Whole Farm Design – Advanced Permaculture Course with Jono Neiger – January 2014

Something has happened and the course needs to change too …

We’re transforming the course into an intensive design workshop with the focus of creating a master plan for the Big Small Farm. Sometimes called a “charrette” the small design team works mostly together, sharing ideas and developing design ideas. Instead of a course with classes and closely guided design we’ll be diving into the design process directly, with some facilitation but also self-directed and as a team. Big Small Farm is developing as an incubator farm and our focus is to produce applicable site plans and get to as much detail as possible. The design approach is methodical but leaves room for flexibility and adaptation depending on what emerges. As such, it is hard to predict how far we can reach and what level of detail will be developed. Ideally there will be time to detail out different aspects of the designs that are generated. Probably this will be in focused areas or certain aspects of farm operations. This leaves room for individual interest and the clients needs to direct which areas get more detailed exploration.
The first part of the workshop will be to clarify the goals of the farm and assess the site conditions. From there the design process moved into “design” and is more iterative and interconnected, moving from concepts and schematic designs back to goals or information gathering as needed for the design options being investigated.

Dates: Jan 10 – Jan 16 (Jan 13 is a free day)

Day 1. Goals and Site Analysis
Interview Leon and other stakeholders, revise goals statements
Site tour, photos, soil pits, veg sampling, information gathering

Day 2. Continue Site analysis information gathering, sorting and summarizing

Day 3. Summarize SAA Information, begin Design Concepts

Day 4. Travel, Visit Sites, Time-Off (time for ideas to stir and integrate)

Day 5. Design Concepts to Schematics
Review concepts from Day 3
Generate more concepts, assess, winnow to several options or areas of focus.
As time allows start to fill in more detail into concepts bringing them to schematic level.

Day 6. Schematics to Details
Develop concepts into viable schematic options, assess and explore schematics.
Sketches of various techniques, planting and crop plans, water systems etc.

Day 7. Details
Continue work on details of design options.
Economics of various farm business options. Enterprise budgets.

This is not really a class, so we’re not charging a fee but we do need your help with the costs. BSF is footing most of the bill but if you feel that this experience will be valuable for you, you’ll need to contribute $400 per person to help pay for the lead designer(s) time, travel expenses and supplies. Since everyone will be in the same position, there will be no work-share.

Camping at BSF is available at no cost, plenty of other lodging options nearby. Food is not included but there are opportunities for both eating out and cooking on site – if enough people are interested, we can have an informal meal plan with communal buying and cooking.

Please note that this is by no means a 101 class – to get the most out of this experience you must have a solid understanding of permaculture fundamentals (design experience would be really helpful). We will not check you credentials but please don’t expect us to stop working to explain something basic – such questions will need to wait until the campfire time.

We’re inviting only 8 students and it looks like there will be more people who want to come than open slots. If you’re interested, please send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I’ll tell you if we have any open slots and put you on the waiting list, if needed.

Thank you,


About Lead Designers

Jono Neiger has twenty years experience in conservation, restoration, land stewardship, permaculture and landscape design. He synthesizes his diverse expertise to create productive and integrated landscapes. Working as collaborator, teacher, and guide, Jono empowers individuals, communities and organizations to understand and steward their land and landscape through design. He is principal at Regenerative Design Group, faculty at the Conway School of Landscape Design, board president of the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast (PINE), and stewards his homestead, Hickory Garden, as well as Brook’s Bend Farm in Massachusetts.

Jono has taught design, permaculture and land planning for 17 years in Oregon, Florida, Alabama, and Northeast U.S. in various formats including short courses, workshops, permaculture design courses, advanced permaculture design courses, undergraduate and graduate college classes. Jono is faculty at Conway School of Landscape Planning and Design, a graduate program in Conway, MA. He has taught 5 years of 3-week Permaculture Design Course at Sirius EcoVillage in Shutesbury, MA. He is founder and principal of Regenerative Design Group since 2008, an ecological design firm that has 6 designers on staff and works on dozens of projects in residential, campus, farm, and commercial design with a focus on productive and regenerative landscapes.

Mario Yanez is Director and founded Earth Learning to create empowering, ecological learning experiences and to carve out a space for a life-sustaining culture to evolve in his home bioregion. Mario teaches interdisciplinary courses, leads public workshops, delivers professional development training, and produces public ecological learning events. He has attained a deep understanding of ecology and a strong sense of mission and life’s work. He has several decades of non-profit and financial management, as well as systems experience, and is an accomplished grant-writer. He combines his vision of the necessary transition toward an ecologically sustainable world with a passion to bring about a resilient and healthy Greater Everglades bioregion. Mario is a community connector, a local organic farmer, and food activist. As a Certified Permaculture Designer, he is applying permaculture (permanent culture) design principles at various scales, implementing food forestry projects and leading the comprehensive and participatory design process of our local food system. Currently, the participation is by invitation only – if you’re interested please e-mail me at [email protected] – we will contact you if there any slots available.