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The Food Forest Workshop

May 21 @ 9:00 am - May 22 @ 5:00 pm


A garden of Eden in your own backyard, school or community garden

About the workshop

Like the Garden of Eden, forests of food replicating natural forests are the most sensible, appealing, sustainable, diverse and productive way to grow food. We can emulate natural forests and by just changing the species to food we like we can create a food forest and whole natural eco-systems. Food forests provide a low maintenance way of growing a rich diversity of food all year round as well as habitat for animals and living organisms. They create healthy living soil and a balance and diversity to reduce pests. They also save water and nutrients creating a natural healthy rich living system. Integrated with poultry, food forests provide food and shelter and poultry provide pest control, fertilisation, aeration and other needs to the food forests. Bees can equally be integrated in a food forest, ensuring pollination of fruit trees.

This workshop will help you understand the value of food forests and the holistic, integral role they play in eco-systems. Learn about the importance of food forests; design and construction considerations; how food forests work; and how to manage and maintain them organically across the seasons to maximise productivity and diversity. Food forests can be small or large and ensure local food production and food security on a local level.

This workshop in conjunction with the earthworks workshop is very important for urban backyards, farms, street verge planting, schools and community gardens. It is very appropriate for home gardeners; permaculture designers; landscapers; horticulturalists; town planners and architects; and all interested in food production.

Whether you already have a food forest or are totally new to the concept, you will definitely benefit from this workshop. The workshop includes both theory and hands on practical sessions. You will be creating a food forest at this workshop. By the end of the weekend you will have completed the food forest project from design, preparation, construction, planting and development. You will get all the theory and the hands-on practical experience you need to be able to go back to your home, school, or community garden and create your own.

This will be a fun packed hands-on weekend with food forest experts, learning all about how to create and manage these magical systems in the simplest, most efficient, safest and productive way. Not only will you see an established food forest from previous workshops, you will be designing and creating a new one from scratch. You will get the information, skills and confidence to deal with all the important basics you need. This is a rare workshop opportunity not to miss. Take another step closer towards becoming a more responsible producer, not a dependent consumer. Become more self-reliant and in control of your food locally producing your backyard food forest and ensuring a secure source of local food.

About the Trainers 

Aaron Sorenson                       

Aaron Sorenson                     Aaron Sorenson specialises in food forest design and development. He has created excellent examples of food forests in the south coast and Sydney and abroad. He has installed food forests into community gardens, schools, private homes and places abroad and is very experienced in this field as an exceptional trainer.

Aaron Sorensen is a qualified teacher and studied fine arts before full immersion in Permaculture design, practice and training.

His foundation work with the establishment and development of the North Wollongong Community Garden at the Wollongong PCYC (a demonstration site for urban Permaculture) has provided the basis for growing the “Living Classroom” program with Daniel Deighton.

Aaron has been working with primary & secondary students and the wider community in a variety of contexts, weaving both organic gardening and community arts projects into educational practice since 1993.

Aaron believes sustainable gardening practice to be an effective conduit of positive human transformation. The “Living Classrooms”. like community gardens. facilitate growing happy, healthy communities through connection and participation in natural cycles. Aaron currently facilitates training in the “Living Classrooms” of Cringila, Coledale, Mt Terry, Port Kembla and Warrawong Public schools and Warrawong High school for students and for staff and the wider school community.

Aaron collaborates with Dan Deighton as “Elemental Permaculture” and in Permaculture design for urban and rural applications including community gardens, school “Living Classrooms” and eco farms. Their work also includes Permaculture training on Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs), introductions to Permaculture, and workshops in food forest design and intensive organic growing, both locally and abroad.

Penny Pyett                    

Penny PyettPenny is the director of Permaculture Sydney Institute PSI and for the past 11 years has been developing the PSI Farm and inspirational permaculture center at Bandusia Country Retreat. Penny has been involved with the design, development and maintenance of several different food forests including the food forest at Bandusia. This experience along with her immense knowledge and experience of food forests will provide course participants with a rich course experience.


Workshop Program

This workshop will cover practical and theoretical information about food forests:

  • the importance of food forests
  • the theory of food forests
  • guilds
  • designing food forests
  • permaculture zones and the food forest zone
  • species selection for different functions and year-round production
  • green manures, cover crops, legumes and support species,
  • getting started
  • pre-construction and construction tasks and issues
  • earthworks and water systems of food forests
  • creating healthy living soils
  • compost teas
  • fertilisation of food forests
  • maintenance and on-going management of food forests
  • being organic
  • pests, diseases and methods of control
  • how to manage on a seasonal basis
  • harvest considerations
  • maximising productivity
  • integrating animal systems – birds and bees

Books and resources will be available for sale on site


PSI members receive a 10% discount.



May 21 @ 9:00 am
May 22 @ 5:00 pm
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
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(02) 4568 2036