to Jun 8



In Permaculture design synergistic constellations of plants are known as "Guilds".  The "BUILD THE GUILD" event expands the idea of a Guild to include the art of assembling Guilds of people that collectively vision and implement change in their communities.

Please join Onsen Farm and Desert Springs Co-op for five days of learning, hands on projects, good food, camaraderie and soaks in the natural hot springs baths.

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"Inspiring Connection to Nature and Empowering Stewards that Create Healthy Communities

Dynamic, healthy communities are fundamental to human well being.  In community we define and structure our relationships with each other, provide for our basic social and economic needs and define our relationship with the natural world.

*  But how do we actually build a community that values self reliance, stewardship and a healthy relationship with the natural environment?

*  What are the practical skills and tools we need to learn and practice in our day to day lives in order to weave people together into a healthy community?

*  What constitutes inclusive governance and how do we implement it?

*  How do we include local farmers and other craftsman and support their work?

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Please join us for five days as we explore these questions together.  In the spirit of encouraging greater self reliance  BUILD THE GUILD offers practical workshops in Permaculture Design, Working with local regulations and government, Winter Greenhouse Production, Pond Culture, Composting, Vermiculture and Orcharding - all led by local farmers, craftsmen and horticulturists.  Hands on workshops in basic construction design and an introduction to the tools and skills, including plumbing and electrical, necessary to build safely with a minimum of debt using re-purposed materials. 

Using the innovative model of Dynamic Governance participants in  BUILD THE GUILD will learn how to structure their work together, formulate ideas, hone a vision and get it off the ground.


This Gathering will be held at Banbury Hot Springs along with neighboring farms in beautiful Hagerman Idaho.  We are currently working on the full schedule.  For more information please contact us.

Camping will be available at Banbury Hot Springs.  Reserve your camping or RV site at http://miraclehotspring.com/banbury-accommodations.   Space is limited so reserve your spot early!   Contact us for a list of local motels and rental houses for those who do not wish to camp.


  • Early Bird Tuition (before May 1st): $600
  • Standard Tuition (May 1st and after ): $650                                                                               


Tuition includes dinner on Sunday evening,  and breakfast, lunch and snacks Monday through Friday.  Other dinners, camping and lodging are extra.


Until May 1st, fee is refundable less $50 cancellation fee. After May 1st, the deposit is non-refundable.

Click HERE to Register.




John is a whole systems design consultant, teacher, and facilitator who develops cultural and ecological systems for a variety of public, private, and nonprofit clients. Since 1996, he has studied, worked, taught and published in the realms of human relatings, governance and decision-making systems, appropriate technology and ecological design. He applies his wide-ranging observations of and experience with cultural and ecological systems to all aspects of his practice. The innovative and collaborative methods, tools and techniques that John offers invite to transparency and equivalence while enhancing individual and group effectiveness and integrity. http://sociocracyconsulting.com



Bill McDorman is Executive Director and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA), a seed conservation non-profit created to to assure a diverse supply of local seeds for the Rocky Mountain region through community-based seed stewardship.  In 1984 he started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a bioregional, mail order seed company he ran successfully for 28 years.  He authored the book, Basic Seed Saving, in 1994.  From 2011 until 2014 Bill and his wife Belle served as Executive Directors of Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona.  In 2010 they founded Seed School, an internationally recognized education program now with more than 1,000 graduates from around the world. Bill remains a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who inspires his audiences with the importance of grassroots seed saving and urges everyone to learn to save their own seeds. rockymountainseeds.org



Tony has worked in the horticultural field for over 15 years. He received a MS in ornamental horticulture from the Utah State University. Tony has specialized expertise in woody plants, turfgrass, native plants, garden design, floraculture, aquaponics, and pest management. As a retired university professor Tony is an experienced lecturer, instructor and horticultural consultant. He has spoken to many groups nation wide and has appeared on several garden shows. Tony teaches horticulture classes and certification programs through his business Bloom Horticulture Specialists. Over the last five years, Tony has assisted the International Master Gardener Committee with conference administration, chairing the committee in 2016 and 2017.   Tony is very active in local and national organizations including The Association fro Garden Communicators, Idaho Nursery and Landscape Associaton, local/state/and international Native Plant Associations, local/national/and international Master Gardener Associations. https://bloomhorticulture.com



James Loomis is the Director of the Green Team Farm, a 1.5 acre urban farm located in downtown Salt Lake City.  A model of regenerative agriculture in an urban setting, the farm also serves as job training and mojo restoration for women facing homelessness.  A partnership between Wasatch Community Gardens and Advantage Services, the farm also serves as a focal point for community engagement and involvement in the downtown SLC area.

 A life long student of permaculture and eco-friendly technologies, James has a knack for merging biology and mechanics and is known for his imaginative approaches to aquaponics and biological teas and extracts. He is passionate about building soil and turbo-charging soil biology, and some might argue his zeal for composting borders on insanity. 

 A man who relaxes by working hard, he writes a monthly gardening column for Catalyst magazine, and is a contributing writer of both articles and book reviews for Permaculture North America.  He teaches various topics related to Regenerative Agriculture and Urban Homesteading, and consults and mentors several small intensive vegetable farms. 



Judy Dolmatch, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and group leader, exploring theintersection of creativity, theatre, healing, personal growth and community building since 1977. She is a nationally certified director of psychodrama, and a trained facilitator of the Zegg Forum. She co-founded, taught, and performed with the Rogue Valley (Oregon) Playback Theatre and the Hamazons, an all women comedy troupe. From 2005-2015, she was a founding member of La’akea Community, a permaculture farm and intentional community on the Big Island of Hawaii.



Kelley has been a long time advocate and instructor for alternative methods of gardening, Xeriscape and Native Landscaping. In 1982 he developed the Vocational Horticulture Program at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge Montana where he supervised 10-15 inmates in the development of a 12-acre organic vegetable garden. In 1988 founded Native Landscapes a landscape design/build business focused on the design, installation and maintenance of native drought tolerant landscapes that is still active today. In 1993 Kelley helped found the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and in 2007 helped found Idaho’s Bounty a local food co-op. Kelley sits on the board of Western Watersheds Project and the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance a grassroots educational organization working to protect and preserve important seed varieties throughout the Rocky Mountains.



John Caccia is a Ketchum-based permaculture design certified gardener and founder of the Wood River Seed Library.  He has been a back-yard bee-keeping for the past 5 years and is currently managed by 10 hives located on various properties stretching from Bellevue to Smiley Creek.  John has a passion for honey bees and will offer a fun and informative workshop for anyone interested in bees or bee-keeping.  The workshop will demonstrate how to set up a new hive, walk us through a typical 12 month cycle-of-life within a honey bee colony and offer tips on how everyone can help bees and other pollinator populations remain healthy.



Aspen has focused over 20 years on business operations, entrepreneurship, and project management. Most recently, Aspen worked as VP of Operations for a Fortune 100 Fintech company with a mission and products to help small business owners achieve success. Aspen's career successes include effective strategic plans and budgets, celebrated employee culture, relentless measuring and quality improvement, brand new business programs and systems, and high achieving teams.

In late 2017, Aspen took a break from the corporate world and turned his focus to the farming industries in order  to participate in internships  and training around farming, permaculture, and greenhouse growing. His learning has culminated not only in his ability to perfectly prep a bed for seeding, but also help organize the Build the Guild event, and our sponsoring organization, Snake River Earth Arts Institute. 



Danny has been managing Onsen Farm with his wife Lexy since June 2017.  They moved to Onsen from Boise where Danny was managing a coffee roastery and practicing permaculture principles at their suburban home.  Danny has been learning, practicing, and refining his winter greenhouse skills since he arrived at Onsen, calling on his previous farming experiences in Boise as a guiding light.  His experience at Onsen has been fueled by observation, experiment, and a humble reverence for the guiding life-force of Nature.  Danny's primary goal at Onsen Farm is to synergize permaculture philosophy with the intensive farming practices that fuel the CSA business model. 



Lexy O'Malley spent a lot of time outside in childhood, however her real passion was first kindled when she started work at a large scale organic farm in Boise ID. Since then she has completed an internship at an organic seed farm, and went on the become co-manager of Onsen Farm with her husband Danny. She is most interested in permaculture eco-system friendly farming, seeds, feeding into the local food economy, and large scale food waste management via gleaning from other farms and either re-distributing it or turning it into a preserved food via dehydration, canning or fermenting. She loves learning and teaching, and is thrilled to be a part of the Hagerman Valley farm community. 



Brian's life's work has exposed him to an extraordinarily wide spectrum of experience in methods, materials and tools which has given him the skills and confidence to design, construct, fabricate and execute any project.
Every project has a design element to it. Brian looks for the easiest, yet most elegant and beautiful solutions as a designer. Whenever possible up cycling and re purposing materials. Brian is fluent  in the fields of fine carpentry, home building, electrical, plumbing, mold making and renewable energy including wind, solar and micro hydro. Experienced in building sets and props for theater, television, film and architectural design elements, Brian believes humans have untapped abilities and potential that, when revealed, surprise and delight them. "Confidence to work with your hands and tools lead to personal empowerment and confidence in self reliant living.



John McNamara develops cooperatives through the Northwest Cooperative Development Center based in Olympia, WA and serving the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. He also teaches about Worker Cooperatives and Democratic Management at The Evergreen State College. John holds a Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions degree from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and expects to finish his Ph.D. in Business Administration this summer. His dissertation considers sociocracy and the ways in which different management models hinder or facilitate the expression of cooperative values and principles. Prior to moving to the PNW, John gained almost three decades of experience in the worker co-op world as a worker-owner of a 250 members taxicab cooperative in Madison, WI with eight years as a director and over 10 years as a manager. John is a founding member of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and is a founding member of the Democracy at Work Network. He served the USFWC as a director and president and served six years on DAWN’s  Board of Governors.  Northwest Cooperative Development Center  www.nwcdc.coop



James is co-founder of Onsen Farm, a CSA / Permaculture inspired garden project.  As a co-founder of Idaho's Bounty Co-op and board member of Snake River Earth Arts, an education based Idaho non-profit, James is passionate about growing farmers, grandkids and regionally based food systems. He is an advocate of "dynamic governance" (Sociocracy), and regenerative hedonism.



Bill is a Magic Valley native with a long interest in self-sufficiency, gardening and renewable energy. He worked as a survival instructor with various wilderness schools and is familiar with both the necessary survival skills, and the mental attitude necessary in survival situations. Bill has an interest in finding out what makes us tick and as a yoga instructor, he knows the importance of self-discipline in strengthening body and mind.  Bill will be leading morning yoga.



Born to a family of cooperative wheat and cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle, Joe Garrison has lived in coop housing and worked at a food coop. For the last 14 years he has learned about bread and collaboration at worker-owned Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe in Astoria, Oregon. Some of the best advice he’s gotten so far is “Fix your own damn oven!”

Click HERE to register!

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9:00 AM09:00


Taught by Claudia Shimkus

Cost:  $50

This one day course will be on Living Soil - covering the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of organisms that are living in the soil. 

Claudia will also dive into Worm Composting; basics of setting up a worm composting bin, harvesting and using worm compost.  She will cover Compost Extract;  basics of making and applying compost extract.

We will build a worm bin for our farm so hands on experience!

Claudia is hoping that everyone will be able to read the following book before the class – “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Applehof

Claudia spent 40 years in a career as a registered nurse.  She is a lifetime gardener with an interest in non-toxic, nutrient dense food.  She has been a hay farmer since 2008.  She received her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2015.

Claudia began training with Dr. Elaine Ingham in 2014;  Life in the Soil, Thermal and Worm Composting, Compost Extract and Compost Tea, and Soil Microscopy.  She is a serious composter!    For more info on Dr. Ingham you can go to her website   soilfoodweb.com

What to Bring:

*Sack lunch and water bottle(Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided)

*Sturdy Shoes that can get wet

*Rubber Gloves(optional) for digging into the worm castings


*Layered clothes – We will be working both outdoors and in the greenhouses which could get warm in the afternoon.

*Sack full of Paper/Cardboard/Newspaper

*Our soaking pool will be available after the class from 5pm – 6pm.  Bring a bathing suit and a towel if you’d like to partake.


 Location:  Onsen Farm * 4799 B River RoadBuhl, ID 83316 208/720-0673

Space is limited so sign up early!  To reserve your spot please mail $50 to Onsen Farm and include your phone number and email.




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to Mar 27



You don't need a greenhouse to grow your own fresh, organic produce.  With carefully selected plantings and simple to construct cold frames and low tunnels, your garden can be cranking out premium greens long before your neighbors even drag out their hose.  Instructor James Loomis will also arm you with tools you need to break the boom and bust garden cycle;  no more will you plant everything all at once, wait two months, then struggle with an avalanche of abundance.  With good design, your garden can produce steadily twelve months a year!

With an eye towards the summer garden, we'll cover the various techniques for starting plants from seeds.  By growing your own starts, you'll have access to more variety and stronger, more robust plants than you find at your local big box store or nursery, not to mention you might even save enough money for this workshop to pay for itself!

Of course, all of this great knowledge will be accompanied by fantastic locally sourced meals and hot soaks in our geothermal pool.

Topics will include:   Season Extension, Cold frame Design & Building, Decoding the Language of Seed Catalogs, Vegetable Selection, Garden Planning, Succession Planting, Plant Starting, Building your own Soil Mixes

Workshop will start on Friday at 4pm with a presentation and a great dinner, Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday from 9am to 4pm.  We will serve a light breakfast and a hearty lunch plus snacks on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information or to register please call Leslee at 208/543-0987 or email us at onsenfarm@gmail.comWe will have several rental homes with rooms to rent, or we can give you the name of a couple of local motels for your lodging needs.

Cost is $250 plus lodging

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to Feb 28


This winter escape the weary weather and come to our geothermal oasis, basking in the perpetual spring of our lush greenhouses.  Up your garden game with instructor James Loomis and learn the techniques to take your garden beyond organic and into the realms of a regenerative ecosystem.

We'll take an in depth look at how to encourage a robust and resilient garden ecosystem, one that sustains fertility and discourages pests and disease.  Entertaining lectures, hands on learning experiences and proper project participation will accompany fantastic locally grown farm to table meals and leisurely soaks in our geothermal pools.

Topics we'll cover will include:  Soil structure & Biology, Advanced Composting & Compost Teas, Sustained Soil Fertility &  Plant Nutrition, Mixing your own Fertilizers, Beneficial Insects & their Habitat, Crop Rotation, Garden Planning, Greenhouse Growing/Season Extension, and Escaping Winter while submerged in hot water.

Class will begin on Friday at 4pm with presentation and dinner, Saturday will start at 9am and end at 6pm.  Sunday will begin at 9am and end at 4pm.  Both Saturday and Sunday will include a light breakfast and a hearty lunch, plus snacks.

We will have several local rental homes with rooms available for students, along with names of a couple of local motels.  Class is limited to 15 people.  Call Leslee for more information or to sign up at 208/543-0987 or email us at onsenfarm@gmail.com

Cost $250 plus lodging

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to Apr 24


We are very excited that Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance is offering a special "teacher training" edition of their acclaimed Seed School.  During this six-day course, participants will gain a deep understanding of ancient seed saving practices alongside leadership development training to empower them as community seed leaders.  For more information please go to  http://rockymountainseeds.org/attend/seed-school-teacher-training

For those just beginning with seed saving we will be hosting our 3rd Seed School November 1 to November 6, 2015.   We will be posting more information on this soon, or you can contact Belle belle@rockymountainseeds.org


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to Feb 1



Instructor:  James Loomis, Head Grower at Onsen Farm Greenhouses

In this workshop students will cover basics of aquaponic theory, it's history and many variations.   From backyard bathtub systems to massive warehouse raft installations, Ebb & Flow to NFT, we will decode hydroponic terminology and explain the dynamic biology in an active re-circulating Aquaponic ecosystem.  After covering the basics of the system design we'll hit the greenhouse and explore Onsen Farm's hybrid AP system.  Students will lock in this knowledge and construct a complete aquaponics system by repurposing an IBC tote into a small backyard food growing machine.  We'll also tackle the techniques with hands on instruction for building a DWC raft system, a suspended NFT run and build a complete bell siphon assembly for each student to take home.

We'll wrap up the workshop with a discussion concerning the hurdles to making Aquaponics a truly sustainable technology.  Solving the issues around energy, materials, and sourcing a truly sustainable fish feed is the main focus of the aquaponic research here at Onsen Farm.

This WORKshop will get down and dirty with all aspects of our commercial AP system.  A system built almost entirely of repurposed materials, heated with geothermal water and cooled with spring water with an end goal of having all nutrition for the fish generated on site.

The Workshop will begin with a meet and greet on Friday at 4pm, followed by dinner and an introduction to Aquaponics technology.  Saturday is a full day intensive and we'll end things on Sunday at 4pm.

Tuition is $160 including four meals (two lunches and two dinners) along with the pleasure of soaking in our hot springs pool.  Space will be limited to 10 persons.  Please call 208/543-0987 or email us at onsenfarm@gmail.com to register.

We have a couple of local homes rented for students.  Accommodations will run approx. $35 per night per person. 

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to Nov 7


Sunday, November 2nd - Friday, November 7th

Early bird deadline:  October 5th     $600

Regular tuition after October 5th  $700

Some scholarships are available

$200 deposit reserves your space


What is Seed School?

Seed School is a groundbreaking, six-day educational course that trains people from all walks of life to build local seed systems rooted in the ancient tradition of seed saving. Practiced by farmers and gardeners for thousands of years, seed saving strengthens food security at the community level, empowering people to reclaim control over their food supply. Students walk away from this innovative learning experience with the knowledge and inspiration to start their own independent seed initiatives, such as community seed libraries and exchanges, seed growers cooperatives, heirloom seed businesses, and participatory plant breeding projects.

Seed School is designed to offer a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the science, business, and craft of seeds. Appropriate for teens and adults at all skill levels, this course is for gardeners, farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs, NGOs, activists, policymakers and anyone interested in turning the tide on the industrialization of our food system.

For more Information or to register contact Belle Starr at belle@rockymountainseeds.org  

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to May 25


We invite you to join us for nine days of inner exploration and sacred ritual in the Little City of Rocks in the Southern Idaho back country.  Using the traditions of Sacred Council and the Medicine Wheel, we will each prepare for a personal rite of passage  - a solo journey  or vision fast of up to four days - followed by deep sharing and integration time to honor and deepen what we've been given.  We will also take time to enjoy good food, laughter and each other's company.

MICHAEL RYAN is a gifted teacher who has been leading workshops and groups for men and women for over 30 years.  His work assists people in improving relationships, building community and resolving difficult emotions.  A Former staff member of the Findhorn Community , a spiritual education center in Scotland, and a founding member of the Council Circle Foundation, Michael blends spiritual wisdom and psychological insight with warmth , humor, and compassion.

JAMES REED is a trained guide and wilderness survival instructor and co-founder of the earth-based spiritual community organization Common Ground.  A graduate of Lost Borders, the nationally recognized training center for ritual and rites of passage, James has many years experience leading men's groups, guiding youth at risk on knife and blanket survival trips and teaching outdoor survival skills for community organizations.

The retreat is open to all, regardless of gender.  Space is limited to about a dozen participants --"first come, first served".  Registration deadline:  April 15th or until full.  

*Base Cost:  $300 - this covers expenses and includes nothing for Michael or James.  We ask that all donate generously to sustain and give thanks to our guides.  Buddhists sometimes call this "Dana".  Please donate as generously as your financial situation allows.

*Deposit of $150 due at registration.  50% refundable until April 15th.  Balance  due by April 15th.

*Some partial scholarships available

To register please email us at onsenfarm@gmail.com and we will send you a registration form or call us at 208/543-0987 or 208/720-0673.



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WORKshop Series
to Feb 2

WORKshop Series

Onsen Farm WORKshop Series

Building and interacting with sustainable technologies is deemed crucial to our future by many;  we agree, but besides that, we also find it to be downright fun, and a hell of a way to spend a weekend.  We can't stop tinkering, and we think you'll have a blast when you join us at Onsen Farm as we develop our acreage into a hot-spring fueled eco oasis.  Our WORKshop series is designed to tilt the balance of the workshop experience heavily in the favor of a hands on educational experience.   Participants will cover theory, design, and techniques  for some of the various earth assisting technologies, then get out of the classroom and build it!  The opportunity to learn, and then to lock down the experience with action, is fundamental to retaining and utilizing  knowledge.  The capital letters in WORKshop is a reminder of what the term is all about.   A large portion of all WORKshop tuition will be for the funding of the installations the students participate on.

WORKshop I - Aquaponics I     January 31-February 1-February 2,   2014

Students will cover the basics of aquaponic theory, it's history, and it's many variations; from backyard bathtub systems to massive warehouse raft installations.   From media beds to NFT, we will decode hydroponic terminology, and explain the dynamic biology of an active recirculating semi-closed ecosystem.  After covering the basics of system design, we'll hit the greenhouse and complete the first phase of Onsen Farm's hybrid aquaponic system.  Students will help chop an IBC tote into a small self contained backyard system, construct a wood and liner media bed, and build a DWC trough and raft.   

We'll wrap up the workshop with a discussion concerning the hurdles to making Aquaponics a truly sustainable technology.  Solving the issues around energy, materials, and sourcing a truly sustainable fish feed is the main focus of the Onsen.  This WORKshop will complete the first phase of our research system, the final goal of which is to have an aquaponics system built almost entirely of repurposed materials, generating it's own electricity, heated with geothermal water, and cooled with spring water, with all nutrition for the fish generated on site.  In a future WORKshop, we'll build our Insectory, which is exactly what it sounds like……

Cost:  $300  Includes 4 meals (two dinners and two lunches - mostly local & organic food featuring greens from our greenhouses!).   We are keeping this to a maximum of 10 persons so space is limited.  Please call 208/420-4230 or email us at onsenfarm@gmail.com to register.  $100  due when you register to reserve your spot with the balance of $200 due 2 weeks before the workshop.  We have rented a couple of homes in the neighborhood for accommodations at $30 per night per person.


WORKshop II - Vermiculture and Insect Allies     March 21, 22, 23,  2014

The second installment of our WORKshop series focuses on critter assisted composting, and raising insects as a food source for livestock and fish.    We'll cover the basics of composting with worms (vermicomposting), from the home to commercial scale, as well as the brewing of biologically incredible worm tea.  Black soldier flies break down food waste as fast as, if not faster, than worms, and their grubs are prime food for chickens and fish, so we'll cover them as well.   Crickets are a staple of pet lizards all over the world, and serve the same role as the above two critters, so we can't leave them out!   Then we'll get out of the classroom and build composting systems for all of them in the Insectory!

The Insectory grew out of our necessity to provide our on site aquaponics and future earthen pond aquaculture systems (WORKshop III) with a truly sustainable food source, and that means generating their feed on site.   Inside of a small dedicated greenhouse we'll build a large top loading worm bin, cricket hutches, and black soldier fly composting pods.  Repurposed materials will be used in all systems. 

Cost:  $300 includes 4 meals (two lunches & two dinners).   Space is limited to 10 people.  Call us at 208/420-4230 or email at onsenfarm@gmail.com to register.  We will be renting a couple of homes in the neighborhood for accommodations.  Cost will be around $30 per night per person.



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Seed School 2013
to Nov 8

Seed School 2013

Facilitated by Bill McDorman (NS/S Executive Director), Joy Hought, MSc. (Director of National Seed School), and Rowen White (Co-founder of Sierra Seed Cooperative), this 6-day workshop is perfect for those wishing to set a new precedent in sustainable agriculture. And because of a generous grant from anonymous donor, the cost for Seed School is being offered at a discounted rate. Price includes camping, breakfast & lunches. 

 For additional details as well as enrollment, click here

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