Working in the permaculture field has filled my life with joy and purpose as well as a modest income.
More importantly though, it has given me a host of new friends that are as passionate about the
environment and future as I am. I finally feel like I’ve found my tribe and enjoy seeing the ripples
spread through my community. There is nothing better than seeing sweet potatoes being planted on
a neighbours’ verge or a new compost bin being set up in a street, Martina Hoeppner
Originally from Germany, Martina has completed a Diploma in Permaculture and is the founder of Dandelion Permaculture and co-founder of the Permaculture Educators Alliance. She has grown up a suburban girl and specialises in urban permaculture and RetroSuburbia topics. On PDC courses she is also the chief caterer, providing lots of healthy morning and afternoon teas. She is the co-convener of Permaculture West, teaches accredited permaculture courses at Candlelight Farm and campaigns for the rollout of permaculture into schools. When she isn’t teaching or baking for courses, she gardens in the northern suburbs, builds community in her street, reads a mountain of permaculture books and tries to survive in a household of four males.
Photo: Martina Hoeppner teaching a PDC. Photo supplied by Martina Hoeppner.
Five years ago, almost to the day, my youngest son started full-time school and I was ready to start a
new career. A degree in translation and 10 years of free-lance work from home while having
children had left me with a hunger for going out and meeting people. Staying home behind my
computer did not seem an appealing choice anymore.
I did my PDC two weeks after the school year had started and knew after a few days that I had finally
found my passion. My first career was founded more on what I was good at and could make money
with than what I was passionate about, so this was a welcome change. But would I be able to earn a
living through permaculture?
Five years on, I have a Diploma of Permaculture and a Certificate IV in Teaching and Assessment
under my belt and am enrolled in a Diploma of Sustainable Living at university. I work as a sole
trader as well as having founded the Permaculture Educator’s Alliance Pty Ltd with two friends. We
teach PDCs and Certificate III courses, as well as a variety of short special interest and permaculture
intro courses. Serving as the co-convenor of the Permaculture Association of Western Australia and
being part of Permaculture Australia’s Education team are the last pieces of the puzzle that is my
professional life at this moment in time.
The hardest part at the moment is not over-committing myself with the many opportunities there
are for offering courses, council workshops, talks, and committees. Finding balance and still setting
aside enough time to live the permaculture life at home in my garden and with my family is the goal
Photo: Permaculture education in schools. Photo credit: supplied by Martina Hoeppner