Nance Klehm is a steward of the earth. She is an ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, and permacultural grower, as well as an in demand consultant, speaker, and teacher. She is respected internationally for her work on land politics and growing for fertility.

Nance’s recent undertaking, The Ground Rules, is a unique community and earth-building initiative that seeks multiple communities to work with. The Ground Rules involves creating community-run Soil Centers that gather organic waste from local businesses. Community members are directly involved and asked to invest a real labor and time commitment to the project in order to create a long-lasting local relationship with soil and soil issues. She is the founder of Social Ecologies, an organization that acts as an umbrella for a variety of ongoing ecological and system-regenerating projects.

Nance was honored as one of Utne Reader’s Twelve Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World in 2012. Her work has been featured in news and media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, Reuters news service, on the MSN Money website, American Public Media’s Weekend America program, BBC Radio Canada, Chicago Public Radio, Le Devoir (Montreal) and La Raza (Chicago).

Nance has lectured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the University of Cincinnati, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. She has taught at the University of California – Los Angeles, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and Dartington College in the United Kingdom, as well as for countless community groups worldwide.

She writes a regular column for Arthur magazine, and has been included in a variety of publications. The book Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide to Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes by Leila Darwish includes an extensive interview with Nance. Nance’s work is also included in the books Radical Homemakers (by Shannon Hayes), Participatory Autonomy (edited by Rick Gribenas), and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements (by Sandor Katz), among others.

Nance earned a B.A. in Archaeology and Spanish Literature from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., followed by graduate work in Education Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has continued her education in a variety of ways, from intensive cheesemaking training on a sheep farm outside of Brattleboro, Vermont, to studying with David Holmgren (the co-originator, with Bill Mollison, of the concept of Permaculture). She worked with Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust of Devon, England, took herbal apprenticeships in Wisconsin, and herbal study at the East West College of Herbalism in California.

She lives in Little Village, a densely packed, diverse urban neighborhood in the heart of Chicago. Her house and land are daily practice in permaculture and urban living. Nance can be hired for greywater design and conversion, water harvesting, earthworks design and installation, community and/or institutional green waste-to-fertility systems, and horticultural and ecological systems design and consultations (including habitat creation, biological water filtration, green waste composting/vermicomposting, humanmanure, and intensive food and medicine systems). Nance is also available for site consultations, lectures, informal talks, and teaching assignments. Contact her for a price schedule at or check out the Social Ecologies list of services at

View Nance’s CV.