Ken Foster


Ken at Rainbow Light's rooftop herb garden

In 1967, 10-year-old Ken Foster read The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett. It took him a whole summer to read, but it inspired him to see gardening as a celebration of our coexistence with nature. In 1985, he took on an apprenticeship at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden, and there he discovered his passion. He didn’t want to do anything else but garden. He founded Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping in 1988, and has dedicated his life to caring for the environment and community through sustainable landscaping.

Besides Landscaping, Ken has also been involved in bringing a program called Monterey Bay Friendly Landscaping to Santa Cruz. The program, which is funded by the State Water Resources Control Board, promotes conservation of our watershed through rainwater harvest, grey water reuse, energy saving, and water use reduction. He also teaches a permaculture class at Cabrillo College.

Ken believes that beautiful landscapes can be made without the use of gas powered equipment and toxic chemicals that many other landscaping businesses use today. He believes in the permaculture ethic “Care for the Earth” and the principle “Produce No Waste,” and applies them to his business.

When he’s not busy with designing, installing, and maintaining ecological landscapes, Ken can be found riding his bike around town, or making mandalas out of salvaged herbs that would otherwise have been sent to the landfill.