School of Wyld Roots

“Initiated men and women don’t chase what they desire, they marry what they follow and they raise up what they love

Martin Prechtel

Update on the School of Wyld Roots

With the ongoing situation regarding the pandemic and the uncertainty with regards to travel and restrictions, we have delayed the school program until the spring of 2023. The last two years have been a challenge to run in person programming, a core offering of what we are unfolding here at Twisted Roots Farm. 2022 is a year we are building the foundation once again for this school program and have shifted our focus to community based programming and shorter volunteer stay programs. As a prerequisite for the School of Wyld Roots program, we require potential applicants to have completed a two week volunteer stay with Twisted Roots Farm. 2022 therefore offers the opportunity for those interested in this unique and diverse program to make arrangements for a volunteer internship. Visit our volunteer page for more details.

The School of Wyld Roots is a year-long intensive, hands-on program that dives into the depths of regenerative farming, nature-based dialogue, skill development, and self discovery. Our vision with this year-long program is for students to follow a year in the life of farming and homesteading, a year of living in deep relationship with the land, developing personal crafts, and creating an economy from the land that supports personal gifts that are lived out into the world.

Our offering for the spring of 2023 is about creating the foundation of the school from those who feel inspired to step into such an adventure. This will be our fifth season here on this land, and from humble beginnings, we are embarking on this new phase of building an off-grid permaculture site and forest school with the intention of forming a learning cooperative and economy from the land. Our long term vision is to create a core cooperative of teachers and mentors, and in this first cohort of students there will be opportunities to continue building the foundational pieces required to weave this vision together.

Program Vision

The School of Wyld Roots will start on March 21, 2023, and like new shoots getting ready to burst from the soil, students will be entering new territory with a willingness to learn and embrace such an endeavor, full of life and energy.

The program is a year in duration, following all the seasons until the following spring in 2023. In the first six months, students will be gaining much experience through hands on learning, skill building and certification courses that will create all the necessary elements to embrace this off grid life style in the forest here at Twisted Roots Farm.

The following six months, students will step into a phase of creating an economy here at the farm to help support them through the remainder of the year. There will be opportunities for profit sharing at this important threshold and our hope is that students will be developing artisan offerings and gifts to the larger world.

Core Program Offerings

Farming / Permaculture / Regenerative Practices / Forestry / Land Stewardship

  • Animal tending and health
  • Daily animal routines
  • Milking dairy goats
  • Animal harvesting and butchering
  • Electric fence set up and maintenance
  • Pasture management
  • Planting / crop rotations / bed preparation / transplants
  • Production planning
  • Market selling and product preparation
  • No-till practices
  • Permaculture design and methodology
  • Off-grid irrigation systems
  • Erosion control and management
  • Firewood management
  • Forestry management

Twisted Roots Farm is situated on 74 acres of mixed acadian forest. For the past four years, we have been carving a farm out of this forest with the help of goats, pigs, chickens, and highland cattle. We have been creating areas for gardens and developing woodland pasture following a practice of permaculture and regenerative principles. The farm is the heart of this place, nourishing us with abundant, nutrient-dense food, and creating an economy from the sale of a variety of food. We are surrounded by an amazing forest that keeps this land in good ecological health and balance as well as providing wood products that help to sustain us and build the much needed infrastructure required by the farm.

Off-Grid Living

  • Composting toilets and humanure systems
  • Solar energy systems and energy conservation
  • Alternative energy systems and design 
  • Water conservation and systems
  • Wood heating

Living off-grid is a way of living that puts us in direct relationship with the resources that we consume for our daily living.  We embrace that philosophy fully here at Twisted Roots Farm.  Living on-site, you will be in direct relationship with your daily needs related to water, heating, and energy.  

Nature-Based Mentoring / Primitive Skills / Outdoor Education

  • Nature-based dialogue
  • Nature-based games and activities
  • Basics of fire building
  • Advanced fire building (bow drill)
  • Primitive shelter building
  • Bushcraft skills
  • Plant / tree identification
  • Wildcrafting
  • Backwoods skills and risk management
  • Backwoods stove use
  • Campfire cooking
  • Tarpology
  • Outdoor navigation

The farm is surrounded by an incredibly diverse forest and we spend much of our time in this environment here at Twisted Roots.  We feel that it is absolutely necessary to be in relationship with the wild community that gives us so much in return.  We will be asking students to spend significant time alone on the land; therefore, we want to provide the necessary skills for backwoods travel, including day wanders, overnight and multi-day adventures.  In the future, we also envision offering outdoor programs and workshops here at the farm and through building these skills with students, opportunities for outdoor leadership and education become possible.

Certifications / Training Courses / Skill Development

  • Standard First Aid Certification
  • WHMIS Certification
  • Ladder Safety and Fall Protection Certification
  • Chainsaw Training and Certification
  • Proper Bucking Technique – 1 day
  • Felling Techniques – 2 days
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Support Equipment
  • Chainsaw features
  • Chain maintenance
  • Pre-use check
  • Food Safety Certification
  • Firearms Safety Course and Certification.  This is an important course because we kill animals on site for harvest and therefore must understand the use of firearms. 
  • Permaculture Design Certification Course
    • This course is delivered by Milkwood and David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture.  It is a 12 week interactive course that we will be studying and working with as a group to develop an intensive permaculture action plan here at Twisted Roots Farm.  This is a very unique and exciting learning opportunity.
  • Sociocracy for All, Empowered Learning Circle
    • This course is delivered by Sociocracy for All, and as a group we will be working through the basic training of sociocracy and consensus driven decision making.  This includes one on one coaching as a group with a trainer, helping us develop a format of this style of communication here at Twisted Roots Farm.
  • Power tool use and operation
  • Bandsaw mill training
  • Axe use
  • Basic carpentry skills
  • Natural and green building
  • Localized food cooking / food preparation / menu planning

Many of these certification courses and specific training opportunities are being offered to increase safety, awareness, and reduce risk on the farm and beyond.  We follow all Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Policies, and as such, there are many mandatory certifications that are required to participate in farming, forestry, and construction activities.  Many of these certifications also provide students with employable qualifications, opening up additional employment opportunities.

One of the first projects students will be engaged in arriving here in the spring will be to build a small cabin that will provide private accommodations throughout this year long immersion.  Wood will be milled by students, and basic carpentry skills learned in this first major building project.  These cabins will be simple and small in design, off grid set in a forest setting.  They provide a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of self-reliance and offer a place of home away from our every day lives before arriving on this land.

Business / Economic Development

  • Business plan development
  • Marketing / web design / social media / networking
  • Cash flow / accounting basics
  • Production planning
  • Business targets / sales
  • Budgeting

Running and managing a business is an important aspect in understanding how to create economic possibilities here at Twisted Roots Farm.  Students will be included in business plan discussions, strategic planning, and ongoing review of the production plan as it relates to our cash flow and financial targets.  These are important lessons if we hope to create alternative economies here at Twisted Roots Farm, such as a profit sharing model and gift economy.  

Self Discovery / Personal Growth

Committing oneself to a year-long program away from family, friends, and a familiar community setting is a challenging process.  It is also an opportunity to explore different aspects of self in an environment removed from your old story, creating an opening into something new and never-before-seen.  There will be days here that will be emotionally challenging and other days where you will experience overwhelming gratitude for the gifts that you have been shown.  Being immersed in a forest offers new perspectives and opportunities for reflection that open the door to begin exploring emotions, perceptions, and ways of being that we may not have been able to realize in our day-to-day environment.

As mentors, we work with you in this context, supporting you as you weave together your relationship with the wild community.  We are also here to help guide you along the way and work one-to-one with you to unfold your story during your time here on the farm.  Navigating community, interpersonal relationships, and conflict is part of that process.  It is also about recognizing personal gifts, skills, and talents revealed to you in this reflective process, both from the wild community and from those you are spending so much interpersonal time with in this community.

A key element of this program is the solo time that we encourage you to spend on the land.  At the end of the first phase of the program in September, we will be crossing a threshold, moving from months of intensified learning, adapting to a new environment, and building community relationships and connections.  It is a perfect time to take these experiences onto the land in a reflective way.  Your time on the land is one of your own design, which could look like anything from a one day to a three night solo.  After your solo time, we will reflect your story as we hear it told, leaving you with golden threads that you can follow to incorporate the story, images, and insights that have been revealed to you during this sacred alone time. 

Building Community / Community Leadership / The Art of Communication

  • Community-based projects
  • Communication skills / conflict resolution
  • Way of council
  • Sociocracy / inclusive decision-making
  • Daily community living

Community interaction is a part of daily living here at Twisted Roots Farm.  We are working and living closely together and must have the tools and skills to foster healthy communication.  Interaction with the larger community is also significantly important, as we are indebted to those who live around us to support us economically.  They also offer their knowledge and wisdom in our ongoing growth and relationship development.  

During the year, you will be engaged in off-farm community-based projects.  An example of this is a work / teaching exchange with other community members, farms, or organizations.  Everyone has something they can share, something they can teach, and we want to work as a community to facilitate this holistic learning model.  We work with community members to set up workshops that they can offer students, and in exchange, we help them with a project that can use our energy, skills, and gifts.

Program Costs 

Tuition $4,000 CAD

Tuition Includes:

  • Weekly in-house theory, teaching, curriculum delivery, and mentoring
  • Food and accommodation
  • Certifications and training

Students are required to supply their own personal gear, some required reading material, and personal protective equipment (ie. chainsaw pants and boots).

This is a business venture to some degree, and therefore comes with inherent risk.  We will be sharing our business plan as a part of the learning process from the start of the program, with monthly cash flow assessments to gauge success, understand what is working, and how to change strategies as required.  As we approach the second phase of the program, the continued work with the cash flow and production plan will help us as a collective community in determining how to proceed and design a model that fosters a sharing of the profits from the farm.

Scholarships may be available to those students who demonstrate a financial need.

For more information and how to apply, please visit our detailed information package

School of Wyld Roots 2022

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