Permaculture: Design, Consulting, Teaching

Penny Krebiehl

Certified Permaculture Educator, Designer & Consultant: Little Artshram, O’k CSA & Design and NMI Permaculture

As a formally trained visual artist and educator, I’ve been designing, implementing and instructing in the “permaculture and regenerative design realm” since 2005.  From my visual-thinking angle, I’m also a graphic-recorder for permaculture courses and presentations, through the Mid-west & USA. I’m a life-long Michigan garden-farmer, woods-wanderer, and arts educator. In 2008, I founded Northern Michigan Permaculture, became a Certified Permaculture Designer and Instructor in 2009, and Member/Beginning Grower of the Bionutrient Food Association in 2013. As the originator of O’k CSA Cooperative, I’ve worked collaboratively, since 2004, building a neighborhood, community gardening system in Traverse City. I continue to serve the NW Lower Michigan community and region, as a mentor while offering professional art and design services. My work is focused through Northern Michigan Permaculture, O’k Art & Design and the educational non-profit, Little Artshram, in Northern MI.

Interested in taking a permaculture design course to expand your knowledge and put it to use in your life, while passing it on to others?

My interest and focus in learning and practicing permaculture has been to apply it to re-designing the educational opportunities we offer to children, teens and college aged students.  I feel like it is of great and urgent importance that we go further than the lessons on three “R’s” when we teach ecological practices and environmental studies. The very basics of the way in which we live, on a day to day basis, no matter the place or circumstances can be very well informed on a deep and important cross-cultural level, by utilizing permaculture design processes with a set of ethics and principles as guides. I offer projects, workshops and summer camp programs designed to deepen an ecological identity by sharing a regenerative educational process.

Contact penny to discuss adding a permaculture curriculum, tailored to your business, school or an upcoming event or program.

I’m pleased to be part of an ON-Line permaculture design course team, where you can get a 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) plus an Advanced Social Permaculture Design Certificate* online, at your own pace. Contact penny for information on how to join a on-line group that I’m mentoring. This course is offered with the support of a 40-woman teaching team from around the world! You can practice your design work in your own home, garden, and community, and learn what you need to know to grow your own food, build a thriving, resilient community, and help regenerate our wounded planet. Find out more about the Permaculture Women’s Guild design course here.

Join us in Michigan! NMI Permaculture Design Course 2019

The Permaculture Design Certificate course is a 72+ hour training experience, July 14-27, West Michigan Lakeshore, Montague, Michigan

As a graphic facilitator, trained permaculture educator, market farmer, and a founding board member of the Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute, I’m pleased to be a part of the educational team on this 2-week course. I will be joining this PDC teaching team for the second year along with:  Peter Bane is the author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country, and an accomplished ecoVillage designer. He holds diplomas from the Permaculture Institute of Britain, PINA, and the Permaculture Institute-USA. Rhonda Baird is editor of Permaculture Design Magazine, owner and principle of Sheltering Hills Design, a community and labor organizer, homeschooling mother, fiber artist, and gifted educator. UP-native Keith Johnson is a wonderful educator, market gardener, seed saver, and landscaper extraordinaire.

Contact penny for information about this course and for registration information.

Permaculture problem-solving leads to sustainable lifeways that nurture people and planet. During this magical fortnight, our team of world-renowned and locally grounded teachers will create a stimulating atmosphere for group learning, giving you the tools to practice regenerative land design. Join us for this exceptional opportunity in the friendly White Lake community. West Michigan’s wonderland of natural beauty, between lakeshore dunes and wooded ridges, and the emerging garden farm and homestead systems of Blue Sky Farm will provide us a laboratory for exploring carbon farming, the mycelial internet, polyculture gardens, home food preservation and storage, regenerative forestry, energy-efficient building science, and the circular economy.

Teachers from across Michigan will contribute to enriching this residential intensive with their hard-won experience in animal management, appropriate technology, and community development. We will present the 72+ hour curriculum recognized by Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) covering ethics, principles, design process, pattern knowledge, natural systems of soil, forests, and water, along with climate and microclimate adaptations, food and fertility systems, urban and village design, architecture and building methods, economics and finance. We will wrap up with team design projects to be implemented on the ground.

Come and practice observation and drawing, small-scale earthworks, tree care, waste reduction and redirection, and learn the arts of simple everyday living in community. We will have time to tell stories, make music, and swim in the lake, while we reflect together on the urgent challenges of our times, and find renewed commitment to a better world.

Need a garden design and permaculture plan at your home-place?

I offer site design and land transformation services and will provide the help you need ….”to grow more fruits, nuts, berries, herbs and vegetables, than you ever thought possible on less land than you could imagine”…and to have a truly beautiful, “yarden”.

Whether you just have a small urban backyard, or a 100 acre farm, I will get to work with you to design your site into an abundant food producing system that will last generations!

How it Works…

Everyone has their own unique work and planning methods, so I adapt my consultation to fit your style. Usually you begin by filling out a initial questionnaire so that I can get as much information as possible about your vision, needs, goals, and the existing site conditions.

After I’ve had time to review this, then we can set up an initial site visit/meet and greet, or phone meet up. From here we’ll begin doing a more in-depth analysis and assessment of the various features of your site; climate, topography, existing species, water movement etc.

Once we’ve gathered all this information, then we’ll move into the design phase where we begin to put the pen to map and start drawing up possible site design concepts. Once you’re completely happy with the design concept, then we’ll begin fleshing out the details; how many plants, costs, materials, width of paths, yards of compost etc.

Finally the fun part comes next: gathering all your friends and DOING IT! We adapting as needed to changing circumstances. After it’s all said and done, we’ll step back and see what worked, what didn’t, and go back to the start again on our design cycle given the new information!

The Design Process

Permaculture design is an ongoing, ever-evolving process that unfolds over years and decades, not just months. So in addition to being a designer, I also act as an educator to empower you do continue the design process yourself, and learn to work with the new systems we design.

This is a four-dimensional design process. We are designing on a number of different layers:

  • physical – plant spacing,
  • behavioral – management patterns,
  • conceptual – goals values,
  • temporal – development through time (100+ years).

What we’ve learned is that in a web (which is what we’re creating; a web of relationships; plant to human, soil to sun, etc) that there is no start and end. It’s not like writing a book where you start at the beginning and go till the end. It’s a cycle; you start out with a very blurry picture of what we’re designing together (in partnership with one another and the landscape) going over the whole process with broad strokes, then coming back to the beginning again to refine and clarify the vision, seeking out new deeper insights, new connections, possibilities etc.

You can see an outline of the design process below…

1. Goals Articulation – these are the rudder to guide the design process.

  • Questionnaire
  • 3 sentence Mission Statement (“Why” are you doing this, Underlying Values)
  • List of Specific Goals (“What” are you doing)

2. Site Analysis and Assessment – What’s there? So What? Look for patterns, Observation and Interpretation, understanding the relationships on site, start making connections…

Use the Scale of Permanence (below) – The features that are least changeable (most permanent) should be assessed first.

  • Climate
  • Landform (Slope, Contour etc)
  • Water Supply
  • Legal Issues
  • Roads/Access
  • Existing Vegetation and Wildlife
  • Existing Infrastructure (buildings, plumbing etc)
  • Zones of Use
  • Fencing
  • Soil (Fertility and Management)
  • Aesthetics

3. Design Concept – “How” you’re going to accomplish your stated goals, to fulfill your values.

Four Realms of Design:

  • Infrastructure – ex: Greenhouse, drainage, paths etc.
  • Architecture – ex: Garden patches, layers, density etc.
  • Social Structure – ex: species and relationships, niches, polycultures, guilds
  • Succession – ex: site prep, implementation, management, succession (designing in time, not just space)

Four Stages of Design: – From large patterns/big picture down to details

  • Design Concept – overall vision, main organizing idea, how to achieve goals/mission, essence of the pattern, thumbnail design
  • Schematic – Rough location and relationships, bubble diagrams, direction of design (big markers on map) Brainstorm
  • Detailed Design – Fine pen/pencil work, filtering ideas, exact sizes/locations, width of paths, size of house, grading/landform etc
  • Patch Design – Zoomed in detail on each patch, How many posts, how much $ per plant, Management plans, fine details, # of plants, spacing etc.

4. Implementation – Gather the materials, bring together your friends and family and DO IT! You’ve planned the work, now work the plan! Adapting as needed, as conditions change.

5. Evaluation – Were we successful? What worked? What didn’t? Go back to step 1 and continue the cycle indefinitely, modifying either your initial expectations, or your follow up procedures.

If you have any more questions about the process, fees, or anything at all just contact me. Once we get the questionnaire back, then we can schedule a time to meet on site, or talk on the phone and get to know one another.

Thanks again! I’m looking forward to sharing the permaculture desgin process through a workshop or course, and/or helping you make your vision of a permaculture designed landscape a reality!

-Penny Krebiehl, Certified Permaculture Designer, Consultant and Educator