Food Forest Design Course

UPDATE: This course and the waitlist are now full.

We will run another session of this course in winter 2023. I know, that’s a very long time to wait! Email us if you’d like to get on the interest list for the next session.
we’ll also be be launching an ecological Gardening series that will run through the growing season, as well as some food forest tours in the summer, so stay tuned for more learning opportunities coming soon!

The next session of this 6 week, online course starts in January. In order to keep class sizes small, there will be two separate course groups: one will run on Tuesdays from 7 – 9 pm starting January 11th, and the other will be on Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm starting January 13th.
To register, please fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
Priority is given to residents of the southern interior BC, in order to build a network of local food foresters and keep growing information relevant to our unique mountainous region.


This sIX-week workshop series Will help you
design your own, Customized edible forest garden

A food forest, also known as a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible and useful perennials that work together to mimic the patterns and relationships found in a forest. Typically food forests have from three to seven layers, with a canopy of tall nut and fruit trees, several layers of smaller trees and shrubs, and an understory of beneficial ground covers, roots, and fungi. These multi-layered gardens allow you to fit a wide range of crops in a small space and, through creating symbiotic relationships between elements, produce a high yield of food and resources over the long term with minimal inputs. Food forests have the ability to draw down large amounts of atmospheric carbon while also performing numerous ecological services. They are considered one of the most regenerative and resilient food production systems for a changing climate. There are so many reasons to integrate food forests into our cities, gardens, and farms!

This course will take you step-by-step through the process of designing your own food forest. Each week you will receive two hours of online instruction, as well as resources and videos to continue your learning throughout the week. The class size is limited in order to engage in group discussions and share personalized support on your design. Gardeners of all experience levels are welcome. It is recommended that you have a few additional hours each week to work on your own design and do further reading, in order to get the most out of the content. You will leave the course with a solid understanding of temperate food forestry, a detailed food forest design, as well as a plan for how to implement it.

Course Overview:

  • WEEK 1:
    Fundamentals of Food Forestry
    Landscape Assessment Through a Permaculture Lens
    Food Forest Visioning & Goal Setting
  • WEEK 2:
    Site Mapping
    Earthworks, Water Flow, Soil Preparation
    Site Succession
  • WEEK 3:
    The Canopy Layers: Nut, Timber, Syrup, Livestock, & Fruit trees
    Rootstocks, Planting Patterns, Succession Planning
  • WEEK 4:
    The Middle Layers: Small Trees, Shrubs, Vines
    Soil Builders & Nitrogen Fixers
  • WEEK 5:
    The Ground Layers: Herbaceous Perennials, Herbs, Medicinals, Pollinator Plants, Roots & Fungi
    Interplanting Annuals
    Integrating Small Poultry / Livestock
  • WEEK 6:
    Design Presentations & Feedback
    Breaking Down Your Design into Implementation Phases
    Resources for Continued Learning

Course Fee is $225 / Student, which can be paid via etransfer upon registration. If cost is a barrier to you, please reach out. Work trades or a sliding scale can also be arranged for those on a low income. As mentioned, Priority is given to residents of the southern interior BC. People from outside this area can join our wait list and register if space permits. Alternately, you can audit the course through the recorded sessions rather than participate in the live classes if you are outside this region. Please send an email to Kim at thimblehillnursery@gmail.com to discuss options.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I miss a class, can I still get recordings and view on my own timing? The classes will be recorded and shared with the group each week. However, the sessions are designed to be interactive, so you won’t get as much out of watching the recordings as you would in participating live.

What if I don’t have a project to design right now? No problem, you can either use a site you are familiar with or imagine a future project to work through the design process and learn about food forestry.

I’m not in the BC Southern Interior area, can I still participate? We are encouraging regional participants in order to keep plant information relevant to our growing zones and unique mountainous conditions, and to build a network of food foresters to share resources and knowledge locally. If you are from outside the region and still want to participate, let me know. Taking the class through the recorded sessions and viewing on your own schedule is an option.

I’m interested, but can’t afford the registration fee. If cost is a barrier, please send me an email to let me know your situation.

Any questions, please email Kim at thimblehillnursery@gmail.com

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Kim Watt enrolled in her first food forestry course in 2003 and has been hooked ever since. She has studied their application in a wide range of contexts, from urban food forests on the BC Coast, to tropical forest gardens in Central America, to farm-scale agroforestry systems. She holds certificates in Ecological Gardening, Permaculture Design, Permaculture Education, and Food Forest Design, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Child & Youth Care. Kim has been developing a 1 acre food forest at Thimble Hill since 2017 and is continually learning through the process. She enjoys sharing her love of perennials and supporting others in creating their own edible ecosystems.