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The Sustainable Edible Garden: Food Forest Design Workshop

Schedule and Location


Two days: Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center

Fees and Registration

$195.00 member
$224.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)

BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course Description

Turn your yard into a sustainable, edible landscape using the design principles of permaculture. Permaculture is a holistic approach to edible gardening that echoes the ways plants grow in nature, such as using perennials, choosing plants that grow well together, and working with your site’s conditions, not in spite of them.

In this two-day workshop, you will learn the principles of permaculture, create a design, and develop a list of plants for your very own food forest. Certified permaculture designer and teacher for the Permaculture Research Institute, your instructor Dan Halsey is a leading expert in the field of sustainable gardening. Dan has designed and implemented sustainable gardens across North America and abroad. Based at SouthWoods Design in Minnesota, Dan is an invaluable resource for midwest gardeners seeking sustainable design practices.


Participants will use the permaculture design process to create an ecologically resilient home garden that produces an abundant harvest. During the course of the workshop, students will get special access to the Natural Capital Plant Database to select the plants best suited for their conditions.

Day 1

  • What is permaculture?
  • The permaculture design process
  • Case studies
  • Develop a basemap for your food forest design
  • Seasonal care and organic pest management

Day 2

  • Relationships in the garden: ecological systems, polycultures and plant guilds
  • Soil conditions
  • Plant selection and placement
  • Design lab (all materials provided)

Course number



Dan Halsey, MPS, is a Permaculture Research Institute Certified Designer and Instructor who travels nationally and internationally teaching permaculture and ecological design to permaculture design certification students, homesteaders, and landscape designers. Co-author of Integrated Forest Gardening: The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems, and partner of the Natural Capital Plant Database, Dan and his wife Ginny manage self-sustaining forest gardens of fruiting trees, shrubs and nut crops at SouthWoods Forest Gardens, a permaculture design, demonstration, and educational site located on a twenty-five-acre wetland savannah in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Assisting with the workshop is Annamaria León, Edible Landscapes Director for Christy Webber Farm & Garden Center.  She is a certified Permaculture Designer and holds a Certificate in Sustainable Horticulture and Agriculture from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest. Annamaria is Founder of Permaculture Chicago, L3C, a teaching institute based in North Lawndale, Chicago where she specializes in creating food forests on urban lots. Annamaria is also a traditional Chinese Feng Shui practitioner.  

Course Details

Note: Held indoors. Morning refreshments and lunch are included. Bring a laptop if you are able to. Limit 18

Arboretum class weather, cancellation and refund policies

The Sustainable Edible Garden: Food Forest Design Workshop