I was craving to find out more so in my early 20s I traveled the world to study with leading ecological thinkers and teachers, to learn with women elders, traditional communities, activists and scientists, to explore sustainable living in action, and to look deeply at new ways of education and communication. This informal and in-depth education in the world has given me great insights into what it really means to live a sustainable life - a good life.
After returning to Australia, I started Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane with friends and the Australian City Farm and Community Garden Network, then school gardens, university gardens and later my own award-winning permaculture property in the subtropical ecovillage where I live today, Crystal Waters. I have woven permaculture design thinking into everything I do - the design of my work, my house and garden, my children's education...
Over the past two decades I have had the great pleasure of teaching at places leading ecological education centres like Schumacher College, Torri Superiore, The Farm, Findhorn, Damanhur, Centre of Alternative Technology, UCBerkeley, Center for Ecoliteracy, The Green University and many more. I lectured for years in Food Politics and introduced many students to permaculture. I also love teaching in my garden surrounded by a group of interesting people, or curious kids! This life-work feels so rewarding every day.
I'm a writer, podcaster and film-maker too. I write a permaculture blog, Our Permaculture Life, and curate a permaculture Youtube channel by the same name. I release my weekly podcast conversations on the Sense-Making in a Changing World show. I am a regular contributor for Permaculture Magazine & PIP: Australian Permaculture Magazine and have been featured in The Good Weekend. I also have written chapters for Permaculture Pioneers and Reclaiming the Urban Commons and wrote the Urban Agriculture Report for Brisbane City Council.
My Masters in Sustainability Education focussed on quality Permaculture Education and in my Postgraduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture I explored eco-design.
I am very excited to have created the Permaculture Education Institute (PEI) to focus on the development of accessible permaculture teacher education and aim to offer support to a new generation of permaculture teachers around the world.
Over the years, I have been asked many times to run permaculture teacher classes and to share how I have been able to make permaculture the basis of my debt-free lifestyle and sustainable business. That's why I decided to create the Permaculture Education Institute and the Permaculture Educators Program.
I love teaching face to face, but I know this doesn't suits everyone. Most people can't attend residential programs because of location, time or other constraints. I know as a mother with young children how difficult it can be to find a day to do a course, let alone two weeks. So embracing the 'people care' ethic of permaculture and utilising the technology we all live with, I decided to create an extended online program that would make this training so much more accessible for everyone. You can study at your own pace, in your home, with your children, in your own climate and community context, and have time to integrate and test out your learning as you go. It is a comprehensive and enabling way of learning and there are great ways to still have face to face time online.
I'm so glad I we have this course, , because we can continue throughout the pandemic.
I love the diversity, interaction, spaciousness, personalisation and connectedness we can reach with online learning communities.