Nick Huggins shares his experience in designing permaculture systems:
It can be hard making the leap from studying Permaculture to actually working it so I thought I’d share my first experience on making that leap.
Hop in my shoes – I was asked to consult and work on a property in inland New South Wales, with some of the worst drought conditions in Australia, after some of the world’s leading consultants on land hydration and rehabilitation had been there.
In recent years the property has been visited by the likes of Peter Andrews from Natural Sequence Farming, Matthew Kilby from Global Land Repair, and even Geoff Lawton, who only 12 months ago was installing dams and swales on the property and gabions in the eroded Pinnacle Creek.
Fresh out of our internship I strapped on these huge boots with fellow import, P. David Stockhausen all the way from San Francisco USA, and set to work on a mother of a task – a complex kitchen/main crop garden and food forest system all rolled into one.
And the client, a very special Australian family with a great interest in Permaculture, the Allsopp Family of Livingston NSW, joined us on the journey of developing their farm into what is fast becoming the best demonstration of sustainable land management and family food security for the region.
When this kind of opportunity comes up and the scope of the projects size hits you, you realise you may have bitten off more than you can chew and that you better chew like hell! However I do have to admit I had a good head start, I owned and directed a landscaping company in Queensland for the last 11 years until I started my PDC (Permaculture Design Course) in November 2009 and followed up with the internship of Jan – April 2010. With that knowledge and experience in hand I got to work and contacted the client for a long distance consultation, extracting information that would allow David and I to get a job ready from 1360km away and hit the ground running from the day we arrived on site.
On the other side of the knowledge bank I had the support of David, who I became really good friends with from day one of the internship. His history has been in organic food production in market gardens in San Francisco, holding a vast amount of experience of owning his own business as well, and installing and managing vegetable gardens for clients. So joining forces, we set about designing, planning, project managing, quoting, ordering materials, equipment and resources to bring the project together from a hand drawn (scale) plan, with 4 photos and a Google map that was out of date..!
- Garden Concept Plan (PDF)
- Project Details & Budget (PDF)
- Productive & Ornamentals Species (PDF)
- Support Species (PDF)
Photos to follow: