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Tutor Biographies

Sarah Pugh is founding Director of Shift Bristol and lead tutor on the PSC. She has been teaching Permaculture in Bristol and the UK since 2003. She teaches an annual urban based course and taught for several years on the Sustainable Land Use course with Patrick Whitefield. She has worked as a community gardener, fundraiser, events organiser and development consultant in Bristol’s voluntary sector since 1999. In 2006 she initiated and co-ordinated Transition Bristol and trained as a Transition Trainer. She is a founder member of the Bristol Permaculture Group and has been actively involved in many community environment projects.

For over 20 years Mike Feingold has been teaching Permaculture to and learning from communities around the world including Nepal , India , Palestine , Kenya and beyond. He has also been maintaining an inspiring Permaculture allotment in Bristol for most of that time. He is a founder member of the Bristol Permaculture Group and organiser of the Glastonbury Festival Permaculture demonstration garden. Mike is one of the UK ‘s leading experts in sustainable and experimental gardening.

Dr Chris Johnstone is a specialist in the psychology of change and author of Find Your Power – a toolkit for resilience and positive change. For over two decades he has studied, taught and written about the psychological dimensions of sustainability, working closely with Joanna Macy in running workshops to promote empowered responses to global issues. He and Joanna Macey co-wrote Active Hope in 2013. He has written for Permaculture Magazine and contributed to The Transition Handbook. He produces The Great Turning Times, a free email newsletter about creating a life-affirming society.

Tim Foster has been teaching organic gardening courses in and around Bristol for 20 years. He has extensive experience of horticulture, gardening, landscaping, nursery-work, garden centre-work, tree-work and market gardening as well as a degree in horticulture and a BEd. He also has a keen interest in wine-making and brewing. He has recently written two books, organic vegetable growing (‘Good Earth Gardening') and organic fruit growing ('Fruit for Life')

Matt Dunwell has owned and run Ragmans Lane Farm since 1990 which has hosted numerous courses over the last eighteen years for teachers such as Bill Mollison, Mike Feingold, Chris Evans, Andy Langford and Jude and Michel Fanton from Australia, Starhawk and Penny Livingston- Stark. Jairo Restrepo and Juanfran lopez have helped introduce biofertilisers to Ragmans which are now used on the farm to build system health. He has farmed livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry), vegetables, mushroom production and apple juicing. 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. He is currently exploring regenerative agriculture methods.

Rob Hopkins is the founder of the Transition movement, as well as of Transition Town Totnes. He is the author of several books including 'The Transition Handbook', 'The Power of Just Doing Stuff' and most recently 'From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want'. He studied his PDF in 1992, and went on to set up the world's first 2 year permaculture course, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, the course that was the inspiration for Shift! He lectures and writes widely about imagination and about the Transition movement. He hosts a podcast series called 'From What If to What Next'. He is a keen gardener and swimmer, and makes lino prints in his spare time.

Ben Law lives and works in his coppice woodland in West Sussex, He manages the woodland for a range of products and timber for his roundwood timber framing business. He trains apprentices and runs courses on sustainable woodland management, eco-building and permaculture design. He is author of The Woodland Way, a permaculture approach to sustainable woodland management and The Woodland House, which charts the building of his unique cruck framed home in the woods. The building of his house was filmed for Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme and proved to be the most popular program of the series. Ben now runs occasional open days in response to the popular demand. Ben’s third book The Woodland Year, was published in 2008.

Danny Bala is a founder member of CoResist. He teaches introduction to Group Dynamics, Communication Methods and Consensus decision making. Using his background and experience in theatrical directing and drama.

Tony Wrench lives in West Wales in an extremely rural setting in a roundhouse that he designed using permaculture principles and built with his partner Faith. They had difficulty getting planning permission, but now it has been accepted as an official Low Impact Development. He runs courses around Europe teaching people to build roundhouses.


Jason Hawkes has trodden many paths in life, including the forces, banking, carework, carpentry and backpacking. He has found his spiritual home in environmental science in construction and now has a MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies. He has experience in building with natural materials such as timber, rammed earth and straw and has taught at primary, undergraduate and postgraduate level. He feels “sustainability must not just be this years buzzword, it must permeate all our thoughts and actions; anything less would be truly unjust”. He is a co-founder of J3 Building Futures; a sustainable development, environmental design, green construction and ecological living consultancy and is also a lecturer at the Centre for Alternative Technology, giving specialist lectures on Thermal comfort, Schools and Health and Earth Building.

Peter Harper worked for over 20 years as Head of Research and Innovation at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, UK, He is also a visiting lecturer at universities and other institutions around the world. His interests have ranged widely, including energy policy, sustainable lifestyles, ecovillages, alternative sanitation, landscape design, organic horticulture, and composting (with which he is mildly obsessed – don’t get him started). His publications include Radical Technology (1976) an influential early textbook of technical alternatives, The Natural Garden Book (1994) and Lifting the Lid (2000) on low-impact sanitation systems. Since 2007 he has worked with the Zero Carbon Britain project, focusing on the large-scale infrastructural changes required for rapid decarbonisation. His colleagues regard him as a loose cannon often at odds with Green orthodoxy. His friends think of him as an agreeable nerd!

Andy Hamilton is the co-founder of and co-author of The Selfsufficientish Bible. Andy either grows or forages much of his own food. His interest in wild plants goes further than food as he is a keen amateur herbalist and home brewer.


Jay Abrahams is a microbiologist who has a long term passion for low-entropy systems design. He attended a full permaculture design course in 1992. As a result of this course, he set up Biologic Design, his vehicle for the creation of sustainable wastewater purification and energy generation systems. He gained his Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design in 1994. Having lived off-grid for 25 years he has first hand experience of living lightly, using renewable energy and natural waste purification. Through Biologic Design he is presently creating WET Systems – constructed wetlands for wastewater purification, resource production, biodiversity enhancement and habitat creation; and also installing Treebogs (composting toilets) for a wide range of groups. He is working with Transition Towns to establish community owned Anaerobic Digestion systems (for energy production from wastes). He is also involved in sustainable woodland management, and was a director of Beetlewood Activities, a woodland-based ecological and emotional literacy education group.

Jyoti Fernandes lives on Fivepenny Farm – a smallholding in Dorset, , growing organic produce for local markets. She is a campaigner with Grassroots Action on Food and Farming on farming and development issues, and advises Chapter 7 smallholders in the UK on how to get planning permission for building their own dwellings. Fivepenny Farm is a 43 acre low-impact, sustainable smallholding where Jyoti Fernandez and her family grow organic fruit and vegetables, and keep a small number of cattle, chickens and pigs. They sell their seasonal produce in Bridport market and via a mobile shop and catering business. There is also timber-framed, thatched barn power, which provides processing facilities for the local ‘Peasant Evolution Producers’ Co-Operative’. They have an orchard, two small areas of woodland and are restoring wildflower meadows.

Martin Crawford is the Director of the Agroforestry Research Trust and has planned and carried out all research to date and is also involved in the other aspects of the Trust’s work. His recent book ‘Creating a Forest Garden’ builds on his 20 years of knowledge to show how to make a three dimensional garden of useful plants. He is particularly interested in how diverse perennial-based plant systems can exhibit cooperation between species and a whole-system identity to give it resilience.He has spent over 20 years in organic agriculture and horticulture, including working for the Yarner Trust in North Devon (teaching small-scale organic agriculture); growing food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restoring the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and running his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon. He is also a director of ‘Gaia’, a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work.

Pat Bowcock‘s love of growing things, trees, water, making fires and building shelters (which always leaked) started early. In June 1999 she looked for a piece of land to live in harmony with, which she found in the form of a pony paddock. Her aim was to create a haven for plants, wildlife, trees and people. With the help of friends, family and supporters she now has permanent planning permission to live in a low impact, off the grid, timber framed building known as ‘Our Shed’. Ourganics has become a venue for a variety of events and courses and thousands of people have had contact with the principles inherent in this environment. Pat grows salad, flowers, herbs, vegetables and willow, hosts workshops, team days and various courses. Ourganics Evolving Systemsis a demonstration, permaculture lifestyle and debt-free business.

Alice Gray is a permaculture farmer, teacher and consultant who helps to manage a community vegetable farm (Tyddyn Teg) in Snowdonia, North Wales that serves over 150 families via a weekly veg scheme. She is a certified Permaculture Educator who both organises and teaches full PDC courses and enjoys co-operating with and supporting other teachers. In addition, she works as a permaculture consultant in the international development sector and has been part of projects in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Kashmir, South Sudan and Ireland. Alice gained much of her permaculture experience during 10 years living and working in the Middle East (primarily in Palestine) from 2006-2015, during which time she helped found and run an experimental permaculture farm as well as qualifying as a teacher and working as a consultant. She returned to the UK in 2015 to help with the establishment of Tyddyn Teg and has since enjoyed honing her skills as a grower and learning to function as part of a workers' co-operative - applying permaculture design to the visible and invisible components of a productive community farm.  She lives in a caravan in a muddy field with her partner and 3 cats, alongside other Tyddyn Teg co-op members.

Charles Dowding has made no dig growing a popular option. His readers and viewers learn how it’s good for soil, healthy for plants and easy for them. His books and videos give other timesaving ways to garden, as applicable for small areas as large ones. His methods are used by millions of gardeners worldwide. Since 1982 he has created and cropped four no dig market gardens on different soils: from stony to clay. In the 1980s he cropped 3ha of no dig beds. Currently he grows vegetables on 1000 square metres for local sales of salad leaves and vegetables. Most beds grow two crops a year.
He has written ten books of which two are self published, runs a You Tube channel and Instagram account, has created online gardening courses, writes for gardening magazines, and gives talks/courses online, at home and abroad.

Caroline Aitken is a permaculture teacher and designer and director of Whitefield Permaculture courses and design consultancy. She teaches and speaks at venues around the UK and is passionate about soil regeneration, agroecology and healthy, sustainable food. She has previously worked in horticulture, small-scale farming, green catering, illustration and design. Her current work involves designing permaculture and agroecology systems for farms, estates and eco villages, and she is the Programme Development Lead on BSc Regenerative Food and Farming at Schumacher College, Dartington. Caroline currently lives on a smallholding with her family on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon where they produce fruit, vegetables, honey, eggs and firewood for their home. She trained and worked with Patrick Whitefield (author of The Earth Care Manual) for several years and co-authored Food From Your Forest Garden with Martin Crawford.

Andrew Kirby is a coppice worker and food producer based in the south cotswolds, as a woodland worker by winter and veg grower in the summer months, the overlap of the two and how they can inform each other is where his focus lies. He also keeps a small flock of sheep, teaches traditional woodland crafts and is active member of the Land Workers Alliance.

Patrick Mallery is a food activist & farmer with over 15 years of experience in growing food and developing food systems. His passion for growing food blossomed into a career when he started his own ecological & ethical business - Upcycled Mushrooms. He now consults with farms to create sustainable growing solutions, using systems which limit the energy required for fungi cultivation whilst also recycling natural waste materials from the local area into food to feed fungi. Through Upcycled Mushrooms, he provides rare local-origin strains of fungi for other growers and a range of workshops & courses on how to grow edible mushrooms. Patrick also developed the UK’s first ready to fruit “grow your own” Lion’s Mane mushroom kits. He also helped set up other innovative & unique farming projects, including the community led urban micro dairy, Street Goat

Tanya Moore is a qualified teacher with over a decade of experience teaching in a range of learning environments. She specialises in accelerated learning - using brain based learning and memory techniques to ensure that learning is engaging, memorable and effective.

Monica Barlow is the policy advsior at Bees for Development, where they teach best practices in beekeeping to create sustainable and resilient livelihoods for vulnerable communities. They campaign for the protection and restoration of wildflower meadows and pollinator habitat in the UK, as well as supporting beekeepers who make the right choices and promoting their products. They also run inspiring courses and events.

Antonio Paladino and Amanda Heron are farmers and educators of aquaponics, committed to mindful eating practices and the creation of positive change for people and environment. They farm Rainbow Trout and horticultural produce in the most simple and ethical way at their Bioaqua Farm.

Steve England is excited by all things 'Wild' from food to wildlife. He spends most of his time outdoors, learning, relaxing and teaching others. During his ten years training with the RHS and years of “in the field” he has gained masses of knowledge on plants, trees, fungi, flowers & animals. He runs 'Wild Food' events food those interested in everything from learning the basics of food foraging, expanding their knowledge of wild mushrooms, or just fancying a good day out in the woods to try some tasty wild foods.

Becs Griffiths from Rhizome Clinic holds a BSc (Hons) First class degree in Herbal Medicine. The National Institute of Medical Herbalists also awarded her the Arthur Baker Award for best final clinical examination in the UK and the Dorothy Carroll Award for top final clinical examination at UEL in 2009. In 2010 she established Rhizome Community Herbal Clinic, an established & trusted herbal clinic in Bristol, providing the highest quality healthcare using plant-based medicine. She contiunally furthers her herbal and clinical knowledge and has studied Appalachian Herbal Medicine with Alabama herbalist Phyllis Light, Chinese diagnostics and Chinese herbswith Dedj Liebbrant, at the Intuitive School of Herbal Medicine with Nathaniel Hughes. She is currently taking an accredited antenatal and doula training course with Amanda Rayment and Dominique Sakoilsky.

Nicky Scott is the founding member of Proper Job, one of the UK’s first community reuse centres nestled on the northeast edge of Dartmoor in Devon established in 1995. They are a Charity that aims to keep reusable items away from landfills, by putting them on sale in an Aladdin’s cave of pre-loved treasures. Nicky is the co-ordinator for Devon Community Composting Network, and has been supporting community composting and specifically in-situ composting of food waste with school kitchens and businesses since 2005. Nicky has designed, lectured and spoken at many confrences about small-scale composting systems.


Joanna Forsyth studied and later taught courses with the Cob Cottage Company in Oregan USA and has developed her skills as a builder in conventional and timber and cob building settings. She designs,  builds and teaches around the UK, Australia and the USA.

Simon Crook was a student on the PSC in 2011. Since then he has been building roundhouses in many settings and is now an experienced green wooderworker.

Charles Soares attended the Shift course in 2016/17 as a Shifty 7. He was looking for a change in his life to have a more sustainable and positive impact on the world. He fell in love with the roundhouse build and was inspired by Simon, Jo and Tony Wrench. After completing the course he attempted to find work in green building and worked in general construction after a year. Eventually he was fortunate enough to begin working with Simon and has since facilitated in building several roundhouses and other low impact buildings. Over the years he haa developed his skills and found his true passion lies in both traditional and roundwood timber framing.


Laura Corfield is a co-founder of Shift Bristol and facilitated the PSC until 2013 when she left to start a family. Now a mother of two she is hopping back aboard the Shifty wagon (albeit via Zoomsphere) and is looking forward to navigating this year’s adventure with the students. Alongside facilitating permaculture courses Laura has volunteered with a host of community engagement and sustainability groups; including founding Transition Keynsham, participating in Climate Action camps and demonstrations and supporting Bristol’s Kebele social centre.

Alex Reuer joined Shift as a voluntary director in 2018. She came on board as part of the team in 2019 as a facilitator and systems- manager-in-chief. After completing the PSC as a student in 2017, her interest in local food systems led her to volunteer and work for the Landworkers’ Alliance and to become a board member at Sims Hill Shared Harvest, where she does a bit of organising and rather a lot of weeding. Having worked as a freelance translator and interpreter for the past ten years, she still devotes some of her time to human rights and environmental translations. She has many years of experience in volunteering as a community organiser and media officer for small local organisations. As a member of the Bristol Community Land Trust, she was involved in shaping a new co-housing project in North Bristol – and is over the moon to be living there from 2021!