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Anyone get a site assessment and design?  RSS feed

 
Quintin Holmberg
Posts: 32
Location: Minnesota
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Have any of you ever had a site assessment and design done by a certified permaculture professional for your property? If yes, did it help you fast track getting to a permaculturally productive homestead? Also, if you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost you.

My homestead is 5 acres in East Central Minnesota. Two of those are open with my house on it. The other 3 are wooded. I'd like to get it productive, in a permaculture way. I've been reading and learning but, I work for a living and enjoy what I do (I'm an IT Manager. Nothing exciting but, I'm good at it. I really do feel it's a calling even if it is part of the corporate machine). There is not a lot of time left for DIY permaculture design. So, I'm thinking I might short cut that part of it and hire someone who has done the study. I'm more than willing and capable of the laborious implementation part but I want a good design going into it.

The idea really gained traction today when I learned there is a PRI certified professional not to far from me. I know there are others within a reasonable distance but he has going on precisely what I'm looking to do with my property.

Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks.
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 311
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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No, but you have great resources in Minnesota. Did you go to the north American convergence?

http://www.permies.com/forums/c/3/
 
Ben Stallings
Posts: 160
Location: Emporia, KS
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Quintin, Dan Halsey of Southwoods Center is a great guy and a talented designer who does very professional work (and he is a sometime contributor to this forum), but he's been in the business long enough that the rates he (rightfully) charges may be beyond your budget. There are lots of other designers in the Twin Cities who would be eager to share what they learned in their PDCs -- and ideally, what they learned practicing in the years after -- for a more modest sum.

For what it's worth, when I've done site consultations and designs in eastern Kansas, I charge only $200-$300. That may be a tenth what a designer of Dan's talents would charge. It might also be a tenth as valuable; it's hard to say because designs are rarely (if ever) implemented exactly as specified, so in practice it's impossible to say what degree of success was actually due to the designer. Frequently the designer (much like an architect) gets credit for anything that works and avoids blame for anything that doesn't.

So my advice to you would be to ask to see examples of a designers' work in person before hiring them. Designs are all well and good, but they don't show you what happened 5 years later. Just to give one example, one of my very favorite designs I'm most proud of centers around a pear tree. The pear tree has never flowered and probably will never produce fruit, because it's 20 feet from a black walnut tree. There are mulberry trees in between, as recommended in books by toby hemenway and others, but they are not enough to prevent the pear tree being poisoned. Now that I know that, it's a cautionary tale and I gladly admit it when describing the design, but to look at the plans from 7 years ago you would never know that the pear would be unproductive.

Good luck!
 
Quintin Holmberg
Posts: 32
Location: Minnesota
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Ben ... thank you for the tips. I will keep them in mind as I move forward.

Chad ... I thought that would be a great event to attend last year. My wife and I watched for details all spring and part of the summer. Unfortunately, the organizers did not put out specifics of what courses would be offered before the cost of the event ramped up. Costs of the event ramped up fast. So, before there was enough information to make an informed decision, the cost of it became more than we were willing to spend.
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 311
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Was just curious, there were a lot of people there from your area, obviously. One couple close to you, who would probably be willing to give you help, is moonwiseherbs.com. only people I know personally.
 
Did you see how Paul cut 87% off of his electric heat bill with 82 watts of micro heaters?
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