Six Permaculturists Talk Food Forests

Aloha! I’d love to introduce to you the six guests who will be a part of the special Visionary Culture Episode “Food Forests Across America” tomorrow night. Check it out!

Monday night, 8 p.m. Visionary Culture Radio with host Laura Fox.

Erik Ohlsen – Founder & Director – Permaculture Earth Artisans
Ethan Roland – Founder & Director – AppleSeed Permaculture
Max Meyers – Director – Mendocino Ecological Learning Center
Marisha Auerbach – Founder & Director – Herb ‘n Wisdom
Jay Ma – Co-Founder, Director of Programs & Development – Living Mandala
John Valenzuela – Veteran Permaculture Designer, Educator & Consultant

Erik Ohlsen – Founder & Director – Permaculture Earth Artisans


Erik Ohlsen is a Permaculture designer, and teacher. He’s also a Community organizer, and activist. He is the director and owner of the Permaculture design and installation business called Permaculture Earth Artisans. Erik has extensive field experience in water harvesting/storm water management, Food Forests, perennial polyculture, erosion control systems, market gardens/farms, ponds, integrated Pest management, sustainable forestry, irrigation systems, grey water/bioremediation, use of and influence to microclimates, urban agriculture, community gardens, watershed restoration, operating heavy machinery, and facilitating crews. Erik has taught courses in Permaculture and related subjects throughout the US, Canada, and the UK. He currently teaches with the Earth Activist Training, the Regenerative Design Institute and guest teaches with The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. Internationally, Erik has worked on campaigns for global Justice. He has founded numerous nonprofits over the years. The following are organizations Erik has cofounded or founded: Planting Earth Activation, PA, an organization dedicated to planting community gardens, growing and saving heirloom and open pollinated seed, and educating the community about sustainable agriculture. PA planted over hundred gardens in under three years. The RITES Project (Return Intentions Toward Ecological Sustainability), this organization has initiated gardens and ecoliteracy programs in schools. Also, The RITES project organizes Permaculture and bioremediation courses locally and abroad. The Green Bloc, this group of Permaculture Activists organize solution oriented actions at the WTO, G8, FTAA, and Biotech meetings. Adopt-an-Activist, An organization dedicated to fundraising for activists, to enable full time stints for people dedicated to this work.

Ethan Roland – Founder & Director – AppleSeed Permaculture

Ethan is a permaculture designer, teacher, and researcher based in the Connecticut and Hudson river valleys. He studies and practices regenerative design in all corners of the world, from the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan to the tropical monsoon ecosystems of Thailand. Ethan builds resilience for local and global communities through the ecological design & development firm AppleSeed  Permaculture (, and helps to organize the  Northeastern Permaculture Network ( He holds an M.S. in Collaborative Eco-Social Design from Gaia University, and is currently working for the university in Organizational Development and to grow the Bachelor’s program. Ethan is a joyfully dedicated plant geek, and works closely with Dave Jacke (, Eric Toensmeier, and Jonathan Bates on the Board of the Apios Institute ( to further the art and science of Edible Forest Gardens. He has planted forest gardens all over the northeast, and is eager to share is passion and experience with developing these incredible ecosystems of abundance.

Max Meyers – Director – Mendocino Ecological Learning Center


Maximillian Meyers is an Ecological Designer, Permaculture Teacher, Farmer and Director of the Mendocino Ecological Learning Center (, a nonprofit educational organization and ecological reserve that offers green job training and practices sustainable stewardship of land, plants, animals and energy systems. He has been studying, practicing and teaching Permaculture and Ecological Design for 11 years. In addition to the work at MELC, Max provides Ecological design services to the public, organizations and schools. He is passionate about all things related to a more just and sustainable world.  Since graduating from New College of California’s Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Communities B.A. program and Santa Rosa Junior College’s Sustainable Agriculture Program, Max has become a certified Permaculture designer/teacher, Aquaponics system installer and sustainable water systems specialist. He has been fortunate enough to study with people like Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton, Sepp Holzer, Tom Ward, Jude Hobbs, Penny Livingston and many others in places like the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Hawaii. Some of his fields of study and practice include: Natural Building, Biodynamic Farming, Integrated Rainwater Collection and Storage, Alternative Transportation, Mushroom Cultivation, Sustainable Forestry, Beekeeping, Animal Husbandry, Renewable Energy, Biogas Production and use, Greywater Systems design and installation, Vermiculture, seed saving and many other sustainable technologies, methods and skills. Max has experience teaching Permaculture, Natural Building, Cob Construction, Renewable Energy, Organic farming, Beekeeping and others. Maximillian Meyers lives with his wife and partner Maria Luisa in Willits, California.

Marisha Auerbach – Founder & Director – Herb ‘n Wisdom


Marisha Auerbach has been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past eight years. Marisha is working to share knowledge and educate others on a variety of topics including: permaculture, flower and gem essences, local economics, community building, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, organic gardening, and others. She is enthusiastic about and building local community through the power of gardens, local economics, and creating perennial forage systems . Marisha’s interest in local economics and creating useful items using her resources manifests as several projects. Marisha works on a local community marketplace in Olympia WA; she founded and operates Queen Bee Flower and Gem Essences, a business which produces and herbal products she makes from her gardens; Herb ‘n Wisdom , a permaculture  design consulting service; and Growing Greetings, a business which produces plantable greeting cards and other products. Marisha also operates a plant nursery which focuses on edible flowers and other gourmet specialty food items. Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. She continues to interact with students from the Evergreen State College by offering internships as well as on-going events and workshops at the beautiful permaculture gardens she caretakes in Olympia, WA.

Jay Ma – Co-Founder, Director of Programs & Development – Living Mandala


Jay Ma is a permaculture designer, facilitator, and community organizer committed to cultural healing through Peacemaker Principles. He received his first permaculture design certification through Naropa University in 2001, a B.A. through New College of California in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with a concentration in Eco-Dwelling/Natural Building, and is a graduate of the pioneering two-year training intensive in Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness. Since then Jay has been developing educational programs, retreats, workshops, and events as well as community land development projects with organizations including the Regenerative Design Institute (, the Institute of Noetic Sciences (,  Earth Circle (, Divine Joy (, Gaia University and others. Jay is co-founder and director of programs and development of Living Mandala ( – an emmerging collective of educators, designers, and consultants, and works with others organizing educational courses, workshops, and events for eco-social regeneration in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  He is currently pursueing a Master’s degree with Gaia University ( in Organized Learning for Eco-Social Regeneration, and working on the development of a regional Center of Gaia University in the San Francisco Bay area.. Jay is also a certified Permaculture Teacher, a Fire Walk Instructor through Sundoor International (, and is passionate about renewing Rites of Passage experiential programs for people of all ages.

John Valenzuela – Veteran Permaculture Designer, Educator & Consultant


John Valenzuela is a horticulturist, consultant, and veteran permaculture educator with experience teaching and consulting a wide range of people including children, students, professionals, owners, renters, institutions, businesses, displaced sugar workers, and more. John has been a lead permaculture design course instructor at the Bullock Family Homestead in Orcas Island Washington for 10 years, and also has experience teaching in Costa Rica and throughout urban and rural California. Living in Hawai’i for 15 years, John has studied and practiced tropical permaculture and taught extensively in the Islands. His special interests are home gardens, plant propagation, rare fruit, food forests, agroforestry, ethnobotany, and native ecosystems. John is now based in his home state of California, where he maintains a small nursery and shares his passion for plants.


About Laura Fox

Laura Fox, host of Visionary Culture Radio, produces events and media to assist in The Shift.
This entry was posted in raw vegan. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Six Permaculturists Talk Food Forests

  1. Pat Brady says:

    I am new to Permaculture ideas. Almost all that I read about it, it seems they are located in the tropics. Well, I’m not in the tropics and the ones that talk it up here in the U.S.A. say it can be done anywhere. So, I’d like to find a list of some specific locations of people here in the U.S.A. so that I can contact them and ask how the principles apply successfully here.

    Does anyone have such a list or website, forum etc.

    Thanks.. pat

  2. paul mock says:

    please allow me to explain. I have a home in the village of Nonmuang (Nongbua Lamphu) and would like to help the people of the village to sustain a more edible fruit forest for them and their future generations. This is something I have never done before but my dream is that I will be able to plant an orchard of edible fruit, however I would like to have an orchard of fruits from around the world as well as from Thailand. Is this possible? can you help me with information? and is it possible for any institutes/companies to help me in my quest.

    Some information about me:

    I am English, have a home in Nonmuang, have a Thai wife, live in Thailand up to 1year at a time for the last 3years, have been coming to Thailand since 2003, return to England every year to work to raise funds for life in Thailand. Hope to purchase a larger piece of land through my wife to start seed planting.

    Since living in the village I have been embraced by all the people and want to help the village be more sustainable. I am not a wealthy person but I have a good heart and wish to live and work in thailand for the good of the Thai people. Any help you are able to give me will be a help to all the people of Nonmuang.

    Kawp jai

    paul mock

    • Aloha Paul, I have emailed the six speakers from that particular radio show and asked them to come here and post some replies for you. Also please check out – there may be some resources on there for you. It’s very exciting what you are wanting to do! I’m sure some of the experts will chime in soon. Blessings! Laura

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s