Over the past 10 years of designing and installing ecological landscapes, we have come to the realization that stewardship is the key to the success of any landscape installation, and that ensuring there is a knowledgeable steward who is reliably present can significantly protect your investment. In fact, we’ve written a series of articles on the topic to highlight its role and importance. We have also seen that sometimes it may be overwhelming, or difficult to navigate the process of becoming a capable landscape steward on your own. As such, we are excited to announce that we will be providing a limited number of stewardship coaching subscriptions for individuals and community groups who are responsible for an ecological landscape, such as a food forest!

Stewardship is the interactive process of guiding an ecological landscape to optimal health through understanding and working with the processes of nature. It’s related to landscape maintenance, but in a way that minimizes unnecessary work. Stewardship involves relatively small but regular interactions with an ecological landscape that mitigates the chances of lengthy and costly maintenance being required. Anyone can easily steward an ecological landscape, it just takes a little knowledge of ecological basics in the right places

Montgomery Food Forest

Who will Benefit from the Program?

This service will be of benefit to people who are in the role of taking care of an ecological landscape, especially if it was recently installed. However, this program is a particular fit for you if any of the following are true:

  • You have limited time to manage your ecological landscape, but you are committed to its success.
  • You are new to ecological gardening, or would like to add to your knowledge of plants or ecosystems, and you have or manage an ecological landscape, such as a food forest.
  • Your landscape has a history of invasive plants and problematic site conditions.
  • You want to maximize the yield and productivity of your ecological landscape while keeping it in optimal health.

Avoiding the Uphill Battle

Good stewardship will help you avoid participating in uphill battles that you may encounter in an ecological landscape. These are the situations where it feels like your efforts to intervene are a losing game. Frequently, we may not be aware that our efforts are not addressing the root of a problem we see in the garden (in many cases, literally!). This may result in getting exhausted, frustrated, and forming feelings of disempowerment. What’s more, sometimes what we regard as problems in the landscape are actually solutions for something else, and if we can regard these problems as solutions, it will be a game changer. Knowing how to apply good stewardship practices will help you use your limited time and energy to best effect. The best time to start practicing stewardship is with a newly installed landscape, but it’s also not too late if you’ve had one installed for several years.

Ensuring the Right Move

Stewardship involves considering many options to guide an ecological landscape, but each of these moves require time and resources, whether big or small. Especially to someone who is new to managing an ecological landscape, it can be overwhelming to put options on the table when deciding how to guide the landscape, or when a challenge comes up. Your landscape will be different from all the others out there too, which adds to the mystery. Good stewardship skills, however, will help you consider relevant options, and hone in on the moves that have the best payback for your landscape, and the creatures living in it, and that includes you.

How the Subscription Program Works

Given our experience, we are prepared to help you see your investment in your ecological landscape to its best. You will participate in one-on-one interactive sessions spanning the entire growing season with a designer and installer of ecological landscapes with experience in the industry. We will coach you on what to look for when you are stewarding your landscape, how to interpret your observations, and how to constructively intervene. Together, we will confidently approach the stewardship of your landscape, giving you empowering experience to comfortably manage it in the future.

You will benefit from this service in three key ways:

  • You will gain valuable knowledge that is based in and exemplified by practical experience in the landscape that you manage. It’s like a personalized course on how to manage your ecological landscape by keeping it healthy, but also maximizing its productivity.
  • Your food forest / ecological landscape will receive stewardship time and energy from yourself, along with the energy and support of an experienced ecological design and installation professional.
  • By having sessions that occur on a regular basis throughout the growing season, we will make interventions when they count the most, protecting your investment in your landscape, and saving you the effort and expense to rectify issues.

You can expect to accomplish the following:

  • Ensuring adequate water application and timing,
  • Identifying the plants in your garden and ensuring their health,
  • Learning about “weeds” and which ones are beneficial and non-beneficial,
  • Identifying and dealing with plant establishment issues,
  • Identifying and rectifying herbivore damage,
  • Diagnosing problems in the landscape and using it to your advantage as much as possible, such as erosion, plant health deficiencies, pests, etc.,
  • Learning strategies and methods for propagating plants, where appropriate,
  • Identifying food forest crops, harvesting times, and techniques, and
  • Learning strategies for guiding the landscape as it grows and changes, and how to use disturbance to your advantage.

Subscription Program Schedule

In order to ensure the successful stewardship of your landscape, we are asking for a time investment of one full growing season in the program as a yearly subscription service. This will ensure that we are able to develop a holistic understanding of your landscape, and provide you with the most complete knowledge to carry your stewardship forward in the future.

  • Starting in late April, we will provide 12 sessions, on approximately a biweekly basis, which will provide excellent coverage throughout the growing season.
  • Each session will last 2 hours, for a total of 24 hours of one-on-one stewardship coaching with an experienced ecological design and installation professional.

Due to the personalized format of the program, we will be limiting the number of places in the program to 8 spots, and we will be closing registration to the program on March 15, so act fast to ensure your spot this season!

To learn more about the program and costing, please provide your email below and we will contact you!