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Elfin Permaculture
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ELFIN PERMACULTURE DESIGN AND CONSULTING SERVICES
 
Elfin Permaculture
P.O. Box 52, Sparr FL 32192-0052 USA. email: Permacltur@aol.com
 
 
What Does an Elfin Permaculture Design Do?
    A permaculture design helps people develop the specific lifestyle they 
wish to live in a specific place.  Permaculture design clients typically are 
environmentally concerned people seeking increased self-reliance.  The design 
is a written report of recommendations for achieving specific goals such as 
energy independence, food self-reliance, alternative incomes and so forth. 
The report compares the stated goals, preferences and resources of the 
residents with the potential and ecological needs of the site.
The design provides the residents with a plan by which they can meet their 
objectives by constructive development of the site as a whole system.  In 
fact, the design process and the design itself are based on the principles by 
which Nature designs her ecosystems to efficiently utilize conditions of 
soil, moisture, climate, sun, orientation and available species to make most 
efficient use of them and produce as much life as possible both in quantity 
and in diversity.
    Permaculture designs take a wholistic approach--everything is connected 
to everything else in the design for maximum efficiency.  Conservation of 
resources--the client's and Nature's--is the overriding principle of 
permaculture design.  Change for its own sake is avoided and designs strive 
to become increasingly self-regulating and self-maintaining as they mature.
How is the Design Prepared?
    Suppose that you notify us that you want a permaculture design. First, 
you buy from our sister enterprise, Yankee Permaculture, a copy of our 
Permaculture Design Client Survey.  This is about 18 pages of questions for 
you to answer as fully as possible.  Included in the purchase price is a 
review of your answers by the author, Dan Hemenway, Elfin Permaculture's lead 
designer.  He will recommend how to proceed.  If you decide to have a design 
prepared by us, we will interview everyone involved and also examine the site 
for which the design will be prepared.  Based on what you want and what the 
site offers and needs, we will make our report.
What Topics are Covered in an Elfin Permaculture Design?
    Elfin Permaculture designs begin with a review of who the clients are and 
what we understand them to require from the design, as well as a brief 
description of the design site itself.  It is hoped that this detached 
narrative will give the client another perspective on his/her situation and 
goals.  The balance of the report consists of design recommendations.  
    Topics routinely covered in Elfin Permaculture designs are:
•  Food and Nutrient Cycles.  Food production is almost always part of the 
design.  Permaculture designs typically specify tree crops,  unconventional 
gardening methods, and solar greenhouses as part of  the domestic food 
production system.  Aquaculture, bees, small stock, poultry, and other 
foraging animals are frequently included.  Soil management is treated in this 
section, as is disposition of  human wastes, development of forage systems, 
food preservation, and control of potential pests. For some clients, 
commercial food production and/or processing is designed.
• Energy.  All relevant options for energy production are evaluated, 
typically including solar, wind, water power, biomass, and other biological 
forms of energy.  Then we look at applications for energy such as 
transportation, space heating and/or cooling, cooking, hot water, food 
preservation, and operation of equipment. After describing relevant 
conservation measures, we detail specific proposals for utilizing available 
energy for the remaining work at hand.
• Water.   With the availability of high quality fresh water in drastic 
decline worldwide, obtaining useful amounts of healthful water is of 
paramount concern in the permaculture design.  Typical domestic designs 
include roof catchment systems.  Designs for larger properties ordinarily 
provide for creation of ponds where runoff can be stored for gravity feed to 
the point of use.  Systems for treating and using greywater and other 
contaminated water are often part of a permaculture design.  The water 
portion of the design follows that described for energy above, first looking 
at the resources and then the needs.  The design represents our best thinking 
on utilizing such resources responsibly.  In some designs, excessive erosion 
or destructive flood waters require special treatment.
•  Shelter.  For existing housing, shelter recommendations of our designs 
detail retrofit for energy efficiency, food production, increase in quality 
living space, and housing of plants and animals appropriate to the needs and 
desires of the client. If new buildings are required, we often can recommend 
designs and construction methods which use local materials, preferably from 
the site. The designs for new buildings save money and energy compared with 
conventional approaches.  Shelterbelt plantings, shade in hot weather and 
more efficient space utilization frequently result from design 
recommendations.
• Hazards and Problems.  While hazards vary considerably from site to site, 
usually some of the following risks can be anticipated and protected against 
to a degree: extremes of weather, earthquake, tsunami or tidal wave, fire, 
pollution and human violence.   Dangerous activities proposed by clients need 
to be addressed.  These might be use of toxic substances, unfortunately 
common in the practice of many crafts (e.g., chromium in leather work), or 
physical activities on site.  For example, one set of clients proposed 
retiring to the country after a lifetime of professional work and urban 
living, and cutting their own firewood.  The risk of injury to unskilled, 
unfit people in the very dangerous work of felling trees is about 100%.  We 
expressed concern and proposed alternatives.
• Special Treatments.  Often, a client will have a specific goal which is 
best treated in its own section of the design. One client had a wetlands 
which could not be "developed" for environmental reasons. He wanted to get a 
personal benefit from it nonetheless. We designed a use strategy that 
improved the water storage and purification function of the wetlands, 
protected adjacent wetlands, and gave him some direct yields.  
•  Economics.  Design implementation usually costs money. Permaculture 
designs achieve their goals while staying within the means of the client. 
Almost everyone needs a certain amount of income.  Our designs develop income 
when needed and provide ways to pay for the design implementation when 
needed.  Often a special interest or skill of the client can earn money 
utilizing the site's resources.
• Staging.  Elfin Permaculture designs specify the sequence in which to 
implement the design recommendations and, where relevant, how long each step 
should take.  This enables us to use one aspect of the design to prepare the 
way for the next, permits generating resources to implement the design as we 
go along, and avoids the confusion and overload of trying to implement the 
entire design at once.  Also, we believe that lifestyle changes are best 
undertaken in manageable steps so that the skills and behaviors required are 
comfortably mastered before the next step is undertaken.
What Skills and Training are Needed to Develop a Permaculture Design for My 
Home?
No new skills or training is needed to implement any properly prepared 
permaculture design, except those which you have indicated an interest or 
willingness to develop during the interview or in the survey.  The design is 
intended to work with the client as s/he is and the site as it is with no 
forced changes on either part.  Techniques, management strategies, products 
and resources which may not be readily available are all detailed in an 
extensive set of appendices to the design, including a bibliography for 
reading on specific topics, a list of people and organizations who can 
provide skills, information or other resources you will need, a list of 
suppliers of plants and products not commonly available and so forth.  Our 
goal is to recommend practical measures which the client can actually perform 
in a reasonable time.  Appendices also furnish background information 
relevant to specific design recommendations where this is the most practical 
way to provide it, species lists, and generic "standard designs" for problems 
which are common enough so that it is more useful to develop a general design 
solution rather than treat it in the highly customized design report.
What Living Situations Call for a Permaculture Design?
Our design experience includes urban, suburban and rural situations, large 
properties and small, and even rented properties.  We have design experience 
in almost all climatic regimes from the humid tropics to frigid climates in 
northern Ontario, Canada, and in maritime, humid, and semiarid climates. The 
main requirement for a permaculture design is to want one--to intend a 
lifestyle that grows increasingly self-reliant while increasingly benefiting 
the Earth.
Then Do You Think Everyone Should Commission a Permaculture Design?
No!  Whenever possible we recommend that the person(s) who want(s) a 
permaculture design learn to produce their own design.  We offer a three week 
Permaculture Design Course, the basic introduction for people who wish to 
work in the permaculture movement, and a 10-day workshop, expressly for 
people to acquire skills to use permaculture in their own lives.  Either is 
suitable training.  We do not host these programs ourselves but wait until 
some individual or group wants one sufficiently enough to do the work and 
risk the money to host one.  Permaculture is a self-reliance movement.  Often 
someone who wants a design will host a course or workshop on their site and 
get not only input from the instructor but also from the students who 
undertake a design for the site as the major activity of the program.  Only 
when attending or hosting a workshop or course is impractical do we recommend 
our professional design services.  Financially, it is much cheaper to host a 
course, even if it loses a bit of money (and it could earn money), than to 
contract for a design.  Sometimes a person who received introductory design 
training will engage us on a consultant basis to help with one component of 
the design where experience is critical.  They then incorporate our advice 
into their design.
What Kind of Consulting Work Do You Do?
We can consult on any of the areas commonly treated in the design.  (See 
above.)  Besides siting a house on the property, we think the most useful 
consulting work we do is to help people evaluate real estate to buy.  By 
obtaining and completing the Permaculture Design Client Survey, many design 
problems "solve themselves" as the correct course of action becomes 
self-evident when the survey questions are answered.  Elfin Permaculture is 
also available to do specialized design work and research for other 
permaculture designers.
How are Your Fees Based?
All design work by Elfin Permaculture begins when the client completes the 
Permaculture Design Client Survey.  If the design job is very simple, we can 
quote a design fee on the insights provided by the Survey responses.   
Otherwise, we defer our quotation until after the client interview and site 
visit.  These are charged at consulting rates, which can be deducted from the 
full design fee if the client decides to proceed with a full permaculture 
design.  At this writing, the minimum fee for any design work is US$1,000 
plus direct expenses.  Large and complex designs can be done in stages 
whereby an overall design is prepared in broad detail and very specific 
design recommendations are prepared as needed prior to implementation of that 
portion of the design. If we do not think that we can save you money through 
our design services over a reasonable time, we will recommend another 
approach.
Does a Permaculture Design Replace Architectural and Engineering Work?
No.  Permaculture supplements these other types of design when they are 
required.  Whenever possible, it is helpful to have architects and engineers 
work in collaboration with the permaculture designer.
Who Does Elfin Permaculture Design Work?
Dan Hemenway, founder of Elfin Permaculture, and Cynthia Baxter Hemenway, 
work as a husband/wife partnership in Elfin Permaculture Designs. Dan, who 
does much of the design work, has taught permaculture design in a number of 
countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. He holds 
five diplomas from the International Permaculture Institute in Australia, 
operated a homestead self-reliant in food and energy for a decade and has 
professional experience in food production and alternative energy projects. 
Dan has been active in permaculture since 1981, Cynthia since 1988. She is a 
wholistic health practitioner and a Certified Nurse Midwife, activities that 
she integrates with permaculture. Dan and Cynthia have practiced permaculture 
in their own lives in Massachusetts, Ontario, Kansas, Florida and Georgia 
where they have lived. In addition, Elfin Permaculture Associates, an 
informal group of cooperating permaculture designers, provides us with 
expertise in areas of health and health care, venture economics, engineering 
and sustainable energy. From time to time, trainees in Elfin Permaculture's 
Advanced Permaculture Training (APT) program may provide input to designs 
under Dan's supervision.
 
 
THE CONTENTS PAGES THAT FOLLOW ARE TAKEN FROM AN ACTUAL DESIGN.  THEY 
REPRESENT A SAMPLE OF TOPICS TREATED. 
 
CONTENTS
 
 
CHAP.   1:   INTRODUCTION.
CHAP.   2:   CLIENT, GOALS & RESOURCES.
                            2, a.  Building.
                            2, b.  Energy.
                            2, c.  Water & Sanitation
                            2, d.  Site
CHAP.   3:   COMMUNITY  
CHAP.   4:   CLIMATE
CHAP.   5:   DESIGN GOALS
CHAP.   6:   FOOD, CROPS, AND NUTRIENT CYCLES
                            6, a.  Composting Toilet
                            6, b.  Vermicomposting
                            6, c.  Gardens 
                            6, d.  Woody plantings
                                    6d, i.  Poultry Yard.
                                    6d, ii. Primary Poultry Forage
                                    6d, iii.    Extensive Poultry Forage
                            6, e.  Poultry
                            6, f.  Bees
                            6, g.  Greenhouse, Windows  & Aquaculture
                            6, h.  Considerations and Techniques for this Site
                                    6h, i.      Rock Pockets, Container 
Plantings & Soil-Less Media
                                    6h, ii.     Pruning
                                    6h, iii.    Cloudy Climate
                                    6h, iv. Mulch
                                    6h, v.      Rootstock.
                            6, i.    Bare Spot.
                            6, j.    Remineralization.
                            6, k.   Aquaculture.    
CHAP.   7:   ENERGY
                            7, a.  Energy Conservation                        
                                                                        
                            7, b.  Windbreaks
                                    7b, i.      First Stage--The Windbreak  
on the North Boundary
                                    7b, ii.     Second Stage--The Windbreak  
on the North Boundary
                                    7b, iii.    Third Stage--The Windbreak  
on the North Boundary
                                    7b, iv.     First Stage--The Windbreak  
on the West Boundary
                                    b, v.       Second Stage--The Windbreak  
on the West Boundary
                                    b, vi.      Third Stage--The Windbreak  
on the West Boundary
                            7, c.  Space Heating
                                    7c, i.      Solar
                                    7c, ii.     Wind.
                                    7c, iii.        Wood        
                            7, d.    Greenhouse
                            7, e.    Cooking
                            7, f.   Hot Water
                            7, g.  Refrigeration    
                            7, h.  Transportation and Access               
CHAP.   8:   WATER
                            8, a.  Catchment
                            8, b.  Secondary Catchment  
                            8, c.  Supply Plumbing  
                            8, d.  Greywater
 
CHAP.   9:   SHELTER
                            9, a.  Greenhouse & Chicken Coop.
                                    9a, i.      Glazing
                                    9a, ii.     Greenhouse & Chicken Coop 
Ventilation
                                    9a, iii.        Thermal Mass.
                                    9a, iv. Plumbing.   
                                    9a, v.      Greenhouse General Layout
                                    9a, vi. Deck/Upper Greenhouse
                                    9a, vii.    Poultry Shelter--General 
Layout
                                    9a, viii.   Poultry Yards--Layout and 
Access
                            9, b.  Summer Kitchen.
                            9, c.  Front Porch
                            9, d.  Woodshed
                            9, e.  Hallway and Stairwell
                            9, f.   South Room
                                    9f, i.  Loft
                                    9f, ii. New Window
                            9, g.  Cellar.
                                    9g, i.  Enclosure for Kiln
                                    9g, ii. Root Cellar
                                    9g, iii.    Mushroom Production
CHAP. 10:   HAZARDS
                            10, a.  People
                            10, b.  Fire
                            10, c.  Cold
                                    10c, i. Severe Cold
                                    10c, ii.    Blizzards
                                    10c, iii.   Ice Storms.
                            10, d.  Pollution
                                    10d, i. From External Sources
                                    10d, ii.    From Crafts Activities      
CHAP. 11:   ECONOMICS
CHAP. 12:   STAGING
 
APPENDIX I: SPECIES AND VARIETY LIST
APPENDIX II:    HARDY GRAPE VARIETIES.
APPENDIX III:   FIVE-NEEDLED PINES
APPENDIX IV:    CONTAINER PLANT LIST
APPENDIX V:     BIBLIOGRAPHY    
APPENDIX VI:    RESOURCES
APPENDIX VII:   SUPPLIER LIST
APPENDIX VIII:  SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY
APPENDIX IX:    WOOD HEAT
APPENDIX X: NUTRIENT SOURCES
APPENDIX XI:    PERMACULTURE CLIENT DESIGN SURVEY
APPENDIX XII:   CLIMATIC DATA
APPENDIX XIII:  ENERGY CONSERVATION 
APPENDIX XIV:   MISCELLANEOUS TECHNICAL DATA
 
NOTE: Permaculture designs for sites in a wide range of latitudes from 
tropics to extreme cold are offered in our special order catalog, listed as 
Permaculture Paper No. 27 in the Yankee Permaculture Order Form.
 
 COPYRIGHT, 1991-96, DAN & CYNTHIA HEMENWAY, Elfin Permaculture, Ocala FL 

34478-2052 USA.  All rights reserved.