What do our past participants say about their Open Hearth PDC experience? Scroll down to learn more…
What brought you to this program?
“I wanted more connections with people who are pursuing sustainable change in the world and are passionate about working with the earth and being a balanced human in a balanced ecosystem. I also hoped to garner a lot of tools about working with the earth and designing landscapes that support human healing and planet healing.”
“Seeking knowledge within community. Permaculture wasn’t a word I had spent much time with, but the majority of the topics were concepts I have always wanted to dig deeper into. I felt that the value of this course would be absolutely worth the cost because it seemed like I would learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time, and do so with hands-on examples and within a group of like-minded people. Groups and classes give me energy and help me learn best (more so than trying to teach myself permaculture concepts alone). I was and am at a place in my life where I am privileged to have the time and space to think about my future and how I want it to look when I am ready to have a family and be more of a familial leader. I want to know all of these things and actively use them – be ready to use them – when the time comes to support more people than just myself.”
“A desire to better understand the interconnectedness of natural systems and how to support these systems in my own backyard; a new found passion for soil and plant ecology; A desire for learning in a supportive community.”
“I have a passion for food – growing it, cooking it, preserving it, teaching about it. I was looking for a program (at the higher education level) to learn more about the ‘right’ ways to be within that when I came across the program, or rather when the program found me. It was exactly what I was looking for and didn’t realize it until I discovered it. The twelve permaculture design principles are how I want to continue the connection I have with food, but as I’ve learned more, they are also my ways to connect with nature, plants, animals, and humans; they are how I want to live.”
“I was brought to this program through a guided force, by following my heart and listening to the magic hum of what my light is trying to call in. Initially I was just being called to be with Cody and Megan and support the retreat by meal crafting – I fell in love with the essence of the group that weekend and knew this was a council of humans I wanted to be a part of – and with the foundation of the entire group being permaculture, I knew the foundation was solid.”
“I started a company to try a get out of putting my labor towards projects I didn’t care about, much less was philosophically opposed to. But the jobs and project that came my way were not much different the the jobs I had been working on before. I still was looking for a way, for the real, for truth. All this time I believe I was learning a new language. I picked up a few words and phrases here and there but was not fluent.”
What experiences have you most valued or enjoyed throughout the Open Hearth PDC?
“Field trips to so many awesome places. Talking about my project and other people’s projects- giving and receiving knowledge and support. Hearing about other people’s dreams and aspirations. Hearing about other people’s process of growth and change. Meeting people doing this work!”
“The program began with the initial retreat in Osceola, Wisconsin and was one of the most powerful two days I’ve had. The immediate gentle comradery and the genuine nature of those who were there filled my soul. Beyond that, each month included eye- opening experiences at farms, whose owners were only welcoming and enthusiastic in sharing their stories. I found the visits to the farms broadened who I am in an intellectual way and, more importantly, through connection with the outside world and what it beholds. Walking through the property of each place; it seems I created bonds and now have everlasting conversation with each person within the group because of those. Walking again as that helped me to learn about and name plants; I know this knowledge is in me and these experiences helped it to begin its return. Gathering together to share food as there is no greater sense of community.”
“I loved the Spring Germination Retreat it affirmed completely that I had made the right choice. I felt so at home and excited for the months to come! I also loved the field visits – the chance to see so many different places and communities I had never been to in MN, hear different stories, and learn experiential through service projects on-site.”
“Throughout the course I have most enjoyed the cosmic play of characters within the group that has enhanced who I am and how I see and how I am in the world. The deep conversations and critical thinking was a good fire for my life. Saturday farm tours were a potent way for me to see these classroom concepts in action and get to see all the flavors and styles of the permaculture lifestyle. There were also many new connections made and methods learned, sharing about my farm and projects with all of our classmates and expanding the circle that way. I am very grateful for this time of reflection, and it is truly bittersweet reminiscing back on this course, many precious memories and friendships that will live on.”
How would you describe this program to others?
“Great community- loved the meals and the community building. Cody and Megan are awesome caring people and great community resources. Well organized. Plenty of opportunities to make connections and network with other people. A great way to deepen your working knowledge around farming, gardening, landscape design, working with the earth, working with the community.”
“A hands-on dive into nature-based skills to use in growing food and growing community sustainably and regeneratively. A way to learn about all meanings of permaculture – a multi-faceted way of being, focusing on living in intelligently and in harmony with the land and your surroundings.”
“Hands-on, experiential and discussion-based; Reflective and introspective; Non-traditional; Relational vs. transactional. Unique. Nurturing. Powerful.”
“A great way to gain practical skills to work with the land around you in a natural way. Lots of self discovery and inner landscape work. Very co-created and highlights personal character strengths in a working group setting.”
How would you describe Megan & Cody as facilitators & mentors of the program? The project partners & guests?
“Both are caring and easy to talk to. I appreciate their humor, and willingness to share their passions and knowledge with us. All of the partners were approachable and had a lot to share. It was great to see their work and listen to their process. It inspires me to get out there and try something.”
“Megan and Cody are outgoing teachers, welcoming, inclusive, thoughtful, a team to support if you want to support their own growth as teachers. Passionate, grateful, useful, fast-paced. Peers/not hierarchical. Partners and guests: absolutely 100% inspiring. Measured, thoughtful elements. Take life and just live it elements. Practical yet passionate. Giving. Life-long learners. Regular people, not perfect, just trying and doing their best, thus very relatable.”
“The program is led by Megan and Cody who are not only highly knowledgeable about permaculture principles but who also live within them. It is as if they are each radiant light ready to pass on what they know to make this world the best place it can be. The care they have for all souls is eminent. They are loving and kind. They teach from this as well as guide through offering resources, challenging with questions, and leading by example. I appreciated the way the program was designed with the balance of lecture and hands on with the farm visits.”
“Cody and Megan are are full of passion for ecology, experiential education, and personal growth. They are powerful mentors and role models in their vision for Land By Hand (dream it – do it!). They bring confidence and competence, as well as humility and humor – and together make a graceful and complimentary team!”
“Megan and Cody are terrific teachers and work beautifully together as guides on this journey of rewilding – wonderful examples of how nourish and preserve our inner and outer landscapes. The guest speakers were a nice asset to diversify our time together and gather information and resources. This course has helped me gain and strengthened many relationships and connections. Some of the farmers and presenters I knew already and I got to see and hear a deeper version of their story!”
“Throughout the course connections were made. My dreams and visions now had words and language and science behind them. I have been, through taking this course, refined. Although still I am not fluent in this new language, I can join in the conversation. This language is what has been missing for me for all these years. It’s as if now I can start to really live. I have reached the base of the mountain, Cody and Megan you both have taught me to speak, now it’s time to climb.”
What skills or experience have you cultivated throughout the program & how has this affected your lifestyle?
“Listening and asking better questions. I think that many things in my life coalesced to create a growth medium for empathy and connection through inquiry and sharing. It was awesome a great platform to explore what I want in the next phase of my life and take steps to create it.
I feel that one of the main benefits of this course is that I can more confidently select which skills I would put into play in my future life and that of my future family. I feel less overwhelmed by the vast realm of permaculture principles. I have seen how people live and therefore I can make more informed decisions which means much less stress when beginning. It was very useful to visit people and get a sense of how time is a factor in all of this, which you can only really understand through story and being able to ask questions. I also feel I know of so many places to look to find possibility of supplemental topics.”
“I believe these experiences have confirmed my personal beliefs and have now provided a framework for me to place it. Parts of it were within me and only needed the mirror of the people within the group to bring it out and bring it further. I have learned specifically, too. I now know swale, slope, and soil; fruit tree guilds and food forests; plantain, comfrey, birch, elderberry, nettle and so much more. I have expanded my library and knowledge base as well. At times I am overwhelmed with all there is to know. The wisdom of the group has settled that some with reminders to take it all in and take it slow. I know more now than I did before because of these experiences, which has made me only more of who I am.”
“Building soil health; supporting fungal growth and falling in love with mycelium, learning about plant guilds as a strategy to support fruit trees and ward off disease. This has made me feel more capable in my own ability to troubleshoot in my backyard (i.e. apple scab and aster rust) and to grow the things I want (mushrooms!) on my own.”
What types of personal or professional connections have you grown? How have these connections potentially helped your goals in life moving forward?
“This has motivated me to reach out to a ton of people and ask for a conversation! Who knows where they will go, but connections are being made and I am learning more and more about the landscape that is happening in the Twin Cities.”
“The most powerful connections for me, have been with other members of the PDC. I truly adore our group, and am so grateful to have crossed paths with such a wonderful community of people! It was a very grounding experience for me to build these connections during such a significant time of transition in my life and I am very much looking forward to staying connected.”
“The program has also broadened my awareness of looking at those around me as resources for skills and assets related to projects and community connection: local farmers; farmers markets; local health food stores and co-ops; local college administrators, colleagues, and students; and neighbors, friends, and family. Being a part of this program has been life changing and life affirming. While I know this will not occur – if it comes that I do not cross paths with any of the group or any of those who I’ve met along the way again, it does not matter. Each time I am in my garden, or checking on my elderberry bush, or moving dirt from here to there, they will be with me. All will grow well and be well because I will carry the wisdom and kindness and comfort they have each provided as I care for my land and those who come to it. Through me is them.”