Sustainable Lifestyle Seminars

Welcome to our classes, dedicated to the instruction of self-sufficiency skills for
living in rural settings 

  • Building Forest Mountain Trails Workshops - View several miles of beautiful hand built trails with switchbacks and staircases built on 400-acre redwood forest ranch. The works hope includes four hours  of hands-on instruction extending a portion of trail presently under construction will be involved where you will learn to use ropes, picks, shovels and a come along.
  • Organic Gardening and Farming Workshops - Hands-on instruction on grafting different varieties of fruit trees on a single tree, as well as general instruction on pruning, composting, soils, crops, frost-fighting, and protection of fruit crops from wildlife, including deer (quick, easy and inexpensive system for deer fencing), birds, raccoons, chipmunks and bears.
  • Beginning Photovoltaic Workshops - Participants will learn about basic electricity, load analysis, and components of various systems. This is a hands-on session and tour of working solar system on site. Demonstration and instruction of passive and active solar hot water systems, working out door solar hot water showers and domestic hot water heating systems.
  • Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Construction Workshop - Learn to construct an inexpensive, 25-foot diameter geodesic dome greenhouse built with 1/2 inch x 3/4 inch wood slats, clear plastic sheeting, and a staple gun. Plans for 16 1/2 ft, 25ft, 30ft, geodesic dome greenhouses will be made available to participants upon request.
  • Building with Stone Workshops - Using a technique employed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Helen and Scott Nearing, participants will learn how to simply and quickly build beautiful, structurally sound stone-faced concrete walls of all sizes and shapes. pA curved garden terrace wall will be started and completed. Forms are striped the same day so the wall can be carved, sculpted and cleaned resulting in a long-lasting structure that an inexperienced person can complete with ease. Also learn how to use this technique to build benches, load-supporting and curvelinear walls, arches, and fireplaces.  You'll leave inspired to confidently tackle your own projects.
  • Basic Construction Skills Workshops - Participants will learn to safely use chainsaws, "fall" trees, mill timber with portable saw mills, cut glass, operate a backhoe, troubleshoot small motors, connect PVC pipes using tricks of the trade, solder copper pipes and more as time and interest indicate.  There will also be an introduction to brazing and arc and acetylene welding.
  • Food Processing Workshop  Hands-on instruction on quick, easy, efficient and effective "open kettle" method of canning, fruit puree, tomatoes sauce, fruit leather, apple juice, and apple butter. All students will take home some fruits of their labor.
  • Animal Husbantry Workshop Goats, chickens, making cheese, kiefer, cottage cheese, etc.
All classes are conducted at the Redwood Forest Institute, headquarters located half way between Willits and Fort Bragg, California, on a beautiful, private, 400-acre, self-sufficient ranch. 

Each class allows four hours for recreational purposes which include a conducted guided tour of RFI's headquarters on a working 400-acre, self-sufficient ranch, and hikes and overview of some of the other activities on site. For overnight campers and guests, there will be a campfire with music, stories, and discussion of environmental issues with a focus on what is happening in the redwood forest and what RFI is doing about it. Musically inclined participants are encouraged to bring their instrument or voice to share with the group.

Free onsite camping is permitted.

  • Liability release is required.
  • Space is limited; most sessions fill up quickly.
  • Payment must be made in full with reservation.
  • Cancellations prior to two weeks from workshop date will be charged a $50.00 cancellation fee.
  • Cancellations made within 2 weeks of workshop are non-refundable.
  • Student discounts are allowed.

For registration and schedule information, please contact us at or(707)-459-2391 evenings, to learn more about these and other unique environment-friendly educational opportunities.

Redwood Forest Institute is a California, for public benefit, non-profit corporation, organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code