A Passion for Permaculture

A former student's life-changing experience at Zaytuna Farm

There’s no doubt that Benson Jack Anthony is one multi-talented young man. The Australian actor, choreographer, dancer, musician and singer is known for his role as Arlo Turner in the television series 800 Words and the lead role in the movie Emo The Musical and is soon to appear in Australian mystery/horror movie Awoken and as a reclusive son who spends most of his time looking for love on line in the upcoming Channel 7 sitcom Fam Time.

This week, however, the rising talent is flying to the UK to play a new role – that of assistant permaculture educator at a Permaculture Design Course in Somerset.

Anthony, 22, grew up in a creative family that nurtured a mentality very close to the permaculture philosophy but discovered permaculture itself when he had to move to Melbourne to film a movie and needed somewhere to stay. Permaculture educator Jacqui Van Heerden offered him a place at her home and, on arrival, showed Anthony around her garden, picking produce along the way. “There and then I fell in love with permaculture,” says Anthony, “and found out about Geoff Lawton and Zaytuna Farm. It took me about a year to get there but in November, 2018, I travelled to Zaytuna and did the Permaculture Design Course and Permaculture in Action course.

“All the cliches about Geoff’s courses being life-changing are absolutely true! Geoff is a master mentor and a ridiculously good teacher. Through him, I learned the value of systems thinking, all the practicalities of permaculture design and to have a mindset of service for life, to value myself as someone who really can have a positive influence on the world. The design components and hand’s on stuff was almost secondary to the change in mindset.”

Since his time at Zaytuna, permaculture has become Anthony’s passion. “I try and share the principles with family and friends, incorporate systems thinking into everything I do and garden like a maniac, mainly on my Mum’s balcony and at community gardens. I am trying to equip myself to become the best permaculture designer I can be, so I also work part-time at an organic plant nursery to learn as much as I can about sub-disciplines. It’s incredibly fulfilling.”

This week’s trip to Somerset will be Anthony’s first experience of teaching a Permaculture Design Course.

It’s going to be amazing to gain a more international perspective,” says Anthony, whose dream is to one day get together with other Zaytuna students to buy a block of land and develop their own permaculture community. “In the meantime, I’ll just have to continue juggling the two worlds of acting and permaculture.



To learn more about the 2019 Permaculture in Action course with Geoff Lawton to be held at Zaytuna Farm, NSW, Australia, from August 12 – August 23, visit: Permaculture In Action Course 2019

One Comment

  1. Great work. After reading literature on permaculture, living in India, I am of the opinion that Tribes in some parts of India, are the real permaculturists. Their lives and cultural assimilation are intricate with nature. Why do we shy away to document their lifestyles and better conceptualise permaculture practice.

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