Learn to think like a designer

And in the meantime, create the design for your food forest

A successful food forest is always well designed. And we, in the food forest world, mean something quite different by design than, say, a graphic designer, or even a landscape designer. Yes, sightlines and functions and aesthetics are also important, but so is thinking in terms of time and harvestability. And how do you incorporate things like biodiversity and succession into your design? How do you avoid placing shrubs and trees too close together or too early in the wrong place?

The design module will be given twice this year. If you want to take the whole year training in one year, choose this first year training March-October or the second year training May-December.


On top of the base

The design module is a real do-module. You will learn from four top experts how to look, think and above all act like a designer. How to think in time, how to translate functions into a plan, how to translate ideas into a sketch, how to come up with a planting plan, etc.? And, you also get an introduction to the package that all professional designers work with: Illustrator.

All teachers in this module assume that you already have the basics. If you do not already have it, we recommend that you take the basic module first.

By basic knowledge we mean that we assume you know what succession is, what a blossom arch is, what -in short- the technical systematics of a successful food forest are. Also, just in our basic module, we go deeper into things like regulations and reading digital mapping systems.

A do module

During this module you will work on your own plan. You will receive input and new theory from each instructor, which you should incorporate into your own plan immediately in the following days. You present your plan on the last day to lecturers and fellow students.

In the first lesson, Evelyn Derksen teaches you the basics. In the following lesson by Jelle Fekkes, you will work with those basics and learn to sketch and look. During digital lesson three, Werushca Kirkegaard teaches you how to handle illustrator. She teaches you the basics of thinking in vectors and layers. After that, you can also proceed with a much cheaper but fairly similar package like e.g. Afffinity to really work out your design at the detail level. In the fourth lesson, Wouter van Eck will -finally- start working with the trees and shrubs themselves: the planting. This is another subject that could take you a lifetime, but this lesson will give you a fantastic foundation. On the last day you will present your plan to your fellow students and teachers.

Three modules in annual training

For some projects, the knowledge from this module is more than enough to then continue with your own plan. But, this course has three modules for a reason. If you don't have the basics yet, we recommend you do those first. And, if you need funding in addition to a design, or need to communicate with a complex outside world, you can also take the third module: creating your food forest plan.

As with the design module, this group is somewhat smaller and the guidance is more personal and intensive. Also this module is guided by really the top people in the business.

So the year-long food forest training is modular to take, but as a whole a complete journey to your -often life-changing- plan. If you want to take the module design within the whole year training or in combination with the food forest plan, we recommend you to look further at the year training. Because you will then start in March with the basics and then follow design in May and food forest plan in September. 

Practical information

We will teach the design module twice in 2024, once on Wednesdays in May and June; and on Fridays in September and October.

Each time there is one to two weeks between each day of class so that you have time to process the information properly.

This module includes four live days and one online class day plus the necessary self-study and hands-on work. If you want to do this module well, it is smart to plan at least 4, but no less than 8 hours of self-study each time between classes. That way you'll get the most out of the course and the feedback you'll get from your presentation. You can also choose to do all that work later anyway, since all class days are recorded and you will continue to have access to this and all other course materials for years to come.

What do our students say about the Design module?

Fantastic professional course where you learn really good tools to proceed with food forest design.
Margot Leerink
Absolutely great. This training helped us tremendously with the design and realisation of our food forest!

Jeroen and Marloes Spaander
Hilkensberg food forest
Follow the entire training course. For the content, the knowledge and the network.

Roel Willems
Documentary filmmaker and co-founder Food Forest Factory
Highly experienced instructors and plenty of room for questions and working on your own project
Arthur Buitelaar
Very knowledge intensive course with inspiring instructors. I learned an awful lot in six weeks and now have the tools to get started designing.
Marjolein Lommen
Inspiring and provided many new insights. Learn to look at nature from a different perspective. I understand much more now.

Judith Goossens
Greenlife Technical Projects
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Module Design 1 on Wednesdays in May and June 2024

dates: Wednesdays 8-5, 15-5, 29-5, 12-6, 26-6 2024

Investment: € 850.00 excl. VAT, max. number of participants 15
Teachers Evelyn Derksen, Jelle Fekkes, Werushca Kirkegaard and Wouter van Eck
Locations: Food forest Zeewolde in Zeewolde, Food forest Thuishaven in Zeewolde, one day digital, food forest Ketelbroek in Groesbeek and we conclude on estate Grootstal in Nijmegen. You also get access to a good amount of digital (film) material, an online course environment where you can save all your work and share it with the group.

The design module is a real do-module. You will learn from four top experts how to look, think and above all act like a designer. How to think in time, how to translate functions into a plan, how to translate ideas into a sketch, how to come up with a planting plan, etc.? And, you also get an introduction to the package that all professional designers work with: Illustrator. 

Top designer Evelyn Derksen lays a solid foundation of how you can/should think as a designer, what facts you need to know and how to think in time. Whatever else happens: keep bringing the big design questions from this day to everything you learn in the days that follow. You'll visit the Zeewolde food forest she designed, which funnily enough started on sand and in a forest, and practice there thinking in time and layers and sunshine and all those other important fundamentals. 

Designer Jelle Fekkes asks questions and teaches you, above all, not to fill in the blanks too quickly and jump to conclusions. He teaches you to sketch, see lines, translate functions and handy drawing techniques to do this thinking quickly and in a way that not only takes your thinking further but also communicates it to others. In the afternoon, you'll practice further in food forest Haven. This time on the greasy clay of Zeewolde.

Day three is digital. Permaculture designer Werushca Kirkegaard will teach you the principles and secrets of how to use Illustrator to create food forest designs. Make no mistake: you could spend a lifetime learning this package, but if you have this beginning, the rest will land a lot easier later. This lesson is tough, but in itself alone worth the entire module. Precisely because you can easily participate yourself, this lesson is digital. At home you often have the better computer setup anyway. 

Wouter van Eck always says that the plantings are the towels in the newly designed bathroom. So on day four of the design module, though, we're all about those super cute towels! How do you get started? Where do you find the best cultivars? How do you get this huge subject smaller and also lay that basic grid here that you can continue on your own later?
Of course, this day is not complete without a visit to the beautiful food forest Ketelbroek. 

On this day, we present our plans to each other and give feedback on form and content. We also reflect on how everyone's plan started and where it stands now.


Summary and investment

All class days are recorded. So if you can't be there one time, you won't miss anything, because you can always watch the recording again.

From the start, we offer you a digital course environment where you can find the course materials including all recordings, where you can easily ask questions among yourselves and/or make carpool arrangements, and where you can also store all your files. 

The cost is € 850,- excluding VAT . If you choose to take more than one module, or have already taken a course/module with us, we offer you a discount of 10%. If this is the case for you, you will have received an email about this. All amounts mentioned here are excluding 21% VAT

We deliver this annual training according to our terms of delivery. These are simple and clear, so please read them.

If you are unable to pay the training fee at once, or if you work for an organisation that uses invoicing, please contact us.

Module Design food forest 1: May-June 2024

850,00 excl. VAT/VAT

On Wednesdays 8-5, 15-5, 29-5, 12-6, 26-6 2024
There is a maximum number of 15 students at this design module.

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