2024 Nourishing Gardens Intermediate Training

Part 2 of our Nourishing Gardens training

CEI is pleased to offer our Nourishing Gardens Intermediate gardening course. This training goes just beyond the basics to get you thinking about how to design & layout your garden using permaculture design techniques, non-traditional garden styles you could consider (edible landscapes, pollinator gardens, rain gardens, urban farming, etc.), building and caring for your garden (including building raised garden beds and weed, pest, and disease management), and preserving and using your harvest  (see full schedule below).

The Nourishing Gardens program aims to transform lawns into ecologically beneficial food and pollinator garden spaces. As a Nourishing Gardens trainee, you will also have the opportunity to make a difference in your community.

Commitment: To get the most out of the program, Nourishing Gardens trainees should plan to participate in the full program as outlined below.
  • 5-week training program (see course schedule below); 
  • 1-2 hours of independent learning each week;
  • 2-hour in person learning session each Thursday, 6pm - 8pm (online options available);
  • Experiential learning sessions to apply the knowledge from the week to real-life installations each Saturday 9am - 12pm at an installation site within Howard County; and
  • Trainees must be at least sixteen years of age and able to provide their own transportation to installation sites within Howard County.

Course schedule:

Thursday, May 9, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.Orientation & Introduction to permaculture with Dr. Chiara D'Amore
Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Agriculture & building raised garden beds at Freetown Farm
Thursday, May 16, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.Soil health and seed starting
Saturday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.In-person experience
Thursday, May 23, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.Weeds, pests, and disease management
Saturday, May 25, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.In-person experience at WLMS
Thursday, May 30, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Edible landscapes, natives, and pollinators
Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
In-person experience at SJLES
Thursday, June 6, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Food systems & seasonal eating
Saturday, June 8, TBD
In-person ending ceremony and garden tour with Gary Pilarchik

Other Program Details: 

The class will consist of weekly assignments using Canvas as well as in person lessons and hands-on experience Saturday mornings. Space is limited. Registration is required.


The Nourishing Gardens Intermediate Gardening training has a registration fee of $175 and includes weekly instruction, online materials, and access to tools and supplies needed during on-site learning. The course book, Growing An Edible Landscape by Gary Pilarchik and Chiara D'Amore, will be provided at no additional cost.

This course will be led by Loni Cohen, the Community Ecology Institute Nourishing Gardens Program Manager. Loni began gardening with her dad as a child and later worked on his landscaping crew to pay her way through graduate school. Loni earned a Master's Degree in Social Work, and spent years helping families to access the supports they needed to thrive in their environment. Loni feels passionate about creating an environment that fosters a mutually beneficial relationship where people and nature thrive together. Loni continues to enjoy sharing her passion for gardening with the community as the Nourishing Gardens Program Manager, a Bay-Wise Certified Master Gardener, and CA Weed Warrior.

If you have any questions about the program, please reach out to Loni Cohen, Nourishing Gardens Program Manager, at [email protected]

Nourishing Gardens intermediate training

General Admission

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