I am passionate about building a sustainable planet. I envision a future where permaculture principles are enmeshed in a culture that is living within a restored abundant landscape, desertification is reversed and people are happy living their lives—a time where there are no permaculture courses or consultants because the knowledge and care of the land and the sea and the air have become second nature to all who grow up on this planet. I use permaculture teachings to work toward this goal. I build soil.
I am 58 years old, and with my wife Rhonda, own and live on 20 acres of cold temperate wetland in the mountains of Southern Utah that we call Heartwater Farm. Since purchasing the property in the early 80s I have built a pretty efficient monolithic style dome home that is solar heated both actively and passively. We grow most of our own food, raise chickens and beef on grass and operate two passively heated greenhouses. I designed and built our farm’s infrastructure, including its solar electric, solar water heating, gravity irrigation, and culinary water systems. I have restored our farm to a landscape that is now diverse in life. Growing up a suburbs kid wanting to live in the country I didn’t have a lot of knowledge on how all this should be done. Most of the resiliency and potential of this land has resulted from lots of observation, trial and error, several “hundred year” floods, wildfires and hard work. Then, later in my life than I would have liked, I discovered permaculture.
I have a background in international aviation and have been a pilot, aircraft mechanic, structural engineer, instructor, manager, auditor, quality control, finance, leasing, and self-employed consultant specializing in facilitating large commercial aircraft international transactions and repossessions. My aviation career has allowed me to live and work all over the world. I have worked projects in 35 countries over thirty years.
I was introduced to permaculture in 2004 at a week-long seminar on Integral Ecology but didn’t pay close enough attention to grasp the importance of this as a design science. Around 2010 I rediscovered permaculture and the” ah-ha” moment happened. After devouring several books on the subject (as is my nature), I did my PDC course in Boulder, Utah in 2012 with the most amazing Warren Brush (a fantastic being and teacher – thank you, Warren). He changed my life and helped me formulate a vision for the Farm.
A funny thing happened on the way to completing and implementing a permaculture design for Heartwater Farm. I began to integrate the depth of what I had learned from Warren Brush about indigenous culture, community and the invisible structures of permaculture. I realized that our farm had inputs and outputs that were connected to our local community and the world and that these had to be designed for. We want to enact a 200 year plan for the farm which will include the local community.
Today I intend to promote permaculture worldwide by developing Heartwater Farm into a PRI Demonstration Site. Our unique location and already placed elements, (domes, solar panels, pond and lushness) are dramatically visible, from a state highway, to millions of tourists who visit our area for the National Parks in Utah. We have many people from around the world who “drop in” to see what we are doing. For the last couple of years we have hosted workshops here on permaculture and wise living skills by local and PRI teachers such as Warren Brush and Owen Hablutzel. We are currently helping to create the “Long Valley Community Farmers Market,” opening spring of 2014. I am coordinating a local “Long Valley Permaculture Group” and will teach regular classes. I aspire to become a PDC Instructor and to facilitate the planting of perennial meadows, pastures, food forests and agroforestry systems that need to be tested in this area for viability to be ready for a shift in local agriculture. We have been working with universities and government agencies, both local and federal, to make this happen. I am fascinated by the implications of the last chapter in the Permaculture Designers Manual. It is my intention to create the legal instruments to ensure that Heartwater Farm and the “Long Valley Permaculture Research Institute” remain in service to the community through permaculture after I am no longer able—a plan for succession. Wish me luck.