Speakers Details

APC 2020 Presenters


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Keynote Speakers


Earth Activist Training – Monday Keynote

Starhawk is a permaculture designer, teacher, and founder of Earth Activist Training, which teaches regenerative design with a grounding in spirit and a focus on organizing and activism.  She is the author of thirteen books on earth based spirituality and activism, including The Spiral Dance, The Earth Path, and The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, on group dynamics and social permaculture.  Her permaculture novels, The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge. Together with director Donna Read Cooper, she has worked on five major documentaries, including the Goddess Trilogy for the National Film Board of Canada and Permaculture: The Growing Edge.

Starhawk holds a double diploma in design and teaching from the Permaculture Institute of North America.  She presently directs Earth Activist Training, teaches internationally, and is a voice for incorporating Social Permaculture into our movement and trainings. She is an experienced permaculture designer and teacher, and is developing a model of permaculture ranching at her Golden Rabbit Ranch. Her website is http://starhawk.org, and she is on Twitter @Starhawk17 and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StarhawkAuthor/.


Stuart Andrews

Natural Sequence Farming – Tuesday Keynote

Stuart Andrews is a farmer who has dedicated over 30 years of his life to understanding, practicing and teaching land rehabilitation techniques. Stuart was raised on the 1500 acre property “Tarwyn Park”, Bylong, the celebrated home of Natural Sequence Farming (NSF), pioneered by his father Peter Andrews.

Stuart has been involved in public education through field days at Tarwyn Park as well as QLD, NSW, VIC and the ACT. As director of Tarwyn Park Training he has educated many landholders in NSF since 2012.

Stuart’s property “Riverside” in Kybong marries NSF with other tried and tested models of regenerative agriculture. This trial is intended to establish a model of land rehabilitation that can be scaled up from very small blocks to large acreages, while also allowing the farmer to derive an income from the land. This trial builds upon Stuart’s extensive knowledge of environmentally beneficial farming practices, reflects his commitment to sharing knowledge with others and is guided by models of sustainable agriculture that have been highly successful elsewhere in the world.


Robyn Francis

Fair Share in the Anthropocene – Wednesday Keynote

The third ethic takes on increasing significance as we approach irreversible climate and ecological tipping points and new levels of intergenerational theft. This presentation explores the third ethic implications of limits to growth and consumption and the individual and collective responsibility to live within our ecological footprint. Fair Share is the ethic that underpins the design of our invisible structures, the socio-economic and legal frameworks that facilitate appropriate action towards earth care and people care in the Anthropocene.

Robyn Francis, permaculture pioneer, educator, designer and innovator has been a passionate advocate of Permaculture since 1983.  Founder of Permaculture International Ltd (now PA), Permaculture College Australia, editor of the Permaculture International Journal, designer of NSW’s first ecovillage (Jarlanbah), co-initiator of the Accredited Permaculture Training and key influence of the permaculture movement in China, she balances international work with direct action in her local community and bioregion. Since 1994 she is based at Djanbung Gardens, purpose-designed Permaculture training centre in the lush subtropics of NSW, Australia. Robyn is passionate about social permaculture, practical self-reliance and empowering people as agents of change. She enjoys gardening and is a singer/songwriter and composer of luscious ambient music.


David Holmgren

Permaculture and the climate emergency in the Australian context – Thursday Keynote

In keeping with his practice of ‘walking the talk’, David avoids flying wherever possible so will deliver his keynote address ‘Permaculture and the climate emergency in the Australian context’ remotely.

This address will focus on the role of permaculture and kindred aspects of ‘positive environmentalism’ to identify strategic contributions that permaculture can make in the rising tide of radical responses to the climate emergency. David will discuss this in the context of the ‘RetroSuburbia Rollout’, which is helping stimulate radical household and community non-monetary economies. This has the potential to act as a systemic strike of work, consumption and investment – essential for building the viable alternatives to centralised systems of globalisation that are the source of the converging crises afflicting humanity and nature. This presentation will be both a call to arms and a reflection on the tools we need for the job at hand.

He will also be answering questions on ‘RetroSuburbia’ in the RetroSuburbia Q&A workshop, facilitated by Beck Lowe.

David Holmgren developed the permaculture concept in the early 1970s with Bill Mollison. He is the author of eight books – most notably ‘Permaculture One’ (1978, with Mollison), ‘Permaculture: principles and pathways beyond sustainability’ (2002/2017) and, most recently, ‘RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future’ (2018) – as well as numerous articles, chapters and presentations. He lives the quintessential permaculture life with his partner Su Dennett on their 1 ha property, Melliodora, in Hepburn, central Victoria.



Tim Barker

Appropriate Technology for Resilience – Monday W1

In this workshop Tim will show you how by using simple technologies you can build a more resilient and connected life while using less energy. You will come away with a new understanding of energy and how to harness the power of the sun and wood combustion to heat homes, cook and dry food and heat water.

Tim is a perennially ash and grease stained appropriate technology tinkerer with a professional mechanical background. A long time Permaculture practitioner, in the past he has worked at The Permaculture Research Institute Australia as farm manager and teacher; with the the Koanga Institute(PRI) in NZ; Paul Wheaton’s rocket mass innovators events in the US; and with long-time friends the crew at Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in Melbourne where he teaches two or three times a year. More recently he has begun teaching the Appropriate Technology section of the Northey Street City Farm’s thrice yearly PDC. He has a dual Permaculture diploma in Appropriate technology and teaching with a specialty in efficient wood combustion. He has also written the Ebook “The Rocket Powered Oven”, a step by step guide to building your own super-efficient wood powered oven.

Charlie Brennan

Sensing Place – hearing trees and rivers – Monday W2

Dr. Charlie Brennan is returned after several years traveling & visiting inspirational projects, consulting, teaching and working in Europe, US and Australia.

Garden Juju Collective is a partnership of Charlie Brennan PhD & Bridget O’Brien along with other team-members. They are global gardeners with a combined 40+ years of experience as landscape designers, project managers and educators. Weaving together gardening, Permaculture, conservation, regenerative practices, agriculture, ecopsychology, sense of place, horticultural therapy and work with Indigenous communities, we work with land stewards to regenerate the land.

Our workshops are highly innovative, drawing upon local and international projects, elements of designs from our own projects, case studies and our experiences as teachers. We have just launched the creative process design game Adapt!




Emma Brindal

Fostering Earth Care in folks of all ages – Wednesday W2

Drawing on ideas and principles of ecological education, place-based education and deep ecology, this workshop will provide participants with practical suggestions for experiential activities that lead to an understanding of our interdependence with all of life, a deeper connection to the places we live in,  and a sense of responsibility to care for them. There will be a key focus on the “core routines of nature connection” as articulated by the 8 Shields Institute, and the facilitator’s experiences of using these routines in a range of programs that she has run.  Participants will also be invited to reflect on and share their own experiences and inspiration with each other.

Emma Brindal is the Youth Education Coordinator at Northey Street City Farm, where she runs permaculture and sustainability activities and programs for children and adults. She is also the founder of WiseEarth Education and has been teaching and facilitating experiential learning and environmental education programs for over a decade.


Robin Clayfield

Growing Community – Abundant Tools for Dynamic Groups, Effective Collaboration and Empowered Action – Tuesday W1

Growing healthy community needs the same love and care as a vegie garden or a food forest. Like all of us humans it requires a supportive group environment in which to thrive. What are the elements that grow community and assist our groups, teams, organisations, businesses and families to be at their best? Robin has a huge basket full of processes, tools, ideas and methodologies that support dynamic groups, group dynamics, effective collaboration, good governance and empowered action. In this workshop we’ll share the basket and add to it by gardening the answers together and harvesting the gifts of our shared wisdom.

Robin Clayfield is a Permaculture Pioneer and Elder, an international educator, group facilitator and best selling author. She specialises in Social Permaculture, creative, interactive facilitation, teacher training and group leadership while living and breathing Permaculture, Deep Ecology and social change.
She brings her greatest passion to APC 2020 – supporting people and groups who work for ‘the solution’ to be more effective, successful and empowering through using ‘Dynamic Group’ work, creative problem solving, harvesting solutions and fostering collaboration. She also loves to offer Ceremony and celebration for times of transition, emergence, completion or significance.


Dick Copeman

Inviting Nature to Dinner – How to grow food and support the little guys – Tuesday W1 ( with Helen Schwencke)
Responding & adapting to climate change – a permaculture perspective – Thursday W1

Elisabeth Fekonia

Ferment your Food – Tuesday W2

This workshop will have several people showing hands on demonstrations of various fermented foods all at the same time! Some of the topics will include cheese making, sourdough, fermented fruit and vegetables as well as legumes. Water kefir will also be featured as this little beauty is the starting point for most of the ferments made on the day. Samples will be available afterwards and the Ferment Your Way to Good Health book will also be for sale as well as the Home Cheese Making DVD.

Elisabeth Fekonia has been fermenting for 25 years and has been teaching many different fermenting food topics over the past 15 years in her workshops. Covering most of Queensland and north west NSW she travels extensively teaching people in the outback and coastal regions the skills of cheese making and fermented foods. It all started by desiring to become food self-sufficient on their 6 acre farm at Black Mountain on the Sunshine Coast, and most of the fermenting topics she teaches are a result of looking for a diverse diet of living foods to add to their daily diet. She teaches according to her personal experience and can often refer to how she found out the hard way of how not to do things. She has also extensively researched the health facts of fermented foods from reputable sources such as the WestonAPrice foundation and a lot of these recipes can be found on her YouTube channel.


Morag Gamble

Permaculture Education Futures – Wednesday – W1

Permaculture Ambassador Program – Thursday – W1



Bunya Halasz

Successional Agroforestry – an Exploration of Humid Tropical and Subtropical Systems – Monday W2

In this workshop Bunya will offer a brief overview of Successional Agroforestry as practiced in the humid tropics and subtropics, followed by a slide show of projects in Northern Rivers NSW where they are working with these practices. From here he intends to call upon the experiences of the group, particularly those from Arid/Temperate/Mediterranean climates, as to the relevance of the techniques shared from Humid Tropical regions to their own climatic conditions to help to formulate some adaptations of these concepts to different geographical areas.

Bunya Halasz is a farmer, life-long gardener and lover of nature. He is inspired by cultures that continue to evolve creative practices of sustaining their material needs in a manner that demonstrates deep reverence for their natural environment and all of its life forms. Through the lenses of Permaculture, Regenerative Agroecology and Successional Agroforestry, Bunya works as a designer, educator and gardening mentor. His work supports individuals and communities to grow food, fuel and fiber within ecologically regenerative systems as well as facilitating pathways of knowledge and skill sharing through courses and traineeships.

He also just gets in there and loves to Plant Trees!

Bunya really just wishes that people were as easy to understand as plants. His journey is to help re-weave us human creatures, disconnected through the dramas of modern human existence, back into harmony with the rich tapestry of life from which we have arisen.


Mark Jones & Billa Lauiti-Kolkr

Working with First Nations Custodians- a Discourse for Permaculture Leaders – Tuesday W3

Mark Jones: Sovereign Custodian of the Quandamooka, Sovereign Leader, Awarded ‘Best of Qld Experiences’ Straddie Adventures &  Billa Lauiti-Kolkr: Regenerative + Integrative Eco-Social Designer, Sustainability Consultant, Permaculture Practitioner/Mentor

Mark and Billa are great friends and collaborators. Together they have been nourishing a regenerative, grass roots, intergenerational vision for North Stradbroke Island as the community embarks on Economic Transition in a post-mining environment. They will talk about the creative opportunities of a post-industrial, regenerative future: the exciting adventure of designing for PLACE, when Original culture, permaculture and regenerative practice meet to create restorative pathways, respect sovereignty, avoid perpetuating systemic racism and make real space for Traditional Wisdom to guide us through possibly the most challenging time on Earth for humanity.

In particular, they will focus on how to successfully approach initiating Regenerative Projects with Sovereign First Nations Custodians with respect, and for effective outcomes to reverse the asset stripping that has occurred via colonisation. They will share how they go about their action-based approach, the challenges along the way, and what they have achieved in regenerating Country of Quandamooka by combining Permaculture and Traditional Wisdom.

Carly Garner

Inspiring NextGen Earth Stewards – Monday W3

Carly Garner, Natureweavers Earth School “If a child is  to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. ” –‐ Rachel Carson

This session will be a yarning circle, where we will share the slow art of weaving with local fibres. We will consider how working specifically with the ethic of Earth Care in the context of children’s education can – and does – raise the next generation of Earth Stewards and why this is such an important element of education. The seed of conversation for the circle will be the remarkable power that ‘place’ can and does have in our pursuit of Earth Care, and we will unpack and explore this concept of place–‐ based education and how it dances so organically with the ethic of Earth Care in children’s play and learning.

Carly Garner will facilitate the yarning circle. Carly is the founding director and lead mentor at Natureweavers, an award–‐winning forest school on the Sunshine Coast. Carly’s life and pursuits are so inextricably linked with the wildspace around her, that she spends most of her life covered in fallen leaves, Creekside mud, ticks and dandelion blossom, with a knife, flint and tinder around her neck, foraged wild greens and vegetable seeds lining her pockets and groups of children scattered about her. An earth warrior in heart, mind and soul, Carly quietly creates the conditions for relationships between people and wildspaces to grow and thrive, inspiring earth stewardship from infancy through to adulthood.


Tom Kendall

Design elements of a functioning biodigester in Australia –  Tuesday W2

A bio-digester creates biogas from organic materials, such as food scraps and manure. Tom talks about the functioning bio-digester on his farm, which creates enough gas to cook several meals and kettles per day. He explains the design and talks about the challenges encountered in designing, building and maintaining a functioning biogas system, and the satisfaction of cooking on homemade gas.

Interconnected systems on a working permaculture farm –  Tuesday W3

The Kendall Permaculture Farm has been a work in progress since 2005. Tom has established many interconnected systems on the farm. These systems feed into and support one another and are essential to the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the farm. Tom will touch on composting systems, water management systems, food forestry, biological resources and animal systems and how they all interconnect.

Tom is a permaculture farmer with over 40 years farming experience and a broad acre agriculture background. He is co-founder of the not for profit organisations PermEco Inc. (previously Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast Inc.) and PRI Luganville, Vanuatu and facilitates courses and training for PermEco Inc. at the Kendall Permaculture Farm Education and Training Site. Tom is a PRI accredited teacher, is part of Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Sustainable Consulting team and consults as well as teaches courses in Australia and overseas. Tom has an aptitude for reading landscapes, identifying damage and erosion, and repairing land.


Julian Lee

Reaching the Mainstream – Monday W3

Julian Lee is passionate about social and environmental change. In 2010, he started Food Connect in Sydney and prior to that, ran a Community Support Agriculture scheme in the Hunter from his biodynamic permaculture inspired mandala garden.

Julian is currently Sustainability Educator at the Randwick Sustainability Hub for Randwick City Council. Having recently worked in the social sector for five years, Julian has gained a fresh perspective on how “greenies” are perceived by “non-greenies” and what they are motivated by. He aims to engage with the disengaged majority of the community to bring pro-climate change action into their lives.

Beck Lowe

Retrosuburbia 101 – Tuesday W1

This workshop will introduce and explore ideas from permaculture co-originator David Holmgren’s RetroSuburbia: the downshifters’ guide to a resilient future. RetroSuburbia offers an inspiring and practical way forward for households to become more productive and resilient – all based on permaculture principles. No knowledge will be assumed, so the workshop will start with a presentation providing an overview of what’s in the book, and some of the major themes. Participants will then be invited to explore some of these ideas within the context of their own household situations through small group discussion and activities. https://retrosuburbia.com/

Retrosuburbia Q & A – Tuesday W2

If you have read RetroSuburbia and have questions you’d love to ask, this is your chance! If there are ideas in the book you would like to tease out further, here is your opportunity! This workshop will explore some of the themes in RetroSuburbia in more detail with author and publisher David Holmgren and editor and project manager Beck Lowe. Beck will facilitate discussions with David on topics suggested by participants. It is recommended for people who have read the book, or at least attended the ‘RetroSuburbia 101’ workshop.

Beck Lowe undertook a life-changing PDC in 1994 and has been practicing permaculture ever since. She has been teaching permaculture since 2003 in a wide range of formats – PDCs are her favourite. She has practical permaculture experience in private and community spaces in inner city, urban and rural areas; most notably on her farm in central Victoria, which she has been developing for over two decades. Her formal qualifications include a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Diploma of Permaculture.

As well as her permaculture education activities and running her farm, in the last few years Beck has worked closely with permaculture co-originator David Holmgren on his book, RetroSuburbia, as project manager, education coordinator and editor. She is currently running retrosuburbia workshops, in particular to encourage others to spread retrosuburban ideas in their own communities. She and David have collaborated with permaculture illustrator Brenna Quinlan to bring David’s much loved ‘Aussie St’ story to a younger audience through their Our Street picture book.


Robina McCurdy

Empowering Bioregional Food Sovereignty – Wednesday W1

In this workshop Robina shares some of her powerful community facilitation methods to enable the goal of community scale food security.  These tools build a bioregion’s capacity to take responsibility for the sources, distribution and economy of their own food and seeds.

Using 9 themes in a Community Food Systems mindmap, participants will be exposed to a plethora of inspiring examples of local food initiatives in Aotearoa New Zealand.  They will leave with a viable 12-step community food strategy which begins in their own backyard and culminates in a resilient and abundant local food web, sustained by a community organisation.

For the past 25 years, Robina has worked as a community development facilitator, Permaculture educator/designer and gardening teacher, evolving her own methodology and accompanying educational resource materials. She has worked with village-scale food security in Southern Africa, as the co-ordinator of Victory Community Gardens (Nelson, NZ), and a consultant-educator with Project Lyttelton’s post-earthquake ‘Food Resilience Project’ (Christchurch, NZ). In mid-2012 Robina established The Localising Food Project, which toured NZ filming a plethora of inspiring local food initiatives, in parallel with teaching hands-on workshops.  She has produced several localising food documentaries (visit www.localisingfood.com) and is close to publishing her Food Sovereignty Facilitators Manual.


Megan McGowan

Permaculturing our Permaculture: A case study – Wednesday W2

Permacoach, Meg McGowan is a permaculture designer living on the NSW Central Coast. Meg started practicing permaculture in her early 20’s and now writes, cartoons, designs and teaches with her husband, Graham King, while managing their 3.5 acre permaculture property.

The title of this workshop was inspired by the feedback of one of their students; “You permaculture your permaculture.”

Meg and Graham have developed a number of innovative ways to live, teach and design with permaculture, and Meg will provide an overview of some of these, including:

  • Permashare: Making permaculture courses accessible to those with limited income
  • Permacoach: A hub for local designers and a new model for teaching
  • The Matcham Holgate Produce Share: A redesigned version of the Produce Swap model (developed in collaboration with Kerrie Anderson and local community members)
  • The Matcham Holgate Community Page: Using social media to effectively share permaculture and build community
  • Innovations in training: Meg is constantly seeking to find better ways to teach permaculture and to ensure that students experience living examples of the core ethics. She will gift participants with an interactive game using a macro pattern she developed to make learning and remembering the permaculture ethics and principles easier for students.



Rowe Morrow

Outcomes from teaching Permaculture in 10 refugee camps – Wednesday W2

Together with Permaculture for Refugees team members Rowe will present on the realities of working and teaching in refugee camps and disaster areas. Participant activities will imagine the experiences of survivors and displaced people, immediate responses, and permaculture-informed designs for new camps and retrofits of existing ones. Contexts will cover a range of circumstances including bushfire, inundation and war. Participants will be invited to contribute real solutions to such increasingly prevalent situations.

Rowe Morrow is an author and permaculture elder who has worked and taught around the world for over thirty years. Her current focus is on P4R (Permaculture for Refugees) and permaculture-based prevention of, and responses to, disasters. She is currently working with other permies who have experience in refugee camps and disaster zones to develop strategies for permaculture-based projects and teaching in these contexts.


Ko Oishi

Northey Street City Farm – 25 years of design exploring opportunities and constraints. – Tuesday W1

In this session, we will take you on a journey of 25 years at Northey Street City Farm; exploring its conception, design, the challenges and mistakes, and the external constraints that make us who we are today, as an organisation and as a community.

Ko is Farm and Site Manager at Northey Street City Farm.


Andrew Pengelly

Bush Medicine Walk – Wednesday W2

A limited number of individuals will accompany me for a walk through the neighbouring bushland, on established walking tracks. I will be commenting on the vegetation patterns as we go, identifying certain species, describing their botanical features, and highlighting those with known uses for medicine and food. Awareness of the role of each plant in the ecosystem, along with references to their potential for cultivation or incorporation into farm planning will be made.

Dr. Pengelly has had a forty-year career as a herbal practitioner and naturopath, University lecturer, researcher, field botanist and aromatherapist. His PhD was awarded for his research into Australian plant medicines. He is author of the widely used text “The Constituents of Medicinal Plants”, and currently employed as online faculty for the Maryland University of Integrative Health (USA).

With an ongoing interest in research and clinical use of Australian plants, Dr. Pengelly is focused on the distillation of essential oils from the bush, while conducting aromatic herbal field schools teaching the skills of distillation, combining herbs with essential oils for clinical applications.

Dr. Pengelly now lives in Brisbane and works part-time at the Queensland Herbarium. He is a fellow and life member of the National Herbalists Association of Australia, a licensed plant collector with the Hunter regional Herbarium, and President of the Indigenous Plants for Health Association.


Fionn & Laura Quinlan

Families in Transition – Sharing Land & Visions – Monday W1

Fionn and Laura live with their two small children, homeschooling, building, gardening and creating their way to a more connected future. In this interactive and inspiring workshop, they will be sharing stories of their transition as a family and opening a discussion into how we may manifest the world our hearts know is possible.

Fionn Quinlan (AUS) & Laura Quinlan (UK) are international Permaculture designers and practitioners based in sub-tropical Northern New South Wales, where they are developing a 21 acre site into a multifaceted farm-garden and community events space. Together they have experience working in a diverse range of climates namely tropical, sub-tropical, and cool and cold temperate.

They have worked and studied with many internationally renowned permaculture practitioners and have integrated and implemented design techniques from numerous systems relating to permaculture including Syntropic Agriculture, Holistic Management, Natural Farming, Restoration Agriculture, Rainforest regeneration, Transition Towns and more.

Fionn and Laura’s teaching methodology and educational approaches have been applied and developed in countries such as India, Ghana, Cambodia, Australia, France and throughout the UK, with their central theme being emancipatory education, and experiential learning.

Their interest in the social aspects of permaculture and developing a ‘permanent culture’ have led to many interesting workshops and group led learnings. Bringing groups together is a passion of theirs. This is their first time presenting at an APC.


Nick Radford

A Permaculture Language – Monday W2

Any trade has a set of terms and tools – a language – because it’s easy to do a job when you have a word for it. The job of redesigning a better world could do with a bigger vocabulary. In this workshop we’ll use terms and tools – a Permaculture design language. Some of the tools will be familiar to you (garden pond, greywater diversion) and others will make sense once they’re stated (precooled summer breeze, rainforest at the fringes).

The tools are not presented randomly but in a step by step process which covers site analysis, land sharing, passive solar housing, water, food gardens, reafforestation and animal husbandry. You can use the process like a checklist – adapt each relevant step to your project and you have a pretty good design.

It may help if you bring in several paper copies of a design you are working on and can mark up during the session.

Nick Radford has 30 years’ experience designing buildings, gardens, wastewater systems & land rehabilitation and has conducted development impact assessments regarding koala habitat, biodiversity and bushfire risk. He is formally trained in architecture, horticulture, permaculture, organic farming and environmental science. He is self-employed, trading as both Bellingen Permaculture and ecoliving design.


Helen Schwencke

Inviting Nature to Dinner – How to grow food and support the little guys – Tuesday W1 ( with Dick Copeman)


Lizzy Smith

Risk Management for Permaculture Projects – Wednesday W1

Lizzy’s business WorkSmith advises people on how to create and manage a healthy, safe and sustainable environment in corporate and social ventures’ and in their backyards and communities.  Lizzy is a certified human factors and ergonomics specialist (aka CPE) and safety professional.  Lizzy owns and manages the wonderful free app. called Permaculture.

Lizzy applies systems and design thinking to how work is done, including the design of resilient communities, & productive gardens.  Her interest in systems and design comes from many years of study and experience helping people to solve problems, work more enjoyably, and live a healthier life with holistic wellbeing. Lizzy is a permaculture design graduate (2017), currently enrolled in Permaculture teacher training. Lizzy enjoys living in a permaculture urban garden on the shaly hills of Queanbeyan NSW (established 15 years ago).  Lizzy grew up in central Queensland on the family cattle farm.  These experiences developed her appreciation of nature.

Lizzy’s aim over the past few years was to get out her own garden by designing others’ and visiting iconic Permaculture people and places; and contributing to projects that build community connection, value local food systems and worthy work.


Virginia Solomon

Designing Permaculture Jobs – Monday W2

This workshop will seek answers to the following questions through participation in activities and brainstorming:

  • How do existing options for permaculture training lead to work?
  • Where are the meaningful job outcomes from permaculture education and training?
  • How do we get permaculture people into that work?
  • How do we educate potential employers about the permaculture ‘industry’?
  • How do we encourage uptake of permaculture solutions and education programs beyond traditional (predominantly white middle class and educated) participants?
  • How do we work together for the good of all and encourage collaboration rather than competition?

Virginia Solomon has been a teacher and trainer most of her working life and has taught many permaculture teachers. She is committed to the development of meaningful work options for permaculture people to enable them to earn a wage and permaculturify the mainstream.

Virginia has been involved in the development of Accredited Permaculture Training, and in the Industry Reference Committee for the courses since they became part of the Agriculture Training Package. She is on the Board of Permaculture Australia and does her best to practice what she preaches in her little patch of permie paradise in Research, Victoria.

Shane Sylvanspring & Trudy Juriansz

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) principles and Permaculture principles – Thursday W1

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) was created in the early 90’s by founders of large ecovillages around the world with its base in Findhorn Foundation, Scotland. Since then it has grown internationally with thousands of communities in the network. It has created Gaia Education which includes educational tools, workshops and courses in Ecovillage Design Education and Community Development using the wisdom of its vast network of ecovillages. GEN believes Ecovillage is a process not an outcome. At the heart of GEN’s foundation are the 30 Ecovillage Principles in the five areas of regeneration which are integral for any community on its path of ecovillage.

In this workshop we will explore the Ecovillage Principles created by GEN, some tools used and how these may integrate in permaculture teaching, principles and design. The workshop will be facilitated by two experienced GEN facilitators with permaculture experience and we will discuss how permaculture and ecovillage design can weave integrated wholistic design into any new or existing community wishing to become ‘ecovillage’.

Shane is an environmental and social activist and professional town planner who is passionate about eco living and intentional communities. Shane is an ambassador and trainer of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Australia and has run half a dozen Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) courses in Australia, and around the world. Shane has also developed the Village Development Program (VDP), an EDE inspired course for future residents of the Bruns Ecovillage, facilitating, along with other community experts, over 150 possible residents through the program. He also has developed and been part of design teams for other large ecovillage projects in Australia.

Shane draws upon his own experiences of living in communities in Australia and around the world, time with indigenous communities, working within local government and the EDE framework when developing or assisting communities. He is also trained in Dynamic Facilitation, Non-Violent Communication, Sociocracy, Earth building, Permaculture, Transition Towns and Deep Ecology. Shane is the director of Landsharing Community Services, and is the founder, with his wife and two children, of an emerging intentional land-sharing community currently being created in the Northern Rivers NSW of around 25 adults and 13 children.

Trudy has been a key contributor in bridging communities and organisations in Asia and Oceania for the last 13 years. She is GEN’s Networking Director and works actively in the operations team of the Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia (GENOA). Trudy is an accredited trainer of Ecovillage Design Education, Analog Forestry (a design science for forest ecosystem restoration) and yoga, and she holds a graduate degree in Sustainability Education. In addition, she has studied, practiced and taught permaculture and deep ecology for many years. She has been the head of a democratic school in Thailand for migrants and refugees, managed a sustainability education centre in Sri Lanka, co-produced creative social change symposiums (with Ferment Collaborate) and facilitated countless workshops across Asia and Oceania, for communities, youth and women. Originally from Sri Lanka, Trudy has lived in the Middle East, Thailand, Myanmar and Australia, spending time in several traditional villages and communities.


John Champagne, Jed Walker and the Permafund team

Permafund – microgrants for community projects worldwide – Thursday W1

The charter of Permafund is to promote and support projects around the world that have a strong permaculture element. Funding is provided on application. Applications are assessed on need, on their alignment with permaculture principles and ethics, and on their viability.

The session will give examples of projects Permafund has supported. The realities of raising funds, assessing needs, establishing the credentials of applicants, negotiating the scope of projects, and evaluating outcomes will be described. Participants will get to review some real applications and come up with appropriate questions to determine their suitability for funding. There will also be a special focus on the role of Permafund in disaster preparedness and response following the bushfires.

Jed Walker’s interest in permaculture stems from a long-time involvement in community gardening and ecology. From joining Permafund in 2012 he came to understand the applications of permaculture in communities impoverished by colonialism and environmental degradation. He then joined Rowe Morrow on teaching trips to Kashmir and the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. More recently he has been introducing permaculture to migrants in Western Sydney.

Permafund – www.permacultureaustralia.org.au/permafund

Shaoying Wang & April Sampson-Kelly

Designing a Chinese Village with Permaculture – Tuesday W2

China, an ancient farming culture, has its own permaculture knowledge. However, heavily influenced by modern agriculture and economic pursuits, rural Chinese are leaving behind the land and traditional land knowledge. Rural China needs a new sustainable and prosperous chapter.  We’ll overview the past, current and future situations of rural China, showcase examples of existing and disappearing permaculture knowledge and skills in rural China, then dive into group activities to find practical, green and prosperous future for the village. At APC2020, we have the permission and anticipation from a village leader to design their village future utilising permaculture and their existing resources and knowledge.

Born in rural China, Shaoying worked in Australian and Chinese governments, in fields of agriculture, trade, conservation and tourism. She practices permaculture in Goulburn, Bega and Innisfail, and runs trips to rural China to discover and exchange land wisdom.

April Sampson-Kelly is a Permaculture elder, a prolific illustrator, researcher, and author. Her viral illustrations have travelled the world. She is Head Chook at PermacultureVisions which was established in 1993 to serve people in remote locations and she now mentors students in more than 65 countries.  She enjoyed her journey to China with Shaoying and looks forward to facilitating ideas to enrich their villages’ prospects.

Shaoying Wang –  www.shaoyingtours.com

April Sampson-Kelly –  www.permaculturevisions.com

Linda Woodrow

Imagined Futures: The role of imagining in creating the world we want – Wednesday W3

Climate change fiction includes many examples of apocalyptic and dystopian visions of the future. And indeed, the picture that climate scientists paint is dire. But solarpunk with its positive, solution oriented imagery and stance of radical hope, offers another kind of vision, and it nearly always includes permaculture. Solarpunk envisages climate change as an opportunity for wholesale societal change incorporating green technology and social and political resistance. It imagines a world where fair share, not over-consumption, is the way to a well-lived life. Permaculture has lots of strategies for climate change adaptation and resilience, but does it also hold the key to inspiring a future where climate change is turned around? How can we help grow that imagined world?

Linda Woodrow was one of the first wave of early adopters of Permaculture. In 1980 she came across  a copy of Permaculture One and she has been experimenting and writing about permaculture ever since. In the early 1980’s she helped set up a rural community – what would now be called an eco-village – on a degraded cattle property. She lived there for 35 years, off grid, developing her knowledge of every permaculture zone, from zone 0 social permaculture of meetings and collective decision making, to zone 5 of restoring several kilometers of riparian rainforest.

She has had a wide ranging experience of permaculture at all sorts of scales and applications, from off-grid homesteading, many years of commercial scale permaculture farming, a mixed box CSA business, an organic greengrocer in Brisbane, and in 1998  a year in Havana, Cuba teaching urban permaculture in very bad Spanish.  Last year Linda and her partner Peter moved to a 1950’s fibro cottage on a 500 square meter block in Coffs Harbour, primarily so they could be grandparent day care, but also to see how much of the rural experience would translate, usefully, into a suburban situation. Linda’s first book, The Permaculture Home Garden, was published in 1996. Her new book, a novel called 470 has just this year been published by Melliodora Publishing.



Erin Young

Sociocracy: Shared Leadership for Positive Impact – Tuesday W2
Sociocracy is permaculture for people – an agile organisational decision-making and governance framework with a growing global uptake. This living systems approach weaves together effectiveness, transparency and equivalence, with clear parallels to permaculture ethics and principles.

In this time of great change, we need permaculture projects to be viable and successful. Getting trapped in old-style decision-making and organising wastes inspiration and creativity, creates burn out, and distracts from creating the impact we wish to see in the world.

With sociocracy, collective intelligence is integrated by design, utilising people’s creativity and sense-making in emergent self-organisation. Sociocracy supports teams to responsively obtain yields through clear purpose, active feedback loops and an empirical approach. People feel valued and inspired through engaged contribution.

This workshop provides clear insight to the theory and practice of sociocracy for permaculture projects and people. The foundations tools of sociocracy are clarified in this participatory session, and participants are equipped with immediate take-away tools for their groups. By activating leadership in every team member, nature’s abundance is celebrated through engaged creativity – allowing our permaculture projects to create powerful positive impact for a better world.

Erin helps purpose-led people and enterprise access tools to activate group intelligence to turn inspiration into positive impact.  Collaborative decision-making and governance tools (Sociocracy) and holistic design for people systems (Social Permaculture) are her primary frameworks; all nature-inspired and informed.

Erin is a consultant, trainer, mediator, and facilitator.  She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Hons) from Brisbane’s Griffith University (2004), and gained her first permaculture design certificate in 2010 in Portugal. Based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, Erin lives with her husband in a forest cottage within a regional community of practical creatives.