We provide short consultations or full designs to help you create the sustainable home or farm you've been dreaming of. We've viewed and analyzed hundreds of diverse sites and can help you save time and money getting the results you want on your site. We work from a holistic, integrated viewpoint - we understand that all elements must be considered to create a truly sustainable and resilient design. We help you assess needs and resources and help connect the dots in a way that will bring your project to the next level, and keep getting better.
Urban design - Edible landscapes
We design landscapes to be both beautiful and functional. An edible landscape is:
- Easy to care for – less work than conventional gardens
- Aesthetic, beautiful and interesting
- Healthy, providing nutritious food year around
- Economical – skip the fertilizer, and reduce your grocery bill with fresh, healthy food you grew yourself
- Natural – we design gardens to work with natural systems, rather than fighting them
We access an unusual selection of attractive plants, both native and non-native, that grow well in Florida conditions and will provide abundant food in small spaces. If you want to do it yourself but need some help getting started, we can give you great advice on what to plant, when, and how. Interested in selling what you grow? We can help with that, too.
An edible forest garden can provide food year around with little upkeep or care. The idea behind it is that by mimicking natural systems, we can work with nature's energies and do less work ourselves. Perennial plants in Florida often offer harvests for many months out of the year and require little care or upkeep to keep producing, year after year. We specialize in working with plants that thrive in Florida and taste like more familiar annuals that are difficult to grow in this climate, like spinach and lettuce. Many of the plants we work with are highly nutritious as well as very attractive. Some of them have medicinal qualities as well.
Rain catchment, irrigation and water filtration systems
Water security is an important part of planning for resiliency. This is an issue wherever you live, because of groundwater depletion, salinization and potential toxins in the supply. Where should you place rain catchment? What materials should you use? How much do you need? How can you use water most efficiently in your landscape and household? We can help you create a whole systems package, unique to your site and your personal needs, that will reduce your water needs substantially and give you an emergency back-up water supply.
Enjoy the aesthetics of a backyard pond that is a naturally balanced system. When you have all the elements of nature present, there is very little care needed. Aquaculture (a balanced pond system that supports fish and/or crustaceans) can bring more abundance into your yard.
Shelter and energy
We offer energy reduction analysis, consultations on planned renovations, and partnerships with green architects and builders to maximize energy savings, aesthetics and integration of the built environment with the natural world.
We're aware of the issues that small farms deal with and confront on a daily, seasonal and year to year basis. We use a Holistic Management process to ensure that we fully understand your goals, and can help you achieve them through increasing resiliency and optimum use of resources. We help you find ways to reduce loss and increase yield, as well as diversify for additional income. We understand the challenges of a small business as well as the challenges of a farm ecosystem. We help you look at viability of various approaches based on your interests and resources including agroforestry, agroecology, aquaculture, value added, polyculture, and other potential yields.
Designing for resiliency
It's good to be prepared for any contingency, whether you live in an urban or rural area. We have helped individuals and groups design property to be fully off grid and self-sufficient. We have many resources to help you achieve this and we design for the whole picture - including creative financing for your project, crafting workable agreements, food, water and energy security, etc.
We provide a value that goes beyond monetary, because we focus on design that increases quality of life. But we also guarantee you'll save more than our consulting fee in installation, construction, maintenance, energy, equipment and/or labor costs if you implement our suggestions.
We offer several levels of consultation:
1 hour consultation - $65
This service is available within one hour of Clearwater FL, or via phone, Skype or Google Hang-Out to anywhere in the world. For remote consultations, we request photos or videos of the site, the site address, and client questionnaire filled out before the interview, giving us sufficient time to review it.
We will review your ideas of what you would like to do with your garden, we can review an existing garden and give you upgrading or "tweaking" recommendation, or we can give you recommendations for placement of some elements (such as raised beds or fruit trees). We spend 15 minutes reviewing your completed interview form, and will visit your site and discuss your options. This may include plant recommendations, bed design, soil building, or whatever you most need. You will learn valuable things in this consultation that you are very unlikely to learn from a garden consultant who is not a permaculture designer. However, an actual permaculture design takes far longer than one hour. This service is for those on a limited budget who would like specific advice on how to save time and money and get a higher yield with their garden or farm, and do it all in a more sustainable fashion.
1-3 hour mentoring consultation - $65-175
For permaculture designers: Would you like your design reviewed by a professional? Would you like to ensure you are covering every angle and not missing anything important? This service is great for beginning designers who would like to receive mentoring while they build up their business. It can also give your prospective client the confidence he needs to pay you well. Everybody wins with this service. We want to see beginning designers become successful, and this service can help you go deeper, faster into the design process, reducing your learning curve.
3 hour consultation - $175
3 hour consultation (recommended): $175 plus travel if site is more than 1 hour from Clearwater, FL. For this consultation we ask that you do some homework first, which will give you a much higher value. We review your completed client interview and site assessment, and then visit your site and ask additional questions while walking it, to ensure we fully understand what you want and any challenges on the site. We will then discuss options with you. When we have agreed on a direction, we will provide a written report documenting what we discussed and including additional information such as suggested plant lists and placement, guilds, water and energy saving recommendations. This is not a permaculture design - a real design cannot be completed in three hours. It entails an assessment and recommendations that you can use to complete your own design and avoid some or perhaps all of the major pitfalls that you might otherwise encounter.
1 day consultation - $400
1 day consultation (recommended for more depth): $400 plus travel expenses if site is more than one hour from Clearwater, FL. We will provide you with a client interview and site assessment survey ahead of time and ask you to provide that information about your property before we arrive. We will then visit the site and walk the property with you. In the process, we will explore your goals with you. We will dig deeply into key areas that you feel and we assess are the major challenges on your site or where you want to understand all of your options. You will be presented with a number of ideas about how to approach your site that could potentially save you thousands of dollars. The report for a one day consultation is usually 15+ pages and is tailored to your needs. In some cases, clients will request a multi-day consultation which is also available.
Daily rate, usually takes between 3-5 days.
We will take all of the actions mentioned in the one day consultation. We then will explore options for each element of a full scale design incorporating sustainable food, water, energy, shelter, economic plan, land tenure and community elements. Once we have agreed on placement and function for each element, I will create a map and report that records these decisions. The report will usually include specific plant lists and placement, specific recommendations for water catchment, self-sufficient energy, increased yield from buildings, recommendations for animals, pond and water features, outline of economic plan, incorporation of community resources, and more. This will include a full systems analysis and integration of system elements to maximize yield while minimizing use of resources, especially non-renewable ones.
We offer a unique service for Permaculture Design Course graduates and other new designers. We will review your designs and give you feedback on technical aspects of the design. You can advertise to your clients that you are working with our team which can give them more confidence in hiring you when you are first starting out. We want you to be the best designer you can be, and we would love to see many designs being implemented by professional designers in Florida. We can usually give you some valuable and in depth feedback with a one hour consulting slot (see our consulting rates here) which you may charge to the client since they will benefit. We will provide written comments and recommendations on:
Incorporation of design principles
Placement and integration of elements
Other energy savings
We will have a number of opportunities for apprenticeships in 2014. Each year, we have apprenticeship opportunities at Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota. We will be offering a PDC graduate program in mid-2014, and we are working with several projects in Sarasota/Tampa Bay area that offer hands on opportunities for learning.