Regenerating the Soil Carbon Sponge for Flood, Drought, and Wildfire Resilience, starting Feb 2019

6-week Intensive on Whole Systems Landscape Function Feb 26 to April 9

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Join us a live for a live, interactive online course

with author and educator Didi Pershouse.

Learn a blueprint for land management that can dramatically reduce the risk and impact of extreme weather events while building working relationships with our international community of practice.

“This will be an incredible course. Didi Pershouse is one of the best educators around.”

Nicole Masters, Integrity Soils

It's hard to watch communities and landscapes around the world struggling with drought, wildfires, flooding, heatwaves, forced migration, and other crises. It felt especially hard for me when I had no idea how to change things, other than hoping that policy makers and experts would figure it out, come to agreement somehow, and do the right thing. That all changed for me when I understood the concept of the soil carbon sponge.

Healthy soil acts like a sponge: it can soak up rain, store and filter water, and provide resilience for farms, towns, and businesses. Restoring healthy soil structure and function provides many interrelated benefits such as:

  • Abundant clean water
  • Reduction of wildfire risk
  • Resilience to flood and drought
  • Healthier crops, animals, and people
  • Cooler regional temperatures
  • Reduced conflicts over resources
  • Reduced erosion, dredging, and road repairs
  • Prevention of algae blooms and dead zones
  • Improved local economies
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Putting atmospheric carbon to work--creating the natural soil sponge infrastructure that supports all life on land.
This discussion-based participatory course will introduce you to inexpensive principles for land management that will help turn your farm, ranch, or backyard into an effective soil sponge to build resilience in your community and region. These principles are already being used with success around the world.
This isn't about using heavy equipment to move soil around. This isn't about buying products to spray on your lawn. This is about understanding the work of other species and collaborating with natural systems. When you understand these principles, you'll know how to make simple, strategic land-management decisions that create the conditions for soils to naturally regenerate their healthy, resilient, spongy structure underground--and begin to accept, store, and filter rainwater.
This course is perfect for people interested in leading and supporting initiatives in their own region--and who would like to have a community of people with whom they can discuss strategies. It serves as a grounding in land systems theory and as a prerequisite for joining our participant-driven strategy sessions with leading teachers in the soil health movement.

My teaching style is specifically geared toward creating “communities of practice,” working groups of closely-connected people with common goals. If you are committed to creating a world that works, and are ready to learn a new way of seeing landscapes, water, and people, then you are the right person to attend.

SPACE IS LIMITED in order to facilitate small group discussions. The last course filled up with people from around the world within one week of posting it, 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 and I highly recommend studying with her if you're interested in regeneration and what this means for building resilience to drought, fire, floods.”

Rebecca Burgess, Founder, Fibershed

“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

The soil carbon sponge is the basic infrastructure that supports life on land. Humans can't build it. Technology can't build it. Only plants, fungi, microbes, animals, and insects can build this infrastructure, but we can learn how to support them in that work by creating the right working conditions.

You'll Gain:

  • The tools to make a convincing case for soil health and the regeneration of the soil carbon sponge
  • A clear picture of soil's central role in addressing current economic, social, and environmental pressures.
  • A scientific understanding of 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.
  • A community of practice: deep discussions with people working towards similar goals.
  • Facilitation skills and materials to help you share this knowledge with others.

Course Schedule:

This class will meet on Zoom video conferencing from 12:00 - 2:00 pm Eastern Time (New York, USA) (with optional discussion time from 2:00 to 3:00 pm) for six weeks, on the following Tuesdays:

February 26, March 5th, March 12, March 26, April 2, and April 9. (No formal class on March 19th.)

Extra discussion time for an hour after each class from 2:00 -3:00 Eastern. Many people stay on after class for extra discussion time. This is a great way to develop connections with people working on regenerative projects around the world, learn from each other's wisdom, experiences and 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, smart phone, iPhone, or even telephone. All of the classes will be recorded and made available to course participants.

*If these dates or times don't work for you, please complete this online form, as we will be offering additional courses in the future (additional iterations of this course, as well as additional courses on related topics).

*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 emerging leaders from the Global South.

If you have any questions, please email me at through my contact page by clicking here. You may also email me at didi.pershou[email protected]

“I recommend this class to anyone interested in learning more about soil health.”

Kristin Ohlson, author of "The Soil Will Save 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, 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

Course Curriculum

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