One Day Workshops and Classes

Sonoran Permaculture Guild partners with other organizations such as Bean Tree Farm for additional workshops and events, as well as internships and work-study arrangements. More info here

Scroll down to the bottom of this page for registration info on Sonoran Permaculture Guild’s Fall workshops and classes

SPG Spring 2017 One Day Workshops and Classes

Beekeeper Training – Saturday and Sunday, March 11th and 12th, 2017

Bees - websize section of top bar Want to be a beekeeper but don’t know where to start? Do you have some experience with bees but want to learn more? How about either a full weekend or just one day of hands on instruction with one of the Southwest’s most experienced beekeepers? This two day beekeeping workshop at the San Xavier Coop Farm,  just south of Tucson, Arizona, will get you started. The activities of honey bees will be studied in both a classroom setting and through hands-on examination of hive patterns within active hives. We will look at reproduction patterns, seasonal population dynamics, the various responsibilities of the queen, worker, and drone, and the honey bee’s complex set of duties such as pollination, storing resources, and making wax combs.  Here is the agenda for both days (it may change slightly at the discretion of the instructors).

Level I Beginning Beekeeping (Saturday – Start time is 8:00am)

  • Brief introduction, Beekeeping History
  • Seasonal Patterns, Swarming, Health and Pests
  • Managing Defensive Colonies, Safety precautions
  • Late morning – Hive Inspection, then lunch on your own, 12:30-1:30
  • Packages, Nucleus Colonies, and obtaining Queens
  • Hive Styles, Harvesting Equipment
  • Locating the Hive and Apiary – Urban and Rural

Conclude 5:00pm

Note: If you are a beginning beekeeper, it is highly recommended that you take Day one before you take Day two, as the instructor will have limited time to answer your questions on the basics covered the previous day.

.Level II – Intermediate Level Bee Keeping (Sunday – Start time is 8:00am)

  • Populations Dynamics, Pests and Diseases
  • Proper Nutrition and Food Resources
  • Increasing Hive Numbers, Queen Rearing-Selection/Africanization
  • Late Morning Hive Inspection and lunch on your own, 12:30-1:30
  • Planning Harvesting Needs, Hive Product Quality, Marketing
  • Combining hives – How, Why, When?
  • Planning for Winter Survival, “Off-Season” Winter Work

Conclude 5:00pm

Location:  Final directions and information about how to prepare for the training will be sent to registered students approximately 7 days prior to class. The San Xavier Coop Farm is located approximately 15 minutes south of downtown Tucson near the San Xavier Mission on the Tohono O’odham reservation.  Time: 8AM-5PM each day.  Cost: You may register for just one day – either Saturday or Sunday – or both days, but again if you are a beginning bee keeper, it is is highly recommended that you take Day one before you take Day two!  The early bird discount before March 1st for only one day is $125, or for both days $250 total. After March 1st, the cost is $150 for one day; or $300 for both days. This workshop is taught by very experienced beekeeper Jaime De Zubeldia and guest instructors. See the registration info at the bottom of this page or contact Dan at dorsey@dakotacom.net

Introduction to Growing Food at Home, March 18th, 2017

websize-la-oeste-garden-1  The future of sustainable agriculture will be in small to medium scale organic food     gardens grown right in and around our cities. In this workshop that includes hands-on work, you will learn about desert adapted food production strategies such as sunken garden beds, self-watering containers, and aquaponics. We will show you how to increase your garden’s health, production, and nutrient value, using an integrated system of composting, vermiculture, mulch, companion plant selection, and irrigation to improve fertility, structure, and life in your soil. A special emphasis will be placed on producing our own inputs for soil fertility using the fermentation process. Specifically, we will discuss how we can use key Korean Natural Farming techniques like Oriental Herbal Nutrient, Bokashi, Fish Hydrolysate, and Lacto Bacillus Serum to grow our soil. We will discuss how to produce food with minimum water use. We will use a Sonoran Desert Food Forest framework- a diverse layering of annual and perennial food plants that can help increase garden health using Permaculture design strategies as the guiding theory for this class.

Location: The Community Food Bank Farm, Las Milpitas de Cottonwood, at 2405 South Cottonwood Lane. – Time: 9AM – 12:30PM – Cost: $30 – Class size is limited to 30 participants and​ includes all class materials and handouts. Taught by Zotero Citlalcoatl. See registration info at the bottom of this page or contact Dan at dorsey@dakotacom.net

Introduction to Aquaponics Design – Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Aquaponics lab - Manzo - websize  Aquaponics is the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics, meaning the system produces both fish and vegetables. We will cover the different types of aquaponic systems and discuss the pros and cons of each method and technology that can be used to set up a system. The emphasis of the workshop will be on how to design and build an aquaponic system that will work for you and your budget.  Aquaponics design ratios, rules of thumb, the nitrogen cycle, pH, microorganisms, pest management, food production, and food safety will be covered. We will also cover how to fit an aquaponics system into an overall integrated design for your landscape.  Optional : Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together by Sylvia Bernstein, and The Biodome Garden Book: The Only Greenhouse Design That Needs No Electrical Ventilation or Humidifying System by Patricia Watters.
General background reading: Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1 and 2 by Brad Lancaster and Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison

Location: Eco Grow, located at 657 W Saint Mary’s Road,Tucson, AZ – Time: 9:00am – 12;30pm – Cost: $30 – Class size is limited to 18 participants  and includes all class materials and handouts. Taught by Zotero Citlalcoatl – See registration info at the bottom of this page or contact Dan at dorsey@dakotacom.net 

Introduction to Permaculture Design – Saturday, May 20th, 2017

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Sonora Desert Museum – Please register through this organization as described at the bottom of the description of this class. Please don’t register through Sonoran Permaculture Guild for this particular class.

mason audubon center websize In this design workshop you will learn how to map out the natural story of the place where you live, and then  put together an exciting, long term plan for your sustainable home and landscape – one that takes care  of people and takes care of the environment at the same time. We will practice the skills and strategies needed to do Permaculture design, like mapping out the natural and person-made forces that effect a site and using simple elevation finding tools. Bring a sketch of your site or yard that you want to design. Class size is limited to 15 participants.

Location: Arizona Sonora Desert Museum at  2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743  – Time: 9AM to 4:00 PM – Cost: Member of ASDM – $70, non-member – $77 -This class includes step by step directions on how to design your site with the class handouts provided  – Class size is limited to 15 participants – Taught by Dan Dorsey, lead Teacher for Sonoran Permaculture Guild. Contact the Arizona Sonora Desert Musuem for registration at http://www.desertmuseum.org/ and click on the ‘Adult Classes and Trips link’ or for more information call ASDM at 520.883.2702.

Registration Information for Sonoran Permaculture Guild’s one day or half day classes and workshops:




 How do I register for a one day or half day class?

You are registered for a class or workshop when we receive your payment in full. There are three ways to pay and register. Remember if the workshop header says to register through a co-sponsor, use the directions in the description of the workshop instead of these.

1. By Mail – Checks and money orders can be made to Sonoran Permaculture Guild LLC. Please mail only checks and money orders (no cash) to: Sonoran Permaculture Guild, c/o Dan Dorsey 221 E. Linden Tucson, AZ 85705. Include your return address, e-mail, and phone number, and we will send you an e-receipt or phone call confirming your registration

2. In Person – You can travel to our office and drop off a money order or check made to Sonoran Permaculture Guild LLC and give it to Dan Dorsey, the SPG registrar, and a receipt will be issued to you at that time. Please E-mail or call 520-624-8030 to schedule a time before you travel here to make sure someone is in the office. Our office is one and a half miles north of downtown Tucson.

3. By Credit Card – online registration

1. Click on the ‘Buy Now’ button above.
2. When it takes you to the secure PayPal site, where it says ‘Enter Description’ put the name
of the workshop(s) you want to take – Example: Bee Keeping
3. In the ‘Item Price’ Box, put in the amount you are sending – Example:
$125 or $250
4. Click on the ‘update’ link. The item total section should display the
amount you entered.
5. Enter Credit Card info or use your existing PayPal account to transfer funds.
6. Before checking out, there should be a box that says something like
‘Include message to Buyer’
In that box put name(s) and an e-mail address for an e-receipt confirmation from SPG. PayPal will also send you an e-receipt.

If this process doesn’t work, you can give our office a call, and we’ll enter your info on-line to complete the transaction. Call Dan, the registrar, at 520-624-8030

If after I register and pay what if I need to cancel?

Our refund policy is as follows: Up to three weeks before the class, you will receive a full refund minus a $5 refund and processing fee. Up to ten days before the class you will receive one half of the class fee as a refund. If you cancel after ten days before the class date, there is no refund, but if you let us know you are cancelling at least two days before the workshop, we will give you some partial credit to use toward a future class. If the class you are signed up for is full with a waiting list, and we can fill your cancelled spot, you will receive a full refund minus a $5 processing fee up to the day of the class.

Can I get college credit or continuing education credit for taking any of these classes?

Some of our participants have been college students, and they have worked with their departments at the University of Arizona, Prescott College, and Pima Community College to obtain independent study credit for taking our courses and classes. It is up to the individual student to work out the arrangements with his or her college or department for credit. Other participants have been able to take continuing education credits for our workshops and classes, but again it is up to the participant to work out the arrangements with their certifying organization.

What if I have additional questions about what to expect in the classes?

Call or e-mail the course registrar at dorsey@dakotacom.net