic justice issues for 10 years prior to shifting her focus to permaculture, sustainable agriculture and community building. In 2009, she co-founded an organic farm business at Wild Meadows Farm in Bedford, PA, which practiced biointensive and permaculture principles. Kim also served as a part-time Executive Director of Chesapeake Education, Arts and Research Society (CHEARS), an environmental non-profit based in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she assisted with numerous volunteer driven projects and continues to volunteer with the Greenbelt Food Forest project. She received her Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Certificate in 2008 and PDC teaching certificate in 2011. She co-organized and team taught five PDCs and completed an Accrediation Course in Organic Land Care, a Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship, and participated in the Watershed Stewards Academy.

Ben Friton is a soil ecologist, consultant and educator from the Washington DC area. For more than a decade he was a speech professional working with politicians, heads of state, CEO’s, and philanthropic icons from around the world. In 2010, with the goal of helping to increase educational awareness and hyper-local food resiliency, he co-founded a non-profit called Can YA Love. Using biomimicry and his patented vertical gardening systems, he works to help people restore degraded lands into functioning ecosystems that produce the needs of the people. In 2014 he joined Forested to help develop the most ecologically-sound agro-ecosystem possible. 


Christine Simpson is a creative landscape architect with a curiosity for natural systems and patterns.  She specializes in sustainable, functional places and landscapes and is an avid lover of edible plants. Christine has worked in local government for 10 years, designed parks and playgrounds, taught planting design at George Washington University, and currently works in stormwater management. She coordinates the Forested CSA. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Virginia Tech, a Master of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University, and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the 2014 CHEARS/Forested course.