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Hey! It’s High Cold Dry and Windy and Doing just Great!

Every now and then you come across climate that is not so user-friendly. It’s in the High, Dry and Cold and Windy desert environment of Nevada’s high country near Reno. A place with many challenges. Sagebrush and horse trails dot the landscape. It is cowboy country.

So what on earth is a Permaculture teacher doing in such a windswept environment?

Neil Bertrando lives here and in three years has used the sagebrush to good effect to nurture his food forest into maturity and transform his farm into an amazing cottage garden, along with its own water supply, butterfly habitat, and endangered tortoise sanctuary. Neil even has a few very tame geese who follow him around through the hand dug footpath swales looking for seeds and grubs to keep his system looking neat and tidy.

There’s no reason why you can’t keep horses on the farm, as Neil and his wife both enjoy riding the trails.

Geoff explains the unique climate and the challenges you face in a place that can oscillate between very cold weather and very hot days, all in a week. Land around these parts is cheap to buy because of the climate. For the savvy permaculture designer – it’s a bonus to find land that can be redesigned into abundance.

Get inspired, watch the video and get busy. Happy trails pardner!

The Permaculture Research Insitute

PRI Zaytuna Farm functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. Much of Geoff and Nadia’s time over the last few years has been spent away from the Institute, consulting and helping set up projects in diverse locales around the world. Seeing the worldwide demand for knowledgeable permaculture consultants and teachers increase exponentially, as fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocket and the effects of climate change, soil depletion and water shortages begin to hit hard, priority and focus is now shifting back to the Institute, where growing the training program will increase the output of quality teachers to help fill the growing need for them.


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