Biography of Ken Foster

Ken Foster, the author of this blog is a native of Santa Cruz, California. He was born in the fifties and raised by Quaker parents. In 1985 Ken was an apprentice at the U.C. Santa Cruz Farm and Garden and has a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from there. Ken also has an A.S. degree in horticulture from Cabrillo College. Ken is a landscape contractor, a certified permaculture designer and the owner of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping since 1988.


Ken and company are known far and wide for their bicycle powered landscape maintenance service.


Ken lectures and gives power point presentations on a range of topics relating to sustainable landscaping including Fossil Free Landscaping™, sustainable design, hardscape and softscape installation and maintenance. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ecological Farming Association for ten years and currently serves on the planning committee for the Ecological Farming Conference. Ken has been a member of the Ecological Landscaping Association for twelve years and spearheaded the effort to bring E.L.A. to the west coast over the last few years. Ken lives in Santa Cruz with his chickens, cats, worms and bees at his permaculture demonstration home site.

Here is a picture of Ken’s great grandfather, on the far left. We like to say he did research and development for the Terra Nova bicycle service.



29 thoughts on “Biography of Ken Foster”

  1. Ken —
    I’m listening to you on KRXA 540 AM (Monterey) today and I am impressed with the mission that you have encompassed with your business. Thanks for giving people a much better way to healthy and sustainable landscaping!

    — Tim Wilson —

  2. Hi,

    I have just heard about straw bale gardening and found a few references to it in some Permaculture periodicals, eg. Permaculture Activist.

    Is there any experience with this technique among you permaculture folk?


  3. Hi Ken,

    Just want to say hello, and it was nice to meet you with Nicola at our home in Bonny Doon a couple weeks back.

    Stay in touch! Please let Nicole (my wife) and I know how we can help with the transition work for Santa Cruz / Bonny Doon.

    All the best,


  4. Ken,
    My friend Richard has been searching the web trying to get some details on the Feb-July Permaculture Course but without success. Is there a more detailed description of each weekend or does that evolve depending on the interest?

    I have a family garden but am interested more in understanding permaculture as a way of life and techniques as well.

    summit Road, Los Gatos

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  17. Just spoke to Cynthia at Pilgrims Way who interviewed you on The Simple Life Radio. Had only caught the very end of the show and so had not realized it was you! Knew you about 13 years ago when living in Santa Cruz. Recall your bike team hugging the curbs of that city. Was so impressed I would like you to email me back to help push permaculture as public policy in the STATE of CA.

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