Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion

April 26 - November 3, 2019

Equip yourself with the tools you need for self-sufficiency and sustainable living

One 3-day weekend a month, April-November
Plus exercises and projects to work on at home

Earn your Permaculture Design Certificate

We also offer an intensive Permaculture Design Course that is 12 consecutive days.

This class might be the deepest permaculture design course out there.  That’s because in addition to the 72 hours of content required for certification, we include more than 100 hours of additional classes and instruction.  In order to help you build a strong foundation, we integrate multiple modalities into the program.  Specifically, it covers skills that we believe are indispensable for sustainable living, such as:

Foraging for food and medicine, friction fire, natural building, community dynamics and communication, whole-systems thinking, preparing for catastrophe, human nutrition, water management, homestead economics, and much more.

The Earth Skills and Permaculture Immersion Course grew out of our “Essentials” course. We’ve added a whole day of instruction each month, plus some amazing new guest instructors (see below). Not to mention, the class now lets you earn your permaculture design certificate.

What to Expect in this Permaculture Design Certificate Course:

permaculture course student eating elderberries

Students will delve deeply into the content, integrating what they learn into their lives. To do this, we meet for one three-day weekend intensive per month. Each weekend has a theme and covers a group of topics and skills. Throughout the course, students will work on a permaculture design project in small groups. This is one of the requirements of permaculture certification. In addition, it gives students a chance to integrate and engage with the nine months of learning, observing and reflecting. Class time is a dynamic mix of hands-on projects, site visits to observe principles in practice, group discussion, lecture and supported design time.


Schedule of this Unique and Intensive Permaculture Course

Special Note: If you are unable to attend one or two weekends, not to worry! There will be opportunities for you to make-up classes by attending other Wild Abundance classes, self-study or attending the classes you missed next year.

Hours are generally:

Friday: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm, 2:00 – 5:00 pm and 6:00 – 8:30pm
Saturday: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm, 2:00 – 5:00 pm and 6:00 – 8:30pm
Sunday: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 – 5:00 pm


permaculture teacher and students

Learn from Seasoned Homesteaders in and around Asheville, NC

Plus a few Visiting All-Stars

gathering garlic scapes in a permaculture garden
We’re lucky to live in a hotbed of modern day back-to-the-landers and homesteaders. In fact, there are many folks around here living with ingenuity and creativity as they apply permaculture principles into their lives. Asheville is known as a hub for organic gardening, natural building, intentional community development, earthskills, and permaculture. Our instructors are some of the area’s finest in their fields. They teach their specialties and passions, infusing this permaculture design course with a wealth of experience, inspiration and engaging teaching styles.  

Along with our local legends, this year we’re excited to welcome a few extra-special instructors from further afield, including:

Eric Toensmeier, award-winning author, Yale lecturer, international trainer, and best of all, brilliant permaculturist. He’s got two decades of practical and theoretical experience and is a perennial vegetable and carbon farming expert. Eric will help us learn to survive and thrive in the face of global climate change.

Ben Falk lives permaculture every day at his Vermont homestead. It’s a testing-ground for ideas and projects that he shares with the wider world through teaching, consulting, and writing. He’s the author of the award-winning book “The Resilient Farm and Homestead.” This guy walks his talk!

See more about individual instructors at the bottom of this page.  

Dates and Details of the Immersive Permaculture Design Certificate Course

learning about guilds in a permaculture design course

April 26-28, 2019: Nature as Teacher

We will cover identification and uses of wild edible plants, medicinal plants, botany, foraging edible weeds and wild foods cookery. The forest (and our team of naturalists and botanists) will introduce us to plant guilds, holistic forestry, climates, biogeography, microclimates and reading the landscape.

sprouting sweet potato slips for a sustainable homestead

May 17-19, 2019: Sowing Seeds and Lighting Our Fire, the Journey Begins

Fire-by-friction and friction fire kits to take home, early spring gardening and garden planning, seed starting, permaculture principles, leather knife sheath making, and more. We’ll review the process for getting your permaculture certification and get started on design projects.

firefly gathering earthskills festival event

June 14-16, 2019: The Firefly Gathering, Earth Skills and Community

Earthskills and Permaculture Immersion students will get a free three day weekend pass to the Firefly Gathering. It’s the largest primitive skills gathering in the US and hosts dozens of classes on permaculture, eco-homesteading, and primitive skills. Think of this as time to explore electives. In the past the Earthskills group has camped together and shared some of their meals, creating their own supportive community within the bigger container of the gathering.  

permaculture soil building

July 26-28, 2019: The Languages of Living Systems

An exploration of soil science, delving deeply into permaculture design tools and techniques, making permaculture maps, water systems, earthworks, compost, waste, budgets, fostering independent living, and more…

timber framing natural building

August 23-25, 2019: Structure and Function, Tiny Houses and Natural Building

During the Tiny House and Natural Building workshop, we’ll take a tour of local homesteads, have an overview of natural building, and do some hands-on natural building and carpentry projects. Students can choose to attend just for the 3-day weekend, or can add the rest of the workshop for a reduced fee. We will kick off the weekend with preliminary design presentations.

jersey cow animal husbandry

September 13-15, 2019: Farms and Gardens of All Sizes, Integrating Animals and Preserving the Harvest

Designing professionally, urban farm tour, playing with pasture management and larger-scale gardening, holistic orcharding, permaculture plants for the south, fall gardening, working on hands-on permaculture designs, food preservation.


hand carved spoons

September 21, 2019: Designing for Community and Tools of the Homestead, plus Spoon Carving

[Optional but encouraged!]

Social Permaculture, tools of the homestead, facilitated design time, ecovillage and neighborhood design, and preparing for catastrophe.  You’ll also learn how to carve spoons, and you’ll get to make a beauty to take home.

presenting a permaculture design map

October 4-6, 2019: Going Deep: Permaculture Design Presentations, Hunting, Nutrition, Tools, and Basketry

Final permaculture design presentations, human nutrition, tools of the homestead, deep ecology, harvesting materials for baskets, starting baskets, introduction to using chainsaws, introduction to hunting, stalking, and flintknapping.  

basket weaving students

November 1-3, 2019: Weaving It All Together: Getting to Know Ourselves, Communication Skills and Bringing Seeds to the Future

Focus on figuring out where to go from here.  We will look at gifts and abilities, and help each other find our paths and identify any obstacles standing in the way.  We’ll also finish our beautiful baskets, and learn seed saving and fruit tree pruning.

sally brown permaculture design certificate student


“The Earthskills and Permaculture Course showed me a different way to think and to live. I got exposure to people and concepts I did not know existed and have so much respect for now that I am aware. Literally…this class changed my life (I only wish I had taken it 30 years ago).”


Sally Brown


Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie is the founder and director of the Wild Abundance.  She’s passionate about teaching and sharing skills that are essential for living harmoniously within the natural systems of the earth. She and her family live at the Wild Abundance homestead campus in the Southern Appalachians. Natalie spends her time harvesting in the wild, building, gardening, ...

Laura Ruby

Laura earned her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2002 from Crystal Waters EcoVillage in Australia. Since then, she has been implementing permaculture systems on her own urban property in downtown Boulder, CO, and for her clients in the area. She recently moved to Western North Carolina and is designing and implementing a 56-acre Permaculture education center ...

Barron Brown

Barron is a truly amazing jack-of-all-trades. He learned timber framing, post-and-beam construction, log cabin construction, and much more from his grandparents when he was a child and teenager. He currently works as a sculptor, welder and builder, as well as teaching carving, blacksmithing, and building. Barron is a joy to learn from, as he weaves ...

Becky Beyer

Becky started her crazy love affair with all things homesteading while growing up on a farm in central New Jersey. After getting her B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont, she moved to Asheville, NC, to explore all the amazing work being done in this beautiful bioregion. She teaches spoon carvin ...

Ben Falk

Ben Falk lives permaculture every day at his Vermont homestead, a testing-ground for ideas and projects that he shares with the wider world through teaching, consulting, and writing. He founded Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. He’s the author ...

Cailen Campbell

After dropping out of college in 1994, Cailen completed a permaculture design course and year-long natural building and permaculture apprenticeship at the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, TN, followed by a year-long apprenticeship with Eustace Conway at the Turtle Island Preserve, where he learned a diversity of skills related to early American ...

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens as well as a contributor for Drawdown. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied ...

Laura Lengnick

Laura Lengnick has more than 25 years of leadership experience using design and planning to move sustainability values into action in businesses, community organizations and government policy and programs across a diversity of scales from local to national. Check out her company, Cultivating Resilience, LLC

Luke Cannon

More than a botanist, Luke is a long-time pursuer and teacher of the magic and medicine of plants. His passion to study and understand the beautiful ecological intricacies of the natural world have led him throughout the Americas and across the globe. An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining his ...

Tyler Lavenburg

Nose to the grindstone (sometimes literally), Tyler lives for unraveling the mysteries of the Earth. He first fell in love with Southern Appalachian ecology as a student at Warren Wilson College, graduating with a degree in Environmental Education. Beginning as Natalie’s first apprentice in 2009, he has since traveled around the Eastern US learning and ...

Our Campus is Unconventional

To read about our facilities, including accessibility for alter-abled people, read about our Campus here.

Local Accommodations

Wherever you’re coming from, you’re welcome to pitch a tent in one of our flat camping spots in the woods or field, or to tie a hammock in the forest on our seven-acre property. If you live locally, you may prefer to commute to Wild Abundance from Asheville (25 minute drive). If you choose to camp, we strongly suggest bringing a very warm sleeping bag and bedding. We do have a lovely outdoor kitchen equipped with stove and running water, an outdoor shower, and an outhouse available to campers.  In extremely cold weather, sometimes these are out of operation due to the water freezing.

If you prefer something more conducive to creature comforts, we suggest browsing Airbnb or checking out some of the local motels and B&Bs within a 10-15 minute drive to Wild Abundance.

Below are a few local accommodations you might find to your liking:

Comfort Inn in Mars Hill, NC

Registration Info

This class will change your life. The community formed in the context of sharing nine months of learning with other students makes this a very comfortable and welcoming class for anyone to take on their own.

April 26 – November 3, 2019

  • Early-Early Bird Price: January 1 – January 9, 2019: $3,500-$4,000
  • Early Bird Price:January 10 – March 5, 2019: $3,700 – $4,200
  • Late Bird Price: March 6 – April 25 , 2019: $3,900 – $4,300

*Please note that meals are not included in the class.

We also offer an intensive Permaculture Design Course that is 12 consecutive days, and has a lower registration cost.

The following are included in the price of the course: instruction, optional camping, and facility use (kitchen, outhouse). The Women’s Carpentry classes and Natural Building and Tiny House Workshop include lunches. The Permaculture Design Course has a meal plan option. 

To register, please complete the online registration by clicking on the “Register Now” button and then make your payment. Registration will be processed upon receipt of payment.

Expect to receive a confirmation email within one week of sending payment. Additional emails will cover logistical details as the date approaches.

Click here to see our policy on refunds, payment plans and work-trade opportunities.

Also, feel free to read our Frequently Asked Questions.