Farm Design

rich/ June 10, 2006/ Farm, GIS, Permaculture/

Folks who are familiar with our farm and website know that I do some landscape consultations on the side, and that the design page for the farm has been idle for quite some time. I hope to change that soon, but here’s something to tide you over until then.

I’ve put together a farm design file, using ArcPublisher. The free ArcReader program can be downloaded from the ESRI website to view the file. Sorry dialup users, its 100megs, and requires registration with ESRI. Time to find a friend with broadband!

Click the link below to download the zipped farm design, extract it (keeping all of the files and folders intact), read the FAQ in the ‘design’ folder, and let me know what you think.

Download zipped ArcReader file (700k)

12 June Update:

By popular request, I’ve uploaded a couple of PDFs of the GIS output, one of the base farm layer, and one with the permaculture/landuse zonation. They are ~1.2mb each.

While they aren’t interactive like the above file, they will save low bandwidth users from computer collapse, and give Mac users something to look at.

Download Basemap (PDF)

Download Land use / Permaculture Zones (PDF)

{Download tip. On big PDFs like these, I usually try to Right Click – Save As to save the file to your computer. There’s less chance of the file causing your computer to hang up. Unless its a Mac, in which case that doesn’t happen.}


  1. i’ve been trying to integrate land mapping with permaculture for a few years. for a while i considered various ways of ‘permaculturefying’ various drawing/mapping programs that run on both platforms (or at least apples since all the permie farms in hawaii used apples, not pcs. i recently started a GPS map project for the pc farm where i lived in hawaii, but i moved to portland before finishing it. i’d love to see your work, but alas, you’ve done it on a Pc, not a Mac. can you at least output some pdfs to see?

  2. Thanks Mark. I’ve uploaded some PDFs for your viewing pleasure.

    The Mac-PC conflict is pretty annoying, particularly in regard to permaculture design. To broad-brush the stereotypes, Mac users tend to be graphical artist types, but PCs have the better spatial analysis software. ESRI GIS software is only available on PCs, and it’s the industry standard.

    Did anyone say open source???

  3. Got the link from the pc list. Looks great.
    Wanted to ask about the software.
    Is arcpublisher expensive?
    You might consider using WordPress to manage your site from now on.
    It’s free. Here’s the homepage:
    And an example of its use, Rob Hopkins site:


  4. Thanks N. Unfortunately, ArcPublisher, which is an add-on to the ArcMap suite, is pretty pricey. Last I saw, around $2000 or so, but that was a while ago.

    I’m lucky in that I use it for my day job. For those without, I did a little rooting around, and QGIS looks promising. The shapefiles made in ESRI sounds like they import direct into Q. If anyone out there has experience with it, speak up….

    re: wordpress….you know, I’m not much of a web guy, and a good friend set up the site for us. Now that he’s a new dad, he doesn’t have much time for such tomfoolery, and I’ve just figured out enough of the templates to be dangerous. I’m not too into the idea of learning new templates, etc, when this works pretty well. Unless comment spam kills me….we’ll see.

  5. Hello,

    I found your site mid-winter when I was hunting for a Salem-area CSA to join. We finally found a Salem-delivering farm but I found I liked what you all had to say and I try to check in now and again.

    I couldn’t resist asking a few questions when I read your GIS related post. I currently work in the GIS field and have often wondered what the potential would be for GIS on the farm. Do you do a lot of consultation? How did you get involved with landscape consulting, specifically usig GIS?

    Anyhow, thanks for uniting GIS and farming here.

  6. My day job is for a consulting firm, where I use GIS about 1/2 time. The rest is 1/4 fieldwork & 1/4 general IT work. My landscape consultation was busier in the past, before we bought the farm. Now that I’ve got a foundation laid here, I’m hoping to do more.

    GIS is really powerful in Ag…there’s a lot out there on precision farming, where a GPS – enabled tractor can lay down differing amounts of lime / whatever as its needed in different locations.

    We recently had a NRCS engineer out to do a survey for our ram pump. His results import to CAD, and I can convert that to an ArcView shapefile and lay it on the current plan. Poor man’s digital elevation model, accurate to 3″. With enough detail, you can lay out keylines, gravity water, etc really easily.

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