Kelly Mulville, HMI Certified Educator
Dealing with the problems of vineyard designs, Kelly Mulville thinks of vineyard designs in a holistic way, designing for whole ecosystem/farm rather than solely for specific crops.
“It is long past time to get out of the rut of trying to modify fossil fuel based agriculture to be more efficient and start designing and creating farms that are highly effective at maximizing current solar income, that are ecologically diverse and that are profitable.” – Kelly Mulville
If the basic design of most vineyards is dysfunctional in terms of sustainability, how do we create designs that are holistically sound? That was the question Kelly asked. Kelly’s problem with traditional designs was that they didn’t go with his desired quality of life in his holistic goal. Of particular importance to him was his preference of working with small livestock rather than equipment. Therefore when designing for himself (or others with similar values), this objective was constantly in mind in order to create the environment, structures and the practices that would address the holistic goal. So, while working on a design project Kelly found himself continuously referring back to his holistic goal, utilizing testing questions, assessing how the ecosystem needs function, and testing for the most holistically sound tools and options. One element that seemed to consistently come into play in his work was the idea of stacking or layering. Grazing vineyards and orchards is a great example of this concept. “Broadening your perspective beyond your current crop opens up numerous possibilities for diversification, profit and management,” explained Kelly. Using this idea, a skillfully designed and managed vineyard can become productive and profitable at a number of levels. Finally, developing a holistic design is simply the process of using the Holistic Management® Framework to direct the creation of a design. In other words a holistic goal shapes and directs the design. This process has proven to be helpful in testing and creating designs as well as evaluating existing designs for potential problems.