Forest Coaching is a design system that attempts to help deepen your understanding of both yourself and ecology in order to create thriving ecosystems built around their symbiosis. Its goal is to help you design your particular piece of land into a resilient and productive forest, while also helping you to discover your niche in the human and more-than-human ecosystem.
In order to discover what your symbiosis with nature might look like we’ll move through 3 Quests.
- Understanding Ecology – A deepening of your knowledge about the natural world. This will include offering resources or pointing you toward holes in your knowledge about regeneration, biodiversity, wildness, or production.
- Understanding Yourself – A deepening of your willingness to look at yourself honestly in order to understand your inner drives and motivations. This will follow a map of your gifts and needs in order to gain a clearer picture of yourself.
- Exploring their Symbiosis – There is a unique way that you interact with the particularities of land. In this step, you will begin to piece together your understanding of ecology, and yourself into your own unique project and design.
Keep in mind that these quests aren’t simple ones that start and finish on a determined day, but ongoing and active challenges that will follow you and change over time. They will become a framework that alters and informs your design choices over the length of your project’s life.
I see design as an active cycle. One that doesn’t end the day you plant your last tree, but a slow and iterative process that starts fresh every year as you continually reevaluate your choices and care style based on what you learn along the way.
This means that the goal of this coaching program isn’t to create a final design, but to create a design that’s good enough to start with. A design that can be very polished, or very rough depending on what you need.
What’s important is that it will be a design that will allow you to commit to your journey, and hopefully leaves you with a view of the importance of slowing down as you pursue a deeper exploration of yourself, your land, and their link.
Personally, I want to help people design forests that are actually capable of changing the world, and aren’t just greener versions of the mistakes of civilization. And to get there, I’m convinced that we need to ask ourselves deeper questions than we’re accustomed to. By asking questions that are rooted in an open and honest exploration of self, our hidden motivations, and our subpersonalities, we can change how we interact with the world around us. We can prevent imposing our will on nature in order to allow her to really express herself.
Practically, this will mean delaying asking questions like “How do I live a comfortable life in nature?” and instead asking “How do I live a meaningful life with nature?”
Forest coaching focuses on the equal needs of understanding ecology and ourselves. Because in that pursuit of discovering what our individual niche in the natural world is, we’ll begin to make choices that are inherently connected to everything around us. We’ll learn to rely on the world around us. And we’ll begin to see that those choices that benefit the web of life can become a healthy kind of selfishness.
So, rest assured that this process, will almost definitely be uncomfortable at times, as all transformation is. But, if we can undertake that transformation with compassion, and a lack of judgement it can be a deeply rewarding experience.
What Does an Average Session Look Like?
In general, sessions will revolve around helping you to navigate your own design. This means that forest coaching won’t be a tutoring session about general permaculture, forest gardening, syntropic or regenerative agriculture, rewilding or any other particular methodology (although any questions about these will have their place).
Sessions will be an island where you land, recharge, bring your doubts, discuss your progression, and decide on how best to navigate from that point.
We’ll start by reviewing your progress since the previous session. Discuss the current state of your forest design. Explore your personal journey within that design, and leave some time for general Q&A.
Finally, I’ll provide you with prompts, exercises, resources, or any other questions that will serve to guide the design journey until our next session.
Who Forest Coaching is For?
In general, Forest Coaching is for anyone in need of help in designing, planting or managing their regenerative landscape. In addition to that, certain characteristics will improve the program’s capacity to really help you.
- Anyone designing through a lense of soil regeneration, permaculture, syntropic methods, or any other technique that values ecosystem health over production.
- People who are self-directed, or who want to learn how to become self-directed. I will be there to guide, bounce questions off, and provide a strong structure to follow, but I will not be the designer. You will be your own designer.
- People who want to allow nature a voice in the design process and want to learn how to make bottom-up decisions (Bottom-up here defined as “Allowing the particularities of your land to inform and shape your decisions.” )
- People who currently have land, or will soon have long-term access to land.
- Anyone who has a deep calling to live and work with forests.
- People wondering what their unique role in their ecosystem might be.
Who It’s Not For.
Though I’d love to be able to work with everyone who wants to plant trees, the following reasons would strip forest coaching’s ability to actually create healthy ecosystems.
- People who want to make top-down decisions (Here top-down can be defined as “I want ‘X’ so I’m going to find a way to put it on my land without checking in with the land before I do.”)
- People who need a design yesterday. Forestry is a generational endeavor, let’s take our time.
- People primarily interested in making money. Though most projects can eventually find some way to earn a living or an income, if the primary goal is to make money, then this isn’t the program for you.
- People who want to make straight productive forests or gardens without a deeper exploration of the conditions that would fulfill them as people.
Where will it take place?
In general, most sessions will take place online.
Of course, it always helps to get to know and see the land in person, so, if possible, we can arrange a land visit. But, in general, you’ll become the main expert on your land.
How Many Sessions and How Often?
By having monthly meetings over the course of a year, we’ll take our time deepening your vision of the project and land. The number of sessions will be flexible and depend on each individual’s situation. Typically, there will be about 12 sessions that lead you through a complete design cycle. And each session will last about an hour.
In general, sessions will cost 40 euro or 50 dollars. However, the most important outcome for me is the creation of healthy forests and forest projects, and I don’t want the price to stop that. So if you have financial needs that don’t allow you pay those prices, let me know! I will gladly scale the price to suit your needs.
And, if you’re living in Northern Spain or Portugal, and are financially restricted, you can apply for our yearly grant that might completely cover your costs!
What Language Will it be In?
I’m fluent in English and Spanish. And I’m very good at pretending that I speak Portuguese.
Who am I?
I’m a forest gardener based in Galicia, Spain. During my 10 years working with Forest Gardens and sustainability, I’ve made plenty of mistakes in pursuit of a more sustainable and rooted lifestyle. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help you prevent a few.
If you’d like to know more about my forest gardening you can check out this video tour of my forest.
If you’ve got any questions, you can always send me a question at firstname.lastname@example.org