Featured Teachers

Browse through the lovely people who will be offering workshops or tutorials during the Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence.


Michael Judd

Ecologia Design

Michael Judd has worked with agro-ecological and whole-system designs throughout the Americas for over two decades, focusing on applying permaculture and ecological design. His projects increase local food security and community health in both tropical and temperate growing regions. He is the founder of Ecologia Edible & Ecological Landscape Design and Project Bona Fide, an international nonprofit supporting agro-ecology research. Author of ‘Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist’.


Bradley Sanders

The Timber Frame Folly

Founded and operated a family firm; Sanders Museum Services, which employed 5-25 persons to provide artifact handling, mounting and installation services for major museums and private collections. Founded the Timber Frame Folly, a Community gathering and performance space.

Bradley works as a metalsmith and lost wax founder. He maintains multi-media shops with a wood shop, a small foundry, forge, and machine shop. Over the years, he has built many melt furnaces and burnout ovens to serve the foundry. Upon discovering the concepts of the Rocket Mass Stove and Rocket Mass Heater, Bradley saw a potential for making the use of wood as a sustainable and non-polluting source of heat for homes and greenhouses.

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Diane Blust

Sustainable Jefferson

Diane Blust is a permaculture homesteader who moved to the Eastern Panhandle five years ago to start her homestead, Chicory Hill Farm. Chicory Hill is partially powered by the sun and has a basement root cellar to hold Diane’s preservation creations. Diane was a Master Food Volunteer with the Virginia Cooperative Extension service for several years prior to moving to West Virginia. She has been teaching home food preservation for about six years.


BJ Appelgren

Healing Arts Report

BJ was first educated as a sculptor and art educator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, became intrigued by the psychology and spirituality of the creative process. While exploring individual perception in art through personal experience and teaching, she came to appreciate art’s direct connection to soul memories, health, creativity, and a growing awareness of connection to others and the environment. Her second formal education was in the world of social work and community health. She is currently a potter, a licensed social worker, an explorer of inner work, and a member of The Permaculture Committee at Claymont. Currently, she calls her artwork intuitive exploration of the inner world. “Through colorful clay and mixed media, I do what I asked my art students to do—play and become familiar with color and form. Observe your ability to make choices and experiment. “The process in counseling isn’t much different,” she says. “I encourage my clients to imagine solutions to their dissatisfactions, all based on feeling better, while living up to their own ideals. Put the rules of old habits aside, challenge limiting beliefs, and see what can be accomplished with this new freedom.”


Luke Bauer

Rolling Ridge Study Retreat

Luke Bauer made his first basket in 2013. He received his Permaculture Design Certificate from Susquehanna Permaculture in 2011 and advanced wild permaculture training in 2014. For the past decade he has devoted his time to learning his local landscape and immersing himself in skills that connect him directly to his place. He is a husband and father of two children and lives with his family at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat. There he leads workshops and supports projects that connect people to their place.

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Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Linda Bilsens Brolis is the Project Manager for ILSR’s Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders (NSR) Composter Training Program. She is a lead trainer for the NSR which is a community-scale composting train-the-trainer program.

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Sacred Roots Herbal Sanctuary

Keir Knoll received degrees in electrical engineering, and spent most of his career as a designer in corporate settings. In the last few years he has been finding ways to use his knowledge to benefit community, and he encourages everyone to do the same.


David browne

David Browne is a forager based in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. His passion is found in practicing traditional skills that foster self reliance and contribute to the health of our world.


Rabiah Nur

Spring of Light

Rabiah is an energy healer whose Indigenous roots and medicine connect her with the Earth and the elements. A daughter of the Divine Mother, she uses dance, singing and the drum to raise the vibrations of people and nature.


Hillary Banachowski

Sacred Roots Herbal Sanctuary

Hillary Banachowski is an herbalist, herb farmer, forager, teacher, and plant lover who has been working with plants in various capacities for 10 years. She is the founder of Sacred Roots Herbal Sanctuary, a medicinal herb farm in Shepherdstown, WV. Hillary spent several years tending the medicinal gardens at Green Farmacy Garden for Dr. Jim Duke, prior to buying land and starting an herb farm with her husband Keir Knoll.


Ben Friton


Ben is a full time single father, soil ecologist, consultant and educator from the Washington DC area. For more than a decade he was a speech professional working with politicians, Heads of State, CEO’s, and philanthropic icons from around the world. In 2010, with the goal of helping to increase educational awareness and hyper-local food resiliency, he co-founded a nonprofit called Can YA Love. Using biomimicry and his patented vertical gardening systems, he works to help people restore degraded lands into thriving, functioning ecosystems that also meet the needs of people. In 2014 he joined ‘Forested,’ a community-scale research food forest, to help develop the most ecologically-sound agro-ecosystem possible… a system that improves soil and water quality, without requiring irrigation nor synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

He is now on the verge of launching his newest project on a 150+ acre farm in Middletown, Maryland, where he will demonstrate transitional agroecology and some examples of how humans can reintegrate with, and improve the ecosystems that we rely upon.


Marisa Cascia

Tridelphia Permaculture Center

Marisa wears many hats, and makes them too. Permaculture designer, forager, and fungi enthusiast are just a few. She is an organizer of the Mushroom City Art Festival, and has educated and presented at several mushroom related events over the last 4 years. Marisa is also a founding member of the Rhizae Renewal Collective, a Baltimore based initiative working to remediate an abandoned lot, and return it to neighborhood residents as a community green space. Marisa resides at the Triadelphia Permaculture Center, a one-acre permaculture homestead, food forest, and educational center. Where she manages a small scale mushroom operation, maintains a small flock of ducks, and assists in maintenance of annual and perennial crop production. Marisa is also a new member of the emerging permaculture initiative at Claymont!


Todd McCree

Great Escape Farms

By day Todd is a network engineer working in the Washington, DC metro area. By night and on the weekends he runs Great Escape Nursery where he propagates unique edible plants to sell online. He also runs Great Escape Farms, which creates videos on homesteading, plant propagation, and permaculture practices. He has attended several PDCs and has also taught introduction to permaculture courses as well as plant propagation courses and rain water harvesting courses.



Eric Lewis is a plant lover and aspiring greenman who dedicates much of his energy to deepening the relationship between people and plants. Inspired by the wise words of world renowned ethnobotanist Frank Cook, Eric is continually encouraging people to respect the plants as people and eat something wild every day.

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Harvests of Hope

Karen has a passion for combining storytelling and science. She is a PhD candidate at Antioch University New England, where she is studying agricultural adaptation to climate change. She has over 10 years of experience developing community programs and teaching courses in nutrition, education and the environment.

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Harvests of Hope

Koorosh works as a video producer for the National Science Foundation. He has a degree in Communications from George Mason University. He has produced multimedia content for the foreign press and various non-governmental organizations, universities and businesses.


Patuxent Riverkeeper

Fred was born and raised along the Patuxent River as were seven generations of his ancestors before him. Fred is a recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for his work on behalf of environmental causes and issues in Maryland. He also serves on a variety of Boards, Task Forces and Commissions related to the work of protecting the Patuxent and the natural environment. Among them, Fred serves on the Board of the Environmental Integrity Project, as a Governor appointed Commissioner on the State's Patuxent River Commission and on the Board of Waterkeeper Alliance, the international group that licenses Waterkeepers. Fred is an adjunct instructor at historic St. Mary's College of Maryland, where he teaches an upper level course in Environmental Law and Policy.



Haw River Assembly

Elaine Chiosso has been Executive Director of the Haw River Assembly (HRA) since 1997, and served as the Haw Riverkeeper from 2008- 2018. She studied biology at UNC-Chapel Hill and has a B.S. in Science Education. She lives near the Haw River in Chatham County, NC. The Haw River Assembly was founded in 1982 to protect and restore the waters of the Haw River and its tributaries, which are located in central North Carolina. Elaine has been a major voice in fighting water pollution, including stormwater runoff, legal challenges to sewer spills, fracking and pipelines, and working to stop industrial chemicals (emerging contaminants) in drinking water supplies. She was instrumental in starting HRA’s stream monitoring project in 1995, which has grown to 35 teams of volunteers. These citizen scientists evaluate the health of the river and creeks using macro-invertebrate counts, pH and turbidity measurements, and other assessments.


Ashley Davis

Tonic Herb Shop

Ashley is a clinically-trained herbalist and co-owner/manager of Tonic Herb Shop in Shepherdstown, WV. She has spent the last 12 years working with plants in a variety of settings, including organic vegetable farms, medicinal plant nurseries, and her own permaculture-inspired garden. She completed a Permaculture Design Course through the Blue Ridge Permaculture Institute in 2010 and has a special interest in forest gardening. Always inspired by the mutually-beneficial relationships between plants and people, plants and plants, and people to each other, Ashley weaves her knowledge of ecology and herbal medicine into her design work, teachings and clinical practice.


Josh Evans

Rolling Ridge Study Retreat

Josh Evans is a team-building facilitator, certified master gardener, and an outdoor and environmental educator. From Susquehanna Permaculture he received his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2011 and advanced wild permaculture training in 2014. For almost five years, he’s been learning traditional primitive skills, foraging, and teaching about permaculture and plants. Along with his family, Josh lives at the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat community where he started a woodland native garden project, manages a diverse community garden, tends a small forest garden and mushroom log yard, and practices forest stewardship and ecological homesteading.

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Xavier Walter

Energy Efficient West Virginia

Xavier is an energy efficiency expert and entrepreneur with more than ten years experience in the energy efficiency industry. In his career, he learned what it takes to lower utility costs, save money, and reduce our environmental impact. The company that Xavier started from the ground up grew in less than four years to over $1.6 million in retail sales. He has been involved in every aspect of energy efficiency projects from inception to completion. Working with various accredited contractors, Xavier is a certified BPI Building Analyst and RESNET HERS rater with in-depth home retrofit knowledge. Xavier has conducted energy audits, air sealing, and whole home retrofits to the Home Performance with Energy Star standard. He is also a teacher with over 1,000 hours in classroom and field sessions, bringing real-world scenarios to other people interested in a new career. In addition to his company, Xavier has worked with elected officials to promote energy efficiency jobs. Prior to switching careers, Xavier spent over 10 years in the construction finance, lending industry, and serving in the United States Navy. Xavier grew up in New Jersey, but some of his family lives in Marion County, West Virginia.


Elisabeth Castleman

Body Balance Theory

Elisabeth is a natural movement instructor, who emphasizes the importance of intuition and connection to the body in training practices. The study of yoga, functional range conditioning, calisthenics and bodyweight strength training, resistance training, and other movement modalities have blended together to create a powerful embodiment practice that she teaches to others in order to foster a sense of presence and strength in the body. Elisabeth leads hikes, workshops, and retreats that strengthen the connection to the self and the surrounding natural world, with the goal of fostering Earth-care and stewardship through self-care.