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Meet Your Instructors

Peter Bane published Permaculture Activist magazine for over 20 years and has taught permaculture design widely in the temperate and tropical Americas. Author of The Permaculture Handbook, he is a native of the Illinois prairie whose interest in good food and simple living led him at mid-life to become a writer and teacher of permaculture design.

Peter is the Executive Director and was a founding board member of PINA (Permaculture Institute of North America). He is also a co-founder of the Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute, a regional hub in the PINA network.

He was also drawn into the arcane world of intentional community as fate presented the opportunity to help create and build Earthaven Ecovillage in the southern Appalachian Mountains. There he discovered his inner architect in the course of building a small off-grid solar cabin and later took on the more prosaic job of rehabilitating a pair of suburban ranch houses in the Midwestern college town of Bloomington, Indiana.

Peter has earned a string of diplomas in Education, Media, Community Development, Trusteeship, and Site Design from the Permaculture Academy of Britain, the Permaculture Institute, and PINA.

In 2014, he began building a new garden farm on 10 acres of sand in west Michigan with partner Keith Johnson. Blue Sky Farm emerged from these efforts, and the two have since moved into an energy-efficient, climate appropriate, multifunctional solar building in the breezy Lakeshore region. There they are developing hedgerows, orchards, productive gardens, renewable energy, programs of rotational grazing with small animals, and sustainable management for their 6 acres of oak woods.

A prolific writer in journals and collections on forestry, building, and all things permaculture, he has turned his attention in recent years to climate cooling, and through PINA and GRLPI, to organizing permaculture graduates into an effective force for good in the Energy Descent Era.

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Keith Johnson was raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (where he learned at an early age he was related to Johnny Appleseed), and has been a commercial landscaper, stonemason, and organic gardener since 1976 in places as varied as subtropical Bay Area of California, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Michigan, and the mountains of W. North Carolina. After devouring Permaculture One in 1978 he continued to learn all he could on the subject.

He’s been teaching Permaculture since 1995, has instructed more than 1200 students, many of those through Indiana University’s annual Design Course which began in 2003. He’s taught or trained with Bill Mollison, Larry Santoyo, Tom Ward, Penny Livingston, Peter Bane, Chuck Marsh, Andrew Goodheart Brown, Albert Bates, Starhawk, Jerome Osentowski and others. Previously resident in Bloomington, IN, Keith now lives in Montague, MI).

Keith participated in a number of local and national activism projects including the editorial guild of the Permaculture Activist, the founding of Transition Bloomington (Indiana’s first Transition Town Initiative), and past board member of the Local Growers Guild. He contributed to Bloomington’s Peak Oil Task Force, was active with the Bloomington Permaculture Guild, served on the Bloomington Food Policy Council and helped launch the Trillium Horticultural Park Project.

Public speaker and radio interviewee, he works to share a vision of cultural and ecological regeneration and continues to provide ecological design and consultation services via Patterns for Abundance. He is also web manager and assistant editor of Permaculture Design Magazine. Keith holds diplomas in Education, Design, Site Development, Community Service, and Media from the Permaculture Institute and diplomas in Teaching and Design from PINA.

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