2015 Carbon Farming Course

Published on July 17th, 2014

Carbon Farming Course
Workshops in Regenerative Agriculture

Accord, NY, July 16, 2014 — The Resilience Foundation, a global leader in sustainability and agriculture education, today released multiple opportunities for businesses and organizations to sponsor and participate in the country’s premier educational opportunity in regenerative agriculture, the 2015 Carbon  Farming Course. Scheduled for February 3 – 22, 2015 at the Taconic Retreat Center in New York’s Hudson  Valley, this is an opportunity for companies, organizations and non-profits to become good corporate  citizens. To support a philosophy they share and get their name and message in front of key people and  groups that support the mission of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“Severe soil degradation, rising input costs, and a chaotic climate are putting unprecedented pressure on agriculture. We’ve got to feed millions more people every year – but do it in a way that does not destroy soil, water, and local economies. Carbon Farming is the way to do it,” said Ethan Roland, Executive Director of the Resilience Foundation.

The 2015 Carbon Farming Course will host some of the world’s most charismatic, experienced, and practical thinkers and practitioners of regenerative agriculture. They include; Greg Judy, an internationally-acclaimed holistic management educator; Dr. Elaine Ingham, former chief scientist for the Rodale Institute and now President of Soil Foodweb, Inc.; Abe Collins, the Northeast’s foremost expert on Keyline farming; Eric Toensmeier, award winning author and permaculture specialist; and Mark Shepard, Author of Restoration Agriculture and manager for New Forest Farm, considered to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

“Meeting the challenge of climate change mitigation through carbon-friendly farming is both of utmost importance and really fascinating. There’s no better place to learn all about it them the Carbon Farming Course,” said Toensmeier.

There are five sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $20,000. Sponsors may also make in-kind donations of products and/or services.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities visit www.carbonfarmingcourse.com or contact Jeanne Rebillard at 845-518-4636 or jeanne@carbonfarmingcourse.com.


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Carbon Farmers Meet-Up

Published on June 16th, 2014
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Join other practicing carbon farmers to talk shop, discuss techniques, network, and connect!


When: Monday, February 9th, 9am-5pm.

Where: Taconic Retreat & Conference Center, Milan, NY.

Format & Agenda:  The Carbon Farmers Meetup will be facilitated as a relaxed mini-conference, with a blend of round-table discussions, mini-presentations, panels, and open space.  The day will offer plenty of time to meet, connect with, and exchange resources with other visiting carbon farmers.

Cost: $35 includes breakfast and lunch.  The Meetup is being offered at cost of facilities and food only, to make it possible for as many carbon farmers as possible to attend.



Published in categories: Workshops

Carbon Farming Intensive: Science, Crops, Enterprises

Published on May 20th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $845 in effect until December 15 2014

Eric Toensmeier will lead this special 5-day intensive workshop covering the many facets of Perennial Crop Agroforesty including carbon-sequestering perennial agriculture crops, participatory exercises designing regenerative enterprises, and strategies for implementation. Eric will draw from his substantial experience with perennial crops and agroforestry the wold over as well as from his recent cutting-edge research as he writes Carbon Farming: a Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices

Perennial crop agroforestry

Perennial Agriculture is at the core of Carbon Farming technology.  For nearly two million years, ecosystems of long-lived plants and animals sustained the gatherer-hunter ancestors of all human beings on earth — these perennial ecosystems provided food, fiber, fuel, and ecosystem services while constantly increasing the health and biodiversity of the planet.

Prices of fuel, agricultural inputs and labor are rising. Now is the time to re-create these long-lived, low-maintenance, food-producing ecosystems on our farms, around our homes, and in our communities.

Carbon-sequestering agriculture and perennial crops

To address climate change we must transform agriculture to reduce emissions and sequester carbon. Perennial crops sequester carbon, and are a critical resource in this effort. We will look at the global toolkit of practices that integrate perennial crops with annuals and livestock. Some of these agroforestry systems actually sequester more carbon than adjacent natural forest! Unlike risky and expensive geoengineering efforts, agroforestry can have multiple social and ecological benefits. Key to this effort are non-destructively harvested perennial crops – no-till species which provide harvests for many years. With an emphasis on crops for the range of climates found in the US and Canada, we’ll look at:

  • Perennial staple crops for protein, carbohydrates, and oils;
  • Perennial industrial crops for materials, chemicals, and energy; and
  • Agroforestry support species for fertility, fodder, slope protection and more.

Small group regenerative enterprise design exercises

Scaling up perennial farming systems in the US and Canada presents many challenges, including business model development. We’ll look at enterprise selection, marketing strategies, budgeting, and financing. Small groups will develop and present farm enterprise ideas that:

  • Work as effective polycultures providing fertility, pest control, and livestock integration;
  • Share processing and marketing infrastructure to minimize costs and stack functions; and
  • Provide income during establishment years as well as long-term profitability.

Implementation strategies

Transforming global agriculture is an enormous challenge. Perennial crop agroforestry has much to offer the “MAD challenge”: mitigation, adaptation and development. We’ll look at what’s being done and remains to be done regarding policy, research, activism, and farmer movements.

Eric Toensmeier Paradise LotEric Toensmeier perennial-vegetables



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Holistic Management & Grazing

Published on May 20th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $495 in effect until December 15 2014

Greg Judy will lead this workshop covering all topics involved in setting up a profitable holistic grazing operation from scratch. You will learn how to monitor proper grazing treatments, soil building techniques, drought strategies, animal performance, economical water strategies, and so much more.

By focusing on the whole, we can manage our farms in sync with nature. We can heal our soils, watersheds and our livelihood with holistic management grazing practices, managing land, livestock, wildlife, and people together as a whole system.  Developing a healthy farm landscape can produce financial profits while sequestering carbon and bolstering the web of interconnected ecosystem services that we rely upon.

At Green Pastures Farm in central Missouri, Greg and Jan Judy use holistic, high-density planned grazing to pasture cows, cow/calf pairs, bred heifers, horses, and stockers. Greg is convinced that there is no better way to get into the grazing business then to lease fallow land, employ high density grazing, and use other people’s livestock to do it. Since switching from Management Intensive Grazing to Holistic High Density Grazing 3 years ago, the results have been breathtaking.The Judy’s use no lime, no fertilizer, no seeding, no chemicals, and no equipment.

Instead, the Judy’s focus on increasing animal density, trampling plants to form the litter bank, animal performance, and long grass recovery periods between grazing. Plant diversity has exploded along with increased grass quantity each successive year combined with increased profit.

Greg Judy No Risk RanchingGreg_Judy_Comeback_Farms


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Living Soils

Published on May 20th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $495 in effect until December 15 2014

The Living Soils workshop with Dr. Elaine Ingham explores the soil food web, compost, and compost tea technology in-depth.  In the Soil Food Webs section of the workshop, Dr. Ingham will present on the biology and chemistry of the soil, soil food web principles and myths, the anatomy of roots and compaction, soil management for disease suppression, nutrient retention and C:N ratios, and more.  Participants gain a full picture of the soil food web including nutrient cycling and the nitrogen cycle.  The workshop will help students answer questions such as:

  • What form of nutrient do plants need?
  • How much N, P, K, Mg, S, B, and Ca do plants need?
  • What are the different soil organisms that build various types of soil structure?
  • How does the complexity of the soil health picture change during succession disturbance?
  • What are system-by-system approaches to different soil landscapes including: grasslands, row crops and orchards?
  • How do we fix the soil biologically?

Fungal Hyphae

In the Compost and Compost Tea section of the workshop, participants will how to generate the the right organisms and the right food for any plant in question. Dr. Ingham will cover in detail the principles and paramaters of creating situation-appropriate compost and compost tea, including:

  • The definition of good compost
  • Factors in determining whether soil needs compost
  • The components of good compost tea: maturity, stability, standards, aerated compost tea versus not-aerated tea, plant-based tea, and more.
  • The compost tea production process
  • Compost tea use in successful programs for grasslands, row crops, or orchards.


During this workshop, Dale Hendricks will deliver a special session on biochar. Biochar is basically charcoal that is intentionally created to be put in the soil. It is a recalcitrant form of carbon–one that resists microbial degradation once in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years.

With origins in South American Amazon’s famous Terra Preta soils, biochar is often seen as a soil amendment that helps boost soil fertility and microbiology, upgrade soil structure, and accelerate plant growth. Amid a rising tide of research, what was once mostly fuel or water filtration media suddenly has sprouted dozens of new uses in animal feeds and bedding, composting, building materials, etc. It is touted as a versatile material with many uses and is the subject of a great deal of research.


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Financing Regenerative Agriculture

Published on May 20th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $125 in effect until December 15 2014

Agriculture is the foundation for a living local economy.  Agriculture is the fundamental process that transforms soil, water, and sunlight into the basic means of survival and economic abundance.  Much of the current global financial system does not understand this basic reality.  However, a small and growing network of farmers, investors, and entrepreneurs is quickly creating systemic change, and developing new pathways for financing regenerative agriculture. These world-changing organizations who participated in the 2012 conference include:

Financing Regenerative Agriculture is a participatory one-day conference that brings these networks together.  In the midst of the multi-disciplinary Carbon Farming Course, Financing Regenerative Agriculture allows farmers, landowners, and researchers to share their latest thinking and strategize with the entrepreneurs, investors, and foundation representatives who manage significant flows of financial capital in our current system.  With funders, producers, and consumers of agricultural goods all at the table, this conference is an action-packed exercise in associative economics.  The conference includes a series of presentations, panels, small-group breakouts, and cross-pollination discussions, capped off by whole-group plenaries and strategic planning sessions. Financing Regenerative Agriculture Connections

Details of the 2015 Financing Regenerative Agriculture conference to come soon. Please see the below schedule from the 2012 conference for an outline of what to expect.



Previous Conference Schedule: Carbon Farming 2012 

8:00am – Registration & Networking 9:00am Introduction & Framing 9:15am Plenary 1 – New Paradigms for Finance

10:00am Breakout 1 (Same speakers take questions) 10:20am BREAK

10:40am Concurrent Workshops 1 – Innovative Approaches to…

11:15am Open Space

12:30 Lunch

1:30pm Plenary 2 – Carbon Markets and Beyond

2:15pm Breakout 2 (Same speakers take questions)

2:35pm BREAK

3:00pm Plenary 3 – Investing for Regeneration

4:00pm Breakout 2 (Same speakers take questions)

4:15pm Action Planning & Next Steps

4:55pm Closing by Ethan

5:00pm END



Published in categories: Workshops

Keyline Farming

Published on May 20th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $495 in effect until December 15 2014

Abe Collins will take participants through a soup-to-nuts participatory workshop outlining the Keyline soil improvement process and Keyline landscape design. Abe will cover Keyline from landscape design to earthworks management to soil improvement, with illustrations from his experience and hands-on exercises.

Abe Collins - Keyline Farming

Keyline Farming is an integrated approach to broadscale farm design and management, developed in Australia from the 1940’s to early 1980’s by the late P.A. Yeomans.  Yeomans’ approach emphasized soil building and innovative water harvesting, with the resultant soils becoming the largest reservoir of water in a landscape.

5-Shank Keyline Plow

The Keyline of a landscape refers to the contour that runs through the change in slope in a primary valley known as the ‘Keypoint’. Running parallel with this line, plowlines or tree lines encourage water movement (both runoff and run-through) towards the adjacent primary ridges, increasing whole slope hydration and improving production.

Keyline’s importance today has only increased as 7 billion people depend on 5 billion hectares of agricultural land of declining fertility. Understanding Keyline Farming is crucial to understanding how to develop permanent, regenerative agricultural landscapes.


The workshop is an intensive blend of technical & practical sessions targeted at farmers, professional land managers, consultants, designers, earth movers and anyone with a strong interest in sustainable land management and soil creation.  The workshop will fully outline all of the principles and techniques involved with the modern application of Keyline Farming.


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Restoration Agriculture

Published on April 28th, 2014
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Early-Bird Price of $495 in effect until December 15 2014

Mark Shepard will cap off the 2015 Carbon Farming Course with a 3-day workshop on Restoration Agriculture. The workshop will draw extensively on Mark’s experience establishing and developing New Forest Farm as one of North America’s largest and most innovative perennial farm ecosystems.

Using nature as a model, Restoration Agriculture is the intentional restoration of healthy, functional ecosystems as the context for economically-viable farm operations. Perennial crops, livestock, fungus, and pollinators are integrated to produce abundant food, fiber, and fuel crops while simultaneously restoring critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity.

Mark Shepard with Hog

In this extended Restoration Agriculture workshop, farmer/entrepreneur/author Mark Shepard will bring the carbon farming conversation full circle by integrating Permaculture Design, Holistic Management, Keyline Design, whole living ecosystems, ecological restoration and production agriculture. After a brief critique of annual crops agriculture, participants will be introduced to biome and natural plant community mimicry as a method of designing permanent agricultural systems.

Participants will be immersed in the strategic how-to’s of implementing Restoration Agriculture beginning with the agroforestry techniques of Alleycropping and multi-species Silvopasture grazing. Mark will also cover how to implement water management systems based off of natural patterns and informed by Keyline patterning pioneered by P.A. Yeomans. Inputs-based agriculture, pest and disease cycles, plant and animal breeding, compost & compost teas, nitrogen-fixing woody plants, 16-brick rocket stoves, herb spirals and hugulkulture all get a mention before winding up with a passionate call to arms for all farmers, land owners or aspirants, to rise to the challenges of our times, to live and work toward the creation of an ecologically healthy food system, culture and economy.

New Forest Farm, Southwest Wisconsin

New Forest Farm, in the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin, is a planned conversion of a conventional grain operation into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and Eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicine, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is powered with locally produced biofuels that are not taken from the human food chain.

Course Highlights:

  • Full immersion in the theory and practice of Restoration Agriculture
  • Biome identification and ecology
  • Keyline design, earthworks, and water management
  • Perennial crop establishment, maintenance, and breeding
  • Pruning, coppicing, and grafting
  • Integrated multi-species grazing
  • Renewable energy on the farm
  • Restoration Agriculture economics
Mark Shepard Restoration Agriculture



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Poll: Carbon Farming Course 2015

Published on August 13th, 2013
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In the winter of 2015, the Carbon Farming Course returns!

Cast your vote below to help us choose which topics and trainers to invite for the event. Respondents to this poll before January 1, 2014 receive a 5% discount off a workshop of your choosing.


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Carbon Farming Book

Published on April 3rd, 2013
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Carbon Farming Course Presenter Eric Toensmeier Announces Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit

Eric Toensmeier Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Support Carbon Farming Book

At the 2012 Carbon Farming Course, Eric Toensmeier led the extraordinary 3-day “Tree Crops & Agroforestry” workshop. Eric guided participants through enterprise planning for perennial polyculture farming and shared the best current knowledge on regenerative agroforestry systems from around the world. Today, he announces a Kickstarter campaign to support his next book: Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices.

Eric writes:

Perennial crops and regenerative farming practices can help stabilize the climate by sequestering carbon. How does it work? Plants use photosynthesis to turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbohydrates in their tissues. In perennial plants (like trees) this carbon is stored or “fixed” in their woody parts and below-ground roots. But there’s more: in no-till systems where the soil is not turned over, substantial quantities of carbon can be stored as organic matter in the soil. This book focuses on non-destructively harvested perennial crops that can provide staple foods and other essential products, and on no-till or reduced-tillage farming systems that help soil hold carbon.

Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit will, for the first time, bring together these powerful tools in one place. I hope the information and ideas it provides will soon be as accepted a part of the climate strategy discussion as clean energy from solar and wind – and that citizens, farmers, and funders will use it to transform degraded lands around the world into productive carbon-storing landscapes.

Please support Eric’s campaign to complete this important book and move Carbon Farming efforts forward around the world!

Click here for the Kickstarter Campaign.

Stay tuned for upcoming Carbon Farming workshops and lectures in 2013 and 2014. 


Published in categories: Our Blog