Meet the new directors of Permaculture International Ltd (Permaculture Australia)
At the PIL AGM at Castlemaine in June 2016, four new directors, Robyn Francis, Megan Cooke, Mike Haydon and Virginia Solomon were elected, with Kym Blechynden, Annaliese Hordern, and Richard Pang being re-elected to the board. Virginia Solomon has been appointed Chair, Richard Pang continues his role of Company Secretary and Mike Haydon is the Treasurer.
Virginia Solomon (Chair) - Victoria
Virginia has been involved with Permaculture since the early 1990s. Since 2003 she has been working with many others on the development of Accredited Permaculture Training and she comes to the Board at a time when APT is coming of age. She has worked as a teacher of PDCs, and of most levels of APT including 5 years of Certificate I to Year 9's at Eltham College and another 4 delivering Diploma there. She has managed and facilitated many courses and programs over the years and has been involved in the course writing of APT at each of the 5-yearly reviews, culminating last year in the endorsement of 66 unique permaculture units as part of the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management (AHC) Training Package. Virginia is a founding member of the Permaculture Educators' Guild and a passionate advocate for quality education in permaculture in all its forms.
She has served on the Board once before, has been President of Permaculture Melbourne (now Permaculture Victoria) and Convened APC8 in 2005. She has worked with others, notably Robin Clayfield, in the training of teachers for APT and she brings to the Board her skills in strategic planning and facilitation.
Virginia recently retired in order to focus on mentoring and supporting others, and to enjoy her grandson and her garden. She lives in NE Melbourne (Eltham) with her husband, has 3 grown up children and a grandson, and has a large, productive garden and a rambling friendly house where visitors and guests are always welcome. She is a patchworker, a cheesemaker, an eco-dying enthusiast, a shoemaker (only for herself) and a dressmaker.
Robyn Francis – Northern NSW
Robyn is known internationally as a permaculture pioneer, educator and designer. She was a founding director of Permaculture International Ltd in 1987 and since then has spent periods on and off the board and been an active member of various PIL-PA committees. Robyn established Djanbung Gardens in 1994 as a purpose-designed permaculture education centre and demonstration farm in Nimbin, northern NSW, where she is also active in the local community in food security and bioregional development initiatives. With a team of local permaculture teachers she established Permaculture College Australia Inc to provide APT, PDCs, professional development for permaculturists and community education programs. In 2002 she was part of the team that created the Accredited Permaculture Training (APT) and since then has continued to contribute to APT as a committee member and trainer.
Robyn is passionate about all aspects of permaculture, from big-picture to practical details, and especially in supporting the growth and acceptance of permaculture in the wider community. Robyn continues to teach and mentor permaculture projects locally and overseas and to empower the next generation of permaculture practitioners.
For more info www.permaculture.com.au
Megan Cooke – Northern NSW
Megan is passionate about teaching people the joys of growing and cooking their own organic food and sharing the knowledge she has learnt from her sustainable living journey of building a Rammed Earth Passive Solar House surrounded by Permaculture gardens with her husband and two children in Pacific Palms, 3 hours north of Sydney.
Her property features a ten year old food forest planted on swales, dripping with delicious sub tropical fruits including bananas, guava, feijoa, fig, mango, citrus and stawberries. A chook tractoring system, no dig gardens and a chop and drop mulching system have improved the soil on the rocky ridge where there is now a productive ecosystem. Happy chickens free-range in a fox proof chook house reusing an old caravan. Starting with zone 0 the solar passive home has been developed over the last 10 years with design features of rammed earth, light earth and mud brick, including an on-site grey water treatment system, solar panels and even home grown bench tops!
Click here to watch a tour of Megan’s garden as seen on Better Homes and Gardens.
She is currently the director of Garden to Table Permaculture, delivering courses and workshops on Permaculture and Organic Gardening. With over 20 years experience as a Horticulturalist she is keen to combine her knowledge of plants and apply this using Permaculture Principles. Megan has been involved in managing Forster Community Garden, teaching children in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and delivering a 'Gardening for Sustainability’ course for her local council.
After travelling to Malawi in Africa where she completed her second PDC, she was inspired to set up a Permaculture project that she continues to support.
For more information visit www.gardentotable.com.au
Richard Pang (Secretary) – Sydney NSW
Richard is a passionate community gardener living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and is the current Coordinator of the Randwick Community Organic Garden. His main goal is to encourage local food enterprises in the Sydney metropolitan area.
Annaliese Hordern – Northern Rivers NSW
Annaliese is a passionate Permaculture educator and designer, who holds a degree in Environmental Resource Management and a Diploma in Permaculture. She is a teacher of PDC’s and advanced Permaculture courses at Permaculture College Australia, Djanbung Gardens.
Annaliese is a steward member of Gaiacraft and is a regular guest speaker and workshop facilitator at community events and festivals.
Excited by curriculum development, she enjoys designing new learning tools and mentoring her students towards their personal goals in sustainability and design. Localising food and preparedness for community response to disaster is important to her.
Inspired by wilderness and interesting useful plants, Annaliese is involved with conservation of important plant medicines and culture in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.
This is her third year on the Board of Directors for Permaculture Australia.
Kym Blechynden - Tasmania
Kym works in food security, nutrition and international aid with the Red Cross, INGO's and the UN organisation across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Countries of work include Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Myanmar, Maldives, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, Philippines, Fiji, Malaysia, Indonesia and Chad in emergency response, post conflict and development settings.
When not overseas on deployment, she teaches food security, nutrition and global health at the University of Tasmania and is based in the West Tamar region of Northern Tasmania. She is Vice President of Permaculture Tasmania, co-teaches on Permaculture courses and Sustainable Living Tasmania's Live & Learn workshops, and is involved with local food movements such as Urban Farming Tasmania and co-organising the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge.