In 2008 Deano undertook a Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) with Patrick Whitefield at Ragman’s Lane Farm in and then obtained the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design in 2012. Permaculture design process, principles and ethics are now used to farm the holding, with a particular emphasis on using an experimental approach. Wolds Woodland Farming Project is now also a LAND Centre.
The following are the main elements and systems Deano has developed extensive knowledge about, and implemented, since undertaking the initial design process in 2008. Prior to this time the land was mainly pasture :-
* The planting of 4,000 diverse varieties of trees and shrubs, for food, fuel and bee foraging – incorporated into forest garden, orchard and coppicing areas of the smallholding
* Vegetable and grain polycultures – devising methods for growing all the food needed for optimum nutrition for the couple, in the smallest area of land possible.
* Chicken scavenging systems (part of the forest garden design) – keeping chickens for egg production and soil fertility input
* Bees, initially for honey production and pollination - now to allow bees to express their natural behaviour, supplying colonies for others.
* Facilitating open days where people can visit the Wolds Woodland Farming Project Small holding and talk with Deano about his experience of the design there.
* Research projects relating to most of the systems and elements. Deano has consistently included extensive recording of observations and outcomes, along with trialling different variations of approaches in his work.
* The land now supports a huge diversity in trees, shrubs and annual plants, which fulfil the intended functions
* The smallholding feels ‘alive in a very holistic sense compared to prior to the design implementation. There is a massive increase in diversity of life within and above the soil. The ground feel soft underfoot, there is a general good energy around the land
* The main positives though have been for Deano personally; - some aspects of his health, learning (from both successes and ‘failure’) connections with others doing similar work, and experiences relating to his permaculture work, including the realisation for his passion in research
* A main challenge of the design has been that the various elements on the 4 acres are physically too much for one person to undertake and over recent time Deano has had to adapt some to account for this
Future Plans: -
Deano has a place at Nottingham university in September 2015 to study Agricultural and Crop Sciences, He then intends to undertake a PhD so he can take some of his work about optimum nutrition, horticultural planning (time space, diversity) and seasonal patterns to a new level. Because of this some of the elements on the Smallholding will now be reduced, stopped or adapted to cope with much less human input.
All photos by Wolds Woodland Farming Project
Further Information and Social Media contact