Greater autonomy draws upon simplicity, yet natural design is infinitely complex. Isolated features should there for become integrated in meaningful ways, so the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture helps us complement component thinking with the application of whole system design.

“The strength of a community may be measured by its ability to recycle resources sustainably, that are mutually beneficial and return a yield that compliments almost everyone”.

We provide a free community service for residents of Niton, whitwell and chale villages to access our garden material drop off. We cover our soils directly with the donated plant remains, known as a raw mulch. Composting occurs naturally, slowly feeding surrounding food crops and fruit trees. A mulch layer revolutionized how we garden, productivity increased and labour saving are among its greatest assets.


Chickens are remarkable animals, and can easily be integrated through holistic design. All chickens originate from Junglefowl, a forest bird that will eat a variety of foods. Chickens will also seek sanctuary in trees to roost at night, mostly to avoid ground predators and protection from the elements.

The path to self sustaining systems is to recognise natural patterns and design a way to cooperate and complement how things are. The Tree cone chicken house provides a roost that mirrors natural behaviour.

The cone has structural roosting bars inside which allows all waste to fall to the ground, minimising cleaning and preserving the structure. The ladder is designed to challenge ground predators but ease a chickens ascent or descent. The cone also does not encourage insect infestations and hastens the drying of feathers which is really important in winter.


Before the Industrial realm Humans treasured life supporting systems, appropriate food storage was vital to provide provisions especially through the winter. A pantry room, bunker or building should provide protection from animals and spoilage, ideally temperatures between 0-5c preserve most foods. Underground temperatures are too warm for ground bunkers to offer appropriate cold storage, flooding, dampness and access are also limiting features of below ground structures. An over ground pantry as pictured above demonstrates the potential of stacking of features and serves humans in multiple ways. The structure is a salvaged freezer body from a lorry, a timber structure with increased insulation cladded the body to preserve and hide. An angled roof provides heat protection, solar electricity and 9000 litres of rain water per year. Fire wood is stored over the freezer body, as well as the winter air vents and refrigeration compressor which uses surplus solar electric to provide a cold battery store. It is the combination of high insulation and internal liquid thermal mass, 2000 to 3500 litres of liquid goods that store the cold for many days without requiring further power. As the winter approaches, solar electric supply diminishes, automatic air vents open at dusk and close at dawn. The cold night air is naturally aspirated through the pantry by exploiting differences in air pressure as wind passes the structure. In colder environments the air vents could be programmed to close if cold temperatures risk freezing. In mild winter conditions, a single day of solar compressor cooling provides fridge temperatures for over 5 days.


Solar water tubes adorn the southern wall, which increases winter efficiency with the low sun angle, this single panel provides nearly all domestic hot water, the rest is wood heated. A sun shade complements the pantry by reducing further sun exposure, the cone vents heat through the cap which causes a constant draw of fresh air to pass the seating area, cooling the occupants. The Eastern end is a Green Room, an outside kitchen space shaded with a productive kiwi.