about flo

Flo Scott Dip Perm Des

Flo Scott is an artist and permaculturist who has recently bought a house in Lewes near Brighton. She is blogging about her journey of applying permaculture principles to this ordinary 50′s semi and you can follow her journey here. Before this move, she lived with her family in a housing co-op, on the edge of Brighton. Flo had lived and worked within the co-op for 12 years, and helped to steer it towards it’s aim of becoming a good example of a Sustainable Community. She created a comprehensive document of the co-op’s green achievements and this ‘Green Report’ included details of the co-op’s use of waste wood for heating, their recycling and composting facilities, their creation of bio-diverse habitats on site and rainwater harvesting.



Flo also created the co-op’s ‘Green Policy and Guidelines’ in a document called ‘Save Cash and Save the Planet’. This set out the co-op’s policy of green living, so that it could hope to influence the wider community by being a good example of how people can work together to create a greener lifestyle. It included the co-op’s policy on waste, energy, and the efficient use of resources such as water, in the home and garden.



Flo became interested in permaculture in 2000 when she became one of the founding members of The Low Carbon Trust, which was planning an innovative building project called ‘Earthship Brighton’. Earthships are buildings that embody many of the permaculture principles, particularly in their efficient use of resources throughout the structure and the functioning of the building: They are earth-sheltered, in order to make use of the earth’s ambient temperature; made from recycled materials; have south facing windows and a conservatory in order to maximise passive solar heating; collect all their own rain water for drinking and domestic use; deal with their own waste; and generate their own electricity.



The Earthship in Brighton was granted planning permission by a forward thinking Council, and was built in Stanmer Park, reaching completion in 2007. Flo’s role in the project was to design the Earthship Building Training courses. These courses ran continuously throughout the build, bringing in a range of volunteers from many different countries, who all helped to build the Earthship and make the project a success.



The Earthship is now used as a community building, and the Brighton Permaculture Trust (BPT) run their courses there. In 2008 Flo attended the ‘Building Sustainable Communities’ Permaculture Design course with BPT, and was delighted to use the Earthship building that she’d helped to manifest. She was awarded her Permaculture Design Certificate in May 2008.




During the design course, Flo started to apply the permaculture principles to her own garden, in order to maximise the yields from the vegetable beds, the mini ‘food forest’ and from her chickens. The garden became a show case for her permaculture design skills, and as a result she began to design for clients.


In March 2009 Flo started her Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. This is a self-guided course where she was expected to create 10 comprehensive designs for herself, clients and community. She reached full accreditation in September 2011 and was awarded her Diploma certificate at an event where she presented a slide show of 3 of her designs.



As a Permaculturist, Flo continues to apply permaculture design to all aspects of her life, whether this is designing the efficiency of her new home and garden, helping with garden designs for friends, occasionally working on a consultancy basis for established projects, or writing articles about permaculture for magazines. Flo has also implemented the last design of her diploma, a pioneering new project called Real Food Hollingdean that aims to tackle food poverty on a council estate in Brighton. Flo has faced serious limiting factors in her health over the past few years with the diagnosis of Lupus SLE, a life-limiting auto-immune disease, but has used permaculture design to successfully optimise her health and wellbeing. Read her articles here and here.



Flo’s 10 Diploma designs:

1 Action Learning Pathway – A design that mapped the path to completion of the diploma by managing her personal energy limits and resources.



2 Family A’s garden –A design for an average sized town garden in Brighton, that produces multiple yields for time-poor clients that were nervous growers. It includes an edible living roof for a wood shed, raised beds for salads, herbs and vegetables, and a ‘food forest’ border.



3 Flo’s small semi-urban garden – A design system that maximises yields from 2 raised beds, a mini ‘food-forest’ and two flocks of chickens.




4 Client B’s garden – A design for an average sized town garden in Worthing, that produces multiple yields for a retired lady with health limitations.



5 A system for growing salads all year round - A design for creating maximum yields of salads all year round in an urban garden, using the principle of succession and a ‘chicken tractor’ system.




6 A design for writing a novel -The design is for an inspirational story, set in an eco-village in 2062 and includes her own illustrations, a detailed eco-village plan and a new grassroots political model.





7 Building sustainable communities – Bringing permaculture principles and solutions to her housing co-op, including a design for a permaculture training day and creating the role of the Sustainability Officer, in line with previously created Green Policy.



8 An optimised functional design for a house - A comprehensive design for making her house function more efficiently for the needs of her growing family, within the limits of the housing co-op and current planning permission.





9 The Real Thrifty Chic – A simple project applying permaculture principles to interiors, to create a low impact, low cost but stylish solution. It includes antique furniture, hand made soft-furnishings and eco-decoration.




10 A step by step programme to tackle food poverty on a local housing estate – This is a step by step process that uses the principle of ‘small and slow steps’ to solve a large problem. The programme aims to start by implementing a design for just one household’s front garden (situated along the main bus route through the Hollingdean estate), which will serve as a permaculture demonstration garden, advertising the project to passers by and to local residents. It is hoped that from the success of the first garden, the project will attract funding and grow from there. In the long term, a vibrant community can be created where Hollingdean residents grow their own produce on their doorsteps, and share knowledge of how to grow, cook and preserve food. This can be achieved with good permaculture design, which includes appropriate garden designs that meet the specific needs of the clients, a good project development design, and an educational programme that is linked with other local projects.


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