Director & Senior Designer


David Shaw

Santa Cruz Permaculture, Right Livelihood College at UC Santa Cruz, Common Ground Center

David Shaw is a whole systems designer, naturalist, farmer, and educator. His focus is building connections – with ourselves, with each other, and with nature. He directs Santa Cruz Permaculture, a company dedicated to amplifying regenerative solutions through action-learning, intentional community development, and land stewardship. He also coordinates the Right Livelihood College at UCSC, a network for scaling up courageous solutions to the root causes of global problems. David completed the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, and holds a MS in Integrative Eco Social Design from Gaia University. He is a PhD student in the UCSC Environmental Studies program researching successful transnational alternative policy groups and large-scale ecosystem regeneration solutions. David is active in the global World Cafe Community, a group dedicated to hosting inter-generational dialogue on questions that matter. In order to meet the challenges of today, he is creating an urban farm and inter-generational learning center that fosters hands-on farm and wilderness skills, cultural competence, social entrepreneurship, and collective action.

Marketing & Communications Consultant

Leah Stern

Leah grew up in the Midwest, spending time in the summer at her grandparents’ farm, shucking sweet corn and making applesauce. An interest in growing food has stayed with her through stints in finance, accounting, photography, marketing, non-profits, and mothering. After moving to the Santa Cruz Mountains, she has eagerly sought out new ways to grow more delicious varieties of all this region can sustain, while building community and learning about indigenous traditions and perspectives.

Lead Permaculture Instructor & Senior Designer


John Valenzuela

Cornucopia Food Forest Gardens

John Valenzuela is a horticulturist, consultant, and permaculture educator. Living in Hawai’i for 15 years, he studied and practiced tropical permaculture while teaching throughout the Islands to a wide range of people — children, students, professionals, farmers, displaced sugar workers, owners and renters. He has been a lead permaculture design course teacher at the Bullock Family Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington, for 10 years, also having taught in Costa Rica and throughout urban and rural California. His special interests are home gardens, plant propagation, rare fruit, food forests, agroforestry, ethnobotany, and native ecosystems. He is now based in his original home state of California, where he maintains ornamental and edible landscapes and a small nursery, while sharing his passion for plants. John has served as the chairperson for the Golden Gate Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers Association.

Guides & Learning Partners

Janine Björnson

clay, bones, and stones

Janine Björnson is a natural builder, educator, and consultant who has a specialty in natural paints and plasters. She began her career in natural building in 1996 when she studied with Cob Cottage. Since then, she has taught over 100 workshops in Canada and the United States. Her passion for building with natural materials bloomed out of her love for the earth, in conjunction with her concern for diminishing ecological resources and toxic buildings. Since then, she has devoted the last 2+ decades to immersing herself in the world of natural materials and the knowledge of how we can shape dwellings that are healthy, healing, inspiring, and beautiful. She loves teaching and particularly loves to inspire and teach women how to build, and this is evident in her enthusiastic teaching style. Janine has presented at various Natural Building Colloquia. She has taught the natural building component of Dominican University EcoDwelling program and is the “natural materials” cyber panellist at She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach ( and artist. She lives and builds in Sebastopol, California.


Dave Boehnlein

Terra Phoenix Design, co-author of Practical Permaculture

Dave Boehnlein is principal at Terra Phoenix Design, and co-author of Practical Permaculture, an excellent entry-level permaculture design text. He is also the education director at the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island where he lived for seven years. He offers Permaculture Design Courses through Bastyr University’s Holistic Landscape Design Certificate Program and Alderleaf Wilderness College’s Wilderness Certification Program. Dave is a member of both the Cascadia Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Institute of North America. He holds a diploma in Permaculture Education and seeks to mainstream permaculture design with integrity. Dave is passionate about plants, especially weird but useful ones. Ultimately, Dave just wants to make the world a better place and eat really good fruit while doing it.

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Cassandra Boraiko

Cass is an earth steward, folk herbalist, forager, and holistic chef with a deeply rooted passion for plants and soil. She has been practicing and teaching regenerative agriculture throughout California for over a decade, most recently directing the Regenerative Ag program and no-till farm at The Mushroom Farm in Pescadero. Cass’s approach to horticulture begins with the microscopic communities that support all life, and expands out to the greater environmental impacts of how we nourish ourselves. She is dedicated to growing vibrant food and medicines in ways that increase ecological health and biodiversity. Cass is an avid homesteader and loves to bake, tan hides, and wander in forests.

Della Duncan

Della Duncan

Upstream Podcast

Della Z Duncan is a Work that Reconnects Facilitator and Renegade Economist who supports individuals working to better align their values with their work as a Right Livelihood Coach and hosts the Upstream Podcast, challenging mainstream economic thinking through documentaries and conversations including: Our Struggles are Your Struggles: Stories of Indigenous Resistance and Regeneration and A World without Profit: In Conversation with Jennifer Hinton. Della is also a Senior Fellow of Social and Economic Equity at the International Inequalities Institute in the London School of Economics, the Course Development Manager of Fritjof Capra’s Capra Course on the Systems View of Life, a Gross National Happiness Master Trainer, a founding member of the Doughnut Economics California Coalition (DECC), and a Senior Lecturer at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Santa Cruz Permaculture, Vital Cycles Permaculture, and Gaia Education. Della has facilitated dozens of Work that Reconnects retreats in over 10 countries over the past decade and enjoys weaving invitations for regenerative livelihoods and finances into her WTR offerings.

Maya Elson


Maya Elson weaves together the wildness of our ecosystems with the wildness of our human selves, cultivating belonging and resilience. Raised in the forest, Maya brings their skills as a Mycologist, organizer, naturalist and teacher as an offering for addressing the root causes of our social, psychological and ecological crises. Maya coined the term “Mycopsychology”, and has developed this as a modality for facilitating deeper connection with Fungi personal and planetary transformation. Since 2009, Maya has been teaching Mycopermaculture, Fungal Biology, Mycorenewal and Mushroom Identification to all ages and currently offers classes in the Santa Cruz area. As the Executive Director of CoRenewal from 2016-2021, they worked to mitigate toxins from wildfires, petroleum contamination and other environmental disasters by working in collaboration with Fungi. Maya is the co-founder and Program Coordinator of the CoRenewal’s Post Fire Biofiltration Initiative, an effort and experiment using Fungi to prevent toxins from burned homes from entering sensitive waterways. Maya is one of the founding members of the Radical Mycology network, and has started applied Mycology groups in Olympia, WA and the San Francisco Bay area. Maya has worked as a campaign organizer with a number of climate justice and wilderness defense struggles over many years. Since 2006, Maya has been supporting youth in finding their place in their ecological and human communities by working with Wild Child Santa Cruz, Gaia Passages, and other programs. Maya holds a Graduate Certificate in Ecopsychology, and BA in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College.


Ken Foster

Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping

Ken is a native of Santa Cruz, Ca. In 1970 at the age of thirteen he met Alan Chadwick, the founder of the UCSC Farm and Garden. In 1985, he was an apprentice at that program and has a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from there. He also has an A.S. degree from Cabrillo College in landscape horticulture.

In 1988 after completing the Farm and Garden apprenticeship program he co-founded Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping with a fellow apprentice. He is the owner of Terra Nova ( and has been a landscape contractor since 1991.

Ken earned his first certificate in Permaculture Design in 1996 and has also earned certificates in Advanced Permaculture design and Permaculture teacher training. He also holds certificates in the Green Gardener and Advanced Green Gardener programs. Ken has a Permaculture demonstration garden with his partner/fiancé Jillian Steinberger, has been teaching Permaculture Design Courses since 2008 and has taught the Permaculture class at Cabrillo College since 2012. In 2018 Ken was awarded a diploma in Permaculture Education from the Permaculture Institute.

Paula Grainger

The English Herbalist

Paula Grainger graduated as an herbalist from The University of Westminster in London, England in 2004. She works with clients on both sides of the Atlantic as an herbal wellness practitioner, and delights in sharing her love of plant medicines through teaching and writing about herbs. She is the creator of The English Herbalist range of herbal skincare products and has authored two books: ADAPTOGENS and INFUSE: Herbal Teas to Cleanse Nourish and Heal, which has been translated into more than ten languages. Paula brings her deep knowledge of the ancestral British herbal tradition to the California herb garden.

Darren Huckle

Roots of Wellness

Darren is passionate about the study, practice, and teaching of holistic health. He has spent over 20 years cultivating a deep knowledge of holistic life skills including western and Chinese herbal medicines, organic farming, nutrition, meditation, and Qi Gong. He is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, and teaches at Five Branches University, Esalen Institute, and University of California, Santa Cruz. A dynamic teacher and clinician, Darren loves his work and constantly expands his understanding of the human condition in wellness and sickness.

Lee Klinger, MA, PhD

Sudden Oak Life

Dr. Lee Klinger is an independent scientist living in Big Sur, California. Since 2005 he has served as director of Sudden Oak Life, a movement aimed at using ecologically-based techniques to address the problem of oak mortality in California and elsewhere. Dr. Klinger has over 30 years of academic experience in the environmental sciences and has held scholarly appointments at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Colorado, the University of Oxford, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Klinger also serves Chairman of the Board of Teleosis Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to developing effective, sustainable health care provided by professionals who serve as environmental health stewards. He is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of London.


Rita Manna

Ecological Concerns

Rita Manna is a designer who specializes in both the Landscape Architecture and Graphic Design professions.  She has 17 years of experience in the design, landscape and construction industries. She has achieved a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from Colorado State University with a concentration in Ecological Restoration and Community & Urban Development, a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Communication Design from the University of Connecticut, and has won numerous design, gardening and community service-related awards. With such a diverse design background that focuses in on not only restoration, permaculture and place-making but also visual communication, she is able to effectively communicate through a variety of mediums.

Over the years, Rita has worked with teams both large and small to create landscapes which are restorative, memorable, functional and rejuvenating. Daily, she works with teams of Restoration Ecologists, city officials, architects, and community members to rebuild landscapes throughout the American West.

Lydia Neilsen

Vital Cycles
Rehydrate the Earth

Lydia Neilsen is a permaculture landscape educator, designer and consultant specializing in passive water harvesting, as well as gardening, soil building, and loving up the earth. Lydia and her partner Anne Freiwald MPH, co-facilitate a year-long Permaculture and Personal Ecology course called Vital Cycles where they integrate patterns and principles of the landscape ecosystem with patterns and principles in the individual human being. Lydia is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and passion for the development and implementation of beautiful regenerative designs and practices on a do-it-yourself scale. She believes that animals and animal husbandry are a critical element in landscape, human, and planetary health. Lydia specializes in water harvesting earthworks for landscape hydration and restoration, soil building, greywater, productive water-conserving landscapes, tree planting, polyculture and efficient uses of limited space.


John O’Mara

Kin Centric Circles

John grew up exploring where the rolling Oak woodlands and Redwoods of Northern California meet. From an early age, he found himself exploring creek beds and listening to the songs that emerge from these open spaces. John has worked throughout the state of California shepherding youth and adults alike into the wild unknown – participating in collaborative learning experiences and allowing for the attendees to foster their own unique relationship to themselves through their connection to nature. John currently works as a shepherd at Bodega Pastures, a working ranch producing wool and lamb, is a member of Fibershed, and performs grazing contracts throughout west Sonoma county with sheep and goats. John is a teacher at the Buckeye Gathering, California’s largest ancestral skills gathering, and works in conjunction with Fire Forward and The Good Fire Alliance to utilize prescribed fire along with small ruminant impact to create biodiversity and restore our landscapes to the vestige of our precolonial footprints. John is an alumnus of the Sierra Institute, a wilderness immersion ecopsychology program that taught him the importance of our connection to nature, its effects on our psyche, and the values it imbues in our every action. John has worked for the Ventana Wilderness Alliance, School of Lost Borders, The Permaculture Skills Center, The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and Credo High School. When John is not working with education he is taking care of his dairy goats, hunting, or practicing primitive skills such as friction fire, hide tanning, and various woodcrafts.

Greg Richardson

Greg Richardson

Paicines Ranch

Greg Richardson is the Director of Research and Monitoring at Paicines Ranch – a 7,500 acre property integrating crops and livestock – where he supports the farm operations in a role that blends the services of an agronomist, scientist and compost producer. Greg recently completed a joint masters degree in agroecology and soil science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with an emphasis in soil health measurements and soil carbon cycling. Greg is passionate about enhancing the role of soil biology in agriculture as a means to improve the agronomic and ecological functioning of a landscape. He has 5 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector supporting conservation on agricultural lands and spent a summer as a farmhand at a no-till, organic fruit and vegetable farm in Sonoma County.

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Karmendra Rossy

Nucleus Permaculture Design

Kevin “Karmendra” Rossy comes from the sprawling concrete jungle of Houston, Tx, his father an avid backyard gardener, and mother a self made Interior Designer.  His artistic slant on life brought him to expand from the comfort confines of Suburbia to surrender to the Universe’s calling in search of something more. Since then he has followed his passion of Spirituality and Ecology, and it has led him all around the world as a yogic missionary and passionate builder of Permaculture systems.  He received his first Permaculture Design Certificate from Patrick Whitefield in 2005, Somerset England, and since knew that his place was here to serve life from Soil to Spirit.  In 2008 he moved to California from Denmark with his wife, and dove into the landscape profession, getting his Bachelors of Science from Gaia University, and soon landing a job with renowned Permaculture Company Permaculture Artisans. With the tools, know-how, and his own creative perspective he has created a growing business, Nucleus Design since 2014in an endevour to help increase surface water on the planet by ten fold, sequester carbon, and create beautiful spaces for connection, community, and celebration.  He now resides with his family in coastal Miwok territory in the Russian Creek Watershed in Sebastopol, Ca.

Kanyon Sayers-Roods

Kanyon Konsulting

Kanyon Sayers-Roods is Costanoan Ohlone-Mutsun and Chumash; she also goes by her given Native name, “Coyote Woman.” She is proud of her heritage and her native name (though it comes with its own back story), and is very active in the Native Community. She is an Artist, Poet, Published Author, Activist, Student and Teacher. The daughter of Ann-Marie Sayers, she was raised in Indian Canyon, trust land of her family, which currently is one of the few spaces in Central California available for the Indigenous community for ceremony. Kanyon’s art has been featured at the De Young Museum, The Somarts Gallery, Gathering Tribes, Snag Magazine, and numerous Powwows and Indigenous Gatherings. She is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of California, Sunnyvale, obtaining her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Web Design and Interactive Media. She is motivated to learn, teach, start conversations around decolonization and reindigenization, permaculture and to continue doing what she loves, Art. Kanyon is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kanyon Konsulting LLC, a consultation firm that specializes in Indigenous pedagogies.

Miles Taylor


Miles is a student, farmer and natural builder. He and Katrina Rozelle founded Muddbums in 2014 with the intention of maintaining a presence of natural building in the Santa Cruz area when their mentor Claudine Desiree began her global cob experience. Offering workshops, work parties and consultation, Muddbums has helped facilitate projects including: ovens, benches, natural finish work, outdoor kitchens, and small structures. Education of appropriate material choices, design and building techniques, along with hands on opportunities for learning, are integral parts of natural building that Muddbums provides.

Devalina Waring

Well Rooted Herbs

Devalina is a clinical herbalist, whole-food chef, animist, beekeeper & educator. Originally from the West Coast of British Columbia, she has spent the last decade diving deep into herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, functional nutrition and the natural world. Deva has been teaching herbalism classes at various schools in the Pacific Northwest and held herb camps throughout Northern California. She has a strong background in ethical harvesting, medicine making & herbal first aid. She is passionate about reconnecting people to land and getting people excited about plants. She is currently seeing clients through her private practice In her spare time she enjoys bee-centric bee keeping, exploring wild places and weaving.

Caitlin Wild

Mountain Soul Adventures

Through decades of being in deep relationship with the natural world, Caitlin’s commitment is to be of-service to Nature, her people and to the more-than-human world. The wilderness healing and counseling Caitlin offers through Mountain Soul helps people connect with their own unique gift and ‘wild soul.’ She discovered eco-psychology and indigenous earth-based healing and wholeness through many mentors (human and non-human), ‘wild listening’, edible & medicinal mushroom foraging and shamanism, the world’s most ancient spiritual practice. Her work helps people come into balance with all their parts while healing and expanding their capacity to be in right relationship to and with the earth.

Aidan Wing

Wings of Nature

Aidan Wing started beekeeping in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California in 2008. 

Growing up in nearby La Honda, Aidan knows the fields and forests that create the unique taste of California honeys. Aidan is the owner of Wings of Nature – a beekeeping company specializing in artisanal honeys, bee products, pollination and queen bee production. Aidan’s biggest passion is his selective breeding program for queen bees. His other current focus is working hand-in-hand with local farmers and ranchers to create a holistic, regenerative agricultural system. Aidan has a background in commercial fishing, natural building, farming, and teaching.

Join us this summer on our coastal farm for an immersive permaculture experience - our 2-week design course. Register soon!