In partnership with the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies, Shenandoah Permaculture Institute is pleased to announce that Emilie Tweardy has joined the instructional team for the 2019 Permaculture Design Certificate program. Emilie’s farm, ShireFolk Farm in Palmyra, Virginia, is a mainstay at several Richmond area farmers markets.

Since moving to Virginia three years ago with the dream of starting a successful market farm, Tweardy and her husband, Logan, have quickly carved out a name for themselves as a premier broadacre permaculture farm. What began three years ago as a simple egg enterprise has quickly grown to include broiler chickens, turkeys, ducks and lamb.

Tweardy brings the a combination of farming, farmers market vendor and classroom teaching to this year’s permaculture design program, experiences that make the program unique. Unlike some permaculture design programs that focus on big name writers and teachers from other parts of the country, the University of Richmond places high value on pedagogy and bioregional expertise.

“Emilie is a recognizable vendor at several Richmond area markets and also happens to be an outstanding classroom teacher,” notes Garrett Stern, senior program manager for professional education at the University of Richmond. “We feel this provides our students with a greater chance of being successful at implementing the knowledge they gain after completing our Permaculture Design Certificate program.”

After years of leading white water rafting on the Arkansas River and a degree in natural resources management, Tweardy began wondering about the next chapter in her life. She started to think very seriously about a life of farming and wondered how to best pursue the lifestyle sustainably.

After a trip and short residency at a permaculture farm in Costa Rica, Tweardy realized that permaculture was her path. She was hooked and became focused on the potential permaculture could have in designing a sustainable future for her family and her future land. Shortly after, Tweardy and her husband stumbled onto a piece of property in Fluvanna County near Richmond, which became ShireFolk Farm.