Lead Designer + Edible Landscaper
Blake also has a background in multimedia design and produces high quality graphics and 3d renderings for our Custom Designs & Manuals. Combining his multimedia skills and the understanding of living systems, he has balanced the art and science of permaculture to illustrate quality landscape designs to his clients, which are ultimately installed through his landscaping services or through facilitating workshops.
Blake teaches multimedia skills as well as hands on workshops for permaculture gardening including natural building using earth bag. He is also our resident ‘Rocket Stove’ creator.
As one of the teachers for our annual PDC, Blake will be sharing his knowledge to effectively take a landscape vision convert it into a plan which are to scale and geographically referenced. Blake will share some useful technology skills for practical design illustrations as well as paper to pen for your group design project. He will be offering a toolkit of hints and tips to get you started in designing stunning landscape designs.
When he’s not creating functional and organic permaculture gardens for the tropical climate, he can be found exploring and delving into the patterns of nature to present the geometry and imagery in his visual projection mapping projects with Culture Mechanics.
Educator + Design Consultant
Although she engages in the creative concept design sessions with her team, she focuses more on the report writing, education and research. As the driver of the ‘educate’ aspect of Organic Motion (OM), she is a qualified trainer and assessor and co-ordinates events for various workshops and courses, facilitated by the OM team or hosted associates.
In the past, she has facilitated regional recycling projects, worked for conservation groups, organised protest events for Coal Seam gas awareness and assisted a company to establish carbon trading units for improving soil carbon through sustainable farming practices.
She has studied her PDC with Darren Doherty from Regen Ag, Permaculture Landscaping and Consultation with Geoff Lawton and Nick Huggins, Dynamic Governance and Decision Making with Robin Clayfield, and Permaculture Teacher Training with Robyn Francis.
She is an advocate for ‘Sociocracy’ which is permaculture designed social systems and explores this in her work with community facilitation, using this effective framework for decision making and dynamic governance.
Ready to disrupt old paradigms, she’s keen to see the emerging ‘whole systems’ design movement to bridge grass-roots community with governmental decision making.
Tonielle main love is in the garden with plants and kitchen with fresh ingredients. She wrote the ‘Incredible Edible Tropical Superfood Guide’ to support people in their growing journey and facilitates a 1-day workshop that demonstrates how to grow and eat produce suited to tropical climates for health and wellbeing.
From bush kid to beach bum and now forest dweller, she’s always had an affinity for living close to nature and always returned after stints in the city, on the ocean and travelling abroad.
Project Manager + Design Consultant
Jay is our project manager and ensures the landscape designs meet clients visions, obtain on ground outcomes and does all the puzzle work of managing . His gregarious nature and positive inter-personal skills are what our clients and students affectionately remember. His ability to achieve the ‘big picture’ and finesse the details whilst managing stakeholders along the way is why he drives the ‘create’ aspect of Organic Motion. Working hands-on with landscape designs and providing one-on-one coaching sees Jay continuously pushing the OM team to new heights!
In the past Jay has been influential on the committee for different community groups, ran dozens of public workshops and travelled 6 countries to gain experience and see examples of permaculture landscapes. Jay has established community gardens in Townsville and Cairns which he currently coordinates at the James Cook University Cairns campus. Bridging from being a painter in the building industry, Jay spent several years working as project officer in natural resource management leading him into a deeper understanding of conservation and land management, which he blends into his design and consultancy work. An avid story-teller and nature lover will make for some great yarns after the days sessions.
Gardening teacher and animal-system specialist
One day a few years ago, Madi looked around and realised she was in supremely happy place; part-time gardening specialist teacher and full-time mother and manager of her own 80 acre tropical farm on the Cairns Hinterland. She had also begun animal-system consultancy and running workshops on different aspects of animal care.
This wonderful lifestyle began after realising her love of sharing the knowledge that she’d gained during the endless hours of nerding-out on animal nutrition, parasite management, cross-cultural and historical animal husbandry practices, and weaning her farms from reliance on bagged-and-bought animal feed. She integrates her animals into on farm land management, including fertility, fire mitigation, increasing plant and wildlife diversity, milk, meat, eggs, leather and companionship.
Now, Madi enjoys helping people find integrated systems that work for their own pastures and needs and currently runs small demonstration groups of Dorper sheep, Dexter and Jersey cattle, Nubian goats, as well as several heritage breeds of poultry and a couple of heavy-breed horses.
Madi’s joy comes from experimental farming and finding ways of allowing animals to solve the problems that arise when directing a piece of land to maximum productivity. She is currently working towards a locally-reliant and productive farm while holding best-practice in animal welfare as a guiding principle and regenerative agriculture as my purpose.
We will be visiting Madi and Marc’s farm during the Saturday tour days of the course, where students will be meeting her fury and feathered friends and learning some real practical skills for caring for animals, big and small!
Say Hi to Madi via her Barronook Farm facebook page and ask her more about what she will be teaching on the day!
Rodney Ingersoll has developed systems to manage and train local indigenous staff in over 300 community development short courses throughout Papua New Guinea and Australia. Courses have included microfinance, village water supply, land management, chicken farming, duck farming, fish farming, aquaponics, carpentry, village leadership, hygiene & sanitation, literacy, sewing, local markets establishment, vegetable, potato and coffee farming.
He practices what he preaches and is working to transform his Cairns backyard into a sustainable training facility where he hosts weekend workshops, University & school excursions and talks on Aquaponic gardening, Biodiversity & Sustainable living. For more info, see his website www.AquaponicGardener.com.au
Rod has a passion for conserving PNG rainforest and traditional culture. Rods currently in the process of documenting his time living in a PNG rainforest for a year breeding threatened species for Conservation (birds of paradise, cassowaries & tree kangaroos) while playing with illegal loggers.
Rod Ingersoll is a highly qualified and awarded Community Development practitioner & Ecologist who splits his life between Australia & the Papua New Guinea highlands.
Rod assists local tribes & mines to develop & implement sustainable and socially responsible Community Development & Environmental programs eg. Food Security, Health & Wellbeing, Education, Business. Academically,
Rodney holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Resource Management (Honours) is a Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP) & has Environmental Auditing qualifications and has over 18 years’ practical grass roots community development, & environmental management experience working for NGOs, Local & State Government, Business and Global companies.
HIs work is internationally recognised and he has received several medals of honour for Environmental Management, Sustainable Development and Community service.
Micheal & Lindy Alba
Organic gardening specialists
Michael and Lindy Alba are taking students in the PDC on a tour of their productive landscape known as Villa Alba, which is a 2.5 acre property on the Barron River, near the heart of Mareeba. They have a large variety of plants grown for self-sufficiency, plus natives, ornamentals, and succulents.
They have a nursery and extensive food forest with interesting features around their property, such as green ant highways and hand built ponds.
Michael is reforesting the river and adjoining park and will be sharing his 40 years of experience of organic growing, permaculture design planning and biodynamic practices.
They will be sharing their journey of building their house, and some insight of how they overcame numerous health problems both physical and emotional at a young age using natural methods which has led to a life of self-discovery and self-empowerment.
Retired landscapers and stone masons, they now facilitate monthly workshops and tours of their property and sell fresh produce, seedlings and fruit trees at markets, as well as host seed saver meetings.
Jodie Eden and John Wilki
Vegetable gardening & natural building specialists
Jodie Eden grew up in Herberton working on her family tin mine, working in many jobs including nurseries, where she learned plant propagation before she studied an Environmental Science degree.
She’s ‘done it tough’ living 6 years in the remote bush without the usual ‘mod cons’ and I had struggled to grow her own food for over 25 years. She believes in living the Good Life – eating delicious, varied food while having a low impact on the earth and she is passionate about living sustainably but practically.
Jodie’s parents were primary producers who believed they had a responsibility to rehabilitate the environment following their particularly destructive form of alluvial tin mining.
So, she grew up seeing what ‘sustainable development’ might mean – using both brains and hands to make a living. She believes it is possible to produce the goods we need to live while looking after the planet.
Her dad used to say “Bloody Greenies! They should be out working as miners, foresters and farmers not just complaining about how the rest of us do it. Everyone uses metal, timber and food so we need people who can produce these things without making a mess”.
Jodie studied Environmental Science and is now a Community Education Ranger, never loosing her interest in practical sustainability. She asks ‘How can we work the land to make a living without making a mess?”
She spent a chunk of her years as a hippy drop-out which made her realise that she loves many aspects of modern technology (freezer, washing machine, telephone, modern medicine) and also discovered that true ‘Self Sufficiency’ is a slightly foolish aspiration since it takes a lifetime to get really good at anything. “We are such social animals, why not happily trade our specialised skills?”.
Jodie has been growing her own vegetables for over 25 years in a particularly unusual climate (a tropical highland) and is now getting it right. She works for money four days a week and on her days off, she produces at least three quarters of their food. Amazingly, when she was otherwise unemployed, she grew only about a tenth of our food.
Jodie says, “the increased return for effort is mostly due to experimentation and observation, years of making mistakes and noticing them, but also there is the confidence that comes from secure tenure, and being able to plan for the future. Somehow I snaffled not only the most wonderful husband, but also the fabulous soil that he lives on!”
Jodie and John’s property is 85 hectares, part of John’s family farm, with a mixture of 2/3 elevated pasture and cultivation on mainly red basalt soil and 1/3 forest. They have a very pleasant view of farm, forest and mountains from our house. For the years when John has been busy building the house, their nephew has been conventionally growing crops including maize, potatoes and wheat. The remaining land has been agistered for beef cattle and they look forward to getting back into farming but will probably always have some level of shared activity. Students in the PDC will be visiting Jodie’s garden to see a ‘dome’ chicken tractor mandala garden in abundance and John’s house build and Lucas Mill system.
John Wilkie was born in Herberton and lived all of his life on the family farm, except for 6 years studying vet science at uni in Brisbane. Instead of working as a vet, he was delighted that his Dad called him home to run the farm.
John has used his biomedical education to understand living systems and his own health and over the years, has been intermittently working at timber cutting, farm cultivating, cattle handling including horseback, earthmoving, fencing, building and machine repair and modification…all since the age of ten years old. He is currently farm managing and building his house including milling the timber.
From the time he was a small child, he remembers a love of playing in the dirt with toy machines then progressing to helping with real tasks of earthwork and timber cutting with hand tools.
Post WWII when his dad bought the farm, conditions and finance in the Wondecla area were little advanced from the pioneering days and timber post and firewood sales were a valuable supplement to their meagre income. From his father and mother who grew up in and survived the Great Depression, he learned the art of conservation of materials and energy which led him to the desire for a more natural and sustainable lifestyle and dislike of waste.
Living and working on the farm most of his life allowed him to make best use of the available materials, situation and weather conditions of their site. With this in mind and using his past experience, he set out to build his house from the ground up, sourcing and milling the timber from his farm.
John’s wish is for a long and healthy good life, has been prompted by his bio medical education and the joy he share’s in his life and house with his lovely wife.
Alternative energy specialist
Ben Beattie said “growing up in FNQ was a total adventure, we lived in a food forest although I didn’t know it at the time, I just thought that coming home from school and gorging on tropical fruits and nuts straight from the tree was normal.”
Ben believes there is a food crisis ahead and that the answer lies in small resilient farms, following beyond organic processes and building intentional communities to share the abundance of nutrient dense foods.
As a fourth generation North Queenslander, Managing Director of Renewable Energy Devices and founder of Beyond Organic Farm near Dimbulah, he spent many years in the field of Optics with varied roles from service, technical, sales and training before finding his passion for renewable energy and solar.
In recent years, Ben’s focus has become refined to embrace sustainability, self sufficiency and Permaculture as a natural crossover from renewable energy which also affords him the opportunity to teach others.
His farm will be a Dryland Permaculture Showcase for the Tropics, where his children today, and theirs tomorrow, will walk in a mature fruit and nut food forest like he did.
Ben will be teaching the Alternative Technology subject of the PDC, with a practical design session to design a solar system set up for a home.
Legal systems & economic strategy specialist
Jenny McGrath completed her Permaculture teaching certificate with Robyn Francis at Djanbung Gardens in 2015. Through CQ University Jenny is studying her Graduate Diploma of Permaculture Design. This diploma is a World first and is preparing her with advanced skills to apply permaculture principles to a professional career.
She is founder and director of Brilliant Money Solutions, a Cairns based Accounting and Tax Practice. She has helped clients establish and grow successful businesses for over 25 years and aspires to be “not your average accountant”.
Her passion for permaculture began through her long conversations with a client over many years. In 2012 she did her PDC with Geoff Lawton. Jenny writes a monthly garden column for the Cairns Sun, demystifying the principles of permaculture for the general public.
She is the current President of Permaculture Cairns Inc and actively promotes permaculture in the Far North Region.
Jenny will be teaching the Legal systems & Economic Strategies subject of the PDC.