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 and The Art of Frugal Hedonism. 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 (and now teaches) an Advanced Permaculture course with David Holmgren, as well as 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). Dan and his partner Amanda and daughters Robin and Nikkal live with one of Victoria’s largest oak trees in Castlemaine.
The amazing Carolina Coreiro is a market gardener and caterer with her business Malmsbury Kitchen Garden. She’ll be there pretty much every day of the course providing the incredible food, with much of the produce in the meals coming from her own gardens. Carolina will share both her wonderful skills as a grower, fermenter and cook, and if you’re lucky (you will almost certainly be), her amazing talents around the camp fire as a formidable singer of traditional Portuguese ballads. Trust us, this is something else.
The following folk you’ll get to meet in situ in their natural habitats, as we go visit them at their properties:
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 Hepburn 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 the epic Retrosuburbia: the Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future (2018), 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 practising 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
Katie Finlay is a living legend and with her partner Hugh and dad Merv long-term organic fruit orchardist in Harcourt with Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens. We’ll hear from Katie about the amazing steps currently being taken on their farm where a new organic coop is bringing together the orchard, a fruit tree nursery, a market garden, and a micro-dairy.
Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones
Meg and Patrick are part of Artist as Family and we’ll visit their beautiful property in Daylesford. In their words “We practice an art that participates in what it represents; an art of social warming in an era of global warming. Food ethics and politics are central to our practice. Generating food that brings human and ecological health and global justice is our creative call to arms, within the sphere of the local. We teach a unique skill set of radical neopeasant homemaking and other accountable living skills to volunteers called SWAPs who come to live with us. We are bloggers, fermentors, writers, public speakers, poets, artists, video makers who also make music, but mostly we’re a family who belong to a bloody great community and therefore we’re much more than the sum of our parts.”
We’ll visit our dear friend and intuitive living design maestro Louisa at her incredible 1 acre Paradiso del Amore. Mark our words – you will not want to leave.
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.