I teach widely about interconnected systems of care. Here is an example of a workshop I am teaching in several places this year.  Please contact me at if you would like to arrange a workshop for your region.


Shifting from a Sterile to a Fertile Paradigm in Agriculture and Medicine

with Didi Pershouse

Founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine


Learning Resources Coordinator at the Soil Carbon Coalition

Healthy soils create a living, intelligent membrane that covers the Earth: a microbially-rich carbon sponge that influences water flows, atmospheric carbon, and the health and survival of humans and all other species. Understanding the physiology of soils is key to understanding and addressing the social, environmental, and public health challenges of our time.

At a time when many people are feeling discouraged, author Didi Pershouse is hopeful. She sees signs of the emergence of a new “fertile” paradigm of care for our inner and outer landscapes. This fertile model acknowledges the essential and hugely creative role of beneficial microorganisms—from the impact of soil microorganisms on carbon cycles, water flows, farm productivity, and human health; to the influence of gut bacteria on our brain development and immunity.

Using slides, practical examples from farms in the US and Canada, and audience participation, Pershouse shows how we can work with the intelligence of complex self-organizing systems to reorient ourselves and society away from the “sterile” ways we have practiced agriculture and medicine—killing off whatever we don’t want—towards a healthy and productive collaboration with the systems around us.

The workshop (which can be modified to fit into a 2- to 3-hour overview or up to 3 days of in-depth material) covers the following topics:

  • Parallels between soil physiology and human physiology
  • A history of the “sterile” model of care: and its influence on society and health
  • The intelligent membrane: Why mycorrhizal fungi in soils are essential to human health
  • Why farmers have the power to protect their communities from the impact of natural disasters
  • How we can harness photosynthesis and soil biology to influence carbon and water storage in soils
  • Outstanding examples of innovation and leadership in the agricultural community
  • How to grow and support local leadership in soil health
  • Why simple carbon and water cycle monitoring are keys to success in every farm and community

During warmer weather the workshop includes hands-on skills for monitoring improvements in soil health, soil carbon, water infiltration, and biodiversity in your own community. 

About the Presenter: Didi Pershouse is the founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine, and the author of The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities. Over the past 22 years, she has developed a practice and theoretical framework for systems-based ecological medicine—restoring health to people as well as the social and ecological systems around them.  Her work has engaged patients, farmers, scientists, and the public in conversations about the interrelationships between healthy soils, shifting weather patterns, and public health.

She spends much of her time monitoring biological work in soils across the US and Canada and developing learning resources with the Soil Carbon Coalition.  She teaches deep self-care and peer support to groups of community leaders, writes curriculum for schools, and works directly with farmers and ranchers to restore the quietly powerful living systems that run the underground carbon, water, and nutrient cycles that make life on this planet possible.

Sliding Scale Workshop Fees:

Half day or less: $200-600 plus travel

Full day: $400-1,200 plus travel

Weekend: $800-2,400 plus travel

Three days: $1,100-3,000 plus travel


Didi Pershouse, PO Box 277, Thetford Center, VT 05075

802-785-2503 home/work

603-252-1930 mobile


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