The wealth of knowledge we have in the North Fork Valley is a dymanic eco-system within itself.
S.O.I.L. Academy is proud to introduce ...
Chrys Bailey - Chrys is unprecedented in her knowledge of healthy, unprocessed, field-to-table cooking, having done it all her life. If we can get her to teach in between her busy schedule of catering and running the kitchen at the Trading Post in Paonia, you will not regret the opportunity to learn from her! Chrys's specialties include all-organic, local food ethos, vegan, vegitarian, meat, fish, poultry &/or egg dishes from scratch, sugar & dairy-free desserts, natural leaven breads and unique menus.
Corwin Bell - Corwin, founder of Backyardhives.com, promotes a "backyard" hive method and philosophy using top bar bee hives in which he encourages and inspires interested and willing individuals to connect with bees through an altruistic Guardianship that goes beyond hobbyist beekeeping. Bell travels widely giving lectures and workshops to raise awareness of honeybee genetic biodiversity and to promote alternatives to conventional beekeeping practices. Corwin has just finished a new full length top bar "how to" DVD and is currently working on a book The Bee Guardian, which delves into this approach.
– Dev is an experienced educator. He has taught sustainability skills for the past five years and honed those skills during fifteen years of living in a solar-powered, rainwater-supplied home. Dev has a Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, with an emphasis on plant-insect interaction., a M.S. in Zoology, and a B.A. Biology. He is the Program Director, a teacher, and an educational consultant at the Lamborn Vision School and co-founder, co-director of the High Desert Center for Sustainable Studies in Paonia, CO with a mission of helping people to develop the clarity, courage, inspiration and skills to live in harmony with their values
- Wind began his study in permaculture over fifteen years ago at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Co, after studying botany at Towson State University in Maryland. He has since begun incorporating the principles and ethics associated with permaculture in his landscape design business, which he brought to the North Fork Valley in 2000.and teaches Permaculture at UC San Miguel as well as for SOIL Academy. Wind is responsible for many landscapes around the North Fork Valley including Paulos Park, The Flying Fork Cafe, and a permaculture human-powered campus at his home, The Oasis, 100 acres on Redland's Mesa outside of Hotchkiss where he lives in small intentional community. The community practices sustainable communication, long-term sustainable development land and financial planning using permaculture designs and implementation.
- John has been a gardener since childhood and has managed private and public landscapes, market gardens and orchards for the last 30+ years. In 2010, he and his wife Jeanine started Elemental Farm, 20 acres of pasture just outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado for the purpose of demonstrating advanced soil building techniques and plant culture as well as growing nutritious food. Having spent his adult life studying nature, plants, soil, human nutrition, as well as chemistry, physics and biology, John has been uncovering the multi-layered physical, biological and energetic connections between living organisms and their environment. He has also been seeking out and developing practical methods to use as tools to facilitate a high level functioning of the soil and enhanced nutrition for plants, animals and people.
comes to healing naturally. Pat is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and teacher in Nursing, an herbalist, and a certified Permaculture practitioner and teacher, so moving into Biodynamics was a natural fit. Pat has over 15 years experience as a farmer and market gardener using Biodynamic principles as well as cooperative farming and marketing. She is a past chair and active member of Valley Organic Growers Association and frequently initiates cooperative ventures in the local community. She has been teaching Biodynamic gardening and Permaculture in the North Fork Valley of the Gunnison for a number of years and continues to expand her course offerings.
Caren von Gontard
and her husband, Adi, came to farming through a rescue dog while living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Helping on a Camphill Estate in Scotland led to them keeping their own sheep and eventually, after a move to Australia, purchasing their own farm. Caren is a certified Steiner/Waldorf teacher, studied at the School of Storytelling at Emerson College in Sussex, England, trained in Biographical Counselling, studied Sacred Geometry at both Chartres Cathedral in France and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, and practiced Biodynamics on their farm in Australia and now here in Paonia, Colorado. The main focus of the farm is raising Dexter cattle, sheep, donkeys, mules, hogs and fowl and the hay to support them.
CSU Tri-River Area Agronomist - Ron's research interests focus on organic and sustainable fruit and vegetable production in western Colorado and research on native plant seed production for rehabilitation and revegetation of public lands. Recently completed projects have centered on organic weed control methods in fruit trees and vegetables and organic fertility for fruit production.
Lloyd Nelson - Lloyd Nelson, farmer, artist and builder, lives in Paonia Colorado. He began his Biodynamic training in 1996 while studying horticulture in college, with an apprenticeship focusing on the Biointensive (Biodynamic/ French Intensive) growing method. He lived, worked and studied at the Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Biodynamics (JPI), under the tutelage of master Biodynamic Preparation Maker Hugh Courtney. Lloyd has worked on diverse Biodynamic projects from the temperate rain forests of North Carolina to tropical desert farming in Hawaii. He has extensive experience in greenhouse management, fruit and vegetable growing, and Community Supported Agriculture, and teaches Biodynamic workshops across the country and in Canada. Lloyd owns and operates a Biodynamic Spray Service, and consults with farms, vineyards and orchards to improve Biodynamic practices.
Jack Perrin – Jack, who has taught science, math, and outdoor education in many settings, specialized in natural building techniques, and teaches sustainability skills to students of all ages. With his wife and their daughter, he leads a fun-filled life off the grid on a skimpy carbon budget. Jack has built 8 straw bale houses, installed solar water and electrical systems in the U.S. and Mexico. His teaching experiences include co-directing a summer camp, multi-week backpacking and river trips, and a year of traveling from B.C. to Mexico with six home schoolers from Paonia. One of his greatest joys is helping people boost their self-confidence by learning new practical skills. He says, "It's not how a house gets built, but what happens to people in the process of building that house, that really intrigues me!"
Rick Stelter – Rick grew up on a farm and learned from ancestrial roots who still remembered how we, as humans, fit into our world. Today, this knowledge is dwindling and teachers of it difficult to come by. Rick is a master builder, bowsman, farmer, pizza-maker, butcherer, hide-tanner, and all-around homesteader. Our modern language does not incorporate the skills Rick has into one word, as it has been bred to forget them. It is because of teachers like Rick, with the stamina to carry these forgotten arts and the willingness to share, that we have reason to hope that we may still find our way back into the magnificent web in which we live.
David Smuin is a native of Western Colorado. He has worked professionally as a geologist, hydrologist, and environmental scientist. He is a lifelong hunter and fisherman and has spent many years learning primitive living skills including; primitive fire making and shelters, water procurement, traps and snares, wild edible plant identification, gathering, and preparation, tracking, primitive weapons making and use, flint knapping, hide tanning, stone, bone and antler working, rawhide making and uses, primitive cordage and cooking, food preservation and storage, baskets and pottery, backcountry navigation and map reading, permaculture design and gardening. He has studied with many instructors and enjoys helping others on their journey of discovering and learning the old ways.
Daphne Yannakakis - owns and operates Zephyros Farm and Garden, a diverse certified organic vegetable and flower farm, with her husband Don Lareau. She has been working in the wonderful world of plants for over 18 years.