Restaurant Garden – Ometepe, Nicaragua
Little Morgan’s Hostel in Nicaragua has an incredible food forest network but it mainly serves for fruit. His restaurant has a great array of Western and Nicaraguan food and I was tasked with the job of trying to implement as many native alternative to some of the vegetables they imported into the restaurant. While the soil is fabulous due to its volcanic properties, the bugs are ferocious, so working together with the local gardeners was imperative to try and produce veggies for the restaurant. Together with the local guys, we managed to re-contour the garden by hand and produce a heft yield of 4 types of basil and Cuban oregano to make pesto, purple amaranth, Indian lettuce, Malabar spinach, and ground spinach for salad mixes, and a bunch of fruits and veggies including yucca, melons, pineapples, cucumbers, tomatoes (although these were admittedly tough), yard beans, wild gourds, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, squash and pumpkins, garlic, okra, and a few other things.
Volunteer Cabins and Living Area – Dominican Republic
As a new project, the client was desperate for an area to host volunteers who could help with day-to-day farm management. The main requirements were to keep the budget low, to provide something aesthetically pleasing, and to use as many recycled materials as possible. They wanted a self-contained area where volunteers had a place to sleep, eat, cook, and socialise, while also being able to grow their own food.
Pallets are easily available locally for a relatively low price, while tires are available free from local mechanics. Moreover, the foundation tires were to be filled with a cob mix, which is free, and seeds for the gardens could be sourced from the existing plants on the farm.
The air conditioning system installed in the windows of the cabins would be made from plastic bottles. You can click here to see further instructions on how to make these.
Herb Garden – Dominican Republic
I was asked to design and retrofit a disused house foundation for a small herb garden to serve the kitchen and for medicinal use. Located next to the plot was a huge pile of disused sand and rocks which needed to be discarded, as well as a large collection of glass bottles; all of which I have incorporated into the design as the pathway, the herb spiral walls, and the bed edges. The foundation, which used eco-cinderblocks, had edges which provided open spots to plant further herbs. Each herb or plant is carefully selected to benefit its neighbouring plants as companion plants, while also serving a culinary and/or medicinal purpose. Some of the flowers and herbs are planted for insect management, either to repel unwanted bugs such as whitefly, or to attract beneficial insects, such as bees and ladybirds.
Social Empowerment Project – Spain
While completing my PDC in Spain, we were asked to design a section of a future eco-village at the location. We were asked to demonstrate how one element of our design could be multi-functional. I chose to demonstrate how the market garden could serve as a model for empowerment on a multi-functional level.
This design utilises the core model from a section view to show how energy can be recycled to enable people care to lead to empowerment locally and within the wider society on multiple levels. The plan view demonstrates how the energy cycling becomes a web of interconnected relationships between all elements in the system.
Living Fence Project – Back-a-Bush Hostel, Belize
When considering the use of biological resources to cycle energy through a site, it is integral to understand that elements within the system should have multiple functions. In this project, we decided to fence the veggie garden with Madre De Cacao. A relatively fast-growing tree, Madre de Cacao not only provides a sturdy fence to keep the chickens out, but its capacity to regrow coupled with its nitrogen-fixing capabilities enabled us to provide extra biodiversity to the vegetable garden area, which provides a natural habitat for birds and insects while also helping to build more complex and rich soil for the vegetables.
Vegetable Garden – Back-a-Bush Hostel, Belize
The aim of creating a vegetable garden in the hostel was to be able to provide a readily available local source of food, improving the self-sufficiency of the hostel. Using the natural jungle resources, we utilized the strong, trunk-like spines of the leaves of cohune trees to craft trellises, enabling us to implement small-scale intensive planting methods, with nitrgen-fixing beans climbing the trellises, planted with companions such as peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, mustard, and a variety of herbs growing underneath.
Coffee Cottage Industry Project – Back-a-Bush Hostel, Belize
Cottage industry is integral to the economic stability of small-scale farms. The area of Belize in which we were situated provided the ideal location for coffee growing. With all the work completed by hand, from organic growing, the shelling, to roasting over a homemade rocket stove, we created a sustainable, organic product that was popular with locals and guests, helping to bring in an income for the site.
Temporary Food Security Project – California
When embarking on a plan to build a garden and create self-sufficiency, broadscale site design leads to hardcore, long-term implementation, Upon first breaking ground in California, we decided to implement a small garden in some spare Smart Pots we had lying around to create a little more food security on-site. The heavy clay soil and huge drought problems in the area meant that significant earthworks needed to be implemented before any real gardens could be built. With this in mind, we used hot composting methods to build soil relatively quickly, to fill pots and grow some veggies to tide us over.
WOOFING in an Urban Microfarm – Phoenix, Arizona
This project sought to provide small-scale food soverienty in the heart of Phoenix. During my time here, I was involved with building a community garden, crafting a large compost pit in the shape on an AOM, starting the construction on an underground Hobbit house, growing and harvesting from a drought-hardy food forest, and producing natural products such as insect spray, shampoos and soaps, and jams, chutneys, and dehydrated foods.