Who We Are

The Permaculture Institute was founded by Bill Mollison and Scott Pittman in 1997 to promote the permaculture concept through education. Over 25 years later we are advancing permaculture, offering programs in ecosystem, self and community transformation, and publishing insights about the field. Learn more about Our History.

Delaware River Watershed,

Pennsylvania, USA

Jason Gerhardt - Co-Director

For twenty years Jason Gerhardt has professionally practiced and taught permaculture design in diverse environments from the hyper-arid US Southwest to underserved neighborhoods in North St. Louis to a refugee community in Central America. Jason’s design portfolio includes academic campus planning, regenerative agriculture site development, organizational strategizing, food justice initiatives, farmer-accelerator program development, and extensive work with conservation organizations. Jason has taught thousands of students for Naropa University, University of Colorado, the US EPA, and Oregon State University, among dozens of private and public institutions. A developer of multiple land-based enterprises for ecological community development, he holds a BA in Sustainable Design from Prescott College, as well as Permaculture Diplomas in the fields of Site Design, Education, and Research from both the Permaculture Institute, Inc., and Permaculture Institute of North America.

Jason is an outstanding vegetable grower using human-scale methods, an accomplished agroforestry systems designer, and a renowned ecological water management consultant, often combining all three of these specialties in the design of agroecosystems.

Jason serves as Co-Director of the Permaculture Institute, Inc., and founder of Real Earth Design. His emphasis is at the union of the natural world and human culture. A student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for over twenty years, he applies a keen awareness of ecosystems, society, and self to his transformative work connecting people to all life. He is a devoted husband, paddler, writer, and farmer. When not serving his students and professional community, he can be found joyfully immersed in innovative farms, rivers, mountain lakes, and cityscapes.

Costa Rica

Natalia Vega - Co-Director

Natalia studied Agriculture Sciences at EARTH University in her native Costa Rica, as well as Holistic Sciences at Schumacher College in the UK. From 2011 to 2017 she co-taught Permaculture Design Courses with Scott Pittman in Costa Rica—a very rich experience that allowed her to have an amazing mentor while meeting hundreds of students from multicultural backgrounds. She earned her Permaculture Diploma in Site Design and Teaching in 2017 and continues teaching to this day.

Her life has been guided by a sometimes annoying questioning of “who am I?” A feeling that this life is much more than what “The System” tells her, and always looking with suspicion towards technologies and systems that disconnect us from Nature. This questioning, along with an innate love for natural settings, led her to live as a monk in a Yogic Ashram in the mountains of Costa Rica for ten years. Aside from the exploration of invisible structures, inner realms of consciousness, and community living as a monk, she also designed and constructed naturally built homes, as well as incredible agroforestry, erosion control, and biological waste water treatment systems.

In her professional life, she co-founded Pronativas Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and studying the rich potential of native plants of Costa Rica, which led her to coordinate workshops, conferences, and botanical field trips, as well as designing and implementing gardens and native nurseries in several regions of Costa Rica. She also works as an independent consultant for compost toilets, waste management, erosion control and water management. She works from the perspective of helping create a holistic system that is beautiful, efficient and enjoyable, and not a maintenance trap.

Natalia lives in Costa Rica still, not yet in a permanent place, but leaving in her path trees, banana circles, compost toilets, handmade houses, seedbanks, native gardens, water harvesting structures, beauty and many good friends. Her devotion is to the internal exploration, to find understanding of the interconnectedness of everything, overcoming the illusion that we are separate entities, so that all beings can live in joy, harmony, and beauty. She firmly believes that this understanding will bring the most coherent designs in any realm.

British Columbia,


Delvin Solkinson - Diploma Program Coordinator

Delvin Solkinson is a community gardener, native plant enthusiast, life-long learner, and teacher from British Columbia, Canada. Collaborating with his wife Grace, a homesteader, herbalist and creative cook, he creates free learning and teaching tools, writes articles and makes videos. He has taught permaculture to thousands of people of different ages and built numerous community learning gardens in public places and on school grounds.

Completing a PDC, Diploma and Master’s Degree with Bill Mollison, Delvin has also done thirteen advanced courses and thirteen teacher trainings in-person with permaculture legends across the planet. His learning includes multiple Permaculture Design Course’s, two more Permaculture Diplomas and a five year Doctoral Degree. He has been shaped by extensive study and mentorship from Larry Santoyo and Looby Macnamara. He currently pursues a Post-Doc in Permaculture Education.

A Diploma Tutor with Permaculture Association UK and Instructor on the Pacific Rim College Permaculture Design and Resilient Eco-systems Diploma, Delvin loves to support people to learn and practice permaculture.

Serving as the Diploma Program Co-ordinator and a Field Mentor for the Permaculture Institute, Inc., Delvin applies his diverse education to create transformative learning opportunities for those already practicing permaculture and those just arriving.

Colorado River Country,

Utah, USA

Ros McCann - Board Member

Roslynn McCann first engaged with permaculture over a decade ago during an introductory workshop with the renowned Brad Lancaster and Joel Glanzberg in Moab, UT. As a Sustainable Communities Professor at Utah State University (USU), she has found that the permaculture framework—with its integrated lens and interweaving of Indigenous knowledges and western science—provides a critical pathway toward social and environmental healing. She spearheaded the USU Permaculture Initiative in 2013, has coordinated the creation of permaculture garden sites on main campus and a large part of the USU Moab campus, and has taught permaculture design to hundreds of community members, colleagues, students, and interns over the past ten years. Roslynn has also conducted and published national research regarding the permaculture movement, worked on a team to simplify Utah’s greywater policy, and has woven permaculture design into presentations on greywater, sustainable living, local food, composting, water conservation, and climate change mitigation and resilience. Her work has influenced thousands of individuals in audiences ranging from elementary school students to the federal government.

Outside of the University, Ros lives in a passive solar, 100% electric strawbale home she designed and built with her husband within a walking/biking only community in Moab, UT. Her perennial edible-centric landscape is fed primarily by greywater and rainwater. She rides a mountain and electric commuter bike as her primary modes of transit and supports local farmers and local economies both within and outside of her work. She is a mother of two wild boys and is helping them recognize, and express gratitude for, the abundance that mother earth provides.

Gulf Coast,

Florida, USA

Raleigh Barnes - Board Member

Raleigh Barnes is a lifelong gardener who’s been planting since a child with his father, mother and sister. He’s had the privilege of growing in Texas, Hawaii, Costa Rica and mostly subtropical Florida. Raleigh is a dynamic gardener whose organic principles stretch far beyond that of industry standards. He incorporates permaculture, organic gardening, native gardening, and agroforestry, and has a knack for epiphytic plants. He is the past Vice President of the Tampa Orchid club, active member of the Sarasota Bromeliad Society and the Riverview Garden Club. In 2017 Raleigh created the Apollo Beach Garden Club non-profit located in the South Shore area of Tampa Bay to create a space for residents to experience the joy of gardening. Raleigh created a community forest garden at the Apollo Beach Recreation Center where the club hosts their monthly meeting. Many volunteers helped create this one-of-a-kind garden, and the club and garden have grown into a local staple.

Raleigh also created his highly successful business, Third Insight Design and Nursery, focusing on growing and propagating subtropical edible or otherwise useful plants as well as saving heritage fruit tree genetics. Raleigh completed his Permaculture Design Course in 2018 in Costa Rica, where he met his wife. They plan to return to Costa Rica to start their own off-grid farm and education center, continuing to practice their love of tropical plants and sharing them with the world.

in memory of our predecessors

Scott Pittman - (1940-2022) - Co-Founder - Director Emeritus

Scott Pittman resonated with so many over several decades by consistently sharing the deep wisdom of nature and how we properly develop our places in it. Scott co-founded the Permaculture Institute, Inc., with Bill Mollison in 1997 and carried Permaculture throughout the world, teaching and practicing it on every continent except Antartica for nearly forty years. He gave courses to multiple indigenous tribes in the Amazon and elsewhere, always encouraging traditional wisdom and arts. Scott taught in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Siberia, Ukraine, Brazil, Nepal, Hopiland, Navajo Nation, Haiti, and Costa Rica, among other nations. He also founded the former Permaculture Credit Union, and was a skillful builder of natural homes. Scott was a true guardian of the planet and steward of her insight.

Bill Mollison - (1928-2016) - Co-Founder

Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison set the field of permaculture in motion, from co-originating permaculture itself with David Holmgren to co-founding the Permaculture Institute, Inc., with Scott Pittman. The whole of the permaculture community is indebted to Bill for the legacy he left behind and the lineage he began. Author of multiple books, his tome, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, is unsurpassed to this day. Bill was the recipient of the international Right Livelihood Award in 1981, among other awards, and filmed the renowned Global Gardener television series. While unconventional and sometimes crude, his wild wisdom continues to create incredibly positive change all over the Earth today.

Toby Hemenway - (1952-2016) - Field Director

Toby Hemenway generously served the Permaculture Institute, Inc., as a Field Director for many years and was one of the most significant contributors to the Permaculture discipline worldwide. Toby received his first Permaculture Design Course certificate from Bill Mollison and Scott Pittman. Intellectually rigorous and warm, the author of the #1 best-selling permaculture book Gaia’s Garden, as well as The Permaculture City, and numerous illuminating articles, Toby’s articulate voice and sincere friendship is missed throughout the world.