Upcoming Workshops – Thoughts Please – Your Feedback Needed

We have a planned Urban Garden Workshop coming up for the week of Oct 14th and it will likely run from the 17th – the 20th.  That is pretty set in stone date wise and full details along with the ability to lock in a spot will come next week.

We already have over 15 on the waiting list for it, if you want to be on the pre-announcement list for this send me an email with urban permaculture workshop in the subject line.  This one is going to fill up fast, the 15 on the list are from one show mention and we will likely cap it at 24.

I have some other ideas and want to gauge interest.  If you could just comment below on any of these you would likely attend.  Can’t put a price on them yet but likely all would be multi day (2-4 day) events with lots of extra fun, good eating, cold beer, playing pool and darts, etc. added in.

The general cost we want to keep on average between 250 and 350 per event.  Much of it is put into giving you a great experience by the way.  You won’t be living on Taboli and Bean Sprouts at my events.   So here are some I am kicking around for the next 6 month time frame.

  • Building a Steven Harris style battery system in a pick up truck.  My thoughts are we can even allow some students to build one and build a few in about 3 days.  Students building their own would have to fund all parts and bring them along.  I have a three bay garage we can use for workspace during the class.  This would be a hands on version of the videos Steve did and might be a lot of fun.  I have thought about having Steve come in and teach this but that would up the cost.  So tell me if you would be willing to pay a bit more to bring in the man himself or just would want to come and have Josiah and I teach the class.   Target date would be late Sept or Early Nov.
  • Aquaponics with One Moving Part – A student from San Antonino at our first event has a great way to do aquaponics, there is only one siphon in the entire system said siphon has no moving parts and simply can’t fail.  In this system there is only one moving part, the pump.  We plant to build this using two large stock tanks that are part of the urban garden showcase.  Target date is November.
  • Fun and Skills Workshop – Full details not determined but this would be a lot of little stuff over a few days.  We would make some meals in jars with the dry canner, do a canning class, brew some beer and other cool stuff.  Likely a show up on Wednesday evening and go home Sunday morning schedule.  We would also do some rocket stove cooking, solar oven cooking (assuming nature cooperates), etc.  Target would be early December. Students would leave with the canned goods and other stuff they made, we would have pre set up shipping boxes for those who are traveling by air so your stuff could be mailed home to you.
  • Killin and Cleanin Chickens 101 – Target Mid January, we plan to raise a meat flock starting like right away.  These are going to be Red Ranger birds.  I am considering a rotation of 50 vs. the planned 25.  We would run a butchering class, all students would kill two chickens and clean them for freezing, etc.  The rub is I would given any student that wanted one a chicken of their own in advance.  This means if you wanted to you would leave with a pastured chicken you butchered yourself.  Since I am GIVING YOU THE BIRD as a gift and you are killing your own bird, there is no issues with the FDA telling you my pastured chicken isn’t as “safe” as a Tyson bird, raise in filth and then dipped in chlorine and poop soup.  Given slaughter can be done in a day we MIGHT combine this and the Fun and Skills Workshop into one event of about 3-4 days.

Likely we won’t do all of these but we might.  It will all depend on interest.  I am also considering setting up some sort of a hunt in south Texas either for meat does or for hogs, any interest in that please comment.

Another idea is a multi day fishing trip off shore on what is known as a head boat.  If I can get enough interest we can basically have 30-40 TSPrs on the boat for a two day drip for tuna or shark or something like that.  If I do this it will likely be with these guys, DolphinDocks.com I have gotten great feedback on them.

Anyway let me know so we can start getting some of this stuff past the planning phase and into action.  Again likely we won’t do all of this in the next 6 months I am just setting priority based on real interest.

For those wanting an update on the Earthworks Event with Geoff Lawton, LOOKS LIKE the first week of April but it is hard to lock in dates with Geoff at this time.  Soon as I know I will let you know.

72 Responses to Upcoming Workshops – Thoughts Please – Your Feedback Needed

  1. Those sound like great ideas! I would love many of those classes and many would be great to help me in starting my own business too.

  2. When you have the butchering class would you post some videos too? I really like the idea of you making some videos showing people just how easy it is to butcher your own chickens. A video of how to cook those birds might be useful to some people too.

    • Modern Survival

      Yea we can do that. Cooking sure I could be man, chicken is chicken, but like we said recently whole chicken does seem to intimidate folks.

      I have some small Fayoumis I could do something with but may be Joshia and I can do something with some naturally raised chickens to put out this week.

  3. Dava Serbantes

    I am totally interested in all of these. Dang it! But alas I am a trucker with hubby committed until Dec 31st. Then I quit. The second alas is that I live in California so I could journey there for one event ( before spring gardens and chicken obtaining.) thanks to you Jack, I hope to be homesteading and starting my own business in 2014.

    Now as to the classes. If you offer either the battery pack or the fun stuff combined with the chicken slaughtering after Jan., I am so there!

  4. Millions of us will look on via internet because we can not afford to attend.
    Hope you post videos.
    Hope it goes well!

  5. I can’t head down that way in the near future, but my experience with workshops is that they usually are most helpful when they have a specific focus and even have a couple of experts that circulate through the “laboratory” portion… IOW yes, Steven Harris being there in addition to yourself would help people get more out of the battery workshop. And I expect Harris would also have additional ideas of modification as people worked on their own system.

    Wish I could come! If I was closer I would drive our old truck down.

    And yeah… .aquaponics…. or let me suggest I would really like a focused “pond” class equivalent to the urban permaculture, but all about pond options.

  6. Hey Jack,

    I’d like to see the Aquaponics project as part of the Urban Garden if possible. I would be willing to come in a day early and help with the “set up” for Aquaponics so the assembly and implementation can be concise and quick as to fit the time frame of doing this in conjunction with the Urban Garden.

    I was a bit unclear from the podcast if participants to the Urban Garden workshop will need to be PDC certified. Can one attend if they want to learn but have not taken the course? (I may getting this mixed up with working with Sweet Nick – we dubbed him this at the woody bed workshop)

    I also think adding chicken skills to the fun and skills workshop would be good. Would doing this in the winter in Texas be a good time frame for cooking outside? You might want to add “cowboy cooking” outside with Dutch Ovens… I will be happy to bring my inventory of Dutch ovens + Tripod + accessories (I have several deep cast iron fryers and other cast iron items)

    Also, if possible, adding other small game for cleaning would be good as well. Maybe not each person doing it but a demonstration on squirrel, dove, etc thrown in to show similarities and technique.

    I guess the extra cost for Steven would still be based on affordability. I would prefer to have Steven there and would definitely consider coming.

    On hunting, is there a license required to hunt hogs? If so, the details for out-of-state permits would be helpful. I’m sure doe-only would require a license. I would love to dust off my Remington .243 and put some meat in the freezer.

    On the fishing trip, if it were, say, for Tuna – it is unlikely there would be many that would catch one… would we split the spoils? ;>) I would be interested in this trip.

    wow, guess I need to move down there to make all these workshops ;>)

    • I second the idea of having the Aquaponics project as part of the Urban Garden class. For those of us considering flying in from out of state, it would great to do something like these two together for a more well-rounded approach to setting up our own homestead.

  7. Jack – I am so glad your listeners are interested in learning about Aquaponics. I have the feeling that is going to be a big winner when we need to be growing lot more of our own food closer to home. For those who are interested the National Aquaponics Association conference is happening in Tucson on September 20-22. Information can be found at: http://aquaponicsassociation.org/2013-aquaponics-association-conference/

  8. For what it’s worth, I’d love to do any or all of those and would in a NY Minute if I wasn’t all the way up here in BFE, Utah. (Still mad at you for moving to TX instead of Southern Utah). All great ideas IMO.

  9. Jack, I like the idea of having Stephen Harris personally come out for the backup power class – I’ll even kick in some extra $$$ to help make that happen. In my case I’d be driving out from LA.

    I would also be interested in the fun&skills workshop. Being a city dweller I’ve never actually done most of these things.

  10. Why does all the cool shit happen when Im trying to pay off debt. 🙁

  11. Fun and skills workshop jumps out at me as the one that appeals the most, although all of them sound great ideas.

  12. I can’t swing any due to Family, Distance and Money, but I look foward to the video clips of the clasess. Keep up the good work.

  13. It all sounds super great. Maybe some firearms stuff??

  14. Cranberryrose55

    Jack, when you get more settled in, if people in different parts of the country offer their homesteads, we’d love to see you offer classes around the US, that is, if a certain number of workshop participants needrd to pay for the workshop pay in full for the class. People like Steve Harris could appear on video taped training and then the hands on application would be after the video. Some of us just can’t travel, but we’d sure like to attend.

  15. I would like to see subject intensive workshops that last two full days.
    I would need to travel to TX to do so and can’t take two days for travel then 4 days for a workshop – although I would love to.
    I understand the real value of learning something right and I would opt to pay to have Steven Harris onsite.
    I like all of the ideas, but particularly the skills, perhaps it is the female gather in me, but food preservation, foraging, maybe soapmaking and household goods – almost a homestead home economics type of deal.

  16. We are very interested in the skills workshop, specifically canning and brewing.

  17. shaun quimby

    These classes all sound fun, ONE MORE reason I wish I lived in Texas or at least closer too! The chicken event sounds especially cool.

  18. I would love to be in on the hog hunt. Also, the battery back up class would be a great prep to add to what I’m already doing.

  19. Jack, I’d be game for the first three- the truck power project is on my list of things to accomplish and a workshop would be a great way to see how others would put theirs together. I think three days is quite a bit of time for this but it could be broken up with some tours of your showcase garden and that sort of thing and assisting other attendees with theirs. I think this is probably a class you’d want to limit, size-wise.
    I’m most interested in the Aquaponics workshop. Having been at your first workshop and seeing the photos of that project, I’d love to do a hands-on workshop to give the confidence needed to start one of those. I have the basic understanding but for some of us dudes there’s nothing like putting hands on the project and turning some screws to get it right.
    The skills workshop would be great also, particularly for those of us just getting started- it seems like a “basic skills” class that could really appeal to new members of the TSP community.

    As always, Jack, thanks for what you do through TSP. I’ll come to as many of these as I can from down in the Houston area.

  20. Michael West

    Although noton yourlist pleaseconsider hosting a class on emergency suturing, administering IVs and emergency dental care.

  21. I like the idea of these classes though I would only be able to attend 1 or 2 most likely. In particular I like the Steven Harris class — I think I have a man-crush on him as I can listen to his segments over and over again, they’re just so informative and entertaining — as was as the chicken killing/cleaning class.

    I don’t have chickens and have no plans to raise any anytime soon, but having been separated from food production all my life it’s a skill I do want to learn. It’s like I’m also looking for a mentor of sorts to teach me hunting as I’ve never been hunting in my life and believe it’s something I should know.

    As for the truck battery build, I’d be willing even to drive my pickup truck down from NJ for it to actually build it in place. I think depending upon the number of people you’d expect to have for the class an additional fee of $50 to $100 per person as a stipend for Steven to attend might be worthwhile.

    I also think the two-day tuna/shark trip would be a helluva lot of fun, though making it down from NJ just for that might not be the best use of my resources, or at least that’s what my wife would likely tell me.


  22. I want to be on that waiting list! And I am easy. I’ll learn anything you want to teach me. (^_^)

    • But since you are sincerely looking for guidance, the limiting factor for me is not money, and it is not distance. The limiting factor for me is the school year. I have four kids in school and a husband who works all the time. I am a native Texan and I know how hot Texas is in the summer. But the school holidays are the best bet for me. I can not be the only interested potential customer who has childcare/school commitment issues.

      • Modern Survival

        Indeed but some things are simply beyond my control. And I really can’t see running this stuff when it is 100 plus degrees. Perhaps something can be done around spring break or something.

  23. While I doubt I will be making the trek from NH to TX anytime soon, I think a good topic for on site workshop, youtube sharing, and eventual community “database” would be explaining the way you approach guilds and companion planting at length. This could include of course all of your own experience, input from books and experts, and (if you have one) a good codified approach to how to test for good companions in our own gardens.

  24. Matthew N Gooseneck

    I would like to get back that way. I have aunts , uncles and cousins all around the DFW area. Maybe I could combine a visit with them and some workshops.

  25. I would kill for a chance to learn to slaughter and butcher a farm raised chicken! Oh yeah, we will! And I am blessed enough to live in North Texas

  26. All the workshop ideas sound great. Unfortunately, I have to travel from the east coast to join you for these, so I am likely to only be able to do one. The thing I like about your planned courses is the hands on approach. I can watch a YouTube video if all I’m doing is seeing a demonstration. I need to try it to really benefit from a course like this.

    If all the times / dates are equally convenient for me, I’d most prefer the fun and skills course.

  27. Jerome Albrecht

    I would be interested in attending the aquaponics and the skills workshop.

  28. Jennifer Winters

    They all sound like great workshops. I am most interested in the fun and skills workshop. Thanks for all you do.

  29. I’m in on fun-skills and killin chicken. 100%

  30. Very interested in the aquaponics workshop. The fishing excursion sounds like a blast, but in reality, I probably wouldn’t be able to justify the expense for it. Very glad you are thinking along these lines!

  31. I’m interested in the earthworks class I have 3 acres to work with and need to get some vision for it, and I would love to come hunt down in texas. I am a MO. resident so I’m not sure what costs would be involved. I have some friends who go down every year, but I’ve yet to make it.

  32. I’d love to do some Hog hunting and combine it with a butchering class. I’d love to do some offshore fishing as well.

  33. Love it Jack. My feedback is nothing but “bring it closer to me.”

    I have many Army friends in Central Texas I need to visit again but I have my ducks to get in a row first. For 250-350 bucks… what you are offering is AMAZING! I know you know that but wanted to point it out.

    If you ever want to do something near Beer City USA (Grand Rapids Michigan… two years running.. 🙂 ) I will be glad to help out.

  34. I would love to come down for the aquaponics class I am looking at putting one together this winter or spring. Hog hunting would be awesome also!

  35. Would love to come to Texas again in the spring. The fun and skills workshop or the chicken butchering would be the most useful to us.

  36. If I lived closer (I’m in AK) I’d try to go to the battery bank and the chicken ones, please put it on youtube!

  37. Jack-

    I could help with the battery class. I have a technician background, specializing in DC wiring.

    Like Jake, having the urban workshop coupled with the aquaponics class would be a great twofer. I could see that as being a complimentary product to sell to a customer interested in permaculture products.

    I would be up for the chicken class, hunting and deep sea fishing.

  38. I’m down for the Hunting part just let me know when and where!

  39. I want more than anything to learn permaculture and sustainable living. But the way to help and encourage a change is this world is not by making education only available for the wealthy. The people who need it most are ones who are working 8.00 dollar an hour jobs and can’t survive on that. Some may just be too old or not educated enough for a higher paying job. And don’t want to not only go into deeper debt, but there’s not enough hours in the day to work full time,school full time, and keep up a household by yourself. Give the seniors, and poor workers a chance to learn how to be self sustaining. I realize you have to make a living too. But are you really trying to make a difference in the world and really help and educate,? Put on some free classes. And some paying classes. There’s a lot of people who’d love to learn how to be self sustaining. We could form land co-ops or something. I went into debt for some permaculture tapes to learn at home which I plan to share with everyone whos interested. You’ ve got to get the word out. Most people I know never herd of permaculture. But I can’ t afford your classes. Makes me cry, but that doesn’t change anything. So I keep trying to find an apprenticeship position that will actually pay you for working and learn along the way. So far I haven’t found one that pays more than 500.00 per month for full time. If I had the money and could get off work I be there. Have a good one.

  40. The Aquaponics, fishing and hunting would be of interest to me

  41. Jack,
    I am very interested in Urban garden as well as earthworks. I’m next door in New Mexico- Albuquerque for now Ramah in future (Candy Kitchen). I’m trying to find younger/ stronger folk who might be interested in transforming Urban yard to food forrest-ish property and haven’t been able to find anyone permie to ‘hire’ for transforming 10 acre in Ramah- Geoff style.
    The only permie folk I’ve found are high end $$ Santa Fe folk.

    I hear ya Vonnie Rae.

    I work with people with Diabetes and that population can benefit from all of the above comments from her (?).

    I am Interested in 3 year plan for both sites. I would be willing to tuition someone to your place if they’d assist me on site in Albuquerque. We recently had Brad Lancaster in Albuquerque and still no one getting into the Biz in ABQ.

    I love your Podcast and am member for life now.
    I’m not super good with posting- slow to skill.
    My property is adjacent to Wolf Santuary in Ramah maybe that might be a draw to have it it be a site worth recording overtime if project was selected for
    reduced rate swale etc. planning/ design.
    Just got my 3 woody beds in front yard in suburbia ABQ- ” Breaking Good”
    Looking to afford water catchment gutters for more good.

  42. Lance Matheson

    Search on YouTube for “chicken butchering” and you will have lots of videos to watch. Jack’s hands-on class would be great. But, for those of us who cannot attend these videos will have to suffice.

  43. The New Mike


    I would be highly interested in a hunting trip. Either or to be honest. This year I’m not liking my chances of going hunting like last year, so getting some alternative meat on the table might be nice… Maybe that’ll fend off the little lady for awhile.

    I am also highly interested in the fishing trip as well. I’ve been wanting to go on an offshore fishing trip for awhile now (They’re a blast). I’ve never caught anything that big before, so that would be great. (See above about alternative meat and the little lady…).

  44. The aquaponics class would be the greatest interest for me.

  45. Hey jack,

    For obvious reasons I can’t commit to anything without details, but I would totally be down for the hunting or fishing trips. My homestead skills are where I need them to be, but the chance to hang out and meet other tsp people would be awesome. Plus I have never been deep sea fishing before. Would love to go.

  46. michael jordan"the bee whisperer"

    Jack I’d like to come down and get you some beehives setup. I’ve tot beekeeping all over the world and I own a company called a bee friendly company. I would love to come down and host the class for you on langstrumpf beekeeping, top Bar beekeeping and the new hive that we’ve invented. get you on the path of harvesting honey wax in all the products that bees do. maybe in do a class on making Mead. let me know if that’s something you’re interested in I would love to do it

    • Now that would be a fun class too! It’s something I’ve been toying with recently, setting up a couple of hives if for no other reason than to have them pollinate my growing garden. I’ve seen a couple of videos on YouTube about this, and it seems intriguing, and to learn about it first hand would be cool!


  47. Jack, they all sound great. I would like to come to the Aquaponics and the Deer/Hog hunt timing permitting. I attended your Woody Bed workshop and loved it.

    If this is the way to get on the list for the above, put me down. If not please let me know how to go about it.

  48. Deer/Hog hunting trip would be a blast. I’d come for sure.

  49. I would be very interested in the fun and skills workshop

  50. Jack, just a couple comments to follow up from those I left on your earlier post seeking feedback: I think these workshops will be great. I’m interested in the aquaponics and the backup power system, in particular.

    I also appreciate you keeping costs reasonable and keeping them around weekends so attendees don’t have to burn a week’s vacation to come. While I’d love to someday get to a PDC, the enormous cost of those (when travel, lodging, and class fees are accounted for) means I’ll probably never get to one. I can, however, swing a few hundred bucks and a tank of gas and that really does make a huge difference.

  51. Dheerecrossing

    I’d like to see the aquaponics and urban garden systems.

    I could also do some soap-making and basic leatherworking skills like making knife sheaths to add to the ‘fun weekend’.

  52. Aquaponics, Chicken Killing, and Urban Permaculture Workshop.

    Hope to see them happen – Thanks for all you’re doing!

  53. Christopher de Vidal

    Jack I doubt I’ll be able to make it to one of these classes but please tell us how we can find out more about the aquaponics system. I recall hearing an overview about it in a podcast about a month ago but would like to read more details.

  54. I’d be VERY interested in attending the Steven Harris battery system.

    If you schedule it – count me in please.

    This is on a follow up list to do next year for sure.

    First hand experience while working a temporary job in Texas would be priceless.

    Thanks, Jack!

  55. Man, I hope you do a podcast or blog or video on that one moving part aquaponics system I have been reading and reading on it, but not so sure about all the pumps needed!

  56. I love the hog hunting idea, especially if it combined with a butchering class. Same for deer – a hunt + butchering. Not sure I’d make it to southern Texas though.

  57. To round out chicken skills – I’d like to see a tour of your chicken coup and have you discuss the rationale of how you chose to setup your system, how you chose your birds and what you would do differently if starting anew. As well as once we butcher the chickens to actually take the “scraps” and start a stock pot and cook something up that way – chicken soup etc, (never done this) This would enhance the entire chicken raising skill level.

    • Modern Survival

      Well you have been here so I figure you would get how boring that would be man. My coop is a 12×16 8 foot high shed. It is my setup because it is here. There are 2x4s for perches and some egg boxes. That is pretty much it. I can do what you ask but I think it might be a bit underwhelming but that MIGHT be good because people will see how simple it is.

  58. As a newbie hunter, I’d be interested in a hunting trip. I’m outside of Austin and south Texas would not be a problem for me.

  59. I’m 100% in for the Aquaponics class and butchering a chicken. 90% sure I’d be in for the battery, hunting (I’m a complete beginner), and beer brewing. If the aquaponics one was on the weekend I could probably convince my brother to come. I already have him interested in it. Trying to use it as a gateway drug to prepping.

  60. I would love to do the butchering class, and pairing it up with the random skills workshop would be awesome. I will be traveling from Ohio, so the more I could be a part of in one trip, the better!

  61. I would love to attend the aquaponics session!

  62. I am excited for any permaculture classes, the aquiponics class and would also be down for a hunting or fishing group trip.