Jo undertook Permaculture Design Course (PDC) taught by Andy Goldring in Leeds from 2006-2007, during which time she became inspired to apply permaculture design to non land based projects. Her eco-cleaning and organic services ‘Envy Home and Garden’ was born out of this. After spending a year using permaculture in Central Portugal, Jo spent several years working as a permaculture designer and practitioner, with one of the key functions of her work being to integrate permaculture design into mainstream settings, (education, business, land design). Over this time she also undertook the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design which she completed in 2013. Jo also has also worked as a college lecturer in horticulture, running workshops and practicing as a Diploma tutor. She has undertaken the Preparing to Teach in Life Long Learning Sector (PTLLS) teaching qualification.
Jo and her husband Tim moved to the Charente region of France in 2015, where they are developing a one hectare permaculture smallholding and renovating an old stone farmhouse.
Jo and Tim’s new house dates back to about 1800 and the holding belonged to the same family since that time. At least the last generation of the previous owners ran it as a small holding. The land comprises of a mature orchard and walnut trees of different ages. About a third of the land is mixed woodland and the previous owners kept chickens and a few sheep. The house had been unoccupied for more than a year prior to the purchase.
The designs Jo is creating very much embrace vegan/stock free permaculture at the core. Now that the couple have completed their first ‘observation’ year in their new home, they have identified the need for the following pattern-level designs. .
* Social Integration/community
* Right Livelihood
The smaller designs (details) that have emerged from these systems so far from this observation time are
* Language learning
* Contribution to Community Groups
* Permaculture Diploma Tutoring
* Potential external income streams (short to medium term)
* Potential to generate income on site
Land (stock-free, wildlife sensitive focus)
* Perma-Potager garden
* Shared food forest/woodland management
* Increasing bio-diversity
* Cider workshop
* Other developments to link with livelihood design outputs
Each of these designs will be inter-linked, having beneficial connections with other designs.
Jo and Tim have prioritised several additional detail level designs and have implemented a number of them, including a wood fired cooking and central heating system, and they are in the process of implementing the new ‘perma-potager’ design to increase their yield of fruit and vegetables.
The essence of all the design work being undertaken by Jo and Tim on their small holding -
“ We have actively been monitoring wildlife ‘desire-lines’ across the site with the aid of a trail camera and these ‘desire-lines’ will be included in the land-based designs. Connecting with the wildlife living in and passing through our land has brought huge joy to our lives and has become an even stronger focal point than we had anticipated for our work. It is really important to us that any future changes we make are sensitive to/supportive of/in balance with the badgers, stone martens, genets, boar, roe deer, hedgehogs, foxes, farm cats, red squirrels and birds that share our space with us.”
Additional connections with people
* Jo’s past and present permaculture work is very much about sharing learning and supporting others as they introduce permaculture in their lives.
* Exchanging yields: - this is very much a two way thing-ideas, knowledge, skills and surplus produce are shared between neighbours, creating beneficial community building and connections.
The future plans at are very much to continue the incremental stages of the various umbrella and detail designs underway. Another key function of the overall land and house design is for Jo to continue to grow and develop as a permaculture designer and educator – (there is a medium term vision to run workshops and courses on the holding).
Further reflections from Jo using the permaculture ethics
“ Earth Care
Recognising the needs and life supporting functions of our planet by ensuring that designs mimic and support natural systems. Halting negative environmental impacts and moving towards a positive legacy.
Listening intently to the needs of clients and designing for their dreams. Continually re-evaluating and designing my own life to achieve balance and time for loved ones. Designing long-term, again with a positive legacy in mind. Looking for opportunities to integrate and contribute to the various communities of which I form a part.
Moving away from a consumerist lifestyle, to one which enjoys a different type of abundance. This abundance can be generated with reduced reliance on fossil fuels and converts potential waste outputs back into useful ingredients. Surplus yields are an opportunity share freely with others, in turn building stronger local connections.
You could say that it is implicit in the three ethics above, however I choose to hold myself to account with a separate fourth ethic:
Providing suitable wildlife habitats within each land-based design. Observation work includes the identification of animal desire lines within a site and respects the need to co-exist. (I have been a vegetarian since I was 15 years old and I have been a dietary vegan for over 20 years)”
All Photos By Jo Holleran
Jo is actively seeking new Diploma (UK system) apprentices – her tutor profile is at
Her website is currently under development and will be: