Winner of the 2014 Best Permaculture Garden Award from Metro Blooms and the  2015 Sustainable Business Award from the Environment Initiative Fund.

Kim Bartmann, the restaurant owner, is a visionary entrepreneur committed to showing that doing the “right thing” can be profitable.  She approached us in 2012 wanting to build a restaurant with a permaculture farm and design a local food system that would supply food to the restaurant.

The Restaurant

Three years ago the lot where the Tiny Diner restaurant now stands was an abandoned eyesore.  Before that it was a garage and repair shop for many years.  The soil contained lead along with oil and gas spills in addition to four layers of buried concrete and asphalt.   Within 18 months and with limited resources, we along with Koby Jeschkeit-Hagen, the Tiny Diner farm manager, were able to bring the land to life so that it could once again grow healthy food and become an urban hub for the surrounding community. 

Design Goals

  • Design a living landscape with integrated spaces for dining and food production
  • Showcase a variety of water management strategies throughout the site
  • Grow a wide variety of foods for demonstration and on-site consumption
  • Reduce food waste by on-site composting
  • Produce all energy needs on-site
  • Use recycled or repurposed materials wherever possible
  • Create spaces for community education and skillshares

Design features include:

  • Passive water distribution through the landscape in addition to storing water in cisterns, rain gardens, and the soil
  • Free-standing solar array providing all on-site electricity and shade for the patio
  • Wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and medicines grown in the ground using a mulch-based, no-till system, grown in raised beds containers and on the rooftop
  • Rabbits in a rabbit tractor grazing clover in the mini orchard
  • Bees on the rooftop
  • Woven willow thicket for children to play in

The Tiny Diner Farm

In addition to the restaurant we worked with Kim to design and build an urban farm located about 2 miles east of the restaurant.  Here the focus was on production to supply the restaurant with larger quantities of food.  This property was also an abandoned double lot overgrown with weeds, contaminated with lead and several oil spills, and a large gravel driveway.  Within a season the same farm crew created a productive mulch-based, no-till system and began delivering food by bicycle to the restaurant.  

Design features include:

  • Passive water distribution throughout the landscape
  • Fruit trees and berries grown in guilds including apples, pears, grapes, currants, cherries, honeyberry, and raspberries
  • Vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers grow in polycultures
  • Pollinator habitat on the edges
  • Strawberry and rhubarb foraging slope for people passing by
  • On-site seed harvest and seed-saving
  • Bees


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