LEARNING TO READ THE LANDSCAPE: Site Assessment & Analysis in Permaculture Design


LEARNING TO READ THE LANDSCAPE: Site Assessment & Analysis in Permaculture Design


Working with the land begins with understanding the landscape we inhabit.  Each plant, soil type, stream, and animal tells the story of a place and local ecology.  Join us for this weekend long intensive exploring the language between people and place, as we interpret environmental indicators that inform ecological design and land management.  Whether you are planning to farm, garden, steward, or install decorative landscaping, site assessment and analysis is foundational in determining the most appropriate plants and design for your environment.  This “patterns to details” approach will provide you with the skills necessary to holistically assess agricultural, suburban, and forest ecosystems to determine site limitations and opportunities that function as a foundation for conscious design and implementation. This introductory workshop is appropriate for homeowners, farmers, permaculturists, and anyone interested in learning how to read and understand the mechanism and functionality of landscapes large and small.  The following topics will be explored throughout the course as we visit and learn in diverse locales.

What you’ll learn in this course…

  • Understanding geographic location & ecosystem functionality

  • Topography & slope assessment

  • Water flow patterns

  • Wind & solar movements

  • Identifying plant indicator species

  • Identifying micro-climates

  • Soil analysis

  • Wildlife flow patterns

  • Technology & tools for analysis

  • Observation vs. Interpretation

  • Permaculture zone / sector analysis

  • Zoning & legal land use

  • Holistic functional analysis as a foundation for design

Event Details…

  • Registration is required, No walk-ins please.
  • Cost: $150.00
  • DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 26th & Sunday, May 27th, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM Saturday & Sunday.
  • LOCATION: Fields Without Fences & Various - 71 Barbertown Idell Rd., Frenchtown, NJ 08825
  • Course Instructors are Lindsay Napolitano & Johann Rinkens of Fields Without Fences
  • Breakfast refreshments are included with this course. Lunch is BYO.
  • Please dress weather appropriate & bring a water bottle.
  • Space for camping is available to out-of-town attendees
  • Please arrive 10 minutes early to check in.




Lindsay Napolitano is an herbalist, writer, and educator living and working within the fields and forests of the Delaware River Watershed. She is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, under the auspices of which she cultivates and tends wild gardens and woodlands while growing and crafting plant medicine for her extended community. Combining a love of story, myth, metaphysics, and ecology, Lindsay weaves an inspired narrative throughout her teachings on the subjects of herbalism, permaculture, and agroecology. She is a practicing clinical herbalist and a writes professionally on subjects including herbalism, permaculture, and environmental renewal. Her work emerges out of a deep curiosity and reverence for the healing power of plants to positively transform our internal and external ecologies. You can usually find her outside, aiding and abetting the plants in their ceaseless quest for world domination.


Johann A. Rinkens is an ecological designer and experienced agriculturalist consulting and advising on regenerative land management. He is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, and teaches extensively on the subjects of permaculture design and agroecology. His background in anthropology, agrarian land rights, and more than a decade of work in the field as an organic farmer, combine to inform his perspective on integrated, place based, and functional ecological design. Approaching landscapes from a restorative perspective, Johann is motivated by the inherent balance of natural systems, and an eagerness to continue to evolve his understanding to reflect that elegance of design.

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