Growing Food and Medicine Systems: Part One


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: 9    Hours: 133