Regenerating Landscapes for Community and Climate Resilience

The Soil Sponge as Essential Infrastructure: Weekend Deep Dive with Didi Pershouse, Founder of the Land and Leadership Initiative, March 13th and 14th, 2021

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The live course has ended, but you can still sign up, and watch the recordings.

2020 was a long year...why not approach 2021 with an entirely new perspective?

Learn how to dramatically reduce the risk and impact of extreme weather events, rebuild local economies, and restore health and immunity for all living things...by working with (not against) nature's own processes.

You are invited to join our international community of practice for a 2-day intensive course.

March 13th and 14th, 2021 (Saturday and Sunday)
Meeting time: 10AM to 1:30 PM EST (New York)


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“This will be an incredible course. Didi Pershouse is one of the best educators around.”
Nicole Masters, Integrity Soils


For years now, we have been watching our communities struggle with drought, wildfires, flooding, heatwaves, loss of biodiversity, failing economies, and health crises.

It felt especially hard for me when I had no idea how to change things, other than hoping that policymakers and experts would figure it out, come to an agreement somehow, and do the right thing. That changed for me when I understood how landscapes really work: as nested wholes. It turns out that by changing the way we view living systems, we can affect everything.

Now I want to invite you into our community that shares this new perspective. People who have learned to see the essential work of other species and how it underpins our economies, health, and climate, are working along with nature to rapidly bring life and water back to dry degraded landscapes.

Join us for this participatory course that will introduce you to an entirely new way of looking at life, land, water, and health. Large-scale health and resilience are within our reach.

Healthy soil is the fundamental infrastructure that makes life on land possible, but only when it is alive and functions like a sponge. It can soak up rain, store and filter water; and provide health, resilience, and thriving economies for the communities that grow from it.

Farmers and communities that create conditions for a soil sponge to grow experience interrelated benefits such as:

  • Healthier crops, animals, and people
  • Abundant clean water
  • Reduction of wildfire risk
  • Resilience to flood and drought
  • Reduced erosion, dredging, and road repairs
  • Higher farm profitability
  • Cooler regional temperatures
  • Prevention of algae blooms and dead zones
  • Cleaner air
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Reduced conflicts over resources
  • Improved local economies
  • Puts atmospheric carbon to work creating landscapes that support all of life.
This course builds on the successes of innovative land managers around the world, who are providing real value to their communities, saving huge sums in damages from storms and crop diseases, while restoring the dignity and profitability of farming.

This isn't about using heavy equipment to move soil around. This isn't about buying products to spray. This is about understanding the work of other species and collaborating with that work.

Whether you are a farmer, a policymaker, a journalist, or an impact investor trying to make a change in the world, after taking this course you will see the potential of simple strategic land-management decisions to create the conditions for land to naturally regenerate its water-absorbing sponge-like structure and function.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Didi’s work. If you’d like to understand soil health and regeneration: this is a must.”
Gregory Landua, Regen Network

Here are topics we will cover:
Landscapes that Work for All of Life
How are people managing land in ways that quickly and safely cool the regional climate and provide more food and water, while also improving biodiversity, resilience to extreme weather events, and health and immunity for all life on land? What is the soil sponge, and how is it different from soil carbon? How does biology slow and sink water on a total landscape scale without the need for new ponds, berms or dams?
Collaborating with the Essential Workforce of Other Species
What is the essential work of other species, and what are the job descriptions in a functional landscape? What currencies does this natural workforce use in its economy, and how can we participate in an economy (without money) that enfolds our own? What are the principles of land management that this natural workforce uses, and how can we collaborate?
Measuring Change for Long Term Success
How do you know if your land's "soil sponge" structure and function is improving? What tests are useful and affordable? When should a project use monitoring, and when is it safe to trust in computer-simulated models of landscape function?
Money, Life, and Land:
Are the emerging Soil Carbon markets, Payment for Ecosystem Services programs, and Climate Smart farming initiatives actually regenerative and working from a living systems perspective? If not, how can we improve them? How can you upgrade your community's thinking about local and regional economics, and understanding of the relationship between functioning ecosystems and economies?
Choosing Effective Intervention Points
Why are some regenerative land projects gaining enormous momentum while others are stalling? What role do human relationships play in effective projects? When do "experts" and research studies help make change, and when do they disempower people from taking action? How do we design projects and policies that grow human and ecological capability, and engage people for the long haul?

(Note: these topics may change somewhat based on our discussions, but this gives an idea of where we will likely go...)

You will gain:

  • a working knowledge of whole systems landscape function
  • an increased ability to evaluate land management decisions, practices, and policies
  • tools to create and lead soil health initiatives in your region
  • a community of practice: deep discussions with people working towards similar aims.
My teaching style is specifically geared toward creating long-term working groups of diverse people with common aims: clean water and abundant food for all of life; healthy, safe, and resilient communities; thriving ecosystems and economies; and purposeful lives.

Our community of practice brings together experience and perspectives from around the world--in our courses, our ongoing Google discussion group, our annual conference, and our strategic innovation groups.

You will also gain:

  • A clear picture of soil's central role in addressing current economic, social, and environmental pressures.
  • A scientific understanding of the living matrix of the soil carbon sponge, and its relationship to carbon, water, and nutrient cycles.
  • A deeper view of the soil health principles, and why focusing on principles first (before "Best Management Practices") will create dramatically different outcomes.
SPACE IS LIMITED in order to facilitate small group discussions. This course fills up quickly with people from around the world, so if you are interested please do sign up soon. If the course overfills, you can either be first in line for the next series or get a refund.

“Didi Pershouse is an awesome teacher. I highly recommend studying with her if you're interested in regeneration and building resilience to drought, fire, and floods.”

Rebecca Burgess, Founder, Fibershed


Course Schedule

This course will meet on Zoom video conferencing from 10AM to 1:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (New York, USA) for two consecutive weekend days, March 13th and March 14th. Recordings will be available if you miss a class.

Discussion will continue via our private google group: this is a great way to deepen connections with people working on regenerative projects around the world, learn from each other's wisdom and experience, share resources, and dive into more detail on specific questions.

Participants will gather on Zoom Video Conferencing for these interactive online classes. You can join by computer, smartphone, iPhone, or even telephone.

*A few spots in every course are reserved for participants who need to pay less or cannot otherwise afford to attend. Please do contact us if this is you. We are particularly interested in saving spots for farmers and agricultural leaders from the Global South.

If you have any questions please email me through my contact page by clicking here, or at [email protected]

NOTE: BE SURE TO DOUBLE CHECK YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WHEN ENROLLING. IF YOU PUT THE WRONG ONE, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTACT YOU WITH COURSE INFORMATION! If you are finding the enrollment page troublesome, please try using Chrome as your browser, or starting over from an incognito page. Teachable has a cookie issue. (As do many of us!)


Your Instructor


Didi Pershouse
Didi Pershouse

Didi Pershouse is the author of The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities and Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function. She is a contributing author for Health in the Anthropocene, Climate Change and Creation Care, and the Regenerative Economy Collaborative.

As the founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine, she developed a practice and theoretical framework for systems-based ecological medicine—to restore health to people as well as the environmental and social systems around them. After 22 years of clinical work with patients, Pershouse now travels widely in North America and Europe as a speaker, teacher, and consultant.

Pershouse is a skilled facilitator, who brings people with diverging views together into effective working groups with common aims: improving soil health, public health, food and water security, and regional resilience through simple changes in land management. Both online and in-person, her participatory, inquiry-based workshops engage farmers and ranchers, policy makers, investors, and scientists in living-systems thinking and deep listening, to allow for emergent strategies. She was one of five speakers at the United Nations-FAO World Soil Day in 2017.

In 2018, she founded the Land and Leadership Initiative, and the "Can we Rehydrate California?" Initiative. She is currently a Planning Commissioner for her town, a member of the Vermont State appointed Payment For Ecosystem Services and Soil Health Working Group, a working member of the Northeast Healthy Soils Policy Working Group and is on the board of directors of the Soil Carbon Coalition and the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. She led a successful effort to conserve the Zebedee Headwaters Wetlands while serving as a Vermont Conservation Commissioner.

She is currently working on projects with the UN-FAO Farmer Field School program and the Climate Resilient Natural Farming Initiative in Andhra Pradesh, India (involving over 800,000 farmers). You can learn more about her work at www.didipershouse.com


Course Curriculum


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You will have access to the recordings for at least one year after the course ends.

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