Permaculture Artisans Staff
Founder/Principal/Senior DesignerErik is the Executive Director of the Permaculture Skills Center, a vocational training school which offers advanced training in ecological design, landscaping, farming and land stewardship. He is also the Founder/Principal at Permaculture Artisans, a fully licensed contracting firm specializing in the design and installation of ecological landscapes and farms throughout California. Erik is an internationally renowned certified permaculture designer/practitioner and certified permaculture teacher. He is a well-known and seasoned activist organizer, and has been working within permaculture and activist movements since 1998. In the field of ecological land development and management, Erik has extensive experience with projects that range from small urban lots to 100+ broadacre design and implementation. His many years of experience observing and listening to landscape patterns, and managing installation crews and design teams, have led to an extensive knowledge of all aspects of ecological land development and planning. He is a specialist in water harvesting systems, food forest design, community organizing, facilitation, vocational education and much more. Erik is known for his ability to inspire masses of people through his teaching style and ability to weave together complex issues into cohesive narratives that can be acted upon. Erik has worked throughout the world and currently resides in Sebastopol, California; managing his homestead, running his businesses and raising his young family.
Lead Landscape DesignerEmily Mallard comes to Permaculture Artisans with a decade of experience in landscape design. Obtaining her Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from Cornell University (2003) and a BFA in art history from Wittenberg University (1998), she brings a thoughtful and artful eye to her work, channeling the beauty of the outside world through the lens of a two dimensional world. Completing her coursework in permaculture design in 2012 and working with permaculture designers, her experience has broadened greatly, incorporating sustainability in all aspects of her design work. Her talent lies in her ability to creatively solve challenging issues while understanding the building process and practicalities of creating a successful landscape. Emily has been working closely with Permaculture Artisans since 2011, meeting with clients, creating plans for food forests, outdoor dining areas, planting plans, irrigation plans, master landscape plans and more. Just as seeds fly to your front door offering needed medicine, permaculture found her and has transformed the way she thinks about landscape.
Senior Design ConsultantGrover is a long time organic food forest farmer, educator, and consultant. He was recently transplanted in Calistoga, CA to create a Biodynamic/Permaculture education site. As a Soil Food Web Advisor, he consults with farmers and gardeners to create and maintain the dynamic living cycles of fertile soils. He is also chairperson of the International Association of Analog Forestry, where he creates curriculum and facilitates AF practices, bridging multiple disciplines in ecology to create sustainable rural economies in communities around the globe. Grover is a Permaculture instructor and member of the Executive Committee of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California. He serves on the faculty of the Permaculture Skills Center and is a Senior Design Consultant for Permaculture Artisans.
Project Operations ManagerChris brings over a decade of project management, green business development, and whole systems design experience to Permaculture Artisans. As the “Chief Network Node” of Transition Ventures, he serves as a consultant for socially and ecologically focused businesses and organizations in the private, municipal, and non-profit sectors. After completing a GreenMBA in 2005, Chris complimented his skill-set with a Permaculture Design Course and Teacher’s Certification in 2006 and uses this as a foundation for his work along with other tactics, technologies, and frameworks. His continuing education includes: Energy audit and efficiency courses with PG&E; five-day seminars in The Soil Food Web with Dr. Elane Ingham, Holistic Management with the Savory Institute, and Integral Sustainability with Integral Institute and Ken Wilber; a weekend intensive Urban-Farming workshop at Growing Power with Will Allen; a small farm management certificate with Oregon State University; a Micro-Farm management training with John Jeavons; and Advanced Commercial Aquaponics with Applied Permaculture at Living Mandala with Max Meyers and Jon Parr. “I am at once daunted by the challenges and inspired by the opportunities we face as a species and as community members on this Earth. I am honored to bring my skills and experience to work with Permaculture Artisans to help bring transformative, regenerative design to Northern California and beyond!”
Field Project ManagerMichael Litwin is a veteran crew member and has been promoted to Field Project Manager. Michael has been with Permaculture Artisans since the company’s inception and is no stranger to the principles of permaculture. He has been practicing earth stewardship since 2000 alongside his friend Erik Ohlsen. As a young adult in Sebastopol, Michael helped create a grass roots movement called Planting Earth Activation or PEA. Their mission was to bring together community, organic food, and sustainable living by planting free gardens. The inspiration didn’t stop there. Michael went on to study permaculture at The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center which lead to his first sustainable landscaping job with permaculture great, Penny Livingston. He has since planted countless gardens and dug many-o-swale upon the land of Sonoma County. His in-depth knowledge of permaculture installation and his close connection to this community make him a great fit for Permaculture Artisans. If you can’t find Michael digging in the dirt, you’ll find him singing on stage with his band Sol Horizon or on the field with his soccer team. Michael has a passion and zeal for life and a love for Mother Nature that inspires those around him to take action. Care of earth, care of people, return of surplus…long live permaculture!