Design Criteria

A Permaculture guide to Earth Surgery, with David “Doc Spice” Spicer

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Tying in perfectly with last week’s interview with Zach Weiss about building ponds and water harvesting features, I spoke with David Spicer, affectionately known as Doc Spice, an accomplished permaculture designer who has specialized in earthworks installation. Having taught and worked on various projects extensively within Australia and internationally, in places such as Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and New Caledonia, Doc has worked in a broad array of different soil types, topographies and climatic zones.

He’s also a valued member of the Permaculture Sustainable Consulting team headed up by Geoff Lawton and is registered Teacher #5 with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.

Doc is a master of practical and logical mainframe permaculture design and he’s pioneered the design of water harvesting and storage earthworks which frames all regenerative farming.

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In this episode we talk about why it’s so important to invest early on in a project to get your earthworks right because of what it can mean for the health of your land. Doc also shares some insights on his personal design process and what he looks for in a landscape to give him clues as to the most effective interventions on the form of the land. We also cover some of the risks of improperly installed features, the need to draw from as many sources of knowledge as possible and he also gives some valuable advice for people who are new to earthworks on how to get started. 

I’ve put some pictures of the projects that Doc has done to help to illustrate some of the concepts and techniques that he talks about so don’t forget to check those out along with further links on the show notes for this episode on the website. 


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