2016 Twin Cities Urban Permaculture Design Course

Big River Permaculture is excited to announce the inaugural Urban Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course, scheduled to begin April 16, 2016 in Minneapolis. Registration will open in early February 2016.

This unique course includes the full 72 hour international PDC standards developed by Bill Mollison. The Big River Urban PDC incorporates and expands on this curriculum, with a total of over 100 hours of hands­-on activities, lectures, design exercises and dynamic guest speakers. This DC emphasizes urban permaculture strategies, Minnesota ­specific strategies, and social justice in our work as permaculturists.

Broken into a series of 5 2-­day classes one weekend a month from April through August of 2016, this course includes multiple opportunities to visit permaculture and urban farm sites in the Twin Cities metro area and around the state. Guest teachers presenting on everything from site design to seed saving are experts in their field.

In addition to traditional lectures and hands-­on projects, the course will provide opportunities for learners to intern at sites, help launch a new garden, and visit places on their own time. There will also be multiple opportunities for overnight trips.

The cost for this course is $850-­$1200, “pay what you can” sliding scale. Cost includes textbook and materials, and lunch and snacks on course days. Scholarships and payment pllans are available.

Class size will be limited. Registration opens Feb 1, 2016, with a $250 deposit due upon registration.

New Location for Saturdays Workshop PLEASE READ

Due to popular demand, Saturdays workshop is being moved to a bigger space at the Phillips Community Center 2323 11th Ave South 55407. It is literally 6 blocks east on 24th St from East Phillips Community Center. Enter on the West side Parking Lot. We will still start at 1pm. Childcare will still be happening! See you then!

2 Mushroom Events with Radical Mycology Oct 17-18


Right in the middle of a national tour and a week after the national
Radical Mycology gathering in Illinois, the Radical Mycology crew is
stopping in Minneapolis to drop some spores and spread their mycelia!
Friday night is a presentation about Radical Mycology, and Saturday is a
hands on mushroom workshop for all skill levels. Childcare will be

East Phillips Community and Cultural Center 2307 17th Ave S

*Radical Mycology: Spawning Mycelial Networks*
Friday 10/17, 6:30-8:30pm
A presentation by the Radical Mycology Collective on the uses of fungi
for personal, societal, and ecological healing. Fungal ecology and
mushroom cultivation are tied with the means for creating resilient
lifestyles and communities to present a novel worldview based on the
cooperative relationships found throughout the fungal kingdom. This
workshop provides a grand overview of the skills and insights behind the
Radical Mycology movement, providing a fascinating look into the many
ways to that fungi can impact health of the people, societies, and
ecosystems of the world.

$5-20 suggested donation
(no one turned away for lack of funds)
Childcare willl be provided at this event.

NEW LOCATION FOR SATURDAY Phillips Community Center 2323 11th Ave South 55407

*Beginning Mushroom Cultivation*
Saturday 10/18, 1:00-5:00pm
A crash course on the core skills needed to start growing “mushroom to
mushroom” year round! This workshop will cover a variety of ways to
integrate fungi into a more sustainable and resilient lifestyle. From
the garden to the kitchen to the bathroom, we will cover a number of
methods to reduce waste and close loops around the home. And all
participants will take home a mushroom kit!

All skill levels welcome.
$10-40 suggested donation
(no one turned away for lack of funds)

Childcare available upon request; email mycopolis@riseup.net.

Apartment Scale Gardening



From Juliet Kemp/Permaculture UK Magazine

Using succession and vertical growing, containers, multi-level plannning, and guilds, Juliet Kemp presents some great idea for indoor and small space gardening. This article is focused towards apartment dwellers.

You may live in a tiny flat or have no more outside space than a windowbox. You may even only have an indoor windowsill available. But it’s still worth getting yourself a container and some compost, and growing just a little food of your very own.


Read More…



Farming in the Yukon

kale-500x332 Some great ideas for us Minnesotans

By Eugénie Frerichs on January 7, 2014 Modern Famer

If Tim Meyers had his way, much of the farm-fresh food in Alaska would come from one place: the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. As one of the largest river deltas in the world, it’s home to wild salmon and game, migratory birds and very nutrient-rich soil. In a state where 95 percent of the food is imported, farming in the delta could contribute significantly to Alaska’s food security.

The catch? Today, there’s only one farm in the region – his – and that nutrient-rich soil is frozen. Enter the permafrost farmer. Undaunted by the conditions, Meyers, 59, together with his wife Lisa, has dedicated the past six years of his life to growing organic food on 17 acres of permafrost for his hometown of Bethel, Alaska. (With 6,000 residents, it’s the largest community on the delta.)


Read More….

Farmers Almanac predict a dry summer for us

drought-cropsjpg-a7cd318464130330Annual Weather Summary: November 2013 to October 2014
Winter temperatures will be above normal in the east and below normal in the western parts of the region, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall. The coldest periods will be in mid- and late December, in early January, and from late February into early March. The snowiest periods will occur in mid- and late December, early January, and early February.

April and May will be warmer than normal, with near-normal precipitation.

Summer will be hotter and drier than normal, with drought a possibility. The hottest periods will occur in early July and early and mid-August.

September and October will be slightly warmer and drier than normal, on average, despite snow in mid- to late October.

Thanks Corrine and Jack Dog Farms for tipping me to this


An Early Winter Nights Dream

864615__sweet-strawberry-winter_pThe Cherokee story of the origin of the strawberry-Jo Marshall Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Cherokees have a creation myth that connects human harmony and the configuration of heaven and Earth to the sight of a single strawberry. The cosmic details are murky. But the culinary message is clear. Abbreviated, it goes like this:

First Man and First Woman (think Cherokee Adam and Eve) have a blowout argument, after which First Woman proclaims: “You are lazy and pay no attention to me. I am going to find another place to live.” With that, she harrumphs off with that indignant, power-walker briskness achieved only by angry women.

First Man feels remorse. He sets off to apologize, but can’t catch up. His legs are no match for her will. Desperate, he beseeches the Creator: “Please, slow her down so I can tell her how much I love her.”

Moved by First Man’s anguish, the Creator sets temptations in First Woman’s path. He tries gooseberries. He tries huckleberries. He tries blackberries. But First Woman pays them no attention, and proceeds at her frantic clip.

Finally, the Creator turns to his own garden and plucks the berry of the Heavens. He sets Earth’s first strawberry plant at First Woman’s feet. Miraculously, it blooms and bears fruit.

First Woman stops dead in her tracks. She’s smitten by the graceful leaves, the lovely bloom, the heart-shaped fruit. She decides to pause for a single bite.

As she picks the first berry, more plants sprout around her. She tastes one strawberry. Then another, and another. As she plucks and feasts, her anger melts away.

She unpacks a basket she brought for her journey, and as she fills it with shiny red fruit, she’s filled with longing for her husband. When the basket will hold no more, First Woman pivots and heads for home, as fast as she had run away.

Still in hot pursuit, First Man looks up and sees First Woman coming toward him. She’s smiling and singing again. His heart soars. He tries to tell her how much he missed her, but she puts her hand to his lips, and places a strawberry in his mouth.

Silently, he thanks the Creator for a gift with the power to bring First Woman back. First Woman takes First Man’s hand and leads him home, feeding him berries all the way.

The berry in history

Admittedly, it’s a fanciful myth. But it’s difficult to overstate humankind’s long-standing passion for the strawberry. European folklore holds that if two people share a double berry, they’re bound to fall in love. Medieval stonemasons carved strawberries on cathedrals to symbolize perfection. In provincial France, newlyweds were fed a breakfast of strawberry soup.

And even today, when berries grown who-knows-where are available in the dead of winter — the sight of the first local berries, those berries that taste perfectly sweet, the way berries are supposed to taste — still have the power to stop us in our tracks. We pick up a quart or two or three. We give thanks and head home smiling, thinking sweet thoughts about how we might enjoy them and who we’d like to feed.

Jo Marshall is a Minneapolis ad writer who also writes about food, culture and life.