375 2nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
P.O. Box 44
Tillson, NY 12486
York Permaculture Exchange
Permaculture Festival NYC
Director: New York Permaculture Exchange
Claudia Joseph, lives and works in Tillson, NY while maintaining connections in Brooklyn, where she lived with her husband and daughter. She has organized and taught many Permaculture Design Certificate courses, garden related classes and workshops. She has written for Permaculture Design Magazine and been the subject of articles and films.
Ms. Joseph is a consultant for public and private property: urban suburban or rural. From farms to balconies, any space can be made more useful. She has done design work for private and public clients. After 18 years in Brooklyn, NY she now resides upstate near Kingston, developing a suburban arts & ecology model on a half acre of land in a 100 year-old house. Plans to retrofit the house and landscape the property for ecological gain are underway and will offer opportunities for workshops and classes in the near future.
While an independent artist, permaculture consultant and teacher, she was also employed as the Director of Environmental Education at the Old Stone House of Brooklyn in Park Slope, NY from 2004 – 2018. Ms. Joseph designed and maintained an interactive, educational, public landscape that refers to the Dutch colonial period. Comprised of eight garden areas in Washington Park and four areas at the adjacent Middle School 51, the combined gardens create over an acre of ground. Shaped by permaculture principles and cooperatively installed with students and volunteers of all ages, themes of self-reliance and environmental stewardship are reflected in plantings for food, medicine, craft material, wildlife support. By reinterpreting the historical uses of a landscape she created a framework for relating to our environment, now.
Ms. Joseph demonstrated ecological literacy throughout the OSH landscape. Soil was developed using onsite materials for bio-remediation, economy and zero waste. Understory planting was based on environmental services such as stormwater capture, reducing erosion and carbon storage. Plants serve more than one function, often offering food and medicine while increasing biological diversity. Ms. Joseph developed programs highlighting the capacity of soils and plants to address climate change: creating high yield systems at a low cost is a hallmark of her work. She also promoted zero waste strategies for Washington Park in conjunction with parents and teachers at MS 51.
The OSH gardens’ butterfly populations having risen from zero to ten species, with butterflies breeding on the site. Numerous songbirds now pass through or reside in Washington Park, enjoying the benefits of the gardens. Caregivers, children, Parks Department workers, neighbors and visitors also enjoy the gardens’ beauty and abundance. The gardens and landscape are used for photo shoots, weddings and other celebrations, as well as educational tours, classes and workshops. The gardens are open all day, every day, and the physical and social designs co-evolve according to public use and need.
Ms. Joseph developed these useful gardens and related programming, creating social programs designed to engage Park users and urban gardeners. Internships, community service and partnerships opportunities strengthened the social network of this site. The Caregiver and Child program was one of the most popular as caregivers from many nationalities took an interest in the food and herbs, sharing recipes and remedies.
Ms. Joseph helped design and manage the 14-ton compost system at the Garden of Union (GOU) from 2003 – 2018. Her involvement began by spending two years leading the rewriting of operating agreements for the garden in a consensus based process as well as transforming the compost system from an unhygienic nuisance to a model system. One of the only communally operated gardens of over 6oo in NYC, she was president of the board of directors from 2003-2015. In partnership with the Park Slope Food Coop, an organization that grew from 5,000 to 16,000 members, she redesigned their compost distribution program to expanded to 6 community garden sites. The training program and input schedule were also redesigned. Six large capacity units were constructed at the OSH-MS 51 site under her guidance: she is considered an authority on community operated compost systems.
Ms. Joseph consulted for the UN Headquarters Food Garden 2016 – 2018 and presented there, as well as providing support with her students on group gardening days. She contributed to the art project S.W.A.L.E., a floating food barge and education center, donating advice, plants and a workshop, in 2016.
Her community garden work includes mentoring others on non-violent communication techniques, consensus process, growing gardeners and building membership. She consulted with 596 Acres on their guide: Communication Tips for Community Gardeners.
Ms. Joseph was the first to teach permaculture design at Merritt College (Oakland, CA), Berkeley Ecology Center, Oakland Botanical Demonstration Gardens, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York Open Center, Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Just Food and The Old Stone House,and participated in numerous other panels, workshops and gatherings.
Ms. Joseph was raised on a Virginia horse farm, worked in arts and music production in Washington, D.C. and lived and gardened in California for ten years: she brings elements of her past into her present work.