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Where to look to hire a permaculture consultant?

 
pioneer
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We have a little over 100 acres in North Central Kentucky.  I'm working on coming up with a game plan for it, but the more I drill down into details the more I realize that having a consultant to help me come up with a site plan will pay itself back pretty rapidly.  I'm just not sure where to even start looking for someone with experience who's in our area that won't cost an arm and a leg.  Where do I even begin looking for the right person?

Thanks!
 
gardener
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Maybe post here: https://permies.com/f/277/jobs-offered

Also, here is another resource to find permaculture people /projects in your area: https://permacultureglobal.org/
 
Laurel Jones
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Andrés Bernal wrote:Maybe post here: https://permies.com/f/277/jobs-offered

Also, here is another resource to find permaculture people /projects in your area: https://permacultureglobal.org/



Thanks for the input!  It looks like permaculture global is overall quite out of date, but it at least gave me a rabbithole to jump down.

I'm less interested in posting a job offer.  I'm on the lookout for people who real experience in my area, and not necessarily just someone who completed a PDC and wants to try out all the stuff they learned on my dime.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 3420
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7 AHS:4 GDD:3000 Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Would love to hear a quick review of your site.
Size: 1/4acre urban lot or 1acre-mixed orchard or 3acres-orchard+fish+milk or 10acres-pasture+orchard+fish
Goals & Budget for the short-term: maybe all you can really manage now with an infant is just a garden and cover-crop for the future mix-orchard.
Goals & Budget for the long term: maybe you do want a 7acre pasture but you dont have the time/evergy/money to clear the land+maintain right now so this would fit better with a long term plan

Assuming that all you plan on tackling for right now is 3acres or less. I don't think that you have to stress too much. The main task are:
water (swales, mulch, irrigation pipe, etc)
soil carbon (mulch, strawbale, manure, biochar, etc)
soil life (mushroom slurry, aerated compost tea, em, etc)
cover crop (daikon radish for aeration/mineral + dutch clover + mint/thyme family + garlic/onion family)
(Do you think that you need help with the above? what specifically do you think that you need help with)

(This will be the harder part, esp maintaining it)
Then a kitchen garden, what do you like to actually eat, that will survive with minimal work?
Then a 1acre orchard fruit trees/shrubs on 15ft centers, with a ground later of dutch clover.  For this I would say don't plant pistachio or almond even though they will technically survive and "fruit". I would recommend only sweet crabapples, most other apples will require alot of work/chemicals, for the stone fruit the natives like sand cherry/beach plum/etc are okay but the MiddleEast and European ones are no good. I would go with quince and asian pear but not so much european pear too many pest. I thought that native juneberry would be a winner but they do share too many pest with pear, if you have them planted close by. Most natives and asian fruits do wonderful.
 
Laurel Jones
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S Bengi wrote:Would love to hear a quick review of your site.
Size: 1/4acre urban lot or 1acre-mixed orchard or 3acres-orchard+fish+milk or 10acres-pasture+orchard+fish
Goals & Budget for the short-term: maybe all you can really manage now with an infant is just a garden and cover-crop for the future mix-orchard.
Goals & Budget for the long term: maybe you do want a 7acre pasture but you dont have the time/evergy/money to clear the land+maintain right now so this would fit better with a long term plan

Assuming that all you plan on tackling for right now is 3acres or less. I don't think that you have to stress too much. The main task are:
water (swales, mulch, irrigation pipe, etc)
soil carbon (mulch, strawbale, manure, biochar, etc)
soil life (mushroom slurry, aerated compost tea, em, etc)
cover crop (daikon radish for aeration/mineral + dutch clover + mint/thyme family + garlic/onion family)

Then a kitchen garden
Then a 1acre orchard fruit trees/shrubs on 15ft centers, with a ground later of dutch clover.



Thanks!  The property is a little over 100 very hilly and eroded acres of expansive clay soil.  We are ~18" to bedrock at the ridges, with rich soil in the bottom lands (but still heavy clay soil).  I'm looking to make a plan for around 30 mostly cleared acres at the front of our property with options to use other parts as needed, they're just more "out of sight, out of mind" and less likely to get regular maintenance.

Size: 105 acres, 30 planned for use.  All hills, up to 30%.  Includes half acre, pretty deep pond near the center, small creek on one edge, stands of trees but mostly cleared. We currently have a 1200 sq ft shop built and a small garden adjacent to it. Uses - sheep pasture, chicken pasture, pigs, orchard, small garden area.
Goals & Budget for the short-term: Short term goal is to get our house built by the end of next year so we can live there, but we'd like to get infrastructure put in before we move out there so when we are able to live there we can start adding livestock right away. My most pressing concerns are figuring out locations for permanent sheep/farmyard type structures, and getting the soil amended in the area I'd like my orchard to be sited. Budget is what it needs to be, but I'm trying to keep costs down.  We both work full time from home, but do not and will not have children so have more free time than most.  If earthworks are needed then we do have some contacts but until we are ready to invest in a few days worth of earthworks, I don't think we can get a guy on site.
Goals & Budget for the long term: We have a north slope that's borderline dangerous to mow that I'd like to turn into silvopasture, I'd like to figure out a way to house pigs and maybe start a minor breeding operation for them long term.  I'd like to focus on sheep and chickens initially though.
 
S Bengi
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How many meat chicken would you like to have, how about egg laying ones, Or how many dozens of eggs and pounds of chicken. Similarly how many meat vs milk vs fiber sheep would you like to have? Do you plan on buying hay/feed for the winter?

Your house, garage, septic area, kitchen garden/greenhouse, and 1acre mix-orchard should all be adjoining and fenced in. Maybe 2acrss or so (250ft x 250ft). I think that you could figure out this food forest permaculture part yourself.

What you would need help with is the remaining 28acres pasture.
I assume you don't want to buy hay for the winter and so you will set aside 2/3rd of the pasture for this. You could either bale it and store it in the barn or leave it standing. If you leave it standing you will have to come up with a very robust paddock system to last all 6months.

For the 9acres of active summer pasture (vs the 18acres of winter hayfield). I recommend doing rotational grazing of 30paddock, each around 1/3rd of an acre. This 9acres can fit about 12+sheep. Do you want to bring the sheep into a barn close to the house every night or do you want to keep them out on the paddock. Sheep are relatively small, so you could build a small 3-sided structure (8ft x 24ft) for them to huddle up in to keep out of the rain in each paddock. I am not too sure how many chickens you want to have. But you could easily have 10chicken for each sheep that you have.

Alternatively you could keep the chicken on their own run, of about 1acres right next to the orchard, maybe even have it fenced in. You could keep 100chickens on that 1acre if you add mulch/straw/foodstuff from bakeries in town (basically a composting operation, just don't call it that).

I would also reach out to traditional cow/sheep farmers in the area too. To figure out which cultivar/landrace of sheep and chicken do well in your area, esp on hilly terrain. And how many animals they can run on the land during the summer months without feed. Permaculture is a big field so someone with 15yrs of experience in a urban 1/4acre space or even a 2acre spaces might not be better than local sheep farmer that runs a few dozen animals on 30-200acres.
 
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In general, I look for people who provide specifics.  If I hear generalities such as expertise, expert, I run.   Even years of experience I hold suspect.  I want to know what exactly was done during those years. Take time to verify. Do background checks.
 
Laurel Jones
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S Bengi wrote:How many meat chicken would you like to have, how about egg laying ones, Or how many dozens of eggs and pounds of chicken. Similarly how many meat vs milk vs fiber sheep would you like to have? Do you plan on buying hay/feed for the winter?

Your house, garage, septic area, kitchen garden/greenhouse, and 1acre mix-orchard should all be adjoining and fenced in. Maybe 2acrss or so (250ft x 250ft). I think that you could figure out this food forest permaculture part yourself.

What you would need help with is the remaining 28acres pasture.
I assume you don't want to buy hay for the winter and so you will set aside 2/3rd of the pasture for this. You could either bale it and store it in the barn or leave it standing. If you leave it standing you will have to come up with a very robust paddock system to last all 6months.

For the 9acres of active summer pasture (vs the 18acres of winter hayfield). I recommend doing rotational grazing of 30paddock, each around 1/3rd of an acre. This 9acres can fit about 12+sheep. Do you want to bring the sheep into a barn close to the house every night or do you want to keep them out on the paddock. Sheep are relatively small, so you could build a small 3-sided structure (8ft x 24ft) for them to huddle up in to keep out of the rain in each paddock. I am not too sure how many chickens you want to have. But you could easily have 10chicken for each sheep that you have.

Alternatively you could keep the chicken on their own run, of about 1acres right next to the orchard, maybe even have it fenced in. You could keep 100chickens on that 1acre if you add mulch/straw/foodstuff from bakeries in town (basically a composting operation, just don't call it that).

I would also reach out to traditional cow/sheep farmers in the area too. To figure out which cultivar/landrace of sheep and chicken do well in your area, esp on hilly terrain. And how many animals they can run on the land during the summer months without feed. Permaculture is a big field so someone with 15yrs of experience in a urban 1/4acre space or even a 2acre spaces might not be better than local sheep farmer that runs a few dozen animals on 30-200acres.



Thanks for your input.  

We have a few wrinkles in the situation that I suppose I should bring up.  The house that we are building is likely not our long term/permanent house.  We intend to live in it for several years while we save up enough to build the dream house further up one of our hills, at which point the first house will become a guest house/vrbo type situation.  As a result of that, I do not want any primary infrastructure surrounding this house and the area immediately surrounding it needs to be low maintenance.  Getting around the property is not an issue, we have a SxS that can go basically anywhere and isn't a pain to use.  

Chickens - I do not intend to include meat chickens initially.  I don't have the community or equipment to process them after a cross-country move last year.  We will start with a trailer-based mobile chicken coop that can be towed by the side by side, probably making weekly moves, surrounded by electric poultry netting.  Part of this is keeping things flexible so when the permanent house is finally built, I can build a permanent coop for our "pet" flock and have options in regards to expanding the egg hustle.

Sheep - Katahdin sheep seem to be the standard in our area.  I expect to start with a flock of probably fewer than 10 to start off with, plus a guard llama if I can find one, and grow my flock by retaining female offspring and selling or slaughtering the males. I believe that we won't have any issues with a flock of up to 100 sheep as long as I'm OK feeding hay during the winter,  however, I intend to grow slowly and evaluate carrying capacity as I go.  I intend to run a high tensile woven wire perimeter fence around the entire pasture area (much of it is already fenced for cattle so our external fencing needs won't be that high) with a hot wire along the top and once again use electric netting to move these around the area.  With a small herd size, I expect to be able to graze stockpiled pasture most of, if not all winter, with the exception of when we have snow on the ground, but as the flock grows I expect my need for hay will increase.  Because of this, I need a place that I can store hay, ideally, this would also be a building adjacent to where I have working equipment set up for parasite evaluation/drenching and somewhere I could also keep any lambs that end up needing to be bottle-fed.

Orchard - I have extremely limited options as far as orchard sites go due to our topography, and I have a site in mind, but I would like to plant the trees on contour primarily because I think it looks really pretty.  The orchard site I'm imagining is just within the boundaries of the area I would like to use as pasture.

Hay - We have a small amount of "bottom land" that the neighbor who hays an adjacent field also hays twice a year.  The field is not managed and is low quality forage that he feeds to his cows in round bale form.  Since we do not have a tractor at this point in time (eventually we'd like one, and by then we may have enough sheep volume to make round bales feasible) but for now we expect to buy smaller sized square bales that can be moved by one person in the bed of the side by side easily. This area is outside of the ~30 acres I have set aside as pasture area, the pasture area is essentially entirely hills, the septic system, shop, garden and house take up the entirety of the flat ground we have available to us.

Mentor - regarding this, I have a couple of contacts for sheep specific people in the area (and our neighbor used to run cattle on this land so I have him as a resource as well), I am just hoping to find someone who may have experience more holistically evaluating a site and helping prioritize locations and structures.


I'm familiar with the zones, but unfortunately for our long term plans with the land, it isn't extremely feasible to cluster everything around the house that we do not intend to stay in long term, and without many flat areas, figuring out what gets priority is not something I feel qualified to make decisions about.
 
Laurel Jones
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John F Dean wrote:In general, I look for people who provide specifics.  If I hear generalities such as expertise, expert, I run.   Even years of experience I hold suspect.  I want to know what exactly was done during those years. Take time to verify. Do background checks.



I agree with this completely.  Thanks.
 
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