We have a ‘virtual office’ with three part time staff members.
Kym Blechynden: Membership & Marketing Manager
Kym has two decades experience in community development, public health, nutrition and food security in Australia and internationally. She has completed a PDC, Cert IV and Permaculture Teacher training, held previous roles as a PA Board Director and President of Permaculture Tasmania, and was the Permablitz Tasmania inaugural co-coordinator. In addition to working with PA, Kym works internationally in public health, food security and nutrition (pre Covid-19) and in disaster resilience & climate change adaptation in lutrawita / Tasmania. Kym’s tasks with PA are varied and include the membership, partnership, social media, and marketing activities.
Kiran Charles: Webmaster
Kiran has completed a Certificate IV in Permaculture with Riverina TAFE and has 10 years’ experience working in communications, web & graphic design for environmental organizations. He is our resident webmaster – ensuring the smooth running of our different systems, graphic design magic, and the ‘creative brains’ behind our new website.
Helen Cowhan, Accountant
Helen has twenty years experience in Accounting and a lifelong passion for growing things. She completed a Certificate II in Horticulture in 2017 where she was first introduced to permaculture. Helen has lived all around Australia before settling with her husband on a 205 acre property near Hobart, Tasmania. They have spent the last five years turning 2.5 acres of grass into productive gardens and orchard – there is still a long way to go but with small steps they will get there! The Accountant manages the PA accounts and all things money related, with the PA Treasurer.
Board of Directors 2021/2022
Wendy Marchment, Board Director
Wendy’s permaculture journey started in the early 1990s whilst living in Adelaide. Shortly thereafter she joined Permaculture SA, moved to suburbia with a young family, and set about establishing a permaculture garden and doing a passive solar renovation. After moving to Queensland in 2005, she completed a PDC plus Certificate III Permaculture at Northey Street City Farm (NSCF), before moving into the PDC Coordinator and then the Education Coordinator position(s) at NSCF. Despite enjoying teaching PDCs and APT, Wendy moved back into the university sector taking a position as the Manager, Institutional Research at Deakin University in Geelong. She was the inaugural Convenor of Permaculture Geelong from 2014-16 and organised/taught part of the 2015 Geelong PDC. After a 30 year career across seven universities, and on the committees of various organisations, Wendy brings experience in many aspects governance and compliance. Her qualifications include a BSc, MBA and Cert IV TAA. Read more about Wendy in our interview here
Donna Morawiak, Board Director
Donna has more than two decades experience in Logistics Management in both Distribution and Retail sectors. Originally from the UK and after some years working in China and Japan, she moved to Australia in 2010 taking on a Sustainability Ambassador role within the organisation. A late bloomer to permaculture she has been completing Morag Gamble’s online Permaculture Design Course and teacher training program over the last year and is the Secretary of Yandina Community Garden. Donna is based on the Sunshine Coast on a beautiful 14-acre piece of paradise in an off grid, sustainable home with her partner, resident goats and chickens. They have opened their home as part of Sustainable House day over the last few years to share with others about their experiences building in a highfire risk zone. She loves to work in their ever-expanding productive edible garden and is starting to build a Natural swimming pond to complete the off grid lifestyle to share with others.
Greg Rodwell, Board Director
Greg has a diverse professional background in operations management, organisational improvement, project delivery, strategic planning and financial management within government agencies, social enterprise and private organisations. Greg has had a progressive journey into permaculture having grown up on a farm in South East NSW and developing, over time, a passion for environmental sustainability and for becoming self-sustainable. He has recently completed the Milkwood Permaculture Living Course, and is currently diving deep into learning more about regenerative agriculture, sustainable building and doughnut economics. He has been renovating his home in inner Melbourne to an 8-star efficiency and working towards owning some land in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. He is a woodworker, builder, fixer, maker, grower, bread-maker and community contributor and also a committed parent of two young kids.
Sophie Thompson, Board Director
Sophie has been learning and practicing permaculture for over 30 years in SE Qld and Townsville, where she now lives in a richly diverse suburban micro-jungle with companion plants, bees, reptiles, chooks, and various mammals including her partner John. Every room in their old Queensland house has books in it. She has a background in archaeology, music, event management, education and environmental work, and has two children and four grandchildren. She is co-founder of Permaculture Townsville Inc. and now runs a modestly successful gardening business, incorporating permaculture principles and design advice.
Jed Walker, Board Director
Jed Walker has a background in education and community work. Working with people from a diversity of cultures has led to his teaching permaculture in Asia and creating curriculum with migrants and refugees. He is a long term member of Permafund where he helps administer the grant assessment process and does some local fundraising. On Saturdays he can be found at the community garden in Lawson, Blue Mountains.
Virginia Solomon, Interim Director
Virginia has been involved with permaculture since the early 1990s. Since 2003 she has been worked on the VET Permaculture, including writing the courses for the five year reviews culminating in the endorsement of 66 unique permaculture units as part of the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation & Land Management (AHC) Training Package in 2018. Virginia is a founding member of the Permaculture Educators’ Guild, experience permaculture teacher in PDC and APT including many years at Eltham College, and a passionate advocate for quality education in permaculture in all its forms. She has been a previous Board member and President of Permaculture Melbourne (now Permaculture Victoria) and convened the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in 2005. She has worked with others, notably Robin Clayfield, in the training of teachers for VET and she brings to the Board her skills in strategic planning and facilitation. She recently retired in order to focus on mentoring and supporting others, and to enjoy her grandson and her garden. She lives in NE Melbourne 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. Read more about Virginia in our interview here.
Outgoing Board Directors (2020/2021)
April has two decades experience in permaculture practice, writing, research and illustrating. She has some media exposure for permaculture related articles. She has completed a PDC with Jude and Michel Fanton and of Seed Savers. She is based in Wollongong on a half hectare food forest with hundreds of rare established plants including Jack Fruit and Peruvian Custard Apple. She supports right livelihood, diversity of educational programs and pioneering programs. Her main work in permaculture is through Permaculture Visions which has a moodle serving students in more than 60 countries. You can also read our interview with April in early 2020 here and here.
Greta has a background in international public health, and has worked in disaster response and with displaced populations for almost a decade in Australia and internationally. She moved into permaculture a few years ago, seeing its potential in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Greta is passionate about permaculture education, and is currently based in the NSW Northern Rivers region working as the Education Coordinator at a regenerative agriculture organisation. Greta is also a part of Permaculture for Refugees South East Asia. Read our interview with Greta here.
Co-originator of permaculture & Patron, Permaculture Australia
“Now as the PA Patron, I see my role as more actively contributing my conceptual and historical perspectives within the movement to support Permaculture Australia’s various priorities and projects towards the vision of an Australia enlivened by permaculture ethics and design principles. As patron I will continue to highlight the lineage from and respect for Indigenous and traditional ways of being inherent in permaculture that can help all Australians come to terms with history and rekindle a shared connection to country.”
Founding director of Permaculture International Ltd & Patron, Permaculture Australia
“It is with great pleasure I accept the honour of being a patron of Permaculture Australia. I have been involved in the organisation since it’s incorporation as a non-profit in 1987 as a Founding Director and five years as Editor of the Permaculture International Journal, which nurtured the early growth of the global permaculture movement. Since the early 80s, I have been teaching permaculture and consulting internationally, including working closely with Bill Mollison.”
Rosemary Morrow became the first Permafund ambassador at the Intentional Permaculture Convergence in London recently. Her long permaculture career has taken many journeys from education and publication to aid and development work, across the globe.
Soon after completing a PDC in 2011, Charlie formed Formidable Vegetable – with the hope of inspiring people to grow food, keep chickens and make the world a better place.