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Plant that Comfrey Here, Next to that Apple Tree:


Does this sound familiar?

“I would really want to start a food forest, but I don’t know which plants are suitable for my area, which plants would grow together the best, and how to arrange them.”

The problem is… until you figure out what to plant and where you can’t start your food forest.

And until you grow a food forest, you won’t be able to produce that abundance of food, fiber, fuel, and medicine for yourself and your family that you’ve always dreamed about.

Well, I’m sure you know that plants don’t just magically spring up overnight, so you’d better stop dreaming and start planning right now.

If you’re struggling with starting your food forest, I’m willing to bet it’s not because of your lack of enthusiasm or motivation, but rather because it simply becomes overwhelming and incredibly time-consuming to research the subject to a depth that does it justice.

With so many other farm, family, and work obligations already on your mind, time soon slips by, and before you know it, you miss out on planting anything this growing season and have to wait for the next one.

That’s why keeping things simple and with the bare essentials is important. Initially, you want to create small patches of a food forest, i.e., your food forest guilds, which are easy to tend, easy to understand, and won’t take up much of your time. Having achieved this, you can expand and weave these guilds into the edible landscape of your dreams. That’s it! That’s all you have to do.

In this course, I’m going to help you to understand food forest guilds better and teach you how to create them using a simple three-step framework.

This is the world’s first online course about food forest guilds, meaning you won’t have to leave all the other pressing issues with your farm and family and travel a thousand miles to a costly and brief workshop.

From the comfort of your home, you’ll discover exactly which plants are suitable for your area, which plants will grow together the best, and how to arrange them so that you can start creating your food forest today.


When I was first starting out in permaculture, I didn’t know much about food forests and permaculture guilds. I was just an enthusiast with a burning desire to plant some trees and shrubs in order to start producing my beyond-organic food.

I knew that trees take a long time to grow and that I wasn’t getting any younger, so I wanted to plant something and set things in motion as soon as possible.

After watching some online videos and becoming inspired (thanks Geoff), I cashed out what was, at the time, a significant amount of money for me, went to a local nursery, and bought the best and most expensive fruit trees and shrubs money could buy.

I took a whole weekend off in order to enjoy my planting party, and strolled around my property and randomly decided where to dig holes and plant my plants.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, enthusiasm, and assiduous digging, over time I managed to lose all of the plants except just one apple tree that today stands as a living monument to how not to plant a food forest.

You see, I made so many mistakes. I chose the wrong varieties of tree, I didn’t perform a proper site assessment, I hadn’t supported my trees and shrubs with other perennial plants to help them out with pest problems, nutrient deficiencies, soil building…

So when I finally decided to quit my well-paid job as a geologist and make the transition to my farm, I wanted to do things differently so that I didn’t experience those kinds of setbacks ever again. I knew that key to successful food forests are plant guilds, but didn’t know much about them.

Trying to find something that was both easy to understand and simple to implement was a monumental task in itself. After becoming overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information out there, I decided to tackle this problem once and for all and devise a step-by-step system that would help me create enduring and abundant food forest guilds.

I took a deep dive into the literature and the wealth of other content available, and, after extracting the most important information, I condensed everything to a simple, easy-to-follow plan that requires no expertise or comprehensive background knowledge. Now I use this plan to help myself, and I want to show others how to do the same…

These days, I no longer wonder about what I should be doing. Instead, I know precisely where to plant my trees and shrubs, how to choose the right species, and how to arrange them with other plants to receive the support they need.

There are a lot of voices in Permaculture and sustainable agriculture these days, but I’ve never found one more reliable, insightful and useful as William Horvath and Permaculture Apprentice. The way that he connects the dots from a wide variety of progressive practices can only come from someone who has put them into practice through experimentation and constant observation.

Oliver M. Goshey

Natural builder, permaculture designer, teacher, Abundant Edge

Williams content is a “go to” resource for anyone wanting to build freedom for themselves by establishing their own self reliant systems. In my opinion, he is overly generous with his all inclusive, hands on, step by step instructional material. Any contribution whether it be time, money and/or energy for his information will certainly yield 10-100Xs your investment.que.

Justin Rhodes

Film producer, author and teacher, Abundant Permaculture


You will no longer have to spend your days, reading yet another highly theoretical book or endlessly searching the Internet for the right food forest guilds that would grow on your site, but instead, you’ll know exactly which steps to take and how to create them yourself.

You can begin your day with a clear plan in your mind and start to get your hands dirty in the actual preparation. You can start sourcing your trees immediately and go crazy and, if you so wish, simply plant your entire food forest in one weekend.

Once you know which plants to grow, where to grow them, and how to arrange them, a productive food forest is only question of time. Your plants will positively thrive because you will have chosen the most suitable ones, and planted them in the correct place, and next to the right plants.

Instead of wasting your time or throwing away your money on failed attempts that only serve to discourage, you can have the priceless peace of mind of knowing that you’re well on the way to establishing your food forest.

While previously you might’ve been just a beginner, a permaculture enthusiast wishing to start a food forest, you now have the hands-on experience and a beginnings of a food forest that others can only envy. With such practical knowledge, it’s inevitable you’ll become the go-to permaculture guild sage for your local community.


This is the world’s first online course that helps you design food forest guilds without spending unproductive days on the research and becoming stuck in decision paralysis (and never actually planting anything) using the step-by-step S.P.D. framework.

Once you sign up for the course, you’ll receive access to my step-by-step system for designing and implementing food forests, and learn how to create guilds in one weekend.

The course consists of seven video lessons with accompanying workbooks that give you the precise details for creating food forest guilds, so that you can finally start planting the food forest of your dreams.

To make the entire process even easier, I’ve also created a food forest plant species list with suitable fruit trees, N-fixers, shrubs, vines, and perennials, so that you don’t have to endlessly search the Internet for the right plants.

Most importantly, following the course you won’t be planting the wrong plants in the wrong place and then have to watch them die needlessly…

Here’s what you get:


This is where you will learn exactly what food forest guilds are so that you can finally understand the esoteric world of symbiotic plant relationships that everyone keeps talking about, plus now you’ll be able to explain them to others.

Lesson 1: Food Forest Guild Basics (26 min.)

You’ll learn how food forest guilds work and I’ll explain the different guild layers and functions plants need to fulfill. We’ll dig deeper into the relationships between the plants and I’ll give you some real-life examples.

This module will help you to clearly understand what you need to recreate so that you can experience the many benefits food forest guilds have to offer.

Module 2: Guild Design

Module 2 is the crux of this course. Here, I cover the three-step process of designing food forest guilds.

Lesson 2: Design Strategy (11 min.)

First, you’ll learn about different guild design strategies (hint: there are only two important ones). This is important because this determines how you’re going to choose your plants and how you’re going to design your guilds.

Lesson 3: Choosing Plants (29 min.)

Based on the design strategy, I’ll outline the best way of selecting plant species for your specific site conditions, and we’ll create a master list of plants.

Lesson 4: Designing Guilds (27 min.)

In step three we’ll assemble the selected species in effective groupings that are diverse, self- maintaining, mutually supportive and cooperative.

This module will ensure that you create groups of plants that will want to grow by themselves so that you can produce more food with less work.


Module 3 is the practical how-to part of the course. Here I’ll reveal how to connect multiple guilds into a food forest, give you some real-life case studies of various guild assemblies and talk about the practical, down-to-earth stuff – guild establishment.

Lesson 5: From Patches to Food Forests (9 min.)

In real life, a food forest guild doesn’t stand in isolation; rather, each is merely a piece of a larger whole. That’s why it’s important to learn how to connect guilds into a food forest and avoid rookie mistakes.

Lesson 6: Case Studies: Real Life Examples of Guild Creation (12 min.)

Here, I’ll show you with real-life examples how to approach guild building when creating single or multiple guilds from scratch, and how to ‘guild’ an existing conventional orchard.

Lesson 7: Guild Establishment (21 min.)

Once you have your guild designs ready, you’ll need to know how to prepare the soil prior to planting, plant your plants, and in what order.

After this module, you’ll be finally able to create your piece of food paradise and be an inspiration to others.

BONUS 1: Ready to use guild recipes ($30)



As a bonus, you’ll get 18 ‘ready-to-use guild recipes’, tried-and-tested food forest guild combinations that you can copy and adapt to your site.

Through this, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel or conduct endless wasteful experiments before stumbling upon arrangements that grow well together.


Cover cropping, mulching, compost and compost tea are all crucial soil management techniques that you should be thinking about from the get-go.

In this practical step-by-step PDF guide, you’ll learn about using these techniques to make sure that your plants grow happily in addition to planting them in guilds.

In the guide, you’ll also find cover cropping, fungal compost, and compost tea recipes so that you can apply this knowledge immediately and ensure that your plants get a head-start.


Month-by-month calendar of food forest tasks telling you precisely what to do and when to do it.

It gives you a bird’s eye view of everything you’ll need to do in a year from planning, soil management, implementation to the maintenance of your food forest.

The calendar covers both hemispheres and all the temperate zone climates: temperate(oceanic and continental), Mediterranean, subtropical.

BONUS 4: Tree and Shrub Establishment Protocol ($17) 

Special protocol specifically designed to help you grow and maintain your woody perennial food crops.

It outlines the 5 specific tasks you need to do:

  1. Sheet mulching
  2. Bare root planting
  3. Mulching
  4. Adding soil amendments and fertilizers
  5. Foliar fertilization

…and provides a practical implementation guide for each step of the process, including recommendation on when exactly to implement them.


When you join the course you’re not just getting access to the course materials, you’re getting the personal support from me and from my growing Permaculture Conversion community.

If you ever feel stuck at any point and need some help, you can email me or post your question in the private group and we’ll get you the answers you need.

You’re not on your own on this journey, and by investing into this course you will receive personal support if you need it and you get to leverage the insight and wisdom of others as you plan and grow your food forest.



Seven video lessons detailing precisely:

  • What food forest guilds are and how they work.
  • Which guild design strategy you should use.
  • Which plants to get.
  • How to design your guilds.
  • How to establish guilds on the site.

Worksheets and plant lists

To help you with the design process and in choosing the most appropriate plants, you’ll receive worksheets and plant lists so you’ll know precisely which plants to include in your guild and what role they’ll fulfil.


As a special bonus you’ll get four additional resources that alone are worth as much as the course price. You’ll get ‘ready to use guild recipes’, a comprehensive step-by-step guide on soil improvement, food forest calendar and a special protocol with 5 implementation guides.

Community and Support

Personal support from me and from my growing Permaculture Conversion community.


One - time payment


2 monthly installments

You can try out Food Forest Guilds Course (risk-free) for 30 days.

I understand that sometimes people end up not being completely satisfied with the content of any course, this is absolutely normal. That’s why I’m giving you a 30-day money back guarantee from your date of purchase. I’ll refund 100% of your payment, no questions asked.

frequently asked questions

Q. Who is this course designed for? HOW MUCH LAND DO I NEED?

A.This course has primarily been created for people who have some land to work with, at least half an acre or more. But also it might be useful if all you have is a backyard with some space to play around. (For example, maybe you’d like to expand into the backyard with paths and groupings/guilds. Or maybe you have access to a small patch of land nobody else is interested in and want to start experimenting with a food forest ASAP)

The emphasis of this course is on learning the food forest basics and creating an effective grouping of plants, the so-called food forest guilds. We’ll touch on food forests and talk about how to expand guilds into a bigger whole, but that’s not the primary focus. To learn more about regenerative agricultural models at a broadacre scale check my Permaculture Farm Design Course.


A. Maybe you are in the process of purchasing your property.

Or maybe you are just in the investigational stage; no land yet but trying to learn and understand so that you can eventually hit the ground running from the outset.

Should you still buy this course?

Ultimately, that’s your decision alone.

If it helps, here is why other students in your situation decided to make the investment:

“I am looking to create a new life for my family and with that I want us to be able to eat what I grow and in the long run create an income that will sustain us into my retirement and beyond – my legacy. I believe your course will give me a head-start before we get going (we are in the process of purchasing our property). I have read a lot on your blog and have found it helpful and inspiring. I want to create a piece of paradise that will also inspire others to do the same.”


The course works for the majority of the temperate zone climates: temperate(oceanic and continental), Mediterranean, subtropical. I do focus more on temperate climate plants, but I’ll also outline how to make a list of suitable plants regardless of your climate.

Note that tropics, arid, semi-arid, and boreal climates are beyond the focus of this course. The design framework and the principles in creating guilds that I teach would still apply, but you’re on your own when it comes to selecting the best plant species for your region.

Q. Do I need any previous experience?

A. Previous experience helps, but it’s not essential. This course is intended to take you from an absolute beginner to someone who can grow an abundance of food in diverse polycultures. It’s designed to help you put a plan in place that sees shovels in the ground ASAP, regardless of your experience.

If you have been attempting to plant guilds in your food forest but have been failing, then this is an ideal course to reference and give yourself a fresh start with a sound understanding of what to do.


A. This is an online course, all you need is a computer and an Internet connection capable of streaming or downloading course videos. There is no need to travel a thousand miles to attend a brief, costly workshop, leaving your farm and your family behind, justifying yourself to your spouse, etc. – you can learn everything from the comfort of your own home. For the design part of the course, you’ll need a pen and paper or, alternatively, you can use computer software.


A. If you’re overwhelmed by all the information out there, I understand – I was there too once. Honestly, every time I took the Edible Forest Gardens book into my hands, I became anxious from how much info there was out there when all I wanted was to just start and do something small and practical and make some progress already.

This course is a culmination of my research and practical experience: I’ve been researching, reading and distilling everything into step-by-step guides to help myself out on the site and now I’ve packed everyone into this course. This is the course I wished I’d have had when I was first starting with my food forest and with the creation of my guilds.


A. This is a course that’s focused on creating food forest guilds. My other courses such as the Permaculture Farm Design Course (PFDC) and the Permaculture Implementation Program (PIP), take a broader approach and cover creating an overall layout for your farm and the implementation of various permaculture farm projects such as soil management, plant propagation, gardening, farm setup, site analysis…

In this course, as a bonus, you’ll get a streamlined version of the Permaculture Implementation Program focusing only on the food-forest-related tasks and a series of implementation guides relevant to guild establishment.

To get access to a comprehensive yearly calendar and all the implementation guides on farm tasks ranging from site analysis to fungi cultivation, check out the Permaculture Implementation Program.


A. This is a self-paced course, and there are no live lessons and specific schedules for a class. The course is pre-recorded, and you get to use the videos and materials at your convenience. You’ll automatically receive lifetime access to the material; so, no matter what happens, you can still access it – there is no time limit.

How much time will it take you to go through and complete all the material? That’s totally up to you, but I recommend that you absorb one lesson at a time and spend a bit of time on thinking about what you’ve learned and then move on. However, if you’re truly inspired, you can, if you wish to, consume the entire course in one afternoon and take a weekend to create your guilds and your plan of action.

Then you can ask for a refund. You have 30 days to try the course and, if you’re not satisfied, I’ll give you a 100% refund. The only thing I will ask you is to let me know how I can make the course better.


THANK YOU so much for the course. 

As I get older, I’m not as strong as before. That’s why it’s important to me to invest my time, energy and money into proven effective practices.

I am excited that at last, I found this course on Creating Food Forest Guild as it gave me a practical plan to follow. Now I know which plants to choose and what plants complement each other. I got ideas about what to do with my existing trees and how to make them more productive. Also in the areas where I’m starting from scratch, I have a new perspective on the food forest establishment.

Thanks so much for sharing your practical knowledge on permaculture.

Alma Y.

Creating Food Forest Guilds course helped me to prioritize, plan our space & slow down more to observe. We know that we won’t make things perfect on the homestead. We think by slowing down that we can avoid many mistakes or re-dos though. 

Christine S.

Absolutely loving the course so far! It’s comprehensive but easily understood, so as a beginner who’s lacking a bit of confidence it’s really been a perfect fit for me.

Chloe C.

Thanks indeed for this short course.

This was for me the very first practical step to understanding how to start a food forest.

Erwin D.W.

I thought this was such a great idea to offer this type of course, and I was curious about what I would find there.

My partner, I, and my daughter (8 years) have just watched [the videos], and it was easy to understand, which is great. Shirin, my daughter, told me that learning this is more interesting than learning Portuguese.

Catia A.

I would tell [my friends] this was an excellent cross-reference to support the ideas that were given.  Also, the information is assembled in an easy-to-use format.

Roy A.

[The course] is a reasonably priced tutorial on how to go from theory or background taught in PDC courses to real-world food forest guilds, including examples, recipes, and templates.

I took your Guilds course about a year and a half ago and created an Apple guild with goji berry in the cage, comfrey, blackberry, strawberry, and asparagus, and an Apple guild with mint, comfrey, chives, and strawberry.

Good results! Thanks for all you do.

Scott R.

I would certainly direct [my friends] to your course if they were looking for an easy-to-understand and logical explanation of the process.  Thanks again!

Verna L.

[I would tell my friends] that the research is done for you, which saves you a lot of time and time is money.

Darrell S.

I’d tell [my friend] it’s a down-to-earth course with practical tips and resources to get him started quickly on Food Forests.

Harold R.

I bought your permaculture guild course way back, and it was so handy. The reference tools were specific and useful and synthesized a lot of information that I didn’t have the time to do myself.

Kayla Y.

My husband and I completed the course. We LOVED it. We just took our PDC in August… information overload. 

Your course has given us a wonderful outline. We feel more prepared for the spring. This winter, we are focusing on sheet mulching the areas we plan to plant trees in spring. We have been designing theoretical guilds and talking about how plants could work together. It’s been a lot of fun and I feel like I really have a strong grasp on how to do this in a way that it’s going to ultimately create a productive, beautiful food forest. 

We are zone 6b (very similar to you, I believe)… when would be the best time to plant the trees? Is before the frost date too early? What do you think? April? May? You hear different information every where… it’s too late to plant now, right?

Thanks again for making this information so accessible. I am eager for more courses. Also, thank you so much for the perennial plants list! Greatly appreciated!

Embry J.

I found the class helpful and was glad I took the time to participate in it. Particularly helpful for me was the discussion clarifying the difference between the “Mark Shepard” approach and the “make it fit/work” approach.

It just helps to be aware of what I am thinking of doing in terms of that framework, and I haven’t heard anyone clarify these approaches like that before (and I’ve been in the Permaculture world a fair amount of time). I also really appreciated the layout graphics with spacing recommendations.

Janet D

The course videos are very clear and well set out – thanks! The handouts are great as well. Thanks again for a great review of Food Forest Guilds and the inspiration to get moving on organizing my guilds.

Megan Nicole O.

Your course laid things out simply and in a manner that can be used in many zones and locals – a rare thing to find since they usually exclude our conditions. Books and courses chat too much and don’t get to the point. I valued that in this course that my very limited time was not wasted.

Holly R.

Nice course and great information.  The timing was excellent as I am working on a project right now, and the info was really helpful.  

As I studied the course, I found it helpful and learned a few new techniques. Overall I’m satisfied with the course.

Hubert T.

I enjoyed the course. The second big good surprise, except for the modules, was bonus 02, the “Guild recipes,” especially the links to the youtube-videos and other links to presentations or books.

Emil M.

First of all, it is a course for people:

-with no need for any super knowledge in permaculture

-who has no time and money to explore thousands of books

-who can expect immediate support from a real person also in the same process

Aljaz K.

I promote your Course to every friend with a small yard.

It is simple, ecological, and easy to apply if you love Mother Nature.

There are a lot of people who don’t know about the possibility of growing together a lot of plants without using chemicals.

Catalin P.

Although I took a 6-month Permaculture course taught by Toby Hemenway a few years ago, I still felt overwhelmed with all the information and how to decide where to start with it. I bought the course because I am unsure how simple a fruit tree guild can be and still be called a guild. You have answered this beautifully.

Marti M.

[I would tell my friends] that there is a method that can be followed that avoids numerous rookie errors.

Terry F.

This course was very clearly presented and useful in giving an understanding of the principles underlying permaculture and ways to begin putting those principles to work

Patricia C.

Hi, William! I just think i don t know that much in order to be critical. I actually think the course is perfect just as it is!! It s practical and it has a lot of info. It also gives tips for researching, for instance, am thinking of other kinds of climates than temperate. This course is a wonderful foundation for someone who really likes nature. 

Big hug, thank you for the opportunity.

Patricia S.

[This course is] a practical guide to creating guilds, so go for it!

In my specific case, of course, I cannot use the plant groups you recommended because of my location (Lahore, Pakistan) and which we have already discussed. But the rest of the information is beneficial to me, just like everyone else. And I might have a couple of questions for you when I come to an end.

Bilal A.

For someone like me who doesn’t have previous gardening/farming experience having everything laid out with detailed step-by-step instructions is extremely helpful. I watch a lot of videos and articles about establishing a food forest, but none as informative as this.

Mark C.

I don’t often reply to these emails, but for you I’m making an exception- this Food Forest Guilds course is amazing, thank you!

I am currently in the process of completing a PDC, and while it has been a very comprehensive learning experience, I have found there to be gaps. Setting up a food forest was one of those gaps. The topic of guilds is discussed in theory, but there has been very little detail.

For me, I need to explore a topic with depth. Moreso in the case of food forests, because I have recently acquired a 7 year old permaculture farm with an assortment of more than 150 fruit and nut trees. The farm has been well designed, with very good water earthworks and structures, but with my limited experience, the food forest has kept me confused. It seemed to me to be simply a collection of fruit and nut trees growing in a grass covered field with a few swales.

Now, after completing your course, I can see that the missing component to the system is the fruit tree guild!

Your course has really helped me to understand this concept. Your step by step guidance is fantastic. The course is concise and to the point, which is great because we are all generally time limited. You have very generously provided exceptional bonus material which is absolutely relevant to the topic and immediately usable. The workbooks and spreadsheets are excellent.

Now I look at our “food forest” through a completely different lens! Instead of seeing a fruit tree, I imagine a patch of self sustaining (mostly) ecosystem that links into and creates the much bigger food forest ecosystem. And in the process, providing abundance!

You have inspired me to apply what I’ve learned immediately. I’m super excited to get started on designing fruit tree guilds in my food forest, and I thank you for the resources and the guidance on how to do this!

Oh, and thank you also for your immediate response to my 2 technical questions!

Many thanks and best regards

Mark R.



Seven video lessons detailing precisely:

  • What food forest guilds are and how they work.
  • Which guild design strategy you should use.
  • Which plants to get.
  • How to design your guilds.
  • How to establish guilds on the site.

Worksheets and plant lists

To help you with the design process and in choosing the most appropriate plants, you’ll receive worksheets and plant lists so you’ll know precisely which plants to include in your guild and what role they’ll fulfil.


As a special bonus you’ll get four additional resources that alone are worth as much as the course price. You’ll get ‘ready to use guild recipes’, a comprehensive step-by-step guide on soil improvement, food forest calendar and a special protocol with 5 implementation guides.

Community and Support

Personal support from me and from my growing Permaculture Conversion community.


One - time payment


2 monthly installments