Benjamin Fahrer

owner, Project Manager, and principle designer in Berkeley, California

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I am a ecological designer, educator, land consultant, natural builder and foremost a farmer. For the last 20 years I have worked to create models of alternative ways to produce food that values nature. I started building, framing houses when I was 14, growing food on a farm scale 8 years later at James Creek Farm in Carmel Valley, a farm growing exclusively for Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Here I acquired a deep passion for farming and the building of ecological systems. I completed my Permaculture Design Course in 1999 at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and I went on to steward homesteads and start community gardens. In 2003 i began to manage and operate Oceansong Organics in west Sonoma County. I became a registered teacher in Permaculture from Bill Mollison and TAGARI in 2007.

In 2008 I became the farm supervisor at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, where I lived, worked and taught seminars in ecological design, permaculture and organic food production. I also became involved in local food systems and the SLOW food movement. In 2006 I was delegate at the Slow Food gathering Terra Madre and was the US flag bearer in the opening ceremonies when attending the 2008 gathering.

My passion lies in building ecological landscapes and addressing responsible land stewardship. I am currently the owner and operator of Top Leaf Farms a CA licensed contractor specializing in urban agriculture systems and roof top farming. With Top Leaf Farms I am designing and developing integrated systems that produce food and grow seeds, soil and starts specific for the urban climate. As now more people live in cities than not we must re-address how we can produce within the urban environment and make these landscapes more functional.

  • Work
    • Top Leaf Farms
  • Education
    • Dominica
    • New College of California
    • Permaculture Research Institute, TAGARI