By taking this course, you will gain a fundamental understanding of how to design, establish, and maintain a permaculture food forest, allowing you to create your own Garden of Eden.

Course Description

A food forest is a type of permaculture design that uses natural ecological principles to create a self-sustaining, productive ecosystem. By combining the design science principles of permaculture gardening, planting, and farming, food forests can provide an abundant and diverse source of food while also creating a natural habitat for wildlife. Food forests are designed to mimic natural ecosystems, with multiple species of plants and animals living in harmony. They can also be designed to be low-maintenance for casual or higher-maintenance commercial production and are resilient to changing climates. With careful design planning, a food forest can provide an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and other edible crops, as well as small animals, for many years to come and potentially indefinitely.

This course is a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about food forests and forest gardening. We will discuss strategies for designing them, techniques and methods for implementing them, achieving long term stability, and demonstrating the sequence of establishing a food forest from day one to full establishment and on to permanence.

you can solve all the worlds problems in a ( food forest ) garden.

What will you learn in this course?

After completing this course, you will get the necessary knowledge to set up and maintain your own food forest. It doesn’t matter if you lack time, have limited space, or don’t have ideal climate conditions. In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about establishing and taking care of your own food forest—a security system for the future.


Lunch can be preordered for a fee.

Tea and Coffee is available for a fee.


Accommodation Booking:

For accommodation enquiries and bookings please email:

Course Outline
What is a food forest?

Food forest basics

Food forest principles

Food forests across climates

Why build a forest?

Nature is our teacher

Earth’s Life Systems

Energy principles





Build soil



Peace of mind

Food Forest Design Strategies

Water, access, structures






Creating micro-climate

Design sequences


Food Forest Techniques and Methods

Methods of preparing the ground

Strategies to control the weeds

– Mulching

– Ground cover

– Long term canopy

Methods of planting

– Selecting plant species

– Perennials

– Annuals

– Overstorey

– Understorey

– Edge species

Different Techniques

successional planting

– Vertical spaces

– Plant stacking

– Companion planting

– Guilds

Soil building techniques

– Compost

– Chop and drop

– Animal interactions

– Support species

Learn about appropriate tools, equipment, and technology

Food Forest Sequence of Establishment

Food forests over time

Food forest maintenance

Chop and drop

Animal integrations

Demonstrate established systems

Included in the course

Face to Face

Theoretical & Practical Lessons

Geoff Lawton and Sam Parker Davies, will guide you through both theoretical lectures as well as practical sessions where you can witness permaculture in action.

Stay on site during your course


Please email: to enquire about accommodation options and prices.

Camping options may be available depending on numbers.


The main facilitator for this course is Geoff Lawton & Sam Parker Davies.  Whilst we try to ensure that we advertise the correct teacher information on the site, due to unforeseen circumstances, the teachers may change at short notice.

Geoff Lawton

Geoff Lawton is the main facilitator for this course. He is a Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course with Bill Mollison in 1983. He holds a Diploma in Permaculture Education, Design, Implementation, System Establishment, Administration and Community Development given by the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison.

Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administrating and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies.

He has currently educated over 15,000 students in Permaculture worldwide. These include graduates of the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course and courses focused on the practical design of sustainable soil, water, plant, and legal and economic systems.

Sam Parker-Davies Permaculture Teacher at Zaytuna Farm

Sam Parker-Davies

Sam Parker-Davies is also the main facilitator for this course. He has taught and practiced permaculture design in 3 continents, in 12 countries. He is a permaculture designer by trade, having done his internship with Geoff and Nadia Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute, a one-year Soil Food Web course with Elaine Ingham, and Permaculture Design and Teaching courses with Rosemary Morrow and Lis Bastion.

Sam has also learned from and worked alongside prominent leaders in the industry such as Graham Bell, Bunya Halasz, Istvan Makuly, and Giuseppe Sanicandro. Sam has worked in a wide variety of climates and ecosystems – from desert to rainforest regeneration projects, hyper arid to wetland, temperate to subtropical. Sam has devoted his life to getting planet earth on a path of regeneration and is hopeful from what he sees and in experiences every day, that he may well see it in his lifetime. Sam is currently working as a designer for both Permaculture DesignTM and Permaculture Sustainable ConsultingTM.

Sam now lives here on Zaytuna farm as a shareholder, farmer, designer and project manager for numerous projects in the local region. From 2 million acre cattle stations, large organisations, property development, or balcony city gardens the students of these PDCs go on to do world changing things.



This course will be taught at Santa Paloma, a farm and eco centre that is nestled in the beautiful coastal forest of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.


The Next Steps

1. Check our Courses & Events page and enrol in a follow up course, sometimes we run Permaculture In Action and Teacher Training courses.

3. Create a profile and join the Permaculture Network

Santa Paloma Guest Farm


This course will be taught at Santa Paloma, in East London, South Africa.

Nearest Airport

Regional: King Phalo Airport, East London, South Africa
International: Port Elizabeth, Gqeberha, South Africa


Travel on the N2 out of East London towards King Williams Town. Take the Amalinda off ramp. Turn right towards Voortrekker Road, turn left into Voortrekker and then the 3rd right turn into Thornycroft road. Follow the signs down to Santa Paloma. You will need a gate code to enter.