Why PINA?

Meet some of our Board Members.

By Darrell Frey

My permaculture journey began in 1980. I was a young homesteader on a fast learning curve. When I read an interview of Bill Mollison in Mother Earth News Magazine, I knew my calling was to become a permaculture designer. Permaculture design represented the most sane way to address the dilemmas of our human relationship to the planet. In the decades since, I have met and interacted with many permaculture designers, teachers, practitioners, and students. Most of us labored in somewhat isolation, although our work was important and gained local attention. My concern was our impact got lost in the mix of sustainability and green lifestyle concepts. When I was invited to be a founding member of PINA, I saw it as an opportunity to create a professional organization that could lift permaculture out of the shadows of public consciousness. My subsequent involvement with PINA has enabled me to interact with peers who have the highest knowledge, skill, and integrity. I am enthusiastic about contributing to PINA’s continued growth and service to our collective mission.

By Bob Randall

I have been lead teaching the PDC in Houston, Texas, for 20 years and teaching PDCs for almost 30 years. My doctorate is in anthropology, and the following year I read my first permaculture book, which transformed my worldview. I have helped start three nonprofits and know firsthand how to further skill sets and organize dedicated people to collaborate. Houston is the nation’s fourth biggest city but, until recently, the permaculture community hadn’t felt a need or couldn’t organize beyond southeast Texas. Permaculture’s powerful set of design ethics and principles have nowhere near the impact that they should, which will enable us to solve our problems and continue as a species. We need to help PDC graduates get additional training or provide them with opportunities to improve the world. PINA offers these opportunities, because it’s a continental network that shares ideas and resources. It also provides skills, education, and publicity, and allows members to network and exchange ideas and advice. PINA empowers PDC graduates with new opportunities and has established professional and educational standards. When I first heard about PINA at NAPC 1, I immediately joined, and I’m extremely proud to now be a board member.

By Koreen Brennan

PINA supports permaculture designers, provides resources, raises the visibility of permaculture as a professional design methodology, and facilitates connections of all sorts. It is also a vehicle for both professionals and students to improve skill sets. I believe PINA can be an even more powerful advocacy group by further promoting those within its ranks and maintaining high standards of professionalism. Before I joined PINA’s board of directors, I was a member. It was a new organization with membership benefits still being developed. But I knew its mission was vital, its benefits untapped. My primary motivation in joining the board was to help PINA deepen and broaden its service to permaculture professionals and assist those wanting to become involved in permaculture in any capacity. Permaculture design has many answers to problems that seem intractable. We need to scale up, deepen our skills, and obtain access to opportunities where these solutions are in need. PINA especially resonated with me because it is a leverage point for change on a continental level. It is a privilege to provide a channel for designers to become professionals, as well as offer support to existing professionals connected to the field. PINA will grow and reach its potential to the degree we support it in whichever way we can.

By Andrew Millison

I have been watching and participating in attempts to create a professional permaculture organization with uniform standards and vetting for a long time. I was drawn to PINA because its founders are accomplished professionals who understood that our movement is more powerful when unified. There needs to be a respected body in the field that reviews a person’s work, checks their references, and inspects a design plan. There must be an organization that can authoritatively say, “This person can effectively teach or practice permaculture on a professional level.” PINA to me represents trust, collaboration, and due diligence. Its need is greater than ever because unethical practices have occurred under the guise of permaculture. Permaculture represents many things to different people. No one owns the word or its concepts, and it should be inclusive. But it also represents a vision of a positive future, and its paradigm demands that certain standards be met. Permaculture is a specific set of ethics, principles, and design processes that must be both learned and practiced properly. PINA supports those who need the resources of a collaborative body of experts. For those wanting backing, guidance, and support, PINA is there for them.

By Marco Lam

As a young man, I approached Bill Mollison at the end of my permaculture course and told him that I was grateful to have studied with him. When I said that he was my hero, he looked at me and said (with a bit of vinegar) that he couldn’t be my hero. He said that I was the hero and the world needed a great deal more people like myself. Some three decades later, the earth could still use a few more heroes than it has, but there’s hope. I see in the wild light of my students eyes, heroes waiting to be called forward, gardens to be planted, and a lot more. It is an honor to asked by PINA to serve on its board, so I can help the next generation care for the earth, its people, and its abundance.  

By Paula Westmoreland

For the last 20 years, I’ve been working to put permaculture into practice in the upper midwestern United States. I’ve done this as an organizer and teacher, as well as a designer and installer. And while good work has been done to heal the land and our communities, much more is required on a deeper level and larger scale. This is how we can create an abundant and resilient future for all of us. To enable this work in a powerful way, we need to strengthen the reputation and capacity of permaculture practitioners throughout the continent. We need to create pathways for people to collaborate on larger projects, share knowledge, and advance professionally. I joined the PINA’s board in 2018 because I believe it is a vehicle to move this vision forward. It accomplishes this through its diploma program, bioregional hubs, and continental reach, as well as its facilitating the development of new programming.

By Peter Bane, Executive Director

I have been aware of Jude Hobbs connection to PINA since 2009. I have enormous respect for her as a teacher, her integrity, and her leadership. When she asked me to join the board, I did so without hesitation. I had become a movement leader through doing my work for many years. More importantly, I knew that scores of my colleagues held knowledge that was invaluable and at risk of being lost because of their growing old or dying. This critical knowledge needed to be passed on to new generations of designers and teachers. I realized that if permaculture’s elders didn’t seize the moment to create PINA and structure its impact on society, it would have no legacy. Permaculture would only remain a fancy word that became meaningless over time. PINA is the remedy for keeping permaculture relevant and maximizing its impact.