Participant Forum: Please Introduce Yourself!


Picture of Sarah Evans
by Sarah Evans - Friday, October 23, 2020, 10:58 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a little late in responding, which means that I have had the opportunity to read what everyone has already said in your introductions. Wow, what an amazing group of people--learning just a little about you all has made me even more excited about this course.

My name is Sarah Evans. I have lived in NYC for almost ten years, working for a large, international human rights philanthropy. Before that, I lived and worked for around twenty years in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and I am originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My area of work has been with so-called "marginalized populations," i.e. criminalized and stigmatized groups who daily deal with homelessness, health and mental health issues and substance use issues. Professionally, the field I work in is called "harm reduction."

I guess you might wonder what this has a lot to do with permaculture--or even gardening. And you'd be right! However, over the almost three decades that I have been doing this work, it has become so clear to me that growing things is an essential key to healing. I have participated in so much care for people, and I am eager to learn more about how to link that with care for the planet and redistribution of our surplus. I see Permaculture as a kind of "harm reduction" for the community and the environment.

On the practical side, I am no expert! However, I have been a member of various urban community garden and community farm projects, especially ones that made space for disadvantaged people to participate. Recently, I have been trying to rehabilitate the backyard of the building where I live in Brooklyn, NY. 

I have so much to learn from this course and from all of you, and I am really looking forward to this opportunity.

Thank you,



Picture of Pamela Sonn
Re: sevans
by Pamela Sonn - Saturday, October 24, 2020, 12:43 PM

Hello Sarah!

It's great to meet you!  'Harm reduction' resonates - I'm a high school teacher and when we went to all-remote learning last March the screen time, de-sensitization, alienation and isolation of that experience was rough on students, families, and teachers.  Those of us who got outside, especially planting ANYTHING, reported that it helped so much.  I even had students planting basil seeds in recycled tissue boxes to watch them grow.  I see a lot of potential in your idea to connect permaculture and your professional field.


Thank you,


Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Re: sevans
by Christopher Schmitt - Saturday, October 24, 2020, 3:16 PM

Hi Sarah!

This is Chris and family in central New York. We really enjoyed your post, and wanted to let you know that the social aspects of permaculture are what we wish to celebrate on our farm, so we think what you are doing is fantastic in recognizing the connections with people, healing, and land, growing together. A project we hope to accomplish someday on our farm is called, "The Growing Family Tree Project"; perhaps an educational workshop for families--where we use our Christmas trees as a context for families, who wouldn't otherwise have had the opportunity, to learn and engage together as they grow their "family tree"--both their real tree and their metaphoric tree! Thanks for your post and we look forward to learning with you!

Chris and family

Picture of Michael Burns
Re: sevans
by Michael Burns - Monday, October 26, 2020, 6:38 PM

Welcome. I agree. The collective experience and backgrounds of students in this course makes it very appealing from a teacher's perspective! That includes your own background indeed. My first experience with permaculture was with people who often worked for Central America NGOs bring their design skills to assist in disaster relief and recovery.