Group picture taken at the 3-Day Restoration Agriculture Course at Wild Earth Farm and Sanctuary

Group picture taken at the 3-Day Restoration Agriculture Course at Wild Earth Farm and Sanctuary

3-Day Intensive Workshop

October 17-19, 2016

Mark Shepard | Restoration Agriculture


Mark Shepard will lead a 3-day extended workshop on Restoration Agriculture. The workshop will draw extensively on Mark’s experience establishing and developing New Forest Farm as one of North America’s largest and most innovative perennial farm ecosystems.

Using nature as a model, Restoration Agriculture is the intentional restoration of healthy, functional ecosystems as the context for economically-viable farm operations. Perennial crops, fungus, and pollinators are integrated to produce abundant food, fiber, and fuel crops while simultaneously restoring critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity.

In this extended Restoration Agriculture workshop, farmer/entrepreneur/author Mark Shepard will bring the carbon farming conversation full circle by integrating Permaculture Design, Holistic Management, Keyline Design, whole living ecosystems, ecological restoration and production agriculture. After a brief critique of annual crops agriculture, participants will be introduced to biome and natural plant community mimicry as a method of designing permanent agricultural systems.

Participants will be immersed in the strategic how-to’s of implementing Restoration Agriculture beginning with the agroforestry techniques of Alleycropping.  Mark will also cover how to implement water management systems based off of natural patterns and informed by Keyline patterning pioneered by P.A. Yeomans. Inputs-based agriculture, pest and disease cycles, compost & compost teas, nitrogen-fixing woody plants, 16-brick rocket stoves, herb spirals and hugulkulture all get a mention before winding up with a passionate call to arms for all farmers, land owners or aspirants, to rise to the challenges of our times, to live and work toward the creation of an ecologically healthy food system, culture and economy.

We are excitedly working to create this course with Mark that addresses key concepts important to vegan communities, issues of food production, and permaculture sanctuary development. It is a great opportunity to critique and explore options to create regenerative systems of food production that correspond to vegan living. We believe that the importance of working towards the solutions to fix a broken food system can lean heavily on common ground and where we can meet and work together. This class will focus on developing systems of food production based on trees, shrubs and other examples of perennial crops and how we are uniquely combining these efforts with running a farmed animal sanctuary. The class will focus on the plant-based food options that are critical to restoring the land around us, however being vegan or vegetarian is not necessary to participate in this course. Mark's expertise will benefit everyone who attends. 

In order for us to move beyond basic concepts and cover more advanced topics we are requesting that everyone please read Mark's book, "Restoration Agriculture", before attending the course. Reading another book on permaculture concepts and practices or taking the Permaculture Design Course will also greatly improve your learning experience. 

Cost:$600 ($300 deposit)  

Cancellation policy: 90% refund if cancelled at least 30 days before course begins. 80% refund if cancelled with less than 30 days before course begins. 75% refund if cancelled less than 7 days before course begins. If there is a waiting list and we can fill your spot, you will receive a 90% refund. Refund will be based on amount paid at the time of cancellation.

Early Bird Discount: $50 (Enter coupon code "early")

3 vegan meals are provided each day. Wild Earth is a vegan farm and sanctuary, any extra food brought in, we respectfully ask to be vegan.

Free onsite camping on our 200 acre farm. For detailed information and options please visit accommodations

Course Highlights:

  • Full immersion in the theory and practice of Restoration Agriculture
  • Biome identification and ecology
  • Keyline design, earthworks, and water management
  • Perennial crop establishment, maintenance, and breeding
  • Pruning, coppicing, and grafting
  • Integrated multi-species grazing
  • Renewable energy on the farm
  • Restoration Agriculture economics
Mark Shepard | Restoration Agriculture

Mark Shepard is a farmer. He created and runs New Forest Farm near Viola, Wisconsin, the 110-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious regenerative agriculture projects in the United States. New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna and successional brush land as the ecological models. Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and biofuels production. He is co-founder of Restoration Agriculture Development and Restoration Agriculture International. In 2013 he authored the best-selling book Restoration Agriculture.

Mark Shepard | Restoration Agriculture
Mark Shepard | Restoration Agriculture