We’ve put together a phenomenal team for the 2018 Spring PDC
The primary instructor, Kirby Fry, started out his journey with a degree in Forestry Sciences from Texas A&M University and soon after was building tree nurseries, terraces, and planting fuelwood forests with the US Peace Corps’ Agroforestry Program in the Highlands of Guatemala. He worked in the field with Bill Mollison and Allan Savory for over 2 years at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas at “the top of the Hill Country.”
Today Kirby works building houses, gardens, and sustainable design systems. He has been studying and teaching sustainable design for over 25 years. See more of Kirby’s work on the Southern Exposure website.
Kirby believes that we should be building houses and landscapes that pay us to live in them, that we can give back more to the earth than we take from it in a lifetime, and that we can create agriculturally productive ecosystems for humans better than nature can.
PETE VAN DYCK
Pete Van Dyck grew up under the shade of oak trees and woke to the sound of roosters crowing on a homestead south east of Oklahoma City. He was a competitive swimmer for 12 years and developed a strong work ethic and sense of determination. This is where his deep connection with water began. After graduating high school he then volunteered to serve in the United States Navy and underwent some of the most rigorous military training in the world at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School. Being comfortable and skillful in the water was key to his success in this program.
After his service with the Navy he has relentlessly pursued a lifestyle of land restoration after realizing the connectedness of the health of the land, health of the water, and the health of humans. Using the GI Bill he attended a heavy equipment operator and construction course where he learned how to safely operate equipment and run job sites. Pete has attended many land planning design courses and farm design with world-renowned designers including Darren Doherty, Geoff Lawton and Mark Shepard. He has volunteered his services with the non-profit Earth Repair Corps to farmers and homesteaders all over central Texas, helping them to conserve soil, water, and money. Aside from his outstanding record of volunteerism he also runs a small business that specializes in soil and water conservation that has worked and consulted on over 60 sites around Texas in just 3 years. Now he lives in Blanco, Texas and is building a farm that will demonstrate how to regeneratively manage the land while making a sustainable profit.
When not working to drought proof Texas, Pete loves to read, swim, play guitar, and dream about healing landscapes on a broad scale.
In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Gary Freeborg worked in the field of sleep electrophysiology at University and Government research labs. In 1982 while conducting independent sleep studies by night, his passion for the land led him to work by day for one of the oldest and most respected Native Plant Nurseries in Texas, The Lowrey Nursery.
From there he spent six years at Armand Bayou Nature Center, an 1800 acre nature preserve. There he was involved with all aspects of native plants and animals, habitat restoration, organic gardening, environmental interpretation and non-profit fund raising.
Gary then moved to Austin, Texas where he and two brothers acquired land and began exploring organic and Biodynamic agriculture, growing native trees, produce and mushrooms. An intensive Permaculture course with Bill Mollison in 1995 began a process of bringing a wide range of disciplines together with the goal of healing the land by jump-starting nature’s own cycles. He is Vice President of the Texas Organic Farming Research Center. His company, BioDiversity, offers large and small landowners a wide variety of revolutionary strategies to bring vibrant health back to the land, and increase the biodiversity in soil, plant and animal communities through consulting, education and research.
Jaime Elizondo Braun is a master of Regenerative Grazing. He has two very successful ranches in Mexico and now travels the world consulting and healing ranches. He grew up in Tampico, Mexico and has spent his entire life around cattle. His father and grandfather were both cattlemen. Jaime earned a degree in Agronomy Engineering specializing in cattle at Monterrey Tech in 1984. He began his own cattle operation in 1991 after being inspired by Andre Voisin’s book “Grass Productivity”. This has led him on an impressive journey where he has managed a grazed dairy since 1993, spent 15 years as a dairy nutritionist, for 16 years ran a cheese and yogurt factory with 105 employees, quadrupled stocking rates on his ranch without loss of cattle performance or land degradation, he has managed and regenerated tens of thousands of acres in Mexico and is now on a mission to do the same in the United States. Jaime is a patient teacher and humble pioneer with a track record of astounding success. His goal is to regenerate our ranches for maximum profitability by increasing biological capital. Come and learn from the best!
On Weekend 3, Adam Russell talks about biofertilizer, compost tea, and mineral amendments. Adam is an ecologist and explorer, receiving a Bachelors degree in Biology from Trinity University. He is currently an educator for Remote Medical International and has worked with human and land health in remote locations around the world since 2006. He has worked to regenerate a 100 acre piece of family property in Blanco, TX with the use of Holistic Management, earthworks, biofertilizers, and biodynamic practices. He seeks to build a knowledge base of how we can work to release to potential from this beautiful and rugged landscape. Adam’s current projects include broad scale soil rehabilitation and the spread of available solutions through his work with Upcycle Organics and Down to Earth Expeditions.
TINA LUBOMIRA WELDON & ORION WELDON
On weekend 4, special guest teachers Tina Lubomira Weldon & Orion Weldon will speak about small scale animal systems. Located in the Texas Hill Country, TerraPurezza began as a husband and wife team: Tina and Orion Weldon founded the initial farm in the fall of 2015 in Spicewood, TX. Tina and Orion met during their studies at Rutgers University. Orion was working on his PhD in conservation ecology, researching endangered species’ habitat requirements. Tina was completing her dietetics degree with a focus on community public health. It became clear to both of them that agriculture is a core contributor to challenges in their respective fields, especially in ecology and land use change. TerraPurezza is a regenerative agriculture institute and farm, born out of a shared mission to change the way food is produced and how we relate to the land. Regenerative agriculture is a collection of techniques that together form an approach to food production that focuses on rehabilitating soil health, rebuilding native grasslands, and restoring natural water cycles.
From newsworthy fresh water issues to the world’s largest solar power plants, from world record-breaking athletes in Scotland for Dell to an on-going personal project narrative of the groundbreaking Earthship Biotecture project in Taos New Mexico, Woody’s pointed curiosity precedes him. He has been covering his One River project, an in-depth narrative about the Guadalupe River Watershed, for over 30 years. Woody thinks out of the box and is constantly implementing creative strategies to tell visual stories effectively and on message for our ever changing world. For the past 20 years Woody has been in the trenches photographing the energy industry but has shifted more recently to cutting edge solar projects around the U.S. He will share his wealth of knowledge about our transition from our commodity based power grid to a more sustainable model that is good for all.
“I have been working in the advertising and marketing industry, specializing in photography and smart visual content creation for 25 years. After graduation, I was fortunate to learn from some of the best photographers in America, as an assistant, location scout, and later as a producer. These experiences currently translate into creating invaluable and timeless images and motion content for clients including: The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods, Dell Sustainability, The National Park Service, Texas Monthly Magazine, Sunpower, USAA, and Prologis Sustainability, Toyota North America and many more.” “On time, on message and on budget every time”
Woody is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for Earth Repair Corps, completed his PDC in the Summer of 2015 and is transforming his small homestead in New Braunfels into a sustainable paradise. He loves up-cycling reclaimed wood, swimming in the Comal River with his Blue Healer “River” dog and spreading the good news about permaculture every chance he gets.
On Weekend 5, special guest Katherine Ottmers speaks about Holistic Management. Katherine is a Certified Educator through Holistic Management International (HMI) and has been facilitating and teaching in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma for 2017-2018. Since 1984, HMI has helped communities grow and thrive by educating family farmers and ranchers and pastoralists in regenerative agricultural practices that empower them to strengthen their businesses, produce healthier food, improve local wildlife habitats and protect the environment.