Trathen & Mary’s Permaculture Paradise


Daily ActsPetaluma | Daily Acts Epicenter

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This garden is also featured in the Daily Acts Rockin’ Homestead Tour

The home garden of Daily Acts’ Executive Director, Trathen Heckman, has over 200 varieties of edible and medicinal plants that supply 1000+ pounds of food a year on a modest water budget. The Heckman’s lush backyard is home to an engineered wetland (the first single-residence permitted greywater system in the county!), multiple rainwater harvesting systems, hugelkultur beds and an array of other water-savvy strategies. Even the backyard chickens are watered by their very own rain barrel. The chickens also have a thriving bee hive for company, which provides honey, pollination and an extraordinary sense of liveliness to this ⅛ acre lot.

“The goal from the beginning was to make our place a model and to engage our community to learn from and shape the garden,” says Trathen. “We feel fortunate to have had so many wise minds, engaged hands and kind hearts shape this place through tours, workshops, celebrations and sometimes friends and neighbors just plugging in to lend a hand.”

Trathen Heckman’s permaculture garden is an exercise in resilience and stacking functions. When Daily Acts and volunteers transformed the lawn across the street at the Cavanagh Community Center into a food forest in 2009, instead of taking the leftover clay “away” the Heckman’s created a cob bench pizza oven in the backyard which was made with strangers, friends and kids dancing in the mud.

Veggies and fruit trees replaced the lawn in the front yard about 7 years ago, so Trathen frequently enjoys seeing people walk by and get inspired by and engaged with the front yard. “I’ve burnt countless tortillas on the stove as I run out for some basil or greens and get engaged by an interesting passerby. We’ve shared edible bouquets with neighbors and friends and sometimes find food and canned goods or veggie starts on our doorstep.”

See first hand how the Heckman’s grow over 1,000 lbs/yr of food plus over 200 varieties of edible and medicinal plants through a combination of water-saving strategies including greywater, rainwater catchment, drip irrigation and earthworks.

Caution: This site includes bee hives.

DA LogoCavanagh Food Forest | Community Powered Permaculture Landscape

426 8th St, Petaluma

No host | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Once a thirsty lawn, this 3,000 sq. ft. space now offers a beautiful, productive, abundant permaculture landscape – a “Food Forest” – that mimics nature and reduces water use onsite by 80%. Installed in 2009, over three days with the support of over 150 community volunteers, this edible oasis offers medicine, bears fruit, creates habitat, and offers insight on how to reconnect to nature, build community and thrive. This garden was created by first sheet mulching the existing lawn and digging swales and water retention ponds to help collect and keep water in the landscape and prevent runoff. In addition the site has two rain water catchment systems in place that feed the drip irrigation and offset water use throughout the summer months.

Plant List

A printable plant list is available to download for this garden.