Dan has been working in Forest Gardens, Permaculture, Ecology and Horticulture for the last 5 years and brings extensive skills and knowledge to any project. His background in Horticulture, Forestry and Ecology means that he understands the functions of many different plants and the environments they grow in. More recently he has been designing and implementing Forest Garden systems using the Design Framework outlined by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier in Edible Forest Gardens (http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/). He has designed and developed an excellent teaching program to enable students to understand the ecological principles that allow a forest to function and how to design a garden to encourage those processes to develop resilient, productive polycultures.
Dan hopes to use his communication skills and experience to assist in the rapid uptake of Forest Gardens & Food Forests in home gardens, community gardens and small holdings to ensure resilient food production into the future.
I grew up in the Southern Tablelands in Australia and was introduced to gardening and permaculture principles by my neighbors at the age of 12. I followed this passion for plants and studied Ecology and Botany at my local university. I held various jobs running green houses and performing garden maintenance to help pay my way.
Following graduation I working for the Ecosystem Dynamics Group at the Research School of Biology working on frost tolerance in snow gums and salt tolerance in Mangroves. I have held a position with this group since 2008 working intermittently on different projects. I love working in the field in the unique ecosystems of Australia working on natural ecological systems.
In 2008 I was accepted as a horticulture intern at the National Tropical Botanic Garden in Kaua’i, Hawaii, which focused on Tropical Horticulture and Ethnobotany. I have always been fascinated by the connections between people and plants and the program gave me to opportunity to study and practice Polynesian plant use and production systems for food, fiber and medicines. Two of the garden’s sites contained traditional Hawaiian Ahu’puaha production systems which traditionally produced Timber, Taro and Farmed Fish with a Lo’i system.
We learned about all the plants the Polynesians traveled with on their canoes in order to transform the islands they arrived at. We built I’imu ovens and wove baskets and plates as well as practicing coconut husking.
The program also contained a fairly extensive conservation and horticulture program focused on maintaining the remaining biodiversity on the Hawai’ian islands. We participated in site restorations, bush regeneration, garden maintenance and nursery production.
When I returned to Australia I worked briefly for an indigenous ranger program in Arnhem Land. Working for the program was a rewarding experience but I realised that “land-management” was missing the point a little bit. Preventing the growth of plants that were repairing the landscape and dumping chemicals in sensitive wetlands
I decided to pursue permaculture to re-engage with it as a design science and have been powering forward ever since. I have designed and teach in a school garden in Yarralumla where I grew up and it’s been a great joy involving children in food production and experience based permaculture learning. Further, I run workshops in the garden for the local community and sell and produce useful plants.
Both my parents were teachers and they have imparted to me the skill of knowledge transfer. I am starting to teach more adult learners practical horticulture and permaculture skills, such as grafting and seed-saving. I also have begun teaching the areas I am most familiar with on PDCs such as ecology, soils and the function of trees. I have completed teacher training with Ro Morrow and been delivering Forest Garden courses to assist in successful polyculture design and development.
My aim is to apply permaculture design to large-scale land repair to prevent erosion, develop resiliant and revitalise streams and waterways.