Georgics Certification

June 21-29, 2023
Monticello College Campus

The idea of homesteading or farmsteading is gaining popularity in the wake of the global pandemic, supply-chain shortages, violent acts of nature, and growing government debt and social unrest. A small group of early adopters have quit their jobs, purchased a piece of land, pulled a trailer and a tank of water onto that land and begun working to build a new life of independence. We commend them.

But there is a much larger group of people who see the merits of being more independent but are looking for a way to transition into this lifestyle more gradually. If this second group describes you, our Georgics Certification program is the right time and place to gain the knowledge and strategy to begin where you are.

During our new Georgics Certification, you will experience nine days full of classes, discussions, and hands-on experiences in:

  • The New Economy
  • Soil Regeneration
  • Custom Soil Analysis For Samples You Bring to Us
  • Create Biochar
  • Composting
  • Introduction to Alternative Construction
  • Introduction to Animal Husbandry Including Slaughtering Chickens
  • Intensive Instruction and Hands-on Experience in Full Time Family Food Production
  • Intensive Instruction and Hands-on Experience in Market Gardening
  • Elements of Biodynamics
  • Elements of Permaculture
  • Instruction and Hands-on Experience with Natural Beekeeping and Hive Construction

Perhaps the most important take-away from this certification experience are the new friends and the community development that always happens when people come together to address concerns and find solutions. Be sure to bring any musical instrument that you play, jam sessions around the bonfire under our amazing no light-pollution night sky are common here.

Going the extra mile, there will be a colloquium on day five covering the book, Flight From the City by Ralph Borsodi (find it on Amazon). A colloquium is a group discussion around a book we have all read. To get the most out of this experience, read this short book before arriving on campus.


(changes may occur)

Day One: Wednesday, June 21
3:00-4:00pm – Arrive and settle in
5:00pm – Light Dinner
6:00-8:00pm – The New Economy lecture: Dr. Shanon Brooks

Day Two: Thursday, June 22
Soil Regeneration I
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: William DeMille
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 4:00pm – Classroom: William DeMille
4:00 – 6:00pm – Hands-on: Compost Workshop: MC Students
6:00pm – Dinner
8:30pm – Bonfire and Biochar Demo (fire restrictions allowing): Dr. Brooks

Day Three: Friday, June 23
Soil Regeneration II
(Microscope Soil Analysis of Your Home Garden Soil Sample)
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: William DeMille
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 4:00pm – Hands-on: Getting Your Hands Dirty in the Greenhouse/Garden: William DeMille
4:00 – 6:00pm – Hands-on: Animal Husbandry/Goats – Grooming, Deworming, Feeding, Shelter: Dr. Brooks and MC Student
6:00pm – Dinner
7:00pm – Group Discussion: What is Community?

Day Four: Saturday, June 24
Food Production I
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00 – 11:00am – Hands-on: Slaughter and Butchering Chickens and a Goat: William DeMille
11:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: William DeMille
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 4:30pm – Classroom: William DeMille
4:30 – 6:00pm – Hands-on: Mountain Hike: MC Students
6:00pm – Dinner
9:20pm – Bonfire (fire restrictions allowing)

Day Five: Sunday, June 25
Rest Day
8:00am – Breakfast
1:00pm – Lunch
6:00pm – Dinner
7:00pm – Colloquium: Flight From the City, Ralph Borsodi: Dr. Brooks

Day Six: Monday, June 26
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00 – 11:30am – Introduction to Natural Beekeeping: Dr. Brooks
12:00 – 1:00pm – Hands-on: Hive Inspection: Dr. Brooks
1:00pm – Lunch
2:30pm – 6:00pm – Hands-on: Hive/Frame Construction: Dr. Brooks
6:00pm – Dinner
7:00pm – Group Discussion: High Quality Rural Living

Day Seven: Tuesday, June 27
Elements of Permaculture
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: Dr. Brooks
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 5:00pm – Hands-on: Fire Making: MC Students
5:00 – 6:00pm – Hands-on: Plant and Soil Condition Tour: Dr. Brooks
6:00pm – Dinner
9:20pm – Bonfire (fire restrictions allowing)

Day Eight: Wednesday, June 28
Elements of Biodynamics
8:00am – Breakfast
8:30 – 11:00am – Hands-on: Alternative Construction
Methods (Strawbale/Cob/CEB): Dr. Brooks
11:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: Lloyd Nelson
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 5:00pm – Classroom: Lloyd Nelson
6:00pm – Dinner
7:00pm – Evening Discussion: Bringing Georgics to Your Community

Day Nine: Thursday, June 29
Food Production II
8:00am – Breakfast
9:00am – 1:00pm – Classroom: William DeMille
1:00pm – Lunch
2:00 – 4:00pm – Hands-on: Back in the Soil: William DeMille
6:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Debrief
9:20pm – Bonfire (fire restrictions allowing)


What is Georgics?

*For the Western world, the foundation of critical thinking was conceived during a time when farming was king. It was known to the ancients as georgics. Georgics, more commonly known since the 1800s as the philosophy of agrarianism, is a term that describes a culture of independent farming that engenders the qualities of duty, order, frugality, and self-control. These farming-oriented values and ethics are the same ones that create and sustain a liberal arts system of education and a political order in which citizens govern rather than being ruled by the so-called 1%ers.

The word “georgic” or “georgics” is derived from both Latin and Greek, and literally means to work the land or to engage in agricultural efforts. When I say that in the 21st century, people generally think I am suggesting that everyone should engage the profession of farming, but that is not what I am saying. I mean to say that even while a person may be a doctor, a lawyer, a bricklayer, or a salesman; we should all still engage in farming to produce food and creating a rural lifestyle.

Georgics as a concept has a strong 2,700-year history. It begins with Hesiod around 700 BC. The Roman historian Virgil picked up the torch in his poetic writings actually called “The Georgics” in 35 BC. Hilaire Belloc illuminated economic medieval history in his work The Servile State, which outlines the evolution of the term “yeoman” from servant of the king to free landholder and independent farmer from 500 to 1400 AD. Georgics as an Anglo New World concept and practice, started in 1607 with Jamestown as agriculture and georgics became the primary means of livelihood and way of thinking for the American
colonists. By the late 17th century John Locke introduced his georgic concepts of private land ownership with “Two Treatises on Government,” followed by the mid to late 18th century economic theories of the Physiocrats in Europe, which supported the growth and development of agriculture as the true means of national wealth. Early 20th century Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools, developed the georgic concept of biodynamics in the 1920s, which was then introduced to American farmers in the 1930s, followed by the georgic concepts of permaculture presented by Bill Mollison in 1978 (chapter four covers both biodynamics and permaculture in depth).

The term georgics was adopted by the early Americans to describe a quality they not only very much admired, but one that they were determined to inculcate into the new American culture and that they were convinced would create a great land of liberty.