November 15-17, 2013

Dave Jacke on Gardening Like the Forest Evening Public Talk: Nov 15, 7-9 PM at Oklahoma City University Chapel

Weekend Workshop: Nov 16-17 at Commonwealth Urban Farms.


Dave Jacke is co-author of the award-winning two volume book Edible Forest Gardens published by Chelsea Green Publishing. He was trained by permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison in 1981, and has run his own ecological design firm, Dynamics Ecological Design, since 1984. He has consulted on, designed, built, and planted landscapes, homes, farms, and communities across the United States and overseas. More information at

Hosted by Commonwealth Urban Farms and Closer To Earth Youth Gardens.
Co-sponsored by Oklahoma City University Oikos Scholars Program, the Social and Ecological Responsibility Initiative at OCU, Harding Fine Arts Academy, SixTwelve, Transition OKC and Central Park Community Garden. For more information, email or call 524-1864.

Friday Evening Presentation

Gardening Like the Forest: Home-Scale Ecological Food Production

Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 from 7-9 pm. Suggested donation of $5.

Chapel at Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder. Registration not required.

Healthy forests maintain, fertilize, and renew themselves, naturally.  Wouldn’t you like to grow an abundant food-producing ecosystem like this in your back yard? You can! Edible forest gardens mimic the structure and function of natural forests through all their stages of development and grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizers, farmaceuticals, and fun. A forest-mimic garden allows us to meet our own needs and regenerate healthy ecosystems at the same time. But you don’t need a forest to grow a forest garden—it’s about gardening LIKE the forest, not necessarily gardening IN the forest—you can mimic other ecosystems too, including prairies, meadows, savannahs, and so on.

This introductory talk provides an overview of the forest gardening vision and a few living examples, then dives deep into the essence, spinning out some of the broader implications of ecological design science for human culture design.

Weekend Workshop

Gardening Like the Forest: Fundamentals of Ecological Gardening

Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17 from 9 am to 5 pm

Held indoors at Harding Fine Arts Academy, 3333 N. Shartel and outdoors at nearby CommonWealth Urban Farms.

Cost is $200 (payments are made on the registration page).

Scholarships available; email


Ecosystem agriculture attempts to mimic the structure and function of natural ecosystems in consciously designed food-producing ecologies. This workshop explores the vision, theory, design, and practice of ecosystem agriculture using temperate forest ecosystems as the primary general model, and habitats of the Oklahoma region as specific models. Lectures, field observations, and experiential classes will reveal the nature of ecosystem architecture, social structure, underground economics, and succession. Participants will draw conclusions from these experiences, developing practical design principles, practices, patterns, and processes for garden design and management.  Once we “get” the bigger patterns that connect, we will touch on the nitty gritty of perennial polyculture design.
An effective perennial polyculture combines useful perennial plants in ways that minimize competition, create additive yields, and minimize the gardener’s work and outside inputs. Polyculture design provides the most interest and challenge in the forest garden design process. We’ll explore the specific ecological theories behind polyculture design through experiential classes and design exercises. Participants will design at least one perennial polyculture during class.

The Friday evening talk is a prerequisite for the weekend workshop, so please attend both.