PINA Board Welcomes New Directors

PINA held its biennial face-to-face Board meeting over the Labor Day weekend at Blue Sky Farm, the permaculture homestead of Peter Bane and Keith Johnson in western Michigan. Much was accomplished during two days of intensive meetings by the whole 9-member board, supported by PINA staff. Further work preceded and followed the weekend meetings as many board members came early or stayed after.

Two new Board members,  Andrew Millison of Corvallis, Oregon, who teaches online permaculture design courses for Oregon State University, and Paula Westmoreland of Minneapolis, MN, a principal with private consultancy Ecological Design Services and the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute-Cold Climate, quickly became valuable members of the team. Both are veteran designers and educators. Andrew holds PINA professional diplomas in Site Design and in Education. Their contributions, and input from others, helped create new expansion and service initiatives for members.

PINA Expands Staffing

Aware of the need to expand services and wanting to move the organization beyond dependence on its volunteer board, PINA directors voted to fund a half-time staff position for a Coordinator.  This position will help create organizational infrastructure, partnerships, and alliances, establish regional hubs, seek fund development, and promote membership expansion.

After deliberating over several possible candidates, the Board asked President Peter Bane if he would step down to assume the staff position beginning October 1. He accepted the offer. Directors felt that because of his long service to PINA, demonstrated leadership abilities, and wide network of connections in the continental movement, that he was the most qualified for the new position. Administrator Melanie Mindlin will continue to staff our office in Ashland, Oregon and perform the services she has so ably provided to PINA the past six years.

New Board Officers

Vice President Monica Ibacache, of New York City, founder of Beyond Organic Design, a non-profit teaching permaculture to school children, will wear the hat of Interim President until a new one is elected at the year-end annual meeting. Paula Westmoreland was elected to serve the remainder of the year as Vice-President. We’re looking forward to being able to reach more of our community and to serve members more effectively with this structural change. Bob Randall of Texas continues as Secretary and Darrell Frey of Pennsylvania continues as  Treasurer.

Working Committees

The Board evaluated each committee’s accomplishments for the past year, made adjustments as needed, and set strategies for the coming period. The committee structure was simplified.  Each director is now expected to serve on two committees. Professional Standards was folded into the Diploma Program Committee, and Outreach was incorporated into Membership.  This resolved old conflicts over who will do what jobs. A Development Committee was created to raise funds for the PINA project and to support the organization’s growth. In addition, the board retained Finance, Executive, Governance, and Hub Committees. Further refinements are being contemplated.

Much of what PINA accomplishes depends on the ability of permaculture activists to get involved in the design and build, and work together mainly electronically over long distances and four time zones.  Our current structure includes:

    • Hubs: Liora Adler of Northern California (convener), Darrell Frey, Monica Ibacache, Paula Westmoreland, Bob Randall
    • Development: Bob Randall (convenor), Liora Adler, Andrew Millison, Darrell Frey, and Wesley Roe of Southern California.
    • Membership: Koreen Brennan Andrew Millison, Monica Ibacache, Wesley Roe,
    • Diploma Program: Koreen Brennan of Florida (Convenor), Paula Westmoreland, Melanie Mindlin, and two non-board members, Rhonda Baird of Indiana and Kendall Dunnegan

Community Development Diploma

Board members also made progress toward our newest diploma specialization in Community Development. We are excited about this diploma, as it focuses on invisible structures which are vital to the success of whole systems design. The standard, which is likely to be published in the next 60 days, emphasizes the skills to help empower and link up communities with allies in a wide variety of settings. This diploma will be fully comparable to those already offered in Site Design, Education, and Site Implementation and Development. We are looking forward to recognizing those who have mastered the special skill sets needed to achieve regenerative community development, and to mentoring others in this field.

On behalf of the Board, the Diploma Program Committee is accepting input and suggestions for this diploma from designers experienced in community development. Please contact to communicate your views now or after our existing proposal is published on http//