Forest garden course 2020

Dear friends!

We are very happy to announce that we will be hosting a forest garden design course here at Eotopia, starting the 29th of February!

If you are interested, you can take part in either just the two day introduction the 29th of February and the 1st of March or the introduction and the 3 day design and practical part from the 2nd until the 4th of March. Below you’ll find the full description from the course organiser, our friend Rakesh “Rootsman Rak”.


Imagine your garden looking as lovely as a woodland edge. Imagine that on top of looking nice, it produces an abundance of nutrient dense food and will ultimately need very little digging, weeding, manual watering or pest control – all in harmony with animals and other beings around. This is ‘an edible vegan forest garden’.

Forest gardening is a way of growing food where nature does most of the work for you. Modelled on natural woodland, crops are grown in different layers from high and medium sized canopy to roots, ground cover and climbers.

Through careful planning, plants are chosen which have beneficial effects on each other, attract beneficial insects and create a healthy biodiverse rich system that maintains its own fertility. Once established, your main task will be harvesting!

This workshop will give you the tools you need to design your own forest garden. You will learn about its history, its benefits, and soil fertility, nutrients, valuing diversity, surveying and map making, observing and learning from nature, how to place the right plant in the right place.
We will apply the theory as we go to the land around us, co-creating a forest garden onsite.

The course will be run in English with a possibility of consecutive/simultaneous translation into French.

The course will be led by Rakesh “Rootsman Rak” – experienced Permaculture designer, teacher and Forest Garden specialist, yoga teacher and homeopath. He has been growing food for 40 years, and has been designing and teaching edible landscaping, permaculture, forest gardening, etc. Rakesh has designed and implemented forest gardens from small-scale private gardens and schools, to farms, community gardens, communal nature gardens, as well as designing a forest garden on part of a 30-hectare ecovillage in Croatia.

** 2 day Introduction Sat and Sunday
– History of forest gardening
– Why make a food forest
– Layout of a forest garden
– How to ensure your food forest has enough nutrients
– Multifunctional pathways
– Creating abundance and resilience
– Low maintenance food growing
– Patterns in nature for forest gardens
– Understanding and maximising edge

** 3 day Intensive Design and Practical Monday to Wednesday
– Creating your personal detailed designs
– Creating and implementing a design for the host site
– Water management
– Succession planning
– Implementation plans
– Tree and plant guilds

NB: If you want to design your own place, then please make sure you bring accurate detailed maps of your land.

Evenings are free for discussions, films, or anything that you propose. It is entirely up to you to decide how you wish to organize the free time.


The course will take place at Eotopia. At Eotopia, we see ourselves as part of a living forest in which all beings are necessary for the forest to grow. As residents, we identify as a mix of big trees, growing bushes and wide-spreading mushrooms. We invite you to imagine yourself as part of our ecosystem during the days that you are here for the course.

We are alcohol and drugs free, including tobacco but tolerating sugar and coffee. We request that this is respected during the duration of the course. This is not to create taboos, it is simply to have a sanctuary, where those who might try and get out of certain habits and addictions can feel safe. Smokers are for sure also welcome, but we ask you not to smoke on our land to keep the sense of sanctuary alive.

Kids are very welcome at our place. In fact, two inhabitants are less than 5 years old and we will try to find ways to accommodate other kids during the course. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Eotopia and/or Rakesh if you have questions regarding this.

All the common heating and cooking is done using wood as fuel. In fact, the only heated common space is the living room. So please be ready for fresh temperatures and somewhat cramped living spaces if the weather is cold or wet – but this might just help us bond better as a group. 🙂


The accommodation will be in either caravans, a camping car, in dormitories in our common house or in your own tents. Note that none of these spaces are heated, and end February/beginning of March might be really cold and humid, so we ask you to bring proper sleeping bags and covers to stay warm during the night.
Eotopia works with gift economy. We believe there are many ways to give, and if you feel a need to give back, we are ready to propose ways to do so. We will also have a donation box for those who feel like using such a system.


We want this course to be accessible to all and are therefore working in a conscious contribution system, inviting you to pay what you can afford towards meeting the needs of the facilitator. We therefore invite those who can pay more to help those who cannot afford as much. Please contact us if you have any questions about this. Suggested contributions of between €30 to €100 per day (an average of €60 would help us to meet our needs i.e. €120 for 2 days or €300 for 5 days). All contributions will go directly to Rakesh.


To create a deeper sense of community, throughout the course we will create teams who will help cook every day. We will create a system which allows us to express what our dietary needs are, so that we ensure every meal is ideal for everyone.

To ensure we keep the food costs and quality at a level the students require, we are adopting the tried and tested self organising method. This means we will ask you to either bring enough food to cover your food needs for the duration of the course or bring a mix of food and cash. The cash will go into a pot which will be used to buy food as and when required, which will be managed by a self-elected group of participants. We kindly request everyone to only bring vegan food, which we will pool together. The food could include vegetables, grains, preserves, etc. If appropriate, fresh organic veg will be contributed from the venue.

This method has proven to be very successful, as it promotes collaborative decision making and collaborative working. It also allows people to contribute in a way that suits their budget. Participants from previous courses have taken well to this method and noted how the food budget was significantly less than what they would have expected on any other course.


To sign up for the course, please fill in this form: