Earthbound Artisan: Planting with Presence Grows a Sustainable Future
Jun 29, 2019 12:59AM
● By Gisele M. Siebold
Providing a unique perspective is something Earthbound Artisan does well, especially when it comes to caring about the Earth and our impact upon it. Owner Tim Seifarth and his team hold the land in high regard. “When fostering a relationship with the land, what runs parallel to it is mindful maintenance and observation,” he says.
In 2018, Earthbound Artisan received a grant for multifunctional riparian forest buffer exploration from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST).
Often, conventional buffer maintenance practices include planting trees along waterways, but layers are not worked into the design and regularly scheduled, sustainable maintenance takes a backseat. “DCNR requires 70 percent canopy cover in order to more or less form a continuous layer of foliage. Our agroforestry method is different from a conventional buffer installation because it uses layers to create corridors for animals and their habitats,” explains Seifarth,
“Frequently, importance is placed on design as a way to begin a project, but what may be missing is considering the day-to-day, week-to-week and year-to-year management of creating sustainable ecosystems,” he says. “We will be managing our riparian buffer in that sense, which is in conflict with some conventional buffer maintenance practices.”
He notes, “By implementing permaculture principles that acknowledge outdoor spaces as agricultural ecosystems, we design with purpose, help to stabilize and maintain resilient ecosystems and assist community members in learning how to do that as well.”
Seifarth recommends that homeowners and community members get to know their spaces. “Begin a relationship with your space—walk around your property with your morning cup of coffee—learn about what’s growing there. Slow down and smell the native flowers,” he enthuses.
“When everyone thinks ahead during the design process, sustainable, long-term impact can occur, he advises. “We invite people to ask themselves, ‘What good is my outdoor space doing?’ A yard, the landscaped area outside a business, a buffer area or even a community park can become a farm, a habitat, a sanctuary, a water management system or an outdoor classroom—so much more than just a pretty picture.”
Seifarth suggests that when the elements of time and maintenance are valued by the entire community, a cohesiveness takes shape, creating a change in cultural norms that cultivates a relationship between the land and the people. “Growing and caring for outdoor spaces by prioritizing and valuing the time to be present in the work allows spaces to flourish for years to come,” he avers.