Permaculture Earthworks – Great Art Picks Up Where Nature Ends

Here at Zaytuna Farm we have a gallery of permaculture earthworks — 17 dams, kilometres of contour swales, roads, pads, gabions, cross pipes, and all sorts of different installations that involved some sort of machinery!

It’s one thing to be the artist designing this sort of gallery, but I always wondered how it feels to be the artist/craftsman moving all this earth. It is an art form of some sort — the subtleties, the details, the eye for curves and contours, are all as impressive as any piece of art in any gallery. The difference is that the Zaytuna permaculture gallery is producing food, building fertility, soaking water and rehabilitating land, working with nature to create an example of an abundant system that can be replicated.

When I was a kid, I was asked, What do you want to do when you grow up? I remember answering: "a dozer driver". After getting involved in the permaculture movement I realised that I can actually make this childhood dream productive and turn it into an earth healing, meaningful art form.

I started looking and searching for a course that will teach me how to drive an excavator and that’s when Geoff mentioned that his friends Paul (Ringo) Kean and David Spicer are planning a permaculture earthworks course with a difference. It also offers an excavator driving license! Sign me up! (Course starts 20 February, 2015)

Paul Kean is keen on turning his piece of land into a new permaculture gallery and this is an opportunity to gain more experience designing, implementing, and directing earthworks. With the experience that Paul and David and Rick Birch have, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. I have no idea where this is going to take me but I know that there’s a deficiency in permaculture earthworks galleries around the world, so we need more artists!

Great art picks up where nature ends. — March Chargall


  1. Gday Salah, nice article I would have to say when you are operating a machine for a good purpose its a great feeling and as you say, one that is very artistic. Earthworks installation is one of the few jobs that mix math with art.
    it is my most favourite job, done right will last life times

  2. Ta for a great article Salah! I too imagine the water saving properties with attempting to take in the landscape, but need to learn how to do it properly – hence the workshop will provide valuable insight into same…. I LOVE it on the digger – seeing every little bit of dirt providing some source of nourishment before it heads to the sea, just literally metres away… We got little die-cast steam-rollers and things as Christmas presents as kids – (1 of 4 girls!) – and I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty – to enhance the landscape hopefully and bring back the flora and fauna depleted by years of logging and grazing.

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