Completing the Cycle – PRI Graduate Comes ‘Home’ to Teach

Course alert: Jesse Lemieux of PRI Canada will be teaching a two-week Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course, starting November 21 right here at our own Zaytuna Farm (PRI Australia) – and it’s only AU$1200, or AU$1080 if you pay in full at least 30 days before the course starts.

Jesse Lemieux and Bill Mollison

I am inspired by the creative potential of every human being. If our collective society were to effectively access the “real time” creative potential of humanity, we would truly be a society of equity, peace and sustainable culture.

At the moment I am returning home to where I live in Canada after teaching my seventh Permaculture Design Certificate to my 148th student. I sit here in the pre-boarding area of the Saskatoon international airport and find myself contemplating the last five years of my life. I am considering how much my outlook, attitude and most importantly actions have changed. My focus these days is on nothing but the positive. I have truly been able to activate my creative potential. Through my work, permaculture education and design, I am inspiring others to activate there own creative and positive potential as well. Permaculture design gives us the frame work to change the world and together all of us permaculture freaks are changing it, as Geoff Lawton says, “one garden at a time.”

My life before permaculture was angry, guilt ridden, and passive. My life post permaculture has been positive, full of laughs and active. I have never before felt so full of meaning, creativity and positivism. I received my first PDC in October, 2006 under the guidance of Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, and my second under both Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in January 2007.

Since then I am a committed and active part of the global permaculture nation (a group of active and positive people changing the world, redesigning it for equity peace and sustainability). I have helped establish and cultivate numerous permaculture systems both large and small, cut my aid work teeth in the dead sea valley of Jordan and the West Bank, managed an organic apple orchard, started my own permaculture design and consultancy service, set up the PRI Canada and supported my wife, Tanya, through the remarkable processes of pregnancy and child birth.

Jesse with students

Tanya and I have recently been leading a life that is a bit closer to the middle than the edge. It has been a reflection and regrouping phase. We have proven to ourselves that we can take care of ourselves and we are now planning the next steps, a move back towards the edge with the help of a third team mate, Lachlynn.

We have mused and talked and argued about which direction to move from here. We usually return back to one: start a functioning farm/education/permaculture centre on the west coast of Canada. Currently we teach PDCs any place we can. Since we have never run a full time permaculture education centre, a bit of experience would be of value.

Last January we had any interesting opportunity presented to us. We could manage Zytuna Farm and the PRI Australia for the months of November and December, while Geoff and Nadia are on the road. Much like our adventures in the past, it is not one of those opportunities that is easy to just jump at, and at the same time very difficult to turn away from. The funny thing is, it is these opportunities, the seemingly risky ones outside our comfort zone, that have always proven most rewarding and productive. The big question in our minds. Are we up for it?

We are going to find out.

On October 18, we will be arriving at Zaytuna farm, the PRI of Australia, and will be staying on until early January. For me it really feels like a homecoming. It was on Zaytuna Farm that I first understood how a dam and swale function in harmony, how chopping and dropping a food forest feels so right, how amazing bamboo is, and how I could have a positive effect on “spaceship earth.” The greatest honor of the whole two months will be teaching a full length PDC on site, November 21 to December 8.

For anybody interested, I promise this course will be a unique opportunity, as Tanya and I are very candid and open about our journey – how we manage without permanent land access and how we have effectively used permaculture design not only in our gardens and consultancy work, but in navigating the ever increasingly distorted complex and inequitable social and economic condition this world finds itself in. Coming from a temperate home climate we are excited to share our experience working in the colder climes and the intimate knowledge and experience we have had with the PRI and Zaytuna farm. We look forward to meeting with all you excited new permaculture students this coming November.

As a an added bonus, I have been placed on the teaching roster at Milkwood near Mudgee NSW. If you can’t attend the course at Zaytuna farm in November you might consider catching the Milkwood course in February. I will be co-teaching along side Nick Ritar, and the world Famous Darren Doherty. I am absolutely thrilled about this upcoming trip down under.

First “we” taught ourselves how to garden, then “we” taught ourselves how to save seeds – our next hurdle, the next challenge we face, is a political and economic one. It has become abundantly obvious that our financial and social institutions are wholly incapable of serving the needs of the earth and people. Our real job is to design ourselves and our lives as effective political and financial entities. The exciting part is that through permaculture design we empower ourselves and each other to do it.



  1. Hi Jesse, thanks for this piece. Your great attitude shines through and inspires me. I am in the middle of the 10-week internship at Zaytuna and what an experience it has been. I’m looking forward to returning to Canada to put my new education into practice and of course to learn lots more. Cheers, Matthew

  2. Greetings from Kel’ow’na, the grizzly bear’s home. I attended your Intro to Permaculture Design at Okanagan College in Kelowna, British Columbia this past June. (love those place names!) I now have a new reason to live. Permaculture rules my life these days and I’m finding it easier to bring that total positivity you wrote about to my day to day life. I read from the Intro textbook each morning at breakfast and watch at least one permaculture video on YouTube each day. I find I have more energy for acting toward greater efficiency, practicality and workability in my home environment and community. My new immediate life goal is to take the full Permaculture Design Certificate Course. Toward that end I am cleaning up my financial affairs and gathering financial resources for tuition, travel and accommodations. I have been a self-taught herbalist, wild crafter and organic/biodynamic home and community gardener for more than 25 years and have been educating friends and family in these things for a long time. They have told me for years that I should make a career of teaching this stuff. So I am offering sponsorships wherein I would give consulting time or tuition breaks once I am certified and beginning to teach myself. Today I am hosting the Kelowna Permaculture Society for a seed ball making workshop. For the last three weeks we have been gathering seeds from plants which support native bee populations. Today we hope to learn this skill well enough to teach it later in the month at the Organic Okanagan Festival. We will end with a potluck in my back yard. thank you for being my teacher and getting me going on this new phase of my life.

  3. hi all, i’m planning on attending the november PDC, if anyone from melbourne/victoria wants to carpool with me, most welcome.

    email me: aanugent{at}

  4. Hey Jesse,
    Just read this post after emailing you earlier. Seeing those swales and dams at Zaytuna reminded me of how well that demo in the photo above worked to illustrate those ideas. Keep up the good work!

  5. hi Jesse, costudent Martin ,adelaide 2006 from Belgium, send his best regards and will come along somewhere (going to Cairns first) to hook up
    great job you re doing

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