Open Source Ecology Miracle Orchard Workshop


Miracle Orchard Workshop – July 25-26, 2015


Factor e Farm – Maysville MO, USA

Build Yourself. Build Your World.

This is Open Source Ecology’s first immersion workshop on regenerative agriculture. The workshop is a 2 day intensive, hands-on course that features the innovative work of Stefan Sobkowiak of the Miracle Orchard. The Miracle Orchard is an orchard model that involves a diverse array of species – instead of a single crop – to promote natural pest control, natural fertility, biodiversity improvement, and economic feasibility. The unique feature is that by involving a rich polyculture of diverse plants, and by creating a habitat for other useful species – a low-maintenance ecosystem can be created. In this workshop, participants will learn the concept and techniques of designing and growing an orchard like this – whether for a backyard or on a farm scale. The goal is to have 1000 people do this on 1000 hectares in 50 countries around the world. OSE intends to be the first replication of the Miracle Orchard in the United States, and we invite others who are interested in joining this group of pioneers to reinvent local food systems. Open Source Ecology’s goal is to make the technical know-how accessible – by creating blueprints and templates that are shared freely across the globe. To further the development of Miracle Orchards worldwide – Miracle Orchard and Open Source Ecology are teaming up on the Open Source Nursery initiative. This is a global collaborative effort to identify, document, and develop plants, sources, and propagation methods – that will allow polycultural orchards to be installed at much lower costs with more precise choices of adapted plant varieties.

Workshop Options:

  • 2-Day Workshop: The Workshop begins on Saturday morning, 8 AM, and ends on Sunday evening, 9 PM.
  • Single Days: Select one day if you cannot make it to the entire workshop. See Schedule below.
    Video production: We would like to produce a professional grade video to capture the highlights of this workshop. As part of Miracle Orchard meeting Open Source Ecology – it is important for us to make the technical information increasingly accessible. To this end, we are seeking a videographer to produce a technical/inspirational film – with a goal of increasing replication. We are proposing a crowd-funding model for supporting this effort, such that the resulting video is freely accessible to everyone who is interested in this important work.

Have questions? Drop us an email: info at opensourceecology dot org

Learning Outcomes

The goal is to inspire people about the Miracle Orchard concept – and enable individuals with the knowledge to install a Miracle Orchard – either in their back yard, or as a larger regenerative livelihood, with positive cash flow in the first year. The intended audience for this workshops is those individuals interested in healthy local food systems – and especially those people who are interested in being early adopters of the Miracle Orchard practice.

Polyculture Orchards: Concept and Design
  • Understanding the concept and practice of integrated polyculture orchards that are Beyond Organic – learning the practical aspects of an orchard model that involves natural pest control, fertility-generation, biodiversity increase, and economically feasibility
  • Understanding the design process of a Miracle Orchard, from a backyard to an acre scale – workshop participans learn about identifying and selecting suitable crop varieties, orchard layout and spacing, and siting for a productive orchard.
  • Hands-on participation in the design and plantout of Miracle Orchards – we will plant out sample guilds after going through design exercises
  • Learning basic nursery techniques and why they are important to the Miracle Orchard model – the nursery allows for the propagation of all stock at a cost 5-100 times lower than buying plants, while providing revenue from selling surplus plants.
  • Understanding the economics or orchard startup and operations – and how to reduce the startup cost from $43k per acre for turnkey contracted outsourcing, to 1/5 of this using creative techniques. Check out proposed OSE Miracle Orchard Economics.
  • Understanding the market size and scalability of a polycultural orchard model
  • Understanding the potential of different revenue models, from wholesale to education to direct marketing, such as a u-pick Club Membership
  • Gaining insights of managing a customer and subscription community such that training and work are part of their membership
  • Understanding the key challenges of permaculture-based orchards – why there are not 1000s of these across the globe
  • Understanding how to create and run a perennial nursery that provides locally-adapted stock for the orchard and surplus crop for sale, as part of an Open Source Nursery effort
  • Learning what it would take to spread the Miracle Orchard practice – this is especially for those people interested in starting up such an orchard as a livelihood. We are developing a collaborative network to create 1000 of these orchards worldwide within 10 years.


Day 1 – Introduction and Hands-On Practice
  • 8-9 AM Introduction to Open Source Ecology and site tour.
  • 9-10:45 AM: Introduction to Forest Gardening, Permaculture, and Miracle Orchards
  • 10:45-11 AM: Break
  • 11-12 AM: The practical issues of establishing Miracle Orchards and Economics
  • Noon – 1 PM: Obtaining Plant and other Genetic materials. Propagation Essentials
  • Lunch
  • 2-4:30 PM: Hands-on: Guilds, Plant Out, Tree Training and Pruning, Insect Traps, Animal Habitats, and Hands-on Propagation Techniques
  • 4:30-5: Break
  • 5-7 PM: Dinner Lecture: Demystifying the Design Process: Using models, online tools, and GIS software to design, document, and communicate
  • 7-9: Day Wrap-up and Movie Night – Screening the feature-length educational film – The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic.

  • Day 2 – Towards a 1000 Miracle Orchards on 1000 Hectares in 50 Countries
  • 9-10 AM: The challenges: why 1000 Miracle Orchards do not exist already
  • 10-11 AM: Soil Food Web and Other 5 Kingdom Allies
  • 11 AM – Noon: Site Evaluation and Observation Skills
  • Lunch
  • 1-2 PM – Open Source Nursery: Potential and Challenges
  • 2-5 PM – Design Charette: Building an Executable Plan and Enterprise Budget that You can Use as a Template
  • 5-5:30 – Break
  • 5:30 – 6 PM – Design Synthesis and Review
  • 6-7 PM – Dinner Lecture + Q&A. Challenges and Opportunities of 1000 Miracle Orchards
  • 7-9 PM – Debriefing and Feedback. Conclusion of formal program.
  • See an introduction to the Miracle Orchard and Open Source Ecology:

    • Stefan Sobkowiak is a synergist, permaculturist and irrepressible optimist – a man outstanding in his field. Over the last 25 years he has spoken to more than 400 groups on the themes of edible gardening, gardening, landscape design, birds and permaculture. As a University sessional lecturer for 8 years Stefan has taught courses in Fruit production, Landscape plants and design and the Natural History of Vertebrates. He has a Master’s in landscape architecture from the University of Guelph and a Masters and Bachelors in wildlife biology and wildlife management respectively, from McGill University. Over the last 6 years he has focused on Miracle Farms, the largest permaculture fruit orchard in Eastern North America, where he also raises fowl and sheep.
    • Marcin Jakubowski was trained as a fusion physicist. He left academia right after finishing his Ph.D. to start a farm – in Missouri. For the last 7 years, he has been working on the Global Village Construction Set – a set of enabling tools and machines for a regenerative economy. Marcin is passionate about creating the Open Source Economy, and will be introducing the concept of the Open Source Nursery in this workshop.
    Workshop Start

    The workshop starts at 8 AM sharp on Saturday morning.


    Presentations and classroom activity will continue rain or shine. In the event of bad weather, we will do what we can in terms of planting. If rainy weather is in the forecast, please bring rain gear. Our goal is to tour and plant rain or shine, with schedule adjusted as needed.


    Registration Fee for 2-Day Workshop: $300

    Registration Fee for any single Day: $200

    Discounts for Students and Low Income Individuals: If you are a student or in need, your cost is 50% off for any of the options. If this is still beyond your means, we can consider Work Exchange, where you stay one extra day to help with cleanup. You pay a deep discounted rate of $15/day. Email us for details.

    2-for-1 Discounts: Select 1 or 2 day option, and bring a family member or friend with you for free.

    Group Rate: If you can bring a group of 3 or more people including you – we can give you a discount.

    True Fans of OSE: As supporting members of OSE, True Fans receive a 25% discount on all of our workshops – on top of the discounts above. You can sign up as a True Fan now to become eligible for the True Fans discount on future workshops.

    Donate to OSE: We are a nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 status. You can make tax-deductible contributions to us.

    Workshop fee includes workshop tuition. We can pick you up from the airport, Kansas City International (about an hour away). Participants may secure a hotel in Cameron, Missouri, (15 miles away). Participants are also welcome to camp at Factor e Farm. We have a camping location which includes a composting toilet. Showers and a bathroom are located in our main house, HabLab. Meals will be done on a potluck basis – bring your own or bring some to share. OSE will provide continental breakfast and some food, and a kitchen is available for basic food preparation. We also have a swimming pool that is open during daylight hours for relaxation.

    Payment Options: PayPal, Credit Card, Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, or Cash

    Registration for the choices above is found on Eventbrite, but Eventbrite accepts only PayPal or Credit Card. If you would like to pay by other means you can select that option at Eventbrite, but then you have to submit your payment independently of Eventbrite. We accept Dwolla, Bitcoin, Check, Money Order, or Cash. Your registration will be confirmed upon receipt of payment. Please make checks payable to Open Source Ecology. Our mailing address is OSE, 909 SW Willow Rd, Maysville, MO 64469. For mailings, please write “Miracle Workshop” along with number of days on your instrument of payment.

    Pay with Dwolla

    Dwolla charges lower transaction costs than PayPal. If you are paying by Dwolla, register at Eventbrite and select the Dwolla option, then pay independently via Dwolla (Dwolla is not currently integrated into Eventbrite). Use Open Source Ecology or as the Dwolla recipient.

    Pay with Bitcoin

    Bitcoin is a decentralized payment system. You can pay via bitcoin for your particular choice via a bitcoin amount translated by the current bitcoin exchange rate on the day that you register. OSE’s Bitcoin Address is 166yC48RakrZdtsBj36vY9q29CpzknHbxY

    Pay with Paypal / Credit Card

    To pay with paypal/credit card, please use the the Eventbrite form below. Eventbrite charges a 6% fee on top of the ticket price.

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