PDC, Certificate in Teaching Permaculture Creatively, RDNA Immersion, Trackers Earth Immersion, BS Mechanical Engineering
Matt Bennett is a cultural creative who brings years of experience in project management, urban ecology, and green career mentoring. Matt’s favorite part about living in Philadelphia is attending the weekly West Philly Clark Park Open Mic, where any and all gather to share their experiences and expressions through song, poetry, comedy, and community-improvised jams in a lively laissez-faire atmosphere under a canopy of mature broadleaf trees.
Ever since 2004, when his group of college friends founded the Organic Gardening Club to throw parties in a rooftop greenhouse, Bennett has been growing food in urban gardens, farms and forests. His latest fascination is in growing out hundreds of improved native nut trees and native fruit trees each year in air-pruning beds outside his apartment to gift to friends or plant along local canoe routes. For his livelihood, for the last 6 years Matt has been engaged in Eco-Social Work as a Crew Leader, Project Coordinator, and Project Manager for AmeriCorps programs that combine Workforce Development and Green Career Mentoring.
Matt believes that it is our role as experienced Permaculturists to develop clear career pathways for our youth so they can advance through one achievable level to the next with lots of support and coaching and choices in which direction to take. In Camden and Philadelphia, Matt developed programming that trained young adults with untapped talent in Green Stormwater Infrastructure maintenance and Urban Ecology. The work focused on reclaiming forests, meadows, and wetlands from invasive species, then planting multipurpose natives and continuing to tend those plantings through to maturity. For graduates of these programs, Matt assisted in setting up continuing opportunities with partner organizations to serve as pre-apprenticeships for cementing and deepening skills. These partners also provided a clear next step for employment in fields such as solar panel installation, becoming park rangers, green stormwater infrastructure maintenance crews, arborists and park maintenance staff.
Matt prides himself at being able to meaningfully connect with people of all backgrounds and all walks of life and has worked as a green building energy engineering consultant, ornamental gardener, substitute teacher, shelter supervisor, construction worker, and still occasionally teaches Permaculture and consults on designs.
Matt is excited to help facilitate the expansion of quality member services for all PINA participants. He is particularly curious to learn more about past PINA Design Challenge winners and how their projects are going in order to update members, share lessons and celebrate successes together. Matt says, “Grateful to come aboard!”