We have put together some of the best teachers and designers to present these concepts. There are many voices in this movement and we feel it is valuable to hear a diversity of viewpoints.
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PARTNER / WORKER OWNER
Pandora Thomas is a passionate global citizen who works as a caregiver, teacher, writer, designer and speaker. Her work emphasizes the benefits of applying ecological principles to social design.As a presenter both domestically and internationally, she has given keynotes and lectures on topics ranging from diversity, social justice, youth and women’s leadership, social entrepreneurship permaculture and sustainability. She has designed curriculum for and taught groups all over the world as diverse as Iraqi and Indonesian youth to men serving in San Quentin and men and women returning home from incarceration.
Pandora’s most recent projects include co-founding the Black Permaculture Network, working for 6 years with Toyota to design and serving as a coalition member of the Toyota Green Initiative, which supported African Americans in understanding the benefits of adopting sustainable lifestyles; co-designing, teaching with and directing Pathways to Resilience – a permaculture and social entrepreneur training program that worked with men and women returning home after incarceration, and working with Resilient by Design, leading the permaculture design team P+SET (Permaculture plus Social Equity) and nine other teams to collaboratively design climate adaptive solutions with and in the most vulnerable bay area communities.
She has just been awarded a fellowship with the Movement Strategy Centers National Association of Climate Resiliency Planners. Her fellowship is focused on supporting Community Driven Resiliency Planning.
Thomas has studied four languages and lived and worked in over twelve countries and her other achievements include being featured in the films The Future of Energy and Inhabit, presenting at Tedx Denver and SF, and being awarded internships and fellowships to the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, Green For All, the Bronx Zoo and the Applied Research Center.
Her writing includes a children’s book, various curricula and a manual entitled “Shades of Green” for individuals wanting to teach green building to youth. Pandora studied at Columbia and Tufts University and with several permaculture and ecological design programs.
When she is not working you can find her spending time with her beloved mother and cats or in the redwoods.
PARTNER / WORKER OWNER
Davids passion for ecology, design and building comes from a background in a number of trades. He has been a head chef at an asian fusion restaurant, he has worked as a laser machinist, on a mushroom farm, and as a contractor focused on specialty and creative projects.
He has completed numerous projects in many trades including full bathroom remodels, landscaping, greywater and rainwater harvesting, electrical, plumbing, masonry, tile, and carpentry. Having hands-on skills in all the trades lends David a detailed knowledge of materials and how they best go together.
David was born in Fresno, CA and is the third generation of Portuguese immigrants who came to the San Joaquin Valley to start farms, most of his family are still on working farms today. He consults on agricultural and ecological projects and is passionate about conservation hydrology, agroforestry, and animal husbandry systems, to name a few.
Helped form the San Francisco Permaculture Guild and currently serves on the Wisdom Council. In 2008 he and Kevin Bayuk founded the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco and have now trained over 500 people in San Francisco, many of whom are living in the city and working on amazing projects. Along with the formation of UPISF, He was a founding member, lead designer and long time steward of the 18th & Rhode Island Garden in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.
He also served on the founding team of Hayes Valley Farm, an interim use project that transformed two unused freeway ramps in the heart of San Francisco into a productive and educational garden. At Hayes Valley Farm he served as the lead designer and site manager for the first year of its life, where he helped create a number of green jobs for local residents by forming partnerships with local schools to bring their classes to the farm for nature based education. Hayes Valley Farm is and was an inspiration to thousands of people young and old.
PARTNER / WORKER OWNER
Kevin works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets cooperative organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life.
He is a partner with LIFT where he provides strategy, financing, and guidance for social enterprises helping them grow. He also frequently teaches classes, workshops, does public speaking, facilitates meetings, plans events and provides one on one mentoring as a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco. Kevin is also a Senior Research Fellow with Project Drawdown. Kevin has helped design and start gardens and public learning experiences intent on reminding people that they too are nature. He is as fluent with information technology as with perennial polyculture agroforestry. Writing, speaking, researching and mentoring are his strongest skills.
Kevin’s certifying permaculture teacher is Penny Livingston-Stark (hers – Tom Ward and Bill Mollison). He’s been involved in the study and practice of permaculture design for over a decade. Kevin trained with David Holmgren (during his North America trip in 2005) and participated in advanced training with Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute Australia in 2006 and 2007. Kevin started teaching one-day workshops in 2005 and co-facilitated the first PDC in the city of San Francisco ever in 2006 with Kat Steele and Fred Bove. In 2008 he co-facilitated an urban PDC with Starhawk as a mentor (teacher training apprenticeship) for the Earth Activist Training (EAT). He’s facilitated 30+ design certificate programs since 2006 and participated in about a dozen more as a guest presenter.
PARTNER / WORKER OWNER
Brandon uses his 10 years of demonstrated background in urban innovation and community building to help scale radical systems change and ecological regeneration.
Prior to joining Urban Permaculture Institute, Brandon was a full time diversity, equity and inclusion advocate – holding director level positions at organizations such as Change Catalyst and Impact Hub San Francisco. As director he led efforts to develop partnerships and programs as well as support engagement with the local communities – contributing to the economic opportunities and stabilization of their residents and culture.
Though born, raised and now living in the Bay Area, his expertise in urban innovation and community planning enabled him to work on social and environmental justice projects as far as Taiwan, Portugal, Nicaragua, Cuba, Turkey and Kenya. Brandon has given lectures about planning and development in the United States and the Caribbean, as well as taught at UC Berkeley. As a contributing author his work can be seen in the City of Emeryville’s Housing Element 2015-2023, the Emeryville Berkeley Oakland Transit Study, Alqueva: Changing Ecologies of the Montado Landscape, and Slum Sanitation and the Social Determinant of Women’s Health in Nairobi, Kenya.
Brandon is co-founder of Regeneration Rising, a workshop and event series for all those curious about equitable food systems, regenerative agriculture, and AgTech. Brandon holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley, a Bachelor’s degree in Rhetorical Studies from the University of New Mexico and a Permaculture Design Certificate from UPISF.
Antonio is a dedicated student and teacher of urban sustainability, working primarily in agriculture, food systems, and social justice-driven community organizing. His knowledge bridges the practical and theoretical, stemming from his hands-on experience designing and managing multiple urban farms and advocacy organizations, and earning degrees with highest honors in urban and agricultural sustainability from University of California, Berkeley (BA, 2012) and the International Institute of Social Studies (MA, 2014). He is a Permaculture-certified designer and educator, and has designed and taught environmental education programming for youth and adults in various contexts.
Antonio has managed many types of projects, including publications, documentary films, urban farms, public space design processes, and community organizing campaigns. He co-founded Alemany Farm and the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, directed the documentary film “In Search of Good Food”, and helped to form the California Food Policy Council. His research, advocacy, and journalism has been published in print, online, and in peer-reviewed academic journals, showcasing his interest in having science reach a wide audience. Antonio’s expertise in sustainability, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, citizen science, and innovative pedagogy is steeped in his many years of hands-on action, school-based learning, and collaborative, people-powered projects.