- Complete a PDC ( Permaculture Design Certificate) course. This isn’t essential, but It will give you a base knowledge of the design principles and concepts at play.
- Look for a designer/ installer who has completed a PDC with a reputable teacher. Again, this isn’t essential, but it does show the person has put forth the effort to educate themselves. Alternatively, look for someone who has studied under a reputable food forest designer or agroforestry professional. If the potential candidate has both credentials all the better.
- Look for a designer/ installer who has their own personal food forest planting with some age to it. Again, not essential, there are a lot of great designers out there that don’t even own land; however, the experience of living with this kind of system on a daily basis offers a unique insight into how it will be used.
- Visit some food forests in your area. You will be surprised how many are around once you start looking, some going back generations even if the people on the land have never heard the term “food forest”. You’ll find they often have themes depending on the person’s background, for example: Caribbean or Vietnamese. This can lend insight into your personal goals.
- Ask your potential designer/ installer for a plant list. This is a really fast way to weed out the inexperienced. An experienced designer will know the plants that are adapted to your climate. For example, if you live in the tropics and the person is recommending Olives and Pomegranate (Mediterranean species ), that probably isn’t a good sign. At the same time, clients often come to me wanting to grow species not adapted to their area because that is what they grew up eating. A good designer knows when to say no, even if it could potentially cost them the job.
- Ask if your designer is willing to provide you with a zone and sector map, as well as a final design drawing. This may be an extra expense, but it shows that the person has your long-term goals and happiness in mind. This will likely save you so much headache and money in the long run the cost will be negligible.
- Does your potential candidate complete an extensive walkthrough with you? In my design practice, I require a ninety-minute walkthrough consultation with perspective clients at a minimal fee before starting any projects with them. This insures I have a good grasp on their goals, resources and limitations. It also includes thing like level of self-sufficiency, foods you eat the most, important medicinal plants, available time, aesthetic requirements, etc. Often what you think you want isn’t what is really important to you. A good designer can suss that out with you.
- Have fun! This should be an enjoyable process. Interview a few candidates then go with the person you click with the most and who seems most competent. Food forests are dynamic fluid systems that are constantly in flux. A casual approach and a little patience will increase your chances of long-term satisfaction. Remember a food forest must be allowed to demonstrate its evolution, as so you should.
- Compost worm bins.
- 18 day Berkeley compost piles.
- Black soldier fly bin.
- Pit gardens ( banana circles, papaya circles, coconut circles, etc.)
- Diverse sheet mulch.
- Compost toilet.
- Ducks and aquaculture.
Six months into our pool to pond conversion and the problem really has become the solution. For some time, we had been flirting with the idea of doing something productive with our unwanted 12,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool. It was during my Permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton last year that I decided to commit to a full conversion to an aquaculture wetland. What seemed like my most daunting project to date has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
The most satisfying part of this project is seeing the ponds interactions with the other elements in my total design for the property. The pond has become the central element of the garden, interacting with the kitchen garden, duck area, hoop house, and compost area. It’s successful because each element has multiple functions and it’s functions are backed up by multiple elements. Plants come from the hoop house and go to the pond and kitchen garden. Fodder comes from the pond and kitchen garden and goes to the ducks who in turn supply fertilizer to the pond and kitchen garden. Mulch comes from the pond and goes to the compost area and kitchen garden, and so forth. There are all kinds of wildlife interactions happening between the pond and the surrounding food forest. I’m looking forward to seeing these connections become stronger and more dynamic. It can only get better and better with time!
Tank 40g $99
Plants $50 ( most were collected locally but I did buy a few )
Plumbing $150 ( some salvaged pipe was used )
Bath Tubs $105
Grow bags $52.60
Gravel & soil $50
Fish & shrimps $150
- Arrowhead ( Sagittaria Latifolia )
- Pickerelweed (Pontedaria Cordata)
- Spikerush (Eleocharis)
- Fireflag (Thalia Geniculata)
- Spatterdock (Nuphar Advena)
- American Lotus ( Nelumbo Lutea)
- Muskgrass ( Chara )
- Cattail ( Typha )
- Giant Leather Fern ( Acrostichum Danaeifolium )
- Boston Fern ( Nephrolepis Exaltata )
- Canna Flaccida
- Canna Edulis
- Taro (Colocasia Esculenta)
- Chinese Water Chestnut
- Kang Kong (Ipomoea Aquatica)
- Lemon Hyssop (Bacopa Caroliniana)
- Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)
- Swamp Lily ( Crinum Americanum)
- Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon Zizanioides)