Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EDT
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Listening Tree Cooperative 
87 Reservoir Rd.
Chepachet, RI 02814

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Karina Lutz 
Listening Tree Cooperative 

Permaculture Design Charette

Come learn by doing! This full-day workshop will help design Listening Tree Cooperative's permaculture homestead. The workshop is a great opportunity for anyone with a permaculture design certificate looking for a hands-on learning experience, or for anyone interested in participating in the process of transforming a former Christmas tree farm into a food ecosystem and community!

Learn design and planning through the lens of permaculture and sustainability in a community forming on this farm and forest land in Chepachet, Rhode Island. Deepen your skills in permaculture, community, and land planning. In this one-day, whole systems design intensive, we will develop designs for a small land-based community. The community has a focus on self-reliance, sustainability, and community resilience. The designs that we generate together in an interactive process will help clarify directions forward in housing, paths and roads, gardens, plantings, and land management. Connections with community structure, decision-making, and livelihoods will be explored.

Permaculture is a perspective and framework for design of sustainable systems that can be applied at any scale from urban homes and farms to communities and the broader landscape. Through the design process we gain clearer understanding of living in deeper connection and in balance with our place, no matter where it is. We will go through the design process, beginning with understanding the site conditions, opportunities and constraints and moving into development of design solutions that move the community towards an integrated, fully functioning sustainable system.

Workshop Process

  • Review of community and land management goals
  • Site assessment and identification of key opportunities, constraints
  • Development of design plans for various areas of the property with focus on ...home and surrounding spaces, pond and water systems, gardens, and larger land management
Participants will work individually and in small groups to dig into the full design potential of the land and offer real solutions to the forming community.

Workshop Facilitator: Jono Neiger

Jono has lead numerous interactive design workshops with a focus on solving real problems for farms, communities, campuses, and homesteads. He synthesizes his diverse expertise in permaculture design, restoration ecology, and site planning to create productive and integrated landscapes. Working as collaborator, teacher, and guide, Jono empowers individuals, communities and organizations to understand and steward their land and landscape through design. He is principal at Regenerative Design Group (www.regenerativedesigngroup.com), faculty at the Conway School of Landscape Design (www.csld.edu), former board president of the Permaculture Association of the Northeast, and stewards his homestead, Hickory Garden. His book, The Permaculture Promise, was released in 2016.

Community vision and goals

Listening Tree Cooperative is a community of equality- and ecologically minded individuals, living cooperatively and sharing meals together, homesteading and organic farming, and hosting educational and community events. The co-operative is guided by principles of nonviolence and permaculture.  We commit to community regeneration because: we want to consciously choose to create a more sustainable way of life; we need to experiment with self-organizing social systems at this time of energy descent (post-carbon transition), particularly in non-hierarchical ways; we want to test alternatives to the root cultural causes of ecocide; and we want to care of each other more easily and naturally if we live together.


The soil was half-dead when we arrived, due to decades of use of Round-Up in rows of Christmas trees. We have found three farmer-groups to farm patches of the land, but none of them want to live here (yet); this means the farm is a commuter tenant farm to those participants. We have not jelled yet at the number of people we’d like to live here, and we need to build more living space. In spite of three fencing types, deer, vole, groundhog, and bear have obtained yields we were not planning to fair share :) The pond dam leaks; irrigation water was very low during last year’s drought. Gypsy moths have defoliated the forest two years in a row and can be expected to return this summer.


For more information contact Karina Lutz at karinalutz@hotmail.com or 401-710-9784 or Jono Neiger at jono@rdgland.com. To register, use the link below, and mail your check for $125 in to reserve your spot.