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Dreamland Farm
Dreamland Farm
Last updated:
L'Esperance, Quartier Militaire, MU
+230 52 59 73 70
Climate zone:
Wet Tropical

Rosalie Valerie Silvia Floresta
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Dreamland Farm

Project Type

Rural, Residential, Commercial, Intentional Communities, Demonstration, Educational, Financial Economic

Project Summary

As the name implies, Dreamland Farm is the realisation of a dream cherished for half a century. Having spent 40 years in an office, I am now free to enjoy the boundless pleasures of nature. Thanks to the values and principles of permaculture, I am trying to creatively forge an alliance with it for sustainable and harmonious life, for me, my family and all those who dream of a better life. The adventure begins.

Project Description

Dreamland Farm-Project Inception and Outline Introduction This design project is for Dreamland Farm, owned by the Armoogum Family. The objective is to develop a permaculture farm on 3.08 hectares of land recently acquired for the purpose, and in a second stage to extend the farm to another 1.27 hectares of land which is about 50 metres away from the first plot. The design has been based on permaculture design principles as explained through the Geoff Lawton Permaculture Design Course 2015, and although meant as an exercise, it is being used as a preliminary design to kick off implementation. The Property The property is situated in Mauritius, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, 1,100 km off the East Coast of Madagascar and known as a favoured tourist destination. The plots are 1 km from the nearest village, L’Esperance, which has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants. Many of the people are already involved in the farm establishment. The entire area was originally sugarcane fields, and plot 2 and part of plot 1 was still under sugarcane when purchased in 2013, but no harvest have been carried out. One of the plots purchased had also been planted with corn. The rest of the property has been left fallow and the natural vegetation is gradually taking over, revealing a rich variety of species characteristic of humid/ sub humid climate. Percolation tests carried out on the site showed that there was no trace of water table at a depth of 3m, and the average rate of percolation was 90 mm/hr. A contour map for plot 1 was prepared using a transit level, with contours at 1m interval. Maximum elevation from lowest point is 12m along the diagonal line. Detailed characteristics of property: 1. Area: 3.08 ha or 30,800 sq.m. 2. Location: Latitude: 20.224491 Longitude: 57.604498 East Coast: 20 km. West Coast: 20 km. 3. Altitude: 435 metres above sea level (+/- 5m) 4. Climatology 4.1. Rainfall: 2,800 mm per annum: Min: 110 mm (October); Max: 410 mm (February} 4.2. Temperature: Summer Peak (January) Mean Max: 25 C; Mean Min: 18 C Winter Peak (July) Mean Max: 19 C; Mean Min: 13 C 4.3. Humidity: Average: 80 deg. 4.4. Wind speed: Average 10 km/hr; Highest gust: 238 km/hr. (February) Design Objectives This project purports to fulfill a multiplicity of objectives, which are listed below, without any order of priority: 1. To fulfill our aspiration for a lifestyle which is in perfect harmony with nature. 2. To secure for the family and close community healthy food, as well a living environment that promotes physical, mental and spiritual development. 3. To experiment with sustainable and ecological food production systems, and demonstrate their viability (in a holistic sense) to society, including a vast community of small sugarcane farmers who have abandoned their land. 4. Experiment with models for community supported agriculture, as well as market alternatives. Design Specifications To fulfill the above objectives, the design is expected to meet the following specifications: 1. Accommodation for the family, built as far as possible using ecological design principles, emulating typical creole houses which are adapted to local climate. This make extensive use of stones (plenty of which are available on site) for raised foundation and walls, timber for verandas surrounding the house, high roofs and doors and windows. Bamboo blinds in verandas provide protection from sun, wind and insects. The house will be facing north to capture the winter sunshine. 2. Waste will be disposed of ecologically to the extent possible. Grey water recycling through reed beds and other methods will be used, but there are concerns about human composting because of cultural constraints. Sewage treatment plants can be introduced if small versions become available and are affordable. 3. Storage sheds (two of which are already in place), and a community area, which will be between the shed, the whole area being covered with corrugated iron roofs to harvest rain water. Water will be stored in tanks, and fed by gravity to the house. Surplus water will go to a pond linked to a swale. 4. A rocky area will at the highest point on the land will be used as a material depot. All inputs (hardware materials and biomass) will be deposited there and transported downhill, thus saving on energy. 5. The house will adjoin a kitchen garden (zone 1) as well as a food forest (zone 2) 6. A dairy shed and a composting area will be close to the house in zone 2. A nursery will also be situated in the area. 7. Swales will be built along contour lines to harvest run off water and channel them to dams for water storage. Using wind (or solar) powered pump, water from the lowest dam will be pumped back to the highest dam, thus creating a flow round the property, and aesthetic water features like small streams and waterfalls. 8. Access roads will link the main structures and will also run parallel to some of the swales, giving easy access to the food forest developed all along. There will also be walking tracks to less visited areas. 9. Trenches will be dug on NW and SE boundaries of the property and reed beds will filter all runoff water from surrounding sugar cane fields, to prevent ingress of chemicals (though quite minimal and mainly herbicides and fertilizers). 10. A spiritual corner will be situated within the forest area, and next to a pond, providing the tranquility for yoga and meditation, as well as spiritual gatherings. 11. The whole area will be fenced using both wire mesh (because of security hazards and protection of animals) as well as natural fencing running in parallel. The latter will be lined with leucena and other native fodder plants which can feed cattle and goats directly using a cattle walk. Elements on property in general • Fencing and gates • Green fencing and cattle (as well as goats) trail circling the property • Access roads which can double up as cattle trail (see picture for existing access road)- most roads follow contours • Footpaths for better access to elements, but also as nature trails • Swales on contours, lined with trees and shrubs, like various kinds of berries • Dams for storing water and aqualculture Elements in Zone 1 • Owners home, fitted with solar panels and rain water harvesting from roof • Verandas opening on all sides • Water supply through gravity from community centre (in Zone 3 and 6 metres above) • Kitchen garden, in form of mandalas • Pergolas and treillis for vegetable vines and climbers, and also fruits like passion fruit • Spiral herb garden • Banana circle capturing grey water after filtering through reed beds • Hens and ducks Elements in Zone 2 • Heavily mulched orchard trees like citrus, grapefruit, peach trees (local variety), mulberries (next to chicken pen) etc., pawpaws, guavas etc., as well as grafted trees suitable for the climate. • Fruit forest with more sturdy and trees like longanes, litchis, olive trees, jackfruit trees, breadfruit trees etc. • Nursery • Cattle shed and Dairy • Foraging poultry • Sheds for goats and rabbits • Compost area, including vermiculture • Multiple storey planting, particularly at edges Elements in Zone 3 • Storage sheds, community centre and camp site • Rain water harvesting feeding to house by gravity • Materials depot for bulk delivery (construction materials and biomass)- on rocky area unsuitable for other purpose • Demonstration area as well as floral garden • Beehives • More hardy trees, including nut trees (e.g. pecan) and other fruit trees • Forage trees • Free range animals for self-forage system- goats, poultry • Main crop areas producing vegetables for larger community, such as tapioca, sweet potato, beans, cucumbers, Elements in Zone 4 • Forest trees for timber – all on slopes • Melliferous trees and shrubs • Medicinal plants and herbs • Wild berries that grow naturally in this area • Foraging cattle and goats once trees are established or protected • Bee hives • Spiritual corner Zone 5 The second plot of land will be a Zone 5 area, which is a wild and unattended forest area, producing high value timber over long term. It will also contain medicinal plants and herbs, and provide grass forage for animals and biomass for mulching. Conclusion This has been a most exciting project aimed at bringing to life aspirations for a better life, one that is grounded on ecological values and social and economic sustainability. However good a design, it’s worth is only what can be implemented on the ground. I am looking forward to this moment of truth. My wish is that in a couple of years’ time I should have something to show to all stakeholders in this project and society at large. My heartfelt thanks goes to Geoff Lawton for the precious knowledge that has helped me make this design, and for the profound inspiration that I get from his life achievements.


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