Liberty Garden

Restoring a California Coastal Ecosystem

Articles Photos

Liberty Garden is a Beautifully Restored Coastal Ecosystem

Liberty Garden is acclaimed for its alternative approach to habitat restoration, using only simple tools, manual labor and common sense.

Liberty Garden exists to inform the public about the philosophical foundations and practical consequences of freedom policies. This includes promoting an understanding of why private property and individual liberty are corollaries and why individual liberty and a healthy planet are inseparable.

What is Private Property?

Free enterprise seeks and achieves the objective of ecological health, as Liberty Garden also demonstrates. There, a former weed lot now supports a wild wonderland with a plethora of productive native plants, which in turn support an array of indigenous species. Like the forester's land, Liberty Garden proves that if people are free to create voluntary associations, the laws of economics and the consequence of stewardship will cause the earth to improve.

Download paper

Releasing the Native Seedbank

An entrepreneur turns a coastal weed lot into a blooming garden of native plants by tapping a dormant seed bank. “Releasing the Native Seedbank” is reprinted with permission from Ecological Restoration, a publication for University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. © by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

Download paper

Tale of Two Counties

For nearly 30 years Michael Shaw has been unable to obtain any permits from the Santa Cruz County Planning Department despite Liberty Garden’s zoning for up to 29 homes. In the following exposé the County practices and policies are examined in a detailed account of this ongoing injustice.

Download paper


"Each year we benefit by seeing your gully, and each year the gully seems to be eroding less and less. Hats off to you for taking aggressive action to stop this gully! Kudos to you again for letting us use your property for educational purposes."

Steve Singer, Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District and Instructor at Cabrillo College (May 1994)


"The regeneration and restoration of the oak woodlands and native grasslands on the site is quite impressive... The restoration is likely improving habitat values on the site by increasing native food plants of high value and the complexity of habitat structure."

Bryan Mori, Biological Consultant (May 1998)


"Your particular low-tech, slow and steady, weeding only system of habitat enhancement takes a very different approach and has been, to my eyes, more successful and "cleaner" in every way than any planting based project I know of ."

Randall Morgan (June 1996)