I see this work at the intersection of ecological restoration and whole human health. Fostering deeper connection between modern society and the places we inhabit has the potential to heal the growing culture of depression, isolation, diminishing biodiversity and conviviality.
Evolving our culture to develop our consciousness and conscientiousness through caring for the land and more than human community through mutually beneficial partnerships is a viable path forward for our species.
Through engaged ecological design, there is potential for all of us to feel more connected to our environment, more belonging in our homes, and develop intimate long-term relationships with living systems.
A Bit About Me
Michael is an emerging professional ecological designer in southwest Colorado. Practicing professionally since April 2019, Michael is incrementally growing Solstice Sown Designs LLC to serve larger acreage agricultural properties to develop drought resilient and food producing landscapes. He has worked with a diverse range of clients developing residential vegetable and ornamental gardens, the Dolores River Brewery edible forest garden, custom irrigation for cattle ranching operations ~ 300 acres, and small farm and ranches ~35 acres. He brings eight years of experience in horticulture, education, project management, and design.
He is passionate about developing biodiverse, dynamic, multi-strata forest garden systems unique to the southwest bioregion. Michael is part of a regional effort to restore the historic orchard economy in Montezuma County in partnership with the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project by planting heritage fruit varieties, pruning, grafting, and educating about holistic orchard care. He is a member of the growing Regenerative Practitioners global community with the Regenesis Institute. He was also recently awarded a Wild Gift Fellowship for environmental entrepreneurs. He has studied regenerative agriculture and design across the western hemisphere and completed Master's course work on the "Story of Place" at the Conway School of Ecological Design and Sustainable Land Use planning. Read his essay, "A Collective Design" published in the 2020 New Farmer's Almanac.
Michael’s path has been winding, growing up in New Mexico and Colorado the youngest of three brothers. His upbringing included summers backpacking and moving up ranks in the Boy Scouts while learning outdoor and survival skills in the Rocky Mountains. Through college, he worked as horticulturalist for the parks department. Earning a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. in Spanish language from Regis University, his senior thesis was based on a grant-funded community composting and food-rescue effort to create a closed-loop food system in a North-Denver neighborhood and with the University.
Michael is a fluent Spanish speaker with experience living on a permaculture farm in Monteverde, Costa Rica while studying sustainability and tropical conservation biology. He continued engaging with Central American communities through scholarship travels to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Prior to moving to Four Corners region, he has lived and worked in Ecuador, California, and throughout Colorado.
He finds purpose and joy in supporting others to connect with the land and become more responsible stewards.
April 2019 - Present
Solstice Sown Designs LLC
Owner, Managing Member
Designed, installed, and cares for a diversity of custom edible forest gardens, orchards, and ranches, serving collective landowners of over 350 acres.
Educated and served over 30 clients to adopt a deep-time perspectives of both ecological and anthropological contexts of landscape evolution.
Facilitates an in-depth and iterative goals articulation process with clients to focus energy, resources, and informed land investment decisions.
Developed educational design products such as the “Holistic Site Analysis and Development Plan”.
Created phased budget schedules for landowners to incrementally invest in appreciating assets on their land to develop ecological landscapes and drought-resilient agroforestry.
Advised a diverse range of landowners on soil health, soil testing and fertility management, irrigation, integrated pest/weed management, season extension, and ecological landscaping design principles.
Published essay “A Collective Design” in the New Farmer’s Almanac.
September 2016 - April 2019
Cortez Middle School & Montezuma School to Farm Project Cortez, Colorado
Agriculture Educator & AmeriCorps
Developed original curriculum for regenerative agriculture, holistic orchard management, holistic grazing management, wildlife biology, horticulture, annual crop production, watershed science, and nature awareness games - serving students with diversity in age, socio-economic backgrounds, cultural identities, literacy levels, and youth facing high-adversity.