Thursday, July 30, 2015

The other day I was invited to the house warming of a very unique home. Jean Sfez has created the ultimate bridge between real estate development and sustainability with his house which is 100% powered by solar energy and with a full home filtration system of water, in the heart of the city. GaïaMa, Jean's home where he has followed his vision of "people living in harmony with each other and with the planet. A world where people’s health and well-being are based on the sustainable use of natural resources for food, energy and shelter". The intention has been to facilitate the shift toward sustainable living for the mainstream of American life. The aim of his company Urbaneco Development is to provide a simple and cost-effective way of building resorts and homes that enhance the quality of life of their occupants while observing environmentally responsible practices, built on a firm foundation of environmental integrity. His own LEED Platinum certified home is one of his first projects and a great role model for how homes could be sustainably and intelligently designed in the future.

For the majestic food garden of GaïaMa, Jean brought in Florida's own Permaculture specialist Déva Presence - the founder of Permaculture Miami - a company cultivating sustainable designs and new Permaculturists throughout South Florida and the world since 2008. Started in November last year, Déva has brought to life a permaculture design for the outside of the home (garden designed by Carolina Alzate). All complete with alley cropping system, food forestry, keyhole-passive water catchment and wicking bed gardens, butterfly gardens, composting systems and many other water saving and food creating techniques.

The layout is designed in zones based on permaculture principles and design methods. Every part of the garden has the responsibility to improve the environment, like with soil building and composting as well as meet the needs of all the inhabitants.

Can you see that the food-forest is designed as the shape of a mothers womb? Recognizing the power and beauty of mother nature in this awe-inspiring garden that meet all needs within a quarter acre. The abundance of plants, herbs and fruit that grew in there and all nurtured each other: mango, avocado, yuca, moringa, chaya, ethiopian spinach, chia, soursop, banana, jaboticaba, lychee, lemongrass, jackfruit, edible hibiscus, malanga, various herbs, perennial greens and fruiting plants. Some of which later were cooked to a mouth watering meal. Imagine to have all this bounty outside your kitchen!

Déva has lead countless workshops, courses, retreats and events in Florida and all over the world and has written this stunning book called "Reap, Sow, Grow" If you're curious and just like me not too familiar with Permaculture at first, order the book or read here to get a better idea. Wikipedia also has some valuable information, of course. These are some of the courses Déva hosts each season.

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