Presenter Biographies

MarishaAuerbach3Marisha Auerbach has been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past decade. As an itinerant permaculture designer, Marisha calls the greater Olympia area home, especially the Wild Thyme Farm, a 150 acre permaculture demonstration farm and FSC certified forest in the northern Willapa Hills. Marisha encourages sustainable futures through sharing knowledge with others on a variety of topics including: permaculture, polyculture gardening, flower and gem essences, local economics, community building, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, and organic gardening among others. She is enthusiastic about creating forest gardens and building local community as a response to peak oil. Marisha’s interest in local economics and creating useful items using her resources has manifested as several projects: past work on local community marketplaces in Olympia, Queen Bee Flower and Gem Essences, Herb’n Wisdom for permaculture consulting and herbal products, and Growing Greetings which produces plantable greeting cards and other products. Marisha has a small plant nursery which focuses on edible flowers and other gourmet specialty food items. Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. She continues to interact with students from the Evergreen State College by offering internships.

Rhonda-at-banquet-198x300Rhonda Baird is a permaculture educator and designer; homeschooling mama; and community organizer. She and her family are nestled in Bloomington, Indiana. Rhonda is a seventh generation Hoosier, with deep ties to the forested hills and rivers of southern Indiana. Though permaculture practice began formally for her in 2005, she grew up in a working-class family that had multiple gardens-incorporating fruits, shrubs, and animals into the patterns and rhythms of those sites. Her family also preserved seed, propagated young fruits, foraged on nearby public lands, and was active in forestry. In 2005, Rhonda “stumbled” into a Permaculture Design Course with Peter Bane and Keith Johnson and never looked back. She began apprenticing as a teacher and after the first year, began working as a designer and offering independent workshops as well as coordinating the Bloomington Permaculture Guild. In 2008, she began working with The Permaculture Activist. In 2010, Rhonda joined the board of the Association for Regenerative Culture. She can be reached at sheltering hills at gmail dot com (no spaces).

peterbanePeter Bane, author of “The Permaculture Handbook – Garden Farming for Town and Country” has lived in various regions of the U.S., has taught permaculture extensively from Canada to Chile for 20years, and was recognized in 2005 with the Diploma of Permaculture Design for his publishing, teaching, design, and community work. He has trained over 1500 students and has published the Permaculture Activist magazine since 1990. He helped create Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, and is now pioneering suburban farming in Bloomington, Indiana. |

La_Cite_4_Albert_Bates_160_pxAlbert Bates is author of many books including The Biochar Solution, The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, and Climate in Crisis; cofounder of Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and the Global Ecovillage Network ( Current projects include a peace-through-permaculture project in Palestine and the Sail Transport Network, moving fair trade goods along coastal routes. In 1980 he shared the Right Livelihood Award (considered an “Alternative Nobel”) for work in preserving indigenous culture. Bates’ first book (Honicker v Hendrie, 1977) is considered by many environmentalists to mark the turning point in nuclear power. A comprehensive indictment of nuclear energy, SHUT DOWN!, was published in Japanese in 1980. Vanity Fair says: “Green-minded newbies look up to him, and why shouldn’t they? He knows everything, urinates in the forest, and can build a wind-powered generator out of found materials. In the event of an apocalypse, Bates is president.

BermanDeborah Berman is the founder of Palouse Permaculture, and a cofounder of the Institute for Regenerative and Integrative Science. She just finished teaching a 12 day Advanced Permaculture Design Course called Animals –Our Partners in Design, which included guest speakers Joel Salatin, Paul Wheaton, Owen Hablutzel and Dr Ahmed Tibary. When she is not teaching, she prefers to spend her time growing things and talking to animals.

Neil-Bertrando-BWA long-time Reno, NV resident, Neil Bertrando manages a 1.3 acre urban homestead with his wife Katie.  His passion is collaborating to enrich bioregions and celebrate community.  As a life learner, he continually works to build apprentice and mentor relationships as pathways to expand Permaculture. Seeds, Smiles, Solutions, and Succession. His passion is enriching bioregions by building community and broadening the local genetic resources of practical plants and animals.  In his teaching and design he applies Keyline Design, Permaculture and Holistic Management as interconnected systems approaches to managing the complexities of social-ecological systems.  While he lives in a temperate arid climate, over the past 12 years, he has gained experience working in wide range of climate and cultural contexts such as Hawaii, Haiti, Minnesota, Maine, Montana, and Southern California.

Bruce BlairBruce Blair has been a park professional for 34 years, serving in maintenance, management, operations, and design capacities for national wildlife refuges and federal, state, county, and local parks. From 1999 to 2013 he served as the Manager of Facility Development and Natural/Cultural Resources for Dakota County (Minnesota) Parks Department where he played a leadership role in advancing creative park development offering unique experience rooted to place. Parallel to his park work, he intensively studied permaculture design with a focus on developing perennial crop dominated landscapes which yield an abundance of food while ecologically intensifying degraded landscapes. His work also reflects the values he finds in his Cuba studies as that country is a world leader in low-input local food production. He is the designer and owner of Homestead Gardens of Welch, MN, a 2 acre permaculture demonstration project started in 1999. He now operates Homestead Gardens Design, designing ecologically-based food production systems using permaculture methods.

Marie Bourgeois is a creative civil engineer with 25 years of experience working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the areas of pollution prevention and sustainability. A recent graduate of the Biomimicry 2010 Masters Degree Program, she combines her educational background in Biology, Public Health, Civil Engineering, and the Biomimicry Professional Certification Program with her regulatory experience and facilitation skills to produce innovative solutions to a wide range of challenges. Ms. Bourgeois’s work includes assisting government agencies in developing and implementing sustainability management systems as well as providing technical assistance to governments and industry as they find innovative ways to reduce pollution and move towards sustainability. She serves as an EPA international expert to provide regulatory and sustainability assistance to developing countries. Ms. Bourgeois uses biomimicry as the method of choice in solving environmental challenges.

Linda ConroyLinda Conroy, educator, permaculturist, herbalist, cheese maker and whole food enthusiast, dedicates her life to connecting with the natural world. Linda has a certificate in permaculture design, a degree in social work, has studied with Isla Burgess of the International College of Herbal Medicine, and has completed residential herbal apprenticeships with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center as well as Ravencroft Gardens. She is the founder of Moonwise Herbs, a community herbal and permacutlure resource, The Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference and Wild Eats: A Movement to Promote Whole and Wild Foods in Community. Linda is a vibrant woman who continually seeks to deepen her connection to the natural world! |

Abigail ConradAbigail Conrad completed a B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Rochester in 2008 and is currently a PhD Candidate in anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C.. She is certified in permaculture design. Abigail is conducting her dissertation research in central Malawi on the relationship between the alternative agricultural practice of permaculture, and food and nutrition security. She has numerous published articles on permaculture in journals such as Never Ending Food, the Guardian, the Southern Times and the Permaculture Free Press.

jan-hendrik-croppJan-Hendrik Cropp, vegetable gardener and sociologist and published writer on post-capitalist perspectives in agriculture, is co-founder of the Witzenhausen Freudenthal CSA in Mittelberg, Germany. Jan-Hendrick trained for several years in organic vegetable production, has studied Organic Agricultural Sciences, consulted clients on Soil Fertility and tends of one of the few Forest Gardens in Germany. Through the Witzenhausen Freudenthal CSA collective, he is able to put into practice some of his theories about alternative economic structures in agriculture such as the political theory of anarchist simplicity and Solidarity Agriculture, in which the needs of the people are of central concern instead of their monetary exploitation, demonstrating that the voluntary nature of the gift economy and the unconditional satisfaction of needs can produce a clean break with the prevailing logic of capitalism.

Jennifer Dauksha-EnglishJennifer Dauksha-English works as an instructor, facilitator, designer and consultant in regenerative and healthy lifestyles, participatory community and business design, applied permaculture and yoga. Jennifer holds an N.D., M.S. in Natural Health, a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies, a Diploma in Wildlife Management, and has 15 years experience leading projects and non-profits in the alternative health and environmental sectors. Jennifer graduated from Gaia University in 2007 with a Post-graduate Diploma in Integrative Ecosocial Design and developed Gaia Southeast, the first Gaia University regional center in the US. Jennifer currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Holistic Ecology; Executive Officer of Solar Springs, LLC, a permaculture farm; and Holistic Designs and Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm. Jennifer has served as a project manager for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, Gaia Radio, the Transformative Action Learning Certificate and other on-line offerings. She advises numerous associates and is director and lead instructor for Gaia Southeast. Jennifer also organizes courses and teaches permaculture design and financial permaculture. |

Bryan Deans is a Lakota permaculture designer living on Pine Ridge reservation. He has been a cattle rancher and horse trainer for decades. He creates high efficiency stoves and other fuel efficient systems, has mentored and educated many Lakota on sustainable skill sets and has been using permaculture principles to improve conditions for a good portion of his life. His Pine Ridge reservation ranch is an experimental permaculture site and demonstrations of all aspects of permaculture are in development. Bryan is head of the Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI). OLCERI aims to create and host a demonstration site for enduring and sustainable practices rooted in permaculture, holistic land management and the Lakota culture. Adaptable systems including food security, education, natural building and housing, cottage industry, environmental stewardship, and others will serve as a resource for implementation throughout the Pine Ridge community and beyond. |

Becky EllisBecky Ellis is a permaculture designer and community organizer from London, Ontario. She has her MA in Sociocultural Anthropology which focused on community gardens in urban neighbourhoods. Currently she works as a Children’s Garden Facilitator with the London Community Resource Centre and as a Literacy Facilitator with the London Public Library. She also operates a small permaculture design and education business called Earth Magic Permaculture. Becky is the co-founder of the Mantis Arts & Eco Festival. She is also mom/stepmom to four great kids.

Cathe’ FishCathe’ Fish is the director of the Practical Permaculture Research Institute. She has been working as an experienced dry­lands Permaculture Designer and Consultant since 1987. She has designed 150 acre ranches to small suburban plots. Cathe’ has taught thousands of classes and work­shops. She has been an inspiring pioneer in permaculture education in the US and internationally and is a sought out instructor. She was the founder and original editor of the Dry­lands Permaculture newsletter in 1987 with Bill Steen, which later became the Permaculture Dry­lands Journal. Cathe’ owns a 5 acre permaculture teaching farm near Grass Valley, California.

Darrell FreyDarrell Frey is a Sustainable Community Development Consultant with three decades of experience in the application of ecological design. Darrell is owner and farm manager of Three Sisters Farm, a five-acre market garden located in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Since 1989 Three Sisters Farm has been providing high quality organic produce to regional restaurants, grocers and caterers. Three Sisters also offers a limited number of produce subscription to household customers. In addition to managing Three Sisters Farm, Darrell is a partner in both Three Sisters Permaculture Design and Sustainable Design and Planning Associates. These companies offer consultation in sustainable community development, garden design, alternative energy, storm water management and environmental stewardship training to home owners, developers and various organizations. Darrell is the author of “Bioshelter Market Garden, A Permaculture Farm”, New Society Publishing, 2011. Bioshelter Market Garden is a comprehensive guide to the small scale intensive farm and its role in the sustainable food system, and a case study of 30 years of the application of permaculture design. |

Jason GerhardtJason Gerhardt has been applying permaculture design in diverse bioregions from the deserts of Arizona to the fresh water lakes of New York for over a decade. He holds a BA in Sustainable Design as well as a Diploma in the fields of Permaculture Design and Education, and is known for his extensive knowledge of plant ecology, rainwater harvesting, agricultural biodiversity preservation, and integrated ecological design. Jason’s background includes developing a bioregional vegetable seed business, leading creative educational programs for a wide range of institutions, and consulting on how to apply permaculture principles to groups such as K-12 schools, community gardens, and conservation organizations. Jason has taught a permaculture program at Naropa University and instructs at numerous courses throughout the US including the Permaculture Institute of Santa Fe, NM. He has taught for many well-respected organizations including Denver Botanic Gardens, University of Colorado, Permaculture Institute USA, and the US EPA. Jason practices ecological design professionally through Real Earth Design on scales ranging from urban residences to rural agroecosystems.

Joel GlanzbergJoel Glanzberg has worked in Permaculture since 1985 on four continents. His early work at Flowering Tree Permaculture the primary example in Gaia’s Garden and is one of the oldest food forests in the US. He has worked with Regenesis for 17 years to shift the development industry blending PC with Systems Thinking. The patterns behind the techniques of Permaculture and how to apply them to the large systems we need to shift to make the changes we really need to in the world.

gerardoGerardo González is originally from Mexico, having a Degree of Forest engineering from the Faculty of Forest Science – Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Gerardo started his Permaculture career by attending an Introduction to Permaculture course in Tulum, Quintana Roo. By learning about sustainability, he decided to change his life and stop being a website designer, to completely learn about Permaculture and a more sustainable way of life. In 2009 he attended a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) taught by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in Melbourne, Australia. Nowadays, he started and is in charge of a project called La Loma Permacultura, implementing and developing techniques according to Permaculture principles. Gerardo created the website that was created to organize information about sustainability and to provide education to any person who requires this knowledge, besides being a portal for all people working with sustainability to be in touch and announce their workshops and courses.

Daniel HalseyDaniel Halsey is a certified permaculture designer and teacher for multiple academic institutions and organizations. Daniel ha a Bachelor of Science degree in Temperate Climate Polyculture Design and a Masters of Professional Studies in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota. His interest in agro-ecosystems and edible forest gardens began with an introduction to polyculture design in 2003. Polyculture plant systems are patterned after forest ecology where each plant contributes to the health of the ecological niche and soil community. Dan travels nationally, hired to design, instruct, and consult for planning of intentional communities, agro-ecosystems, and broad-acre restoration. Dan and Ginny live on a twenty-five acre wetland savannah called SouthWoods, in Prior Lake, Minnesota where they manage self-sustaining forest gardens of fruiting trees, shrubs and nut crops. SouthWoods incorporates permaculture principals in all aspects of living. |

Robert Allen Hamburg is the Director of Omega-Alpha Recycling Systems, Orma, WV, a personal consulting firm concentrating on investigation and demonstration of the environmental necessity and economic viability of an integrated approach towards sustainable generation of renewable energy, production of food for both human and livestock consumption and sanitary treatment of organic residues. After 4 decades experience and research in the United States (WV, PA, HI, et al.), Jamaica, Central America, Mali, Nepal, India and the People’s Republic of China, Robert’s focus continues upon smaller-scale, symbiotically integrated biogas systems. Hamburg views digesters as domestic livestock rather than technological constructs. In blending the biological with appropriate technology, his designs attempt to follow an ecological economic paradigm based on solar income and bio-physical principal and principle – a thermodynamics-based alternative to current theory-based economics.

Kate Heiber-CobbKate Heiber-Cobb founded the Madison Area Permaculture Guild in the Spring of 2008 and continues to coordinate the grassroots organization. Through her business, Sustainability on Stilts, LLC, she designs, educates and consults on Permaculture. Kate teaches at the Continuing Education Department of Madison College, Olbrich Gardens, and other venues. She was honored as a Badger Bioneer in 2010 and received recognition from Oxfam as a Woman Leader in her community in 2011. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Edgewood College Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program, and on the Vision Team of Town & Country RC&D.

Toby HemenwayToby Hemenway is the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, which for the last eight years has been the best-selling permaculture book in the world, and was awarded the Nautilus Gold Medal in 2011. He has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and is currently a field director at the Permaculture Institute (USA). Toby has presented lectures and workshops at major sustainability conferences such as Bioneers, SolFest, and EcoFarm, and at Duke University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware and many other educational venues. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. He has contributed book chapters for WorldWatch Institute and to several publications on ecological design.

Jude HobbsJude Hobbs is a land consultant, designer, educator, and co-founder of the Cascadia Permaculture Institute and Permaculture Institute of North America. With over 30 years’ experience, she utilizes whole system techniques in urban and rural settings to co-design environmentally sound solutions that inspire sustainable actions. As an educator she brings her passion for Permaculture to her teaching, which is adapted for audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada. Jude operates two businesses–Agro-Ecology Northwest and Cascadia Permaculture–and offers a wide range of services to agricultural businesses, individual land-owners and Permaculture students. Jude is also co-founder of the Permaculture Institute of North America, a professional development organization focused on creating a standard platform for Permaculture Design Course (PDC) certification, and a mentoring system to assist PDC graduates in their journey toward professional practice.

Will HookerWill Hooker is a registered landscape architect in North Carolina and currently an Emeritus Professor in the NC State Horticulture Department where he taught landscape garden design for 34+ years. In 1988 while on a sabbatical study-leave riding his bicycle across the US continent, Will became concerned with the lack of people actually out on the land; it seemed that no one was paying attention to the human impact on Nature. In searching for a stronger message about the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems, he discovered permaculture, and has been practicing and teaching the tenets of this sustainable living methodology since 1997 at the university level. In 2003, he also began teaching Permaculture as a distance education course, recording his lectures and field trips to distribute via videos around the state and the nation. Following the examples of David Holmgren and Joe Poleischer, who believed that the global culture was in such dire straights that they needed to simply give their knowledge away, in 2007 Will posted his permaculture course videos to the web as an open-source resource. He re-posted his updated course videos in 2010, and has received feedback on these from around the globe. Will is also known for the colorful ephemeral bamboo sculptures that he has created around NC and the surrounding states, a useful tool in his estimation for helping to inject fun in our lives, and as a means to create a sense of community. |

Jillian HoveyJillian Hovey is a seasoned international permaculture teacher who is dedicated to inspiration and education about healthy and sustainable living. Jillian holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, and is waiting to sit her final exam for a Masters in Environmental Studies in Sustainable Community Planning and Design from York University in Toronto. Jillian sustains herself financially through her teaching, design, and facilitation work, which is focused on eco development projects. She has worked across North America and down into Central America, and has wonderful slide shows of the eco projects and ecovillages that she has visited and worked with. Jillian recently supported a forming ecovillage projects in Quebec and Costa Rica, and is presently helping to create a sustainable, off-gird community with a Mohawk tribe in Ontario.

1150149_519496261458629_1087251398_nMonica Ibacache is a Chilean-born and New York City-based permaculture educator and principal designer of Beyond Organic Design. A graduate of Dave Jacke’s teacher training and core organizer of the first North American Permaculture Convergence, her permaculture work is inseparable from her time spent working with and organizing marginalized communities, here and abroad, with an emphasis on education and development. Monica’s path to permaculture started while living in a small Alaskan town. Attempting (unsuccessfully) to grow a vegetable garden on essentially a dry river bed, the search for answers led down the rabbit hole. Her life has never been the same since!

Chad Johnson is co-owner of Holzer AgroEcology and owner of Spirit Mountain Farm. He has traveled and worked with Sepp Holzer over the past two years in the United States and abroad. |

Keith JohnsonKeith Johnson was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (where he learned at an early age he was related to Johnny Appleseed), and has been a commercial landscaper, stonemason, and organic gardener since 1976 in places as varied as subtropical Bay Area of California, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Michigan, & the mountains of W. North Carolina. After devouring Permaculture One in 1978 he continued to learn all he could on the subject. He’s been teaching Permaculture since ’95, has instructed more than 1200 students, many of those through Indiana University’s annual Design Course which began in 2003. He’s taught or trained with Bill Mollison, Larry Santoyo, Tom Ward, Penny Livingston, Peter Bane, Chuck Marsh, Andrew Goodheart Brown, Albert Bates, Starhawk, and Jerome Osentowski and others. Now resident in Bloomington, IN, Keith participates in a number of local activism projects including the editorial guild of the Permaculture Activist, the founding of Transition Bloomington (Indiana’s first Transition Town Initiative), past boardmember of the Local Growers Guild, contributor to Bloomington’s Peak Oil Task Force, member of the Bloomington Permaculture Guild, member of the Bloomington Food Policy Council and the Trillium Horticultural Park Project. Renaissance Polyculture is the suburban forest garden he co-manages on the 2/3 acre site where he homesteads with Peter Bane and a regular flow of interns. A frequent public speaker and radio interviewee, he works constantly to share a vision of cultural and ecological regeneration and continues to provide ecological design and consultation services via Patterns for Abundance. Keith blogs at: Permaculture & Regenerative Design News  | Transition Indiana  | Permaculture Politics  | Bloomington Permaculture Guild

Sean KaminskySean Kaminsky is a filmmaker and Director of the documentary film-in-progress “Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds” that looks at challenges facing one of our world’s most precious natural resources: Seeds. |

jeremiah kiddJeremiah Kidd of San Isidro Permaculture teaches, consults and builds regenerative systems in the US and internationally when not foraging wild foods with his family around Santa Fe, New Mexico.

penny-krebiehlDrawing pattern and line-language are Penny Krebiehl’s special specialties. She loves to draw, teach, learn, tell stories and spend time in the wide world–as in outdoors. Penny aspires to be an honest, and a perfect, imperfect mentor. She has the skill and reputation of being a “catalyst”, and has contributed to many local and regional for-profit and non-profit businesses spiraling into existence and successfully launching. People seek her out, and she’s happy to “share the gold in my pockets”, and believe so very many of us are doing good and necessary work. Penny believes in ‘each one, teach one’. She feels blessed to have a wide, supportive network of folks, having been born/raised, educated, and raising her children in Michigan. Likewise, she has worked and initiated many community projects and programs in Michigan: in the Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Traverse City areas. Her wish is to contribute to this beautiful planet, moving through and finding solutions that serve humans as beings devoted to living wisely and well, especially when it comes to how we are care-taking our home-place, our selves and also giving something back.

Andy LangfordAndy Langford, Joint Founder and Joint President of Gaia University, has been a Permaculture Designer and Consultant since 1990. He was founder and lead foclizer of The Permaculture Academy of Britain, May 1993 to 2005, much supported in this organizational development work by Lea Harrison, permaculture teacher extraordinaire from Australia through late 80’s and early 90’s. He was the first UK Permaculture Teacher and was given the Permaculture Community Services Award in 1993. Andy worked at classic permaculture design and teaching activities until it became apparent to him that many more people fell by the wayside than flourished in permaculture and thus he was inspired by Bill Mollison’s pamphlet of 1993 that encouraged permaculturists to consider how to embed permaculture education into the mainstream ‘higher’ educational system whilst providing mentoring and support for long term permaculture learners.

Penny Livingston-StarkPenny Livingston-Stark is an internationally revered permaculture teacher, designer and speaker. Penny has been teaching and working professionally in the land management, regenerative design and permaculture development field for over 25 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction. Penny specializes in site planning and the design of resource rich landscapes that integrate rainwater collection, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, co-housing communities, businesses and diverse yield perennial farms. With her partner, fellow Gaia U associate, James Stark, and in collaboration with Commonweal – a cancer health research and retreat center – Penny manages a 17-acre certified organic farm in Bolinas, California called Commonweal Garden. Commonweal Garden is also home to the Regenerative Design Institute, a powerful hub of advanced permaculture and leadership training that Penny and James co-founded in 2005. |

loren-luyendykLoren Luyendyk is a Certified Teacher of Permaculture, with over 15 years of practical experience in Permaculture Design, ecological farming, sustainability, and horticulture. He has a degree in Botany from UC Santa Barbara, and is a Certified Arborist and Master Gardener. He has experience with Keyline Design, Holistic Management, Natural Building, Biodynamic Farming, and The Soil Foodweb. His teaching has taken him across the globe, where he has spent extensive amounts of time sharing and learning with local cultures. Loren has taught permaculture in the USA, Central America, New Zealand, and Australia. He is the owner of Santa Barbara Organics, a permaculture design and land management business through which he designs and installs permaculture systems for residential and farm lands. Loren also started the Global Permaculture Design Group with the goal of increasing the visibility and professionalism of permaculture globally. He is the founder of the non-profit organization Surfers Without Borders, which promotes practical solutions to ocean pollution through sustainable design. Loren is inspired by Nature. To regenerate the earth while providing our needs is his goal, while creating community around it. | |

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChuck Marsh is a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant, nurseryman and community organizer. He brings his experience to bear on the cultivation of abundance for present and future generations of humans and the regeneration of natural systems on our beautiful garden planet. Chuck is the founder of Useful Plants Nursery, a permaculture plant nursery at Earthaven Ecovillage, south of Black Mountain, NC and the senior partner of Living Systems Design, a permaculture design, planning, and consultation practice. Chuck also works with his friends in Jamaica, West Indies, to catalyze and grow the permaculture and sustainable small farming movements there. | |

Fred MeyerFred Meyer founded and directs Backyard Abundance, where he combines his enthusiasm for growing food, his fascination with the natural world, and his desire to help people live fulfilling lives. He has organized dozens of engaging, experiential events demonstrating the use of permaculture principles to design environmentally-beneficial landscapes in residences, parks, schools, and businesses. He is a certified Permaculture Designer, certified Teacher of Permaculture, Master Gardener, Master Conservationist, and Toastmaster. Backyard Abundance is an Iowa City-based nonprofit that helps build vibrant communities by creating beautiful, resilient landscapes that provide healthy food and habitat.

Andrew MillisonAndrew Millison has been studying, designing, building, and teaching about Permaculture systems since 1996. He is an instructor in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University, teaching the Permaculture Design Certificate Course and the Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum. He has taught through other organizations including Prescott College, the Ecosa Institute, and the Cascadia Permaculture Institute. He instructs Advanced Permaculture Courses in Teaching, and has guest instructed for many Permaculture courses throughout the Western US. He worked for the State of Oregon creating a Permaculture conference and course for Oregon Housing and Community Services, the agency that builds low-income housing. He works with gardeners, developers, university students, and community organizers to promote Permaculture, which he believes is the medicine for Earth’s ailments.

Steve MoringSteve Moring is an educator, farmer and land steward who has training and experience as a botanist, herbalist, and natural products chemist. He serves the community as a activist, community organizer, permaculture design and land management consultant. He has worked for decades in the industry and has extensive experience in project management, professional training and academic teaching. He is a self-taught herbalist and having studied medicinal botany and pharmacognosy for over 30 years. He has many years of experience cultivating medicinal plants on a garden scale and has worked as a consultant for quality assurance for numerous herb manufactures and organizations. He and his partner, Nancy, own and manage Vajra Farm, LLC, a 45 acre permaculture farmstead near Oskaloosa, KS,. Steve currently works as the business owner of Vajra Farm Permaculture Center and lead teacher for the Kansas Permaculture Insititute. He also is an adjunct instructor for Kansas University’s Environmental Studies Program, teaching permaculture courses for college credit. He is the founder of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative and also independently teaches permaculture design certification courses in the Kansas City area. On the farm and in the community, he is engaged as a regional land consultant, specializing in the cultivation of alternative crop systems, medicinal herbs, permaculture system design, prairie and woodland restoration. Steve has studied engineering, aquatic biology, ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Maryland (BS), and plant systematics, ecology, biochemistry and natural products chemistry at the University of Kansas (MA). He is certified in permaculture design, author of 30 scientific publications and an inventor with 13 patents. Steve is an active member of several organizations supporting the development of alternative agriculture and sustainability in the Midwest. He is also an activist for the mitigation of energy depletion, creating sustainable environments and communities. He serves on the board of directors of the Sustainability Action Network, Inc., and is the director of the Kansas Permaculture Institute.

Michael PilarskiMichael “Skeeter” Pilarski has been active in the permaculture movement since 1981. He has organized many permaculture convergences in the maritime and inland Pacific Northwest over the years and he is on the NAPC core team. He is co-author of the Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology Resource Guide, 1999, a book which is international in scope. Michael organized the Inland Northwest Restoration Conference held at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington in 2005. He is a modern-day hunter-gatherer in that he has been commercially wildcrafting medicinal herbs for the last 17 years.

Karryn Olson-RamanujanKarryn Olson-Ramanujan is a a Principal at SEED Sustainability Consulting, LLC, in Ithaca, New York. By utilizing the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, as well as ecological design skills, she assists businesses, organizations, and individuals to move efficiently yet boldly towards a regenerative future for all by articulating the “business case” for ecological and social justice aspects of sustainability and permaculture. Group dynamics are key to the success of any endeavor. Having worked and lived in India, Ghana, and Germany, Karryn excels at cross-cultural communication and is an experienced team-builder. With over 10 years as an environmental, sustainability and permaculture educator, she specializes at designing, delivering, and evaluating engaging curricula on a wide variety of topics; building mutually beneficial learning communities; training teachers and trainers; hands-on, experiential and online learning modalities, and; mentoring women to excel in their permaculture professions.

Scott PittmanScott Pittman is Director of the Permaculture Institute USA in Santa Fe, NM with 30 years teaching and doing permaculture. He is one of the foremost teachers of permaculture in the US and has taught the subject extensively worldwide on four continents. He is the founder of the Permaculture Drylands Institute and co-founder of the Permaculture Credit Union. For six years Scott co-taught with the founder of permaculture Bill Mollison, and helped to establish permaculture movement in the US Southwest. Scott co-founded with Bill Mollison The Permaculture Institute located in New Mexico. The Permaculture Institute is active in North and South America. His experience includes working with indigenous and traditional people worldwide, design projects that range from backyards to thousand-acre farms and activism in promotion of sustainable living. Scott is the lead teacher for most Permaculture Institute programs. He holds Diploma in Education, Permaculture Design, Site Development, and Community Service.

David Rodriguez is a Queer Texas Permie passionate about social justice and permaculture, and building the permaculture movement in the margins. He lives the tiny home lifestyle on a 10 acre farm in Central Texas. David enjoys chasing his ducks and chickens around, and convincing his rural Texan neighbors that they really DO have a lot in common. He is the Co-developer of the Social Pattern Project, and is excited to be sparking conversations about social justice in permaculture.

Wesley Roe is a curious bugger from birth. He has been an organizer from his early days bringing groups of people together , it is in his blood. He loved history and specially Geography and studied Urban Planing in University. Wes first heard of Permaculture in 1992 when living in Hawaii and saw his first copy of The Permaculture Manual when he pulled it out of a garbage can library in the jungle and knew this was what he had journeyed to find– an ethical design system. Wes took his first PDC with Bill Mollison in 1996 then again in 1997 in Ojai CA. He co-founded the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network in 2000 with Margie Bushman, an educational non-profit that has sponsored more than 100 workshops and events about permaculture and sustainability in the last decade. He is a board member of Quailsprings Permaculture Center since 2004 and organized with QuailSprings the First Southern California Permaculture Convergence in 2009. In 2008 he brought Woody Tasch, author of “Slow Money, Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered” to Santa Barbara, and as a result the Slow Money Santa Barbara Chapter was formed. Margie and Wes have been the local Slow Money representatives at the National Conferences and participated in establishing the structure of the National and Local chapter bylaws. Wes Roe has been on the the Permaculture Credit Union board for 12 years, and is currently the Board President. Wes has served as volunteer coordinator for the International Permaculture Convergence Support Group since its inception in 2005. | | |

Philip RutterPhilip Rutter is Founding President, The American Chestnut Foundation, Past President, Northern Nut Growers Association, Founder, CEO, Chief Scientist, Badgersett Research Corporation. From 1984 to 1990, Philip gave over 60 seminars on chestnut history and research, to both academic and general audiences. Among the lectures: Michigan State; Ohio State; Penn State; Oberlin College; The Harvard Botanical Museum; The Harvard Forest; Yale University; Rutgers University; The Brooklyn Botanic Garden; The Morris Arboretum; The American Forestry Association; Maryland Dept. of Forestry; West Virginia University; Cornell University; SUNY Syracuse; The North Carolina Botanical Garden; The Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the University of Tennessee; the University of Kentucky; the USDA North Central Forest Experiment Station; SIU Carbondale; the Northern Nut Growers Association, the University of Minnesota, and the Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences (China). He ha salso conducted primary research in the following fields: Chestnut Ecology, Chestnut Pollination Biology and Woody Agriculture (the intensive co-production of food and fuel from highly domesticated woody plants). | |

Jacki Saorsail grew up in Kansas and moved to Oklahoma in 2001. She went to College for Physics and East Asian Area Studies, but decided to leave school to pursue interests in community organizing, cooperative businesses, and sustainability projects. She has lived in housing co-ops, put on a human rights festival, written and received several grants, organized a sustainability conference, owned and operated an organic gourmet mushroom farm, and grown, processed, and distributed organic and local food for many years. Jacki is enrolled in the Master’s Degree program at Gaia University in Open Topic.

April Sampson-KellyApril Sampson-Kelly is the founder and Managing Director of Permaculture Visions, a world-wide non-government, self-funded and self directed permaculture teaching project. She has taught permaculture to a wide range of participants in 56 countries since 1993. She teaches online, sculpts a beautiful permaculture garden, writes, photographs, paints, and designs permaculture gardens. April is passionate about collecting and sharing permaculture information and experiences with people of all backgrounds to demonstrate how isolated people and marginalized land can be become abundant producers. She has a lively history of educating and entertaining people and a strong academic background in Scientific Analysis and the Arts with associate diploma in Performing Arts (APCA), Bachelor and Masters in Creative Arts; and post graduate diploma in Biomedical Science. Her current permaculture focus is to find a means to explain the holistic nature of permaculture design.

Isabel SanchezIsabel Sanchez is a Cuban-born permaculture designer, teacher, and urban farmer. For the past twenty years, she has been a passionate advocate for teaching self-reliance and sustainability. These tools have brought her to travel to Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico to work with indigenous people on self-reliance. She has been working in schools and facilitating 4H clubs for many years. She is presently teaching at The GrowHaus, a non-profit organization that provides healthy, organic, and affordable food to a food desert community, as well as education and jobs. She is an artist and a mother of eight.

Kelly SimmonsKelly Simmons has been studying permaculture design since 1990, and began teaching permaculture design in 2008. She has a BA in Ecology, and a Masters degree in Education, as well as Diplomas in the fields of Permaculture Education and Community Service. In 2009, Kelly spent a year in Bali Indonesia teaching permaculture to grades 1-8 at Green School, and Tri Hita Karana Permaculture Institute where she gained valuable experience in the tropics. Kelly’s background includes founding the Boulder Sustainability Education Center in 2007, advising municipal planning departments on backyard chicken ordinances, and teaching permaculture and sustainable living skills at a diverse array of venues from Swarthmore College in PA, to junior high school students in Boulder. She currently manages the Sustainable Practices Program at the University of Colorado Boulder and teaches permaculture design in the Environmental Studies Program. Kelly has taught for a variety of organizations including Denver Botanic Gardens, Naropa University, Watershed School, Casey Middle School, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, Escoffier Culinary School, Sustainable Living Association, Growhaus, and Permaculture Institute USA. She also serves on the City of Boulder Solar Grants Committee and writes for Permaculture Activist magazine. Kelly lives with her family at Sunflower House, an urban permaculture demonstration site located in downtown Boulder where she savors June strawberries, experiments with new plant varieties, gives tours to permaculture courses, and eyes her hammock wistfully.

Dani Slabaugh lives in a hand-made yurt in Austin Texas, where she works as a consultant, designer and contractor for residential permaculture projects as well as schools and non-profits. She teaches permaculture workshops and courses in Austin TX and Lansing MI, and is excited to be sparking conversation about social justice in permaculture with the Social Patterns Project. Dani served as an Americorps volunteer in Austin schools teaching organic gardening and science classes in high needs schools. Throughout her term she sought to learn as much as possible about growing food in Central Texas. Shortly after her term ended, Dani helped Austinites learn about soil health, water management, and food cultivation with Yard to Table Gardens. She has served as an intern at le Ferme du Bec Helloin, in Normandy France, and the OLCERI project on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in South Dakota, completed advanced coursework in watershed ecology with Craig Spoonholtz at Quail Springs Permaculture, in Southern California, and learned from mentors around the country, from earthbag domes in the California Desert to natural building sites in Michigan. Dani also serves as an instructor for Sustainable Food Center’s gardening courses, and Workshops with Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms, Design Build Live, and others. She is enthusiastically involved in learning sustainable technologies and methods. | |

Bill SommersBill Sommers is President of The Permaculture Credit Union. Born and raised in the Midwest, Bill worked with several different financial service companies early in his career, gaining experience in branch operations, mortgage lending, direct and indirect consumer lending and loan servicing. After moving to New Mexico, Bill learned of an opportunity where he could put his banking and finance experience to use by joining a Tribal housing organization. While serving as Executive Director, he started a consumer-oriented loan fund – to support the personal and financial sustainability of individuals and families in an underserved area and stimulate economic development through housing development and homeownership – that was ultimately spun off into a free-standing Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The opportunity presented itself to join the Permaculture Credit Union and was extremely attractive to Bill because it offered opportunities on a number of fronts: pursuing his interest in fostering sustainability, bringing community-oriented services to an underserved nationwide market and demonstrating that triple bottom line benefits can be successfully delivered by a mission-driven financial institution.

Stephanie SysonStephanie Syson is an avid herbalist & permaculturalist. She started the Basalt Seed Lending Library in Spring 2013 and is currently installing the Basalt Food Garden. The Basalt Food Garden is a public Seed Saving Garden & Permaculture Food Forest in Basalt Colorado. Stephanie is co-owner of the company Dynamic Roots Herbals and teaches herbal gardening and herbal medicine making. Stephanie also hosts the Living Permaculture Radio Show with Jerome Osentowski. |

pandorathomasPandora Thomas’ life and work is rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands on environmental education experiences. She is passionate about deepening her and others connection to the natural rhythms of our earth in order to heal our communities. She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting ?rm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Most recently she directed the Environmental Service Learning Initiative as well as serving as the environmental educator for Grind for the Green. Both programs aim to reconnect youth of color to the earth using innovative strategies. Her education has sought to link issues such as global affairs, womens rights, the environment and sustainability, racial justice and youth empowerment.

Benjamin Vidmar is the creative director for Polar Permaculture Solutions, AS. It is a social enterprise based in the “northern-most” town in the world Longyearbyen, Norway.

Jake VoitJake Voit enjoyed the unique opportunity of growing up on a sustainable farm which included a self-built solar home, a full root cellar each winter, creating a local economic system, and community collaboration to meet the needs of many families. He further studied ecological and sustainable systems through involvement with Community Supported Agriculture , World Cafe Community Foundation, Appreciative Inquiry, Storytelling, Blue Sky Organizational Development, ACARA Institute, Dual Currency Systems, PRI-Cold Climate, Building for Health, Emerson Community Co-op, Art of Convening, and Permaculture farmers in Minnesota, California, Washington, and Colorado. |


John Wages is the editor of Permaculture Activist Magazine.

Benjamin WeissBenjamin Weiss is a certified permaculture designer and teacher, gardener, brewer, musician, and poet from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ben studied natural building and permaculture at the Farm Ecovillage Training Center, received a permaculture teacher certification from CRMPI, studied urban agriculture at Growing Power, and has studied herbalism with Sarah Preston of Radiance in Lancaster and shamanic dreaming techniques with Adhi Moonien Two-Owls. Ben has facilitated 12 PDCs and many other classes and workshops, has designed and managed three organic farms, and currently is foraging professionally and developing the Rewilding Design System with his colleague Wilson Alvarez, and is a co-owner of Susquehanna Permaculture in Lancaster, PA.

Mario Yanez is passionate about the possibility of growing a Life-sustaining culture here in the Greater Everglades, his home bioregion. He is an ecologist, organic farmer, and activist, sharing his vision of the necessary transition toward growing ecologically-sustainable and resilient human communities everywhere. He has attained a deep understanding of our interconnectedness with all life, the severity of current ecological crises we collectively face, and the necessary evolution humans must go through in a short amount of time. Mario founded Earth Learning to create empowering, ecological learning experiences to assist in this cultural evolutionary process. Mario has several decades of experience applying systems-thinking in nonprofits and educational institutions and has developed a gift for creating cutting-edge programming and curriculum that is relevant, effective and fundable. In his practice as Permaculture Designer, he is applying Permaculture design principles at various scales, implementing regenerative productive landscapes, organizations and social systems.

Rico Zook is Founder, Designer and Educator at Itinerant Permaculture. For the past 10 years Rico has been a Permaculture designer, consultant and educator working with private individuals, farmers, villagers and local organizations in India, Cambodia, other Asian countries, and “places in between” to create culturally and environmentally appropriate life systems. There are different focuses that his work encompasses including designing and consulting for private clients, training NGO trainers,direct farmer and villager training, project design and implementation for NGOs, and urban applications of Permaculture. An important aspect of this work is assisting local and indigenous cultures to preserve traditional knowledge and technologies while adapting to and becoming active members of our rapidly globalizing world.

  7 comments for “Presenter Biographies

  1. August 17, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Fantastic efforts you made to make success NAPC. Sure the presenters make difference with their new visions this convergence.

    • Monica Ibacache
      August 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you Narsanna! We appreciate it :-). Monica Ibacache

  2. August 18, 2014 at 3:26 am

    I would like to add to my bio: “Scott co-founded with Bill Mollison The Permaculture Institute located in New Mexico. The Permaculture Institute is active in North and South America”

  3. August 18, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Please remove USA from Permaculture Institute.

    • Monica Ibacache
      August 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm


  4. August 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Hello Koreen,
    I had offered to give a presentation on biochar. I haven’t heard from anyone and since I’m not listed above am wondering if that’s been rejected or still in consideration. Please advise me on the status or if you didn’t receive the offer/information.
    Thanks a lot!

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