The Sacred Gardener


Steven Martyn, B.F.A.hon., M.A., has a wide range of skills and education, as well as a depth of experience in presenting to and working with people, to connect them back with the land and Her ecology. Please contact us if you’re interested in arranging for a Land Use Consultation or Speaking Engagement with Steven.

Land Use Consultation
with Steven Martyn

$325 + 40¢/km. Includes an audio recording of the site visit. Subsequent consultations are $40/hour.

Reading the Land

The ability to “read” the land is something that comes to us after working with Her for many decades. It is something that in traditional cultures we would learn from and be guided by our elders. But these wise ones don’t exist for most of us anymore. So, when we “develop” land—make gardens, build houses, roads and paths—we make mistakes that we just have to live with for the rest of our time at that place (because we can’t afford to change it or it’s not physically possible to try it again).

These mistakes might be physical, to do with the wind, sun, water or earth, or they might be energetic, to do with placement of things on the land, with the feng shui or geomancy of our gardens and houses. These two realities are all part of the same thing but for the purpose of analyzing and explaining, it’s easier to separate them.

Questions Often Asked

What could we sustainably use that’s presently on the land for home-use or to generate income? What’s the process or steps needed to achieve this goal?

Where should we build a house, garden or road, and what materials could be used from the land for this purpose?

What can we grow that suits the land to make income?

Can you help us troubleshoot garden problems, water issues and/or tree and garden disease?

Seeing What’s There

To begin any development or use of the land we must first really “see” what is there. Few of us have the opportunity to develop a virgin area. So, often our land use plans must entail corrective measures for the abuses and neglect the land has previously suffered. The plants, animals, soil, water and wind, as well as previous use, must all be understood in an intimate way. To not consider all of these things before developing could result in anything from simply missing the gifts the land has to offer (as it is), to desecration of the lands wealth, to poor results in gardens and orchards, to a troubled household. Ultimately, in hindsight, we would all choose to spend a small amount more in the design and planning stage to avoid the vast expense, time and frustration generated by our haste and ignorance.

Guided Choices with Steven

The work of guiding people in their development choices has come to me not by my own intention but from people asking me. I think people ask for many reasons. Many urban folks who have moved up to the area have no idea whats on the land or what to do with it. But they have an innate “environmental” conscience and need for understanding the land before starting to develop it, and make vocational choices to do with the land. Other local folks may understand the land in terms of conventional use, as pasture or lumber, but they have little knowledge of local flora and the huge range of commercial and home use for the plants.

Steven’s Training

My training for being a consultant was not intentional, but I have lived with the Earth and been learning (often the hard way) from Her for thirty years. I’ve also lived in half a dozen different areas and designed and created hundreds of gardens big and small, including mixed orchards and forest gardens. In the mid eighties I did my journeyman as a general contractor and have built many passive solar, and cob buildings and green houses using local and recycled materials. In the early nineties I was a landscaper for eight years (specializing in eliminating grass and creating low maintenance edible gardens).

I did an M.A. on the topic of traditional land use in Central Ontario (both Indigenous and European). I’ve designed the product line and have been a wildcrafted for twenty years with The Algonquin Tea Co. I also teach workshops and college classes on the topics of wilderness skills and plant use. I have professional experience in the food industry, as well as the “retreat/recreation” industry and the building/lumber industry, and am able to draw on these past ventures to guide land use towards an economic end.

Helping You with Your Land

I have been asked to look at land before or after purchase by people wondering what they could do with it. Many times I have realized what an important role this is. I can help you as I have helped many others, design and plan your rural property or suburban lot. I am truly exited about helping people develop their land in a good way. My rates are very reasonable because I want to do it, and feel this is a service to both the clients and the land.