Weekend Food Forest Course: Treasure Lake, KY, USA, Oct. 2017

Join us for a theory and hands-on experience of layered growing through dynamic food forest development!


Doug showing tree planting
Doug showing tree planting

Dates: October 21st-23rd, 2016 (Friday night lecture open to the public and required for the students)

Location: Crouch’s Treasure Lake, Petersburg, Kentucky, USA

Facilitators: Doug Crouch and Ande Schewe (local ecologists and international permaculture facilitators)

Course Fee:  $125

Early Bird Registration- $100 until September 21st

++++Includes Saturday full day of meals and Sunday breakfast and lunch and camping on one of the lakeside ridges++++

Registration through the following:

For registration or more information about the course, please contact Doug through the following form:

THE COURSE: Format and Content

In this two-day course, plus Friday evening open to the public lecture, we will be bringing a greater level of biodiversity to the Farm and Forest at Treasure Lake and give you tools for managing landscapes holistically.  We will be planting in several spaces, which will require us to re-evaluate existing systems and expand from there with this layered approach to growing.  We will build on the

Dark Wood Farm at Treasure Lake, rows of crops and back edge along wooded edge is one of the space we will be planting

work done over the years in open areas and augmenting more forested sections for even more biodiversity. Thus we will keep going with the phases of implementation as food forests are very dynamic design elements and require waves of work to make them grow.  The forest management at the property to reduce invasives and promote native species has been ongoing for 16 years and offers a wonderful example of the permaculture philosophy of the problem is the solution!

We aim to work with two contexts, as mentioned above, forest management and opening the canopy up to continue to plant in natives and other food/wildlife plantings.  The other will be expanding hedgerows in the food forest style to compliment DarkWood Farm, which is a one acre market garden run on site by Annie Woods and Chris Pyper.  With that, we will be going through the whole process of food forest design, implementation, and the management to keep the system thriving. We will be using as many layers as possible and connecting our plant life success to soil, water, and human ingenuity. We will develop themed areas that are appropriate to the sites relationship with intensity of management (zones), wild energies passing through (sectors), and how it influences sounding spaces (relative location). Read more on the topic of food forests at my article by clicking here.

permaculture development model

The aim of the course for the farm is to keep gong with the balance of a foraging/ agriculture landscape that compliments our incredibly biodiverse forest type.  From small earthworks to soil building, from developing guilds to the horticulture skill of plant propagation, this course will highlight many techniques to give you the confidence to take on the challenge of growing food in these holistic and highly productive cultivated ecologies.  We will be focusing on native species primarily when it comes to the forested part but a range of edibles in the more open

Forest path at Treasure Lake, Kentucky, 2013
Forest path at Treasure Lake, Kentucky, 2013

region.  Paw Paw, persimmon, Serviceberry, hawthorn, currants, and chokeberry are just a few of the many anchor species we will be working with.  We will focus on diversity and highlight all that is possible in the temperate realm and how to manage holistically our local “invasive” plants.  The course will also have a backdrop of non-timber forest products as this is the real mission of the Forest and Farm.  It’s amazing at how much is really out there when we really look at the plant palette that is available to us!

Furthermore, we will also plant the lower levels of the design through establishing guilds to compliment the anchor plantings.  Guilds are often established at low-cost when plant propagation techniques are known and we wish to share this knowledge with yourselves.

Permaculture guild schematic
Permaculture guild schematic

Overall the course will be broken down into four sections, essentially, with some parts lending better to the theory and some to the hands on.  They can be seen in the following mindmap which will serve as the basic structure of the course. This allows us to look at the older systems and

Coppice of "invasive" Bush Honeysuckle Wildlife at Treasure Lake, Kentucky, 2014
Coppice of “invasive” Bush Honeysuckle Wildlife at Treasure Lake, Kentucky, 2014

frames the establishment of new food forests on-site. Creative human interaction is always part of permaculture thus you will be learning directly through the body of how to design holistically and with a diversity of layers, to establish thoroughly, and to manage systematically for thrivability over the long-term. The course itself will be a nice blend of theory and hands-on to give you the accurate picture on how to develop a food forest.

food forest 

Hands-on will include the following:

Food Forest course 2012, Terra Alta, Sintra Portugal
Doug Crouch leading the Food Forest course 2012, Terra Alta, Sintra Portugal
  • tree planting
  • small-scale earthworks
  • soil food web repair
  • tree mulching and system establishment
  • guild establishment
  • plant propagation: cuttings, layering, root division, seed treatment


Doug Crouch: Having developed educational programs and food forests extensively all over the world, TreeYo Permaculture facilitator and native of Cincinnati, Doug Crouch, will be leading this course back in his beloved ecosystem. Doug’s formal background is in ecology and he has been practicing and teaching Permaculture and ecological systems management for 16 years in different parts of the world. This includes a prolonged period with his families land in Kentucky where the course will be held.  This will allow him to share mistakes and successes over the many years of working with nature, not against. He has received his Diploma in Permaculture Education showing his dedication to the craft that is facilitating the exchange of Permaculture knowledge.

At Treasure Lake in Kentucky, he manages the broad acre, native, temperate food forest that covers 40 acres.  This work stems from his ecology passion sparked by his Fish and Wildlife Management degree meeting Permaculture. With several stints in the tropics and Mediterranean regions as well, Doug has learned the archetypes of many forests and brings this global blend back home to the Eastern Deciduous forest.

Ande Schewe

Ande Schewe is an artist, researcher, experimenter, entrepreneur and producer…. and could most likely be described as an “Earth walker” or more simply “plant like”. Being in touch with Nature and the wholeness of the land, he hopes to bring that essence to you, working together and integrating the resilience of nature into your life. 

For more click here

THE HOST SITE: Treasure Lake

Treasure lake is local small business focused on recreation in nature, from hiking to birding, boating to fishing that has been in the Crouch family since 1984.  It’s a wonderfully scenic place hidden in the hills of the Northwestern Corner of Northern Kentucky and Boone County only 22 miles from downtown Cincinnati.  We have been hard at work developing the broad acre forest for bio-diversity and wild food abundance.  With our thickets of spicebush and paw paw in the understory and towering hickories and oaks in the overstory, the wildlife love it here and we are sure you will too.  Camping is on one of our flat ridges that perch above the 15 acre pay fishing lake.  Furthermore, it is a community center of sorts as well with entertainment and nature immersion uniquely blending together! The following Permaculture elements and functions that can be experienced are:

  • Non Timber forest product development including a focus on wildlife management
  • Extensive Native Food Forest and specific management techniques to enhance this
  • Hot & Cold Composting (Vermiculture) systems for boosting soil life, picking up on waste streams, and cycling nutrients
  • Market Garden that feeds into local foods and creates employment
  • Natural Building with a focus on social space creation and our stage
  • Event and Festival hosting to create a cultural gathering point for many points of culture


Cincinnati and the tri-state region provides a wonderful backdrop for Permaculture in this unique Midwest context. Its uniqueness is defined by its topography, hilliest city in the Midwest, and the subsequent challenges with landslides because of our high rainfall totals on clay soils. We also are in a fairly conservative market, this isn’t Portland or Burlington where sustainability took off many years ago. Rather we have been pushing the envelope here to increase people’s consciousness around food security, social justice, and rebuilding a skill base that will take us into an abundant city scape. The city is dominated by many Fortune 500 companies but our grassroot organizations within the Cincinnati Permaculture Guild have allowed us to work with these giants and the local councils, not just against them.

swale at urban greens, a Permablitz that we organized with the Cincinnati Permaculture guild
swale at urban greens, a Permablitz that we organized with the Cincinnati Permaculture guild

It’s a diverse crowd that we engage and are composed of as well as the scopes and scales of projects we work on. Some have production farms, like Andy and Lauren out in Indiana or Gretchen in Kentucky. Some live in eco-villages, Suellen in the urban one and Mary Lu in the rural one. Some of us live in the burbs or the hip parts of town like Northside or OTR. But we are all striving to be producers, and this is what it is about for me now, collaborating with people who resonate with the following Bill Mollison quote:

“…the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”

Bill Mollison

 Many Reasons to Come Join Us!

TreeYo Permaculture and Treasure Lake host site offers a great location and context for learning food forests and the design process and ecology behind it!

Lakeside contemplation from a 2013 intern and good friend, Anna Zisa
Lakeside contemplation from a 2013 intern and good friend, Anna Zisa
  • The site is extremely accessible to the city as well as the tristate in general- off the 275 loop.
  • The forest at the lake, a managed ecosystem pushing its goals towards old growth forests
  • The camping above the water that is peaceful and serene
  • The social atmosphere to share food, laughs, and story
  • The Confidence to be a Permaculture system regenerator and the inherent ecosystem resilience that comes with that!!!!!!!




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