Agriculture is only sustainable if it is economically viable and can nourish us. By mimicking nature, we can produce a system that creates no pollution, generates a profit, and provides nutrition more akin to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors enjoyed with respect to their biome.
Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture and permaculture practitioner, has been walking this walk for more than 20 years. We are excited to have him teach here at Mountain Sky Ranch!
This Restoration Agriculture Workshop is designed to give the perfect blend of education and experience:
Principles gleaned from interacting with natural systems and inspiration on how to design a system for you and your land.
Genetic Selection of Perennial Woody Crops
Read the Landcape
Identify and practice those principles with observaion and with measuring equipment.
Identifying keylines in the field
Tools and strategies for implemting Restoration Agriculture designs including equipment demos and surveying tools.
Using a site level
Building swales, pocket ponds and drives-throughs that are compatible with keyline design
Here is a video of highights of Mark Shepard at Mountain Sky Ranch. This is a glimpse of what you will get at the Workshop.
Restoration Agriculture & Mountain Sky Ranch
Mountain Sky Ranch is a gem of sustainable innovation nestled in north central Colorado. Over ten years, Deb and Wayne Dorban developed the site to operate as a research and proof of concept sustainable agriculture farm with over 10 profit centers (chickens, veggies, microgreens, alpacas, aquaculture, dog training, events, stone farming, etc.)
The goals of this Restoration Agriculture project is to increase resiliency of the land through enhancing watershed managment, increase diversity in value-added perennial tree crops and to serve as an educational resesarch hub.
Additional highlights unique to Mountain Sky Ranch
Restored sections of native prairie on which in the spring and summer, over 70 species of wildflowers have been counted
Eighteen ponds stocked with trophy trout, perch and bass
Full scale “pasture golf course”
Reclaimed historic sandstone quarry that acts as an amphitheater and for equipment storage
“Green” Mountain Chalet Lodge and Event Center
Site of one of the most elite alpaca breeding herds in North America
Miles of trails and paths through the valley and timbered areas
Below is the tentative outline for the workshop. Activities are ultimately weather-dependent and are subject to adjustment. Please come prepared for ample learning and for hands-on activites in the field!
Supplies to consider bringing along includes but is not limited to notebooks, writing utensils, cameras, sun protection, wind protection, rain gear, long pants, and comfortable close-toed shoes. It is also wise to carry your own supply of fresh water and a snack to keep you nourished during any prolonged periods of field activities between lunch and dinnertime.
Informal dinner gathering (weather-permitting and meal NOT provided)
Directions to Mountain Sky Ranch
We are located about one hour from both downtown Denver and Denver International Airport (DIA). We are right in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about 10 miles west of Berthoud, CO. Below you can generate a map with directions to get to us. Nourish the Planet is also located at the Ranch and is indicated on the Map as the location of choice. See you here soon!
New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm 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, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered.
Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture Design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.