June 15-21, 2013 Permaculture Design Course

Update: Registration now closed. 


Savanna Gardens, LLC is is excited to host its first Permaculture Design Course at New Forest Farm, a 100-acre perennial food forest farm nestled in the hills of Southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless region. 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, livestock, fungus, and pollinators are integrated to produce abundant food, fiber, and fuel and simultaneously restore critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity. In addition to the basic elements of Permaculture design, our certified curriculum is expanded to cover the design, development, and management of farm-scale agricultural ecosystems.

Course Highlights:
– Full immersion in the theory and practice of Restoration Agriculture
– 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
– History and ecology of Midwestern ecosystemsParticipants will have the opportunity to experience life at New Forest Farm, one of North America’s largest and most innovative perennial farm ecosystems located in Wisconsin’s incomparable Driftless region. You will have the opportunity to observe and participate in many aspects of farm design and management including keyline design, livestock management, and the maintenance of perennial crops.


Mark Shepard
Mark is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States. He was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, founder of the international Permaculture movement. He has taught his innovative and highly acclaimed permaculture curriculum in workshops and design courses around the world.


The course will be held at New Forest Farm in Richland County. The farm is located 54 miles southwest of La Crosse, Wisconsin and 75 miles northwest of Madison. The address is:New Forest Farm
15662 Co Hwy I
Viola, WI 54664Some have trouble with GPS direction to this location. Google maps provides the best directions. When in doubt, head toward the wind turbine.


Camping is free on the farm. There will be spots to pitch tents. A campfire pit will be provided in a central location. Composting toilets and a solar shower will be available.Participants are welcome to stay in any of the local inns and bed and breakfasts. New Forest Farm is 30 minutes east of Viroqua, 20 minutes northwest of Richland Center, just over an hour from La Crosse and two hours from Madison.We have a friend with several awesome cabins available for rent on the Kickapoo River, fifteen minutes west of the farm. For his contact info please send us an email.Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in Viroqua:
Viroqua Heritage Inn
Westby House: 5 miles north in the town of Westby
Vernon Inn & Suites
Hickory Hill Motel 
The Midway MotelHotels in Richland Center:
Ramada Richland Center
Center Lodge & Jacuzzi SutiesIn La Farge:
Green Apple Inn

In Soldiers Grove:
The Old Oak Inn
The Roth House
Inn at Lonesome Hollow


Registration fees cover:
– Full PDC course
– 1 meal/day of locally-produced organic meat and produce, much of it provided by Savanna Gardens (vegetarian options available, if necessary).
– Camping
– Access to a solar shower and composting toilets
– A copy of the Restoration Agriculture book, and all other course materials
– 7 full days of education provided by Mark Shepard, Peter Allen, and other guest lecturers
– Access to an extensive library of permaculture and ecological agriculture books and resources during your stay
– An invitation to a solstice party on the evening of Saturday, June 21stThe course registration fee is $1200. Space in this course is limited. You can reserve your spot with a non-refundable deposit of $300. If you are unable to afford the registration fee but wish to attend, we may have partial scholarships available. Please contact us directly if this pertains to you.


Collaboration and Cooperation are two main goals of Savanna Gardens, LLC, and the Permaculture community at large. In an ideal world, this course would be free and accessible for everyone and anyone who wanted it. We all benefit from learning in a collaborative environment, but sadly many of the farmers and laborers who would greatly benefit from this type of course never have the opportunity. By donating below to our scholarship fund, you can help bring someone to the course who will go on to change the world. Let’s make it happen!


You must respect at all times our homes, businesses, animals, people, and the environment.
Pets are not allowed. There are hundreds of other animals on the farm to keep you company.
Illegal drugs are prohibited on the farm.
You are welcome to bring with you whatever food you wish.
You are responsible for cleaning up after yourself and leaving your campsite and all other areas as you found them.
No open campfires. A fire pit will be provided in a central location for everyone to enjoy.
You are welcome and encouraged to bring musical instruments. Drummers, however, are required to respect all other instruments in the circle 🙂


New Forest Farm is 30 minutes east of Viroqua, Wisconsin. Viroqua is a small town with a big foodie scene. Some lcoal places to check out are:
Viroqua’s Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings
The Viroqua Food Coop
The Rooted Spoon for special culinary events
The Driftless Cafe for food and entertainmentThe Kickapoo Valley Reserve has wonderful hiking trails, natural history exhibits and education programs.
The Kickapoo River is a short jaunt from the farm. There are several spots along the river to rent kayaks, tubes and canoes for a fun day of paddling.
Wildcat Mountain State Park is north of the farm and also offers good hiking and camping.
The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail is a popular “rails-to-trails” bike trail through old train tunnels and small towns in the area
Biking along country roads in the area (if you’re into hills, that is)Take a stroll around New Forest Farm! Snack on berries and wild edibles, visit with the livestock, help out with daily chores, enjoy the sunset and sunrises from the top of the ridge, or relax with your mates.