PA People


We have a ‘virtual office’ with three part time staff members filling four positions.

Ms Kym Blechynden: Administration, 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, and has previously been a PA Board Director, President Permaculture Tasmania and 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. Contact:

Kiran Charles: Webmaster

Kiran is currently studying a Cert IV in Permaculture 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 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 2020/2021

Virginia Solomon, Board Director

Virginia has been involved with permaculture since the early 1990s. Since 2003 she has been worked on the Accredited Permaculture Training (APT), 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 APT 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.

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 moved 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.

April Sampson-Kelly, Board Director

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 Carroll, Board Director

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 group. Read our interview with Greta here.

Outgoing Directors 2019/2020

Kym Blechynden, Board Director and Permafund Liaison

Kym has worked for nearly two decades in public health, food security and nutrition in Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific with the UN, INGO’s and the Red Cross. She has been a previous PA Board member, academic/Lecturer at the University of Tasmania in international nutrition and public health, and is the President of Permaculture Tasmania. Kym has completed a PDC and Teacher training in permaculture with Rowe Morrow, was the inaugural co-coordinator of Permablitz Tasmania, teaches into Intro to Permaculture and PDC’s, and is a member of the international Permaculture for Refugees group with Rowe Morrow. Most recently she returned from several years living in Kuala Lumpur where she led the emergency health and nutrition portfolios for 38 countries across the Asia Pacific region, including working on the Cox’s Bazar population movement. She is now based in the West Tamar, Northern Tasmania and works part time for Permaculture Australia while completing short international contracts. In addition to her experience working with community groups/volunteers and international aid, Kym is interested in greater networking and collaboration between permaculture associations across Australia. Her additional qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition), Graduate Diploma Health Promotion and Master of Public Health.

Cally Brennan, Treasurer and Board Director

Cally's photo

Dr Cally Brennan has been involved with permaculture since 2009. Cally manages a small permaculture business in the ACT; Canberra Permaculture Design and Education, which offers a range of garden advice and design services, based on permaculture ethics, techniques and principles. She has presented numerous talks and workshops on permaculture and sustainable gardening. Cally was part of the APC Canberra 2018 organising committee, including financial modelling for the event, coordinating all of the bookings, and managing the relationship with the venue. Previously she coordinated PermablitzACT, a group that undertakes ‘backyard blitzes’ for its members, to convert suburban blocks into productive edible gardens, using permaculture design principles. Cally also has a long background in the public sector working on energy and climate change policy and research. She has a PhD from the University of Melbourne in a field relating to anthropology, music and connection to culture and place. Cally lives in Canberra with her partner and their six year old daughter together with their two dogs and a rather greedy resident possum. She loves working in their productive garden and paints pictures in her spare time.

Ian Lillington, Board Director

Ian Lillington has been involved in permaculture organizing, activism and teaching since the early 1990s. Working alongside David Holmgren and learning from Bill Mollison, Ian is passionate about urban food forests and natural building. When asked what his favourite topic to teach in a PDC was, he said it was the importance of applying permaculture’s ethics and principles to every aspect of life. Based in Castlemaine, Victoria, Ian and his partner Marita build energy efficient homes and eco-renovate older houses by adding insulation, solar panels, rainwater tanks and orchards. At their straw bale home, they are developing a food forest and a community of like-minded people. Ian is author of an introduction to permaculture “The Holistic Life – a Beginners’ Guide to Permaculture”, and is editor of many of David Holmgren’s books, especially ‘Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability’. He’s also featured in the anthology – “Permaculture Pioneers” and wrote the chapter on Permaculture in the “Encyclopedia of Sustainability”Ian participates in National and International Convergences, and has trained sustainability teachers at the National Centre for Sustainability, and teaches at CERES – the environmental park in Melbourne, in Castlemaine and in London and Hong Kong.