We have a ‘virtual office’ with three part time staff members.
Meghann Mulcahy: Marketing and Membership Manager
After 22 years in the travel industry and 12 years running her own agency with extensive time living and traveling overseas and around Australia, Meg has planted her feet into her 80-acre property in West Gippsland, Victoria. She has completed a Certificate II in Horticulture and is currently undertaking a Diploma of Sustainable Living at the moment. She is also studying a Herbal Medicine Immersion program when she is not chasing her sheep and cows through the hills. Meg also has experience in charity work with projects around Asia and in Australia.
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 2022/2023
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.
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 collects learnings from successful applicants. Currently teaching permaculture in Taranaki, New Zealand.
Debbi Long, Board Director
Debbi is a health anthropologist, currently living in Naarm (Melbourne), on Wurundjeri country. An urban permie for over thirty years, she finally undertook her PDC with John Champagne at Brogo Permaculture in 2021. After decades working as a university lecturer and researcher, she is making plans to move back home to Yuin country (South Coast NSW) to establish a permacultured forever-home. Debbi has enormous respect for established permaculture wisdom and teachings, and is excited by the many innovative applications of permaculture knowledge and practice that are emerging. As increasingly diverse communities are discovering ways of integrating permaculture into their worlds, she sees an important role for Permaculture Australia in facilitating, supporting and advocating permaculture solutions for a planet in crisis.
Toad Dell, Board Director
Toad Dell (they/them) is a permaculture designer, teacher and co-founder of PermaQueer, an organisation seeking to make permaculture more accessible to LGBTIQA+ and BIPOC communities. Toad is particularly excited about the diverse ways permaculture design can be applied in social and economic settings to uplift diverse communities and make permaculture more accessible to younger people. Currently they reside in Wangerriburras country, Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast hinterlands with their partner where they teach permaculture.
John McKenzie, Board Director
John’s working life began in forestry, house building and teaching then shifted to a rich and rewarding time in community development and international projects. For much of the past 30 years he has been active in community building, sometimes on specific projects, sometimes in organisation management, admin and training. He has facilitated many events to bring stakeholders together and assisted organisations to re-align their work for effectiveness and relevance.
Some of his community Roles have been:
• Co-chairing a community farm project in Frankston, Vic. 2012-21
• Co-chairing a committee to save a local Cabin Park for low income housing, 2014-15
• Secretary to a registered Overseas Aid Agency – Assis Aid 1990-95
John first heard about Permaculture some 40+ years ago from his Irish neighbour Sandy Griffin who ran a small mixed crop farm in the ranges east of Melbourne. He was won over by its respect for nature and the direct action sense of living. He have supported many Permaculture activities with teaching and project leading. He has been a member of PA and PcVic for many years and done extended terms on various committees;
• Board member, Permaculture Australia 2012-16,
• Team member, Permafund 2011-22
• Committee member- Permaculture in Victoria 2010-22
John’s overseas work related to permaculture has included Community-based Village Planning: Haiti, 2015, Design for Water supply & sanitation projects: Afghanistan, 2013-4, Smallholder farming in Sri Lanka, Peru, Cuba and India.
In his term on the PA Board I’m hoping to support the work already happening between PA and the diverse groups of Permacultural state-based and regional groups around Australia. And seek to strengthen PA’s capacity to fulfil its national role for the permaculture network.
Also as a member of the Permafund team he will be seeking to ensure PA follows the guidelines to stay compliant with all DGR obligations.
Outgoing Board Directors (2021/2022)
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
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.
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 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.
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.