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Permaculture Paradise at Val & Eli’s Garden (Jacksonville, Florida)

Val and Eli take us on a tour of their permagarden in Jacksonville FL. They have created a wonderful, natural space filled with self-sustaining fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, colors, water, fragrances, and wildlife… at their fingertips.

And below, Val and Eli continue to harvest the organic riches of their food forest and now cut back their garden to nourish their fruit trees with natural, free fertilizers. No artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and gas-operated machines are ever used! To suit your particular time constraints, the video below is shown in a short and long version.
Short version
Long version


  1. They have created a very low wage job for themselves: endlessly pruning trees with little hand tools. A chainsaw at least would save hours of labor.

    The fruit trees need more light, not more foot-tangling branches piled up around them, which will deter timely fruit picking and maintenance.

    Look how productive the moringa is! …When is the last time you ate moringa? Has anyone ever paid you for some moringa leaves? What % of your moringa do you eat?

    Sadly, citrus greening disease is going to wipe out all your citrus sooner or later. Enjoy that while you can. I’m waiting to plant GMO varieties resistant to the disease.

    Is there any amount of unremunerative, low-skill, physically hard labor that cannot be justified by “soil building” claims? I’ve been there and done that, and I’m thinking I’ve been wasting a lot of time.

    1. Their results look very convincing to me in the first place and they seem to be absolutely happy with what they are doing! So why this mediocre moaning about them from your side? When you find an equally satisfied expression on face your looking in the mirror you could be happy. But I doubt that! If you want to use Monsanto crap, go ahead and get sick.

      1. thanks Mike and Dorie! .. we are quite fulfilled with the work we do.. seeing the life come back to this suburban grass ‘parking lot” and sharing it with so many people in our city and the world brings us hope… We have birds, butterflies, lizards, frogs, etc etc etc.. that just weren’t there when we moved in… The soil is a dark hummus with worms at nearly every place your put your hand into… We are still learning!.. and may have to thin out some things.. but it will not leave our property!.. and will just turn into more good soil! :-)

    2. Hi JBob … We don’t need more than little hand tools.. a chainsaw would be a bit of an overkill, as it takes very little time with the handsaw… We give the fruit trees more light as we cut back the other trees… Interesting point about the foot tangling branches- it’s never been a problem for us.. The mooring is very productive!.. We use it in our food all the time!.. and we have dried and sold it as well!.. Not only that, but we use it as a growth stimulating fertilizer… the greening dis-ease hopefully will not effect our citrus since we are building up it’s strength in it’s ultimate immune system.. the soil web… but we won’t be planting any GMO anything… sorry you will be… many hand make light work JBob- and there may be physically hard labor as we regenerate our soils.. but that is what we must do… no GMO will grow in lifeless soil… Thankfully the soil can still regenerate itself with some help from us… and after a number of years will bring us much abundance – as we have already seen. I’m sorry you are so so sad and feel that you have been wasting your time.. maybe we can help you.

    3. Hi JBob

      I believe what Val and Eli are doing is creating, living and demonstrating a “Way of Life” rather than the joyless and destructive pursuit of money through “jobs”. It is, for me, a great and comforting inspiration to a world of caring and sharing that will lead to a regenerative future for all life.

      “The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.” – Carl Sagan

      Perhaps you might consider revisiting their videos and appreciate that this way of life they have created for themselves, their community locally and globally is the future for our survival as a species.

      Most Sincerely,

  2. I love that you use hand tools and retain the quietude of the garden. I was surprised that they really are sufficient. From now on I won’t waste the trimmings from the garden. Can’t wait to have wonderful soil like yours.
    Thanks for the video.

    1. Hi Savannah kay!… they really are sufficient on our little less than 1/4 acre lot!.. I don’t eschew power tools though!.. Larger properties can definitely benefit from them :-) .. Glad you’ll be using the trimmings from your garden!! ;-)

  3. These are such powerful and inspirational videos. I’m on my own journey at establishing a food forest in suburbia central fl, and after receiving indifferent or negative feedback from many grassy-lawned neighbors who don’t want to join-in in the splendor and abundance of healthful food stuffs, it’s a bit of a relief and a great inspiration to see examples of others rocking the food forests in fl. Go you guys!

  4. I have watched your videos on you-tube and taken many notes. I am at about the same zone as you on the gulf coast. I hope my front yard looks like that some day because yours is amazing!

  5. I find these videos to be so inspirational and educational! Even after taking a pdc course, these are the videos I keep returning to for answers, guild inspiration, and tips to try for my own garden. I live in a similar zone, in south Texas right on the gulf coast so we are implementing a lot of the same kinds of trees, particularly the moringa! We have planted 15 baby moringas on our plot so far. Thank you so much for making these videos :)

  6. Hi Val! I just spent an evening watching a few of your videos, and my mom and I are so interested in what you and Eli are doing here in town. (we live on the outskirts of Jax) I would love some information on the permaculture community here in town. Your gardens are so beautiful and the sense of community pulls at me. Hopefully I’ll hear from you soon, and I look forward to it. I’ve got spring planting fever! Haha

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