By Tristan Hiegler
Owners: Dyana Fiediga, Seth June and Paul Kearsley
Start Date: March 1, 2010
Address: 2609 Cedarwood Ave., Bellingham
Phone Number: (206) 355-9912
If you’ve ever wondered how to best set up a food-bearing garden on your property or what goes into creating a sustainable private landscape, Homestead Habitats has the answers for you.
Co-owners Dyana Fiediga, Seth June and Paul Kearsley met at the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island. They interned there at separate times and learned the basics of permaculture, which is the practice of creating sustainable landscapes that people can use to feed and support themselves. They decided they wanted to open up a permaculture business and offer the benefits of that method to a wider community. Kearsley suggested Bellingham because he was familiar with the area after attending Western Washington University.
June said permaculture draws elements from agriculture, land management practices and ecology and incorporates those ideas into a more holistic system.
“Permaculture strives at any given location to create kind of a sustainable system that is not only something that you inhabit, but is something you interact with and produces for you,” June said. “There’s some principles, which are care for the earth, care for people and kind of return the surplus. Part of the ethic is to teach and to share that knowledge and to share the abundance of what you produce.”
The trio found a garden with space they could use on property owned by Christy Nieto and Eli Chase and started offering services on March 1.
June said the company is limited to consulting, education and gardening work right now because they are waiting to become registered landscape contractors, which would allow them to provide a wider range of services.
Kearsley said the eventual process would be in three phrases, starting with a consultation for a property, which would cost approximately $50 and would involved an hour-and-a-half of surveying the land and seeing what could be done in terms of modifications. Then clients would be e-mailed a consultation package with resource lists and recommended readings. The idea is at that point, the client could proceed to modify their landscape themselves if they wished, or they could retain Homestead Habitat’s services.
Kearsley said the second step would be the design process when a more detailed survey of the property is conducted and a specific plan developed based on the customer’s needs.
Fiediga said the design process is a collaboration between Homestead Habitats and the customer. The entire process is driven by customer input.
Finally, the the third phase would involved modifying the landscape, installing any plants or facilities and creating a sustainable space for the customer to enjoy and use.
Homestead Habitats has also been involved in working with school gardens and conducting workshops on permaculture systems and sustainable design, with more programs being considered for the month of June.
June said he would like other landscaping businesses to learn about sustainable practices and incorporate new techniques into their trades. He said he does not care so much about competition because he and the other co-owners feel that there is value to the work Homestead Habitats does in and of itself.
“I think it would be great if in five years there wasn’t any more work for us here,” he said of his vision of a time when sustainable practices become more widely adopted.