Our Teachers

Our residential program teachers are all practitioners, business-owners, and leaders in their respective fields. We choose only advanced teachers who are also able to communicate effectively in the classroom.

bio headshot montanaMarisha Auerbach

Marisha Auerbach has been actively practicing, studying, and teaching Permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for over a decade, specializing in food production, seedsaving, ecology, and useful plants. Her practical experience has been gained while living in both rural and urban locations.  Currently, Marisha teaches at Bastyr University, Pacific University, Portland Community College, and offers an online permaculture program through Oregon State University.  She also works with a number of non-profit organizations including The City Repair Project, Aprovecho Education Center, Lost Valley Education Center, Fertile Ground Community Center, and Planet Repair.

Marisha is committed to sharing her passions for food security, regenerative design, biological diversity, seedsaving, permaculture, ecology, cottage industry, and positive futures. She has developed several permaculture based businesses including a plant nursery, providing edible flowers and other gourmet specialty food items to restaurants, plantable greeting cards, and herbal medicines.  Marisha has offered permaculture work from the forests of Vietnam to the Rocky Mountains of the United States to the stressed conditions of Haiti.  She holds advanced permaculture certificates in Permaculture Aid Work and Keyline Planning.

Marisha graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1998 where she focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies. She currently resides in Portland, OR.  Marisha can be found online at www.herbnwisdom.com.

aab479d70afc376c7f5a0108f0fe097fErica Ann Bush, LEED AP

Erica Ann is an award-winning architectural designer and natural builder. Her practice specializes in passive solar design and breathable wall systems. Her projects integrate all scales of design concepts, ranging from Permaculture land-use strategies through the human-scale of furniture and interior finishes. After receiving her Architecture degree from Cornell University and practicing at a Green Architecture firm in Eugene, Oregon, she traveled the world gathering experience in many forms of earthen construction, apprenticing with the best experts she could find on each respective construction technique.  She brings a unique perspective to green building, offering low-tech solutions to big issues. Her dedication to local resources and extensive use of salvaged components distinguishes her material palette. Current artistic endeavors are focused on stained glass and large scale public sculpture. She currently teaches Natural Building Technique and Earth Plaster up and down the West Coast. View her portfolio at www.dayonedesign.org

SukitaSukita Crimmel

Sukita discovered natural building at the end of her college days at the University of Oregon.  She became fascinated by the way simple materials can create such beauty, and with such ease.  After school she started getting into the physical world of building and was fortunate enough to get a job assisting a builder, Robert Bolman, in building a cutting edge green triplex in Eugene, Oregon.  On a cold December day of 2000 Sukita assisted Rob in mixing and pouring the 1200 square foot earthen floor.  She was hooked.  In 2002 Sukita moved to Portland to start From These Hands, LLC, a natural building construction company.

Earthen floors became a focus in 2007.  Sukita found out all she could.  Over the years she learned from experience many ways to succeed and fail with earthen floors.  She streamlined the process, in the preparation of the site, and the materials as well as installing and finishing these amazing floors.  It is now her pleasure to share this knowledge in a manual, through workshops, consultations, and by offering the premixed earthen floor, Claylin. From ancient knowledge we have modern earthen floors.

Learn more about Sukita’s work with From These Hands at www.sukita.comas well as Claylin, the pre-mixed earthen floor, at www.claylin.com

51kFepwnGTL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_Kiko Denzer

Kiko has been building with earth since 1994, and recently fell in love with yurts. Last year he worked with Bill Coperthwaite on a two-tier frame yurt; this year he is testing some ideas about combining sticks and mud to optimize efficiency, strength, comfort, and ease of construction. At home, he shares a large garden and small, self-built living quarters with his wife and two boys. He also builds ovens and mass heaters, teaches, writes, and publishes books through Hand Print Press(.com). Aside from making compost, he is interested in restoring the arts to their traditional and proper role as the means by which we maintain a working harmony between people, land, and culture.  See more from Kiko at HandPrintPress.

evavallep-225x300Eva Rose Edleson

Eva is a natural builder, cook, gardener, and craftswoman.  As a builder with over 10 years of experience, she specializes in earthen wall systems as well as in natural plasters and paints.  Eva has built with cob, adobe, straw-clay, wattle and daub, pallets and more!  She has trained and worked with many of the most-respected natural builders in North America, as well as Argentina.  She has combined her own research and experiences into a successful natural building practice.  See some of Eva’s building projects as well as wood-fired ovens and masonry heaters at www.firespeaking.com

max-arch-168x300Max Edleson

A professional artist/builder, Max has worked and taught in the United States, Argentina, and Indonesia. He is dedicated to using naturally and locally available materials to create spiritually- uplifting and energy-efficient elements of homes and public spaces.  Over the last 10 years, Max has designed and built multiple cob, adobe and strawbale buildings. He is a professional tile layer, mosaic artist, ceramicist and a mason of devices made for fire which include masonry heaters, baking ovens, various heating and cooking stoves, fireplaces and kilns. He is also a skilled round-pole timber framer.  You can learn more about him at www.firespeaking.com

533695_10151880528397926_242659504_nChristopher Ryan Foraker

Chris comes from a family of teachers, bricklayers and biologists.  In 2004 he graduated from Montana State University with honors achieving a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution.  During this time he began his studies of woodcraft, round-pole joinery, small dwellings, and urban ecology.  Chris first came to Aprovecho in 2005 and has served the organization in the sustainable forestry and building departments.  He coordinates the Natural Building Programs at Aprovecho, specifically the Natural Building Practicum and the Sustainable Shelter Workshop Series.

IMG_1915Abel Kloster

A fourth generation Oregon native, Abel is well acquainted with the forests,  fields, and people of the Pacific Northwest where he has farmed, tended land, and indulged in the culture for many years.  Abel has been Aprovecho’s Land Steward since 2006.  He co-teaches and directs Aprovecho’ Permaculture programs and oversees the stewardship of Aprovecho’s 40 acre land trust.  In addition to his work with Aprovecho, Abel is on the board of Agriculture and Community Land Trust and co-owner of Resilience Permaculture Design, a whole systems design firm specializing in farm and forestry planning and ecological restoration.  Abel has a B.S. degree in Land Stewardship for Sustainable Communities from Humboldt State University and is currently pursuing a masters in agroforestry from the University of Missouri. He received a certificate of Permaculture Design from Douglas and Sam Bullock of Orcas Island, Washington.  He also holds advanced Permaculture certificates in Permaculture Aid, Permaculture Earthworks, Optical Surveying, and Keyline Design.

mikeMike Hatfield

Mike was born in Roseburg Oregon.  He received a BS from Willamette University in 1992.  In 1997 he attended the Sustainable Living Skills Internship at Aprovecho.  There he discovered the world of Appropriate Technology and found his life work.  Since then he has been building improved cook stoves and conducting trainings in many resource deprived parts of the world.  At home he is the international projects coordinator for the Aprovecho Research Center and teaches classes on a wide range of appropriate technology subjects, including improved cook and heating stoves, composting toilets, solar and wood heated hot water systems, small scale hydroelectricity, bio diesel production and vegetable oil conversions.

Jude photoJude Hobbs

Jude Hobbs is a land consultant, designer, educator, and co-founder of the Permaculture Institute of North America and Cascadia Permaculture Institute. With over 30 years experience, she utilizes whole system techniques in urban and rural settings to co-create environmentally sound solutions that inspire sustainable actions. Through her business, Ago-Ecology Northwest, she specializes in encouraging farm management practices for optimizing resource conservation, biodiversity, watershed enhancement and income diversification.  Jude is currently writing a book on Multi-Functional Hedgerows.

As an educator she brings her passion for Permaculture to her courses and workshops, which have been adapted for audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada.  She has developed curricula that encompass diverse learning styles with methods that are inspiring and information rich.

Jude co-tends Wilson Creek Gardens a 7-acre site in Cottage Grove, Oregon where there are abundant micro-climates from which to learn. www.cascadiapermaculture.com

andrew-millison-permaculture-oregon-stateAndrew Millison

Andrew has been studying, designing, building, and teaching about Permaculture systems since 1996. He is an instructor in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University, teaching the Permaculture Design Certificate Course and the Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum. He has taught through other organizations including Prescott College, the Ecosa Institute, and the Cascadia Permaculture Institute. He instructs Advanced Permaculture Courses in Teaching, and has guest instructed for many Permaculture courses throughout the Western US. He worked for the State of Oregon creating a Permaculture conference and course for Oregon Housing and Community Services, the agency that builds low-income housing.

He works with gardeners, developers, university students, and community organizers to promote Permaculture, which he believes is the medicine for Earth’s ailments. Andrew spent years running a design and build Permaculture landscape company, Millison Ecological Inc., where he completed large scale and high profile projects including rockstar Maynard Keenan’s Merkin Vineyard: www.caduceus.organd www.bloodintowine.com, initiated the well-known Ecohood project, worked with ecological wastewater pioneer Dr. John Todd and worked with Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan on heirloom fruit tree preservation to earn his Master’s degree. Andrew also worked as a draftsman and designer in an ecological Landscape Architecture office where he completed designs at the commercial, municipal, and residential scales. Andrew was awarded a Diploma of Permaculture Design in the field of Education, Design, Site Development, Research, and Community Service by the Permaculture Institute USA

Andrew currently teaches, consults and designs Permaculture sites. His designs in recent years range from a low-income senior housing development to a co-housing community to 5, 25, 50 and 75 acre homesteads, and his own multiple demonstration sites in Corvallis, Oregon. Documentation of his extensive portfolio of hands-on projects, design work, video production work and published articles can be viewed at www.beaverstatepermaculture.com.


Tao is a Permaculture designer, teacher, homesteader, and mother living in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon. She teaches Permaculture design throughout the Northwest and at Aprovecho. Tao consults on holistic farm, forest, and restoration planning through Resilience Permaculture Design, LLC. She holds a degree in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture from UC Santa Cruz, and has a keen interest in integrating the disciplines of organic agriculture, sustainable land use planning, ethnobotany, and ecosystem restoration in order to create beneficial social, economic, and ecological outcomes. She is the author of a forthcoming book from Chelsea Green Publishing about rethinking the concept of invasive species management and restoration from a Permaculture-based perspective. When she is not writing or teaching, she is busy keeping up with her toddler and wrangling a diverse array of plants and animals on her 6.5 acre homestead, Viriditas Farm.

Head_Shot-390x267Bill Sturm

Bill is the owner and designer of Oregon Timberworks.  He has been building and designing for nearly twenty years.  After studying architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, he decided to move to the Northwest and put his hands to work.  He began by building high-end homes until an old friend requested his skills and he was introduced to his future passion: timber framing.  To see some of Bill’s work visit www.oregontimberworks.com

RickRick Valley

Rick Valley discovered permaculture in 1981 as a result of the nascent local food movement, ethnobotany, solar design and his two years spent in Latin America. He was on the teaching team of the first PDC’s in Oregon (including Aprovecho’s in the late 1980’s), Canada, Belize and Alaska.

As an urban farmer/nurseryman he was a founding member, president, and newsletter editor of the PNW chapter of the American Bamboo Society, making cultural connections for this group of edible and useful plants. He is currently developing an urban farmstead in Eugene Oregon, and is a partner in Earthkeeper Landscaping LLC.