Meet the Tutors
The main facilitators are VEG’s Adam and Dan. And we also go visit in their natural habitat some of finest quality doers, thinkers and facilitators during of the course.
Adam left a career in IT to pursue becoming backwardly mobile after learning about energy depletion. He founded the energy news clearinghouse Energy Bulletin in 2003 which became the most popular website about peak oil on the net. He got into permaculture in 2004 and helped Dan to get the now global permablitz movement off the ground. These days he and Dan are co-directors of the urban permaculture consultancy Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in Melbourne, and are in demand as designers, garden creators and educators. He is a wild food enthusiast, runs popular edible weed walks, and is co-author with Annie Raser-Rowland of The Weed Forager’s Handbook. You can hear him on Tuesday nights on 3RRR hosting the permaculturish-themed show Greening the Apocalypse. His teachers have included luminaries such as David Holmgren, Bill Mollison, Darren Doherty and others. He visited Kinsale, Ireland in 2005 and was one of the earliest promoters of the ideas that became the Transition Towns concept. He has been a caretaker of permaculture co-founder David Holmgren and Su Dennett’s Melliodora property, and has collaborated with David on his Future Scenarios work. He looks after some bees, and lives in a beautiful garden in Brunswick known for it’s prize bananas.
Dan has two Permaculture Design Certificates, a BA and Masters Degree in Social Science, and a PhD in Systems Thinking. His teachers and mentors include permaculture founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, as well as Darren Doherty, Geoff Lawton, Rick Coleman, and Rosemary Morrow, the last of whom he spent seven months teaching and implementing permaculture in Ethiopia and Uganda. He’s completed an Advanced Permaculture course with David Holmgren and short courses with Elaine Ingham, Rowan Reid, Joel Salatin, Kirk Gadzia and Graeme George. Co-founder of the now international permablitz movement, and his new projects Making Permaculture Stronger and Living Design Process, Dan contributes regularly to permaculture and organic gardening publications and courses in Australia and New Zealand. Since 2009, Dan has been a full time professional permaculture designer, educator and landscaper with the business he co-directs with Adam, Very Edible Gardens (VEG). After years of threats Dan and his partner Amanda and daughters Ciela and Nikkal have finally absconded back to New Zealand where they are developing a 7-acre permaculture property in NZ with Dan’s folks. Don’t worry; we’re luring him back for the PDC though.
Carey rocked up to the second ever permablitz so has been part of the loop since way back. He held Dan’s hand on our first ever professional design in Melbourne, attended the very first meetings that later became VEG, and in the last four years or so has become a real VEG mainstay. Carey is behind getting the VEG warehouse off the ground, and more recently is becoming a core designer and educator. Adam and Dan have been working on getting Carey to come on board as a director as soon as possible and they are hopeful they will soon get their way. Sometimes dubbed FC for Farmer Carey or Farmer Cez, Carey has for several years been developing his farming skills on the 30 acre 40-Kay Farm in Melton. Read more about FC here. There’s something indefinably special about Carey. You’ll see what we mean.
David Holmgren and Su Dennett
David Holmgren is one of the co-originators (with Bill Mollison) of the permaculture concept. Unlike Bill he spent decades out of the public eye refining and testing his vision and developing several permaculture properties including what is now one of the best demonstration sites in the world, the semi-suburban, semi-rural Melliodora in Heburn Springs. That’s where we’ll spend a day with David and his partner Su Dennett (see below) on this course. In 2002 he published the seminal Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, which redefined permaculture and brought him back to international attention as one of the deepest thinkers in the grassroots environmental movement. He’s also author of Future Scenarios: How Communities Can Adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change (2009) and has published on topics as diverse as holistic bushfire safety, the ecosystems of Central Victoria and the ecological role of weeds. We doubt we’ll ever stop being impressed by both his insights, and his impressive skills in areas such as reading landscapes and sustainable carpentry!
At turns playful and fun, and equally fierce and committed when facing challenges, Su Dennett’s persona and commitment to practicing all aspects of sustainability makes her one of the deepest inspirations to us. Both in the community and on the farm, Su lives a life of powerful values and deep integrity. www.holmgren.com.au
Note: We don’t promise that Darren will be joining us on our PDCs, because international work often calls, but he’s made most of them and either way his influence on us looms large! Bendigo-born Darren Doherty is a permaculture legend who has worked on several continents, with his specialty being integrated grazing and tree systems. Permaculture trainer to the stars (Daryl Hannah recently completed one of his courses and he designed a property of one of Hollywood’s most famous directors!), Darren’s also one of the most down-to-earth and generous-with-his-knowledge people you’re likely to meet. Darren is not one for pushing one strategy, he continues to integrate several ecological design disciplines in brilliant ways. This is some next level sh*t. Learn more at www.heenandoherty.com
We invited Joel to teach our day on appropriate technology and sustainable building because he draws on a deep well of experience (as an energy auditor, sustainable transport consultant, environmental educator among other things) which he combines with a rare knack for explaining technical issues in a clear and engaging way that cuts straight to the heart of matters. Joel has just finished owner-building in Castlemaine, and that’s where we’ll visit him, at his permaculture-designed property and strawbale house which features impressive passive cooling, heating, lighting and water strategies and a beautiful curved roofline that follows the path of the winter sun. When he’s not doing these things, Joel makes sculptures of steel and wood, runs cider workshops, is a cooker of food, an avid gardener, radio DJ and musician. Phew.
Megan has over eight years of experience in school kitchen gardens, and has developed an incredible eco-literacy program for children, which she promotes through her program Foodweb Education. Her rental inner city garden is an incredible subtropicals-filled demonstration site. She’s often feeding the masses sweet treats cooked in her solar ovens. We think she’s a totally amazing ray of light in the world! Learn more about Megan and the Foodweb Education program here.
Angelo is one of the most engaging and enthusiastic permaculture presenters / trainers / writers we know of in the world. To meet him, especially in his home garden, is to become instantly swept up in the excitement that is urban food forest gardening. And that’s exactly where we’ll see him, in his thriving demonstration garden in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. With over a decade of experience in organic gardening, designing and building food forest gardens is Angelo’s specialty. Food forest gardens are sustainable intensive food production systems which utilize ecologically-based design principles for maximum productivity, minimum work and natural pest and weed control. When he is not consulting, teaching, working in the retail nursery industry, or enjoying time in his own garden, he supports community gardening projects as a technical advisor, and runs the excellent educational gardening website Deep Green Permaculture.