Great question and one I get asked a lot, though its often asked 'who has the best example of Regenerative Agriculture' and so on.
One of my key determinants on this question is what makes it 'best'? To me its really where the predetermined human context meets the landscape context, and how these both continue to get better along the way. Its not a matter of who has the most 'permaculture bells and whistles' to me, more so its a question of core functionality according to the contexts put forward and that exist.
I must say there are a number of properties that tick the boxes for me and this list is by no means exclusive or in any order for that matter:
•Polyface Farm – is right up there — one of the best examples of the expression of enterprise stacking, people care, earth care and the Holistic Management testing decision of 'Marginal Reaction' — otherwise known as 'biggest bang for your buck'. The landscape is still far from being where the Salatin's want it as it was soooo abused when they came upon it when in 1961. Joel and Daniel are masterful managers of all of their operations and it is getting better all of the time. An iconic system that is a credit to the work of the Salatin family.
•Melliodora – Su Dennett & David Holmgren's small farm here in central Victoria. Its a milestone property in the sense that it perhaps is the best example of permaculture design on a small holding in the world, well at least the world that I've seen. Plus its been continually monitored and has an integrity about it that, combined with its extremely high level of liveability, puts it firmly on our list.
•Rainbow Valley Farm – this property in Matakana on the north island of Aotearoa/NZ was sold a few years back after it was offered to our family...It was a very tough choice and we are grateful for the Holistic Management Testing Decisions process for helping us through. The late Joe Polaischer (who grew up with Arnold Schwartzenegger in Austria) and his wonderful wife Trish Allen took this 60 acre 'junk land' covered with Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and converted it into one of Oceania's best examples of a diverse permaculture designed farm. Great house, gardens, water and forestry systems across a very challenging site. Now out of 'Permaculture' hands so I don't know how its going.
•Winona – Colin Seis property in central western New South Wales. Colin and his mate invented 'Pasture Cropping' and whilst the property is not a particularly great layout it is sequestering an amazing amount of carbon in its soils and supporting an enormous array of biodiversity for a commodity-based production system.
•Krameterhof - Lisa, Isaebella, Pearl, Zane and I were very fortunate in the July of 2007 to get a personal tour Sepp Holzer around this breathtaking property in Austria. Its quite something and certainly a highlight. Being there at the height of summer didn't hurt either and it was hard to keep up with Sepp's brisk pace (that guy has the biggest calf muscles I've ever seen!) while there was food dripping at every height! The water, the energy systems, the amazing workmanship in the buildings and the landscape — quite amazing...It would be a lot to manage but they're obviously very hard workers.
•Padua - Sustainable Land Management Partners set up this 44,000ha (108,000ac) property outside of Cunnamulla in semi-arid Queensland over the last couple of years. This is an investor funded commercial beefcattle operation that is operated on Holistic Management principles with close to 5000 head in daily moves. The operation is great as it exemplifies HM principles so well, AND is increasing biodiversity and all manner of other yields at the same time. Its heavily monitored for its ecosystem performance (this includes cattle production) and is very well laid out to minimise energy use and optimise production.
•Food Forest - the highly respected and mult-award winning Brookman family have developed one of the best examples of mediterranean permaculture in the world. It is not a 'food forest' in the parlance that most people would think of, rather it is a wide combination of single orchard species plantings grouped across this 15ha (37ac) property. There are over 160 species of food and timber crops on the property. Very well designed and laid out, highly monitored, intergenerational and a great business.