Women Grow Food

"Permaculture advocates designing human systems based on natural ecosystems."

July 2020 update: as the legal and practical dissolution of Deep Dirt Institute unfolds over the summer, Women Grow Food continues to produce food at Deep Dirt Farm. Kate Tirion is taking a few months’ hiatus to focus her energies on new projects; other regulars have departed to spend their summers in friendlier climes. Cheridyn Egan has stepped in to serve as interim coordinator, ably guiding the efforts of four WGF members and a handful of volunteers who continue to tend the summer plantings in alternating, COVID-wise shifts, trap the endless legions of vermin and pests who find the farm’s veggies irresistible, and perform the other myriad tasks required to keep the vegetable beds producing. As of today (July 5), summer squash, beets, savoy cabbage, kale, garlic and onions are being harvested, while winter squash, potatoes, pumpkins, beans, carrots, tomatoes, dill, fennel, basil, broccoli, chard, eggplant, cucumbers, parsley and peppers are coming on. The ducks have been relocated to Kate and Richard’s home for the summer to lessen the caretaking burden at the farm, but the property continues to hum not only with the buzz of countless pollinators but also with unending birdsong and the raucous cawing of emboldened ravens. 


With the advent of fall—marked by the completion of DDI’s absorption by Borderlands Restoration Network, commencement of the fall planting season and the return of itinerant WGF members—food production activities at Deep Dirt should resume their pre-COVID pace. Doubtless there will be changes, as BRN strives to incorporate small-scale, sustainable food production into its repertoire of programming. Women Grow Food looks forward to this opportunity to grow (pardon the pun), evolve, strengthen, and expand to meet the challenges that face us all of us trying to rescale and localize our food system in regenerative ways.


For the foreseeable future, WGF will continue to need support in order to retain Cheridyn Egan as WGF coordinator and to buy seed, new mouse/rat/gopher traps and bait and many other supplies. WGF members and anyone else wishing to contribute financial support should mail their contributions to Borderlands Restoration Network, P.O. Box 121, Patagonia, AZ 85624. You can also donate online.

Each week, members of the Women Grow Food program engage in 4 hours of hands-on learning at the Deep Dirt Farm greenhouse, led by permaculture practitioner Kate Tirion, a graduate of the renowned UC Santa Cruz Farm Program. 

Members utilize the greenhouse facility, tools, seeds, and materials as they gain valuable training in permaculture techniques. Members then leave with a share of the day's seasonal harvest. 


Come join this group of lively, fun and dedicated women as we learn to grow and harvest fresh, organic garden vegetables! 

  • Learn how to grow organic vegetables in the desert.

  • Learn how to build structures that support farming.

  • Learn about integrating human & wildlife habitat from a master teacher.

  • Take home freshly-harvested organic vegetables that you helped produce! Members generally harvest more than $50 worth of organic groceries a month, and we love to share recipes.

Suggested membership fees: $50/month (about $13 per work day), with a sliding scale from $5 to $20 per day.


Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.


In addition to the wild plants and animals, our campus supports food production for humans. Kate hosts gardening workshops that help participants understand how to grow healthy organic food while building soil and revitalizing the landscape. Her gardens and orchards are tucked in among the native plants along her "Path of Least Resistance" that winds through the valley and take advantage of different soil types and micro-climates around the property.

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We're in the process of shifting our educational programs to Borderlands Restoration Network

Read more in our latest blog

Deep Dirt Institute


Campus Address:

#76 Stevens Canyon Road

Patagonia, AZ




© 2019 Deep Dirt Institute

Deep Dirt Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit # 82-1550846 

Mailing Address (general): P.O. Box 765, Patagonia, AZ 85624

Mailing Address (donations): P.O. Box 121, Patagonia, AZ 85624