The Permaculture Podcast

    1612 – Professional Permaculture Education with Erik Ohlsen

    Erik Ohlsen


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    My guest for this episode is Erik Ohlsen, founder of Permaculture Artisans and co-founder and executive director of Permaculture Skills Center in Sebastopol, California. A previous guest on the show, he joins me today to examine the idea of what it means to gain a permaculture rooted education that takes our practices beyond an introductory level. This leads us to talk about the Ecological Landscape Immersion program taught at PSC, the role of mentoring, the results of Miriam Volat at The Farm School, and we eventually touch on the shortcomings of a Permaculture Design Course for anyone wanting to practice as a professional.

    Before we begin I’d like to thank the sponsors who, along with listeners, help keep this show going and growing. In addition to Permiekids, the sponsors of the day are Your Garden Solution and Good Seed Company.

    Your Garden Solution is a Pennsylvania company run by a permaculture practitioner and their business partner that helps people to garden using the techniques developed by Mel Bartholomew and popularized in his book Square Foot Gardening. In addition to garden installation and education, they also have an excellent soil mix and compost ready for your raised beds. Find out more at

    Good Seed Company has been in business for over 40 years and believes we have an inalienable right to open pollinated, non-GMO seeds for common use. These are the seeds saved by our ancestors for thousands of years that can sustain us today, and contribute to a bountiful future for the generations yet to come. Find out more about the rich history of this company and the importance of seed saving at, or shop the catalog of ecologically grown organic seeds online.

    As I continue to navigate social permaculture and living in community, the work of Erik, his colleagues, and others like him are important for creating the next generation of landscape oriented permaculture practitioners. The Permaculture Skills Center offers a variety of trainings focused on creating a career for students whether that involves ecologically focused landscaping, regenerative agriculture, or permaculture education. If you are near Sebastopol, California and considering any of these path, these programs are definitely worth investigation. Permaculture Artisans and The Permaculture Skills Center continue to raise the bar of what it means to practice permaculture professionally. Find our more about Erik and his work at and the numerous education offerings, as well as their own blog and podcast, at

    Along the way if I can assist you, wherever you call home and whatever leg of the journey you are on, get in touch. My phone number is 717-827-6266 and email is That email address is also the PayPal address for the show, so if you like what you hear and want to shoot something my way, you can send it to there. Though there are now some sponsors for the show I still couldn’t do this without your direct and ongoing support as listener.

    If digital means are not your preferred way to reach me, you can also drop something in the mail. That address is:

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    If you’d like to connect with the show and other listeners, you can also a sustaining member at, on Facebook as The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann, and on Twitter where I am @permaculturecst. I’m going on a family vacation soon to explore the beaches of Rehobeth, Delaware, and will also be posting pictures of the plants, animals, and other interests from that bioregion on Instragram as PermaculturePodcast.

    From here I’ll be on the road in April, returning to Berea Kentucky and the Clear Creek Community. While there on April 23, 2016 is Spring into Permaculture. Clear Creek Schoolhouse is hosting this event. The day starts at noon and heads on into the evening with a potluck and in-person recording of the podcast, and Jereme Zimmerman, author of Make Mead Like a Viking, will be there teaching a meadmaking workshop from 1 – 3pm. Find out more at

    After that, on June 18, 2016, is the Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence outside of Charles Town, West Virginia, hosted by Emma Huvos of The Riverside Project. The keynote speaker for this day is Michael Judd, talking about his experiences as a permaculture practitioner, and there will be classes and workshops on Living in the Gift, Animals in Permaculture, Broadacre permaculture, whole systems learning, as well as plant walks and tree ID sessions. As this event is limited to 100 tickets, pick yours up today at

    Also, unrelated to all things Permaculture, are you a Steampunk? If so I’ll be at the Steampunk Worlds Faire May 13-15, 2016, and may be presenting a class on The History of the Sword, focusing on the Renaissance period, or you can probably find me or Photographer John at the Canes Enabled tent in the courtyard of the main hotel.

    Next up on the docket is the first of the Philadelphia Round Table recordings, followed by an interview on Ghandian Nonviolence with Chris Moore-Backman.

    Until then, take care of Earth, Your Self, and each other.

    Your Garden Solution
    The Good Seed Company

    Permaculture Skills Center
    Permaculture Artisans

    Clear Creek Schoolhouse
    Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence (Information and Tickets)

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