Skill Building at the Bullock Permaculture Homestead

Our application process is CLOSED. If you are thinking about applying for the 2018 season, come visit us in 2017 if possible!


The core dates for our 2017 Skill Building Program are Mar. 25 - Oct. 31, but participants are encouraged to arrive earlier and stay later.


Our skill building program is an educational experiance, each year we work on different projects. Consequently, the skill building program is different every year. Our skill builder program has three main facets:

1) Annual Gardening, 2) Perennial Zone Management and 3) Rotating monthly specializations.


  1. We grow our own food here. You’ll be eating the potatoes, squash, apples and canned goods from last year when you get here in the spring, growing food for the season, and making sure there’s food in storage or overwintered for the following season’s incoming crew! Each Skill Builder has 6-8 plots that they are responsible for. Our emphasis is on small-plot intensive gardening, so you will learn how to grow a lot of food in a small space, and will be expected to love and maintain your gardens in order to feed your community!

  2. The Bullock’s homestead is somewhat of a living plant genetic repository, with hundreds of novel species from all over the world, most of which have value as food, fodder, fiber, medicine, timber, etc. Across the homestead, there are dozens of microclimates and niches that have been planted with perennial plants and trees. Your task will be to learn about a parcel of it - your Perennial Zone - and keep it thriving. You will learn about the plants in your zone and their needs and uses. You’ll also learn how to manage these types of landscapes with pruning, irrigation, and fertility. You’ll also get to experiment with what plants you think might work there by planting new plants from our nursery and seeing what happens there.

  3. We have monthly modules for learning about the systems on our homestead. This includes mechanics, water systems, poultry management, plant propagation and helping in the nursery, sprays (fertility and holistic pest management), Compost, and more. As a skill-builder, you will be able to take on most of these Monthly Specializations, and spend a month delving into what it takes to troubleshoot problems with the farm truck, fixing water pumps, taking care of chickens and ducks, or experimenting with compost teas, among other things.

 Once these three facets of life here are taken care of, there is space to study our off-grid systems, and design a project of your own undertaking. Interested in solar power? Build a thermosyphon shower or design a new solar system for the kitchen. Interested in fire power? Design and build a rocket stove. How about carpentry? Build an arbor or new tool shed.

You’ll have access to a fully-stocked library, wood shop and metal shop and the guidance of the Bullock Brothers with their years of DIY experience. 


Another major component of living and working here is hosting visitors. We have an array of people coming most weekends to see the place. Some folks just wander in and look around, some come for a tour, but most will stay for the weekend and you will be helping include and integrate them into daily life and tasks around the farm. There are also a handful of larger groups that come, 12-30 people (such as our 2-3 week Permaculture Design Course), for our various courses and other weekend events. This is an opportunity to learn how to host, lead work parties, network, and meet great people. 

What does a typical day look like here? (We work Friday-Monday, with the remainder left unscheduled.)

 Well, “typical” changes with the season and the interests of the group. That said, a daily schedule might look something like this:

7:30 - Breakfast (we take turns cooking for each other, about 2 meals a week per person)

8:30 - Morning meeting - what projects should we do today? What should we learn?

9:00 - Move out, plant some over-wintering cabbage, learn to make kraut and jam.

1:00 - Lunch, personal projects, take a nap, go for a swim in the pond...

2:30 - Meet back up, check in about rest of day

3:00 - Introduction to electrical systems with Sam and Doug

5:00 - Water your garden beds, work on a bicycle-powered blender, go study grape pruning in the library, make a hatchet handle, , start cooking dinner, etc…

7:00 - Dinner

7:30 - Back to your bike blender, have a solar shower, get cozy in the sauna, make a fire and sip some tea or homemade wine, however else you like to spend the rest of your day.


Skill Development Through Projects:

Our projects provide hands-on experience in many of the following skill areas: organic gardening, grafting, pruning, electrical, plumbing, irrigation, metalworking, carpentry, nursery management, pond construction, mushroom propagation, ferrocement construction, canning & food preservation, cooking, working with small animals, plant propagation, bee keeping, pedal-powered machines, solar hot water systems, photovoltaic systems, natural building, mechanical maintainence, and more.

Some past projects made by Skill-Builders:

Solar-powered music station

Compost tea brewer

Timber-frame structures

Wood-fired and thermo-syphon showers

DIY water tanks

Rebuilt water pumps

Chicken tractors

Arbors & Trellises

Bike-powered tools

Bee Hives

Solar dehydrator



Rocket stoves

Cob oven

Rock walls

Irrigation systems

Solar panel systems 

We ask each of our participants to contribute $250/month to our land fund, which is used to supply tools and materials for our projects. Visitor meal donations go towards bulk food purchases. Opportunities to earn money are plentiful on the island.

Where Would I Stay?
We have numerous platforms and other small structures available scattered about the property. We supply the space and a tarp for rain cover; you supply: mosquito net, sleeping bag, pad, blankets, etc. Meals are prepared together in our community kitchen.

Application Procedure & Timeline

The application period for our 2017 Skill Buiding Program is now open! Thank you for being patient with us while we experienced technical difficulties getting the application online. Before you contact us please read our detailed skill building program description 

If you would like to join our Skill Building Program for the 2017 season, here's your chance!

If the program sounds like a good fit for you, download an application (MS Word Document). fill it out, & send application materials to us. We will be accepting applications until NOVEMBER 30, 2016. (ignore Oct. date on Application form...but the sooner the better!)

As part of planning out your permaculture education you might also want to read Cosmic Bob's Plan for Your Life. This "tongue in cheek" article actually lays out a valid way to approach skill development in a permaculture context.

Skill Building Program Timeframe for 2017 Program

2016 Nov 15: 2016 Skill Building Program Applications due
2016 Nov 30- Dec 15: Interviews for selected applicants
2016 Dec 25: Inform folks selected for the skill building program and folks who are on the waiting list
2017 Jan 2: Acceptance due from selected participants
2017 Jan 15: Skill Building Program deposit due


If you have further questions regarding the skill building program please contact us at

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