Food and Medicine Systems Courses

Below is a list of Permaculture Design courses offered at Pacific Rim College.

Growing Food and Medicine Systems: Part One (FMS101)

This course explores common perennial and annual plants that can be used in a permaculture garden setting. The focus is on edible and medicinal species and their cultural requirements. Topics include an introduction to plant physiology, anatomy, and morphology. Plant identification is practiced in the field and in the classroom. This course includes site specific planning, propagation, maintenance and harvesting techniques. Fruit and nut tree care, pruning, and pest management are also covered.

FMS101a Botany and Plant ID

Plant identification and botanical skills are essential for anyone interested in permaculture or ecosystem restoration. This course surveys local ecology, plant structure, vocabulary, plant identification using technical keys, and other important diagnostic features of plant families common to the Pacific Northwest. The course includes lectures, laboratory exercises, field trips, and applied projects.

FMS101b Perennial Plants

A major focus within permaculture is growing perennial food systems, from the home garden up to the broad acre. Growing food in a variety of locations is essential to creating resilient communities. Plants that return each year grow deep and wide roots, which allows them to access water and minerals that annual plants cannot. Perennial edibles (such as fruits, nuts, and perennial vegetables) are typically higher in nutrients than annual produce. This course offers an immersive experience into the perennial food garden. We work within the layers of the food forest, learning how create the conditions for abundant perennial food production. Students gain hands-on experience: setting up a greenhouse for perennial plant propagation; propagating plants from seed, division, and cuttings; grafting; selecting the right variety of edibles for different climates; creating micro-climates in the garden to stretch zones; fruit tree care; and harvest techniques and maintenance.

FMS101c Annual Plants

This course explores the use of annual plants in intensive small scale systems, bringing into consideration pest management, soil health, harvesting logistics, yield and nutrient density. Students gain a comprehensive overview of common annual plants for both subsistence and market growing, and experience both theoretical and hands-on learning about the requirements of a wide range of edible annual vegetables and herbs. The course takes a seed-to-seed approach, integrating best practices in seed saving into crop rotation, and considering the role of quality regional seed in annual vegetable production – both for self-sufficiency and for adaptation to climate change. Throughout the course, students have an opportunity to develop hands-on skills in site-specific crop planning, succession and rotation, propagation, maintenance, and harvesting techniques.

Prerequisites: – –    Credits: 8.5    Hours: 126

Growing Food and Medicine Systems: Part Two (FMS201)

Building on the knowledge covered in Growing Food and Medicine Systems: Part One, this portion of the course focuses on perennial and annual plants that can be used in a permaculture garden setting, incorporating local wild food and medicine plants found in the Pacific Northwest. There is specific focus on ethnobotanical information and ethical harvesting considerations and practices. Specific harvesting practices and regulations for BC are also covered.

This course also covers the production and processing of herbal plants – both wild-harvested and cultivated – for market. Best practices for using wild-harvested and cultivated food and medicine in a commercial setting are explored. Students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on processing of herbal products and edible products. This course also covers the requirements for producing herbal and edible products for sale, and their regulation in the Canadian context.

FMS201a Wild Harvesting

This course focuses on identifying local wild food and medicine plants found in the Pacific Northwest. We spend time in various landscapes (farm, forest and shoreline) and explore plants of interest and aspects of their habitat, health, usage, and role. Students participate in plant walks, process plant materials, and assist in an ecological restoration project. While the goal is for students to learn how to work with native plant species, there will be a concentrated focus on ethical harvesting considerations and practices. Specific harvesting practices and regulations for BC will also be covered. This course is taught in collaboration with the team from PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Native Plants and Education Program.

FMS201b Herbal Production and Processing

This course focuses on practical and philosophical knowledge of plant-based medicines. We discuss the role of herbs in natural and cultivated ecological systems, and explore how medicines originating from an ecological approach improve human health. Students will come to form a deeper relationship with plants as allies, and gain a thorough understanding of how humans and plants relate in the healing process. The course begins with basic herbal concepts – how medicinal plants work – and moves on to hands-on medicinal plant cultivation, harvesting, and medicine-making. Topics include the ecological role of medicinal plants, cultivation and harvesting considerations, preparing plant materials for processing, appropriate and effective medicinal preparations, and applications of each medicine to human health conditions. Other topics covered include considerations for at-risk species, regulatory issues for the Canadian marketplace, herbal first aid, and safety considerations when using herbal medicines.

Prerequisites: FMS101    Credits: 8.5    Hours: 126