Patrick Whitefield passed away on 27th February 2015 following several months of illness. He had retired in September 2014, passing the running of Patrick Whitefield Associates on to his colleague and co-teacher Caroline Aitken, who is now the director, lead teacher and consultant.
Patrick created our residential and online courses during his 25 year career in Permaculture and wrote many articles and several books including The Earth Care Manual a comprehensive guide to practicing permaculture in a temperate climate. He was brought up on a smallholding in Somerset and qualified in agriculture at Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire. After several years working in agriculture in the Middle East and Africa, he settled in central Somerset. In 1983 he bought a flower-rich hay meadow to save it from destruction and kept it as a nature reserve for 25 years before handing it on to the Somerset Wildlife Trust for safe keeping. He was always a keen vegetable gardener, and some fifteen years ago he planted an orchard which produced an abundant supply of apples from September to May. In the past he made his living by a variety of country crafts, and for a while he was a prominent member of the Green Party. From 1990 onwards he devoted himself to permaculture, especially to teaching it, and appeared on the BBC television programmes, It’s not Easy Being Green and A Farm for the Future.
“I find permaculture makes use of the varied skills I’ve acquired during my life, and puts them into a cohesive whole.”
Patrick was one of the leading and pioneering permaculture teachers in Britain, and indeed in Europe. In his legacy of books and films he combined a deep knowledge of the subject with an inspiring and professional style. He’s written three books on permaculture: Permaculture in a Nutshell, How to Make a Forest Garden and The Earth Care Manual. His latest book is How To Read The Landscape (an abridged and edited version of his previous book The Living Landscape, how to read it and understand it), was a subject especially close to his heart. He also practiced for many years as a design consultant.
Caroline is the director of Patrick Whitefield Associates. She is the leading teacher on our residential and online courses and is our primary design consultant. Caroline originally trained with Patrick before working along side him, and has a background in design, organic food growing and horticulture and used to work as an eco-cook.
Her experience includes managing 2 acres of intensive organic vegetable production, managing 5 acres of ornamental and food gardens at a meditation retreat centre, and catering for groups, courses and retreats. Caroline has taught with other well-respected permaculture teachers both in Britain and Europe and runs her own courses at centres around the country including The Sustainability Centre and High Heathercombe.
Caroline lives with her partner and son on a 4 acre smallholding in Dartmoor where they are working towards self-sufficiency and creating educational spaces. She writes our blog and is co-author with Martin Crawford of Food from your Forest Garden, a comprehensive guide to making best use of your forest garden produce. Visit her website and personal blog Think.Grow.Eat for more information.
Sarah teaches on all our Design Courses. She’s an urban permaculturist and a leading member of Bristol Permaculture Group. She’s very active in her local area and for several years was co-ordinator of Easton Community Allotments, an inner-city permaculture project. She has been a prominent member of Transition Bristol and more recently has set up her own permaculture teaching partnership, Shift Bristol. The words most often used to describe Sarah’s teaching are fun and inspiring. She opens up a cornucopia of possibilities for practicing permaculture in the town. Visit her site http://www.sarah-pugh.co.uk
Matt has owned and run Ragmans since 1990. He has hosted numerous courses over the years for
teachers such as Patrick Whitefield, Bill Mollison, Mike Feingold, Chris Evans, Andy Langford, Geoff Lawton and Jude and Michel Fanton from Australia, Starhawk and Penny Livingston- Stark from LA as well as our team who currently teach at Ragmans.
He has experience through his management of Ragmans, in livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry), vegetables, mushroom production, orchards and apple juicing, as well as staff and volunteer managment.
He was on the steering group of Transition Forest of Dean for a year, and has worked as a consultant for the Foundation of Local Food Initiatives. He co authored the first Local Food Directory in 1997. He has been a Trustee of the Tudor Trust for 25 years.
Seema works as a co-teacher on our Permaculture courses. She is a Forest School Leader and community gardener and works with people of all ages outdoors.
She has over 15 years’ experience in facilitating arts and environmental education and is particularly interested in experiential learning. She has worked with numerous groups in urban areas to set up food growing spaces and has worked on other community initiatives including a food waste kitchen, a forest garden and a local Transition Town. She is particularly interested in People Care, forest gardens, local food and natural/upcycled crafts.
Morwenna is a facilitator of the peoplecare aspects of permaculture. She specialises in self-awareness and self-care, group communication and community building; putting a strong focus on the importance of the emotional health of the humans in a permaculture system. She has worked as a facilitator in the arts and sustainability fields for 15 years and runs her own small training consultancy, Carbonhalo, facilitating workshops that range from carbon management through to deep ecology. She is currently training to be an eco-psychotherapist and hopes to work with nature helping people heal from trauma. As well as working as a facilitator and a therapist she also works as a cook for retreats and permaculture courses and teaches vegetarian cookery at Demuths Cookery School in Bath.
Seb is a tutor on the Ecology module of our Land Course Online. He is an ecologist, and has been observing natural systems for over 30 years, including 20 years working in conservation and ecological research. His main interest is on interactions between people and ecosystems, and Seb draws on his knowledge of natural systems to guide all aspects of design and decision making. Since 2011 he has worked with Transition Stroud, supporting local initiatives that build community resilience. He is a member of Stroud Woodland Coop, which cooperatively owns and manages a small woodland on the outskirts of Stroud, and is part of a communal fruit and veg growing group in the Slad Valley. He is a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design apprentice and teaches permaculture in and around Stroud.
Other teachers on various courses include:
Simon Cutter – Manager of Model Farm, pioneer in regenerative agriculture http://www.modelfarm.org/
Steve Pickup – willow expert http://thewillowbank.com/
Carine van Gestel – craftswoman and teacher
Freya Davies – self-trained herbalist and Manager of Ragmans Lane Farm
Permanent Publications publishes Permaculture Magazine and many books on pemaculture. It also runs a mail-order catalogue for books on permaculture and related subjects.
The Permaculture Association (Britain) is the membership and networking organisation for all aspects of permaculture in Britain today.
Ragmans Lane Farm, our main teaching venue, also runs courses on willow
structures and apple juice and cider making.
Sarah Pugh. As well as working with us Sarah Pugh runs permaculture courses in Bristol and is available for teaching assignments and consultancy.
The Sustainability Centre, another teaching venue, runs a wide range of courses, mainly on country crafts.
Irish Seed Savers do invaluable work preserving traditional Irish varieties of fruit, vegetables and farm crops. Jo Newton, who co-teaches on the Sustainable Land Use Course, is one of their key workers.
Architype leading eco architects
Elemental Solutions is the biological water purification firm run by our regular guest tutor Mark Moodie.
The Willow Bank is the willow supply and construction service run by our regular guest tutor, Steve Pickup.
Aquavision is the aquaculture consultancy run by Jimmie Hepburn.
The Agroforestry Research Trust has extensive trial plantings tree crops and other plants which are central to permaculture. It also publishes information on agroforestry and supplies plants.
Spiralseed puts on permaculture courses, mainly in London and Essex
Cosy Enterprises have produced this website and do all our graphic design.
Caroline Aitken – Patrick Whitefield Associates