with Scott Mann

Episode 1231: Transitioning to Professional Permaculture Design with Dan French

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Click here to download the episode.

The guest for this episode is the Dan French and we talk about his move to becoming a full-time professional permaculture designer. His work is to make a practical business out of permaculture and move into the production of integrated designs.

Dan’s work showed up in my inbox one morning as a link to his article at the Permaculture News: “A Journey of Transition: Becoming a Professional Permaculture Designer.” The first of a series of planned articles about his trip down this new road, including the trials and tribulations along the way. We discuss all of this, and more, in the interview.

If, after listening to this interview, you would like to contact Dan, you can leave a message in the article linked above, or email him directly:

danjwfrench (at) gmail (dot) com

Laying the foundations for your own permaculture business and think Dan’s coach could help you? Find Nick Huggins at Permaculture Business World.

As always, you can reach me at:

show (at) thepermaculturepodcast (dot) com

or give me a call:

717 827 6266


  1. December 1, 2012    

    Thank you very much for this very important subject. I have been working to become a professional permaculture design consultant for years. I am happy to see people talking about how we can elevate permaculture by entering the business world. I am also happy to hear that people are out there wingin it just like the rest of us. It is important to have mentors to help guide us and to have a business start up process. As I still struggle in this field financially I feel a great sense of support hearing this interview and knowing that people are there to help support us. Peace

  2. December 3, 2012    

    I hear Dan when he talks about mulling over his project to go solo for over a year. It’s not easy to leave a paid -albeit boring or unethical- job and start marketing and selling your skills. There’s also often a strong feeling of self-doubt “will I ever be good at this?”.

    But what a liberating feeling that is when you are indeed deploying your wings, taking a leap of faith and going solo, working for the thing you like most on earth!

    I’ve gone solo for a couple of years now and taking it slowly, letting my social enterprise grow organically… the money isn’t great but I feel right at home doing it.

    Thanks for sharing this podcast – I feel less alone! :)

  3. julian julian
    January 6, 2013    

    Great interview – my partner and I have been moderately struggling to define our talents – whether it’s with clients or friends. Where to start, how to confidently present services and how to ‘actually make some money outta it’. Thanks for this work, Scott!

  4. Justin Justin
    March 12, 2013    

    Thanks for this podcast, Scott, and thanks for being willing to share your journey with the world, Dan. I, too, have recently dived into the deep end with trying to make a living doing permaculture. My transition has been from public school teacher to starting a permaculture-based landscaping business, Ahimsa Landscaping. It has definitely been a daunting ride, and I’m having to juggle another full-time job, family life, and apprenticing with the local permaculture guild, but I know all this energy it is taking to start it up will pay off in the long run. I’m also figuring it out as I go along. I had no clue what it was going to be like to run a landscaping business, but my intention is to start slow and allow it to grow ‘organically’. Hopefully that way I won’t get in over my head:) I wish you the best of luck, Dan! I believe it takes people like us who are willing to take the risk, who believe in the value of permaculture and what it has to offer the world as we go through this transition, that can help other people have the courage to do the same. Just because traditionally permaculture has been stuck in the educational realm does not mean it is impossible to have a business with it as the foundation. I have found where I live that people want to live more ‘sustainable’ and environmentally friendly, but just don’t know where to start and have busy lives of their own. This is a service that people want. We, as permaculture designers, just have to be cleaver with figuring out how to get the word out there. I see a lot of what I do is still education, I just am also offing the installation part of things. What you all talked about with the legality of businesses such as the one I have is still something I’m figuring out. But with staying small I have found there to be less risk. I’m also very mindful of who I work with. I try to be very clear with my clients that I won’t compromise my ethics and just take any job because it pays. That wouldn’t be true to my mission. We’ll see how it all goes, though:) Again, good luck, and thanks for this great website!

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