Kay Baxter has been an organic gardener for fifty years and is a co-founder and CEO of the Koanga Institute in New Zealand. She is a professional seed saver and educator in the fields of Nutrient Dense Food Production and Regenerative Garden Design and Management.
She is a researcher in the field of human health in relation to our environment and has authored many books including Change of Heart (the Ecology of Nourishing Food), the Koanga Garden Guide, Design your Own Orchard and the Koanga booklets Save Your Own Seeds and Growing Nutrient Dense Food.
Kay has been teaching permaculture for many years, and draw upon her experience designing, implementing and managing permaculture systems, specialising in the field of food production - vegetable gardens, orchards and animal systems, predominantly in zone 1 and 2. For many years her research has been focused on the connections between soil health, plant and animal health and human health, and has been focused on home gardeners techniques for growing nutrient dense food.
Bob Corker has been involved in Permaculture for over 30 years, and has spent much of that time reading about and experiencing permaculture themes in farming, housebuilding, landscape contracting and community development. He brings together a wide experience to talk from, and has the ability to bring together the big picture. Officially, his permaculture design career started in 1984. Since then he has designed over 100 properties, ranging from ¼ acre to several hundred acres, and has been involved in developing many projects. Bob is an old fashioned academic teacher, working from curriculum but also following the interests of questions wherever they may lead. Bob is passionate about soils, landscape and resource analysis, "doing the maths" for water use, light earth building and legal structures and community land trusts.
Bob grew up in a New Zealand farming family and has been an organic farmer for much of his life. After being inspired by the first Permaculture Design Course taught in New Zealand in 1984, he has spent decades working as an environmental consultant and constructed wetlands specialist. He has worked on many designs including homesteads, small and large farms, municipal sewage treatment ponds and suburban storm water ponds. Bob is a co founder of the Koanga Institute, and he has been teaching a wide range of farming and building workshops, including Permaculture Design Courses, since1986.
Bob's current project is developing Kotare Village, a 30 family intentional community near Wairoa in Hawkes Bay.
Dan Palmer As a co-director of Very Edible Gardens, most weeks Dan is not only permaculture designing, he is implementing permaculture designs, and he is delivering permaculture workshops & presentations. He finds that regular practice of teaching, implementing and designing makes all three stronger. For example, as a permaculture landscaper Dan knows what is practical in designs, and when teaching permaculture design can draw on a rich experience bank of professional design and implementation projects.
Dan has completed something like 200 permaculture designs in the last seven years and has worked with families, communities, councils, and schools to see many designs not only implemented in the ground but successfully managed over the years. Some of the designs Dan and his colleagues have worked on are viewable here.
Dan has been teaching permaculture for over six years and prior to that taught scientific method, psychology and philosophy at a graduate level in universities and research institutes in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Dan has taught permaculture at all levels and to many age groups and cultures in New Zealand, Australia, India, Ethiopia, and Uganda. He has been lucky enough to co-teach or otherwise collaborate closely with permaculture luminaries including David Holmgren, Rosemary Morrow, Geoff Lawton & Darren Doherty.
Like Bob, Kay & Tim, Dan firmly believes that the backbone of a permaculture design certificate (PDC) course must be concrete and repeated practical experience in every step and aspect of the permaculture design process, with detailed guidance and feedback from teachers. This makes Koanga's PDC stand out, with all students going through every step of a 100% real design project from start to finish during the course, starting on Day Two. All theory is practiced the same day, meeting the needs of students who learn best by doing and concrete practical experience, which is most of us! Our students leave ready to take permaculture design into the world in whatever capacity they wish.
Taking this into account, in working with Bob, Kay & Tim on past Koanga PDCs, Dan has developed a unique PDC curriculum for Koanga based on his permaculture experience with input from renowned permaculture teachers Rosemary Morrow and Darren Doherty, including a comprehensive 160-page book of notes which match the daily content closely.
Dan is passionate about creating carbon-rich healthy soil and designing such that soil improvement is a by-product. He loves the challenge of creating tight, elegant designs for small urban spaces as much as he loves tackling rural projects, bringing water, soil, and vegetation together to regenerate small farms. Increasingly Dan is enjoying the world of trees, from mini-pruned multi-planted fruit in small spaces to extensive multi-use woodlots on farms.
Tim Barker grew up in Brisbane, Australia and qualified as a Diesel Fitter. His passion for permaculture began in 1981 after reading "Permaculture One", since that time he has continued to learn about, and experiment with, permaculture. After completing an internship at PRI (Permaculture Research Institute of Australia) under Geoff Lawton, he was invited back to work as a teacher and "Mr. Fix It". He currently holds the position of farm manager at PRI.
He has lived and worked extensively in remote areas, with the last 15 years in far north Queensland. He has worked in many roles including as a Diesel Fitter, running his own adventure tour business, contracting to the EPA as a guide for environmental impact studies on Cape York Peninsular, as the Environmental Contracts Administrator for a large contracting company and in conjunction with Tourism Queensland and aboriginal communities setting up and running turtle conservation camps as a test case for an indigenous eco tourism based business.
Tim is an avid reader and researcher. He has the practical knowledge and skills to construct almost any project with limited resources. His past projects include a beautiful home aquaponics system which integrates chickens, the construction of a hovercraft, practical rocket stove design and construction, grey water systems, keeping bees and generally mucking about with appropriate technology.
Byron Joel's teaching style has evolved as a natural extenuation of his experiences and endeavours, and he is passionate about what is possible in the realm of land regeneration with the application of permaculture principles and holistic management, and is focused on the human plant relationship. Byron has a special interest in food forestry and joins Koanga after working as Nursery co-ordinator at Zaytuna Farm, home of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, and has taught alongside Geoff Lawton.
Byron has a strong vision for what the future could look like, the dream of a culture that we could create, and what it would really FEEL like to live it, more specifically the possibilities for the implementation of Food Forestry and ways that we can feed humanity. He was absolutely gobsmacked when he saw John Liu's documentary on the regeneration of the Loess Plateau. Just thinking about what is possible in the realm of land regeneration by application of Permaculture principles, Holistic Management etc. makes me not just hopeful but extremely excited for the future. On a simpler scale he enjoys seeing the little emergent events that pop up after time, undesigned, unexpected, inside human settlements... Walking trails worn into fields... naturalised apple trees grown from discarded cores... rituals, traditions, cultures at large...
Emma Cowan is a passionate and creative cook, bringing together a love of good food with a broad understanding of the effects that different foods have on our bodies. After studying the research of Weston A Price, (who documented the traditional diets of many indigenous communities prior to Western influence), she made a radical change to her diet and is now an advocate for the principles that are evident in all traditional diets. Her belief that food is nourishment not only for the body but also the soul is evident in her cooking, and her enthusiasm for creating healthy food that is extremely delicious!