Tiny House Big Garden is family-operated by Ben & Judy Talley near the village of Fallbrook, California, in North County San Diego. Judy is a lifelong gardener and critter-lover. Ben has wanted to be a farmer since he was a boy. Besides spending their working careers as professionals, Ben and Judy also have years of experience in utilizing recycled items as building materials. Moving to a formerly burned out property near Fallbrook in the fall of 2009, Ben and Judy set about to rehabilitate the 1.25 acre property that had lain neglected and fallow for eight years. During this process, we found Permaculture and Aquaponics, joined San Diego Permies and attended a beginning Aquaponics workshop put on by the EcoLife Foundation of Escondido. In the Spring of 2012, we started planning our own Aquaponics System and built it primarily out of found and recycled materials, using Judy’s ornamental gold fish and koi pond she had been nurturing for three years for our first system. As members of San Diego Aquaponics Meet-up, we also update our knowledge base and share with other Aquaponics “hobbyists” in the area. Especially now, with California experiencing its longest drought in recorded history and the challenge of increasing population stress on our delicate water supply, Ben and Judy believe that Aquaponics will prove to be the wave of the future in not only Home Gardening – but also in larger commercial agriculture and aquaculture systems. AWARDS! At the June 2015 San Diego Fair, Ben & Judy’s Tiny House Big Garden AQUAPONICS feature goes way past the door prize! Collaborating with the Freedom -2-Thrive team, we won the Top Garden Prize, the Paul Ecke Jr. Award PLUS 6 other outdoor patio and landscape gardening categories!
Those who know him best would simply say that Ben understands the full sense of what it means to be a man in this absurd, distressing world, and that he is still an optimist, striving toward consistent authenticity. Ben might also add that he lives a poet’s temperament and is a long-time activist, passionate about Zen, The Way of Council and Deep Ecology. Ben’s joy shows up most when he is interacting as an elder with children and young men. Now that he is a grandfather, his desire for a sustainable and authentic future is even more urgent.
Ben’s professional and business careers have included, professional librarianship in prison, community and academic settings, entrepreneurial endeavors in cable television, a natural food store, coffee roasting, and two independent coffee houses, off the grid homesteading in the Arkansas Ozarks on 40 beautiful acres with his wife, Judy, and no mule, two tries running for state legislature in Oregon, and now, so-called retirement from working for those meaner than him, building a suburban sustainable permaculture and aquaponics collective on their beautiful north San Diego County small acreage.
In addition to Ben's active involvement in The Mankind Project and their New Warrior Training, Ben's background also includes traditional Lakota style vision questing and 4-H Northwest Vision Fasts. Ben has also been active in Red Road spirituality practices since 1992 and has assisted in conducting many sweat lodge ceremonies with incarcerated youth as a volunteer, in addition to pouring for private sweat ceremonies. His biggest challenge is in improving his work to play ratio… any assistance in this endeavor is appreciated.
“It's about the life I live... helping to create a sustainable global society that all of us want to live in rather than escape from.”
Utilizing her California Marriage & Family Therapist. is working full-time in the A & D recovery field. In addition to receiving traditional training as a therapist, she also studied under Radical Feminist Therapist, Marti Frederick, of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.
Born in the Midwest and raised in the Midwestern and Southern United States, she grew up with a self-proclaimed Heretic and artist/teacher mother and a mechanic/electrician father who were both raised on farms during the Great Depression. She was never told she couldn't do anything she set her mind to - and so, she'll try just about anything at least once. Ben calls her "the Mechanic's Daughter."
Judy also loves to grow hard-shelled gourds, sing, dance, create, write and be in nature. In this photo, she's holding a mask she made from hard-shelled gourds. Below is another mask she and Ben collaborated on.
Banjo & Taj are our four-legged family members. They are both rescue pets. Banjo makes certain no uninvited invaders set foot on her turf, and Taj rapidly eliminates any rodents and insects that cross his path. They are about as good buddies as a cat and dog can be.
Fallbrook Farmers Market 2013
Electrician is Here~!
Growing gourds to play with.. & BEST seat in the Lodge
This is our 35 ft transit bus that we converted over a 3 year period. It's been 8 years, some speed bumps along the way, a difficult maiden voyage, but we are now ready for the road. All mechanics and rubber too. Just needing a final coat of paint, refrigerator AND a name. Suggestions welcome. BTW, as they say this is not our first "rodeo". Our first bus was a 28 foot school bus that we lived in for about 3 years. Want to talk small energy footprint?
Judy showing off our award winning AQUAPONICS feature next to the tiny houses that were part of an ALL EDIBLE, SUSTAINABLE project.