Sharon teaching in her permaculture food forest.

A Big Dose of Practical Hope: Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

This summer marks a troubling anniversary for the planet. In June 1988, NASA climate scientist James Hansen told Congress that global warming wasn’t something far off in the future, it was already here. His testimony was the opening of what many now call “the Age of Climate Change.”

Thirty years later, many of James Hansen’s predictions have come true: Earth is hotter, weather is more extreme, sea levels are rising, wildfires are burning. As I sit here at Dancing Rabbit dripping in sweat, a feeling of hopelessness sets in. I worry about the impact that reckoning with a chaotic planet will have on young people.

Sharon teaching in her permaculture food forest.

Sharon teaching in her permaculture food forest.

But then I open an email sent from Prairie, a 15-year-old who attended last year’s Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit. “Such joy I feel in knowing that it does not have to be difficult work, living on this planet by way of growing, storing, and ultimately thriving!” she writes. “Our Earth desires to produce endless abundance in limitless quantities in service to all who live. Now, I can see not just how much our world needs to change directions, with the help of the tools I learned in the Permaculture Design Course, I have myriad ideas about how this change is absolutely possible.”

In reading this, my joy returns: here is a young person with energy, hope, and practical tools she gleaned from our Permaculture Design Course! Her life has been touched, she feels the possibilities, and undoubtedly, she will touch many others’ as she continues to explore ways to thrive and heal the planet.

Are you, too, searching for an inspiring blend of hope and practical tools? Are you looking for real solutions to climate change and issues we face on the planet today? Could you be ready for a life-changing experience?

This year’s 9-day intensive Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage might be just what you need. With a special focus on climate change solutions and hands-on practice, we will cover the broad spectrum of the world-renowned permaculture curriculum. All this set in our thriving ecovillage.

Dancing Rabbit’s unique Permaculture Design Course is filling fast. Register now and ensure your dose of practical hope!

Erica picking flowers for 20th- 2

The Problem is the Solution


Because you are a friend of Dancing Rabbit, I’m going to take a leap and guess that you are someone who’s interested in solutionssolutions to the ecological and cultural issues we face today. (Just a guess…)

And because you’re aware of the issues, and excited by solutions, I’m also guessing that you could be a great match for the 4th Annual Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit, happening September 21-30!

Why? Simply put, permaculture is a framework for creating sustainable and regenerative human habitat. The world-renowned Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course curriculum explores physical, social, economic, and inner personal human realms as self-perpetuating and healing ecosystems. A permaculture design course gives you practical tools for designing and creating these systems anywhere in the world. And what better place to explore sustainable human habitat and creative solutions than an ecovillage like Dancing Rabbit?  

Nothing to it, but to do it! Photo by Marge Becaud.

Our PDC uses our twenty-year-old ecovillage as a living laboratory, interweaving the wisdom and knowledge of the permaculture movement with the firsthand learning experiences of an intentional community. We’ve integrated hands-on activities around the ecovillage with project-based learning and opportunities for creative expression, human connection, and celebration. I think you’ll be surprised and inspired by the power of this deep solutions-oriented experience.

And there’s more! A main focus of our course is on solutions to climate change, the most fundamental issue affecting us all on the planet. We’ll zero in on what we can actually do to address our changing climate—close to home as permaculture practitioners, and more broadly as global citizens.

“The problem is the solution” is a well-loved permaculture concept. Come explore what this can mean for you, your community, and your planet.

Register now for our Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit, September 21-30, while the “Earliest Bird” super discounted price is still available!

With appreciation, dear friend of Dancing Rabbit, and excitement about sharing this experience with you,

Sharon Bagatell
Dancing Rabbit Member
and PDC Lead Teacher

PDC 2016 - Photo by Aaron

Hope, Power, and Wisdom: Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Could you use a good dose of hope in these troubling times? How about mixing in a little power and wisdom to go with it?

Charles Nowell experienced all that and more, in last year’s Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Dancing Rabbit. In his own words:

“Taking this Permaculture Design Course has had a profound impact on me. I’m different now, in all ways for the better. I feel as though I have received a heavy download of hope, power, and wisdom…

“First, let me emphasize how much hope I’ve gained from this process. I feel so hopeful because permaculture, as a body of knowledge, has demonstrated a nearly inexhaustible capacity to create abundance, so it’s easy to imagine a future where all human needs are met through efficient and thoughtful processes.

“That means everyone can have clean water. Everyone can have a safe place to live. Everyone can have enough to eat and enough to wear and enough medicine and enough everything.

“Our class was shown countless examples of people around the world who have created amazingly productive systems through careful design, using the same tools that we were learning in class. After a while it adds up to a lot of hope for all of us humans. We need that hope to face what we’re facing as people right now.

“When it comes to power, let me invoke the phrase ‘There is no knowledge that is not power.’ I knew, going in, that I was going to learn a lot. I knew I would be exposed to things I had never seen before or had previously had trouble understanding. What I did not expect was to feel an overwhelming sense of capability grow within me as a result of being given so much knowledge. That power feels good!

The feeling of being able to do good work in the world is healing, it creates a feeling of relief that soothes my anxieties about whether or not I’m doing enough or doing it right. I learned enough not only to take action and to accomplish new things, but enough so that I can integrate so much more.

“Now, when I think about soil, I know so much. When I consider the land and the water, I have a base of understanding and perception that enables me to take action to heal landscapes. It’s the same for the plants, animals, and energy, too. And that knowledge is power (and that’s good)!

The wisdom of permaculture is that if we’re careful and thoughtful, we can make magic happen. It really shows us that being concerned with life in the soil, with life downstream, with how our work affects other people, isn’t just ethics, it’s practical.

“I feel like I learned this from the poise and experience of our teachers. Very often we were asked in measured and even tones ‘What is?’ — a question ripe with mystical and physical implications.

“Our class was always pointed in this direction, always oriented towards the stars of love and care. We were supplied with real guidance about how to harness our desire to do good in the world, literally starting from the ground up…

“Lessons like these are hard to forget, they’ve become part of who I am. Does that make me wise? I don’t know, but it sure feels that way sometimes.

“So, yes, taking my Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit really changed my life. There was a special chemistry between what we were learning, who we were, and being at DR for it all. I had plans to put permaculture to work after the class and am happy to report that the class totally prepared me for that. What I didn’t expect was the amazing feeling and empowerment that came along with it.”

How about you? Would you like to have a life-changing experience filled with hope, power, and wisdom?

If so, we’d love to have you join us this September 16–24 for the Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage!

And as an extra incentive, if you’re one of the next 4 people to register for the course, you’ll save $300 off the full course price!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us.

Laura Wolf June '16

The Hidden Gem of Sustainable Living

By Sharon Bagatell, CSCC Education Coordinator

I’m really excited about the workshop we’re offering this fall called THRIVE: Inner Sustainability for Healers, Leaders, and Lovers of the Earth, with transformational coach Laura Wolf. Here’s a little bit about why…

In talking with folks who visit Dancing Rabbit, I’ve taken to calling the work we do on inner sustainability “the hidden gem I didn’t know I was looking for.”

For many years, I, like so many of the folks who visit here, focused on my ecological footprint,  what I could do to heal the wounds of the planet and make my contribution to a new sustainable culture. It has been good work and it’s kept me quite busy! With so much to do in my outward work, I didn’t even think to take time to focus inward.

In fact, I approached my first workshop with Laura Wolf with as much skepticism as curiosity. Is this really going to get me anywhere, I wondered? Will this take me down a proverbial “rabbit hole” and distract me from my path to a sustainable lifestyle and a sustainable world?

I am delighted to say that the workshop did quite the opposite! Not only was it personally powerful, it took me to a deeper level in my relationship with sustainability. I saw that inner and outer sustainability are intricately interwoven parts of a whole. That gem I didn’t know I was looking for was revealed!

In subsequent years of working with Laura, I can say wholeheartedly that she really gets the interrelationship between nurturing the planet and nurturing ourselves. She has a passion for supporting people to do what we are here to do in the world, and she has amazing tools to guide us to make sustainable inner changes, so that we can continue to create effective and sustainable outer change. Working with Laura has truly helped me not only to keep on, but to thrive!  

Laura’s work has touched many lives in many ways. Here’s what participants have said about her workshop weekends:

  • “This process has freed up so much creative energy in me, I feel more alive every time I do this work. Having an embodied experience of self-liberation, I feel more trust and confidence in every aspect of my life.”
  • “The weekend gives you the opportunity to embody the skills that allow you to actually become the change that you most need.”
  • “This process has opened up a whole new way of life for me, helping me to make different choices that better serve me and those I love.”
  • “If you want to move beyond your stuck places with love, support, wisdom and skillful facilitation, this is the place to come!”

Are you ready to take your sustainability to a deeper level?

Register now for the THRIVE weekend at Dancing Rabbit, and be on your way to finding your own hidden gem!

P.S. Special offer! If you’re one of the next three people to sign up, you’ll get a $125 discount off the full price of the workshop!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us.

On-contour swales and berms help with water issues on this sloped forest garden land. Photo by Dennis.

Go Dig a Swale!

Part 3 of 3 “Permaculture nuggets” leading up to the Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Sharon with Aurelia mulching the rooftop garden. Photo by Dennis.

A Unique Opportunity!

There are still a few spaces available in this one-of-a-kind permaculture course held at Dancing Rabbit from August 29 – September 6.