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Medicinal Food Forests: A Permaculture Design Series

October 2, 2015, 6:00 pmNovember 20, 2015, 5:00 pm

With Marisha Auerbach and Alexis Durham.

A three-part series focusing on designing multi-layered plantings for growing food and medicine. All sessions will be held in Room 107 on the NCNM campus.

Growing Plants in Shade and Partial Shade | Friday, November 6, 6-9 p.m.
Filling the Niches | Saturday, November 7, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

We dive into the understory of the food forest on the final weekend of this series and review some of the diverse options for medicinal plants, highlighting their medicinal uses and pairing them in community with trees and shrubs to create a guild. The workshop wraps up with a discussion of maintenance and harvest schedules for a food forest, medicine gathering and seed saving.
Register for Friday’s class
Register for Saturday’s class

Past Classes in this Series

What is a Food Forest? | Friday, October 2, 6–9 p.m.
Designing Systems Using Permaculture Principles
Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The first weekend develops the foundation for designing a medicinal food forest. Participants will learn to assess their site to determine potential food forest layouts and also explore concepts related to landscape design. By reviewing the ecological functions of plants, participants will learn to leverage beneficial connections that save time and energy in the design.

Cultivating Medicinal Plants | Friday, October 23, 6-9 p.m.
Building the Bones | Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This weekend focuses on the basics of medicinal plant cultivation and developing the food forest’s “bones.” Overstory relationships create the structure of the landscape and dominate the soils. We will cover unique issues of soil fertility in a food forest, medicinal qualities of potential overstory plants, working with pollinators and other wildlife, aesthetics, and the potential for incorporating in mushroom species for symbiosis.


General public
Fridays a la carte: $25 early bird; $35 general (each class)
Saturdays a la carte: $120 early bird; $135 general (each class)

Full-time students (with ID)
Fridays a la carte: $15 early bird; $25 general (each class)
Saturdays a la carte: $60 early bird; $75 general (each class)


marisha_auerbachMarisha Auerbach is a Permaculture teacher and consultant based in Portland, Oregon.  She has been actively practicing, studying, and teaching Permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for more than a decade, specializing in food production, seed saving, ecology and useful plants. Marisha has offered Permaculture work from the forests of Vietnam to the Rocky Mountains of the United States to the stressed conditions of Haiti. She holds advanced Permaculture certificates in Permaculture Aid Work and Keyline Planning.

Marisha currently offers an online Permaculture program through Oregon State University and teaches at Portland Community College, Bastyr University and Pacific University. She also works with a number of non-profit organizations including The City Repair Project, Aprovecho Education Center, Lost Valley Education Center, Fertile Ground Community Center, and Planet Repair.

Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. Find her online at www.permaculturerising.com. Visit Marisha’s garden blog.


Alexis_Durham_webAlexis Durham earned her B.Sc. in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University in 2008. Upon graduating, she pursued a clinical internship with a naturopath in Seattle and worked in the dispensary at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. She began teaching and speaking publicly on herbal medicine while working for the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas. An opportunity to learn more from the plants themselves led her to the sun-baked hills of southern Oregon, where she worked at Horizon Herbs, cultivating medicinal and edible plants and teaching a series of classes for Herb Pharm’s Herbaculture Internship. She coordinated the 23rd Annual Symposium for the American Herbalists Guild and also volunteered for Rogue Valley Farm to School, a nonprofit organization that educates children about our food system using hands-on farm and garden programs.

Alexis returned to Seattle as Bastyr University’s garden supervisor and was named program director for the Certificate in Holistic Landscape Design, teaching students to create healing landscapes with medicinal and edible plants. Public speaking engagements include National Herb Day at the US Botanical Gardens, Rootstalk, Bastyr University’s Herb and Food Fair, WSU’s 2014 Master Gardener Advanced Education Conference, AHG’s Professional Herbalist Training Webinars, and a variety of community and continuing-education courses. Currently based in Oregon, Alexis teaches for Herb Pharm’s Herbaculture Internship and is a faculty member at the Hawthorn Institute. She has discovered that the potential for learning in the garden is infinite, and believes that the act of caring for plants is almost as healing as the plants themselves.



October 2, 2015, 6:00 pm
November 20, 2015, 5:00 pm
$199 – $425
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